Site for Free Markets and Free People

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Still Think Judges Aren't Political?

Last week's decision by NY federal judge Alvin Hellerstein that orders the government to release all Abu Ghraib pictures to the ACLU has reminded us that, like politicians, many judges are extremely partisan. We already knew that the ACLU is an organization designed to protect anti-American troglodytes both inside and outside the U.S., but some judges want in on the anti-Bush action.

According to the FEC, Alvin and his wife, Mildred, made the following political contributions:

2004 - Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: $200
2004 - Democratic National Committee: $1,200
2000 - Gore/Lieberman Campaign: $750
1999 - Gore 2000 Committee: $250

If judges and their wives are allowed to promote political campaigns, there should never be any outrage when someone criticizes them for being political hacks. Yet another reason that confirmation of Bush's judicial nominees is the single most important issue for the U.S. Senate and why conservatives are rightfully upset with the Treacherous Seven for their deal with Dems last week.

The AP Doesn't Believe We're at War

Bush held a standard press conference today whereby his critics (the media) asked him about the usual: torture, the "gulag" story by Amnesty International, etc.

The headline from the AP: "Bush hits back at critics of 'war on terror.'" Apparently the war on terror is now a subjective interpretation to the media rather than a fact.

Come to think of it, I'm surprised they don't use quotes more often when using terms like "President" Bush, "Israel," "terrorists,"...

Al Qaeda: 1, Newsweek/Isikoff: 0

The more I read about Michael Isikoff's (Newsweek) article on a Koran being flushed down the toilet, the more I realize how unprofessional, naive and irresponsible the article really was. Even captured Al Qaeda manuals explained to terrorists that they should complain about torture if imprisoned. From Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times: (Via Sons of the Republic.)
In a raid on an al Qaeda cell in Manchester, British authorities seized al Qaeda's most extensive manual for how to wage war.

...A directive lists one mission as "spreading rumors and writing statements that instigate people against the enemy."

If captured, the manual states, "At the beginning of the trial ... the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by state security before the judge. Complain of mistreatment while in prison."

Considering that even a child could figure out that our enemies might lie for political gain, it's shocking that Isikoff still holds a job in journalism.

Deepthroat's Identity Revealed

According to a Vanity Fair article, W. Mark Felt is Watergate's famed "Deepthroat." Who the hell cares?

All morning long, CNN, PMSNBC and the MSM have been analyzing and discussing the "breaking story." It is obvious why the story is so important to the Left: any government official who leaks information to bring down a Republican president should be glorified in their eyes. Whether it is a soldier leaking photos of Abu Ghraib, a Senator leaking information about judicial nominees or anyone else leaking information to harm a GOP presidency, the MSM will glorify the leaky.

I just don't remember the same treatment of Kathleen Willey or Gennifer Flowers when they spoke up about Bill Clinton...

Supreme Court Overturns Arthur Andersen Verdict

According to CNBC, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Arthur Andersen's conviction for obstructing a government investigation by a unanimous vote, 9-0. According to the court, the jury instructions "simply failed to convey the requisite consciousness of wrongdoing.''

Sorry about that guys - no hard feelings?

The Washington Post has an interesting take: "The ruling is a setback for the Bush administration, which made prosecution of white-collar criminals a high priority following accounting scandals at major corporations."

A setback for Bush?? Leave it to the MSM to view it that way. I personally don't think Bush cares one way or another about the verdict, as long as justice is served properly.

I think the prosecution of Arthur Andersen was one of the greatest injustices in recent years as a reactionary attempt to blame someone for corporate abuses. I'm happy to see the conviction overturned - even though the company has since been destroyed by judicial overreach. Truly a pyrrhic victory.

NY Times "Outs" CIA Flight Operations

The NY Times wrote an article this morning on Aero Contractors, Ltd., a charter plane company that is a supposed front company for the CIA used to transport CIA and paramilitary personnel to locations around the globe. Even if some of the facts in the article are true, the use of a private company to assist the government should not surprise anyone.

The intent of the Times is to create the impression that the CIA is involved in some underhanded methods (such as contracting private planes) used to conceal the fact that it engages in torture.

Some of the C.I.A. planes have been used for carrying out renditions, the legal term for the agency's practice of seizing terrorism suspects in one foreign country and delivering them to be detained in another, including countries that routinely engage in torture. The resulting controversy has breached the secrecy of the agency's flights in the last two years, as plane-spotting hobbyists, activists and journalists in a dozen countries have tracked the mysterious planes' movements.

I don't believe anything I read in the NY Times, but it makes me wonder how far the media will go to harm national security for the sake of a story. (I think we know that answer already.)

Inside Bubba's White House

"The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House" seems to contain some interesting pieces of information.

One is the publicly cool Clinton's first conversation with Vice President Al Gore after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.

"This is a f-----g coup d'etat!" Harris quotes Clinton as bellowing about his enemies in the Republican Party.

Another was in 2000 when Clinton ordered aides to release a bogus number after his annual Navy physical - to make him 5 pounds lighter, Harris writes.

Harris also writes that Tipper Gore was disgusted with both Bill and Hil. Rather than attend a major Democratic fund-raiser with the Clintons, she holed up in her hotel room.

"I'm not going out there with that man," Harris quotes her as saying.

In other words, the book portrays the former White House occupants as vain, power-grabbing, emotional hotheads. That sounds about right, even if the title implies something of an underdog story.

One more point: everyone seems to focus on John Bolton's temper and demeanor as a reason for his "unfitness to the UN," yet for Bill Clinton, no one utters a word.

Shocker: Lawmakers Belatedly Disclose Trips

With the intense scrutiny of Tom DeLay's travels, House memebers and aides have disclosed at least 198 previously unreported special interest trips.
At least 43 House members and dozens of aides had failed to meet the one-month deadline in ethics rules for disclosing trips financed by organizations outside the U.S. government...House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer recently disclosed 12 trips, the oldest dating back to 1997.

Hoyer's spokesman Stacey Bernards blamed Hoyer's violations on Republicans: the GOP was "doing opposition research to deflect from their own ethical issues." Nothing like taking personal responsibility.

Hoyer's undisclosed trips were nearly doubled by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., with 21. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., reported 20 past trips and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. reported 13.

Pejmanesque asks a good question: "If Tom DeLay gets in trouble, will all these people get in trouble too? No matter what their party affiliation or seniority?" Yeah -- right...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Happy Memorial Day

I won't be posting much today due to my celebration of Memorial Day. Yesterday I had a chance to celebrate the weekend by visiting Antietam National Battlefield, which was a fascinating reminder of the sacrifices made by our military to protect our freedoms.

Today I will take in my first Washington Nationals game and see some of the celebrations taking place in Washington, DC. Enjoy the holiday!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

What to Do on Memorial Day

Blackfive reminds us what Memorial Day is all about and why we should take time to relax, have a beer, a barbecue and just enjoy life. I'm all for that!

Oh, Those Home Prices

Want to know why real estate prices keep increasing? First it was a huge decline in interest rates. Now, people are moving in mass droves to interest-only loans. Take the case of Washington DC:
About 54 percent of home buyers in the District purchased their homes using interest-only loans so far this year, according to LoanPerformance, a San Francisco-based company that tracks loan originations nationwide. About one-third of buyers in Maryland and Virginia are buying with interest-only loans.

Just five years ago, only about 2 percent of home-purchase loans in the Washington area involved interest-only terms.

Got that? 54% will never pay a dime of principal!!!!! Oh, boy - this is gonna be ugly...

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Democrats' Middle Class Problem

Despite claims by the Democratic party that they support middle class values, they have not translated into votes. Among white middle class voters, the choice between Republican and Democrat is not even close.

The study is based on Third Way's analysis of 2004 exit polls. Among the five principal findings are that white middle-income voters supported President Bush by 22 percentage points. The study concluded that the "economic tipping point -- the income level above which white voters were more likely to vote Republican than Democrat -- was $23,700."

This means that once people move out of poverty (and have to pay taxes), they are much more likely to support a Republican than Democrat. The Democrats have truly become the special interest party - minorities, unions, lawyers, felons and dead people.

McCain-Kennedy Amnesty Bill is Bad News

Rich Lowry fisks the illegal alien amnesty bill proposed by John McCain and his newest buddy, Teddy Whiskey. The bill would grant amnesty to all illegals in the U.S. after they pay a small fine - I don't know how this is supposed to solve the problem of people flowing across the border illegally.

For two men who have spent the last several weeks decrying changing Senate rules and upholding the rule of law, they seem pretty indifferent to the rule of law on immigration issues.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Florida Baseball Coach Should Be in the Senate

Lazer Callazo, the Gulliver Prep baseball coach from Coral Gables, Florida resigned this week after a controversy erupted in which he dropped his pants in front of his players and asked whether his team "had a set of these."

Callazo should run for the U.S. Senate - the GOP could use a guy like him.

LA Mayor Will Take Guidance from Mexico

Where do most politicians look for guidance on policy? The citizens? The law? His values? All good answers, but for Los Angeles Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa, he will look to Mexico.
Los Angeles Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that Mexico will play an important role in shaping his policies, reports Mexico's El Universal Online.

Villaraigosa also told El Universal that he would not support policies that supposedly persecute the city's large migrant population.

At least the citizens of LA can't complain they don't know what they're getting in the new mayor.

Memorial Day Photos

In the spirit of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, here is a link to some pretty cool color WWI photos. Courtesy of Common Sense Junction.

Dems Employ Succesful Obstruction Strategy

Betsy explains the new successful tactic Democrats are using to block nominees: ask for classified documents and then explain that they don't have enough information to confirm a nominee (hat tip: Viking Pundit). And the GOP looks like a pack of deer caught in the headlights.

And why shouldn't Democrats use this strategy? So far the tactic has worked twice: first with Miguel Estrada and now with John Bolton.

Chaos Among Iraqi "Insurgents?" Say it Ain't So

The NY Post is the first newspaper that seems to tell it like it is: "Zarqawi Gang in Chaos." The rest of the media seems to fret about using language that actually depict the U.S. and Iraq starting to win against the terrorists.
Iraq's interior and defense ministers said yesterday they have information that Zarqawi has been wounded — confirmation of recent rumors that the Jordanian-born terrorist leader of "al Qaeda in Iraq" was injured.

Meanwhile, statements posted by terror supporters on Web sites made it clear there could be confusion within the group itself — or perhaps even a leadership struggle — over Zarqawi's status.

One explanation for the chaos is that Zarqawi is already in U.S. custody, which would help explain why everyone seems certain that he is wounded and the seeming confusion among his followers about whether or not to appoint a successor.

Syrian Intelligence Officer Admits Iraqi Attacks

According to a Kuwaiti newspaper, a Syrian intelligence officer captured in Iraq is responsible for attacks both in Lebanon and Iraq.
Tah said he worked for Syrian intelligence services, adding that he worked for a long time in Lebanon where he perpetrated several attacks. He then moved to Iraq, where he committed several attacks against mosques and Iraqi civilians.

If true, I don't know why the U.S. is still soft stepping around the Syrian issue. This would prove that Syria has committed acts war against the U.S. in Iraq, which the U.S. should not tolerate. In the Bullpen has more.

What Senate Partisanship?

After a day of patting each other on the back for the civility and compromising nature of the Senate, Democrats are back to their old obstructionist ways by filibustering a vote to confirm John Bolton.

After we all had a good cry with Sen. Voinovich (R-OH) over "Mr. Meanie" (that's Bolton), senators voted 56-42 to end debate and vote - 4 votes short of the 60 required (3 "Red state" Democrats voted with the GOP, while Chafee and Voinovich voted with Dems).

Harry Reid: "We're not here to filibuster Bolton..."

Frist: "It certainly sounds like a filibuster. It quacks like a filibuster. It does disappoint me...We are going to come back to this issue...but I think what America has just seen is an engagement of another period of obstruction by the other side...once again, another filibuster..."

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Right to Abortion but Not to Smoke Tobacco

Individuals have a right to abortion, but according to a New York judge, they do not have a right to smoke tobacco.
A judge Wednesday tossed out a lawsuit brought by a 115-year-old private club that sought to strike down New York state and city no-smoking regulations so it could continue to honor its members — who include Walter Cronkite and Carol Burnett — with ceremonies that include lighting up.

"Individuals have no 'fundamental' constitutional right to smoke tobacco," the judge said... The judge suggested that the club substitute suitable nontobacco products.

Brazil Will Not Help Venezuela with Iran Nuclear Program

Fortunately Venezuela's neighbors are not following Hugo Chavez's lead in helping Iran with its nuclear program.
Hugo Chavez's South American neighbors were taken aback by the Venezuelan president's suggestion over the weekend that they work jointly with Iran to develop a nuclear power capacity. Brazil moved quickly to quash the idea, saying it was open to cooperation with Venezuela, but wanted no part of any deal involving Iran.

As I mentioned a few days ago, it appears that Venezuela is trying to establish its own nuclear program. It's good to see there is still some sanity elsewhere in Latin America.

Voinovich Gets Teary-eyed Over Bolton

Get out your box of Kleenex, folks. After listening to Sen. Voinovich's plea not to confirm John Boltion, you will mimic the Senator and have a good cry.

Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) choked up on the Senate floor, as he urged his colleagues to vote against Bolton's nomination on Thursday:

''I'm afraid that when we go to the [Senate] well, that too many of my colleagues -- (voice breaking) -- that too many of my colleagues are not going to understand that this appointment is very, very important to our country," Voinovich said.

If Senator Voinovich were really that concerned with the nomination, rather than looking like a jackass after voicing his opinion against Bolton, he would have bothered to show up for the committee hearings while they were questioning the man.

French Say the Vote on EU Constitution is "Lost"

According to the London Times, the French now admit that the vote on the EU Constitution is all but lost. The good news is that the treaty was a bit of a joke to begin with, so no one is losing much. RIP.

Common Sense Junction says "Viva de Gaulle."

Democrats Sink to New Lows in Fundraising

If Republicans pulled a stunt like this, there would be outrage from Democrats and various media organizations for weeks. The GOP would be labelled as insensitive to all cancer patients and the fight against cancer. (Thanks to Joe in NY for the heads up.)

In an effort to raise money for Democratic political groups, a Democratic political action committee called ThinkBlue Dems is selling blue wristbands that mimic Lance Armstrong's foundation to raise money for cancer survivors. The Democratic group replicated Armstrong's yellow "Live Strong" bracelet with their own "Think Blue" imprint.

In a slap to cancer patients, survivors and supporters, ThinkBlue Dems seems to equate the fight against cancer with supporting Democratic politicians. This is pretty low, even for a Democratic PAC. But no standards are too low for the party of Michael Moore and George Soros.

China Draws Line for North Korea

Although China generally seems not to care about helping the U.S. in its 6-party talks to deal with North Korea, it has reportedly said there will be "grave consequences" for North Korea if it conducts a nuclear test.
Quoting sources from the stalled six-party negotiations, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported the Chinese had delivered the Pyongyang regime its sharpest warning against exploding a nuclear device.

"The Chinese Government has strongly warned and urged against the carrying out of a nuclear test," according to a source quoted by Kyodo, who also said the diplomatically menacing phrase "grave consequences" had been used.

Because China is almost the sole provider to North Korea, it carries significant influence. In my opinion, the U.S. and Japan should tell China that Japan is going nuclear in next year if the North Korean situation is not resolved. I have a feeling China would then be a little bit more helpful than they have been thus far.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Amnesty International: Gitmo = Gulag

That's right - the world body that proclaims to care about human rights says that the prison in Gunantanamo Bay is "the gulag of our time." The group's annual report claims that "environmental manipulation, stress positions and sensory manipulation" is equivalent to the Soviet Union's efforts to kill millions of people through its concentration camps.

Hmm..."manipulation" seems to mean that we are trying to get information from these terrorists even if they don't want to tell us. The shame!

And then we have the left-wingers (here and here) assuming that Amnesty's report is somehow the gospel truth rather than useful kindling. Gotta love those moonbats...

Those Congressional Approval Polls

Nearly every media outlet has mentioned it - the public's approval of Congress is very low, at just 29 percent. All the reports I have heard imply that because Republicans are in charge, the public is faulting them.

However, the breakdown by party indicate something different. While both parties are viewed negatively, the Democrats in Congress are viewed abysmally. Haven't heard that part of the poll yet.

McCain on the Filibuster Deal

There's been enough written on this filibuster deal, but I thought John McCain's quote and non-clarification of "extraordinary circumstances" gives us some insight into the man:
"It's like child pornography, my friend. You know it when you see it."

I'm not sure what McCain is doing in his free time, but that metaphor doesn't help me too much...

Excuses, Hard Work and Racism

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe (hat tip: Blue Site) has a good post on the recent decision by UMass (Boston) to select Dr. Michael Collins as Chancellor instead of J. Keith Motley, who would have been the first black person appointed to the position. As a result of this "racism," UMass has been getting lambasted for its actions and various groups have called for mass protests.

Jacoby compares this victim mentality with the cultural ethic of Asians at Quincy High School:
Who is more likely to succeed -- the child who grows up in a culture that tells him success depends on his own hard work, or the one who keeps hearing that until white prejudice is eradicated, minorities will never get a fair shake?

Asian kids don’t have a gene for calculus or getting into Yale. They have a culture that demands hard work, cares deeply about academic success, and rejects ‘‘racism’’ as an excuse for mediocrity. When the same can be said about black American culture -- or, for that matter, about white American culture -- the math club at Quincy High will look very different.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Racecar Driving Keeps Getting Better

And people wonder why car racing keeps getting more popular...courtesy of Wizbang.

AMT Next on Chopping Block?

In an idea that seems to have bipartisan support, Sens. Grassley (R-IA) and Baucus (D-MT), plan to introduce legislation this year that would repeal the AMT.
If Congress fails to act, the number of taxpayers paying the AMT will jump from more than 3 million this year to about 20 million in 2006 as temporary AMT relief expires at the end of this year. About 75 percent of them will have incomes between $100,000 and $200,000.

The number of taxpayers paying the AMT is expected to grow to roughly 35 million by the end of the decade.

Rossputin calls the tax the Frankenstein of the tax code. Maybe now Congress can actually get some of Bush's agenda through (though I'm not counting on it).

CA Budget Troubles? Not For Lawmakers

Tough times for California taxpayers do not equal tough times for California legislators.

A state commission Monday granted lawmakers a 12 percent pay hike, boosting their annual salaries to $110,880 - the highest compensation in the country for state legislators.

Not all legislators are accepting pay increases however:

Schwarzenegger, elected when the state faced a nearly $20 billion budget deficit, has refused to accept his $175,000 annual governor's salary. The 2006-2007 budget shortfall is estimated to be at least $5 billion.

Gosh, you would think that California legislators are U.S. Congressman, who also vote themselves an above-inflation pay increase every year without fail (maybe they're just better at hiding it from us).

Sellouts!! Democrats Win; McCain's Presidential Run Over

Republicans win a major victory in the 2004 elections and the Democrats tell them to screw themselves. Dems won a major victory today in a treacherous "deal" designed to obfuscate the fact that Dems have used unprecedented judicial filibusters against Bush's nominees. Remember the Red Sox win over the Yankees in last year's ALCS? The Dems just topped that feat.

The agreement said future nominees to the appeals court and Supreme Court should "only be filibustered under extraordinary circumstances, " which means, of course - any time a judge doesn't agree with liberal policies and a "living, breathing Constitution."

Big freaking deal: the Democrats "allowed" votes on 3 nominees. I'm stunned, disgusted and very upset. I can't say I'm surprised though - the GOP has no backbone and can never face the Dems in hardball tactics - period. Never have, never will. I will never support any of the Republicans involved in this deal again - ever. (That means you John McCain - say goodbye to 2008.)

Mark Tapscott says to prepare for "the new media stars."

Scared Monkeys and The Anchoress have their thoughts ("Republicans screwed.").

If I were President Bush, I would give both Saad and Myers, who are being hung out by the GOP jellyfish, recess appointments this summer when the Senate goes home.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Iran Helping Venezuela with Nukes?

It's a scary thought, but the Houston Chronicle has some worrying developments with Venezuela (hat tip: Regime Change Iran). Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has recently hosted Iranian president Khatami, which is troublesome enough. Writing for the Chronicle, Douglas Mackinnon, former press secretary for Sen. Bob Dole notes:
During a private meeting between Chavez and Khatami, I was told, Chavez made it known to the Iranian leader that he would like to "introduce nuclear elements into Venezuela." My contact said "nuclear elements" meant "nuclear weapons."

Standing side by side with Khatami in Caracas, Chavez said, "Iran has every right to develop atomic energy and to continue research in that area. ... Faced with the threat of the U.S. government against our brother people in Iran, count on us for all our support."

Venezuela is a sworn enemy of the United States and will have to be dealt with sooner or later. A nuclear weapon in Iran is one thing (which I still don't believe the U.S. or Israel will permit); a nuclear weapon in Venezuela will not happen, regardless of the means to prevent it.

The Beeb Goes on Strike

Thousands of BBC employees began a 24-hour strike because of job cuts at the government-funded UK broadcaster.
"The savage cuts proposed will damage programming as well as the organization and will unravel British broadcasting traditions," said Mike Smallwood, national officer of the Amicus union.

"The BBC is a unifying British institution which acts as the nation's conscience but these redundancies will damage the U.K. at its core."

That's laughable. One of the reasons that BBC is a massive failure is that it considers itself "the nation's conscience." It should leave the conscience to its citizens and focus on real news rather than its current editorial style. The funny thing is that the strike will probably hasten UK consumers' switch to direct satellite broadcasters and the decline of the BBC.

The Londonist has a few thoughts on how the BBC can save money, but I've got a better one: shut the whole thing down and let a private company start from scratch.

Free Viagara for Sex Offenders

Yet another reason we face rising health care costs. According to the NY Sun, rapists and other sex offenders have been getting free Viagara, thanks to Medicaid.
According to the [NY] state comptroller, Alan Hevesi, who announced the finding yesterday, 198 Level 3 sex offenders in the state, who have been convicted of such crimes as child molestation and rape, had Viagra prescriptions subsidized by the state between January 2000 and March 2005.

Does this strike anyone in the government as outrageous?

Anti-War Schroeder Suffers Major Defeat

That should be the headline around the world after Germany's anti-war, anti-American politician lost a major election in yesterday's North Rhine-Westphalia election, forcing Schroeder to call for special elections one year ahead of schedule. Social Democrats had previously ruled the region for nearly 40 years.

With the exception of Spain's Aznar, all of the major pro-war Iraq candidates (Bush, Blair, Howard) have been victorious in their re-election bids, while anti-war Schroeder suffered a major loss. Obviously Schroeder has many problems, but if it were the other way around, the media would make it a point that it was a "referendum on the unpopular decision on the Iraq War."

Support for Social Democrats stands at a meager 29 percent, according to polls in Germany.

So long Gary...

Russert Blows Interview with Dean

I think Tim Russert is a decent guy, but as an interviewer, he's terribly weak. While interviewing Howard Dean yesterday, he didn't follow up any half-witted answer with a difficult question. For example, after Dean answered that "Bush lied" about Iraq, Russert got Dean to admit that he, too, thought Saddam "probably had WMDs," but then Russert simply changed topics for him. I'm not the only one who noticed the softballs.
"It definitely wasn't your typical 'gotcha' interview by Russert," says the DNC staffer. "On just about every issue: Social Security, the filibuster, DeLay, Bolton and Iraq, Dean basically just put out what we gave him: Bush is privatizing Social Security, DeLay should be in jail, the filibuster is un-Democratic, Bush is a liar, Bolton is a liar. Russert never called us on a single thing. We got lucky."

Ankle Biting Pundits has the follow-up questions a competent interviewer should have asked.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Still Think Newsweek Isn't Anti-American?

If you thought last week's American version of Newsweek was bad, just take a look at this Asian version from February, courtesy of Riding Sun.

On the cover is a broken American flag in a trashcan, with a headline titled, "The Day America Died." The featured story is translated as "America, the dream country, is rotting away."

Apparently Newsweek believes that Jimmy Carter had it right when he implied that America's best days were behind wonder most Americans are starting to ignore the mainstream news like Bill ignores Hillary.

Guardian: Saddam's Jail is "Bleak"

Oh, the horror. According to UK's Guardian newspaper, Saddam's jail cell in Iraq is bleak. Dr. Rod Barton, a UN scientist who took part in the interrogation process, described the jail.
He said there were about 100 prisoners kept at the 'bleak' prison, which consists of three rows of single-story buildings with tiny two-metre square cells and no windows. The cells have steel doors with a metal flap a metre from the ground.

Barton said he witnessed no physical abuse at the jail, but he believes some prisoners had been 'softened up' before they arrived in an induction process known as 'purgatory'.

Give me a break - what do they expect, a Tahiti vacation? Suddenly, with the "Saddam underwear" photos, the media wants to humanize Saddam and portray him as a victim of U.S. policy. The Sun newspaper responds to the criticism of publishing the photos.

I don't think the photos are a big deal, although the person who sold them to the Sun and the New York Post should be thrown in jail. I agree with the Sun on one point: I would rather have a photo of me in my underwear than a video of me being raped, tortured or torn apart by dogs - which Saddam had no problem doing.

Overall it gives people a chance to criticize the U.S. again, but I've stopped listening to them a long time ago.

Al-jazeera refuses to show the photos because they are "indecent." Thankfully, beheadings still don't fall into the indecent category.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Dreary Spring for Conservatives

Larry Kudlow has some thoughts on the dreary political spring that conservatives are now experiencing.
Conservatives were near ecstatic last November when President Bush won handily and the Republicans strengthened their hold in Congress. Hopes were high that little could stop the implementation of a true conservative agenda, one that featured supply-side economic reform, investor-owned Social Security reform, serious budget restraint, large-scale energy deregulation, legal-abuse-curbing tort reform, and the confirmation of pro-business, pro-life judicial nominees.

But the hoped-for domestic-reform agenda has gone nowhere. Five months into Bush’s new term, the president and the American people are witnessing a cycle of self-flagellation in pursuit of endless process debate inside the U.S. Senate.

I have to admit - the Democrats lost the 2004 elections badly, but have won many of the battles this year (by obstruction). Who woulda thunk it?

Those Racist Pre-Schools

Who could have known that this ad for a Dallas-area pre-school would be seen as racist? Some people will always view themselves as victims - and it will continue as long as people pay attention to their ludicrous complaints.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Imagine a Left-Wing Extremist Judge

Let's take the following hypothetical situation in which an extreme left-wing judge held the following views:

1) A strong sympathy for the position that there is a constitutional right to prostitution as well as a constitutional right to polygamy.

2) Attacked the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts as organizations that perpetuate stereotyped sex roles and that he had proposed abolishing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and replacing them with a single androgynous Parent’s Day.

3) Called for an end to single-sex prisons on the theory that if male prisoners are going to return to a community in which men and women function as equal partners, prison is just the place for them to get prepared to deal with women.

4) A manifest imbalance in the racial composition of an employer’s work force justified court-ordered quotas even in the absence of any intentional discrimination on the part of the employer (even if this particular person had never hired a single black person out of 50 hires in a predominantly black city).

What do you think would happen to such a nominee whose views are so wacky to the Left that it seems like fiction? To see what would happen in this hypothetical example, click here.

Still Want to Pass that Transportation Bill?

Take a look at this and ask yourself whether the transportation bill is worth it. It is hard to believe - and it's just one small example. (I've previously discussed the problems here and here and here.)

Something Strange About 3/11 Attacks in Spain

I know that some bloggers have mentioned this over the past few days, but it seems that the story is still relatively's also very preliminary and speculative right now. Nevertheless,
It has long been understood that the Spanish socialists shamelessly exploited the March 11, 2004, terrorist attacks in Madrid’s train station for political advantage. They did so with palpable disregard for a frightening fact: The far-reaching geostrategic repercussions of that incident — which vaporized the ruling conservative party’s electoral lead just days before the polling — gave those seeking similar results elsewhere every incentive to engage in violence against other democracies’ electoral processes.

But what if the perpetrators were neither Islamofacists, as the winning socialists immediately asserted, nor the Basque terrorist organization known as ETA, as the government of José Maria Aznar initially (and fatally) assumed?

Spain's El Mundo has some evidence that the Spanish attacks may have been part of an inside job to get rid of a government. I don't know if it's true yet, but it's an interesting read. The Barcepundit has also been following the story.

Antarctica Ice Sheet is Thickening

Global climatists are trying to explain a new curveball in their global warming thesis, in which the polar ice caps are going to melt and cause chaos. The problem is that in Antarctica, the opposite effect is occurring - the ice sheet is actually thickening.

And surely enough, global warming theorists have an explanation:
"The changes in the ice look like those expected for a warming world," said glaciologist Richard Alley at Pennsylvania State University. "The new result in no way disproves global warming; if anything, the new result supports global warming."

It's not too hard to find global warming theorists for a good reason - scientists who oppose the theory of manmade global warming are often fired from their jobs.

The bottom line is that scientists have no more clue today about what causes global climate change than they did 10,000 years ago - despite what the looney Left might say.

Simpsons Friday

Readers seem to enjoy my Simpsons Friday posts - and let's face it - they never get old:

Homer: English, who needs that? I'm never going to England!

Burns: Oh, 'meltdown'. It's one of those annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an unrequested fission surplus.

Lenny: The team’s been horrible since it was bought by that cheap and heartless Duff Corporation. Hey Moe, gimme a Duff. (drinks). Oh yeah. Sweeet Duff.

Homer: When will I learn? The answers to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle! They're on TV!

Apu: Oh look. It's Mr. Homer, my favorite customer. Please feel free to flip through my Playdudes and eat my raw bacon and tell me to go back to some country I'm not actually from.

Chief Wiggum: This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving of some sort; heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless.

Homer: Now son, you don't want to drink beer. That's for daddies, and kids with fake Ids.

Ralph: Hi Principal Skinner. Hi Supernintendo Chalmers.

Scully: Homer, we're going to ask you a few simple yes or no questions. Do you understand?

Homer: Yes. (lie dectector blows up)

Moe: Oh. Am I really that ugly?
Carl: Ah, Moe, it's all relative. Is Lenny that dumb? Is Barney that drunk? Is Homer that lazy, bald, and fat?
Moe: Ahhh. It's worse than I thought!
(Moe, Lenny, Barney, and Homer begin crying)
Carl: (looking at the camera) See this is why I don't talk much.

Chief Wiggum: See ya in court, Simpson. Oh, and bring the evidence with ya, otherwise, I got no case and you'll go scot-free.

Homer: Milton, get out.
Milhouse: But it's MilHOUSE.
Homer: Yeah, and your father's no house.

Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

DeLay Investigator Raising Money for Democrats

Travis County (TX) District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who is investigating a political group founded by Tom DeLay, is helping to prove that he is simply a partisan witch hunter. According to the Houston Chronicle, Earle recently helped raise money at a Democratic fundraiser:
A newly formed Democratic political action committee, Texas Values in Action Coalition, hosted the May 12 event in Dallas to raise campaign money to take control of the state Legislature from the GOP, organizers said. Earle, an elected Democrat, helped generate $102,000 for the organization.

In his remarks, Earle likened DeLay to a bully and spoke about political corruption and the investigation involving DeLay, the House majority leader from Sugar Land, according to a transcript supplied by Earle.

WILLisms has more on Earle's history of "partisan hackery," including bringing bogus charges against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) in 1993 while she was then Texas Treasurer.

This is the Best They've Got?

Courtesy of Viking Pundit; I can't believe that in the Senate showdown, this is the best Democrats can come up with. Notice the lack of specifics - the strategy is to keep the rhetoric vague so the public doesn't know exactly what the real facts are.

Quick Points on the "Sacred" Senate Filibuster

With all of the Democratic talk about how triggering the constitutional option to eliminate judicial filibusters would "destroy" the rules and traditions of the Senate, I just have a few points:

There is no mention of a Senate filibuster in the Constitution.

-In 1806, the Senate changed its rules so that a unanimous vote was required to end debate. The rule change allowed a single Senator to prevent the majority from voting on any matter.

-In 1917 at President Wilson's urging, the Senate adopted Rule XXII, which replaced the rule of unanimity with a two-thirds requirement.

-In 1975, the filibuster rule was changed again to reduce the requirement to three-fifths of the votes, or 60 Senators.

-Today's filibuster is essentially just a threat to filibuster, so that the American public does not know they even occur. (Mr. Smith is a thing of the past.)

-There has been only one filibuster of a judicial nominee in the history of the U.S.: In 1968, Justice Abe Fortas (already a judge but nominated to the Supreme Court), was filibustered. Fortas soon admitted that he briefed the president on secret Court deliberations, had pressured senators who opposed the war in Vietnam and received a secret stipend (equal to 40% of his Court salary) to teach an American University summer course.
These revelations eroded both Democrat and Republican support for Fortas' nomination and President Johnson withdrew the nomination.

-Senate Republicans under Clinton did not require filibusters because they were the majority of the Senate. Thus, many of Clinton's nominees did not receive majority support in the committee.

-Senate rules can not be too "sacred," since Harry Reid disregarded them himself by stating he viewed nominee Henry Saad's confidential FBI files. Since Reid is neither a member of the Judiciary Committee nor from Saad's home state, his viewing of the files was clearly against Senate rules.

In summary, there is nothing "sacred" about Senate rules. The only thing that I consider sacred and unchanging (except by the established amendment process) is the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Democrats believe differently: to them, the Constitution is merely a "living, breathing document" that changes over time based on a judge's wishes.

Wendy Long recently wrote a great piece on the filibuster myths.

{Link to Mudville's Open Post}

Pepsi's New Motto: "Hate America First"

Pepsi CFO Indra Nooyi recently gave a speech at Columbia Business School in which she compared the U.S. to the middle finger on a hand. Pepsi quickly moved to damage control, saying that her remarks were mis-interpreted.

In her address last Sunday, the Chennai born Nooyi compared the five major continents of the world to the five fingers of the human hand.

First was Africa - the pinky finger - small and somewhat insignificant but when hurt, the entire hand hurt with it. Next was Asia -the thumb - strong and powerful, yearning to become a bigger player on the world stage.

Third was Europe - the index finger - pointing the way. Fourth was South America -the ring finger -the finger which symbolises love and sensualness.

According to some students who were present at the graduation ceremony and who fired up the issue in the blogosphere, Nooyi then reserved the remaining finger for the United States (and not North America, they say), launching into "a diatribe about how the US is seen as the middle finger to the rest of the world."

Apart from the anti-Americanism, One Hand Clapping says it was a lousy speech. The New Criterion also has more.

Maybe this was all a planned marketing tool, much like New Coke back in the 80s - except this time Pepsi is hoping to capture the Middle East/Anti-American clientele. If so, it actually might work.

Easongate Continued

Linda Foley, president of the 35,000 member Newspaper Guild, recently repeated claims of CNN Chief Eason Jordan (see Easongate) that U.S. soldiers deliberately target journalists for killing in Iraq.
Linda Foley, speaking Friday in St. Louis, said the American attacks are focused particularly on Arab journalists, according to a tape aired by Sinclair Broadcasting's "The Point," a commentary segment by Mark Hyman.

According to a tape of her remarks, Foley said: "Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or … ah, or … ah, politically. They are also being targeted for real, um … in places like Iraq. What outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there's not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq."

And some people wonder why newspapers have such a liberal bias. Thank you, Linda, for reminding us that Newsweek's error was not a one-time mistake in a specific report, but an example of the systematic B.S. that is condoned and encouraged by the MSM.

A UN Project We Could Do Without

Even though the UN has been in the news recently for its wasteful and corrupt ways, it is continuing with plans to upgrade its headquarters at a cost of $1.2 billion. The cost estimates run anywhere from $452-$1,100 per square foot, which is an extremely high figure by almost anyone's standards. Never heard of the project? You're not the only one.
There has been little debate over the broader issue of the renovation project itself, perhaps because so few people are aware of it. Establishment figures such as Colin Powell, Ed Koch, and Mortimer Zuckerman have been enlisted to head a committee to lobby for the project. With the notable exception of the New York Sun however, the press has been virtually silent. This seems odd, in view of the serious questions that have been raised about the cost of the renovation.

That strikes Donald Trump as far too much. "The United Nations is a mess," the developer said yesterday, "and they're spending hundreds of millions of dollars unnecessarily on this project."

...Trump has gone further, expressing the view that the expenses projected by the U.N. can only be the result of graft or incompetence.

Does any American doubt that a result of the new UN project is going to be a mountain of corruption? (Hint: think Oil for Food meets the Big Dig.) And of course, as The House of Wheels reminds us, the U.S. will be picking up almost a quarter of the tab.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Devastating New Evidence from Newsweek

Newsweek shouldn't have been so quick to retract its story. It looks like some new evidence has come to light that supports its story. See here.

The Democrats' Last Breath

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi took to the media this afternoon in a desperate attempt to continue to block Bush's judicial nominees. I enjoyed every minute of it because it shows that the Dems do not have the votes to override the GOP's constitutional option that they will trigger this week.

I don't have a transcript of Reid's speech (I'm not sure why Pelosi spoke since she's not involved in Senate rulemaking, but I digress); basically Reid covered everything from Bush's power grab to Tom DeLay's "ethics problems", Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Bush's "friendship with Saudi princes," high oil prices,....I'm not kidding here. It was over the top and a clear sign of weakness.

One interesting talking point that Dems are repeating: Justices Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown are "way out of the mainstream." Since judges in TX and CA are elected, Owen and Rogers Brown were re-elected by 84% of Texans and 76% of Californians, respectively. So to all you Texans and Californians out there: "You're a bunch of idiots and don't deserve a vote."

Senators should be required to speak under oath when arguing on nominations - I knew they lied but listening to them is like reading the National Enquirer.

A Bush Critic Gets a Huge Surprise

John Lewis Gaddis, a history professor at Yale University, recently gave a speech at Middlebury College that is well worth reading (hat tip to Ipse Dixit). Gaddis, whom I consider to be a stereotypical liberal history professor, had many criticisms of Bush's foreign policy in his book "Surprise, Security and the American Experience." Nevertheless, Gaddis recognizes the importance of the Bush policy, which he places alongside John Quincy Adams' and FDR's in terms of historical importance.

Little did Gaddis know when he wrote the book that the President would actually invite him to the oval office for a 25-minute conversation. So much for the Leftist argument that Bush will not hear differing opinions.

Some other opinions on Gaddis' speech: Classical Values, Roger L. Simon, Don Luskin.

Medicare Prescription Drug Bill Problems

I knew that the Medicare prescription drug bill would create serious future problems - and unfortunately, I think that taxpayers funding Viagara and Cialis drugs are just the tip of the iceberg. With new lifestyle drugs coming out every year, it's hard to envision a scenario in which health care costs are restrained any time soon.

A Few Quick Notes On George Galloway

Although all the European headlines seem to indicate that George Galloway yesterday got the best of the U.S. Senate with his "showdown," any rational observer can see how ridiculous that thought is. The Left-nut blogs are spewing the same thing (i.e. "The general idea is that a pro-war US senator - Norm Coleman - is pursuing revenge tactics against a small number of anti-war politicians").

Rantburg has a good summary of the affair - I don't think a single rational American believes anything Galloway said. Even Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), one of the Far Left, was frustrated that Galloway never answered a single straightforward question. I suppose that's because there is no defense to accepting bribes from a tyrannical dictator under the ruse that Galloway was actually promoting "peace." Instead, he just spouted his pre-planned statements that the U.S. is evil, it was an illegal war, blah, blah...

I wonder if the Brits will buy it - they seem to be gullible enough.

Vatican-China Relations to Improve?

Vatican is apparently keen to re-establish diplomatic relations with China, but China first wants it to adopt the one-China policy and sever its relations with Taiwan. The Vatican is the only European government that has formal relations with Taiwan, for which China essentially outlawed Catholicism in 1951.

"We are sincere about establishing ties with the Vatican," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said. He also expressed hope that under Pope Benedict XVI, "the Vatican will create favorable conditions to normalize relations."

Richard Spencer of the Daily Telegraph writes that the Vatican will indeed do what it takes to restore diplomatic relations with China. Fortunately I doubt that Pope Benedict is the typical world leader who places diplomacy over moral correctness. If the price to diplomatic relations with China is selling out Taiwan like much of the rest of the world has done, I say, "to hell with China."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Keith Olbermann Has Lost His Sanity to the Looney Left

Chalk up the sanity of a former average sportscaster and wannabe news commentator to the trashbin of history. Keith Olbermann has officially gone the way of the Dean, Reid, Kennedy, Pelosi and the rest of looney left by stating that the Administration committed treason by "setting up" Newsweek over its recent FlushGate story. That's right - the Administration set the whole thing up.

For one thing, Keith needs to look up the term treason in the Constitution (Article III, Section 3). But apart from that - what are you smoking, Keith? At least the good news is that his ratings won't suffer much from his new dimentia. (They can't go negative, right?)

Veto the Transportation Bill

What's the difference between Dennis Kozlowski and the U.S. Congress? Kozlowski (former Tyco CEO) only spent a couple hundred million. Congress is ready to spend 1,000 times as much as Kozlowski - on wasteful pet projects, many of which have nothing to do with transportation (I discussed the bill previously here and here). The Senate is getting ready to pass a $295 billion transportation bill - above Bush's limit by $11 billion.

President Bush has not yet vetoed a profligate spending bill, but he has threatened to do so if the transportation bill goes over the $284 passed by the House. Now is his chance to show the Senate his backbone and veto the bill. If he doesn't follow through, his words will be as meaningless as those of the U.N.

More From the Instapundit on Newsweek

I have to admit that I haven't quoted much from Glenn Reynolds recently, but he's got some more good stuff on Newsweek's treachery:
I want to add that I don't think there's anything immoral about flushing a Koran (or a Bible) down the toilet, assuming you've got a toilet that's up to that rather daunting task, and I think it's amusing to hear people who usually worry about excessive concern for religious beliefs suddenly taking a different position. Nor do I think that doing so counts as torture...

And anyone who thinks otherwise needs to be willing to apply the same kind of criticism to things like Piss Christ, or to explain why offending the sensibilities of one kind of religious believer is "art" while doing the same in another context is "torture." If, that is, they want to be taken at all seriously.

Buffett's Luck

I'm not shedding any tears over Warren Buffett's latest difficulties, but sometimes I wonder whether his political leanings impact his business acumen. Not long ago Buffett decided to short the dollar because of his worries over the U.S. trade deficit. His year-to-date returns on that bet are not going very well. (via Hundred Percenter.) [Note that Buffett is also a major shareholder of The Washington Post, which owns Newsweek.]
Berkshire owned about $21.4 billion of foreign exchange contracts at year end, spread among 12 currencies. As I mentioned last year, holdings of this kind are a decided change for us. Before March 2002, neither Berkshire nor I had ever traded in currencies. But the evidence grows that our trade policies will put unremitting pressure on the dollar for many years to come -- so since 2002 we’ve heeded that warning in setting our investment course.

I am a subscriber to the economic theory that higher imports are generally a good thing because it implies greater wealth among U.S. consumers, so Buffett's worries are perplexing. Buffett has proven to be a great investor when it comes to companies, but his macro currency bets and political expertise (judging from Arny's reactions to Warren's advice in the CA gubernatorial race) are dubious.

Still, Buffett seems to be in the black on his bet since he made it. According to Larry Kudlow, Warren's break-even point on the dollar is $1.22/euro; the euro currently trades at $1.26/euro.

Democrats: Oil For Food Scandal was U.S. Fault

It's an interesting strategy, that's for sure. Once again, Senate Democrats are taking the position of UN defenders, saying that the U.S. needs to take its fair share of responsibility for the bribery and corruption at the UN.
"We have to look in the mirror at ourselves as well as pointing fingers at others," said Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

And the Party wonders why the American people don't vote for them. Hey, Carl, some Left-wingers tried that strategy after th 9/11 attacks - the American public didn't buy it.

Loyola College Blasted For Honoring Giuliani

Many pro-life groups at Loyola College, a Catholic school in Baltimore, MD, are outraged that Rudy Giuliani is being honored by the school on Friday with an honorary degree.

That's a tough issue, because although I like Giuliani, a private Catholic school (that charges huge tuition fees) should be careful about its honorees. Nevertheless, he's a lot better than the commencement speaker at my alma mater yesterday. Kofi Annan gave a rather uninspiring address yesterday at UPenn; he did not mention the Oil-for-food scandal (or the term water buffalo).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek Retracts

CNN actually has a decent video clip on the Newsweek report. The best part was a quote from a defense department official who said "People are dead because of what this son of a b**** said."

This is what happens when the news media cares more about finding a story to hurt the Bush Administration than it does about our soldiers fighting abroad. The old liberal line is still true: "victory at any cost" -- or rather, defeat.

Glenn Reynolds has a great post at about whether many reporters in America are un-American.
In light of these events, people may be forgiven for doubting the patriotism of many folks in Big Media. And there's evidence that they should. In his book Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy, James Fallows describes an episode of PBS's program, "Ethics in America," in which host Charles Ogletree asked leading journalists if they would allow American troops to be killed in order to get a story. CBS correspondent Mike Wallace said yes, he'd go for the story, and denied any ethical conflict: "You don't have a higher duty. No. No. You're a reporter!" After some hemming and hawing, Peter Jennings agreed...

...And with this kind of pattern established, journalists shouldn't be surprised that so many Americans are questioning their patriotism -- to the extent that they feel there's any question left.

Good News for Wine Aficionados

The U.S. Supreme Court today struck down, 5-4, a Second Circuit Court decision that forbid out-of-state wineries to ship wine directly to consumers in Michigan and New York. The outcome could affect similar wine restriction laws in approximately 20 other states.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the opinion for the majority, in which he stated, "This discrimination substantially limits the direct sale of wine to consumers, an otherwise emerging and significant business," also saying that the restriction "is neither authorized nor permitted by the Twenty-first Amendment."

More on the opinion here. Ahh...time for a drink.

Gay Marriage Backlash

Since gay rights' activists brought the gay marriage issue to the forefront of the American public, they have definitely affected change. John Hawkins shows a U.S. state map before and after 2004.

I notice Idaho hasn't adopted any amendment yet - maybe that's a state soon to go with the gay marriage option...

Vincente Fox's Tough Immigration Talk Backfires

Mexico's Vicente Fox, angry that the U.S. might actually enforce its own laws, expressed his belief that there should be no immigration control between the U.S. and Mexico in a new way:
"There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work, are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States," Fox told a group of Texas business people meeting in Mexico.

Jesse Jackson was not happy with the comments, which he regarded as racist. It will be interesting to see whether he loses support from Democrats, who cannot afford to appear to support Fox's statements.

Operation Matador: BBC Finds a Gray Lining in Victory

What would we do as a society without the BBC? As Operation Matador on the Syrian-Iraq border winds down, BBC is able to find the bad news, even if innacurate, in an American victory:

1) The BBC's Jim Muir, in Baghdad, says the operation appears to have exacerbated tribal tensions in the area; and
2) "The city of Qaim lies destroyed."

Two of the best bloggers on the Iraq War, Chrenkoff and The Fourth Rail, have more on the successful operation that you may not see elsewhere.

Howard Dean Rips Delay

I'm trying to remember the last time the Republican National Committee leader said something controversial or over the top. I'm sure it has happened in the past, but it seems that the Dems sink to new lows on a weekly basis.

The latest from Howard Dean on Tom DeLay at a Massachusetts state party convention, according to the Boston Globe: Tom DeLay ‘’ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence."

Barney Frank came to Delay's defense, saying that Dean was over the top: "I think Howard Dean was out of line talking about DeLay. The man has not been indicted. I don’t like him, I disagree with some of what he does, but I don’t think you, in a political speech, talk about a man as a criminal or his jail sentence.”

The Hedgehog Report reminds us that this is the second time Frank has shown a little backbone - first with the Eason Jordan affair and now with Dean. Good for Barney.

The Anti- Anti-REAL ID Rally

Michael Graham, a talkshow host for WMAL and supporter of the REAL ID act (which makes it difficult for illegal aliens to get drivers licenses), held a protest rally across the street from an Anti-REAL ID rally in Bethesda, MD on Friday. Recall that last week Graham was threatened with arrest because he dared to protest the illegal alien rally by wearing an "INS" t-shirt. He was refused entry because he didn't have "proper id."

On Friday, Graham had approximately 150 supporters while the REAL ID protestors had only a handful who showed. Maybe they came for the free "INS" t-shirts...

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Newsweek: Sorry Guys, We Were Wrong

After a week of widely reported rioting in Muslim countries around the globe because of Newsweek's report that US soldiers flushed a Koran down the toilet, Newsweek says it made a mistake and is sorry for the damage it caused.

It looks like another one bites the CBS dust...and people wonder why blog readership is growing so dramatically while traditional media is in a freefall.

Here is Newsweek's ridiculous excuse:

Their information came from a knowledgeable U.S. government source, and before deciding whether to publish it we approached two separate Defense Department officials for comment. One declined to give us a response; the other challenged another aspect of the story but did not dispute the Qur’an charge.

Scared monkeys has more on the story, adding that Newsweek's source that "did not dispute the charge" is not exactly the same as verifying it.

Terrorists in Iraq Mostly Saudis

Hat tip to Viking Pundit, who points out this Washington Post article showing that most of the terrorists in Iraq (I refuse to use the term martyr) are from our good friend, Saudi Arabia. Viking Pundit also reminds us that our Saudi friends are very generous at inciting radical Islamic hatred here in the U.S. too.

Iraqi Life and Death

Tim Blair has a good summary of an extensive UN survey of over 21,600 households in Iraq. Two of the key findings:

-A study published last year by The Lancet wildly over-reported the excess deaths during the Iraq invasion of approximately 100,000; the real figure is likely closer to 1/4th of that figure.

-The number of unemployed seeking work in Iraq is approximately 10.5%, which is competitive with countries like France and Germany (most recent unemployment rates of 10.2% and 12.6%, respectively).

Many people will argue that even 24,000 excess deaths is too many, but I think it's important to ask how many deaths would have occurred under Saddam's regime had we not invaded Iraq, notwithstanding his suppressive treatment of Iraqis.

Iran Gives Europeans "Ultimatum"

You read that correct. According to the Persian Journal, Iranian mullahs are calling the shots.
A senior mullahs' regime official here Saturday called on the Europeans to abandon threats and continue negotiations with Tehran to iron out the differences over the country's nuclear energy program or else.

"Doubtless, if our path and that of the Europeans lead to a confrontation, the Europeans will be hurt the most, then the Americans, then the region and finally Iran."

It should be fun to see how the Euros respond, since negotiation absent of real threats will not have a deterrent effect. My guess is that it will go like this, "Please stop your nuclear ambitions...if you don't, we are going to hand over the situation to the Americans and then you'll have to deal with them."

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Koran at Guantanamo

In usual fashion, the U.S. is always guilty until proven innocent, and even then, it's still usually considered guilty. CNN's article "Call for U.S. apology over Quran" implies that the U.S. is responsible for the deaths in Afghanistan over protests about the Newsweek allegation that the U.S. desecrated a Koran at Guantanamo Bay.

Finally, midway through the article, it explains that, according to Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers, an investigation "has so far turned up no evidence that that incident took place."

And of course, the article fails to mention the Pentagon's statement that the Afghan protests were actually unrelated to the allegations of a desecrated Koran.

Meanwhile, Liberal Lunacy says that Newsweek has blood on its hands and shows how media are perpetuating the rumor without any proof.

Kaus Believes He Caught Limbaugh on CBS' Starr Interview

Mickey Kaus believes he caught Rush Limbaugh of misrepresenting Ken Starr's views in a now infamous interview with Gloria Borger on CBS News this week. Kaus points to Starr's interview with Ted Koppel last month, in which Starr said "I would not do away with the filibuster, in terms of Rule 22. But I would say, be judicious in its application. And I don't think that that's been happening."

Kaus claims that Rush's broadcast was instead deceptive. This is nonsense. Ken Starr did say that the Senate should be "very cautious" about the filibuster rule, but also that the rule also has not been used fairly. The point is that Starr stated explicitly that his quote in the CBS interview (and which Kaus also quotes) was about the Senate's refusal to confirm because of judicial philosophy - not about the nuclear option. So either CBS or Starr is lying here - and because CBS refuses to release the full interview, it seems clear which party is at fault.

Sorry, Mickey, but you're still wrong - regardless of your views towards Ken Starr.

UN Scandal #2: The Investigation

The report of Robert Parton, the chief investigator for the Commission looking into the Oil-for-Food Scandal, initially wrote that Annan's credibility and veracity were in question. After going through the 3-member committee that supervised Parton, the draft reports were revised substantially to give Kofi every benefit of the doubt. Fox News, which seems to be the only tv network covering the scandal and deserves a Pulitzer Prize for its work, has more.

Parton recently resigned over disagreements with Volcker's committee's "interpretation" of events.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Harry Reid Tries on McCarthyism and Enjoys It

Senate Democrat Harry Reid continues to amaze us with his new ways to smear his opponents - this time one of Bush's judicial nominees, Henry Saad. According to the Washington Times (hat tip to Doug Petch), Reid said on the Senate floor that Saad was problematic due to a "confidential report from the FBI."

That's right - Harry Reid violated rules of the Senate (though because he is likely lying about the files contents, the act might not be illegal) by referring to contents in Henry Saad's confidential FBI file. (As background, the FBI investigates all federal judicial nominees and Senate nominees as a standard check for security clearance.)

Captain's Quarters rightly calls Reid's actions "Joe McCarthy-style character assassination." Captain Ed adds,

I believe Harry Reid cowardly chose a way in which to smear Henry Saad that would not allow anyone to defend him. Reid should not just be censured by the Senate as a whole, but stripped of his leadership post and his committee assignments. Let him serve the rest of his term as a member at large, gathering dust on the back benches of the Senate, where he can live with his cowardice and his despicable acts.

When the Valerie Plame "outing" happened last fall, there was a month-long media uproar. That is, until the investigation turned towards New York Times reporters. Then, the uproar died down, with everyone agreeing it was harmless. I guarantee that the MSM won't even pick this story up because it is their Democrat leader outing one of Bush's filibustered judges. And that's just not a big deal.