Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

G6, Boy.Z, XBoys Strike ... In Jeddah?

Praise the Internet, cell phones and television, for they are breaking the Islamists' claw-hold on the minds of the next generation of Saudis. Via Reuters, this from Osama bin Laden's Saudi hometown of Jeddah:
Using spray paint cans, they defaced public property, insulted the police and complained that youths didn't have a voice in Saudi Arabia.

Dozens of young Saudis in the coastal city of Jeddah have challenged the authorities with street graffiti which has highlighted a growing generation gap in one of the world's most socially conservative countries.

Powerful clerics still enforce a strict code of public morals in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy where more than 60 percent of the population is under 21.

But today, Saudi youths are growing up in an era shaped by the Internet, mobile phones and satellite television in a marked break from the sheltered upbringings of their parents.

Signed by gang members using names like G6, Boy.Z and XBoys and styled on the gaudy graffiti in big U.S. and European cities, images began appearing two years ago on traffic circles and walls, enraging local residents who valued civic pride.

The graffiti grows out of complaints you would expect from teens in Saudi Arabia. Girls want to drive and be able to play sports outside. Boys want to be able to hang out at malls, which are open to families only.

This is hardly jihad-fodder. These are kids who would gladly embrace a more liberal Islam, so here I am again somewhat conflicted: The downward drag of media and modern society that troubles me when I see it in America elates me when I see it behind the Islamic curtain.

I guess that's the sort of flexibility that ironically comes with conservatism but is lacking in the supposedly more open-minded liberal belief system.

Anyway, let's start shipping spray paint to other Saudi cities.

Labels: ,

Advise And Descent

Tim Blair shares this story with us:

A backlash quickly emerged after the Telluride Town Council adopted a resolution last week calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

“It’s huge, unbelievable,” said Telluride Mayor John Pryor. “Ski groups are canceling for the winter. Hundreds of people are bailing. The (town) Web site is flooded with people saying they’re canceling their vacations here.”
As one Blair commenter said, the flakes are at City Hall, not on the slopes.

These people think they can be idiots with immunity; it's a wonderful thing when they get Dixie Chicked into reality, and suddenly realize they're the ranting minority, not the ruling majority.

Update: Reader Last Man Thinking says the Telleftride faithful are pushing back via a letter to the editor in the local paper, The Daily Planet (I kid you not):

Dear Editor,

I’m not sure I would have pushed for an impeachment ordinance, however the ordinance obviously expresses the sentiment of a large majority of the citizens of Telluride (and probably the U.S., as well as a former Reagan Deputy Attorney General). Its not like we were pioneers in this. More than 80 other municipalities have passed similar ordinances.

There appears to be a concerted letter writing campaign by right wing organizations, (after all, who else supports Bush-Cheney — their approval rating is in the teens). Is there really a boycott in the works? I doubt it. I have two hotels and have not had one call or cancellation. This is just another Swift Boat trick.

The important thing is that now that the town has acted, that it stick to its purpose. When the ordinance comes up for the second reading, it should be passed. Backing away now may indeed cost the town visitors. It will make the press (which the original ordinance didn’t, since it was not newsworthy).

So, please town council, don’t get tricked into backing away from this.

Michael T. Zivian

Uh-oh, it looks like another vast right-wing conspiracy!

Update #2: Another commenter has looked into our paranoid letter-writer, Michael Zivian, and found the stink of leftism:
He reports himself as a "Hotelier" on FEC records, but he is first and foremost an asshat leftard attorney. Google it! Just leave out his middle initial, and you will find all sorts of crazy delicious links with his tomfoolery all over them. This guy is an accomplished liar and general all-around POS.
Make that another vast left-wing conspiracy!

hat-tip: Jim


What The Left Excels At: Censorship

I may be a bit late to the party on this one (vacation and all), but it's apparent the Left has been up to a game it plays quite well: infringing on others' freedom of speech.

It's going on at the incorrectly named Americablog, which apparently has a campaign going against Home Depot for (allegedly) advertising on the Bill O'Reilly show. Banging on the old drums of distrust and conspiracy, A'blog posts emails from Home Depot saying the don't advertise on Fox, or any programs "that express strong opinions or political views," then posts another saying they do, in fact, advertise on O'Reilly.
Perhaps Home Depot is doing "run of network" ads that appear across the FOX networks, with FOX choosing which shows the ads run on.
A thoughtful explanation, but don't expect the Left to play nice.
A lot of companies like to use this kind of advertising to claim that they don't advertise on particular shows - it's a smoke screen and a lie. If this is the case here, then Home Depot needs to specifically inform us that they have asked FOX not to run any Home Depot ads on The O'Reilly Factor.

Having said that, Home Depot has some explaining to do if it thinks Hannity is any better than O'Reilly. FOX, across the board, smears gays, blacks, attacks the environment, and more. Home Depot needs to dump the hate network now, across the board.
What gives this pig the authority to tell a corporation where to advertise? Has he not realized that Fox has trounced all other cable news networks and therefore can hardly be the hate-mongers he tries to dismiss them as?

If A'blog (which, come to think of it, is a nice moniker, reminding me of another A abbreviation) really thinks Fox "smears gays, blacks, attacks the environment, and more," then why not provide some links with each of the allegations?

Is providing debate on gay marriage "smearing gays?" No, it is free speech on topical issues.

Is questioning the motives of Jackson and Sharpton "smearing blacks?" No, it is free speech on topical issues.

Is running stories that raise issues about global warming or the economic viability of alternative fuels "attacking the environment?" No, it is free speech on topical issues.

It is clear that A'blog's big fight is with free speech, differences of opinion, and anyone that isn't bullied into goose-stepping along with A-blog and the party line. Were it not so, wouldn't A-blog be demanding that Home Depot not advertise on Keith Olbermann and MSNBC because he "smears Christians, the military, Capitalism, and more?" Wouldn't A'blog be demanding fairness from the networks, with their milquetoast anti-conservatism? Wouldn't A'blog be chiding the NYT, WaPo and the rest of print for their bias?

No, of course not. It's OK to be biased left, but it's not OK to be biased fair or conservative.

Home Depot has a right to advertise anywhere it wants to. If the rabid readers of A'blog decide to take their (probably scant) dollars elsewhere, let them. That's a free market, not the sort of bullying the Left is prone to do when facing something that dissatisfies them.

If you'd like to encourage Home Depot to continue to support free speech and their right to advertise wherever they feel is best, A'blog was kind enough to provide us with some email addresses:
Ron Jarvis, Vice President of Environmental Innovation

Frank Blake, Chief Executive Officer

Carol Tome, Chief Financial Officer
hat-tip: memeorandum

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Domestic Downside Of Dems

While much of the focus on the new congressional Democrat majority has focused on foreign policy issues, the Dem domestic policy initiatives are perhaps even more worrying in the long term.

If we are forced by an anti-Bush Congress to abandon the war in Iraq, it will not destroy America. We will have to fight again, and we may end up losing more soldiers and civilians as a result, but we will survive, and unless we're unlucky enough to be one or know one of the Americans who dies as a result of this misdirected policy shift, we'll not be much impacted by it.

Not so with domestic policy. We'll be paying for the change in the minimum wage through a round of price increases for all sorts of products, of course, but there are much more troubling examples, like Rep. Nick Rahall's Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007. The West Virginia Dem has created a Greenie wet dream in this bill -- which, because of a Dem majority, passed through committee and is now pending on the House floor.

How bad is it? Ask the Sierra Club, because they're delighted by it:
The Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007 will help set America on the path toward energy independence, increase accountability in the management of federal energy resources, spur alternative energy sources, and provide the support necessary to help mitigate the impact of global warming on wildlife.

H.R. 2337 reforms many of the ill-conceived provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). The bill will also establish long-overdue reforms of the federal energy program, including establishing a fee on non-producing oil, gas, and coal leases to discourage speculative lease holdings and generate funds to repair damage to wildlife and habitats. In addition, the bill will protect water resources impacted by energy development and the rights of private surface owners of lands where the U.S. government holds the underlying mineral estate.

Finally, the bill will create a comprehensive national framework to address the impacts of global warming on wildlife. Global warming poses one of the greatest threats to ecosystem integrity and individual fish and wildlife species and their habitat.
Before we buy into that line of thinking, perhaps we'd best check elsewhere for opinion, like with the Republicans on the Natural Resource Committee:
H.R. 2337 is being touted by the Democratic leadership as an “energy” bill but it essentially repeals all of the positive energy measures of the past 12 years. ...

H.R. 2337 has the primary goal of repealing the bipartisan energy policies overwhelmingly adopted in the >Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), which developed a comprehensive energy policy that increases energy efficiency and conservation, expands U.S. energy supplies and encourages investment in new energy technologies.

H.R. 2337 makes energy harder to produce, more expensive, and less available. Consequently, Americans will have to rely on more foreign imports and pay more for energy at a time when gas prices are currently at an all-time high. Briefly, here’s the essence of the Democratic “energy” bill:
  • It makes oil and natural gas harder and more expensive to produce domestically;
  • It increases the costs of all energy by making energy corridors tougher to build;
  • It makes wind energy projects harder to build and adds more uncertainty to the projects;
  • It stops our nation’s largest potential liquid transportation fuel source – our two trillion barrel oil shale resource - dead in its tracks;
  • It federalizes the traditionally state-managed fish and wildlife resources under the guise of “global climate change”;
  • And it does absolutely nothing for our nation’s other huge resource - coal.
Of course, it doesn't address coal because Rahall's from West Virginia, so he has to be pro-coal. Greenies would have liked to have had similar draconian restrictions on coal production and utilization, but they knew they wouldn't be able to get Rahall to carry their water there, so they've graciously not criticized the bill's lack of restrictions on coal.

(Interestingly, if you search Rahall's site for anything on the bill, you won't find it.)

The second bullet -- making energy corridors more difficult to build -- may not resonate with many, but it's a huge concern. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized the Dept. of Energy to assess the nation's energy corridors, and find areas where electrical transmission systems were so overtaxed as to threaten consumers. National Policy Analysis reports the findings:
According to DOE, the Mid-Atlantic region's tenuous electricity supply is an especially urgent matter. Without increased transmission capacity, "reliability violations will occur" in the northern Virginia - Washington, D.C. - Baltimore area by 2011. The same is true for southeastern New York State. Northern New Jersey and central Pennsylvania would experience similar problems in 2014 and 2019 respectively. ...

The seriousness of the problem prompted DOE to designate two "National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors" in April 2007 for both the Mid-Atlantic region and Southwest region of the country, which is also in need of a critical upgrade. These National Corridors are geographic, interstate areas where necessary, additional transmission infrastructure could be built to solve the regions' congestion woes.
Rahall's bill pretty much would make it impossible to designate these corridors, however, because it would:
  • Make it illegal for corridors to be placed within a mile of any land designated by the feds or a state for "protection of scenic, natural, cultural or historic resources," and
  • Ban any land considered a "sensitive ecological area, including any area that is designated as critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 or otherwise identified as sensitive or crucial habitat, including seasonal habitat, by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, by a State agency responsible for managing wildlife or wildlife habitat, or in a Federal or State land use plan"
That basically means it will be impossible to weave a pathway for these corridors, even if the first bullet makes some sense, if you put feeling good ahead of doing good. Sure, it feels good to look at a pretty landscape without powerlines, but if the powerlines are needed for the country to do well, shouldn't the tough decision prevail?

Besides, armed with this tool, Greenies will go on a spree of scenic, natural, cultural or historic designation efforts, for no other reason than to place roadblocks in the way of the corridors.

The second point, banning corridors in critical habitat, is ridiculous. I've been involved in dozens of critical habitat fights, and in the creation of large-scale Habitat Conservation Plans that have protected hundreds of thousands of acres for endangered species. There is widespread agreement that electrical transmission corridors and critical habitat are highly compatible.

The corridors require minimal maintenance, so there's little human impact under and around them, and they naturally create wildlife migration corridors along their route. There is no biological reason for Rahall to put this provision in his bill. There is, however, a Greenie reason: Greenies equate electrical power lines with growth, and they are vehemently anti-growth.

It doesn't matter that the growth has already occurred and must be dealt with. It doesn't matter that people are still having babies. They will fling themselves against growth until they die ... unless its the house they want to move in to ... because growth besmirches Gaea's veil and therefore is evil in their cosmology.

There's a long path ahead for Rahall's bill, so there's still a chance it will be watered down or lost in the Congressional legislative wilderness. But that doesn't minimize the risk it poses -- not just with its specifics, but also because it shows how dangerous the Greenie-Dem alliance can be.

See also:
Warmie Psychic: Warmies To Be "Shocked"
Greenies Fight To Stop Green Energy

hat-tip: Jim

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Little Pink Cotton Candy

We had a particularly fine sunset tonight.

Warmie To CEI: Convert Or Die!

Let's say you're Marlo. How would you like finding this in your email in-box?
Marlo –

You are so full of crap.

You have been proven wrong. The entire world has proven you wrong. You are the last guy on Earth to get it. Take this warning from me, Marlo. It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar. If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on."
Marlo Lewis is a climate skeptic at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He's got a Ph.D. in government from Harvard, hence the Harvard threat. The email became front and center evidence at a Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee hearing, when Sen. James Inhofe waved it in the face of EPA administrator Stephen Johnson.

Johnson was Inhofe's target because the sender of the email was Michael Eckhart of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), an organization that sucks up to the public funding teat of EPA quite gluttonously -- and to the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy.

Eckhart, right, is just another pompous, anti-business, Warmie extremist schmuck who's all too willing to take money from corporations if it's filtered through the government first, via the IRS. "We want renewable energy to be in the tax code," Eckhart has said, in Big Governmentese for "Please subsidize my belief system, because it can't make it on its own."

He's a hardcore fundamentalist of the Warmie religion; hence his jihad against Lewis, who holds a different view. He subsequently issued a statement of "apology" with a pretty ridiculous excuse:
I apologize to all in the public who were offended by the email [but not to Lewis, apparently], because it was not intended for public display.
Threatening to destroy someone in private is OK, apparently; apologies are only needed if the threats are made public. Eckhart then goes on for 29 more paragraphs in his "apology," doing all he can to fulfill his threat to destroy Lewis' career: attacking his motives and honesty through hearsay and he said/she said, with no supporting evidence.

Once he's done with all this, he has the gall to say:
We must begin a nonpartisan, bi-partisan, and universal move forward to manage carbon in society and implement solutions in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, other non/low-carbon energy, and the management of oceans, biodiversity and forestation.
Don't you just love left-wing bipartisanship? Go on for a couple dozen paragraphs of vicious personal attacks and back-stabbing, then cry out for non-partisanship! From Harry Reid to Michael Eckhart, these guys don't know bipartisan from bicycle. But they do know how to threaten. Here's part of an email from Eckhart to Lewis' boss at CEI, Fred Smith, from last September:

I am writing to demand that you and CEI reverse course on [global warming], and do so loudly and publicly, within 30 days, or I will personally file on October 25, 2006, two complaints:

1. A complaint with the IRS to have CEI's tax exemption revoked, on the basis that CEI is really a lobbyist for the energy industry;

2. A complaint with Phi Beta Kappa that your key should be withdrawn for using your mathematical skills to do the world harm.
If Eckhart is so sure he is correct, why does he need to threaten to shut down his opponents? The answer is easy: This isn't about debate bipartisan discussions; it's about religion, fundamental Warmism. That's why Eckhart's behavior is so similar to the radical Islamists, who behead those who don't accept Islam.

Labels: , ,

Sunsets, Simpsons And A Longer Vacation

This is how the mountains looked last night as we left La Quinta for Rancho Mirage and dinner and a movie. It was about 109 as the sun set, and 101 as we drove home about 10 p.m., but today's got some clouds and is cooler.

We saw The Simpson's Movie. Incredible Daughter #3 didn't want to see it because our household has had a good taste ban on the show, but a scrub of the reviews indicated there would be nothing too offensive, so off we went ... to find a movie that delighted us all.

From beginning to end, laughter broke out spontaneously throughout the theater; sometimes we were in synch, sometimes there was something that tickled just a few, who could be heard here and there throughout the theater. As I considered the amount and type of laughter, I realized that it's quite rare to have that much good humor in movies today.

I particularly liked that environmental misanthropes and environmental zealots were the two villains of the movie. The first, of course, is Homer; the second is the EPA and its dark and dreadful director, Russ Cargill, voiced by Albert Brooks. (I wonder what Cargill, the food chemicals conglomerate, thinks of that name selection.)

In an early scene, Lisa Simpson is going door to door, trying to get someone in town to recognize that the townspeople have to stop polluting Lake Springfield. Door after door slams shut in her face. One lady sees Lisa and says, "Oh, it's the little girl that saved my puppy," but slams the door as soon as the first Greenie word leaves Lisa's lips.

A few scenes later, Green Day is playing a concert from a raft anchored just offshore at the lake. At the end of a song (catchy lyrics: Da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da,), lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong (voiced by himself) says something like, "We've been playing for 3 1/2 hours now and we'd like to say something about the environment." They're booed and hissed and "shut up and sing"-ed into oblivion.

Are Matt Groening and James Brooks lampooning the silliness of Greenies, or expressing concern about society's failure to hear their warnings of imminent doom? I think the former, but who cares? We're having too much fun, far too much fun, to bother.

It's the same with Christianity. Groening's and Brooks' portrayal of the Christian neighbor Flanders has rubbed me the wrong way more than once, which is part of the reason for the good taste ban of the show in our home. But is the movie's scene of Grandpa's bout of tongues in church a lampoon of faith ... or a more subtle poke at the faithful for not recognizing religion when they see it?

(There's a hugely funny bit late in the film, when all is going to H-E-double toothpicks in a handbasket. The church and Moe's bar are next door to each other, and when some particularly bad news comes in, the doors to both establishments fling open and all the barflies race to the church for salvation and all the churchgoers race to the bar for a strong one ... make that a double.)

We left laughing, having enjoyed a good yarn well told, lots of laughs and the kind of bad taste that's not that bad at all. So, highly recommended.

Now, on to a longer vacation. We'll now be vacationing through Wednesday morning so I can pick up a client meeting here in the desert Wednesday afternoon. No one complained when I suggested the option of staying two more days.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Yet Another Schumer Bratty Meltdown

Chuck Schumer (shown here saying, "There's nothing up here!") has been working hard to become my least favorite Senator. He should have had the dishonor nailed down by now ... it's just that the competition's so tough.

Yesterday's crybaby pout by Chuckie just about sealed the deal. As reported by Politico:
New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”

“We should reverse the presumption of confirmation,” Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. “The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.”
Schumer presumes to re-read the Constitution because a slim and iffy one-vote conservative majority is "dangerously out of balance."

If his hissy-policy were to become the policy of the land, attrition would gradually lead us to a one-vote majority again -- the one vote of the last surviving Supreme Court Justice. Then, no Supreme Court at all.

The Constitution recognizes the president's right to nominate Supreme Court justices and the Senate's right to "confirm." Schumer, in the words of White House spokesperson Dana Perino, is showing "a tremendous disrespect for the Constitution" by suggesting that the Senate not confirm nominees. Politico continues the quote:

"This is the kind of blind obstruction that people have come to expect from Sen. Schumer. He has an alarming habit of attacking people whose character and position make them unwilling or unable to respond. That is the sign of a bully. If the past is any indication, I would bet that we would see a Democratic senatorial fundraising appeal in the next few days."
Naming Supreme Court justices is the juiciest fruit the president gets in return for being elected, juicier by far than Air Force One and bands playing Hail to the Chief at every turn. It's a hard-earned gift bestowed by the Constitution, and Schumer would do well to think twice before shooting off his big mouth.

The day will come, and unfortunately it may not be too far away, when there is a Dem president and a GOP Senate.

Labels: ,

Global Warming: Garbage In, Garbage Out

In the foreground of this photo is a temperature monitoring station in Arizona, one of thousands of such stations that dump their data into the Great Global Warming Machine to show how dire our state has become.

What's that all around it? Asphalt. That stuff gets pretty hot in Arizona!

What's that in the background? The backsides, i.e., hot sides, of huge air conditioning units. Those things hardly ever turn off in Arizona!

Do you suppose the findings from this particular temperature monitoring site might be running a bit hotter than rigorous scientific protocols would allow? If your answer is yes, you're right.

John Brignell at Numberwatch picks up a quote from the late John Daly warning about weather stations like this:
The only way surface data can be used with any confidence is to exclude all town/city and airport data - no exceptions. Only rural sites should be used, and by `rural’ is meant strictly `greenfields’ sites where there is no urbanisation of any kind near the instrument. Even when greenfields stations are used, those which are technically supervised (eg. managed by scientists, marine authorities, the military etc.)should be treated with greater credibility than those from sheep stations, post offices and remote motels.
Perhaps the photo is an extreme example, perhaps not; in any case, the global warming establishment is being extremely cavalier about setting standards for data collection if it's allowing any data from any such sites into its databases -- and it is. Brignell shows the effect of the sloppiness of global warming data collection by showing us two charts. I'll reverse his order, because it's more impactful this way.

First, here's the data from global groundstations that monitor warming:

This is the Global Warming Bible reduced to charts. Things progress similarly on land and sea (i.e., the decks of boats, on metal, probably near some exhaust vent) -- cool until the middle of the 20th century and then raising dramatically.

Such charts demand that we ban coal, shred Hummers and dial back our quality of life. But are these reasonable demands? To answer the question, here's Brignell's second chart, this one compiling weather data from satellites:
As the caption says, "The Southern Hemisphere is the same temperature as it was 28 years ago, the Northern Hemisphere has warmed slightly."

The difference?

Simple. Satellites are built by rocket scientists while global warming is conceptualized by various advocate-scientists who care less about the calibration and accuracy of their equipment. You can't re-calibrate something that's traveling at 20,000 miles an hour a couple hundred miles overhead, so you do it right to begin with.

So, who are you going to believe? Brignell considers all this and concludes that global warming is indeed caused by humans -- sloppy humans who don't follow proper procedures and therefore work with sloppy data and get unbelievable results.

hat-tip: Greenie Watch

Labels: ,

Perhaps We Should Dunk The Administrators In The Toilet

Do not, not ever, trust the education of our children to those who run our schools and universities. They are, by and large, incapable of standing up for what's right and difficult, opting always for what's wrong and easy.

Case in point: Two Qurans were found stuffed in toilets at Pace University in NY recently. A suspect has been charged with a hate crime (where's the ACLU; is this not free speech?), and -- here's the big rub -- school administrators have been sucker-punched by Muslim student groups and now are offering sensitivity training for students.

Students: It's OK to declare jihad against entire civilizations. It's OK to behead homosexuals and stone or whip adulterers. It's OK to wage infitada targeting innocents. It's OK to fly airplanes into buildings. It's OK to call people infidels or the devil. It's OK to burn American flags (there are 69,900 hits at Google images for "Muslim burn flag"). But it is not OK to treat a book badly.

The lesson our kids will take away from this "sensitivity training" is that we Westerners are the insensitive ones, that we are the mistake-makers, that we are the uncaring ones -- and nothing could be further from the objective truth.

I'm all for educating about religion and civilization and what one finds offensive about the other, but let's make it a balanced curriculum. Let's be sure to spend some considerable time teaching the students about Islamic hate, hate that is nicely captured in this collage:

Hat-tip: memorandum. Collage: DanzFamily

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 27, 2007

Correlation Quest!

This just in from the Department of Blurred Vision at NASA: Space scientists have found a strong correlation between this headline ...

... and this one:

Labels: ,

What Is A Domestic Phone Call?

Congressional Dems on intelligence committees were briefed on the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program since its inception and didn't raise a peep until the NYT ran classified information on the program, in a serious national security breach.

Suddenly these hypocritical Dems were opposed to the program they knew so well, because it involved "domestic" "wiretaps."

Of course, "wiretap" is a misnomer. NSA was electronically monitoring masses of transmissions for key words, not planting mikes in apartments.

It turns out "domestic" is also a misnomer. I believed this from the beginning, but had no idea how big a misnomer it is until I read today's WSJ editorial on it:

This has turned out to be an enormous mistake that has unilaterally disarmed one of our best intelligence weapons in the war on terror. To understand why, keep in mind that we live in a world of fiber optics and packet-switching. A wiretap today doesn't mean the FBI must install a bug on Abdul Terrorist's phone in Peshawar. Information now follows the path of least resistance, wherever that may lead. And because the U.S. has among the world's most efficient networks, hundreds of millions of foreign calls are routed through the U.S.

That's right: If an al Qaeda operative in Quetta calls a fellow jihadi in Peshawar, that call may well travel through a U.S. network. This ought to be a big U.S. advantage in our "asymmetrical" conflict with terrorists. But it also means that, for the purposes of FISA, a foreign call that is routed through U.S. networks becomes a domestic call.
Only someone idiotic enough to cling to extreme liberal views of privacy would consider trolling through such calls to be domestic spying.

And there are 11 FISA judges just that idiotic, who routinely demand documentation and sloooow procedures before approving FISA operations.

WSJ continues:
Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell more or less admitted the problem last week, albeit obliquely, when he told the Senate that "We're actually missing a significant portion of what we should be getting." That's understating things. Our sources say the surveillance program is now at most one-third as effective as it once was.
Does anyone believe the 11 idiot FISA judges, the Congressional Dems and the braying Left are raising all these objections to TSP because they're concerned about the rights of Mohammed in Peshawar? Of course not! It's all just a way to get Bush -- even if the cost is our security.


Labels: , ,

New Republic: Liberal With The Facts

I haven't been along for the ride on the Scott Thomas (now Beauchamp), New Republic, Franklin Foer, Weekly Standard battle that's been raging, but vacations can change things so I've been keeping up -- and it was worth it because today New Republic editor Franklin Foer tells all (ha!) to WaPo's media columnist, Howard Kurtz.

And it's ugly. Ugly. Ugly.

LGF honed in
right away on the wart-on-the-nose ugliness:

And then we have this statement.

The magazine’s editor, Franklin Foer, disclosed in an interview that Beauchamp is married to a New Republic staffer, and that is “part of the reason why we found him to be a credible writer.”

Wow. Oblivious to the ethical problems, or just saying anything to divert attention? You decide.

To not disclose that Beauchamp is married to a TNR staffer is an ethical breach you could walk the Israelites through, but there's an even worse breach revealed nonchallantly in Kurtz' column:
Foer said the magazine is attempting to confirm every detail. "We are trying to be as deliberate and meticulous as we possibly can," he said. "We're not going to be rushed into making any sort of snap judgment."
Let's turn this around. Let's say someone at Fox ... Ollie North, for example ... reported from Iraq that Irianian troops were playing with the skulls of children, running over dogs and mocking war-injured Iraqis while cruising around Baghdad. After the expected cries of outrage and challenges to Ollie's journalistic integrity, a Fox editor says Fox is trying to confirm the details of the story they've already broadcast.

Normally fact-checking comes first, unless of course you're already denying your readers certain facts ... like your independent soldier columnist is married to a staffer who's gleefully covered the Dems' Congressional victory and ridiculed celebs who support the war.

This is all standard operating procedure for the Libs. While they distrust everything the establishment has to say, they feel no particular need or obligation to be trustworthy in what they say. Throw it out; see if it sticks -- that's liberal journalism and leftist activism in a nutshell.

And of course the shame is on the right for demanding documentation -- "It is really unfortunate that someone like Scott, who was really only trying to tell his particular story, has become a pawn in the debate over the war and the Weekly Standard's efforts to press an ideological agenda," Foer told Kurtz -- not on the left, for not providing it.

Labels: ,

Watcher's Winners

It was heartwarming to see that so many other connoisseurs of fine blogging also found what they were looking for in Right Wing Nuthouses' Little Noted But Long Remembered marking the anniversary of the moon landing. Mnay joined me in voting it #1 for this week's Watcher's Council judging because of passages like this:

In 10,000 years, no one will remember Nancy Pelosi. No one will remember George Bush either. They may rate a line or two in some obscure scholar’s dissertation on primitive nation-state politics but I doubt it. History will lose track of them as she forgets so many others. Clio is really quite selective about what people and events are clasped to her bosom and carried through the centuries to be examined and debated by those in the future whose calling is to explain the past to their contemporaries.

The millions of words spoken and written in anger or passion or to persuade others over Iraq these last years will have completely disappeared, are already disappearing as the relentless march of time burns away all but the most influential or seminal of events and people. What’s left is in turn ground to powder and the remainder sifted through the ages until the essence of an entire century or more will be distilled for consumption.

This doesn’t make what’s happening today any less important. But it does give us a sobering perspective on how, in the long, tangled skein of people, events, and ideas that make up the history of the last 100 years – the wars, the ideology, the clashes of civilization and wills, – almost all of it will be seen as nothing more than sound and fury signifying nothing if it is remembered at all.

Except for the moon landing, of course.

Second place was a tie: my piece, Russia Vs. The US: No Contest and The Colossus Of Rhodey's piece on educators gone wild, Boy, Was Thomas Right.

There was similar agreement on on Non-Council side, with a piece from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's blog, ON THE FRONTLINE / Cpl. JOHN MATTHEW BISHOP: In the Shadows of Fallen Comrades, trouncing the competition. I liked this piece so much I posted about it here.

Second place went to Don Surber's Name That Party: Investigators.

See all the winners here.

As always, thanks, Watcher,


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gonzales Derangement Syndrome

My senator, Dianne Feinstein, she who has never addressed her husband's profiteering from her Senate seat, said today Alberto Gonzales "should be held to the highest ethical standards" and called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate whether Gonzales perjured himself in Congressional testimony about the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP).

Three other Dem Sens joined her: Charles Schumer, Russ Feingold and Sheldon Whitehouse.

In reporting the story, despite mounds of criticism about its careless reporting on the subject, AP continues to mis-report, saying "the terrorist surveillance program, which allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on suspects in the United States without receiving prior court approval." Of course it did not; it was a program of intercepting foreign communications, not domestic.

That's not terribly relevant to the call for a special prosecutor, but it is extremely relevant to the greater story of the Dems' Gonzales Derangement Syndrome. The parallels with Condi Rice are just amazing. Both are minorities. Both came from working class beginnings. Both worked their way up, realizing the American dream and stand as an example to young blacks and Hispanics of what can be accomplished in this great, remarkably unracist country.

But since they grew up to become conservatives, the Dems must attack them, destroy their reputations and drag their example through the mud -- even if it shatters the American dream for thousands of youngsters and even if it is jeopardizes national security.

Gonzales appears to be deeply trusted by GWB, but does not appear to be a particularly savvy lawyer or competent administrator. Still, let's look at the bare bones of this case:
  • TSP had opponents and defenders, and underwent a vigorous internal debate, after which the defenders prevailed,
  • Warrantless "wiretaps" were only used when matters were so time-sensitive that normal procedures could not be followed; there is no evidence that time sensitivity was ever wrongly used as an excuse to cover questionable probes,
  • The courts issued a gray-area illegality finding and suggested easy remedies; while a defeat for Bush and Gonzales, the decision was hardly a finding of black and white evil-doing by the administration;
  • The Dem position ultimately prevailed, even though it probably weakened our intelligence gathering capabilities.
All in all, a victory for the Dems -- but they can't let it rest because they can't recognize victory unless a body is broken and bleeding at their feet; in this case, Gonzales' body.

Their new attack, like the Scooter Libby conviction, is on ribbon-thin grounds, and like their earlier TSP victory, threatens to further weaken our security.

It boils down to Gonzales' testimony vs. the facts at the time, but there's disagreement over what the testimony covered. The Dem Sens say it was about TSP; Gonzales says it was about another program he cannot discuss publicly.

The Dem Sens could have clarified all this during the AG's testimony this week -- he offered to describe in closed session the program he said he was talking about, but they refused. They refused because it could have closed the door on this latest quest for blood.

Rather than seek the easy answer, the Dem Sens want a multi-million dollar special investigation into the AG -- a perfect ploy because it will so hobble the Justice Department that they're assured Gonzales will not be able to accomplish anything positive before the next election. No wonder they weren't interested in learning what program Gonzales was talking about.

Worse, there's the program Gonzales was talking about. Whatever it is, it's top secret and still functioning despite the Dem attacks on TSP. Last week, its existence was unknown to the public. Now the combination of Dem pushing and Gonzales ineptitude as a witness has made the public aware that some program we don't know about exists.

A program we don't know about is a vacuum the media wants at all cost -- including national security costs -- to fill. That means NYT, WaPo, AP and other reporters are hounding their leaky sources looking for someone, anyone, who will spill the beans.

I give it less than a week before we see this program splashed over the front page of one of the majors, no matter what its revealing will do to diminish our security or put at risk our agents in the field -- the agents the media was all concerned about when it was Plame's outing that supposedly put them in jeopardy. Oblivious to this, the Dems will strive to paint the program as illegal, even if it's not, and even if doing so brings it more out into the open, because they have proven they can only put themselves first, never national security.

The Left's desire to trounce Bush and any minorities that align with him is about to damage our country once again. Bush should squelch this phony investigation. If it moves forward, Gonzales should resign in order to do whatever he can to protect the top secret program his testimony has now jeopardized.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pretending At War

Here's how Corporal John Matthew Bishop concludes an essay that is very, very deserving of your attention. The Daniel he mentions is his boot camp friend who felt predestined to die in Iraq, and was in fact killed there.
[R]egardless of what determination America reaches concerning the fate of Iraq, I urge her, so long as she exists, never to enter another war unless she goes to win. Should she ask her sons and daughters to take up arms, may she honor their sacrifices with the unflagging conviction and strength of conscience that are necessary to achieve victory. And if she cannot stomach the stakes involved, if the sacrifices of young men such as Daniel do not bolster her resolve but merely plunge her deeper into moral confusion and hysteria, may she, for her own good and for the good of the world, cease pretending at war altogether.
This is from a 25 year-old Corporal mind you, not a 45 year-old Colonel. Those who ridicule the American soldier, calling him a rube for falling for the trap of patriotism and war, could scarcely write a more powerful and wise essay.

Labels: ,

Lots New At Japan Trip

Incredible Daughter #1 has left Tokyo, checked into a fantastically modern hotel in Kyoto and visited a matsuri (religious festival) in Osaka. Plus, Aren re-sized all the photos so a chronic problem with losing the right edge of some of them sometimes is now ancient history.

So if you're interested, check in to Japan Trip. Here's ID#1 with a few young guys at the matsuri whose traditional garb clashes a bit with her somewhat questionable clothing selection. ("These guys were very excited to get their picture with us." Wonder why?)

What Does God Think Of Islam's War Against Us?

There's a spirited cosmic debate going on over at Bookworm Room, where Book's on vacation and Don Quixote stepped in to ask a provocative question:
What do you think God thinks about the holy war declared on His people by the Islamist extremists and His people’s reactions to it?
Here's my response; you'll find over 20 other responses there from a variety of religious viewpoints, and it's fascinating reading so be sure to click here and go there.
As usual, some of the most intelligent “comment-ary” on the Web is in Bookworm’s room.

I’m a solid and firm Christian believer raised in a very multicultural environment — Dad’s overseas postings, including an Islamic country (Turkey) and a Buddhist one (Japan). Buddhism sucked in my mom and brother, but after a lot of wandering, I came back to Christianity.

Back to Don Q’s original question, since there’s been a lot of meandering above: What do you think He thinks about the holy war declared on His people by the Islamist extremists and His people’s reactions to it? So, with the usual “we’ll never know His will” disclaimers:

“His people” are, as far as we know, only the Jews. Christians may be His people, but if they are, He hasn’t said so in so many words. This conflict is no different from earlier conflicts between the Jews and the Egyptians, the Jews and the Babylonians, the Jews and the worshippers of Baal, so we have a pretty good biblical record of what God’s view would be: He would expect and want Jews to stand up for the faith of their fathers, for the land God promised them and gave them, and fight with holy fervor to protect Israel and Judaism from Islam.

He would likely have been pleased with the early results of this battle, but like the Israelites in the wilderness, the Israelites of today have forgotten the miracles the Father performed, the promises he made, the faith of their fathers, and it showed in the languid, inept war of the summer of 2006. Did that make God unhappy? Probably not, because he saw it coming, right? Did it make him happy? Probably not. His mode is to let us follow our free will, get weak, have to fight, and get strong. He’s taking the long view.

I pray often and hard about the war with Islam. It is something I see no end to, a perfect storm that will blow and blow and blow some more. God obviously doesn’t see it as we do, and we need someone to lead us who understands what God means by all this, and leads accordingly.

Christianity has understood its Jewish roots well over the years and has risen up to defend the Holy Land and Judeo-Christian values many times in the past. Colonial America saw America as a biblical allegory: Europe was Egypt, America was the Holy Land, we were God’s new children with a weighty moral responsibility. God certainly blessed that vision of what America was, but now we have weakened with time, and so has (or will) His blessing.

If the raise of Islamism and its declaration of jihad against us is meant by God to be our wilderness, our testing to make us strong, it is a savage wilderness and a good test. We will not prevail by multiculturalism, which God refers to as “putting other gods before Me.” We will not prevail by weakness or concession. In times like this, God asks us to prevail by thoroughly and completely whupping the butts of our opponents.

So, if that’s the case, God’s probably not smiling about where we are at this point in time … but since He doesn’t live in time, He may be smiling anyway.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday (Vacation) Reading

Watcher has posted this week's nominees by the Watcher's Council, and for once I've got time to lounge and read. Hope you do too, because it looks like a stellar list of great reads.

Do be sure to click on my non-Council nominee, Guns and Brains, from The New Yorker's blog. I used to read The New Yorker avidly, but left it as I left the Democratic party. This post is a good one, though.

Council links:

  1. Discussing What Next in Iraq
    The Glittering Eye
  2. False Posturing in Congress
    Bookworm Room
  3. Prisoners to Prisoner Releases
    Soccer Dad
  4. Palestinian Terrorists' Release -- Rattlesnake Logic
  5. Snark vs. Smart 2
    Done With Mirrors
  6. Boy, Was Thomas Right
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  7. Virginia's Clown Princes: Governor Tim Kaine & Co.
    The Education Wonks
  8. Max Boot to Kissinger -- “Iraq Isn't Vietnam, Henry”
    ‘Okie’ on the Lam
  9. The Limits of Student Speech and School Authority
    Rhymes With Right
  10. Russia Vs. The US: No Contest
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  11. Little Noted But Long Remembered
    Right Wing Nut House
  12. Dubai Ports Weird
    Big Lizards
Non-council links:
  1. Meanwhile, in the Real World.
  2. (Updated) Foer: "Shock Troops" Just Practical Jokers
    The Weekly Standard
  3. The Night Mitch McConnell Became the Leader of the Republican Party.
    Hugh Hewitt
  4. General David Petraeus on the Conditions on the Ground in Iraq
    Hugh Hewitt (2)
  5. ON THE FRONTLINE / Cpl. JOHN MATTHEW BISHOP: In the Shadows of Fallen Comrades
    The Atlanta Journal COnstitution
  6. Does Biden Really Have the Better Shine?
  7. The Brahmins of Labor
    Captain's Quarters
  8. The 9/11 Generation
    The Weekly Standard (2)
  9. Name That Party: Investigators
    Don Surber
  10. Guns and Brains
    The New Yorker
  11. Starting the Hidden Hero Charity Drive!
    Ace of Spades HQ
  12. Watching the Debate Would Not Have Helped My Mental Health
    Classical Values
  13. Defence Against the Dark Arts
    The Possum Bistro
  14. Harry Potter and the Megan McArdle Article
Winners will be posted Friday morning. As always, thanks, Watcher!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gay Water And Other Japanese Adventures

Incredible Daughter #1 continues to post interesting commentary and great photos on her Japan Trip blog -- like this photo of some gay water (note the "Life Partner" logo) they bought on one of their outings.

She and her boyfriend Aren have sharp eyes for catching the funny and the beautiful, so it's a fun romp through the blog.

Interestingly, the photo they posted of a boob pillow is now gone, both from their blog and mine. Photo Bucket pulled it, replacing it with a rude red-slashed circle and a grim warning that we violated their policies.

A plastic pillow with a couple nipples is crude, but it's more a commentary on society than an obscenity. Still, kudos to Photo Bucket for at least having policies instead of letting anything go.

p.s.: The four light blue characters at the bottom of each post are ko-me-n-to, or comment. Be sure to click and leave them with a thought or two.

Update: Did Pagan Rain Magic Work?

A week ago, I posted a humorous (I thought) piece about promoters of The Simpsons Movie drawing a huge underwear-clad Homer next to England's Cerne Abbas giant, a similarly huge (with an anatomically correct erection) chalk carving.

The post included this:
Pagans have pledged to perform "rain magic" to wash away cartoon character Homer Simpson after he was painted next to their famous fertility symbol - the Cerne Abbas giant. (Sky News)
Today, this:
NEWBRIDGE, England - Swollen rivers crested Tuesday across western England, as emergency crews struggled to restore electricity and clean water, and residents piled sandbags against doors to keep floodwaters from their homes. (AP)

Do we score one for the Pagans? Do we blame climate change -- cold weather and floods in England, heat waves in Europe, it's all climate change -- for the floods and leave the Pagans out? Or do we just laugh along with God's good sense of humor?


Quote Of The Day: Gone From The Shores Of Tripoli Edition

"You know that hope dies last. We always had hope, although we were quite skeptical and were afraid to say it." -- Kristiana Valcheva

When exactly did Muammar Gaddafi stop being an International Man of Insanity and become someone the civilized world is eager to do business with?

There's only one answer to that question, and it's not "when he gave up his nuclear program." It's "He hasn't."

Take today's news of the release (finally!) of the five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian/Bulgarian doctor Gaddafi held for eight years on phony charges that they deliberately gave AIDS to 438 Libyan children. It certainly is not evidence of a sane Libyan leader. It is, rather, evidence that Gaddafi has completed his diabolical plot successfully:
  • He covered up the shameful condition he had allowed his nation's health care system to fall into because, frankly, he is a despotic egomaniac and could care less about "his people"
  • He drummed up anti-western hatred and distrust among Libyans, many of whom apparently bought the insanely implausible story of the deliberate infections
  • He blackmailed some nation or nations into giving him nearly half a billion dollars to secure the Bulgarians' release, and
  • He feathered his nest in the process.
All in all, not bad. The only price paid was six innocent people scandalized and held unjustly for eight years ... and of course, 438 kids with AIDS.

Not that it mattered to Gaddafi, but the kids had AIDS before the Bulgarians ever got close to them, since Libyan doctors were still re-using needles long after most of the world had stopped. Gaddafi could have cared less because disposable needles would have cut into his disposable income.

Gaddafi couldn't tell the Libyan people the truth, and certainly no Libyan news outlet would cover the story. But still, he needed scapegoats, and he found them in well-meaning, good-hearted foreign health workers, who served well the dual purpose of creating a false enemy to deflect blame from Gaddafi and his useless government. That they helped flame Islamist paranoia and hatred only gilded the deal.

No EU nation will cop to paying off Gaddafi for the Bulgarians' freedom, but it's clear some deal was brokered through Qatar that involved something the Libyans are bragging to be $1 million for each of the infected kids, or half a billion dollars.

Here are the relevant quotes:
Mr Sarkozy [who, with his wife Cecelia, was instrumental in driving the release forward, fulfilling a campaign promise] and the EU denied making any financial payment to secure the medics' release.

However, the families of the 438 infected children reportedly agreed last week to a compensation deal worth $1m (£500,000) per child ....

Libya's foreign minister said both the EU and France had contributed to the fund, AFP reported. (BBC)
Sarkozy "very warmly" thanked Qatar for its role in the early release of the prisoners but did not elaborate.

In response to a question about whether money had been paid to Libya for the release, Sarkozy said he wished to thank authorities of Qatar for their "mediation and their humanitarian intervention."

"It's up to them to say if they have anything to say on the subject" of their exact role, he said. (Daily Mail)
So that covers everything but the "feathering his nest" bit. That's easy enough ... follow the money. The $1 million per kid will be channeled through the Gaddafi Foundation, a "charity" run by Seif al-Islam, Gaddafi's son. Care to venture how much the kids will get?

So Gaddafi has further cemented his reputation as Islam's answer to Dr. Evil, capable of blackmailing the world in his sinister schemes. And in the process, he's sealed the EU's role of patsy, unable to deal with Islamic terror states. Now that Gaddafi has released his political prisoners, the EU is excited about trading with the terror state again ... one more reward for the bullying brat in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, the French focus their negativity not on the truly unrepentant evil of Gaddafi, but on Sarkozy. The rap? The "enlightened" French are angry that Cecelia Sarkozy stepped out of the traditional role of quiet first lady and was actively involved in brokering the Bulgarians' freedom.

Would they have been so offended is Socialist Segolene Royal had won and sent her long-time partner and father of their three (illegitimate) children, Francois Royale, to broker the deal?

Trick question. Royal wouldn't have done anything.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 23, 2007

Maybe Wonkette Will Slap Me With A Lawsuit

It seems Wonkette, the popular, foul Leftyblog, has become quite openly antisemitic, dropping all pretense of typical leftist cover-up of the movement's anti-Israel and increasingly Jew-hostile thinking. Here's its lead on a post a couple days back authored by Alex Pareen:
In a stunning rocket, Rudy Jew-liani basically admitted that he doesn’t know anything at all about foreign policy — or maybe that he knows too much. In an interview with the Jew York Times ...
That's enough; I won't bother you with the rest of the blathering drivel.

Hold up your hand if you think there's a defense that could be raised for Pareen. Anyone think the use of "Jew-liani" and "Jew York Times" somehow isn't blatantly and unquestionably indicative of antisemitic thinking? Anyone? Anyone?

Seeing none, I would rest my case, except Pareen refuses to do so.

Yisrael at the blog called My Right Word spotted this and posted on it yesterday. Here's that post in its entirety:
Is "Wonkette" Antisemitic?

Wonkette, that foul-mouthed but titilating blogger of Washington foibles, seems to have gone anti-semitic.

Editor Alex Pareene and Interns Nick Mueller and Lauren Spohrer may be responsibl;e for this post which refers to someone they call "Rudy-Jew-liani" who gave an interview to the "Jew York Times".

Anybody for bonking Wonkette?
A fine example of free speech, right? Yisrael found something interesting in the public forum and posted his thoughts about it in a way far more respectful than the typical "Kill Bush!" "Kill Cheney" rhetoric of the Left.

Again, I would rest my case, but Pareen refuses to. Wonkette, this time in the person of a Ken Layne, contacted Yisrael and threatened to litigate:
You know, it's kind of poor manners to go accusing people of being antisemitic based on nothing more than you being too lazy to read the site and know any of the references.

But since you don't, and since you so thoughtlessly and wantonly libel our editors and the owners and stockholders of our company, I will direct you to the specific reference from the day before, which just happens to be a viral video on YouTube that everybody in politics is talking about:

Wonkette Post

You can go ahead and apologize on your site now. Send us the link when you do and I'll send that to our lawyers and that will be the end of that.
Can you believe it? The left is so spineless, so thin-skinned, so easily affronted that merely asking the question, "Is 'Wonkette' Antisemitic?" is grounds for litigation! What a bunch of losers ... of fascists ... of censoring-mad, hypocritical lunatics. There, that should be enough for me to get a letter from Layne as well.

Go ahead, Kenny boy, give me your best shot ... and let's see if you can hold true to your "liberal" ideals as you do. Betcha can't.

Interesting enough, despite the attention the post is getting and the "up yours" response Yisrael sent back to Layne, Wonkette hasn't removed or changed the post. They're proud of their* cute little wordplay, just like Hitler probably liked the design of those nice armbands he had designed for all the Jews.

* Wonkette likes "Jew-liani" a lot, but didn't come up with it; it's in the non-Wonkette YouTube clip Layne referenced in his response. The clip does not, however, mention the "Jew York Times," and Wonkette mentioned both in a new, second post, because they thought them cute, not reprehensible.

hat-tip: Flopping Aces

Labels: , ,

Holy Shi'ite! Wild Sex In Iran!

The American-Israeli Patriot, who scans the media for Middle East news like nobody's businesses, found this delightful tale out of Iran:
Tehran, 23 July (AKI) - A total 125 people have been arrested in the northeast Iranian city of Mashhad, one of the holiest Shiite shrines, according to police.

The 67 men and 58 women were arrested for committing 'sex crimes', a spokesman for Mashhad police said without elaborating.

Many thousands of Shiite pilgrims head to Mashhad each year to visit the Imam Reza's mausoleum.

Shiite Muslims believe that Imam Reza was the eighth successor to the Prophet Mohammad. Reza was allegedly poisoned in 818 while travelling through Mashhad.
That ankle-flashing will land you in the slammer every time!

Labels: ,

Ecos Chilly On Gore's Chilean Seabass Choice

Between the white rhino pate course and the bald eagle fricassee with wild rice ...
Al Gore, the world's most high profile green campaigner, was at the centre of an embarrassing row yesterday after the serving of a rare fish at his daughter's Beverly Hills wedding.

Just one week after Live Earth, his global musical spectacular [flop] to raise awareness of environmental issues, the former vice-president attended a rehearsal dinner for his daughter's marriage that featured Chilean sea bass. Sarah Gore, 28, a medical student, was married to the Los Angeles businessman Bill Lee at the Beverly Hills Hotel on July 14.

The night before the wedding, People magazine reported, the Gores were at a dinner for 75 at the nearby Crustacean restaurant where a six-course tasting menu included Chilean sea bass - also known as Patagonian toothfish.

The reaction was swift: writing in in the Australian Daily Telegraph, Rebecca Keeble of Humane Society International, a conservation pressure group, complained of the danger to the species from "from illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities".

She noted that "more than 50 per cent of toothfish traded is illegally caught, and includes juveniles vital to the ongoing toothfish population". She called on the US government to help crack down on illegal fishing by sanctioning Spain for allowing its nationals to fish illegally for the species in conservation areas.

And in the meantime, she acidly suggested, "Al Gore could choose something else to eat". Her attack on the former vice-president, and his implied hypocrisy, were rapidly picked up by bloggers around the world. (The Telegraph)

Well, not rapidly picked up by this particular vacationing blogger, but I pass it along nonetheless.

I would like the goods on that wedding ... I bet its carbon footprint was massive, but Al's not really one of us, you know. He's one of the ones that knows what's right for us, even though it's not right for him.

Labels: , ,

Come Into My Casita

We got a wonderful deal on a private suite at the La Quinta Resort, with a fenced yard that offers up a spectacular view of the touch-them close Santa Rosa Mountains.

The yard has plenty of room for the pups (that's Pepper) and the casita's expansive shaded porches create a great lazy spot for a summer day.

I was first up this a.m. (as usual) and took the dogs for a walk. Here's one photo from that trek:

And another:

Obama Plays Race Card; Hillary Bluffs

July 2007, 16 months before the election, and Barack Obama has perhaps set a record: The earliest use of the race card in a presidential campaign. Hillary tried to play it, too, but as usual, she couldn't figure her bet and tried to bluff it.

It all happened at the National Council of La Raza convention, as reported by the Washington Times (neither the NYT or WaPo chose to cover the story).

Speaking to a group whose name means "The Race" for cryin' out loud, Obama said the recent Congressional debate on immigration reform was "both ugly and racist in a way we haven't see since the struggle for civil rights."

Was it? Here I thought it was about protecting the economy, increasing our security, and fixing a system everyone agrees is a mess.

Hillary sort of chimed in with Obama, saying she was offended by some of the tone of the debate, but she basically blamed the whole thing on "a poor economy" under President Bush (!).

Hillary summed it up in her typical style, telling a questioner that no, she wouldn't pledge to pass immigration reform in her first term, but would do her best. Mrs. Middle Ground.

Obama had no such quibbles; the immigration debate was about racism and he would "walk the walk," promising "in my first term we will make this a priority and get this done."

The "this" that he will get done is nothing short of amnesty for illegals and a strong move toward open borders, which is the position of La Raza:
NCLR supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes the following principles: 1) a path to citizenship for the current undocumented population; 2) the creation of new legal channels for future immigrant workers; 3) a reduction of family immigration backlogs; and 4) the protection of civil rights and civil liberties.
Unspun, the four points are: 1) amnesty, 2) open borders, 3) anchor babies' families become citizens and 4) "super rights" for non-citizen Latinos.

This is the agenda Obama is adopting as his own ... at least when addressing La Raza. Let's see what he sounds like back in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Iran's New Hostages

Mark Steyn asks us today:
How do you feel about the American hostages in Iran?

No, not the guys back in the Seventies, the ones being held right now.

What? You haven't heard about them?
Now, I'm pretty plugged in most of the time and am rarely caught hearing news I haven't at least whiffed before. I have heard of Haleh Esfandiari, one of the hostages Steyn mentioned, but not "an American peace activist from Irvine, Ali Shakeri."

Irvine is about 30 feet from my office window in Laguna Hills. Many of my clients are headquartered in Irvine. I read the OC Register and LA Times pretty regularly, although not daily any more, so I'm pretty aware of stuff relevant to Irvine.

Yet I had never heard of Ali Shakeri.

President Bush has, and has called for his release, along with the more famous Esfandiari, but the language is muted and respectful, as seen in this quote from National Security Advisor Steven Hadley:
"It does not help the environment, it does not really advance the interests of the Iranian people, and it underscores the character of this regime, and it underscores the problem we have for those people who say, 'Well, why don't you talk to Iran?' It is a good reminder at how difficult this regime is, and of the kinds of policies it's pursuing."
That's hardly "return our citizens or face our wrath" stuff, and because we, like the Brits when Iran held their sailors, are not making a big deal of this latest round of Iranian thuggery, Nexis, which spans the global media, came up with just 383 hits on Shakiri. That's a very modest amount for a story of this scope, especially because Nexis always has duplicative hits and lots of near hits that are off-topic.

Nonetheless, thanks to Nexis I've got a pretty clear picture of what's going on here. First, from a June 1, 2007 OCR report:
Irvine businessman Ali Shakeri is being held at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, State Department officials said Thursday, and likely will become the fourth Iranian-American charged with espionage.

U.S. officials denied that Shakeri is a spy or is employed by the U.S. government.

"As with the other cases this is simply ridiculous," Casey said. "He has no standing with the U.S. government, he is not a U.S. government official, he is not operating or acting on behalf of the U.S. government. He is a private citizen."

Shakeri, a founding board member at UC Irvine's Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, flew to his mother's deathbed, according to family. He was supposed to leave Iran and fly to Europe on May 13 but never arrived at his destination. ...

Paula Garb, co-director of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, said ... Shakeri was steadfast in advocating a hands-off approach to Iran, and it's "ludicrous" to imagine he did anything to justify his detainment.

"This is a law-abiding human being who goes by the rules," Garb said. "He believes that no military or coercive actions will help U.S.-Iranian relations, but only dialogue and positive interaction. He always advocates peaceful approaches."
A peaceful man who believes in diplomacy, just visiting his sick mom. Contrast that with what Iran is saying about this, which I found on BBC International Monitoring via Nexis. (I can't link to it because Nexis is by subscription, and I can't find it on-line, so you'll just have to go with my pulled quotes.)

BBC International Monitoring is lifting here from an Iranian house organ, the student newspaper Keyhan from May 30 -- before the Shakeri story really broke in the states. This is stuff right from the mouth of the Iranian government, since Keyhan parrots the radical rhetoric of the state:
While the American media have stepped up their propaganda campaign to save the velvet agents of the soft subversion project from legal prosecution in Iran, unofficial reports indicate that another CIA agent under the name of a member of the Union of Republicans [Ettehad-e Jomhurikhahan] has been arrested in Iran as well.

Despite the direct confrontation of two major American newspapers (Washington Post and New York Times) with Keyhan daily's well-reasoned revelations and their claims about the scientific and research activities of Haleh Esfandiyari and Kiyan Tajbakhsh in American universities, the third person arrested in connection with this case in Iran not only has never worked as a lecturer or researcher at any university so far, but also in his interviews with the media affiliated with opposition groups has officially supported the efforts to topple the Islamic Republic system and bring a [secular] system to power in Iran.

Ali Shakeri ... used to serve as an intelligence source for SAVAK [the state intelligence and security organization under the shah's regime] in the Confederacy of Students Abroad, and he would send his reports back to SAVAK through a person named Hasan Masali. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, this affiliate of the shah regime's intelligence and security organization came back to Iran from the United States and joined the Marxist terrorist groups. But later on, following the successive defeats that these organizations suffered in the political arena [What political areana? The Imprisoned and Tortured Party?] and also because they had absolutely no popular support base in the country, they urged Ali Shakeri, as well as many of the self-proclaimed leaders of opposition groups, to flee the country again.

In the United States of America, Shakeri aligned himself with the conceptual camp attributed to Ahmad Madani and from there he got into the first circle of subversive elements affiliated with America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Admiral General Madani, who was the minister of defense in Bazargan's interim government, after fleeing the country got millions of dollars from the CIA spy organization in order to establish and organize subversive opposition groups to overthrow the Islamic Republic government in Iran.

Jamshid Hashemi, a prominent CIA spy, in an interview in the mid 1370's [mid 1990's] with the anti-revolutionary weekly Nimruz Dar Landan [Midday in London] disclosed a small part of the sums that Madani had received for this purpose. Of course, the history of Madani's affiliation with the CIA, according to the documents discovered from the spy den [former US embassy in Tehran], goes back to the time before the Islamic Revolution's victory, and a biography of Ahmad Madani has also been published in the second volume of the book Hidden Half [Nime-ye Penhan] (Keyhan Publications, Shahrivar 1378) [August-September 1999].

Ali Shakeri's economic and security affiliation with the team of CIA spies was such that after the death of Ahmad Madani in Esfand 1384 [February or March 2006] he was put in charge of Madani's memorial services (!) in different states of America and he made many speeches praising this American spy and his struggles for freedom!

Shakeri's signature is seen at the bottom of many of the statements that the Zionist camp has released over the past 25 years against the Islamic Republic system of Iran.
Wow. That contrasts rather significantly with the picture we see of Shakeri in the OCR. Given the ineptness of CIA subversion in Iran, it's safe to say Keyhan is not only over-stating the case against Shakeri, but is setting up the story to cover the torture that has no doubt already occurred.

Iran is not a nation that can handle criticism. Shakeri, by the very act of leaving Iran after the fall of the Shah, has made his criticism of the mullah regime evident, so his return to the country was a high-risk proposition. Still, he's an American aligned with the American side against Iran, and he deserves a vigorous, high visibility and global effort to secure his release.

Labels: , ,