"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato
Friday, March 31, 2006
Selective Outrage at Wiretaps
I was reminded this past week that Democrats and the New York Times are only situationally opposed to domestic wiretapping. The United States Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. denied an appeal by Seattle's Jim McDermott to overturn a verdict against him in a civil suit arising from his own little wiretapping escapade. Baghdad Jim now owes House Majority Leader John Boehner over $700,000.
First a little history: Ten years ago, then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich settled a series of ethics complaints filed against him by Democrats, who were still bitter that he had engineered their first defeat since the 1950s. A condition of the settlement imposed certain restrictions upon Gingrich. After the settlement, Gingrich conducted a teleconference with Republican House leaders on how to function within, or if you prefer, evade, those restrictions. That call included Boehner's cell phone, and the analog transmissions from that phone were illegally recorded by a politically active Florida couple, who then passed their tape on to Representative McDermott. McDermott gave copies of the tape to the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
That's against the law and the Florida couple ultimately pleaded guilty and paid a $500 fine. John Boehner gave McDermott the option of apologizing and donating $10,000 to charity as penitence. McDermott refused. Boehner sued, and won.
This story gained relevance again as Democrats continue their attempts to gain political traction over the Bush Administration's use of wiretaps to monitor communications between foreign-based terrorists and their agents in this country. As Democrats seem untroubled by McDermott's exploitation of illegally taped phone calls between Republicans, we can only conclude that Democrats consider Republicans a greater threat to Christendom than Al Qaida, and therefore less deserving of privacy than terrorists.
The other story that should have returned the National Security Agency's surveillance program to the headlines was the testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee of five former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) judges who largely supported President Bush's argument that Congress did not have the Constitutional authority to limit his power to spy on our enemies. The FISA court was a creation of the paranoid 70's and was signed into law by Jimmy Carter. Bush's refusal to seek the FISA Court's blessings before listening in on enemy plots ignited a partisan and media firestorm. One of those judges who expressed doubts that Bush had broken any law was the sainted James Robertson, whom the media assured us had left the FISA court in protest of the NSA program.
Considering that the ever-vigilant-and-unbiased-media fulminated itself into an orgy of righteous indignation regarding the supposed illegality of this program at the time of its exposure, it would seem equally newsworthy to report that these former FISA judges found merit in the administration's defense of the program's legality. That does not seem to be the case. Democratic fantasies about impeachment or censure of Bush for the program receive more attention that the judges' opinions. The New York Times was so desperate to prop up the foundations of its original story that it bent its interpretation of the testimony to suggest that the judges had said just the opposite. This is hardly surprising as the reporter covering the hearings for the Times was one of the reporters who broke the original story and who received an award for his investigation. The Times ought to have considered the stake that this reporter had in preserving the original story's legitimacy when it uncritically published his most recent work.
So let's summarize. Spying on terrorists is bad. Spying on a political opponent is no big deal, provided that the spy is a Democrat and the victim is a Republican. Speculation upon the illegality of spying upon terrorists is worthy of front page, top of the hour news coverage. But revelations that spying on terrorists is a constitutionally protected presidential power that no president, not even the incompetent Jimmy Carter, can sign away, is not.
It is not at all difficult to discern a pattern in the situational ethics at work here. And just in case you need help, take into account that CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press and 11 other representatives of the ever-vigilant-and-unbiased-media filed motions on McDermott's behalf.
All of the above value Al Qaida's privacy more highly than John Boehner's.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Waiting for Hillary
Radical Islamist dictators have factored the 2008 election into their strategies, believing that the Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid/Howard Dean/Cindy Sheehan wing of the Democratic Party will prevail and turn them loose upon the world.
Ethnic Cleansing, California Style
It's time for Whitey to leave.
Democrats Know Where Bin Laden Is?
Harry Reid promises that, if Americans elect enough Democrats to give them a Congressional majority, they'll get Osama Bin Laden.
Maybe they could just tell Bush their secret plan so we can get him tomorrow. We are all in this together, aren't we? Aren't we? We are, right?
Buy One For the Bush Library
Considering how Democrats used Hurricane Katrina to bash Bush, it might be reasonable to park a few of these buses around his presidential library to remind people how incompetent Louisiana's Democratic politicians were during this affair and how their bungling crippled relief efforts.
Starved for cash, the New Orleans school district is taking a long shot and hoping to sell its flooded, unsalvageable school buses on eBay.
Some submerged to their roofs in the black flood waters, the yellow school buses were widely photographed in the days after Hurricane Katrina and have become an icon of the city's devastated school system.
School officials acknowledge the sale of the buses on the Internet auction site may puzzle some people used to more traditional school fundraisers like bake sales.
"There's no shame in it. Not one bit," said school board president Phyllis Landrieu. "This is a new mechanism for selling things. I think it's very upbeat what we're doing."
The Washington Post Snickers at the Paranoid Christians
The tone of a Washington Post article today can best be described as condescending.
The "War on Christmas" has morphed into a "War on Christians."
Last December, some evangelical Christian groups declared that the religious celebration of Christmas -- and even the phrase "Merry Christmas" -- was under attack by the forces of secularism.Perhaps the Washington Post should pay more attention to the behavior of its liberal brethren on the left coast. Then they would realize that Christians are not making it up.
From yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle: THE IRONY was obviously lost on the clueless San Francisco supervisors when they passed a resolution warning that a Christian youth gathering could "negatively influence the politics of America's most tolerant and progressive city."
Spare us the doomsday hyperbole, supervisors.
We can safely report that the politics of San Francisco suffered no discernible shift in ideological alignment from the convergence of 25,000 Christian teenagers listening to rock 'n' roll music and words of inspiration. There was no evidence of any surge in support for the Iraq war, affection for President Bush or oil drilling off the California coast. The medical-marijuana clubs were still doing business as usual, public dancing was still legal, the petition gatherers were still working Market Street for the latest save-the-planet cause.
The supervisors' reaction to the evangelical Christians was so boorishly over the top that only one word could describe it:
Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, was quoted telling counterprotesters Friday that the gathering Christians were "loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting and they should get out of San Francisco." On Monday, however, Leno struck a more reasoned tone, acknowledging that his rally cry was "not one of my prouder moments." He said the youth group was "welcome in San Francisco," even though he does worry that its religious rhetoric could "under a cloak of love" feed a "fearful world's appetite for hate."
In fact, concern about heterosexual sex by unmarried youth gets equal treatment from the Battle Cry campaign. Its goal is to spread Christianity and to help young people recognize and resist the cultural influences of a "stealthy enemy" that includes "corporations, media conglomerates and purveyors of popular culture." Its Web site (www.battlecry.com) speaks of "casualties of war" that include drinking, drug use, teen sex, pornography, abortion, suicide and violence.
We may disagree with certain aspects of the Battle Cry agenda -- on issues such as abortion rights, religion in schools or acceptance of an individual's sexual orientation -- but the attempt by counterprotesters and some of the city's elected officials to call them "fascist" and "hateful" was totally at odds with the tone of the ballpark event and the approach of the Web site.
The gathering was not an "act of provocation," as the supervisors claimed. It was a get-together of young evangelicals whose lifestyles and religious views just happen to be in the minority here -- apparently making them open season for politicians to chastise.
The young people who came to San Francisco to affirm their faith and enjoy a day of rock music deserved better. They deserved to be welcomed by a city that was as tolerant and progressive as its sanctimonious supervisors like to profess.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Pampering John Kerry
The Smoking Gun has acquired a list of John Kerry's expectations of hotels that desire the honor of his patronage.
It's a really long list. This man expects to have his ass kissed.
Striking for the Right to Not Work
Francis Fukuyama has discovered that the mainstream media will shower the path to notoriety with rose petals for conservatives who stab their brethren in the back. Charles Krauthammer's having nothing of it though.
It was, as the hero tells it, his Road to Damascus moment. There he is, in a hall of 1,500 people he has long considered to be his allies, hearing the speaker treat the Iraq war, nearing the end of its first year, as "a virtually unqualified success." He gasps as the audience enthusiastically applauds. Aghast to discover himself in a sea of comrades so deluded by ideology as to have lost touch with reality, he decides he can no longer be one of them.
And thus did Francis Fukuyama become the world's most celebrated ex-neoconservative, a well-timed metamorphosis that has brought him a piece of the fame that he once enjoyed 15 years ago as the man who declared, a mite prematurely, that history had ended.
A very nice story. It appears in the preface to Fukuyama's post-neocon coming out, "America at the Crossroads." On Sunday it was repeated on the front page of the New York Times Book Review in Paul Berman's review.
I happen to know something about this story, as I was the speaker whose 2004 Irving Kristol lecture to the American Enterprise Institute Fukuyama has now brought to prominence. I can therefore testify that Fukuyama's claim that I attributed "virtually unqualified success" to the war is a fabrication.
A convenient fabrication -- it gives him a foil and the story drama -- but a foolish one because it can be checked. The speech was given at the Washington Hilton before a full house, carried live on C-SPAN and then published by the American Enterprise Institute under its title "Democratic Realism: An American Foreign Policy for a Unipolar World." (It can be read at http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.19912,filter.all/pub_detail.asp .) As indicated by the title, the speech was not about Iraq. It was a fairly theoretical critique of the four schools of American foreign policy: isolationism, liberal internationalism, realism and neoconservatism. The only successes I attributed to the Iraq war were two, and both self-evident: (1) that it had deposed Saddam Hussein and (2) that this had made other dictators think twice about the price of acquiring nuclear weapons, as evidenced by the fact that Moammar Gaddafi had turned over his secret nuclear program for dismantling just months after Hussein's fall (in fact, on the very week of Hussein's capture).There is much more and every word is worth reading.
Monday, March 27, 2006
ROP Doctor a Perfect Fit For Oregon
An Iraqi physician has admitted to killing 35 patients entrusted to his care.
"I injected more than 35 policemen and soldiers, including officers and some who were slightly injured," the doctor, identified by a Kurdish security official as Luay Omar Taie, said in the taped statement. "I used to stop the breathing machines or cut the electricity in the operations room or reopen the wounds."
He would seem to have the idea demeanor to practice medicine in a state that permits assisted suicide.
Enemy Combatants Have No Rights
It's about time somebody said this.
"War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," Newsweek quoted Scalia as saying. "Give me a break."
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Marriage is for White People
A middle school student articulates the root of almost all that is wrong with black culture in the United States.
"Marriage is for white people."
That's what one of my students told me some years back when I taught a career exploration class for sixth-graders at an elementary school in Southeast Washington. I was pleasantly surprised when the boys in the class stated that being a good father was a very important goal to them, more meaningful than making money or having a fancy title.
"That's wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children."
"Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."
Friday, March 24, 2006
Maybe Wal-Mart Ain't So Bad After All
There has always been a taint of elitism wafting from the opposition to the construction of a Wal-Mart superstore in Pullman. Most of the time, the ironically misnamed Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development (PARD) concealed its snobbery behind concerns for local businesses, most of which did not ask for PARD’s protection, or in the form of complaints that Wal-Mart would not compensate its employees’ to PARD’s standards. Never mind that those who choose to work for Wal-Mart would be deciding for themselves that the compensation was satisfactory. But knowing what’s best for you even if you don’t is central to elitism.
PARD even argued that Wal-Mart would harm the local branch of Shopko. Does anyone really believe that PARD cared in the slightest about Shopko’s fate?
Wal-Mart opponents have lost every step of the way. The Pullman Office of Public Works found in favor of Wal-Mart. PARD lost a city council election that was contested almost entirely on the issue of Wal-Mart. And most recently, the Pullman Hearing Examiner denied PARD’s appeal. But, not satisfied with the reality that they lost fair and square, PARD is now arguing that approximately six months worth of complaining on their part did not adequately inform the Hearing Examiner’s decision and that he would have arrived at a different conclusion had he learned the lessons that PARD tried so hard to teach him.
But now it seems that Wal-Mart has adjusted its business model to satisfy the underlying concerns that animate its opponents. Once the Wal-Mart is built, the tweed jacketed PARDners will be probably be able to purchase $500 bottles of wine or belly up to the sushi bar and treat their palates to raw fish and seaweed. That’s because Wal-Mart has decided to modify what it offers within its walls to conform to the specific cultures of the communities it serves.
This should go a long way toward addressing one major concern of Pullman’s Wal-Mart opponents – that Wal-Mart a in would invite the “intrusion of undesirable social elements” into the community (see page 8 of the examiner’s report). While the weenies and french fries sold at the Lewiston store might satisfy that demographic’s tastes, PARDners will be satisfied with nothing less than croissant and bean sprout sandwiches, or spicy hummus and water crackers, washed down with a Starbuck’s green tea frappucino chaser.
That should keep those undesirable social elements from crossing onto PARD’s side of the tracks.
Indeed, Wal-Mart is reacting to elitists who prefer to buy identical items at higher prices from more prestigious storefronts. Certainly the proliferation of high-priced coffee shops in Pullman proves that to many it matters more where you are seen buying coffee than the contents of the cup itself. Otherwise, people would just buy a Mr. Coffee and an occasional can of Folger’s, as I do. From a quality standpoint, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is really quite ordinary, but patrons really want the check out clerk to know that they are willing to pay much more than it is worth and because a small fraction goes to save rain forests, or something.
Similarly, Wal-Mart plans to sell high end, brand name high definition plasma televisions as well as the standard, low priced cathode ray tube models labelled “assembled in Big Hurry.” Even the look will be different. The standard Wal-Mart red, white and blue exterior will be replaced by two-toned brick and mortar look. Employee uniforms in these trendy, upscale Wal-Mart stores are to be khaki pants and polo shirts. Only Mao jackets would make PARDners feel more at home. Put Birkenstock sandals on the employee’s feet, and no one would ever guess that they came to Pullman from those undesirable social classes.
All Wal-Mart has to do now is place sofas and coffee tables in its book section and allow PARDner’s to read the New York Times free of charge.
Meanwhile, once Wal-Mart rolls over PARD’s latest speed bump and the store is built, I will be in there for the low prices. I grew up as a member of what PARDners would undoubtedly consider an undesirable social class and still I feel more comfortable drinking cervezas and crunching cheecharones in the company of my socially undesirable Mexican family and friends than I ever would be at a wine and cheese tasting party with the likes of PARD.
A "Thespian Carbuncle of Bile"
I always thought "crazy old aunt in the attic" was a fair description for Helen Thomas, but Jonah Goldberg goes one better.
George Eats His Wheaties
The terrorists cannot defeat the United States, but defeatist Democrats can. Maybe President Bush has finally realized that this war will be won or lost on the home front.
Daniel Henninger thinks that Bush's rhetoric of late has been absolutely Clintonesque, which is just what we need now.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
North Korea: Planned Parenthood Paradise
Call it full birth abortion I suppose, but North Korea has taken Planned Parenthood's dreams to the next logical step, executing imperfect babies.
Is the Glass Half Empty or, .......
Typical liberal press. Modern medicine can successfully treat depression in about half of the cases presented. Is that good or bad?
The Washington Post naturally is morose.
Antidepressants fail to cure the symptoms of major depression in half of all patients with the disease even if they receive the best possible care, according to a definitive government study released yesterday.
Significant numbers of patients continue to experience symptoms such as sadness, low energy and hopelessness after intensive treatment, even as about an equal number report an end to such problems -- a result that quickly lent itself to interpretations that the glass was either half empty or half full.
Allah and Man at Yale
John Fund updates the story of Yale's special student, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former mouthpiece of the Taliban.
Back in the early 1990s, when he was dean of Yale College, Yale history professor Don Kagan warned about what he called the university's "mutual massage" between value-neutral professors and soft-minded students. He is even more critical now: "The range of debate on campus is more narrow than ever today, and the Taliban incident is a wake-up call that moral relativism is totally unexamined here. The ability of students to even think clearly about patriotism and values is being undermined by faculty members who believe that at heart every problem has a U.S. origin." Mr. Kagan isn't optimistic that Yale will respond to outside pressure. "They have a $15 billion endowment, and I know Yale's governing board is handpicked to lick the boots of the president," he told me. "The only way Yale officials can be embarrassed is if a major donor publicly declares he is no longer giving to them. Otherwise, they simply don't care what the outside world thinks."
But there may be one other source of worry for Yale. Mr. Hashemi told the New York Times that he will apply next month for sophomore status in Yale's full-degree program starting next fall. An admissions official told me Yale's plan all along was to do just that if his grades were acceptable. But next week, Yale will mail out 19,300 rejection letters to those who applied to be in its class of 2010. "I can't imagine it'll be easy for Yale to convince those it rejects that the Taliban student isn't taking a place they could have had," a former Yale administrator told me.
Former Yale president Benno Schmidt says admitting Mr. Hashemi is an exercise in "amorality and cynicism." He told me that "diversity simply cannot be allowed to trump all moral considerations." It's not as if Yale can't muster moral indignation. Yale is divesting from Sudan, responding to pressure from student activists and labor unions. But when it comes to a former Taliban official, there is a desire to move on.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Then You John McCain
I suppose I might vote for John McCain if the choice were him vs. Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, but I'll never forgive McCain for campaign finance reform.
And now the reformers want to limit bloggers.
The Federal Election Commission is expected tomorrow to outline rules that could limit political Web logs and e-mail solicitations and would be similar to campaign-finance laws that apply to more traditional advocacy groups, such as the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association.
Hopefully, Congress won't screw us this time.
Watch the Tube, Get Stupid
Now there's proof that watching television makes you stupid. It truly deserves to be called "the boob tube."
Older women who say talk shows and soap operas are their favorite TV programs tend to score more poorly on tests of memory, attention and other cognitive skills, researchers reported Monday.
Getting It Wrong
News commentators continue to hammer Bush for intelligence errors. But who are they to criticize? They can't even accurately describe what happened under their own noses.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Michael Adams Gives in to His Feelings
To hell with thought and responsibility. Feelings matter most.
Iraq a Distraction?
Christopher Hitchens asks, "How can anyone, looking down the gun-barrel into the stone face of Zarqawi, say that fighting him is a "distraction" from fighting al Qaeda?" Over the medium term, if our apparent domestic demoralization continues, the options could come down to two. First, we might use our latent power and threaten to withdraw, implicitly asking Iraqis and their neighbors if that is really what they want, and concentrating their minds. This still runs the risk of allowing the diseased spokesmen of al Qaeda to claim victory.
Second, we can demand to know, of the wider international community, if it could afford to view an imploded Iraq as a spectator. Three years ago, the smug answer to that, from most U.N. members, was "yes." This is not an irresponsibility that we can afford, either morally or practically, and even if our intervention was much too little and way too late, it has kindled in many Arab and Kurdish minds an idea of a different future. There is a war within the war, as there always is when a serious struggle is under way, but justice and necessity still combine to say that the task cannot be given up.
That's just one of the many, many great points he makes in an unusually good column in today's Wall Street Journal. Considering Hitchens' usual quality, saying that that this is among his best is very high praise.
Monday, March 20, 2006
David Duke, Harvard's Intellectuall Guiding LIght
David Duke has a new ally, Harvard University.
A paper recently co-authored by the academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government about the allegedly far-reaching influence of an "Israel lobby" is winning praise from white supremacist David Duke.
The Palestine Liberation Organization mission to Washington is distributing the paper, which also is being hailed by a senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization.
But the paper, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," by the Kennedy School's Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, is meeting with a more critical reception from many of those it names as part of the lobby. The 83-page "working paper" claims a network of journalists, think tanks, lobbyists, and largely Jewish officials have seized the foreign policy debate and manipulated America to invade Iraq. Included in this network, the authors say, are the editors of the New York Times, the scholars at the Brookings Institution, students at Columbia, "pro-Israel" senior officials in the executive branch, and "neoconservative gentiles" including columnist George Will.
Duke, a former Louisiana state legislator and one-time Ku Klux Klan leader, called the paper "a great step forward," but he said he was "surprised" that the Kennedy School would publish the report.
Will She Need to be Replaced with a Kook?
Democrats argued that the court needed another "moderate" to replace Sandra Day O'Connor to maintain "balance."
I guess that means that, once Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires, we'll have to replace her with another nut job?
What's Wrong With Polygamy?
Charles Krauthammer notes that polygamy is just around the corner.
To simplify the logic, take out the complicating factor of gender mixing. Posit a union of, say, three gay women all deeply devoted to each other. On what grounds would gay activists dismiss their union as mere activity rather than authentic love and self-expression? On what grounds do they insist upon the traditional, arbitrary and exclusionary number of two?
Gratuitous Offensive Mohammed Cartoon of the Day
Hear No Muslims, See No Muslims, Speak No Muslims
John Leo chronicles the lengths to which the MSM will go to minimize Islamic violence, and focuses attention upon the case of Ilan Halimi, who was captured my Paris Muslims and tortured for three weeks before he was murdered.
The Los Angeles Times account of February 28 shows how hard candor can be. It reported that the gang made hundreds of abusive phone calls to Jews and had systematically tried to kidnap Jews. But the reporters wrote this: “Rather than a premeditated anti-Semitic murder, it seems a more complex product of criminality and dysfunction in the narrow world of thug culture: a poisonous mentality that designates Jews as enemies along with other faces of ‘outsiders.’” Oh, please. If whites had tortured and killed a black man, I doubt that reporters would be carrying on about how complex and unpremeditated it all was. They would just say it was a lynching.
In an excellent article last week, Colin Nickerson of the Boston Globe said the crime was being attributed to a “predominantly Muslim youth gang” notorious for “virulent anti-Semitism.” The gang’s taunting phone calls to Halimi’s father were filled with anti-Semitic slurs and a rabbi had been told, “We have a Jew.” The Globe said hatred of Jews is now a hallmark of what’s cool in France, even among young immigrants from non-Muslim nations. Very strong article. No dancing around, just good reporting.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
License to Lie?
Unable to exempt themselves from market forces, newspapers are in decline. So, are they going to turn to self-aggrandizing BS like this to appeal for public assistance?
"Newspapers are part of the civic glue that holds communities together."
I disagree entirely. I think that newspapers have contributed to civic dissolution by presenting news in the most polarizing manner possible. Our disagreements are increasingly uncivil and simpleminded. I blame the MSM.
The New York Times Lied
Case closed. So, what else is new?
Couldn't Be Happening To Anyone More Deserving
The Times is going down.
Air America, make room in the toilet.
George Will is Depressed
I do not share his pessimism, but George Will's thoughts this morning are worth reading and considering.
Three years ago the administration had a theory: Democratic institutions do not just spring from a hospitable culture, they can also create such a culture. That theory has been a casualty of the war that began three years ago today.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Gratuitous Offensive Mohammed Cartoon of the Day
Who Needs Stem Cells
Contrary to the political cliches, embryonic stem cells will not repair damaged spinal injuries. But, now nanotechnology, which doesn't require a single baby's death just might.
A team of neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and their colleagues at Hong Kong University purposefully wounded 53 newly born hamster pups. They cut a relatively deep gash--1.5 millimeters deep and two millimeters wide--through the optic tract in the brains of the young rodents. The wounds of 10 of the pups were then treated with 10 microliters of a solution composed of 99 percent water and 1 percent of a special ionic peptide. These short amino acids are capable of creating a molecular scaffold that can bridge such gaps.
Within 24 hours, the gash in the treated pups had begun to close (shown by the green area in the picture above, depicting regrowth), and by 30 days had completely closed. "We had never seen that before in any animals," says neuroscientist Rutledge Ellis-Behnke of M.I.T., who led the research. By placing a biological tracer in the hamsters' eyes the researchers also discovered that the neurons had actually grown back and reconnected through the center of the cut instead of routing around the wound--another first. None of the control animals showed any healing whatsoever.
The scientists then inflicted a similar wound on some adult hamsters to see if such connections could actually regenerate vision. By injecting 30 microliters of the solution, the scientists again healed the gaps in 30 days. And in subsequent behavioral tests, the animals had regained the ability to turn their eyes and heads toward a sunflower seed in their peripheral vision, though their turning response was slower than normal.
Allah and Man at Yale
Please join me in an enormous leap of faith. Imagine that opposition to the management of our ports by an Arab country is founded, not in racist pandering, but rather in genuine, carefully considered security concerns. Does it not make sense then that these same politicians will aim their newfound interest in securing the homeland toward a real and present danger - our elite academic institutions?
While insertion of terrorists through our ports remains a theoretical concern, the uncomfortable fact remains that the 9/11 terrorists gained entry through our airports and lived here for months with legitimate, US State Department issued student visas. No bombs were smuggled into the United States hidden in cargo holds or shipping containers. All the resources the terrorists needed were freely available to anyone. Before pursuing phantoms, shouldn’t we slam that gate shut before any more bad guys slip through?
This is of particular interest considering that Yale University boasted recently that it had recruited and enrolled a prominent former official of the Taliban regime that sheltered and protected Osama bin Laden, his headquarters and his terrorist training camps.
In a New York Times Sunday magazine article late last month, Yale declared that it was delighted to have among its student body, the Taliban’s former deputy foreign secretary, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, a man whose academic credentials include an education that took him all the way through the fourth grade. Yale was particularly pleased to land Hashemi because another equally stellar student had recently slipped through its fingers. Yale recruited him but, "we lost him to Harvard," and "I didn't want that to happen again," lamented Richard Shaw, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions.
Dr. Shaw sounds as proud as a football coach who just inked a highly recruited running back to a letter of intent.
I wonder if anyone will go to the trouble of finding out whom, of similar credentials, Harvard snared.
Surely New York’s junior senator, Hillary Clinton, who has suddenly begun taking her cues from talk radio’s premier right wing rhetorical arsonist, Michael Savage, and unashamedly invoked xenophobia to oppose the port deal, will also act with equal alacrity to protect us from Ivy League schools that are facilitating terrorist infiltration.
Although, she might just be waiting until she and he husband can find a way to profit from it. While Hillary was loudly condemning the port deal, her husband, whom she knew had been paid $600,000 by the emirate, was advising the UAE on how to get the deal done. A cynic might conclude that the Clintons were playing both sides to maximize fiduciary and political gain. Actually, one would not have to be cynical to conclude that. The Clintons supply all the cynicism required.
Yale’s embrace of Mr. Hashemi is particularly ironic as it came at a time when Yale was challenging the right of United States military recruiters to set foot on the holy ground of its campus. Yale wanted recruiters off campus because the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuals (another Clinton creation) conflicted with its ethics.
The Taliban didn’t kick homosexuals out of the military. They executed them. Talibanis are welcome, even prized, at Yale, but the U.S. Army isn’t. Go figure. I guess you have to be a really smart Ivy League graduate, like Mrs. Clinton, to understand.
Oddly, the tale of the Yale Talibani has received little attention, either in the media or in the halls of Congress. It stands to reason that if Arabs cutting paychecks to longshoreman threatens national security, then bringing Talibanis into the country on students visas, just like the good old pre-9/11 days should deserve some notice and a Congressional chest pounding or two.
A security conscious Congress might want to take a look at the State Department while they’re at it. How could a prominent official of a terrorist state obtain a valid student visa? Well, perhaps it’s because the State Department is infested with people like the recently resigned Ann Wright.
While addressing a cheering U.C. San Diego meeting of College Democrats, Ms. Wright, a 16-year diplomatic veteran, ventriloquized Osama bin Laden and blamed terrorism upon our “over the top” lifestyles, oil dependency, our over consumption of the Earth’s resources.
“We’re sucking things up,” she declared.
I think I’d trust Dubai businessmen before I’d trust Yale admissions directors or career diplomats.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
No Courage, No Convictions
Russ Feingold did the country a favor this last week. He revealed what Democrats think in private and that they lack to courage to stand behind their rhetoric.
Just as Democrats fled for cover after given a chance to vote on John Murtha's cut and run proposal, Democrats stayed away in droves when given the chance to go on the record condemning George Bush's wiretapping of terrorists.
All mouth, no action.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Are You Retarded?
That is Yale's response to critics of that university's "adopt a Talibani" program.
I called Mr. Surovov Friday morning for a candid 30-minute conversation. Why had he sent his blistering attack anonymously? "I'm not sure," he replied. But he nonetheless stood by a subsequent email he had sent Mr. Taylor using his own name in which he said "I regret nothing" about his previous attack. He did reluctantly concede to me he had made "a poor choice" of one word--"retarded." When asked if a day earlier he had verbally accused Mr. Taylor of "terror tactics" he paused for several seconds and said "I don't recall." He did tell me he viewed their protest as "a reactionary stunt."
He also largely defended Yale's refusal to answer questions on the ex-Taliban official by saying, "We can't respond to every political case. We need to show the university isn't here to make political decisions." When I asked him if admitting a key propagandist for the Taliban was a political decision, he claimed he was "only vaguely aware of Taliban practices." (He clearly shares that information deficit with some other Yale officials.) When I suggested that one reason Mr. Taylor might not have given to Yale was that he was a struggling graduate student, and similarly noted that Ms. Bookstaber is only 27, he said that was no excuse. "Everyone can give something," he said, in the smooth patter of a born fund-raiser. "Even $5 is a handsome gift they could have given."
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Living Down To New Jersey Standards
Nobody really in New Jersey really expects much from their politicians. And so it was quite natural for Governor Jon Corzine to live down to their expectations.
Jon Corzine admits that it was "a mistake" to provide $5,000 in bail money to a former aide who'd been arrested for breaking into the car of the state Democratic chairman and for making threatening calls to him and to two women he'd dated.
On the other hand, reelection should be a breeze.
I am on the road, access only to a dial-up connection. Blogging opportunities will be rare for the next week.
On the other hand, I getting some great miles in on my bike.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Xenophobia and Corruption
If you think that corruption in Washington is bad now, just permit the sort of power it exercised this last week.
Going well beyond Dubai, House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) says he wants Congressional oversight of all foreign purchases of "critical infrastructure." Mull over that one for a minute. If you think corruption on Capitol Hill is bad now, wait until foreigners need approval from Congress for every multi-billion-dollar investment. The current investment review process was designed by the Reagan Administration to be discreet, and to keep Congress out, precisely to avoid such politicization.
In recent weeks Members of Congress have suggested that the foreign-ownership ban should apply to: roads, telecommunications, airlines, broadcasting, shipping, technology firms, water facilities, buildings, real estate, and even U.S. Treasury securities. If this keeps up, we'll soon arrive at France, where even food and music are "protected" from foreign influences as a matter of national survival.
No Man's Property is Safe
If Mark Twain is obsolete, then this must be Washington. In the 19th century, the silver haired sage observed that, “No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session." Well, for once, every Washingtonian’s property is unsafe now that the legislature has gone out of session without reaffirming that private property will be protected under state law.
A stiffer state law is now required since the United States Supreme Court decreed that local governments may seize the property of a poor man and give it to a rich man, if the rich man can present a plan for increasing tax revenues. Alarm bells rang nationwide and other, similar abuses were revealed. Suddenly, after more than two centuries, the long taken for granted assumption that a man’s home is his castle no longer obtains. Cops may need a search warrant to enter your property, but under the newly enhanced powers of eminent domain, Donald Trump can take it if he convinces the city fathers that he can fatten their coffers faster than you can.
Shortly after the Supreme Court weakened property rights, an article appeared in the King County Journal assuring us that Washington’s constitution affords more private property protection than the United States Constitution. But that was like waving a red flag in a bull’s face and the Washington State Supreme Court took up the challenge and went the US Court one better. When a Tacoma couple challenged Sound Transit’s authority to take their land to make room for a rail station, the Washington State Supremes ruled that courts are not even required for government entities to seize private property, nor are the courts to be considered appropriate routes of appeal. Further, the court ruled that the governmental entity seizing your property need not directly inform you that your land is at risk so that you can appeal. An internet posting is adequate. You always scan government websites to see someone’s planning to take your land, don’t you?
If this sounds a bit like the opening chapter of the book, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” it should. But isn’t it telling that in just over a quarter century, what author Douglas Adams considered a humorous absurdity is now considered good government.
And so, it came as only a mild surprise when I read the newspaper headline, “Democrats shut down efforts to affirm state's constitution.” I say mild, because Democrats will always struggle with private property protections. After all, there will always have to loopholes.
Just look at governor Christine Gregoire’s proposal to protect private property. According to the Seattle PI, she proposed a state law that would “affirm court cases and the constitution.” I assume that includes the court case above.
Democrats would have difficulty protecting private property because their allegiance to the principle is conditional. Democrats consider it good law that, if an endangered species of beetle happens to wander onto your property and lay eggs in your backyard, for all intents and purposes ownership of your land is transferred to the bug. Palouse farmers have got to be quaking with the news that a giant white earthworm, long thought to be extinct, was turned up in a spade of dirt a few weeks ago. It’s not entirely unreasonable for farmers to fear that they will find their livelihoods threatened as their farms are declared critical habitat.
Something very similar happened when a Tipton’s kangaroo rat was found to have perished under farmer Taung Ming-Lin’s disc in California about six years ago. Federal government wildlife and law enforcement agents descended upon his private property looking for remains of one of the rats after Lin had worked his field. Upon finding a deceased representative of the species, the government alleged that the desperado, “did knowingly take and aid and abet the taking of an endangered species of wildlife, to wit, Tipton kangaroo rats.” They seized his tractor and disc, and threatened him with a $300,000 fine.
Clearly, if the government can take your land and sell it for a profit to another, or if a government entity may seize your land without any right to appeal, then your property is not secure. And for the legislature to adjourn without restoring protections stripped away by the courts is irresponsible.
Meanwhile, I’m looking for a pesticide that will keep my land safe from earthworm invasions.
Gratuitous Offensive Mohammed Cartoon of the Day
And at least one former diplomat thinks that the reason they hate us is because of our "inordinate use of resources."
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Scientists Discover Spring Break
Guess what? The scientific community has just discovered that girls and boys like to get drunk and screw like bunnies during spring break. Really! They just figured this out.
Spring break has become an unhealthy "binge-fest," says the head of a major medical association, citing a poll that shows that 74 percent of female college students agree that alcohol is an excuse for outrageous behavior.
"Spring break is broken," Dr. J. Edward Hill, president of the American Medical Association, said yesterday.
Did one of these guys happen to turn on his television and surf cable channels early on a weekend morning? If so, he should have come across advertisements for this.
Was al-Reuters Right?
Reuters News Service famously argued against using the word terrorist to describe, well terrorists, on the basis that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."
While the rest of us laughed, the terrorists have adopted al-Reuters' slogan.
Another fighter insisted loudly that the group was simply fighting for a fair share of the region's oil wealth. "We are not terrorists. We are freedom fighters," he shouted.
Let's Now, Terrorism, Beheading, Cartoon Violence ...
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
We Can Drill Through Glass
If all options are on the table, I believe that Halliburton could drill from Iranian oil, even through glass if that's what they want.
“The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain but it is also susceptible to harm and pain. So if the United States wishes to choose that path, let the ball roll,” it said in a statement obtained by Reuters on the sidelines of a U.N. nuclear watchdog board meeting in Vienna.
Gratuitous Offensive Mohammed Cartoon of the Day
Be afraid. Be very afraid. After all, Arabs once fought a 40 year war to defend the honor of a camel.
Gratuitous Offensive Mohammed Cartoon of the Day
Be afraid. Be very afraid. After all, the Arabs fought a 40 year war defending the honor of a camel.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Coffee Drinker be Afraid, be Very Afraid - Or Not
So now we have the definitive study. Coffee is good for you, except when it isn't.
Thin is In (The Genes)
Contrary to feminist doctrine, the eating disorder anorexia nervosa is not caused by evil white males imposing their standards of beauty upon helpless women. It's genetic.
An international study concludes that the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, a rare but dangerous mental condition, is primarily genetic in origin.
The study also found that a tendency to be anxious and depressed, or neuroticism, early in life is a strong predictor of having to battle anorexia years later.
Considering that we have just escaped National Eating Disorders Week, the timing of this study could hardly have been better. Last week would have been better I suppose.
Associated Press Relies Upon Disgraced 60 Minutes Producer to Stir Bush Hatred
You've probably heard by now that, not only was the AP story that Bush was warned of levee breaches in New Orleans an out and out, easily disproved lie that the media spread anyway, but one of the authors of ths story was once a producer of 60 Minutes II, which spread the Bush National Guard memos lie.
If not, here's the story with a bunch of links.
Err America Death Watch
March 31 will be the last day for Err America in the New York market.
AIR America is close to losing its New York flagship station - knocking Al Franken and his liberal colleagues off the air on their second anniversary.
The network has a two-year lease with WLIB (AM 1190) that is reportedly set to expire April 1 - and at least one reliable report says it is "extremely likely" the deal will not be renewed.
Losing its New York outlet would be a serious blow to the fledgling liberal radio network. "Radio Equalizer" blogger Brian Maloney - who blew the whistle on questionable loans to the lefty network last year - published the first report that WLIB was on the verge of evicting Air America some time soon.
If they can't make it there, they can't make it anywhere.
Hollywood Pisses Everybody Off
Jon Stewart wasn't funny
Several people interviewed said they found it ironic that the academy -- praised earlier in the evening by actor George Clooney for breaking down barriers for African Americans with an Oscar to Hattie McDaniel in 1939 for her role in "Gone With the Wind" -- would glorify the travails of a man who earns his living exploiting women.
Erika Scott, 17, a Largo High School eleventh-grader, said she was a little shocked. "Growing up where I live, you see, all the time, people who are wanna-be pimps and aspire to be pimps," she said. "Knowing that there is a song that tells the world about what goes on with people like that was surprising, and I was surprised that it won. It made me wonder what the world has come to."
Robinson, who along with two friends runs a blog, "What Do You Know," with a regular feature cheering on African Americans who achieve in nontraditional areas, said she, too, was concerned about the stereotypes.
"It was a struggle for us last night because we wanted to root for the blacks, but the blacks were pimps and hos on the Oscars, so it was confounding," she said. "Image is everything, and we have to be so careful about the way we position ourselves in front of larger audiences."
Monday, March 06, 2006
Global Warming Alert
Snow paralyzes the Sahara.
Surprise! Surprise! A Clinton Lies
Hillary Clinton cannot honestly claim ignorance of her husband's Dubai connections. After all, she did sign the income tax form
[F]ormer President Bill Clinton's ties to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates should not have come as a surprise to his New York senator wife.
Mrs Clinton's own senatorial financial disclosure forms reveal that her husband earned $450,000 giving speeches in Dubai in 2002.
Officials from the UAE also donated between $500,000 and $1m to fund Mr Clinton's presidential library in Arkansas.
It was part of an effort by the emirates, said a person close to UAE officials, to forge a close relationship with a former US president who is influential and highly regarded in the region.
Mr Clinton's admiration for the UAE was last on display in November, when he made his fourth visit to the American University in Dubai and met students participating in the Clinton scholarship programme.
The UAE has also contributed $100m to Hurricane Katrina relief funds – which Mr Clinton had a leading role in raising.
Prison Time For Helmet
In Europe, they'll jug you for denying the Holocaust. Supposedly former German Chancellor and founding member of the Axis of Weasels did just that.
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl reportedly told Iranian businessmen in Germany that he agreed with statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust was a “myth”, the semi-official Jomhouri Islami reported on Monday.
The government-owned daily wrote that at a dinner gala with Iranian hoteliers and entrepreneurs, Kohl said that he “heartily agreed” with Ahmadinejad’s remarks about the Holocaust.
“What Ahmadinejad said about the Holocaust was in our bosoms”, the former German chancellor was quoted as saying. “For years we wanted to say this, but we did not have the courage to speak out”.
Just ask David Irving.
Allah and Talibani at Yale
Yes, the alma mater of William F. Buckley has enrolled a former official of the Taliban and considers itself lucky to have landed the former terrorist.
Are there no limits to how arrogant and out-of-touch America's Ivy League schools can get? Last week it emerged that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former deputy foreign secretary of the Taliban, is now a student at Yale while at the same time the school continues to block ROTC training from its campus and argues for the right of its law school to exclude military recruiters. King George's troops played the music to "The World Turned Upside Down" as they surrendered at Yorktown. Perhaps the Ivy League should adopt that tune as they surrender all vestiges of common sense.
To give you an idea of how far the academy has fallen, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi has a fourth grade education and is pulling a 3.3 gpa from Yale.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
A Triumph of Kerryism
The United States tried to tell the Europeans what the Iranians were up to. But, they wouldn't listen, preferring to pursue the diplomacy that the Democrats claimed we needed in 2004.
Well here's the result, a nuclear Iran laughing at us.
In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.
He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot.
"From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.
Revelation of Mr Rowhani's remarks comes at an awkward moment for the Iranian government, ahead of a meeting tomorrow of the United Nations' atomic watchdog, which must make a fresh assessment of Iran's banned nuclear operations.
Hat tip, Powerline.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Civil War
I've been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I'm looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can't find it.
Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view's clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn't give me the right skills.
All day - and it was a long day - we drove through Shia and Sunni neighborhoods. Everywhere, the reception was warm. No violence. None.
And no hostility toward our troops. Iraqis went out of their way to tell us we were welcome.
Instead of a civil war, something very different happened because of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. The fanatic attempt to stir up Sunni-vs.-Shia strife, and the subsequent spate of violent attacks, caused popular support for the U.S. presence to spike upward.
Think Abu Musab al-Zarqawi intended that?
Trying to Be Ironic?
The press is now complaining about Bush Administration efforts to stop leaks of classified material and yes, the media are whining about it.
What I find ironic about this are all the links on this page to the Plame leak investigation which the MSM demanded. I suppose Bill Keller of the New York Times thinks that the Justice Department should consult him regarding what avenues of investigation should and should not be pursued.
Gratuitous Offensive Mohammed Cartoon of the Day
Saturday, March 04, 2006
It's Hard To Pander To Everyone
The so-called Democratic big tent is actually a collection of many little tents, the occupants of each are only loosely allied. There is no better example than when Illinois' bumbling governor Rod Blagojevich tried to suck up to blacks by appointing a member of the Nation of Islam to a ceremonial state human rights panel.
"No matter what he does, he's going to tick somebody off," Rick Garcia, political director of the gay rights organization Equality Illinois, said Friday. "It's completely a no-win situation."
Four Jewish members of the Governor's Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes resigned this week rather than serve alongside an aide to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, known for his disparaging remarks about Jews, whites and gays.
The third and fourth resignations came Friday, when Howard Kaplan of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago said he could not serve on a commission "that, by implication, accepts divisive and bigoted standards."
Democratic state Rep. Lou Lang, who was appointed just a day earlier to fill one of the vacancies, also stepped down.
It's entirely possible that he's telling the truth when he said that he did not even know that he had appointed a Nation of Islam true believer to the panel. He claims that he didn't even know that Jon Stewart's Daily Show was a comedy show before appearing on it. He thought it was real news.
Bill Clinton, International Man of Mystery
While double agent Bill Clinton was encouraging the United Arab Emirates port management deal, his wife was whipping up racist anti-Arab sentiments on the Senate floor.
She claims not to have known of her husband's double dealing.
At Last, A Use For Politicians and CNN
The Japanese have made gasoline from bullshit.
The Anti-Semitic Left
Among the offenses that cost Lawrence Summers his job at Harvard was his Judaism.
Nothing new that the Left hates Jews. What's new is that it's being reported, however obscurely here.
Our Most Anti-American Ex-President
Not of all time, that would be John Tyler. But certainly Jimmy Carter is the most anti-American president since the Civil War.
President Carter personally called Secretary of State Rice to try to convince her to reverse her U.N. ambassador's position on changes to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the former president recalled yesterday in a talk in which he also criticized President Bush's Christian bona fides and misstated past American policies on Israel.
Mr. Carter said he made a personal promise to ambassadors from Egypt, Pakistan, and Cuba on the U.N. change issue that was undermined by America's ambassador, John Bolton. "My hope is that when the vote is taken," he told the Council on Foreign Relations, "the other members will outvote the United States."
Gratuitous Offensive Mohammed Cartoon of the Day
Friday, March 03, 2006
A Cat Herdsman Passes Away
By definition, we libertarians don't make good followers. Nevertheless, one of our leaders has passed away.
Two time Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne has died. There's a little Don Quixote in all of us.
All Able Danger All the Time
Oh, and by the Way, Today's Gratuitously Offensive Mohammed Cartoon of the Day
In honor of Wafa Sultan.
Barbarism versus Civilization
Every Muslim needs to hear this.
I could learn to like al-Jazeera, if it showed more debates like this.
Why I Simply Can't Trust the MSM
This was a fine week for those of us who distrust the mainstream press, as it lived down to our expectations and supplied fine object lessons on how the media get it wrong.
Just this last Thursday morning, I flipped on my computer and started scanning online news articles, I came across this headline: “Bush Defends Nuclear Agreement With India.” I read the article and saw nothing that required defending. In fact, it appeared that Bush was but boasting about the treaty – as well he should have. He had just brought the world’s largest democracy, an emerging economic and military superpower, much closer to the United States without alienating our ally in the war on terror, Pakistan.
But nevertheless, the Associated Press posted a headline suggesting that there was something damaging about this agreement. Shortly afterwards, the AP changed its headline stating, correctly, that the treaty was a triumph.
My editor here at the Tribune and I disagree upon most things. I think that I could list everything we do agree upon. We both favor nuclear energy and genetically modified crops. We oppose property taxes. We both favor an income tax for Washington. And, we both favor international free trade. And we prefer proper spelling and good grammar to the alternative.
But if there is one topic upon which we disagree most vehemently, it is upon the honesty of the mainstream press. I believe it when 90% majorities of pressmen and women describe themselves as “liberals.” Further, I believe that their ideology colors their reporting. Evan Thomas of Newsweek magazine boasted that the preferential treatment that John Kerry could expect from the mainstream press would translate into a 15% electoral advantage in the 2004 election. I believed him.
So how does the press distort the truth? Well, aside from lying (recall the George Bush National Guard memo fiasco in 2004?), the press tells partial truths and distorts truth just enough to lead the consumer astray. If you read no further than the headline cited above, you probably came away shaking your head about Bush’s latest flub.
If you only read the first half of a story that appeared on the front page of this paper Tuesday morning, you have serious doubts about the judgment of President Bush on issues of national security. The scare headline read: “Coast Guard: Intelligence gaps hampered risk assessment of ports deal.” The first 60% or so of the story focused upon Coast Guard complaints that it did not have enough information to endorse the deal’s security arrangements. Journalism students learn that most readers do not read all the way through to the end and that they should frontload their writing so that the story they want to tell is told early. In this case, the writer wanted his reader to believe that the Coast Guard was uneasy about port security. If you read to the end, you learned that once the Coast Guard received the rest of the information, their concerns were satisfied and that they endorsed the deal. Readers who finished the story almost certainly asked themselves: “What’s the big deal?”
Sometime this weekend or next, in a humorous counterpoint to the Academy Awards, the Razzies will be handed out recognizing the year’s worst movies and performances. If there were a category for news reporting, the United Arab Emirates port management story would garner the most nominations in all categories. From the first, the press has gotten this story almost entirely wrong and rather than reporting the truth, it has concentrated its efforts upon scoring the political damage done to George Bush and the Republicans. You would have to dig very hard and completely ignore your local newspaper or broadcast news to learn that the deal almost certainly makes us more secure ,as the UAE agreed to security concessions and inspections on its own soil. The UAE also pledged verifiable cooperation in the war on terror.
Search your memory for how often those news items have been mentioned in your traditional information sources and compare that to how many times you’ve heard that Bush’s poll numbers have dropped again. You tell me which is the more substantive story.
While these mainstream media outlets revel in Bush’s low poll numbers, they should have a look at their own.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Another New York Times Lie
Ed Morrisey catches the New York Times once again deceiving its easily misled readers and leading the rest of the press pack on a deceitful attack on the president.
For those who want to see the transcripts themselves of the video conferences, the New York Times has them for the August 28th and August 29th briefings. The transcript for the 29th makes one garbled mention of the levees around New Orleans (page 6). After making the point that the storm surge would cause the greatest devastation in the Gulfport area of Mississippi, going as high as 21 feet, Max Mayfield then turns to New Orleans:
MAX MAYFIELD: ... The rest of the track we have 10 to 15 feet, in a few areas up to 16 feet. At least glimpsed it out, and Louisiana can talk a little bit more about this than I can, but it looks like the Federal levies [sic] around the City of New Orleans will not have been (incomprehensible) any breaches to.
That certainly doesn't sound like a warning -- and this was on the day the levees broke. That transcript clearly shows that the conference considered the storm surge and precipitation runoff to be the major threats of flooding in New Orleans. The possibility of breaches, even on the 29th, had been discounted.
The transcript from the August 28th meeting talked more about levees, but in the same vein, and this time no one mentions the word "breach". Starting on page 5, Max Mayfield again talks about the dangers of Lake Pontchartrain, but only in the context of the winds created a surge that could overtop the levees:
One of the valleys here in Lake Pontchartrain, we've got on our forecast track, if it maintains its intensity: about 12 1/2 feet of storm surge in the lake. The big question is going to be: will that top some of the levies? And the currrent track and the forecast we have now suggests there will be minimal flooding in the city of New Orleans itself, but we're -- we've always said that the storm surge model is only accurate within 20 percent.
If that track were to deviate just a little bit to the west, it would -- it makes all the difference in the world. I do expect that there will be some of the levies over top even out here in the western portions where the airport is. We've got valleys that can't overtop some of the levies.
The problem we're going to have here -- remember, the winds go counterclockwise around the center of the hurricane. So if the really strong winds clip Lake Pontchartrain, that's going to pile some of that water from Lake Pontchartrain over on the south side of the lake. I don't think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levies will be topped or not, but that's obviously a very, very grave concern.
Again, the entire briefing that related to levees only focused on the effects of the wind on Lake Pontchartrain and its effect in pushing water over the top of the levees. Mayfield never even addressed the possibility of breaches in the levee walls. And in fact, the storm track shifted eastward in the final hours before Katrina hit, which eliminated much of the predicate for even the worries Mayfield expresses in this transcript.
The media got it wrong yet again on Katrina. The notion that the experts warned of levee breaches is nothing more than a hack job initiated by the AP and continued by the rest of the Exempt Media even after the source material has proven it false.
Why I Can't Trust the MSM
What's To Defend?
Good grief, even when George Bush does everything perfectly, the press gives it a headlline like this: "Bush Defends Nuclear Agreement With India"
Bush is cementing an alliance with the world's largest democracy and the next military and economic superpower, he as brought their nuclear program closer to our inspection, all the while keeping Pakistan as an ally in the war on terror.
It's miraculous I'd say. Who should have to defend it?
Predictable Leftist Elitism
Here in Pullman, Washington, we have just gone through a very lengthly process of convincing the city government to allow us to have a Wal Mart superstore in our little burg. Actually, the city council was mostly for it, but a noisy little hair clog of unreformed sixties lefties out for one more call to arms did all they could to stop it. They raised all the usual concerns, Wal Mart doesn't pay enough, it's big non-union meanie, it'll mess up traffic patterns, Wal Mart will do harm to local businesses, then when local businesses disagreed they said that it might harm Shopko (?).
Well, they lost. But reading through the hearing examiner's decision one finds the real reason that PARD didn't want Wal Mart. Look in page 8 and find that concerns were raised about "the intrusion of undesirable social classes."
They don't like Wal Mart's customers or employees. They just are not the right kind of people.
Above It All
Journalist tend to think they are above the law. They also think they're above the rules of civility that most of us govern our lives by as well for that matter.
But many are discovering otherwise and they don't like it. First of all, many prominent journalists were caught up in the Scooter Libby investigation that they demanded then demanded not to be held accountable for.
Now financial writers are finding themselves caught in another web of their own creation.
The subpoenas also reflect the bully-boy tactics that have infected the SEC enforcement staff in recent years. They've acquired the Eliot Spitzer afflatus, which is to fire off subpoenas before asking questions and assume that they have a right to see any and all emails and any other communications.
The irony here is that many financial reporters and columnists have benefited by receiving the leaks of those emails from the SEC and Mr. Spitzer's office, spun of course to make a target company look bad. These journalists are learning how it feels to be on the receiving end of such blunderbuss discovery. At least they have the First Amendment to protect them, not to mention the airwaves or barrels of ink to defend themselves publicly. The average Wall Street trader has no such recourse.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Proving that the Nobel Peace prize only goes to fools and despots (Jimmy Carter, Yasir Arafat) Desmond Tutu proves that he won his through his sterling credentials as a fool.
"What has happened and the aftermath has been seen as a symptom of a more serious disease,'' said Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. ''Had relationships been different, one, the cartoons might not have happened, or if they had, they probably would have been handled differently."
Tutu noted that freedom of expression also came with some obligations.
''Imagine if the subject had been the Holocaust and it had been treated in a way that the Jews had deemed offensive and the reaction of the Danish government and international community had been as it is now,'' he said.
Actually, we don't have to imagine. It happens all the time - and nobody burns down embassies or beheads anyone.
This is What Grown-Ups are For
The Washington State Sentate passed a resolution honoring World War II ace Pappy Boyington.
"He was one of the most heroic fighter pilots in American history," said Senator Luke Esser, R-Bellevue. "Being a guy from UW, I'm proud of Huskies that go on to achieve great things."
The student Senate triggered a firestorm three weeks ago after rejecting by one vote a resolution to create a campus memorial for Boyington. Radio talk shows and Internet blogs quickly chastised the students for the decision.
Debating the issue, UW senior Ashley Miller said the university already had enough monuments to rich white men, according to meeting minutes. Jill Edwards, a UW sophomore, questioned whether a member of the Marine Corps was the type of person the school wanted to produce.
This was precipitated when the spoiled brats at the University of Washington disparaged Pappy Boyington.
I Guess I was Tortured In High School and College
Maybe John McCain did the nation a favor after all. We now have the first court case invoking his anti-torture law and the "torture" that's being challenged is force feeding.
Mohammad Bawazir, a Yemeni detainee who was the subject of Friday's filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, told his lawyers he began his hunger strike in August and was determined to die in Cuba but stopped resisting the force-feeding last year when he decided it was futile. Bawazir's attorneys said he had been allowing the feedings -- through a tube that was left in at all times -- but the tactics changed dramatically on Jan. 11, when the military strapped Bawazir to a chair and forced a much larger tube into his nose and down his throat, causing him "unbearable pain."
Richard G. Murphy Jr., a Washington lawyer representing Bawazir, said yesterday that military officials "argue it's a life-saving mechanism, but they were already engaged in saving his life, without resistance."
The court filing asks for an injunction to stop the treatment, and Judge Gladys Kessler has scheduled a hearing for tomorrow.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment yesterday because the government has yet to file its response. Navy Lt. Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, said Defense Department officials "believe that preservation of life through lawful, clinically appropriate means is a responsible and prudent measure for the safety and well-being of detainees."
Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, who leads the U.S. Southern Command, told reporters last week that the new techniques were designed to end the strike, but defended strapping detainees to the padded chair. He said detainees had devised a way to siphon the food out of their stomachs after they had returned to their cells, using the feeding tubes left inside them.
We Have Nothing to Fear, But Democrats Themselves
We can only lose this war in our political arena.
The second-guessing of 2003 still daily obsesses us: We should have had better intelligence; we could have kept the Iraqi military intact; we would have been better off deploying more troops. Had our forefathers embraced such a suicidal and reactionary wartime mentality, Americans would have still torn each other apart over Valley Forge years later on the eve of Yorktown--or refought Pearl Harbor even as they steamed out to Okinawa.
There is a more disturbing element to these self-serving, always evolving pronouncements of the "my perfect war, but your disastrous peace" syndrome. Conservatives who insisted that we needed more initial troops are often the same ones who now decry that too much money has been spent in Iraq. Liberals who chant "no blood for oil" lament that we unnecessarily ratcheted up the global price of petroleum. Progressives who charge that we are imperialists also indict us for being naively idealistic in thinking democracy could take root in post-Baathist Iraq and providing aid of a magnitude not seen since the Marshall Plan. For many, Iraq is no longer a war whose prognosis is to be judged empirically. It has instead transmogrified into a powerful symbol that apparently must serve deeply held, but preconceived, beliefs--the deceptions of Mr. Bush, the folly of a neoconservative cabal, the necessary comeuppance of the American imperium, or the greed of an oil-hungry U.S.