Monday, January 31, 2005

"Insurgents" No More

Roger Simon says the terrorists can no longer be called insurgents by the Old Media who witnessed history in Iraq on January 30, 2005.

In the wake of the Iraqi election, the use of the term "insurgents" by the mainstream media -- a conscious/unconscious attempt to cloak a rag-tag amalgamation of fascists, jihadists and common criminals in the romantic mantle of Pancho Villa -- should now be placed in the junk pile. "Insurgents," in most historical uses, has referred to groups trying to upset an illegitimate or semi-legitimate regime. That is no longer the case, if it ever was. It's time for the mainstream media to start calling the terrorists by their true names and ideological identities, such as they are. There is no justification any longer for the use of the euphemism "insurgents," unless you are writing pro-fascist propaganda.

Should I hold my breath though?

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Pessimist Word of the Day: Overhype

As you may have heard, the French-Looking JFK said we should not overhype today's historic Iraqi election.

Dan took umbrage, here, here, here, here and here.

More Finger blogging too.

Terrorists Get the Finger!

You gotta love this!

Election Day and Tears of Joy and Pride!

Chrenkoff also provides these letters that will tingle your spine and bring tears to your eyes.:

5:40pm From a sometime Chrenkoff correspondent, Haider Ajina:
"I just called my father in Baghdad to see if he and the rest of my Iraqi family over there have voted yet. He said we were all just heading out the door, but we will wait and talk to you (chuckling). I heard a strength and joy in his voice and could hear the rest of my relatives in the back ground. It sounded like a family reunion. My 84 year old Iraqi Grandmother will be voting for the first time in her life. My father (a naturalized U.S. Citizen) said we are all getting ready to go vote in a school near by. This school was just being built when I left Iraq in the late 70's. I know where it is and I can picture my father, uncles aunties and cousins along with the rest of the family walking through my old neighborhood to that school and vote. My father said 'For the first time in my life I voted in the U.S. and now I can vote in Iraq. We want our voices to count, we want to decide our future and we want the world to know we have a voice in our future and in our government, this will give the Iraqi government true legitimacy, just like in America'.

"I can now dream of the day when I can take my family to meet my extended family and the places were I played and grew up. They will also see what our men and women in our military fought for.

"To all the men and women who have served and serving in Iraq, to all the families of those who have paid the ultimate price to all those who have suffered during their service in Iraq, my family’s and my deepest thanks, gratitude and pride both from the U.S. and Iraq for all the sacrifices, endurance and service for our great country and Iraq and the Iraqis. God bless all of you and keep you safe."

And from a reader Brad Morgan:
"On December 1st my youngest son turned 21 as a US Marine on his second tour in Iraq. On New Year's day he lost both legs and the vision in his right eye to a land mine there.

"I won't pretend that he did this for the Iraqi people. He volunteered and sacrificed for America and its people.

"But a big part of this whole thing is also recognizing that we are protecting America and the entire world by bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq and its people, with the hope that this will also bring the same to the entire region.

"As a father, I am both devastated by my son's loss and the handicaps he will face for the rest of his life and I am incredibly proud of him for what he has done.

"My prayers go out to the people of Iraq and for your future. I want that future to be wonderful --for your own sake and because I don't want my son's sacrifice to have been in vain.

"My son's legs and blood will forever rest in Iraqi soil. I think that gives me the right to say a a few things."


Amen and Amen.

Election Day!

In Iraq, and what an historic day.

Chrenkoff has a fantastic round-up which will likely continue over the next several days (the election results are not officially announced for another 10 days).

Here are some observations plucked from his update:

10.05pm Brisbane time: and 3.05pm Baghdad time - not too long to go. The latest reports put the death toll at 28. There have been several suicide bombings (on foot, as cars are banned in vicinity of polling stations) and some mortar attacks - but overall, far from the bloodiest day of recent times (and far cry from Al Zarqawi's threats to make the streets run red with the blood of voters). Level of violence doesn't seem at the first glance to be significantly bigger than average.

Nice quote:
"Asked if reports of better-than-expected turnout in areas where Sunni and Shiite Muslims live together indicated that a Sunni cleric boycott effort had failed, one of the main groups pushing the boycott seemed subdued.

" 'The association’s call for a boycott of the election was not a fatwa (religious edict), but only a statement,' said Association of Muslim Scholars spokesman Omar Ragheb. 'It was never a question of something religiously prohibited or permitted. We never sought to force anyone to boycott'."

Let the spin begin.

Two thumbs up to some BBC coverage, and one to Reuters:

7.35pm: BBC correspondents report blog-style from around the country. Ben Brown from Basra: "Turnout here has been extraordinary. We've been to a few polling stations in the city centre and we've seen huge queues of men and women who were searched separately. Some have had to wait for an hour before casting their ballot." Geez, sounds like the '04 election all over again.

7.15pm: Reuters: "Some smile, some are stoic and others keep their faces hidden as Iraqis trickle to the polls, braving anti-U.S. insurgents determined to drown the historic vote in blood." Hey, the insurgents are trying to bomb Iraqi polling stations and kill Iraqis who want to vote - how about starting to call them anti-Iraqi insurgents? The rest of the article is pretty positive though.

Indeed (I'll post separately on the terrorist vs insurgent Orwellian anti-US spin).

Insurgents or Terrorists?

Thomas Sowell nails it:

Our media cannot even call terrorists "terrorists," but instead give these cutthroats the bland name "insurgents." You might think that these were like the Underground fighters in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

Real insurgents want to get the occupying power out of their country. But the fastest way to get Americans out of Iraq would be to do the opposite of what these "insurgents" are doing. Just by letting peace and order return, those who want to see American troops gone would speed their departure.

But the real goal of the guerrillas and terrorists is to prevent democracy from arising in the Middle East.

Still, much of the Western media even cannot call a spade a spade. The Fourth Estate sometimes seems more like a Fifth Column.

And that is the key point -- they are a Fifth Column stuck in the 60's thinking that our government is bad, and anyone fighting us must be any variation of liberationist.

But, and here is where the Old Media are simply either stupid or disgustingly biased (my vote is the latter), everyone keeps forgetting that the real targets of the terrorists are the Iraqi people who want to vote, who want democracy and who want to leave in freedom and peace.

If they kill and intimidate the Iraqi people, they win.

The terrorists are smarter than we think and know that W (and certainly our military) will not be intimidated (never mind the sick Ted Kennedy who waves a white flag just a bit slower than he can get out of an underwater Oldsmobile).

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Best Iraqi Election Coverage

At the previously mentioned, and simply outstanding, Friends of Democracy.

They will even be on C-SPAN tomorrow!

This is "Ground-level election news from the people of Iraq."

I'd say they're much better sources than other Old Media.

Prayers for all involved -- from our military providing security to the Iraqi parents who want a better life of freedom and peace for their children and grandchildren. May they be able to vote in safety, but most importantly, may they vote and rid their nation of the terrorist thugs and murderers.

Into the Drink Again

Ted Kennedy has passed a point of no return in the minds of many sane people.

John F. Kennedy's presidency is hard to evaluate because it was so brief, but he is best known for the soaring rhetoric of his 1961 Inaugural Address:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge--and more.

Kennedy's brother Ted, whose 15,423 days of service make him the second most senior U.S. senator, is best known for driving off a bridge and leaving a young woman to drown. His attitude toward America's role in the world is the opposite of his brother's; it's best summed up as an inversion of FDR: We have nothing to offer but fear itself.

Here he is yesterday at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies:

The war in Iraq has become a war against the American occupation. . . . The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution. . . . The first step is to confront our own mistakes. . . . No matter how many times the Administration denies it, there is no question they misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq. . . . As in Vietnam, truth was the first casualty of this war. . . . As a result of our actions in Iraq, our respect and credibility around the world have reached all-time lows. . . . Never in our history has there been a more powerful, more painful example of the saying that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. . . . The nations in the Middle East are independent, except for Iraq, which began the 20th century under Ottoman occupation and is now beginning the 21st century under American occupation.

And on and on and on. That last sentence we quoted is really something when you realize that the 21st century began more than four years ago, when Iraq was under Baathist occupation.

Glenn Reynolds points out the Ted Kennedy is not alone on The Left:

Various lefty readers email to say that Ward Churchill is not the authentic face of the Left.

I wish I agreed with that. But, sadly, he is its very image today.

When Ted Kennedy can make an absurd and borderline-traitorous speech on the war, when Michael Moore shares a VIP box with the last Democratic President but one, when Barbara Boxer endorses a Democratic consultant/blogger whose view of American casualties in Iraq is "screw 'em," well, this is the authentic face of the Left. Or what remains of it.

There was a time when the Left opposed fascism and supported democracy, when it wasn't a seething-yet-shrinking mass of self-hatred and idiocy. That day is long past, and the moral and intellectual decay of the Left is far gone.

Irrational times indeed.

What Have We Learned?

After 60 years?

The ceremony began with a train whistle on the railway track that took more than a million people to their deaths.

Thousands gathered in heavy snow next to the site of the German gas chambers, where Jews and others were murdered.

"It seems as if we can still hear the dead crying out," Israeli President Moshe Katsav told the crowd.




Can't the public schools provide this service?

Getting rave reviews in the Bay Area.

For those enemies of vouchers, how will a poor student address dyslexia?


The war is against IslamoFascism.

And IslamoFascists (with the help of countries such as Saudi Arabia) are bringing the fight to America.

The government of Saudi Arabia is disseminating propaganda through American mosques that teaches hatred of Jews and Christians and instructs Muslims that they are on a mission behind enemy lines in a land of unbelievers, according to a year-long study by a Washington human-rights group. . . .

The Center for Religious Freedom said the research, translation and principle analysis of the materials for the report were carried out by both Muslims and non-Muslims who wish to remain anonymous for reasons of security.

Just lovely.

Mexico Wants to Govern Arizona

Mexico plans to sue Arizona in an effort to overturn Proposition 200.

The Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, placed on the ballot by activists, makes it mandatory for people registering to vote to show proof of U.S. citizenship, the San Antonio Express-News reported. It also calls for a $750 fine and up to four months in jail for government employees who don't report the use of public benefits by illegals.

This topic is not going away.

No matter how much the Republicans (and even Western Democrats) want it to.

DDT or Nets?

Sharon Stone raises $1 Million in five minutes.

All to save the children of Tanzania we are told.

We also learn:

. . . a UN official said 150,000 African children were dying of malaria every month because they didn't have bed nets.

First, time for some Old Math:

UN statistics for Tanzanian malaria death rates (2001): 676 per 100,000.

Present population of Tanzania: 35,560,732.

That yields roughly 240,000 per year dying from malaria.

Now, if 150,000 are dying each month, that would mean 1.8 Million are dying each year.

Conclusion: The UN doesn't do math.

Now, I do not doubt that "insecticide-treated bed nets [ITNs], which have been shown to cause dramatic drops in the incidence of malaria," are a good thing.

However, the government of Tanzania notes that nearly $12 Million has been set aside by The Global Fund.

Throw in Stone's impromptu collection of $1 Million, and you have roughly $13 Million that has or can be used for ITNs.

This Africa Malaria Report from 2003 says ITNs are $5 per net. Let's assume $7 per net for inflation, etc.

There should be over 1.8 Million nets protecting the beds of Tanzanians today.

It is not immediately obvious to me that malaria death rates are falling dramatically as a result (have the nets been provided, or is some bureaucrat trading them for favors, etc.?).

The obvious question: Why aren't countries using DDT instead -- attacking the source of the dreaded disease?

This argument is not convincing to me:

Preventive measures such as modifying the environment and spraying DDT and other insecticides indoors have worked in specific areas including southern Africa (e.g. Botswana). Other countries have used these methods to reduce malaria transmission significantly (e.g. Brazil and Sri Lanka) or to eliminate it (e.g. United States), however, these resulted from the eradication era with widespread and costly effort. Malaria elimination has mainly been achieved in wealthy countries. Resistance to DDT as well as technical, economic and structural problems has limited the achievements of the residual spraying programmes of the post-war eradication era in much of Africa where transmission is hyperendemic to holoendemic and effective control programmes are rare. For the first time in insecticide treated nets, we have a malaria prevention method which is simple, safe and effective and can be organised and conducted locally by lay persons.

You cannot find DDT in a search of the 2003 Africa Malaria Report Executive Summary, while there is a complete section on ITNs.

In the end, it all comes down to not all people will get the nets.

This article puts it best:

   Though African governments spend heavily on education about the disease, many poor people cannot afford even the cheapest preventive methods, such as mosquito nets.


   Public health authorities say HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are crippling their budgets. In the case of malaria, the search for cheap weapons is unending.
   Now, argument over the use of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) has been revived by an article published recently in South Africa by Dr. Kelvin Kemm, spokesman there for the Washington-based Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT).
   CFACT is a vocal lobby group that argues scientific breakthroughs should be used to improve quality of life. It maintains health and safety risks cited by environmental groups (particularly in relation to chemicals) are often without foundation.
   Dr. Kemm, who also helped found the movement Africa Fighting Malaria, wrote that worldwide opposition to DDT is crash-landing on the African continent. He said the number of Africans dying every day from malaria could fill seven Boeing 747s.
   "When such an aircraft smashes into the ground, killing all on board, it makes massive international news headlines," he continued. "But there are no international headlines lamenting the huge malaria death toll."
   Since the banning of DDT in the United States in 1973, the incidence of malaria has soared around the world, Dr. Kemm said.
   In South Africa, strictly controlled DDT spraying was recently resumed as a method of wiping out malaria-carrying mosquitoes. (In some other parts of the world, mosquitoes are resistant to DDT.)
   "But (South Africa's) neighbours, Mozambique, who have a worse malaria problem, do not use DDT because (foreign) funding won't allow it, for fear of upsetting Green political opinions back home.
   "So Mozambicans die to keep U.S. politics stable at home. So much for the Green mantra of 'Think globally, act locally.' "

Here are some very interesting observations:

In 1995 I went on television and radio to call for the reintroduction of DDT to fight malaria. I received hate mail and threatening phone calls. The government whispered in my ear that they were on my side, because one African child dies every 40 seconds from malaria, but explained that they would not be seen to agree with me in public. I felt rather good a few days ago when the Health Minister stated that DDT was needed for malaria, and the President attended the start of a prevent-malaria cross-Africa rally.

But people still think that DDT is harmful, when it is not. I met a woman who took a teaspoonful of DDT every week of her life as vitamins until they banned it, and now she is 83. There is also not one single case in the whole world of any person dying from DDT or even getting sick from it. But will you find companies willing to be seen to be telling the truth to the public? Not a chance.

One child every 40 seconds, and we worry about what the Environmental Whackos think.

We live in an odd age of irrational thought.

Where is science when we need it?

Joseph Goebbels Works for Reuters, AP and AFP?

This is very troubling.

The Obsidian Order has a great write-up on what may be going on often in Iraq.

To wit, stringer photographers are perhaps either engaging in staged explosions, or are being notified by the terrorists (no, they're not the politically correct "insurgents"), i.e. the photographers are perhaps on the side of the enemy.

Take the time to skim through the photos, but the meat of this is the analysis.

The stories are inconsistent: one says "flames engulf a car following a nearby car bomb blast in another vehicle", another says "a car just as it explodes".

The key and blindingly obvious point: there are at least three photojournalists from different outfits there exactly at the time it goes off! This is not a lucky coincidence. The pictures are clearly taken less than a minute after the original explosion and less than a minute apart. Also: all of the photographers are stringers, not regular staff photographers.

Interpretation: One, this was staged, the particulars of the bomb ensure it will be ineffective and safe from the distance from which it was photographed, but visually spectacular. The people running are most likely also staged. Two, the reporters were invited to see it. Three, they knew it was staged.

My only question: who are these photographers - Ali Jasim, Ali Al-Saadi and Khalid Mohammed - really working for?

There's more:

Both Ali Jasim and Ali Al-Saadi have quite a number of photos of insurgents in action with the Sadr militia and Mehdi army. Also both are credited with photos of the american corpses hanging from the bridge in Fallujah.

And more evidence of staged mischief:

The theory that the photographers were present in response to an earlier bombing probably does not hold water since the caption says that occured "hours earlier" and "in the same area".

Also, nobody acts in the least concerned or threatened, especially in this still from the video. Looking at that, can you believe there was gunfire in the vicinity just seconds ago?

A refresher for those who don't remember the infamous Joseph Goebbels.

I'm confident the blogosphere will be calling these "new" agencies the propagandists they are if the analyses noted above are shown to be true.

This is disgusting stuff.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Condi on the Job

Condi lays out her vision (Hat Tip: InstaPundit).

From our new Secretary of State:

Colleagues, today is the first of many days ahead that we will work together to help our country build a safer, better world. I am honored to lead the State Department at this critical time -- a time of challenge and hope and opportunity. And, like you, I owe a special debt of gratitude to our dear friend Colin Powell, who has served our nation with distinction, and has done so much to strengthen the Department of State.

September 11, 2001, was a defining moment for our nation and the world. Under the vision and leadership of President Bush, our nation has risen to meet the challenges of our time; fighting tyranny and terror, and securing the blessings of freedom and prosperity for a new generation. The work that America and our allies have undertaken, and the sacrifices we have made, have been difficult. And necessary. And right. Now is the time to build on these achievements-to make the world safer, and to make the world more free. We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in the world that favors freedom. And the time for diplomacy is now.

In these momentous times, American diplomacy has three great tasks. We will unite the community of democracies in building an international system that is based on our shared values and the rule of law. We will strengthen the community of democracies to fight the threats to our common security and alleviate the hopelessness that feeds terror. And we will spread freedom and democracy throughout the world. That is the mission that President Bush has set for you and me, and the great mission of American diplomacy today.

As we begin our work together, President Bush and I will expect great things from each of you in the service of your country and of a great cause. More than ever, you will be active in spreading democracy, fighting terror, reducing poverty, and helping to protect the American homeland.

I want each of you to know that I have no higher priority than the well-being and personal development of the men and women of the Foreign and Civil Services and the Foreign Service Nationals who work beside us. I know from experience how hard you work and the many risks you take. And I am especially aware of the hardships and sacrifices that your families endure as they also serve our nation. I want you to know that I will personally work to help ensure that you have the tools you need to do your jobs -- from training to budgets to mentoring to embassy security.

Colleagues, I am honored to be your Secretary during these historic times. Together, we will serve our wonderful country and the cause of freedom for which it stands.

Go Condi!

On The Other Hand. . . .

The Governor has the Bay Bridge all wrong.

Viaduct or Suspension Bridge?

Easy choice both in terms of safety (resistance to earthquakes) and aesthetics.

Perhaps technology has taken viaducts to new heights, but the aesthetics are just too clear cut.

Here is the viaduct view. Ugh!

Here is the suspension view. Sweet!

My $6 a week (nope, website has yet to be updated showing the now $3 toll) had better go to the suspension bridge!

Arnold Shows Media AWOL on Budget

These observations highlight our California Legacy Media are asleep at the switch when it comes to the most important California issue -- our budget deficit.

Instead, he has to fight Jerry Springer topics:

Schwarzenegger ducked questions on Secretary of State Kevin Shelley’s troubles and on whether U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s emergence as Bush’s biggest critic would undermine his efforts to get more money from the feds.

The LA Times had the Secretary of State Shelley story (obnoxious registration required unless you use BugMeNot) 3rd from the bottom (in a total list of 36) just after "ORANGE COUNTY: Review of County's Pension Risk Sought", and just before "IN BRIEF THE STATE / SAN JOSE: Mountain Lion Feeding on Family's Goat Killed."

If the Legacy Media were doing their jobs, we'd have more than poll numbers and quotes from California politicians on the latest tit-for-tat.

My eyes glaze over with this Peyton Place coverage.

What would be more helpful for our state is real reporting on just what is in the budget.

The scandalous abuse of MediCal.

Administrator to teacher ratios.

Bureaucracy growth statistics.

We won't see that since that would highlight the Governor's path to reducing the deficit has merit.

Instead, we have a reactionary Legacy Media who think the only way such problems can be solved is by increasing taxes.

Fortunately, the Governor has a plan which he needs to pursue aggressively, and he plans to: Take his proposals directly to the people via California's initiative process.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

UN Double-Speak

My head hurts when I read this UN confusion:

US military 'overenthusiastic' in helping Iraq vote: UN official
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The top UN elections official in Iraq (news - web sites) has described the US military in Iraq as "overenthusiastic" in trying to help with the war-torn country's upcoming vote and that UN officials have told US forces they need to keep their involvement to a minimum.

But a UN spokesman said UN electoral division chief Carina Perelli had mispoken and did not mean to criticize the US military.

"The US military has been I would say overenthusiastic in trying to help with this election and we've been basically saying that they should minimize their participation because this is an Iraqi process, this is not a UN process," Perelli said.

In a statement, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (news - web sites)'s spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said Perelli "mis-spoke today when she said the US military was 'over-enthusiastic in wanting to help' with the Iraqi elections."

More hilarious than clowns -- your tax dollars at work.

Darwin, The Pope and Science

Good example of the failure of our education system in America.

Many think evolution is a scientific fact. Evolution in the sense of man came from apes, apes came from slime, slime came from a single cell, i.e. macroevolution.

. . . Only a certain kind of evolution is certain - namely, change within a species (microevolution). But Darwinists use a bait and switch tactic; they give examples of microevolution, then improperly use that to stand in as evidence for macroevolution.

Conversely, Christians do not fear, but rather, embrace science.

Pope John Paul II centered his remarks on proving that science and faith do not contradict each other, but, on the contrary, are the strongest of allies in the defense of life. "The questions dealt with in the course of this conference,'' he said, "have further confirmed that the extraordinary results obtained by science, such as the progressive discovery of a genetic map and increasingly precise information on the sequence of the genome, not only do not contradict, but rather support the church's doctrine on the sacredness, inviolability, and grandeur of human life. The church, for her part, invites us to look confidently at the most lofty mission of science and encourages every form of research which is respectful of man's dignity, for she sees in what we could term the inexhaustible capacities of intelligence the reflection and imprint of the intelligence of God. At a time when human life is experiencing such serious and dramatic aggressions, the church, by virtue of her pastoral mission, feels the duty to support scientific research in the awareness that faith and science interface in that wisdom wherein God's design fully unfolds."

You will not hear that in a public school today.

Tinderbox to our South?

We really don't need South America to blow up in our faces right now.

Venezuela has replaced Cuba as the headquarters of the violent left. ... Chávez uses the river of petrodollars that is pouring into the country, as a result of rising fuel prices, to strengthen his army's offensive capability. Pending is the purchase of 50 MiG-29 warplanes from Russia, along with a large number of tanks, helicopters and armored vehicles.

The purpose of so much materiel is easy to guess: an eventual confrontation with Colombia, intended not only to liquidate Uribe's ''oligarchic and pro-United States'' government but also to initiate the reconstruction of the Greater Colombia (including Ecuador), the grand homeland sought unsuccessfully by Simón Bolívar in the first half of the 19th century.

But this dangerous imperial Bolivarian dream has another, even more-dangerous detour: a war against Chile, intended to destroy that bastion of "neoliberalism." Whether governed by the Christian Democrats or the Social Democrats (as it is led today by Ricardo Lagos), Chile is seen as a threat by the left because of its defense of free markets, democracy and free international commerce.

But Jimmy Carter said he was a good guy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

California Hero

Ward Connerly.

After 12 years as a University of California Regent, he will be undertaking other adventures.

I believe that he has been instrumental in forcing us to face and address the issue of race relations in this nation. Thanks to him, we have discovered that there are varying opinions on how far we have come. Like Bill Cosby of late, Ward Connerly said what no one else was willing to say. However, unlike Cosby, he was forced to endure an onslaught of personal attacks that no man deserves.

But what strikes me most is the character and integrity with which he faced this abuse. In the face of nasty name calling and constant ridicule, Mr. Connerly always carried himself with style and class. And while he and I disagreed on some issues, he never let that keep him from supporting me as I worked to improve the disadvantaged community where I live and he grew up.

A man of character.

California is better for his having been a leader in our state.

Psychology of The Left

Donald Sensing points out this incredible view of the Stalinist Left:

Back in 2000 I watched the election results in Portland’s fanciest hotel, The Benson, where the president of the United States (whoever he happens to be at the time) stays when he rolls into town. I was there with my friend Sean LaFreniere. We were Democrats and this was where the Democratic Party had its election night headquarters. So we felt right at home, even though both Sean and I voted for Ralph Nader as a protest vote against the mind-bogglingly irritating Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. (Since then Gore turns me off even more, if such a thing is possible, and I’ve come to have some margin of respect for Joe Lieberman, who still generally raises my hackles for many of the usual reasons.)

Anyway, as the election results came in Sean made an utterly innocuous comment about Ralph Nader: “It looks like he’s doing pretty good in Madison (Wisconsin).” This was overheard by a woman sitting next to us who exploded with instant and frightening volcanic rage. Spittle flew. Her face became red. She actually raised her fists. She screamed. God, she must have screamed herself hoarse.

It was quite a scene, let me tell you. I thought for sure that others in the room would come to Sean’s and my defense. But I was still pretty naïve about politics then. We faced a hostile mob. These were well-dressed professionals in the swankiest hotel in the entire state of Oregon, trembling with rage and shouting “F[---] You,” “Get Out,” and threatening physical violence if we didn’t comply. A photographer from The Oregonian was there (and he was on the clock, too) and he came to our defense. I thought it was a bit brave and rather interventionist for a man who was supposed to be a neutral journalistic observer. But that’s how bad it was.

Sean and I were successfully driven out. We were both shaken, and neither of us have had any affection for the Democrats since. . . .

Can't imagine why.

Monday, January 24, 2005


The Professor spanks Babs.

Now that Babs is claiming Condi impugned her, we can only imagine she'll be seeing black helicoptors next.

She's a joke, but as The Professor notes:

Jeez. She's always whining and crying about something. It's becoming quite an embarrassment to the state. I can't believe we reelected her.

You may also have heard about her New Math (claiming 25% of casualties are Californians, when the number is closer to 12%).

Close enough for government work I guess. . . .

Patriots or Eagles?

Pats, 27-20.

Next year's Super Bowl Roman numerals will be cool: XL.

This year it's a code: XXXIX.


Terry Teachout discusses our pop culture and how we are sickly sweet -- the latest example being Johnny Carson.

I particularly like this thought:

I like what Rex Stout made Nero Wolfe say in The Black Mountain when he had occasion to speak frankly about his recently murdered best friend:

I pay him the tribute of speaking of him and feeling about him precisely as I did when he lived; the insult would be to smear his corpse with the honey excreted by my fear of death.

On the other hand, take Oprah. She has done more to make our pop culture (can we differentiate pop culture from culture?) bland and vanilla and politically correct, than even Phil Donahue. The most controversial thing I can ever remember Oprah mutter is that mad cow disease is bad and learning about the disease "just stopped [her] cold from eating another burger."

Ooh! Stand back!

Give me straight talk.

Flush PC and give me more Terry Teachout like I noted earlier.

Now That's a Harp!


But, not cheap!

Lyon and Healy are bringing out a new Harp To End All Harps.

It's based on a one-of-a-kind instrument built in 1916 (which I admired much when it was in the Met in 1998), takes two years to make and it costs...

Now, that's a tease!

I'm Depressed

My heart for classical music ached when I read this painfully yet intuitively true post by Greg Sandow at

For the benefit of my Juilliard class -- and because I don't know any writing that sets forth, in full gory detail, the extent of the classical-music crisis -- I'm going to list some of the ways classical music is in trouble. I'm taking this from remarks I made on a panel at the music critics' conference in New York back in October.

1. There's less media coverage than there used to be, maybe drastically less. In the early '80s, as a critic/columnist for The Village Voice, I could write long and serious classical music essays. They don't run anything like that any more. The New York Times used to review every debut recital; they don't do that any more. Some newspapers don't even have classical critics. In 1980, Time magazine wrote about classical music twice as often as it wrote about pop; by 1990, the proportions were reversed. This isn't some evil media plot, as some classical purists seem to think. It's a change in cultural weather, the natural result of people being less interested in classical music than they once were. The editors who make these decisions simply share the taste of their readers.

Ugh, and 14 more reasons follow. . . .

Why I Pay Taxes

If you haven't caught Fox's 24, I highly recommend it.

Yeah, it's Hollywood, but in this Age of Terror, Art imitates Life.

To see the Marines flying in and cleaning up the terrorists, I was reminded once again why I pay taxes, i.e. "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

I don't think it's melodramatic to say that people who put their lives on the line may one day save the lives of my loved ones.

Cult of Death

Of course, what can we call Terri effectively getting her death sentence on the anniversary weekend of Roe v Wade?

Cruel irony is one thought.

Terri Schiavo Death Sentence

Petterico highlights the deficiencies of getting all your news from the Legacy Media (sometimes quaintly called the Mainstream Media).

Terri's parents have argued that her husband is not a reliable witness to her wishes, because he suffers from many serious emotional and financial conflicts of interest:
He has lived with another woman for eight years, and has sired two children by that woman. His statement that his wife would want to die conveniently facilitates his ability to inherit what remains of a $750,000 trust fund, created pursuant to a judgment in his wife's medical malpractice case. Mr. Schiavo won that judgment by arguing to the jury that he wanted to rehabilitate his wife -- never mentioning that she supposedly did not want rehabilitation under these circumstances. Once the trust fund was set up, Mr. Schiavo quickly refused to pay for the rehabilitation.

. . . .

Ms. Schiavo's parents obtained several affidavits attacking the credibility of Mr. Schiavo's claims regarding his wife's wishes. For example, a former co-worker of Mr. Schiavo's executed an affidavit saying that he had repeatedly confided in her that he had no idea what Ms. Schiavo would have wanted. Also, a registered nurse executed an affidavit saying that Mr. Schiavo often said things like: "When is that bitch gonna die?" -- and would talk about all the things he was going to buy, and trips that he would take, once his wife finally died.

None of this makes it into today's article. Of course, the editors would argue in their defense that they intended to devote only about 50 words to the parents' side of the litigation. Well, the paper could have communicated the essence of what I just told you in 50 words or less, very easily:

Her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, strongly opposed the removal of Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube. They argued that Mr. Schiavo seeks to speed his wife's death for financial reasons, and so he could marry a woman with whom he has lived for over eight years and sired two children.

It's not surprising that the L.A. Times would fail to report these facts. After all, the paper has failed to report them before.

As you may have heard, Terri's parents (and the state of Florida) lost their appeal to the US Supreme Court (and, yes, note what is not reported in this AP piece just as it was left out of the LA Times story as Patterico notes above).

Another example of a broken justice system overwhelmed by the cult of death.

Legacy Media: Chewed Up and Spit Out

Thanks to Tim Blair for pointing out the obvious bias in an entertaining (and therefore unforgettable) way.

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for publicizing it (among others) twice.

Thanks to Jeff Jarvis (no member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy) for noting The Washington Post is simply adding case studies on what is bad journalism.

Thanks to Roger Simon for providing, as always, perspective:

This article would seem to be another exercise in conscious/unconscious self-destruction by the mainstream media. Jeff Jarvis has an interesting post in which he sees it as evidence for the proposal for "open sourcing" in reporting (i. e. you can see the reporters raw notes online and evaluate them). I'm all for that, but I think there's something deeper at play here...

Apologies for the Tease and Run, but read the whole thing -- it's not that long.

Definitely read Tim Blair's post above. Soon to become a blogosphere classic.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Interesting Perspective

On Johnny Carson.

The obits are being written now, the TV retrospectives being readied for tonight's newscasts, and I'm sure they'll be properly sentimental and respectful. I might even tune in NBC, his old network, to see what they have to offer. But probably not: I'm increasingly disinclined to wallow in nostalgia about nothing, which is what will be on tap for the next couple of days. And after that? A fast fade to black, I expect. American popular culture is cruel and brutal when it comes to the immediate past: it respects only extreme youth, and has no time for the day before yesterday.

All of which somehow makes me feel sorry for Johnny Carson. I wonder what he thought of his life's work? Or how he felt about having lived long enough to disappear into the memory hole? At least he had the dignity to vanish completely, retreating into private life instead of trying to hang on to celebrity by his fingernails. Perhaps he knew how little it means to have once been famous.

Iraq Updates from the Front Lines

This is a great blog coming from many who are either running for office or reporting on the upcoming election.

Stupid Red States

Both Charles the Great and PowerLine take note of another Mark Steyn gem.

Both highlight the first two paragraphs as a tease (as will I), but the last paragraphs would rattle the cages of any thinking journalist [Are you implying there are few thinking journalists?! -- Ed. No comment.]

First, Steyn points out in his Sunday Chicago Sun-Times column that the Dems haven't had an original thought in, oh say, 40 years:

I picked up the Village Voice for the first time in years this week. Couldn't resist the cover story: ''The Eve Of Destruction: George W. Bush's Four-Year Plan To Wreck The World.''

Oh, dear. It's so easy to raise expectations at the beginning of a new presidential term. But at least he's got a four-year plan. Over on the Democratic bench, worldwise they don't seem to have given things much thought. The differences were especially stark in the last seven days: In the first half of the week, Senate Dems badgered the incoming secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice -- culminating in the decision of West Virginia porkmeister Robert C. Byrd to delay the incoming thereof. Don't ask me why. Byrd, the former Klu Klux Klan Kleagle, is taking a stand over states' rights, or his rights over State, or some such. Whatever the reason, the sight of an old Klansman blocking a little colored girl from Birmingham from getting into her office contributed to the general retro vibe that hangs around the Democratic Party these days. Even "Eve Of Destruction," one notes, is a 40-year-old hippie dirge.

Classic Steyn. What a collection of underwhelming bulbs the Dems have these days (from the archaic Byrd to the unintentionally hilarious Babs Boxer, Biden and Kerry).

Next, he's even better tutoring (or is it outing?) David Von Drehle of The Washington Post who thinks we Red State types are stupid.

But in the middle of his dispatch was this quote from Joyce Smith of Coalgate, Okla.: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that."

Von Drehle added: ''Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter.''

If the point is that Red Staters are ignorant, double- or even triple-checking John Kerry isn't the best way to demonstrate it. Insofar as I understand it, Kerry's view on abortion was that, while he passionately believes life begins at conception, he would never let his deeply held personal beliefs interfere with his legislative program. On gay marriage, likewise. That's why gay groups backed Kerry and why von Drehle's media buddies weren't running editorials warning that a Kerry presidency would end "a woman's right to choose": They understood his deeply passionately personally deep personal passionate beliefs were just an artful but meaningless formulation designed to get him through election season. Message: If Kerry's elected, abortions will continue and gay marriage will happen and he'll be cool with both. Joyce Smith understood that. Von Drehle seems vaguely resentful that she wasn't dumb enough to fall for the spin cooked up by Kerry's hairsplitters and enthusiastically promoted by his media cheerleaders.

As PowerLine asks, where is Steyn's Pulitzer anyway?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Are you Biased?

This is very interesting (thanks to Wizbang!).

My first choice was the "Judaism-Other Religions IAT" (Implicit Association Test).

My result: "Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Judaism relative to Other Religions."

This test measures implicit anti-Semitism, a tendency to associate Jews or Judaism with negative concepts more so than other social groups and religions. Anti-Semitism is widely believed to have declined in the last century, but nevertheless still exists, and may now exist more in implicit than overt form. This test uses symbols associated with Judaism, and contrasts them with combined symbols of several other religions. This design was intended to create a more general test than one that contrasted Judaic symbols with those of just a single other religion.

I think everyone in Europe (especially Western Europe, oh, say, France, Germany, the Royal Family) should take this test. Those results would be very interesting.

There are several other tests testing your biases.

Check it out.


A different perspective.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


W's inaugural speech today was a clarion call for liberty around the globe.

It shocked many liberals (they don't quite get that all people yearn for freedom), but it will likely be remembered as an historic address.

Victor Davis Hanson also highlights the challenges ahead as well as the calling out of Europe:

This is the first time that an American president has committed the United States to side with democratic reformers worldwide. The end of the cold war has allowed us such parameters, but the American people also should be aware of the hard and necessary decisions entailed in such idealism that go way beyond the easy rhetoric of calling for change in Cuba, Syria, or Iran-distancing ourselves from the Saudi Royal Family, pressuring the Mubarak dynasty to hold real elections, hoping that a Pakistan can liberalize without becoming a theocracy, and navigating with Putin in matters of the former Soviet republics, all the while pressuring nuclear China, swaggering with cash and confidence, to allow its citizens real liberty. I wholeheartedly endorse the president's historic stance, but also accept that we live in an Orwellian world, where, for example, the liberal-talking Europeans are reactionary-doing realists who trade with anyone who pays and appease anyone who has arms-confident in their culture's ability always to package that abject realpolitik in the highest utopian rhetoric. But nonetheless the president has formally declared that we at least will be on the right side of history and thus we have to let his critics sort of their own moral calculus.

It will be a fascinating and likely historic Four More Years!

Can You Believe This?

Glenn wonders how it can be true, but it appears so:

As the nation's capital prepares itself for the presidential inauguration by going into lockdown mode and placing portable Stinger missile launchers throughout the city, Americans may be stunned to learn that the District of Columbia has been forced by a federal judge to hand over intelligence data on police tactics, training, and strategies from the last inauguration to an organization with documented ties to terrorist groups and Saddam Hussein.

Another Clinton-appointed judge gets his 15 minutes of infamy.

But, hey, Clinton was only about sex, right?

Spiritual Warfare in Iraq

We may agree to disagree about the merits of removing Saddam from his tyrannical hold on his people and his use of weapons of mass destruction in the past, but we can all agree that the upcoming elections are very important for not only Iraq, but all of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Yesterday, Blackfive posted a prayer request from a Captain in Iraq.

Here are excerpts:

Democracy will not be realized in Iraq if intelligent and competent officials are not elected to those strategic leadership positions within the emerging government. . . .

. . . There is unlimited potential for God's presence in this process but if we do not pray then our enemy will prevail (See Ephesians 6:10-17). . . .

This is a political battle that needs spiritual intervention. A powerful story about God's intervention in the lives of David's mighty men is recorded in 2 Samuel 23:8-33. David and his warriors were victorious because of God's intervention. We want to overcome those who would stand in the way of freedom. David's mighty men triumphed over incredible odds and stood their ground and were victorious over the enemies of Israel. (Iraqi insurgents vs. God's praying people). They don't stand a chance. I will pray with my soldiers before they leave on their convoys and move outside our installation gates here at Tallil.

My soldiers are at the nerve center of the logistic operation to deliver the voting machines and election ballots. They will be driving to and entering the arena of the enemy. This is not a game for them it is a historical mission that is extremely dangerous. No voting machines or ballots. No elections. Your prayer support and God's intervention are needed to give democracy a chance in this war torn country. . . .


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Disgusting ABC/Disney

Looking for a funeral on Inauguration Day.

Not just any funeral.

Has to be a military funeral.

Has to be someone who has died in Iraq (sorry, if you died in Afghanistan, you need not apply).

Here is some sanity:

Perhaps all of us serving in the armed forces should send a statement to ABC saying something along the lines of “in case I should be killed in action, you are hereby requested to come nowhere near my funeral, and also requested to not make political hay out of it either.” I guess I am not at risk, since getting killed in Afghanistan is not quite the “balance” they are looking for.

Captain Ed has the archived dirt, and he's rightfully worked up about it:

So here we have a public broadcaster who explicitly intends on using the death of at least one American serviceperson -- specifically in Iraq, so dead American soldiers or Marines in Kosovo or Afghanistan need not apply -- as a means to make a political statement about Bush's inauguration. If your son or daughter, sister or brother, or friend or neighbor isn't lucky enough to be buried on January 20th, don't bother applying, because ABC and Disney won't give a rat's ass about him or her.

The sheer chutzpah and shallowness doesn't surprise me as much as the laziness that this demonstrates. It's not enough that some bloodsucking leech wants to use the grief of some poor family as entertainment and political theater. They are too freakin' lazy to go out and find one themselves, so they want someone to get them an invitation to the funeral.

Whoever posted this at ABC needs a soul transplant. Disgusting.


Babs the Boob?

No, she knows exactly what she's doing.

Patterico is slapping around the LA Times again (what a fun hobby!).

Here Patterico highlights what many in the blogosphere have documented: Senator Boxer simply lied.

Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote.

Well, uh, No.

So, the Left Coast Senator is either lying because she read the Iraq Resolution and knows of the many other reasons for toppling Saddam (reasons highlighted here), or if she didn't read the text, she's just another guilty millionaire liberal who can't think without being told what to think by her staff (not beyond the realm of possibility, but I don't think this is the case).

Many California bloggers are apologizing to Dr. Rice for our Moonbat Senator.

Professor Bainbridge says it best:

BTW, Dr. Rice, Boxer's term expires in 2010. If she runs for reelection, would you mind coming back out here and kicking her ass? Thanks much!

Democrats are Dead

Austin Bay has a great post shaming Democrat elitism in the recent Boxer vs Rice and Kennedy vs Gonzales embarrassments.

I don't think the Democrats understand what is happening (some Democrats do, but they do not control the party these days).

The NY Daily News’ Michael Goodwin neatly smacks Senator Barbara Boxer for her dreadful and inexecuseable attempt to impugn Condi Rice’s integrity. Goodwin also knocks Ted Kennedy’s slurs of Alberto Gonzales.

I’ll quote one sharp Goodwin line that captures the political/historical context: “Boxer and Kennedy are living in the past, back when it was okay for limousine liberals to tell the rest of us how to live.”

Boxer and Kennedy miss the ugliness and irony of their actions: two privileged upper-class millionaires trashing young Americans who made it on brains and bootstraps. This is a bitter decadence.

And, now we have the former KKK Senator from West Virginia leading the effort to stall the Condi's confirmation as Secretary of State.

A shameless and dead party, and as Michael Goodwin notes, a party with members who seem "to be going through a terminal meltdown."

By the way, as a conservative, this is not good for the country.

Stem Cell Racket

Alas, this is an example of how most of this will simply be a gravy train (and California is leading that fiasco).

I would love to be proven wrong, but as I've written before, embryonic stem cell research is not going to provide what has been grotesquely advertised (pace John Edwards).

Adult stem cells don't have the ethical and theological problems, so why purposefully provoke?

Kofi Packin' Yet?

Kofi should be sweating.

We'll see how the Old Legacy Media react (although this showed up on the AP radar screen too).

Fantasizin' about a UN House Cleanin'. . . .

Salty Mountain Lakes

This is a toughy.

I'm sympathetic with the guidance (among the many possibilities discussed):

The simplest solution is one that's not popular with motorists who've come to expect bare pavement so they can drive fast.

"They could reduce the speed limit," Twiss said. "If you drive 60 miles per hour on this road, you need salt. But if you drive 20, you don't."

Whatever you do, keep the Bay Area drivers away from Lake Tahoe if you keep snow on the roads!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Let's Stack BBs

It will be interesting to learn more about this:

CHICAGO - Laws that would require parents to be notified when teens seek birth control would do little to curb underage sex and could cause a troubling number of girls to engage in unsafe intercourse, a survey of teens in 33 states suggests.

Let's discuss the merits of the findings first (having access only the abstract of the January 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association -- JAMA -- puts me at a disadvantage, but I'll simply speculate now).

Who conducted the survey? The Alan Guttmacher Institute, which, as the AP notes is "an advocacy group that supports reproductive choice." Trick Question: Would a similar survey by the National Right-to-Life Committee get such media play? Doubtful, even if the survey were also published in JAMA.

Two nuggets in the AP story caught my eye

First, note what the AP does not say:

The results, based on responses from 1,526 girls under the age of 18 who were given anonymous questionnaires, echo smaller, more local studies.

Here is what the JAMA abstract notes:

Design, Setting, and Participants  A total of 1526 female adolescents younger than 18 years seeking reproductive health services at a national sample of 79 family planning clinics were surveyed between May 2003 and February 2004.

Why did the AP omit the fact that only girls at clinics were surveyed?

Second, note what the AP does say:

Some girls checked more than one response when queried about the laws.

Why is this important?

Two reasons.

First, this could skew the statistics of the survey in a way that is easily manipulated for the media press releases, i.e. smoke and mirrors -- maybe a girl said X and Y, but only X is reported in the press release (again, we don't know until we can read the JAMA article in its entirety).

Second, and this is even more important, folks who are in this biz know that the press release is all that the public remembers. They won't remember (or will be less likely to have even heard) any follow-up articles which tackle the inadequacies of the research.

Blogs are helpful here, but we're all busy and there are only 24 hours in a day.

So, advocacy groups will advocate, i.e. they will trumpet press releases knowing that is what is engrained in the mind of the public long after (possibly) refuted research.

For a closing laugher, check out this press release headline:


You don't say.

Guess that's why they call them Advocacy Groups.

Shining Light in Dark Corners

This can be a good thing, e.g. highlighting that which the Old Legacy Media don't want us to know.

This can also be a very dangerous thing, e.g. think of the searchlight at a prison camp and if the light catches you, you're likely to be shot -- dead.

Belmont Club provides a very interesting analysis and commentary (worth the reflection if you have a couple of minutes) of The New York Times Sarah Boxer Affair I discussed earlier.

Many are highlighting the hypocrisy of the media in arguing for protection of their sources, while The New York Times seems to relish flights of fancy by the likes of Ms. Boxer as to whether bloggers are agents of one agency or another.

Wretchard sums up his analysis with these thoughts:

Then there is no help for it but to destroy these insurgents root and branch; because for so long as these terrorists exist then expressing an independent opinion, running for election or shaking the hand of the President of the United States will always be offenses punishable by death. That is to say, for so long as terrorists and their publicists prevail, then neither bloggers, nor a free press nor people anything remotely like Sarah Boxer will never be able to exist in Iraq. It is not necessary to agree with Iraq the Model in order to defend their right to say it. Of all the uses to which Ms. Boxer could have put freedom, this was the worst.

It's trite but true in this case -- Read the Whole Thing.

The more I read, the more I realize that the blogosphere has many more grownups than the Old Legacy Media.

And, they generally do not get paid for it.

Color Me Prude

Michelle Malking states the obvious in reference to the F-word being used at an inaugural party:

My libertarian friends can keep calling me a stick in the mud, Bible-thumper, or whatever. But parents of all backgrounds and political persuasions have a responsibility to stand up for minimum standards of public decency. Snicker if you want. But when your kindergartener comes home one day asking you what a "motherf***er" is, maybe you'll think differently.


Welcome New Sisyphus!

Another member of the State Department Republican Underground writing on all matters, foreign or domestic.

This is great news -- breaking through the Old Legacy Media's failures in reporting what is really happening around the world.

This new blog and the existing and excellent The Diplomad (both of which are Favorite Sanity links) are fascinating reads.

Thanks to Little Green Footballs for the introduction.

New York Times Blog Envy

This irresponsible piece (suggesting Iraqi bloggers work for the CIA) is getting the ridicule it deserves.

Jeff Jarvis (no member of the Vast Ring-Wing Conspiracy) slashes best:

Sarah Boxer's story on IraqTheModel in today's New York Times Arts section is irresponsible, sloppy, lazy, inaccurate, incomplete, exploitive, biased, and -- worst of all -- dangerous, putting the lives of its subjects at risk. . . .

So here is a reporter from The New York Times -- let's repeat that, The New York Times -- speculating in print on whether an Iraqi citizen, whose only apparent weirdness and sin in her eyes is (a) publishing and (b) supporting America, is a CIA or Defense Department plant or an American.

Ms. Boxer, don't you think you could be putting the life of that person at risk with that kind of speculation? In your own story, you quote Ali -- one of the three blogging brothers who started IraqTheModel -- saying that "here some people would kill you for just writing to an American." And yet you go so much farther -- blithely, glibly speculating about this same man working for the CIA or the DoD -- to sex up your lead and get your story atop the front of the Arts section (I'm in the biz, Boxer, I know how the game is played).

How dare you? Have you no sense of responsibility? Have you no shame?

Seems as if Oliver Stone now owns the New York Times.



Glenn Reynolds is a bit miffed with The New York Times concluding with:

At the moment, the New York Times is in court, demanding constitutional protection for its sources.  If they're exposed, it fears, they may suffer consequences that will make others less likely to come forward in the future.  That, we're told, would be bad for America.

But the New York Times has no compunctions about putting the lives of pro-American and pro-democracy Iraqis at risk with baseless speculation even though the consequences they face are far worse than those that the Times' leakers have to fear.  It seems to me that doing so is far worse for America.

When journalists ask me whether bloggers can live up to the ethical standards of Big Media, my response is:  "How hard can that be?"  Not very hard, judging by the Times' latest.

My Senator is an Embarrassment

PowerLine highlights more Boxer idiocy.

Our day jobs, alas, prevent us from watching the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State, but reader Bob Barker has been following it, and reports that Barbara Boxer is living up to her reputation as a mental lightweight:

Barbara Boxer just said she was very disappointed to hear Condi say "the tsunami was an wonderful opportunity for the United States to show what they can do to provide humanitarian relief". Barbara explained the tsunami was a bad thing, not a wonderful thing.

She's got you there, Dr. Rice. Hopefully some of the questioning was more edifying; the Associated Press reports here.

The most populous state in the Union continues to vote for such a dope.

Arnold in '10!

Wouldn't it be great to see Arnold and Teddy hugging in the Senate?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Thank You MLK

No, the man wasn't perfect.

But then, neither is any of us.

Thanks to InstaPundit for highlighting Virginia Postrel's interesting perspective on how far we have come in a relatively short period of time.

The new issue of Modernism Magazine features a back-page article on the new O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke, Virginia. Link was a photographer who recorded the waning years of steam locomotives. The museum is in the former Norfolk and Western train station, which famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy redesigned in 1947. As Modernism's Victoria Pedersen writes: "He completely transformed the 1905 neoclassical station, adding 22-foot ceilings, marble walls, terrazzo floors, a futuristic wall of horizontal windows and a dome. He also designed a concorse leading to the train platform that featured the first passenger escalators in the Roanoke Valley, cutting-edge technology for the period." The new station was the epitome of streamlined modernism. But what that meant in the Virginia of a half century ago is spelled out in the letters above the door in these photos from the Library of Congress collection, the first of which Modernism reprinted.

According to the Modernism photo caption, the Link Museum has removed the "Colored" sign. Wouldn't want to remind visitors of just how recent--how modern--legally enforced segregation was.

Too bad -- it is an important part of our history, and I would certainly want to explain to my daughter why the word was where it was.

Also, another fascinating perspective:

In September 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the eulogy for three of the four girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. What King could not know was that, within earshot of the blast, just blocks away at her father's church, was another little black girl, a friend of the youngest victim, who 42 years later would be on the verge of becoming America's foremost diplomat.

This year, the Martin Luther King holiday, marking what would have been his 76th birthday, falls on Jan. 17. The next day, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opens hearings on the nomination of Condoleezza Rice to succeed Colin Powell as secretary of state.

It's a stunning juxtaposition that offers those who knew King, lived that history and ponder his legacy an opportunity to wonder: How might they explain Rice's rise to him? And what would he make of it?

She is, after all, the literal fulfillment of King's dream -- a woman judged not by the color of her skin but by the content of her character. She is also living proof that King's eulogy was prescient, that "these children -- unoffending, innocent and beautiful -- did not die in vain."

As Glenn says, Indeed.


Racist Hillary's perspective.


Virginia Postrel has an update on her museum story above.

Dazzle 'em with Ambiguity!

First the Black and White Good News: "Bush Won't Rule Out Action Against Iran Over Nukes."

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said on Monday he would not rule out military action against Iran if that country was not more forthcoming about its suspected nuclear weapons program.

But, are we engaging (or at least poking and prodding) Iran now?

While the Defense Department has a good time slapping around Seymour Hersh (he is an easy target), does DoD really say we are not engaging Iran in any fashion?

No, but who would really be surprised if we were?

More importantly, who would be upset if we were not seeking as much intelligence as possible on Iran after all their nuclear brinksmanship of the past several months?

I certainly would.

Go W.

Go Special Forces.

And, if need be, Go Israel.

Where's the Outrage?

Drudge reports a Roman Catholic Bishop has been kidnapped in Mosul, Iraq.

Will the media show the photographs of his treatment as they did Abu Graib? They have yet to do so when other victims (e.g. CARE's Margaret Hassoon) have been kidnapped and, alas, tortured, beheaded and disemboweled.

Clearly, this shows The Left and Old Legacy Media believe the West should be held to higher standards.

Why? Are The Left and Old Legacy Media suggesting Muslims cannot be expected to respect Western levels of decency?

Isn't this the soft-bigotry of low expectations?

Isn't this racism [But Islam is not a race! -- Ed. Agreed, but many on The Left group Islam with Arabs and they just don't see how Arabs will ever able to support, build and live in democracies -- is that racism?]?

We prosecute our war criminals in public, and we punish them according to our laws.

The Islamofascists cheer their murderers. I weep for peace-loving Muslims.

CAIR has their work cut out for them.

To Enrage and To Weep

On the drive back from Tahoe tonight, this, rightfully, was on the hourly national radio news (at least ABC Radio -- curiously, however, a search on their website now does not find this story -- even though Derb and Dan found it).

January 16, 2005 — The father of a murdered New Jersey family was threatened for making anti-Muslim remarks online — and the gruesome quadruple slaying may have been the hateful retaliation, sources told The Post yesterday. . . .

He “had the reputation for being one of the most outspoken Egyptian Christians,” said the source, who had close ties to the family. . . .

Armanious’ fervor apparently rubbed off on his daughter, Sylvia — who would have turned 16 yesterday. “She was very religious and very opinionated,” said Jessica Cimino, 15, a fellow sophomore at Dickenson HS.

A family member who viewed photos of the bloodbath said Sylvia seemed to have taken the most savage punishment. “When we saw the pictures, you could tell that they were hurt really, really bad in the face; especially Sylvia,” said Milad Garas, the high-school sophomore’s great-uncle.

The heartless killer not only slit Sylvia’s throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross.

This dissembling doesn't cut it.

“We are not a bloody people,” said Ahmed Shedeed, director of the Islamic Center of Jersey City. “This is not from the Quran. This is not from Islam at all.”

Asked about passages in the Quran that may suggest murdering non-believers in a manner that resembles the family’s deaths, he replied, “The Quran talks about people fighting in the battle of war. It’s not talking about people who live next to you. ... This has nothing to do with our community at all.”

When put in the context of what is happening to Christian Copts in Eqypt today, the above is clearly playing on the ignorance of Americans who do not know of such unpleasantries:

Copts want an end to forced conversion of Christian girls, who are kidnapped and raped by Muslim extremists. There are reports of police protection given to the abductors. 

More on forced conversions here (and they aren't permitted to build a church either).

Could this act be a manifestation of Al-Qaeda recruiting? Perhaps, and especially if Al-Qaeda is as damaged as we hope by our efforts in the Global War On Terror, i.e. if they no longer have reliable contacts with those giving orders, why not go out and take care of some infidels? Pure speculation? Sure, but just what will these cells do without orders? Just go away? I don't have that optimism.

More recent update from The New York Times:

Mr. Armanious . . . had been threatened with murder by someone in an Internet chat room during an argument about Christianity and Islam, according to members of his church and other acquaintances. The authorities would not confirm or deny this, but they dismissed newspaper accounts that a tattoo of a cross on Sylvia's wrist had been slashed in the killing.

It will be interesting to see what more we learn in the days ahead.

It will be most interesting to see how long it takes before news reports start to suggest that the man was stupid for supporting his faith (if that was all he was, in fact, doing), and should have just kept his Coptic mouth shut, i.e. didn't he, in a sense, deserve it? Do I exagerate? I hope so, but my distrust of the media and their romance with relativism make me wary of what will be written on this tragic story -- after all, four were slaughtered, not just one.

Stay tuned. . . .


Interesting update suggesting a possible link between the murdered family and a radical lawyer accused of helping an imprisoned terrorist:

ABC News has learned that the slain family's cousin has been a translator working for the prosecution in the trial of Lynne Stewart. She is the radical lawyer accused of smuggling messages from imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, to terrorist cell members and associates.


Michelle Malkin has an update summary.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Save Our Driver's License!

I've been delinquent in noting this important effort in maintaining at least some semblance of citizenship in California.

This is an issue that will not be going away -- no matter how much W would like it to.

It is a difficult issue for Republicans in that they need the Hispanic vote in many states, and the Democrats will shamelessly offer illegal immigrants anything and everything (starting with a vote).


More good work by the California Republican Assembly to show Secretary of State Shelley the door.

Nice summary by The Sacramento Bee:

Most recently and most damaging, documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee reveal that federal Help America Vote Act funds Shelley administered have been used for blatantly partisan political activities.

Shelley's office signed a $69,000 contract with a Los Angeles activist who reported to the secretary of state's office that he used HAVA funds to attend a "Take Back the White House" rally on behalf of the secretary of state, among other things. A politically connected Los Angeles minister reported using HAVA funds to attend an "NBA Wives Association Salute [to] Janet Jackson."

In the newest batch of documents obtained by The Bee, a Shelley staffer paid with HAVA funds reported he spent time keeping track of the people Shelley spoke to at a Sacramento fund-raiser for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Another HAVA-paid staffer reported attending a San Francisco fund-raiser for Assembly Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party.

The federal HAVA funds were appropriated by Congress primarily so states could buy new voting systems and train poll workers and voters. While Shelley was doling out funds to partisan political operatives, county voting officials complained that they were having a hard time prying HAVA funds out of Shelley to help them prepare for the 2004 elections. Shelley's office didn't even give counties an opportunity to apply for funds until July 16 - very late in the election cycle and in most cases too late to do any good. . . .

[Shelley] is so badly tainted by his own actions that the public cannot have confidence in his judgment. For the good of the state and of democracy, he should have the grace to resign. If he doesn't, the Legislature should take steps to restore the public's trust by doing for California what Shelley will not.

The heat is being turned up.

Anti-Catholicism and Pius XII

Many may have heard over the years skepticism of the Catholic Church's efforts in helping Jews during WWII.

Two recent developments here (evidence that Hitler wanted Pius XII kidnapped) and here suggest such skepticism was and is not warranted.

Further, two items that I did not know:

[T]he Pope was hailed by Israel's late prime minister Golda Mier for his heroic efforts to save Jewish refugees from the Nazis. Moreover, as a direct result of the Pope's efforts on behalf of his fellow Jews, the Chief Rabbi of Rome converted to Catholicism.

Clarity of Thought Needed

Now that the curtain has come down from the Palestinian facade, it is clear that W needs to disinvite Abbas post haste.

Here is what Abbas' goons do to those who work with Israel in fighting terrorism (yes, perhaps they do it for just money) [emphasis added below]:

A young Palestinian man suspected of “collaboration” with Israel was executed on Friday in a public square in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus.

Eyewitnesses said Mahmoud Mansour, 23, was brought to the center of the camp by gunmen belonging to Fatah’s armed wing, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and shot to death in the presence of dozens of residents after noon prayers.

They said the man died instantly after being hit in the head with at least 25 bullets. The assailants and camp residents refused to allow an ambulance to take the body to a hospital. Instead, they threw the body in a nearby dumpster.

It was the second killing of its kind in the Nablus area in the past two weeks. Earlier this month, Fatah gunmen in the Old City of Nablus kidnapped and murdered a 44-year old man whom they also accused of collaborating with Israel. The killing took place only hours before Fatah candidate and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) arrived in the city on an election tour.

As Charles notes:

Please note: this is not a random group of killers carrying out random acts. The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades is the official “armed wing” of the political party whose leader has just been elected president of the Palestinian Authority. The people who did this belong to Mahmoud Abbas/Abu Mazen’s own political organization.

Real sweethearts.

McCarthyism of the Left -- The Academy

Another example of the hypocrisy of The Left.

In the 1960s, just AFTER Ronald Coase had done his Nobel Prize winning work in law & economics and AFTER James Buchanan had done his Nobel Prize winning work in public choice, a concerted effort was made by members of their department and the administration at the University of Virginia to drive them out of Virginia. . . .

Since Coase and Buchanan had tenure, they couldn't be fired, but Virginia decided not to make an attractive offer to keep Coase when Chicago offered him a job, though Coase has said that he might well have stayed had they done so. Buchanan was driven out in part by not tenuring his junior colleagues. That this was done a few years after Coase and Buchanan had done their best work is just stunning. Virginia began the 1960s as the most innovative and creative among the world's great economics departments and ended the 1960s as just another pretty good department, no better or worse than a couple dozen other departments in the country.

Good to hear Jonah Goldberg is writing a book on this topic. The recent nonsense involves the "excommunication" of Condi Rice from the academy.

Universities today are nothing but educational gulags. And, the student and parents get to pay for the privilege of being indoctrinated!

Whatever It Takes

Gotta love this American Can Do approach to getting it done -- better late than never:

PORTSMOUTH — With deadly attacks on supply convoys in Iraq a daily occurrence, the Army is sending local shipyard welders to Texas to help fasten armor plating to military vehicles headed for Iraq.

Ten welders from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard arrived in Sealy, Texas, on Monday to pitch in at the Stewart & Stevenson Tactical Vehicle Systems plant, where the Army has ordered more than 1,000 2½-ton and 5-ton armored supply trucks.

Up to 15 more welders are expected from the shipyard as soon as they can leave.

“We’re working around the clock,” Richard Hammond, vice president of operations for the company, said Tuesday. “The only day we haven’t built a cab is Christmas Day.”

Hitler and Harry

Stupid Harry as seen by an Anglophile Jew.

I think, until quite recently, I was one of those Jews who leaned to not making a fuss when young idiots like Prince Harry displayed an insensitivity (putting it mildly) to my co-religionists. No more. The epidemic is spreading again and I can only nod my head when tabloids like the Daily News refer to him as "Heil Harry." It's time for the Royal Family, everyone's favorite tourist attraction, to go.

Why are the Media So Wrong, So Often?

Because they are stupid? No.

Because they are biased? Partly.

Because they want the US to fail in Iraq so we will never again fight?

From the winner of the 2004 Best Military Blog, Blackfive, some common sense observations and questions:

Much of the problem is about perspective, putting things in scale and balance.  From where I sit in my command post at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, things are not all bad right now. In fact, they are going quite well.  We are not under attack by the enemy; on the contrary, we are taking the fight to him daily and have him on the ropes. . . . Right now, as elements from all four services complete the absolute annihilation of the insurgent forces remaining in Fallujah, the area around the former stronghold is more peaceful than it has been for more than a year. . . . The enemy in this area is completely defeated, but not completely gone. Final eradication of the pockets of insurgents will take some time, as it always does, but the fact remains that the central geographic stronghold of the insurgents is now under friendly control. That sounds a lot like success to me.  Given all of this, why don't the papers lead with "Coalition Crushes Remaining Pockets of Insurgents" or "Enemy Forces Resort to Suicide Bombings of Civilians"? . . .

What about the media's portrayal of the enemy?  Why do these ruthless murderers, kidnappers and thieves get a pass when it comes to their actions?  What did the media not show or tell us about Margaret Hassoon, the director of C.A.R.E. in Iraq and an Iraqi citizen, who was kidnapped, brutally tortured and left disemboweled in streets of Fallujah?  Did anyone in the press show these images over and over to emphasize the moral failings of the enemy as they did with the soldiers at Abu Ghuraib?  Did anyone show the world how this enemy had huge stockpiles of weapons in schools and mosques, or how he used these protected places as sanctuaries for planning and fighting in Fallujah and the rest of Iraq?  Are people of the world getting the complete story? . . .

And, as Hindrocket at PowerLine notes:
On the whole, I think Col. Ryan is too kind to the American press. I think that the press's undermining of our war effort is, in many instances, deliberate. It appears to me that many, if not most, American reporters, editors and news executives want to make it impossible for America ever to fight a war. To further this goal, I think they use their reporting to undermine our effort in Iraq. The idea is that if we are defeated in Iraq, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for us to fight another war anywhere for a generation. Is this assessment too harsh? I don't think so.

I don't either.

How else can one explain such one-dimensional and, in the end, dangerously misleading reporting? How can working to undermine a people's will to fight against real threats be anything but dangerously misleading?

Again, this is why I call them Old Legacy Media.

Fortunately, we have many (and better) alternatives today.

Unfortunately, many still believe Dan Rather, the AP, Reuters, et al.