Here is an example of the absolutely shallow and intellectually dishonest thinking by those on the left who continue to try to find fault with the thus far successful-beyond-expectations Iraqi elections. How many times have you heard the argument "...but the election is taking place while Iraq is being occupied..." by a foreign force? This is not some fringe argument but in fact appears in many of today's editorial pages. What utter tripe! The elections took place BECAUSE Iraq was occupied by American forces. There would not have been an election except for the occupation, you fools! Had America not driven out Hussein and his Baathist regime, do you think Iraq would have just had an election at all?
A cardiologist died and was given an elaborate funeral. A huge heart, covered in flowers, stood behind the casket during the service. Following the eulogy, the heart opened, and the casket rolled inside. The heart then closed, sealing the doctor in the beautiful heart forever. At that point, one of the mourners burst into laughter. When all eyes turned to him, he said, "I'm sorry; I was just thinking of my own funeral. I'm a gynecologist!" At that point, the proctologist fainted.
Here is a splendid editorial by Leo McKinsry, writing in the U.K., that describes the bereftness of perspective that marks European politics these days...at least when it comes to appreciating America.
If you ever start to believe that your left-wing(nut) Dems are reasonable folks with whom you have an honest and good-faith disagreement on policy, go read a few of the comments posted to the Democratic Underground site . The party of compassion for the little guy is so self-absorbed in their unabashed hatred for conservatives in general and President Bush in particular that they can write something like this: I can't believe the Iraqis are buying into this "democracy" bullshit. They have to know that the Americans don't want them to have power, because they know that Bush is in this for the oil, and now that he finally has it he's not going to let it go. This election is a charade. The fact is that the Iraqis have suffered during the past two years more than any people on earth at the hands of the American gestapo. Maybe they're afraid and felt they had to vote. That's the only way I can explain it to myself. John Podhoretz has a great column today. It neatly sums up what losers people that think like this truly are...and he's angry.
I had said yesterday that anyone who does not admit to the historic implications of the elections in Iraq but instead continues to denigrate the effort as "illegitimate" is nothing but a partisan hack. Well, John Kerry did not take long to make my point. He said yesterday: "It is significant that there is a vote in Iraq, but no one in the United States or in the world — and I'm confident of what the world response will be — no one in the United States should try to overhype this election" Apparently not able to control himself, he added: "It's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't vote and doesn't vote." It took us awhile before we allowed non-landowners, women and blacks the right to vote. According to John Kerry, I guess that means the elections of Thomas Jefferson or of Abraham Lincoln, for example, were not "legitimate." A few words about these momentous few days. This has clearly been an overwhelming victory for freedom in the world, and the success of the elections in Iraq cannot be understated as a beacon of hope in the region. Watching video and looking at photos of the Iraqi people rejoicing at the polling places, brought to tears of joy over their emancipation, and ignoring not too distant bomb blasts in order to dip their finger into a well of blue ink made me proud for what we have done. I am proud of our fighting men and women, proud of our leaders and proud to be an American...and I would have these very same sentiments no matter who was at our helm. The winners here are the Iraqis and the unwavering belief in basic freedom. The losers are those that tried to undermine the effort at every turn.
Here is the headline from today's LA Times: "IRAQIS CAST BALLOTS AMID EXPLOSIONS AND ANXIETY" It is not enough to simply report this great day for Iraq specifically and the middle East generally...need to throw in some gratuitous negativity that coincides with your agenda. Reminds me of a joke I heard a few years ago. God decides that the time has come to bring an end to the world but, to be fair, he also decides a one week notice would be a good idea. So he has his angels contact the major newspapers throughout the world and advise the respective editors-in-chief of the bad news. The next day the LA Times runs a front page story under the headline: "World to Come to an End This Friday. Women and Minorities Will be Hardest Hit." Enough said.
If you read nothing else today please read this post. The site is kept by two brothers living in Iraq and they provide their personal first hand account of their trip to the polls. If you can read this and still think that this election was "illegitimate" or "marred" then you are, quite frankly, a partisan hack. Here's a smidgen: We had all kinds of feelings in our minds while we were on our way to the ballot box except one feeling that never came to us, that was fear. We could smell pride in the atmosphere this morning; everyone we saw was holding up his blue tipped finger with broad smiles on the faces while walking out of the center. Hat tip: Chrenkoff
Here is a photo I pulled off MSNBC of an Iraqi woman taken immediately after casting her vote. Below is a photo of a bunch of idiots in Madrid protesting against the Iraqi elections!! Their hatred for anything American (or at least Republican) has so clouded their thinking that they have been reduced to nitpicking over the exercise of democracy in order to find something to criticize. The sheer pretentiousness of this is stunning. And of all people the Spaniards, a bunch who until not too long ago were under the boot of the enlightened General Franco who, I understand, is still dead. (Hat tip: Chevy Chase) I would be interested to know if we were still "occupying" Germany or Japan at the time of their first post WW II elections. Just asking.
People shout slogans during a protest in central Madrid January 30, 2005. Marchers were protesting Iraq holding national elections under what they called U.S occupation. At least 10 suicide attacks targeted polling stations and voters on Sunday, but Iraqis still voted in large numbers. REUTERS/Susana Vera Hat tip: LGF
I excerpt from Hugh Hewitt this evening because he hits the nail on the head and...writes something very similar to what I had posted yesterday about the white vote in the Zimbabwe elections: Sunni participation is low, but as many have pointed out, the participation rate of whites in the first Zimbabwe elections or by Afrikaners in the first post-apartheid election in South Africa mattered not at all to the legitimacy of the vote. Whichever government emerges from this polling will be the authoritative voice of the Iraqi people. That government may ask the U.S. to leave, and it may ask the U.S. to stay. Either way, it will be an authentic expression of Iraqi nationhood. Those who churlishly denigrate today's vote really do identify themselves as blind ideologues of the worst sort.
I've been gone all day but the preliminary reports about the vote in Iraq seem good. It looks like at least 60% voter turnout and perhaps even higher. By any measure, this must be seen as a great success. Indeed, this in many ways puts us to shame when voter turnout is higher in Iraq as voters risk their lives while we complain about long lines. Of course, the Guardian article couldn't resist throwing the wet towel of despair on an otherwise monumental day by reciting the now entrenched canard: Final voting figures are expected to reveal high turnout in Shia and Kurdish areas but a low Sunni turnout could undermine the credibility of the election. How many times must it be said. An election's credibility is not undermined if people or certain groups voluntarily choose not to participate. [Aside: And in whose mind will the election be undermined. Not in the minds of those who voted. Let's be honest. The Sunnis did not vote for one of two reasons. Either they believed, as bin Laden exhorted, that all voters were infidels, or they simply knew that they were about to lose power so didn't want to play no more.] On the other hand, if these same people desire to exercise their franchise but are prevented from doing so, then you have a problem. Have any of the many recent authors of this sentiment ever suggested that the mere fact of low turnout has ever "undermined the credibility" of an American election? No, they haven't. They have argued that persons that wished to vote were prevented from doing so and that was the basis for their challenge to the election's legitimacy.
Iraqi immigrant Marwa Sadik from Seattle celebrates before casting her vote in Iraqs election at the former El Toro Marine Base in Irvine, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2005. The Independent Iraqi Electoral Commission is allowing Iraqi immigrants living in 14 countries to vote by absentee ballot. Overseas voting continues through Sunday, which is Election Day in Iraq itself. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) Hat tip: LGF
After decades of tyranny, Iraqi expatriates have already begun to elect leaders to draft a new constitution. In the photo above, seventy-year-old exile Mehsin Imgoter weeps after casting his vote at a polling place in Southgate, Michigan. Imgoter explained to a reporter that he was crying because his son, who was killed during the 1990-91 Shiite uprising, was not able to vote with him. Hat tip: Power Line
We have all read and heard the naysayers complaining that the Iraqi elections will not be "legitimate" because the Sunni minority is refusing to participate. The Sunnis, with approximately 20% of the population had held sway in Iraq for over 35 years, since Saddam Hussein came to power. Now, however, the Shiite majority (60% of the population) obviously holds an electoral advantage and, unsurprisingly, the Sunnis are bitter in the face of loss of power. I don't remember the dates, but I do remember a country called Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) that was ruled by a white super-minority for quite sometime after having been a British colony and protectorate. Ultimately, the black majority threw off the yoke of political oppression and was finally able to participate in the (arguably marred) democratic process. Surprise, surprise...the whites no longer held power or influence in light of black majority rule. I do recall that many of the white landowners refused to participate in the elections...what I don't recall is any of the same folks bitterly complaining now about "illegitimacy" because 20% of the Iraqi population may refuse to participate, wringing their hands over the poor white, former-landowners who were refusing to participate in those elections.
I have absolutely nothing but contempt for "educators" like this. To do away with spelling bees in elementary schools because...ahh, I'll just let the lunatic speak for herself: "It's about one kid winning, several making it to the top and leaving all others behind," Newman said of the competition, which culminates with the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. "That's contrary to No Child Left Behind." A spelling bee, she continued, is about "some kids being winners, some kids being losers," which "sends a message that this isn't an all-kids movement." [The Assistant Superintendent] argues that professional organizations now encourage elementary school children to participate in activities that avoid winners and losers, which is why sports teams have been eliminated for that age group. Building self-esteem is the emphasis. "You have to build positive self-esteem for all kids, so they believe they're all winners," Newman told the Call. "You want to build positive self-esteem so that all kids can get to where they want to go."
Print this story out and save it for later. It will come in handy after the Iraqi elections are successfully concluded, the country stabilized and the talk turns to Iran. President Bush will be relentless criticized by Dems over anything that even remotely sounds like a suggestion that military force is an option. You can then point your hypocritical friends to Joe Biden.
So when a terrorist group, Hamas, that has publicly stated its goal is to obliterate the country of Israel and drive all Israelis into the sea, wins 75 of 118 council seats in Gaza, what are we to think of the average Palestinian's attitude towards Israel and terrorism? By the way, "moderate" President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party won only 39 seats. I have repeatedly said that a resolution of the Israeli/Plaestinian conflict will only occur when both sides truly accept the notion of co-existing indefinitely side-by-side. Not just long enough until the next opportunity presents itself to re-start the hostilities. I think most Israelis are willing to do that. But I am thus far convinced that most Palestinians are not. So long as they, for example, see Jews as "monkeys and swine" and continue to indoctrinate their children with fables like the "Blood Libel" and "The Protocol of the Elders of Zion" taught as fact, how can anyone expect a peaceful resolution?
I was unaware that the 13 "no" votes Condi Rice received from 12 Senate Democrats and Jim Jeffords was the first time in 25 years that any nominee had received a negative vote, and the most thumbs-down on a nominee for Sec'y of State since 1825. You Democrats must be so proud. Read Charles Krauthammer's column for all the details.
Let me start with the bottom line: "So what?" Why is this even a story worth reporting and why will the inevitable happen...a series of Democrats in Congress will express their outrage, call for an investigation and castigate the Bush Administration for allowing this sort of "torture." First of all these detainees are much more akin to POWs than civilians arrested by local law enforcement for the commission of a crime. I'm pointing this out because of the repeated hand-wringing over how long they have been detained without having been "charged" or without the benefit of counsel. There is a war going on and these persons have been captured...not "arrested." Persons captured during such hostilities are not released while the conflict is still ongoing else they simply return to the battle. Just as you would not have expected us to release our POWs during WWII until the armistice was signed and the war over, why should we release persons who have been waging, abetting or configuring the terror war against us? Now, the extraction of intelligence is a legitimate goal. Psychological manipulation is an accepted and proven technique. If these guys are particularly susceptible to the use of female interrogators and sexual embarrassment, then let's have at it. If sexual touching and the wearing of short skirts gets the job done...well, it's better than "racking" them. If telling the detainee that the interrogator is menstruating breaks him down...well, it's better than bamboo shoots under the fingernails. If sitting on the guy's lap freaks him out enough to enable the extraction of intelligence that could save lives...is there any reason to not do so other than to avoid politically-motivated false "outrage"? I think I know what the men who spent years in the Hanoi Hilton or a German stalag would say.
On the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, what goes on at our college campuses? Check this out from national champion USC. Forget the fractured English from college students...that's a separate issue...but the invective, stupidity and just plain ignorance and bigotry, if spouted by the "European Student Union" (which would never exist, of course) rather than from the Muslim Student Union, would certainly attract much attention from the administration of the college. The very sad thing is that I'm certain there are many professors at USC who, rather than dissuade such thinking, actually encourage and support it.
I don't have the words or the background to begin to essay about the liberation of Auschwitz so I will simply and humbly link to a post by Tom Carter that is a must-read. Then read about what is going on in Muslim communities in modern day France. UPDATE: Please go to Israpundit for "Remebering The Wannsee Conference and the Liberation of Auschwitz"
Insurgents blow up a school planned for use as a polling center, which was part of a string of attacks on polling places, and al-Qaida threatens Iraqis civilians (not coalition military) to stay away from polling places or risk death. Is there any doubt that President Bush is correct when he says that a functioning democracy in that region can forever change it for the better? Otherwise, why the fuss? I know these are somewhat extreme examples, but the principle certainly holds true: When you keep doing this...you will continue to get this. There comes a point when efforts to understand (read: "excuse") behavior on the basis that it is culturally-driven will have disastrous results. Max Boot deconstructs Seymour Hersh. Any chance positive news such as this about the Iraqi elections will make it anywhere near page A1 of the NY Times, LA Times or the Washington Post?
Please visit Bloginators, a new addition of our right sidebar. Begun by Eric Cowperthwaite of Eric's Random Musings, it is an effort to marshall the resources of the blogosphere to address the problems peculiar to our State of "Kah-lee-forn-yah" as our Governor might say. CORRECTION: Bloginators was actually founded by Jay Dean and Dr. Ernie Prabhakar.
Our educators at work [Hat tip: LGF]: A Colgate University visiting professor of peace studies has negotiated a deal to be "embedded" in a fighting force in Iraq in order to study and interview its members. Army Rangers? Nope. Navy Seals? Nada. She'll be running with one of Iraq's "resistance groups" otherwise known as "insurgents" but best described as "terrorists". So she'll be right down there with them when they, what? Blow up a busload of Iraqi voters? Set off an IED (improvised explosive device) as one of our troop carriers drives by? And when this is about to happen, will she do anything at all to try to stop the carnage of innocents or the killing of our soldiers? This is a situation where the sociological equivalent of the quantum physics concept known as the "Heisenberg Effect" would apply. The act of having a Western observer present will change what is being observed...until they decide to behead her.
Another classic example of what is going on at our college campuses. At Hamilton College in Colorado, a speaker by the name of Ward Churchill will be discussing his latest essays. He is apparently best know for calling all those who were murdered in the WTC towers on 9/11 "little Eichmanns", a reference to Adolph Eichmann of Third Reich fame. Our friends at the U.N. in their divine wisdom have placed Cuba on an "elite action panel" that will influence the direction of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. This is the same Commission that has condemned Cuba for human rights violations for the last five years. Can anyone take anything the U.N. does seriously anymore? I suppose North Korea wasn't interested.
Both Linda Chavez and Jonah Goldberg have written columns making the same point as I had in a previous post: that the battle in Iraq today is not motivated by the desire for self-determination with the U.S. seen as standing in the way. It is to prevent democracy, pure and simple. Linda Chavez writes in part: There is no accommodating those who hold such views. They can't be reasoned with. No amount of compromise will appease them. No power-sharing scheme can buy them off. They must be defeated. But their defeat will come in two ways. We can kill and apprehend large numbers of these enemies of freedom, but we can never kill or jail all of them. More importantly, we cannot "kill" the ideology that motivates them. Ultimately, the only way to defeat this ideology is to promote a countervailing idea that is more compelling. And that is where Sunday's elections play such an important role. Jonah Goldberg writes in part: In short, the notion that America is in a war for freedom over tyranny has elicited bipartisan snickering and guffawing. In the wake of Bush's inaugural, the chorus of complaints intensified. And understandably so, given the fact that his address was the most forceful articulation of his "freedom" vision to date. But before the cackles could reach their crescendo, the naysayers hit an inconvenient snag. Musab al-Zarqawi, the "prince" of Al-Qaida in Iraq, appointed by Osama Bin Laden, came out and agreed with President Bush. "We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology," Zarqawi declared in a statement. "Democracy is also based on the right to choose your religion," he said, and that is "against the rule of God." Get it? Like I had said previously, and Goldberg explains, Islamists believe that democracy is a form of "heresy" contrary to their god's will (I've chosen the preceding three words carefully) and all who are pro-democracy are infidels. And we should know by now how this brand of Islam treats the infidel...just ask Salaman Rushdie.
This is funny, but at the same time truly very troubling. I've posted before about the PC-inspired laws being debated and passed in Australia and the UK. Here's another story about Britain's advertising watchdog agency banning television commercials featuring bikini-clad women. Why? Because it is offensive to Muslims. Now, Britain does not have the equivalent of our 1st Amendment. Nevertheless, the precedent set by such laws and rulings should be obvious. If mere "offense" is the touchstone rather than, for example, the ads are pornographic or gratuitously violent, then any group should have standing to object to whatever they may find offensive and call for government censorship. Certainly any religious group. If the British authorities are taking action on behalf of Muslims, there can be no rational basis to not take action on the complaints of Anglicans, Hindus or Buddhists.
For those who are unclear (or clear, but wrong) why there is an "insurgency" going on in Iraq, increasing in violence as the 1/30 election day nears, read this USA Today editorial piece and John Podhoretz' column. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist who is leading the insurgency, has this to say: "We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology. Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it." Zarqawi isn't fighting imperialistic America or Great Britain. He is fighting against the flowering of democracy whether the seeds had been planted by the satanic west or had been home-grown. His fight against a representative form of government is a paradigm of the problem endemic to Islam. Namely, that self-governance places the laws of man paramount to those of Allah. Why do you think there is so much hostility towards anything other than the imposition of Sharia-based laws in most, if not all, Muslim-dominated societies? On the other hand, when was the last time two democracies went to war against each other?
I was watching my recording of last evening's tribute to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and heard Jay Leno make an observation that cuts to the core of what passes for informed political commentary these days. I'm paraphrasing but he was talking about how it was that Carson lasted 30 years on top and defined late night talk. He said Johnny told him it was OK to do political humor but don't think that makes you a political commentator. He said it was just fine to do social satire but don't think that makes you a social commentator. That's the difference you see when you compare Carson to wannabees like Jon Stewart or Al Franken. They are all humorists (granted, some not as funny as others) but nothing more. Carson knew that you should not confuse applause for your wit with applause for your insight. Being funny and being informed are two very different things.
Here are three great paragraphs from Mark Steyn's latest. Please take the time to read it all: I'm not a Jew, though since September 11 I've been assumed to be one. Nor am I, philosophically, a Zionist. Had I been British foreign secretary, I doubt I would have issued the Balfour Declaration. Nor am I much interested in whose land was whose hundreds or thousands of years ago. The reality is that the nation states of the region all date back to the 1930s and 1940s: the only difference is that Israel, unlike Syria and Iraq, has made a go of it. As for the notion that this or that people "deserve" a state, that's a dangerous post-modern concept of nationality and sovereignty. The United States doesn't exist because the colonists "deserved" a state, but because they went out and fought for one. Were the Palestinians to do that, they might succeed in pushing every last Jew into the sea, or they might win a less total victory, or they might be routed and have to flee to Damascus or Wolverhampton. But, whatever the outcome, it's hard to see that they would be any less comprehensively a wrecked people than they are after spending three generations in "refugee" "camps" while their "cause" is managed by a malign if impeccably multilateral coalition of UN bureaucrats, cynical Arab dictators, celebrity terrorists and meddling Europeans whose Palestinian fetishisation seems most explicable as the perverse by-product of the suppression of their traditional anti-Semitism.
Following up on my post re speech codes, here's an article from the WaPo that highlights another failure of our educational system the result of goofy, politically correct notions of sociological engineering. Apparently, boys no longer are offered books to read that have historically appealed to them (e.g. stories of valor and adventure) but instead are given "culturally relevant" literature: Unfortunately, the textbooks and literature assigned in the elementary grades do not reflect the dispositions of male students. Few strong and active male role models can be found as lead characters. Gone are the inspiring biographies of the most important American presidents, inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs. No military valor, no high adventure. On the other hand, stories about adventurous and brave women abound. Publishers seem to be more interested in avoiding "masculine" perspectives or "stereotypes" than in getting boys to like what they are assigned to read. What is revealing in this is the larger notion that male nature is inherently problematic while female nature is presumably superior. There is significant effort made to change the nature of boys (e.g. become less "violent" or "crude", become more "sensitive" and "verbal") but no parallel effort to change girls' nature or predispositions. Just an observation.
Hat tip to IowaGeek for the link to speechcodes.org which details the restrictions placed upon speech at our public and private universities. Here's a sample: Bowdoin College has banned jokes and stories "experienced by others as harassing." Brown University has banned "verbal behavior" that produces "feelings of impotence, anger, or disenfranchisement," whether "intentional or unintentional." Colby College has outlawed speech that causes "a vague sense of danger" or a loss of "self-esteem." The University of Connecticut has outlawed "inconsiderate jokes," "stereotyping" and even "inappropriately directed laughter." The University of Buffalo Law School has limited student free speech by "the responsibility to promote equality and justice." Syracuse University has outlawed "offensive remarks...sexually suggestive staring...[and] sexual, sexist, or heterosexist remarks or jokes." West Virginia University would instruct incoming students and new faculty that they must "use language that is not gender specific...Instead of referring to anyone's romantic partner as girlfriend' or boyfriend,' use positive generic terms such as friend', lover,' or partner.'" Until recently, WVU enforced "free speech zones" (in reality, "censorship zones") that comprised only one percent of the public campus. The University of North Dakota has criminalized as harassment anything that intentionally produces "psychological discomfort, embarrassment, or ridicule" (a category of no small scope). Other than being for the most part totally subjective criteria, efforts at thought control (can you say "Orwellian"?) and designed to indoctrinate, pretty innocuous stuff. No? My angst over my daughter attending college in 5 years grows.
Today is a busy one for me with "Los Angeles-Anaheim" Angels season ticket holder meetings, junior high girls soccer, office time and home remodel contractors in the late afternoon, so here are a few interesting "quick hits": Kerry campaign workers are being charged with slashing the tires of vans rented by the GOP to drive campaign workers to the polls this past election day. What? You haven't heard this story? Probably would have if it had been the other way around. A Saudi court, applying Wahhabi Muslim "tradition", had a 12 year old boy whipped 80 times for pick-pocketing. I probably couldn't point this out if we had the "religious vilification" laws now in place in Australia and being debated in the UK. Robert C. Byrd (ex-KKK) and Barbara Boxer (ex-intellect) will each be giving one hour speeches today (of a total of 4.5 hours for the Dems) as part of the "debate" over Condi Rice's confirmation as Secretary of State. Should be riveting. Finally, our Supreme Court has ruled 6-2 that the use of police dogs to sniff the exterior of cars for drugs during valid traffic stops does not violate privacy rights. Clearly a victory for law enforcement and, according to liberal philosophy, another step down the slippery slope toward totalitarianism.
If any members of the GOP are praying for the Democrats to nominate another candidate with no red state appeal whatsoever...your prayers may have been answered: "President Boxer"
What do Barbara Boxer, Jesse Jackson, John Conyers, Cynthia McKinney, Maxine Waters and Dennis Kucinich have in common? No, not that...they are all being given tribute at Thank You, Patriot! A site dedicated, among other things, to prohibiting "state-sponsored...voter suppression."
I heard a reference to this story on my drive home and, lo and behold, but not shockingly, it is true. The University of Oregon has ordered that a maintenance employee remove a yellow ribbon magnetic sticker that says "Support The Troops" from his university-owned vehicle. Why? Because someone complained that it constituted impermissible political speech. [Note: d'ya think there would have been a complaint, or the same result, if the sticker had read "Support Diversity"?] I don't dispute that the University has the right to have it removed, but since when did a show of patriotism become a partisan statement? It speaks truthful volumes about those who are against the war, and the current administration's policies, that support for the men and women who guarantee and protect the freedoms they enjoy is tantamount to political expression. That's because they are in reality not just anti- the war against terror, or its current phase in Iraq, but they are against any exercise of military strength by the U.S. I have always made it a point to ask those strident anti-war-in-Iraq protestors whether there has been any war in which America was involved that they would have supported. If there is no quick, affirmative answer like "World War II, naturally" or "the Civil War, of course" then this person is a pacifist, pure and simple. There's nothing wrong with holding that position (other than it is morally bankrupt...indeed immoral in many instances, but more about that later) but at least be forthright about it. I don't care if I change your mind but I would like to know what drives you. Clarity will at least allow me to understand, even if you don't.
Hat tip to Cheat Seeking Missles for the link to an LA Times op-ed piece by the self-loathing Ramsey Clark explaining why he is more than honored and willing to defend Saddam Hussein. Now, as a lawyer myself, I recognize that there are in fact reasons why Hussein is entitled to a competent defense. The same right that would have been afforded to Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Amin and any other meglomaniacal despot who was captured alive and placed on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, those reasons are NOT because Hussein was "demonized" by America, or that he has been held "illegally" or, worst of all, that the leaders of the U.S. and Britain must also face justice for their crimes of aggression. This man is a fool, and anyone who lends credence to his anti-American posturing is equally devoid of moral sense. Hussein is on trial for having brutally murdered countless thousands of his own people. His crimes were documented prior to the invasion of Iraq and for Clark to suggest equivalence between Hussein and George Bush or Tony Blair is an insult of the highest order to all thinking persons. The sad thing is, there's a large and vocal wing of the Democratic party that agrees with him. Far left liberals (and not all Democrats fit that description, just as not all Republicans are "right wing wackos") suffer from the erroneous conviction that all conflict can be resolved without resort to unpleasantness...they suffer from the naivete that refuses to allow them to accept that evil has always existed and will continue to exist in this world despite our best efforts and intentions...even if everyone has a job.
I have repeatedly said that one of the biggest mistakes any society can make is to not encourage assimilation into a dominant culture. That is not to say personal celebrations of the religious or cultural are to be dissuaded. There is absolutely nothing wrong or counter-productive in that. But there should be no promotion of separateness, no state encouragement to adhere to a different set of rules or mores. No sanctioning of "belief-systems" that run counter to what our experience has proven to act as a glue to hold us together. We should be a "melting pot" and not a "garden salad" or whatever term has been coined to suggest non-assimilation is a good thing. Europe is further down this path than we are, and it is instructive to see what is going on there as more and more immigrants are empowered to attempt to impose their homegrown beliefs and values upon the soon-not-to-be dominant culture. I was perusing Dhimmi Watch, the middle East expert and author Robert Spencer's site, and came across these examples of what is happening in Europe. The first has to do with Muslims in England defacing billboard advertisements on the grounds that certain of these advertisement are "insulting" to Muslims (i.e. those that show, for example Anna Kournikova in a sports bra). Of course, this conduct was encouraged after the British advertising bureau banned the placement of underwear ads near mosques. This sort of capitulation only enables and encourages the conduct reported in this story. My point is simply this: if the society in general has no problem with underwear ads on billboards, special exceptions should not be made on the basis of religion or culture. Presumably the complaints of Hindus, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, etc must now be taken into account. The next has to do with a boycott by British Muslims of a commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz on the basis that it is "not racially inclusive." The complaint is that the "holocaust" that is the Palestinian intifada must be included as well. I'm quite certain it will be soon. Finally, the most troubling of the three. This is NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman's piece on reflections from Paris regarding the upcoming Iraqi elections. The salient paragraphs are the last which sum up quite neatly, and depressingly, what is going on in much of western Europe: I spent Friday morning interviewing two 18-year-old French Muslim girls in the Paris immigrant district of St.-Ouen. (It is about a mile from the school where in March 2003 a French Muslim girl, who had refused the veil and rebuffed the advances of a Muslim boy, was thrown into a garbage can by three Muslim teenagers, who then tossed lighted cigarette butts into the can and closed the lid.) Both girls I interviewed wore veils and one also wore a full Afghan-like head-to-toe covering; one was of Egyptian parents, the other of Tunisian parents, but both were born and raised in France. What did I learn from them? That they got all their news from Al Jazeera TV, because they did not believe French TV, that the person they admired most in the world was Osama bin Laden, because he was defending Islam, that suicide "martyrdom" was justified because there was no greater glory than dying in defense of Islam, that they saw themselves as Muslims first and French citizens last, and that all their friends felt pretty much the same. We were not in Kabul. We were standing outside their French public high school - a short ride from the Eiffel Tower. Does anyone think this is a healthy trend?
Two interrelated links for this morning. The first is a column by Hugh Hewitt appearing, of all places, in the LA Times. That paper, fresh off a series of embarrassing displays of partisanship, has decided to run a regular commentary series inviting certain writers to offer their criticism of the LA Times. In this installment Hewitt criticizes the coverage of the war on terror. A brief excerpt: In short, The Times needs to reorganize to actually cover the war as a war. The last global war was not covered as though the Pacific Theater was independent of the battles in North Africa, or the Russian front disconnected from the D-day invasion. As with that global struggle, so with this one. As it is, unfortunately, readers know less of the terrorist enemy than 1942 readers knew of the geography of North Africa. This WaPo link is to a series of photos showing our troops at work and leisure. The positive sense I get when viewing these pics is something that you rarely feel when reading almost every story about the war found in the MSM.
Pay a visit to The Last Moderate, the latest addition to The Eastwood Triptych and whose author is a regular contributor to this site, at least as far as numerous and insightful comments are concerned.
Here is one quote from the President's inaugural speech that says much in few words: From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?
Now here's an organization that I wish the best and most unqualified success. If MoveOutUSA.org can achieve it stated aim, imagine how wonderful a place America would be without its whiny, pedantic, deep-as-puddles, hate-America-first left wing loonies. Please encourage all of your fever-swamper acquaintances to take full advantage of the services being provided by this most crucial organization.
The blogosphere is such a wonderful thing. Once you get connected, the flow of information to and from expands almost geometrically. It is a spreading grid of contacts. RTH! was fortunate enough to have been visited by Eric Cowperthwaite of Eric's Random Musings. He is Desert Storm veteran with much to say so pay him a visit.
How sweet. A community college in Florida prohibited "The Passion of the Christ" from being shown on campus but had no trouble allowing a skit to be performed entitled "Fucking For Jesus." It's bad enough to have a clear animosity towards Christian religious expression. We all know that is what is to be expected at any left-dominated institution, as are most colleges. What is truly ridiculous is the total inabililty of these people to see how obvious they are when they do this things.
I can't speak for the accuracy of any of these, but some of them are clever (my favorites in bold): I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue . . . . "No good in a bed, but fine against a wall."~Eleanor Roosevelt Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister . . . and now wish to withdraw that statement.~Mark Twain The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible. ~George Burns Santa Claus has the right idea ... Visit people only once a year.~Victor Borge Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.~Mark Twain What would men be without women? Scarce, sir .. mighty scarce.~Mark Twain The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness and kindness, can be trained to do most things.~Jilly Cooper I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.~Zsa Zsa Gabor Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.~Alex Levine Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. ~Mark Twain My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.~Ed Furgol Money can't buy you happiness, but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery. ~Spike Milligan What's the use of happiness? It can't buy you money.~Henny Youngman I am opposed to millionaires.... but it would be dangerous to offer me the position. ~Mark Twain Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was 'shut up'.~Joe Namath Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life. ~Herbert Henry Asquith I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.~Bob Hope We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress. ~Will Rogers Don't worry about avoiding temptation ...As you grow older, it will avoid you.~Winston Churchill Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty..... But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.~Phyllis Diller The cardiologist's diet: If it tastes good... spit it out.~Unknown By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.~Billy Crystal ...rimshot...The End.
Here is another indication of what I have been posting about recently, namely, that the GOP is indeed making inroads into the African-American vote. Stanley Crouch makes this point today in his NY Daily News column. As an aside, I have always wondered (well, not really since I know the answer, so consider it a rhetorical flourish) why the self-appointed "leaders" of the black community were not crowing about the fact that two of the most powerful and influential persons in America, no...the world, are African-American. One a woman no less. Talk about role models. If you were the parent a a 10 year old, who would you want them to grow up to be like? Al Sharpton, or Colin Powell? Carol Moseley-Braun, or Condoleeza Rice?
Here is a completely outrageous story about media bias. ABC news, until recently, was looking for a military funeral for a casualty of the war in Iraq, so long as it was scheduled to take place on January 20, 2005...the date of President Bush's inauguration! "For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20. If you know of a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below[.]" This...is...absolutely...disgusting. (Hat tip: LGF, Captain's Quarters)
Here is an interesting article about one of Milwaukee's most prominent African-American pastors having thrown his support behind President Bush in the last election after having supported Clinton and Gore. This is consistent with what I had mentioned in an earlier post that, unless the Democrats maintain a stranglehold on the African-American vote (85-90%), they will not win another national election for a long, long time: In the crucial state of Ohio, where the faith-based program was promoted last fall at rallies and ministerial meetings, a rise in black support for Bush created the cushion he needed to win the presidential race without a legal challenge in that state. Now, Republicans are plotting further gains using the faith program as one major entry point. Bush political strategist Matthew Dowd says that as early as 2006, Republican Senate and House candidates could win a quarter of the African American vote. The long-term goals, he said, are even more ambitious. That would be a dramatic rise from the 11% of the national black electorate that went for Bush last year — a projection that even some of the most enthusiastic Republicans, such as former Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, caution could be overly optimistic. Yet even a modest shift in the voting patterns of the minority group traditionally the most loyal to Democrats could transform the dynamics of American politics, giving Republicans an edge for decades. I have always thought that, on day-to-day issues, most African-Americans are much more conservative than the Democrats would have you believe. On issues such as marriage, school vouchers, faith and religion, etc most blacks are far more likely to be center-right rather than far left. Affirmative action is not an issue of day-to-day significance, although it has been seen and peddled as a litmus test for a politician's bona fides when it comes to race relations. Little by little the Democrats are being found out as the party of much talk but little to no action. Any party that requires 90% of any constituency that makes up 12% of the population in order to eke out electoral victories cannot be in good shape.
Hat tip to Nickie Goomba for this link to a column by Susan Estrich, no fast friend of conservative Republicans, but someone who I have respect for, after I get past her Carol Channing-imitation-of-a-voice. Why, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, is there any "educator" who believes bi-lingual education is the way to go? Quite obviously agenda politics is the moving force despite the fact that this position only hurts the constituency they are supposedly advocating for. This is just like the gloom and doomers who predicted that the Welfare Reform Act signed into law by Clinton would result in mass starvation and deprivation...Wrong! Nevertheless there are "advocates" out there still unwilling to face reality and admit that people will adjust their self-destructive behavior if given incentive to do so. My father emigrated to this country (legally, I might add) while in his teens without being even conversational in English. Strangely enough he was able to master the language and obtain an engineering degree from a state university without the aid of bi-lingual education. He was a bright man (God rest his soul) but no linguistic genius, yet he rose to the occasion. Why do some not believe that this generation of immigrants can achieve the same?
Two good articles dealing with the dust-up over Harvard president Larry Summers' recent comments. If you haven't heard, Dr. Summers offered in passing the extraordinarily callous and demeaning hypothesis that there may be some innate, biologically based differences between men and women. These differences may explain, in part, why men and women generally seem to have different strengths and weaknesses. Jonah Goldberg and Linda Chavez discuss the over-the-top reaction to this suggestion. I won't reiterate what is better said by Goldberg and Chavez. However, this situation touches upon a number of other points I have been making recently. The first is the refusal to engage on the facts but instead substituting melodramatic characterizations in order to avoid debate by treating the proposition as so contemptible to be unworthy of discussion. (High school debate tactic #1) The second is one of my pet peeves. I may get in trouble here, but away I go...I am absolutely certain that the vast majority of men, when presented with what they may consider to be a stupid proposition, are not going to react by "taking their ball and going home." Most men I know will engage the opponent on the battlefield of ideas (talk about melodramatic!) and not complain about how they could not listen to another word without "blacking out or throwing up." That is not to say that there aren't men who would turn tail and run to the press room and complain, as there certainly are women who would engage their intellectual adversary. However, when women in positions of power and authority fall back upon the "Scarlett O'Hara" defense, it does little in the eyes of men to advance the cause of equality.
John Kerry has a petition available at his website calling for the President to fire Donald Rumsfeld. It purports to speak on behalf of "American soldiers and their families." I'd be interested to know what percentage of that group would actually sign on to this petition. Five percent? Maybe ten? Not exactly a groundswell from those who are most directly affected by the SecDef's decisions and policies. I suppose when you have been decisively beaten in a presidential election you are relegated to preaching to the already converted. Ted Kennedy move over.
There has been mounting criticism by those who first said there would be no Iraqi elections at all, and then none by 1/30/05, that any elections will not be truly "representative" of the Iraqi citizenry. This is so clearly an effort to find something, anything, to be critical of lest anyone look at free elections as a step toward democracy in Iraq (and at least partial vindication of this Administration's position and goals), that it borders on the foolish. There are two things that I strive for here at this blog, and generally in serious discourse. They are clarity and perspective. It is more important for me to understand why you believe in something than to change your mind. Unfortunately, I've come to realize that for many people any journey down the road to introspection would be a maiden voyage. They are unable to articulate a coherent explanation for their positions because they have never challenged themselves...never vetted their own deeply held opinions. If you haven't done it yourself, you have no hope of defending your point of view to someone else armed with conviction and facts. All the conviction in the world, unaccompanied by facts and reason, will only convert the simple-minded. That's why much of the debate today is reduced to name-calling and ridiculous analogies (e.g. Bush = Hitler). But I digress. In 1789 we had our first presidential election. It was far from a perfect and fully representative affair. Race, gender and property ownership stood as voting rights tests. It was only over time that we broadened the franchise to what it is today. So, it is clear that our early elections were not "representative" as we use that term in 2005. Nevertheless, it was a very good start on the road to a representative democracy. We are 214 years later and some would say we still have work to do to insure all that wish to vote are able to do so. Maybe that is true, but it doesn't mean all prior elections that did not meet the ideal are somehow not purposeful and necessary steps on the road to democracy. How can we expect more out of Iraq's first election in order to call it a success than we did from our own?
I have not yet had a chance to watch the confirmation hearings, but I would pay money (if I hadn't DVR'd today's installment) just to watch Condi square off against Sen. Barbara Boxer. Apparently Boxer hadn't read the joint resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq when she said the reason was "WMD, period." Can you say: Battle of wits against an unarmed opponent? Took a knife to a gun fight?
I have no idea whether or how this translates countrywide, but at least in Baghdad it seems there will be good voter turnout. Obviously, if Iraqi voter turnout even comes close to approximating that of our recent Presidential elections, it should lay to rest the claim this election is not "legitimate" and should have been postponed. Of course, that probably won't stop John Kerry from complaining about disenfranchisement of American voters because they had to wait in long lines...as opposed to risking their lives to exercise their newly-won franchise.
It is really sad to see adults acting like children. One of the things I've learned, and try to pass on to my young daughter, is that not everything will be as you might like. That you may not be successful every time so learn from your experience and try harder the next go-round. Don't make excuses for losing, just plan to do better next time. John Kerry hasn't learned that lesson as he continues to preach to the choir about voter "disenfranchisement." Let me be blunt. What is worse is the obvious pandering to the African-American community on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. There is no evidence of voter "suppression" or of voting machines being distributed "in uneven ways." It is a myth being perpetuated by the Democratic Party to rile up one of its core constituencies because...let's be honest, if the Democrats don't get 85-90% of the African-American vote in national elections, they can't expect to control Congress or hold the White House for some time. I don't know what to say about Ramsey Clark, other than he is disgusting...and he gives us lawyers a bad (worse ?) name. I don't quarrel with the fact that a war criminal/murderer/torturer of children is entitled to a defense when brought before a tribunal. But any American who can say with a straight face that Saddam is "reserved, quiet, thoughtful and dignified" and that he has been "unfairly demonized" deserves all the opprobrium we can muster.
Take a moment to read "Inauguration and the Nature of Man" over at Rooftop Blog. It is a reminder of what we are all about, which tends to become obscured in the partisan wrangling.
Today has been quite fertile for posting. Read here about a middle school in (no surprise) Palo Alto, CA that had a career day speaker extol the merits of stripping for a living! I first read this at one of our "...the Bad..."- listed blogs, Political Moose and what is even more striking to me is that not everyone is appalled at the idea of telling 12 and 13 year olds that aspiring to be a stripper is as valid a career choice as teacher or doctor or police officer. But as I commented to the Moose, this does not surprise me when the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman is considered by some (many?) to be a "radical right wing" position.
Another example of reasoned debate from our friends on the left. A standard rule of thumb: anyone who truly believes there are any similarities between President Bush and Adolph Freakin' Hitler is bereft of intellect and should not be bothered with. On the other hand, it is good for a laugh once in a while so go visit Ms Liberty for a look at the long term effects of BDS. Take a large segment of population raised without the ability to think critically, throw in total ignorance of history and this is what you get.
"After spending 10 days in London with friends who were outspoken about their disdain for President Bush's policies, Berns Rothchild came home wishing she had a way to show the world she didn't vote for him. "I sort of felt ashamed, and didn't really want to be associated with being an American," said Rothchild, who lives in New York City and voted for John Kerry." ...so she began marketing "Count Me Blue" bracelets ala Lance Armstrong's "LiveStrong" endeavor. Who did you think someone named "Berns Rothchild" from Manhattan would have voted for in the last election. OK...maybe that was uncalled for but, puh-leeze, this whole "ashamed" of being an American thing...a bit over the top, wouldn't you say? Get over it!!
Hat tip to LGF for this story on the "Fox Blocker"...an electronic gizmo that will block the transmission of Fox News over your cable. It's good to know that the party of free speech and civil rights is afraid of a little centrism. Can you imagine the uproar if some conservative group had begun to market a "CBS Canceller"?
Seymour Hersh writes in the New Yorker of "secret reconaissance missions" being conducted inside of Iran by our military. Is the assumption that the New Yorker magazine is not available in Farsi?
RTH! has been added to the Homespun Bloggers network. Please take a few moments and visit the new blogroll in our right sidebar.
Please, oh please, someone explain why we do such politically correct things? (rhetorical question) This season's plotline on Fox's popular series "24" deals with Islamic terrorism. Fox, under pressure from CAIR (Counsel on American-Islamic Relations) is offering its affiliates PSA's that positively portray Muslims. I guess all the "bigots" watching "24" will reconsider their position after viewing the 30 and 60 second spots. Why wasn't there this concern when The Godfather (all three parts) or Goodfellas or Casino or The Valachi Papers or Donnie Brasco or any of the other dozens of Mafia/Cosa Nostra movies were released, not to mention the hundreds of depictions of Italian-American criminals on television? Why did no one feel the need to 'balance" the negative portrayal of my "countrymen" with a smarmy public service announcement? (not a rhetorical question) UPDATE: Fox has apparently agreed to edit out certain "anti-Muslim" scenes. Here's the quote I like: "When Muslims or Arabs are portrayed, it is always in a stereotypical way.” Unlike the way conservatives or Christians or southerners or, believe it or not, Italian-Americans (see above) are portrayed.
I've linked to a post by Lt Col Tim Ryan, a Task Force Commander in Iraq that MUST be read by anyone who cares about the truth (Hat tip: LGF). I have always believed that the MSM, being philosophically anti-war and certainly anti-Bush, only report the negative because it fit the agenda they wish to promote. What is disappointing is that many of the left-leaning bloggers out there accept without reservation the continual "little picture" reporting of bad news as reflective of the greater reality, but make no effort to listen to what persons who are actually in Iraq full-time have to say. Here are the closing words by Lt Col Ryan: This war is not without its tragedies; none ever are. The key to the enemy's success is use of his limited assets to gain the greatest influence over the masses. The media serves as the glass through which a relatively small event can be magnified to international proportions, and the enemy is exploiting this with incredible ease. There is no good news to counteract the bad, so the enemy scores a victory almost every day. In its zeal to get to the hot spots and report the latest bombing, the media is missing the reality of a greater good going on in Iraq. We seldom are seen doing anything right or positive in the news. People believe what they see, and what people of the world see almost on a daily basis is negative. How could they see it any other way? These images and stories, out of scale and context to the greater good going on over here, are just the sort of thing the terrorists are looking for. This focus on the enemy's successes strengthens his resolve and aids and abets his cause. It's the American image abroad that suffers in the end. Ironically, the press freedom that we have brought to this part of the world is providing support for the enemy we fight. I obviously think it's a disgrace when many on whom the world relies for news paint such an incomplete picture of what actually has happened. Much too much is ignored or omitted. I am confident that history will prove our cause right in this war, but by the time that happens, the world might be so steeped in the gloom of ignorance we won't recognize victory when we achieve it. If you read nothing else today, please read all of this.
I was turned on to the blog Chrenkoff and immediately added him to "The Good..." wing of the Triptych. He's a guy blogging from Down Under via communist Poland (he was born in Krakow). What he brings to the table is what is so sorely lacking in much of the commentary...PERSPECTIVE. Pay him a visit.
I would have voted for the label on the scooter that reads: "This product moves when used." Check out the winners of a Michigan radio talk show contest for the best "Wacky Warning Label." Also, click the photo link lest you doubt we have become so silly. Also, check out Dull Men's Club for more of the same. As a lawyer, I can tell you this is ALL the result of efforts in various risk management departments to avoid lawsuits. I was particularly intrigued by the warning: "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals."
City Journal has published a rather lengthy article by Brian Anderson detailing what appears to be a slow, but steady, move towards conservativism on college campuses. It paints an encouraging picture and is certainly worth at least skimming through. This led me to a term I had not heard before but has apparently been part of the college lexicon for some time now: "hooking up" -- defined as one-time sexual encounters with no intention of even talking to each other afterwards, much less repeating the experience. A Newsweek story describes this cultural highpoint in greater detail. The shocking thing (and believe me, I fully partook of the college experience) was reading the following: The early research confirms just how widespread the behavior has become. In 2000 Paul published what colleagues credit as the first academic article that explored college hookups in depth. Her survey of 555 undergrads found that 78 percent of students had hooked up, that they usually did so after consuming alcohol and that the average student had accumulated 10.8 hookup partners during college. Studies on other campuses produced similar numbers. Researchers at James Madison University found that 77.7 percent of women and 84.2 percent of men had hooked up, a process they said routinely involving "petting below the waist, oral sex or intercourse." As I have said repeatedly, with a 13 year old daughter at home, I am very, very concerned.
Here's a link to information if you would like to host your own "Inaugural Party" for President Bush on 1/20/05... ...OK...even I wouldn't do that.
Sixteen House Democrats have penned a letter to President Bush urging him to begin immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Now, the reality is this letter isn't for the President's eyes but rather an act of political grandstanding. However, who do you think will be most impressed with this letter? Who do you think will read the content of this letter and be motivated to stay the course or perhaps even redouble their efforts? Hint: the people I speak of would need the letter translated into Arabic and would need to take a few minutes away from cobbling together "IEDs" (Improvised Explosive Devices) to read it. What fools! This sort of short-sighted mendacity is exactly what our enemies will use for encouragement and "proof" that American will is faltering. Do you think the "insurgents" will want to kill more or less people if they believe American resolve is weakening? These sixteen children have likely caused the deaths of a few more innocents. And in the meantime, John Kerry is telling the Grand Imam of Al Azhar (Egypt) that the U.S. "committed terrible mistakes" in Iraq. This is too much for one day. I'm going to bed.
What would happen if Dirty Harry was confronted by one slovenly, baseball-cap wearing, anti-American director of so-called "documentaries"? Read here.
These are not new stories, having been sitting in my electronic folder for at least three months now, but are worth considering. These types of punishments for these sorts of "crimes" are endemic in most totalitarian systems, be they secular or religious. However, we are not here dealing with an ancient monarchy or the former Soviet Union's gulag, or even the generally understood meglomania in North Korea. There is no fear, for example, of Kim Jong Il exporting his lunacy outside the Korean peninsula. What we see in Iran when a fourteen year old boy dies after being administered 85 lashes for breaking his Ramadan fast, or when a sixteen year old girl is hung from the neck until dead for having a "sharp tongue" is Sharia in action. Wherever Muslims are a controlling majority, Sharia is either enforced or efforts are underway by a substantial number to move in that direction. I do not care what, in theory, Islam stands for or what is written in a particular Sura. What is important is how Islam (or any other religion, for that matter) is construed and practiced by its adherents in contemporary times. And clearly, at this point in history, there are major problems.
I was killing a bit of time and came across this very funny post at One Happy Dog Speaks. For those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s, it is oh so true. What did we do without all the warnings, etc to keep us safe? If you're in your 40s or beyond, you probably remember things called "see-saws" and "merry-go-rounds" as ubiquitous presences in elementary school play yards as well as in community parks, etc. If you haven't noticed, they have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Except it was not an explosion brought about by a collision with an asteroid that did these playthings in, it was due to an explosion of litigation. Too bad. Here's a old column by George Will lamenting this very same point.
Not a good career move...good thing he doesn't need one.
Top Ten Proposed Changes At CBS News (per David Letterman): 10. Stories must be corroborated by at least two really strong hunches. 9. "Evening News" pre-show staff cocktail hour is cancelled until further notice. 8. Reduce "60 Minutes" to more manageable 15-20 minutes. 7. Change division name from "CBS News" to "CBS News-ish" 6. If anchor says anything inaccurate, earpiece delivers an electric shock. 5. Conclude each story with comical "Boing" sound effect. 4. Instead of boring Middle East reports, more powerball drawings. 3. To play it safe, every "exclusive" story will be about how tasty pecan pie is. 2. Not sure how, but make CBS News more like "C.S.I." 1. Use beer, cash and hookers to lure Tom Brokaw out of retirement."