« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 1, 2004

Kerry Foreign Policy: A Distinction Without A Difference

John Kerry continued his attempt to differentiate himself from George Bush on Iraq policy yesterday in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, following Dick Cheney's widely-criticized political speech last week at the same venue. The Los Angeles Times reports that Kerry continues to expound on "international cooperation" without explaining how that differs from what the US is doing now: Sen. John F. Kerry challenged President Bush on Friday to engage in personal diplomacy to try to repair relationships with other influential nations and gain their support for an international mission in Iraq. During a 30-minute address at Westminster College here, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee pledged to support his rival's policy in Iraq if Bush pursued that effort. ... He urged the president to form a political coalition with the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and other nations to endorse the effort to stabilize Iraq and back the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Iraqi Official Claims List of Bribes in Baghdad

A member of the Iraqi Governing Council claimed yesterday that the IGC has a list of people who were bribed by Saddam Hussein's regime in a development that threatens to expand the corruption scandal past the United Nations and the Oil-For-Food Program (via Friends of Saddam): An Iraqi official said today there was a list of cash bribes made by Saddam Hussein's government to journalists, politicians and groups in connection with the US$67 billion ($108.92 billion) UN-run oil-for-food programme. Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi Governing Council, said Iraqi officials combing Saddam's files had not decided whether to release the list as part of a burgeoning scandal over the defunct programme. "We have a list of cash paid to journalists, personalities, groups and parties," Talabani told a news conference after conferring with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan over an Iraqi interim government. Reuters, through The New Zealand News, reports...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio Debates Bad Music

It's Saturday and time for another installment of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, from noon to 3 pm CT. In the third hour today, we will be debating which pop songs represent the worst of pop music, an argument that started with Blender Magazine's 50 Worst Songs of All Time (complete list here). Blender, however, demonstrated its complete ineptitude by including such songs as "Sounds of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel and "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg. Even if you don't particularly like those songs, you can't argue that they're the 42nd and 30th worst songs of all time! Here's my list of songs which I will be taking to the AM 1280 The Patriot studio in a few minutes, in no particular order except at #1, which is the worst song of all time, bar none: 1. I've Never Been To Me - Charlene 2. 99 Luftballoons - Nena 3....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

We're From Eyewitness News, and Your Son's Dead. How Do You Feel About It?

Romanesko passes along a story regarding a Chicago ABC affiliate who not only could not get a news story correct, but then in its rush to get a hot story on the air, informed a mother her son was dead after asking for an interview. The problem, besides the soulless, heartless TV news crew? They had the wrong family: After she had arrived, the crew returned to her front door. According to [Doris] Glenn, one staffer asked her for an interview, but she was reluctant. "I said, 'What is this about?' and (the staffer) said she just wanted to interview me," said Glenn. "I said I wouldn't do an interview unless I first knew what it was about. "And then she said, 'I'm sorry to inform you that your son is deceased,' " Glenn said. The crew showed up at Glenn's house earlier in the day without explaining why, and...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Shhh! I'm Channeling My Inner GOODLE

At the end of yesterday's Bleat, James Lileks posted a link to a site he'd found when he misspelled Google during a search. I decided to follow his link, wherever his link may take me, and I wound up at the L & J Corporation, apparently based in South Korea. James' link allowed me the choice between a Korean-language site or an English-language site ... and I'm sure you can guess which one I chose. However, once I began reading the page, I was less certain that I had chosen wisely. Being a student of a foreign language (Irish, because it is so applicable in the Upper Midwest of the US!), I understand that translating text on a word-for-word basis without accounting for idioms and contextual shifts generate results that can be unintelligible, annoying, and/or hilarious. You tell me which you think apply: We produce and dispose of inner GOODLE....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Religion of Peace, Part 37b

The governor of Nigerian province Zamfara State has implemented Shari'a law, and in the continuing rollout of the strict Islamic practice, has ordered all churches to be demolished in accordance with the Qu'ran: Speaking at the launch in Gusau, the state capital, Governor Sani disclosed that time was ripe for full implementation of the programme as enshrined in the Holy Quran. He added that his government would soon embark on demolition of all places of worship of unbelievers in the state, in line with Islamic injunction to fight them wherever they are found. With respect to being a religion of peace, it would appear that Islam offers only the peace of dhimmitude for those who don't convert. As Islamofascism spreads, this is the attitude towards human rights and freedom we can expect to encounter. (via The Corner)...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Are The Vultures Circling?

While George Bush has taken a pounding for the past several months from an extended Democratic primary run-up, the fallout of overblown insurgencies in Iraq, and the release of two tattletale books from former advisors, the Kerry campaign has managed to move backwards in its battle against the President. In fact, the Kerry campaign has been so inept that even Democrats are willing to go on record to discuss their concerns, as the New York Times reports in tomorrow's paper: "George Bush has had three of the worst months of his presidency, but they are stuck and they've got to move past this moment," said Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. While Ms. Brazile said she thought Mr. Kerry had the time, the political skill and the money to defeat what many Democrats described as a highly vulnerable president, she said, "This is a very crucial moment...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Imagine No John Kerry, It's What They'd Like To Do

John Tierney reports in tomorrow's New York Times, while waxing lyrical, that political scientists have confirmed that the Democrats shot themselves in the foot by front-loading their primaries to coalesce support early in the race behind one candidate. An experiment shows that their process selected the wrong one: IMAGINE there's no Iowa. No New Hampshire, too. Imagine the Democratic Party, instead of relying on a few unrepresentative voters to quickly anoint John Kerry, had allowed people across America to vet the candidates and contemplate the issues. Then Mr. Kerry might well not be the nominee, and the Democrats would stand a better chance of reaching the White House, at least according to the results of a novel experiment during the primary season. The experiment involved allowing a group of 700 people to take a longer time to get to know all of the candidates, meet to discuss their relative strengths...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 2, 2004

Hamill Escapes

The American contractor held hostage by Iraqi insurgents escaped from captivity, found an American convoy, and led them back to his captors, according to the AP: American hostage Thomas Hamill, kidnapped three weeks ago in an insurgent attack on his convoy, was found by U.S. forces Sunday south of Tikrit after he apparently escaped from his captors, the U.S. military said. An official said he was in good health. Hamill, 43, of Macon, Miss., was discovered when he approached a U.S. patrol from the 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry, part of the New York National Guard, in the town of Balad, 35 miles south of Tikrit, a spokesman for U.S. troops in Tikrit said. ... Hamill identified himself to the troops, then led the patrol to the house where he had been held captive. The unit surrounded the house and captured two Iraqis with an automatic weapon, said the military spokesman,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

NY Times Lauds Americans' Efforts In Iraq, But It's Not News

After unrelenting negative coverage, especially over the past month while spot insurgencies flared up and the discovery of distasteful mistreatment of prisoners came to light, the New York Times attempted to give a more balanced look at American efforts in Iraq today. George Vecsey reports on American efforts to rebuild Iraq and to provide safety, security, education, and childhood back to Iraqi children: You rarely see smiles like these on the 6 o'clock news or on the front page. Alex Fyfe gets to see Iraqi children with a happy look on their faces, as they kick soccer balls on the dust and rocks. He thinks of the green soccer fields of Long Island and the lacrosse fields at the United States Military Academy. ... As the civil affairs officer for his battalion, based near Mosul, Fyfe's job is to improve conditions in one small corner of Iraq. With the help...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Kerry Hypocrisy Writ Petty

The Boston Globe has an unintentionally hilarious piece on John Kerry this morning, which covers his efforts to wring as much political juice as he can by continued griping about Bush's National Guard service and the "Mission Accomplished" banner anniversary yesterday. Raja Mishra starts his report by noting the Senator's scattershot thinking: John F. Kerry walked into a diner here yesterday morning for a breakfast with fellow veterans, old soldiers gathered for a quiet discussion of war, death, and suffering on a day charged with political significance. He sought a low profile, but in a rare, unscripted conversation with those gathered, the Massachusetts senator questioned President Bush's wartime moral authority, suggested that Vice President Dick Cheney would face harsher scrutiny for potential war-profiteering if Democrats were in control of Congress, and vented about the tone of the presidential race [emph mine - Ed]. And all that was before he finished...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Telegraph: The Nazi Eisenhower Assassination Plot

Today's London Telegraph relates one of the untold stories of World War II, nearly sixty years after it happened. The few survivors of uber-commando leader Otto Skorzeny's final secret mission have decided to tell the story of how they were recruited to impersonate American soldiers, go deep behind enemy lines, and capture or assassinate the Supreme Head of the Allied Expeditionary Force -- Gen. Dwight Eisenhower: They were the decisive days of the Second World War and the Nazis faced defeat. Allied troops were on French soil and Hitler, desperate to prevent an invasion of Germany, hatched a final extraordinary plan: infiltrate the US army and take Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, dead or alive. The German leader entrusted Operation Greif to the Austrian SS Obersturmbahnfuhrer Otto Skorzeny, who had rescued Mussolini from imprisonment by the Italian government in 1943, flying him off a mountaintop in a tiny aircraft. Skorzeny...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Harvard Academic Work Not Difficult Enough

Apparently, the scholastic work at Harvard must be a breeze these days, as the student body and the administration has plenty of time to wrangle with issues such as these during the run-up to finals: Harvards lack of gender non-specific bathrooms has caused transgender and gender-variant students to alter eating and drinking habits and suffer severe cases of dehydration, according to a report released yesterday by the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA). ... Members of BGLTSA issued four major requests in connection with the study: the neutralization of all gender-specific, single occupancy bathrooms; proper labeling and designation of all bathrooms; inclusion of at least one acceptable gender non-specific bathroom in any future buildings; and immunity from disciplinary action for using a bathroom that a student deems appropriate for his or her gender. Twenty years ago, this article would have appeared in the Lampoon instead of the Crimson,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Kofi Annan Fumbles on OFF on Meet the Press

Kofi Annan appeared today on Meet the Press and wilted under Tim Russert's questioning on the Oil-For-Food program. The transcript tells the story: MR. RUSSERT: Someone also very close to you has alleged involvement in this scandal. This is how The San Diego Union Tribune wrote about it. "What particularly troubles are revelations that several hundred individuals, political entities and companies from more than 45 countries profited from doing illicit business with Saddam, accepting his oil contracts and paying the murderous dictator secret kick-backs. That included, according to Iraqi Oil Minister records, U.N. Assistant Secretary General Benon Sevan, executive director of the oil-for-food program, who received a vouch for 11.5 million barrels of oil through the program, enough to turn a profit as much as $3.5 million." Now, Mr. Sevan has denied that allegation. SEC'Y-GEN. ANNAN: Yes, sir. MR. RUSSERT: But NBC News has obtained this letter that was sent...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Another Rubberdove Bites The Dust

I'm not even going to comment on this, as Michele Catalano does far too good a job on it. However, the gist of this is that a leftie anti-war blogger has apparently lied for years about his military experience. He did it to argue his props for his anti-war position. He did it to ridicule those who opposed him. He did it to gain notoriety, coming in the form of mainstream media interviews and the like. And once found out, blamed everyone else for not figuring it out earlier. I've decided that this species of human effluvia needs a name: rubberdove sounds about right. What do you think? (via Instapundit) UPDATE: Greyhawk has a great and (especially under the circumstances) reasoned post about Micah Wright at the always-terrific Mudville Gazette. More also at Jim Treacher's blog. Kurt Vonnegut, who has to be one of the most overrated authors of the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Sharon Plan Defeated By Own Party

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may face the end of his career now that his high-stakes gamble on withdrawal from Gaza has apparently backfired: TV polls indicated Sunday that the ruling Likud Party overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's proposal to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and four small West Bank settlements. ... The telephone polls, conducted by Israel's three main TV stations, gave opponents a large lead of between 12 and 24 percentage points. A survey by Channel 2 had the smallest lead for opponents, with 56 percent against the plan and 44 percent in favor. On Channel 10, the poll indicated 58 had voted against and 42 percent in favor. The greatest gap was given by Channel 1, with 62 percent against and 38 percent in favor. In a stunning defeat, Sharon could not even secure a bare majority of his own party for his policy of disengagement...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

For A Guy Who Doesn't Fall Down ...

... John Kerry spends a lot of time suddenly appearing in the horizontal. This time, the SOB appears to be sand: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry took a spill from his bicycle after hitting a patch of sand during a ride Sunday afternoon, but he was uninjured, campaign officials said. Kerry was riding south on a two-lane road at about 1:00 p.m. in the direction of Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, a quiet, suburban town about 18 miles northwest of Boston. He was approaching a stop light at the intersection with Route 2 and was slowing down when he veered left into the oncoming lane and fell, according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed him fall. Secret Service agents and local police immediately stopped traffic while Kerry and a handful of bicycling companions moved to the shoulder. The Secret Service detail apparently stayed off the bicycles, which meant...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 3, 2004

Pakistan: Let's All Just Get Along

The BBC reports that the American military commander in Afghanistan is worried that the Pakistanis have gone somewhat wobbly in the war on terror, especially against al-Qaeda. The Pakistanis appear reluctant to actually capture "militants", as the BBC calls them, instead asking for pledges to renounce terrorism: The commander of US forces in Afghanistan has expressed concern at Pakistan's strategy against foreign al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters. Lieutenant-General David Barno said Pakistan must eliminate a "significant number" of militants along the border. "There are foreign fighters in those tribal areas who will have to be killed or captured," he said. Pakistan says foreign fighters can stay in the region if they renounce terrorism and live peacefully. ... On Friday, Pakistan extended a deadline for foreign militants to give themselves up to authorities after no one surrendered. Even apart from the war on terror, when a sovereign state tolerates the existence of...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

LA Times: Kerry Losing Ground With Latinos

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Kerry campaign has stumbled significantly in its strategy towards the Latino community in four key states, allowing the Bush campaign to get far ahead of them. In Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Florida, the Bush campaign has already built networks of precinct staffs and regional management to court Latino voters, while Kerry has none in any of these states: In each of the ... battleground states where the Latino vote is pivotal Arizona, [New Mexico], Nevada and Florida the same is true: Bush has staff and headquarters; Kerry does not. Bush also has run television ads in Spanish in each of those states; Kerry has not. Kerry's slow start in appealing to Latinos has complicated his quest to keep Bush from making inroads with a voting bloc that's expected to play a key role this year in determining who wins the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Brownstein Clueless on VP Candidates -- Or Kerry Is

The LA Times' Ron Brownstein, who normally has good connections to the Democrats, comes up with two laughable candidates for the VP slot: Bob Kerrey and Wesley Clark. Not that these two wouldn't have their supporters -- but based on recent experience, they would only add to John Kerry's liabilities instead of balancing the ticket. Brownstein sees it differently: Conspicuously missing from that list are candidates who could reinforce Kerry's national security credentials. But two might deserve more attention than they have received. Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, who won a Medal of Honor in Vietnam, was an early hawk on Al Qaeda and Hussein and has reemerged through the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks as a powerful voice for a comprehensive assault on terrorism. Even more intriguing is a name that has attracted even less attention: former NATO Supreme Commander and 2004 Democratic presidential contender Wesley K. Clark....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Bad-Blood Brothers

John Kerry may take more pounding on what supposedly is the strength of his presidential-candidate resum -- his service in Vietnam. CNS News reports that a band of Kerry's brothers in the service, which includes all of his former commanding officers and most of his colleagues during his in-country service in Vietnam, have formed a group which plans on declaring that Kerry is unfit for office: Hundreds of former commanders and military colleagues of presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry are set to declare in a signed letter that he is "unfit to be commander-in-chief." They will do so at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday. "What is going to happen on Tuesday is an event that is really historical in dimension," John O'Neill, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy as a PCF (Patrol Craft Fast) boat commander, told CNSNews.com . The event, which is expected to draw...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Kerrey's Lame Excuse

Bob Kerrey ignited a firestorm of controversy when he walked out of the 9/11 Commission's meeting with President Bush in order to speak with Senator Pete Domenici. Now he tells National Review Online that he regrets leaving and considers it a mistake: Kerrey had scheduled a meeting at noon Thursday with New Mexico Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, a member of the Appropriations Committee, at Domenici's office in the Hart Senate Office Building (the two were to discuss an issue related to the New School, of which Kerrey is president). To make the meeting, Kerry left the White House at about 11:40 A.M., missing the last hour of the commission's questioning of Bush and Cheney. But when Kerrey arrived at the Hart Building, he was told that Domenici was busy on the Senate floor, voting on a series of amendments. Noon came and went. Instead of meeting in the office, Kerrey...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

A Marine's Plea

Hugh Hewitt posted this at his site, and I think it's required reading for anyone who thinks that the overwrought oracles of doom about Iraq that dominate the mainstream news media have no effect on the troops they claim to support. Pass this around, and make sure people understand it. Yes, it's just one Marine's opinion, but he's the one that's out there on the line. We shouldn't let him down. Hello Everyone, I am taking time to ask you all for your help. First off, I'd like to say that this is not a political message. I'm not concerned about domestic politics right now. We have much bigger things to deal with, and we need your help. It seems that despite the tremendous and heroic efforts of the men and women serving here in Iraq to bring much needed peace and stability to this region, we are losing the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 4, 2004

Canelos to Kerry: Exploit Vietnam Vets Now, Not Later

Peter S. Canelos must have missed reading the news yesterday, which can be the only explanation for his column in the Boston Globe this morning. Canelos wonders what happened to John Kerry's "band of brothers," a tiresome phrase that has gone from Shakespearean to sappy in the space of a few months. The BoB haven't made an appearance since Kerry clinched the nomination, and Canelos exhorts Kerry to bring them back now: The mute testimony of the veterans ennobled Kerry, shining more light on his character than the loyal gazes of Nancy Reagan or Laura Bush could ever confer on their men. Kerry seemed to grow more formidable, and his sudden surge to the nomination coincided with the veterans' arrival at his side. Now, Kerry mostly campaigns alone, with aides, local politicians, and a cranky, sleep-deprived press corps as his entourage. His much-decorated service in the Vietnam War has become...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

John Kerry Courts The Jewish Vote

Sometimes it's hard not to feel sorry for John Kerry as he stumbles his way through the early part of the campaign, but he has only himself to blame. In the same day, he managed to put his foot squarely in his mouth in comments aimed at garnering the Jewish vote. As Hugh Hewitt and my colleague Big Trunk at Power Line point out, Kerry made this incredible gaffe regarding their religion: For all of its history, ADL has been self-asked to live up to one of the oldest most fundamental principles of civilization. It is actually one of the Commandments as we know: "Love your neighbor." No, it's one of the commandments as we Christians know, because it came from the lips of Jesus himself. For Jewish activists at the Anti-Defamation League, this must have been a rather jarring note. Jews have a well-founded fear of cultural domination by...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

NYT Book Review Lauds Anti-American Rip-off

I don't mean to write a book review here, never having read Globalia by French author Jean-Christophe Rufin, but based on the New York Times review, I don't plan on adding it to my summer reading list, either. Alan Riding gives plenty of column space to what appears to be nothing more than a bad derivative of Brave New World, 1984, and Logan's Run, with a heavy dose of French anti-Americanism tossed in for seasoning: In the novel Globalia, which embraces much of North America and Europe and parts of Asia, is the political unit that dominates the globe, aspiring to be a perfect world in which organ replacement ensures extraordinary longevity, private companies flourish and social welfare is guaranteed, political and ethnic conflicts have disappeared thanks to the abolition of history. Its motto is "Liberty, Security, Prosperity." Globalia's cities and territories are enclosed by bulletproof glass walls and roofs...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Recognizing Heroism In Battle: A Continuing Series

As I posted earlier with Captain Roger Crossland's excellent essay on the nature of heroism, we make a severe mistake when we only honor victimization in the war on terror. One particular criticism that can be made of the current administration is the lack of communication regarding the heroic efforts of our men and women under combat conditions, not through their death or wounding but through their extraordinary actions under fire to win the war -- which should be the point of their being under fire in the first place. Today I received an e-mail from Peyton Randolph, a regular reader and an officer in the inactive Reserve who currently works with the Army as a contractor, stateside. Peyton sent me an e-mail that the Army released earlier which demonstrates the quick action and bravery that American armed forces demonstrate under fire. Perhaps by reading about their courage, we can...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #8!

After a tough week on the campaign trail, one has to think that John Kerry might be a bit despondent. However, showing that Boston Brahmin/Botox optimism, Kerry keeps a happy face on and insists things are looking up: Yes indeed, it is that day of the week, Friday, when Captain's Quarters soars above the crowd to bring you the Captain's Caption Contest! This week we all point to Pat Curley at the Kerry Haters blog as the guest judge. (Er, from the title, can you guess what Pat thinks of our subject matter?) Please enter your captions into the comments section (no e-mails, please) and don't be afraid to send up a few trial balloons! Comments will remain open until Tuesday, May 4th at 6 PM CT, when Pat will select the winners. Have fun and keep checking back! BUMP 5/1: Happy May Day! Keep 'em coming ... BUMP 5/2:...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Liberal Network, Take 2

Al Gore finally closed the deal on the launch of his long-desired television network. Gore led a group of investors in the purchase of Newsworld International, a cable/satellite television channel which broadcasts 24-hour news programming from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. While Gore often spoke of creating a liberal television network to counter what he claimed was the right-wing bias in the American broadcast networks, he now says that the programming will remain neutral: "This is not going to be a liberal network, or a Democratic network in any way, shape, or form," the former vice president said. Rather, he said, the reason for buying the network was to create an independent source of information. If that sounds like a distinction without a difference, the list of Gore's investors will only reinforce that opinion: Gore made the announcement with business partner Joel Hyatt, who founded a chain of low-cost storefront legal...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

SFC Paul Smith -- The First Medal of Honor Nominee in War on Terror

Big thanks to Captain Roger Crossland, who alerted me to this Newsmax article I missed in December, when it first ran. The first soldier nominated for a Medal of Honor for combat in the war on terror, Sergeant First Class Paul Smith gave his life on the battlefield in Iraq, at the airport in Baghdad, while fighting to save the lives of the men he led. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, SFC Smith was a platoon sergeant/acting platoon leader in Bravo Company, which was in contact with Saddams forces nearly every day. The drive on Baghdad from the south eventually carried the task force containing Smiths parent 11th Engineers into Saddam International Airport. By the morning of April 4, the aggressive U.S. force was well inside the airport complex, and a containment pen had to be quickly constructed to secure the enemy prisoners. There was a tall wall paralleling the north...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Caption Contest #8 Winners!

What's that -- up in the sky? It's a bird! It's a plane! It's an SOB! No -- it's the Captain's Caption Contest winners! Pat Curley, our guest judge from the Kerry Haters Blog, has selected the winning entries for this week's contest. Just to give you a heads-up, here's the picture again: Without further ado, here are the winners... Captain's Award (Outreach Award) -- Mike: "Don't Jump", shouted the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee to the latest person to undergo vetting for the VP position on his ticket. You Have The Conn #1 (Cy Young Award) - Guy-N-Texas: And after I tossed my medals, er ribbons over the fence the wind caught 'em and they fell back down in my office. You Have The Conn #2 (Penthouse Forum Award) - Jim S.: I don't usually respond to spam, but let me tell ya, this stuff really worked! You Have The...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 5, 2004

Powell: I'm No Casualty

Colin Powell, appearing on Larry King last night and reported on CNN this morning, rejected the notion that his tenure as Secretary of State has made him a "casualty of war" and that he enjoys his job despite some difficult days: In an interview with CNN's Larry King, Powell disputed the popular caricature of him as a frustrated and sidelined figure soldiering along in an administration where he's not appreciated. "I enjoy serving my country. I enjoy this job," Powell said. "But are there difficult days, are there tough times? Sure. These are tough issues. They're tough issues to get your mind around ... There are debates. Sometimes you win debates, sometimes you lose debates." "That's not the point. In this job ... the issue is not to win or lose a particular debate. The issue is to make sure that the president gets the very best information he can...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Disney to Moore: Drop Dead

Michael Moore and Disney subsidiary Miramax found out that the Mouse meant what it said when it earlier told Miramax that it would not allow any Disney companies to distribute Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 911: Disney executives indicated that they would not budge from their position forbidding Miramax to be the distributor of the film in North America. Overseas rights have been sold to a number of companies, executives said. "We advised both the agent and Miramax in May of 2003 that the film would not be distributed by Miramax," said Zenia Mucha, a company spokeswoman, referring to Mr. Moore's agent. "That decision stands." Typically for Moore's team, his agent tried to blame the Bush administrations (George and Jeb) for Disney's decision, claiming that Disney chief Michael Eisner told him that the distribution deal would endanger tax breaks at the federal and state (Florida) level: "Michael Eisner asked me not...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Why Not Just Have Nader Endorse Kerry?

Bruce Ackerman, opining in today's New York Times editorial section, attempts to chide Ralph Nader into making his presidential campaign completely pointless. Okay, well, making it more pointless: With Ralph Nader bobbing along at 2 percent to 7 percent in the polls, now is the time to consider whether our system is flexible enough to avoid another election in which a candidate loses the popular vote but wins the presidency. The answer is yes if Mr. Nader chooses to cooperate. In November, Americans won't be casting their ballots directly for George Bush, John Kerry or Ralph Nader. From a constitutional point of view, they will be voting for competing slates of electors nominated in each state by the contenders. Legally speaking, the decisions made by these 538 members of the Electoral College determine the next president. In the case of Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, electors will be named...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Major Mark E. Mitchell - Heroism in Afghanistan

From this December 2003 Newsmax article: Right behind the Medal of Honor in order of valor is the Distinguished Service Cross. A Special Forces leader holds the distinction of being awarded the first DSC since Vietnam. Maj. Mark E. Mitchell, a Special Forces officer, was awarded the coveted and revered DSC for leading a team of 16 American and British soldiers into combat operations against about 500 Taliban and al Qaeda-trained fighters who had taken over a fortress near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, where they had been imprisoned. Major Mitchells citation states, His unparalleled courage under fire, decisive leadership and personal sacrifice were directly responsible for the success of the rescue operation and were further instrumental in ensuring the city of Mazar-e-Sharif did not fall back in the hands of the Taliban. The Distinguished Service Cross was presented to Mitchell by Gen. Bryan Doug Brown, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, in a...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Rumsfeld Fails the First Commandment of the Subordinate

According to a report on CNN posted less than an hour ago, George Bush has expressed his severe displeasure to Donald Rumsfeld for not informing him of the nature and scope of abuse allegations prior to the President learning of both from media reports: President Bush told Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday that he was "not satisfied" at the way he received information about charges that Iraqi prisoners had been abused by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, a senior administration official told CNN. At a private Oval Office meeting, Bush complained about learning of the existence of photographs showing Iraqi prisoners being humiliated and degraded from media accounts, the official said. "He was not happy, and he let Secretary Rumsfeld know about it," the official said. Bush also voiced concern that he was not kept up to speed on important information about the scope of the problem...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Bullish on Bush, Bearish on Events

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll holds an interesting trend for the presidential race -- half of the electorate are pessimistic about the direction of the country, but don't seem to be blaming Bush, who continues to slowly move farther ahead of John Kerry: Only a third of American voters believe the nation is in sound shape, but they are largely not blaming President Bush, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday, which showed Bush running slightly ahead of his Democratic opponent for president, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. The poll of 1,012 registered voters, conducted Saturday through Monday, found that 50 percent of Americans believe that things are off on the wrong track, compared with only 33 percent who said things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction. The rest said that prospects were mixed or that they were not sure....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 6, 2004

Foreign Endorsements: Not Everyone Roots for Kerry

John Kerry got into hot water for telling a whopper earlier this year about foreign leaders who supposedly told him that he had to win this election so Bush would be out of the picture. Not only did he refuse to name any of these leaders, but he made an ass of himself by shouting down a voter who questioned him at a town-hall style meeting. Kerry continued to insist, when news organizations proved he hadn't had an opportunity to even be in the same city as a foreign leader for over a year, that one could meet up with foreign leaders in restaurants. Well, now Bush has a public endorsement from a foreign leader, and it comes from a surprising source -- conservative, Islamic Pakistan: [Pakistani Prime Minister] Zafarullah Khan Jamali's comment was a rare taking-of-sides by a world leader in another country's election, and one that is particularly...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Smoking Ban for Saint Paul?

The Saint Paul City Council has proposed a ban on smoking in public places, such as bars and restaurants, and it appears to have significant support. Three of seven Council members have committed to "aye" votes, while only one publicly opposes it so far, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports in today's paper: The measure, unveiled Wednesday, appears to have substantial support in the early going, with three members in favor, one against and three undecided. But it is uncertain at this point whether Mayor Randy Kelly will support the ban, which would affect about 845 licensed restaurants and 190 on-sale liquor establishments. The Star-Tribune weighs in with negative reaction from restaurant patrons, who claim that smokers have rights too. The owner of Mickey's Diner, a landmark in Saint Paul, declared that a smoking ban would be an "infringement on my personal freedom," a sentiment shared by his patrons in...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

CWO3 Olin Ashworth, Distinguished Flying Cross Award

From this December 2003 Newsmax article: Our nations highest aviation award is the Distinguished Flying Cross. This past July Chief Warrant Officer 3 Olin R. Ashworth, an Apache helicopter pilot, was awarded the DFC for intrepid conduct during a dramatic hour and twenty minute-long battle between the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment and Iraqi forces on the evening of March 23. Ashworth led his company of war birds into the target area, coming immediately under an intense barrage of enemy ground-fire. Most helicopters were damaged by the onslaught and some were forced to limp back to base. Although having sustained hits, Ashworth pressed the attack. When his wingman came under heavy machine gun fire, he swooped down into the fray, knocking out the gun positions that had marked his fellow aviator. Once finally over the target area, his aircraft took a round in the canopy, which sprayed glass into his...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

A Moment To Acknowledge Our Humanity

Hindrocket at Power Line directs our attention to a story, with accompanying photograph, from the Cincinatti Enquirer about a moment on the campaign trail where we can remember that despite all of the partisan vitriol and rhetoric, we are all Americans. George Bush, making a campaign appearance in Lebanon, OH, shook hands with the crowd who had gathered to enthusiastically greet him. As he did, the following incident briefly made everyone forget about campaigns and speeches: Lynn Faulkner, his daughter, Ashley, and their neighbor, Linda Prince, eagerly waited to shake the president's hand Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn. He worked the line at a steady campaign pace, smiling, nodding and signing autographs until Prince spoke: "This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11." Bush stopped and turned back. "He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Why Did Bremer Block the IGC's UNSCAM Audit?

Friends of Saddam notes that CPA head Paul Bremer has blocked the Iraqi Governing Council's effort to audit the UN Oil-For-Food program using the accounting firm KPMG. Accountacy Age filed a brief report on Bremer's action but does not note any reason for blocking the audit: KPMG was commissioned by the Iraqi Governing Council to investigate the scandal-hit fund, but the work was halted after Paul Bremmer, the head of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority, said it could not be paid for out of CAP funds without a proper tender process. A twin-track process emerged as a result. The governing council has confirmed KPMG as the investigator, but the provisional authority still has its tender procedure underway. In any forensic accounting investigation, elapsed time can permanently cripple any ability to track missing funds or records. To stop KPMG's work because of a bureaucratic detail about payment mechanics suggests that Bremer...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Cruel Bastards

One of the first qualifications for teaching or coaching children should be that you have a higher level of maturity than those you would lead. Unfortunately, at Pleasantville Middle School in Pleasantville, NJ, no such standards applied at the time these idiots were hired: The 13-year-old boy's coach called him just before last month's team banquet and told him to make sure he attended because he was getting a special trophy, the boy's father said. At the event, the boy watched as all of his Pleasantville Middle School teammates received trophies or certificates. He was then called up to receive his award, and a coach told the crowd that the boy was being honored because "he begged to get in the game, and all he did was whine." The trophy had a silver figure of a baby atop a pedestal engraved with the boy's name, which was spelled incorrectly. Family...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Madonn'! What Would Tony Soprano Say?

Having Irish and Italian descent, I'd like to think that I know a thing or two about whiskey, Guiness, and Italian cuisine. I grew up on my mother's excellent Italian cooking, and my godmother and maternal aunt, who recently passed away, was just as sharp in the kitchen. She made a tossed salad that was a family favorite, using red wine vinegar and regular, heavy olive oil -- straight from Italy, of course! However, I don't know how she'd react if she read this article, appearing in tomorrow's New York Times, that blows the lid off of olive oil: To divine the secrets of the famously Italian olive oils that are exported from the famously Italian countryside here, it is instructive to go right to the source. Not endless olive groves lovingly tended as if they were old friends, but more typically, a charmless tanker truck bearing foreign olive oil....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Zapatero Refuses to Quit Digging

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero ignores the proverb that instructs those who find themselves in a hole to quit digging. The New York Times reports in tomorrow's paper that Zapatero insists that Spain remains a loyal ally of the United States, even while he informs the Times that he has backtracked even from the appeasement stance he took when he was first elected: Spain's new prime minister said on Thursday that he would never send Spanish soldiers back to Iraq, even if foreign troops there were put under the authority of the United Nations or NATO. "Spanish troops have spent time there and have completed their mission in Iraq," said Prime Minister Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero. "There's no point in them going back." This contradicts Zapatero's claim that he only opposed having Spanish troops in Iraq due to the lack of a UN Security Council resolution governing the Coalition Provisional...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Moore to Disney: Thanks For The Ride

The London Independent reports in tomorrow's edition that Michael Moore, instead of being a victim of evil, corporate America in the form of the Disney Corporation, instead lied about Disney's intentions to promote his film as well a an illusion of martyrdom: Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it. ... In an indignant letter to his supporters, Moore said he had learnt only on Monday that Disney had put the kibosh on distributing the film, which has been financed by the semi-independent Disney subsidiary Miramax. But in the CNN interview he said: "Almost a year ago, after we'd started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent he...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 7, 2004

Minnesota Senate Pulls The Switcheroo on Social Studies

The Minnesota Senate, working against time to complete their business before a mandated adjournment date, thumbed its nose at the House by passing an alternate set of Social Studies requirements that conflict with those passed weeks ago by the House: The DFL-dominated Senate gave its approval Thursday to a set of social studies requirements for all Minnesota students that goes lighter on the facts and heavier on the analysis than its more knowledge-based counterpart passed by the House in March. ... The chief author of the policy bill, Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, said he didn't think differences in the general principles of what's required in the two versions were that big. But a major difference is in the number of people, places and events kids are required to know. In the Senate social studies standards, those are generally left up to the teacher, though numerous examples are provided. The House...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Kerrys Toss Out A Deadly Red Herring

The New York Times reports that Teresa Heinz-Kerry told Barbara Walters that she once almost had an abortion in the 1970s but a miscarriage made it unnecessary, in an interview that will be aired tonight: Teresa Heinz Kerry told a television interviewer this week that she had planned to have an abortion in the mid-1970's after discovering that cortisone she took while unaware of her pregnancy could cause birth defects but that she had a miscarriage the night before the scheduled procedure. "I'm pro-choice, because I'd like to have that choice myself," Mrs. Heinz Kerry, the wife of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, told Barbara Walters in an interview scheduled to be broadcast on Friday night on the "20/20" program on ABC. "I presume that most women will look at a choice like that as a terrible choice. But they should be given the chance to make...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

NYT: Rumsfeld As Proxy For Bush

Today's New York Times editorial continues their fact-challenged series this week by demanding the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. The Times doesn't justify the demand through the revelations of abuse, whose nature surfaced this week in photographs through CBS News, but which had already been under investigation for months by Rumsfeld's Department of Defense. Instead, the editorial castigates Rumsfeld for the entire war in Iraq in a blistering but essentially empty-headed screed in which the name Rumsfeld obviously stands in for Bush. Even the first two sentences show the hypocrisy and obstinacy of the Times editorial writers: There was a moment about a year ago, in the days of "Mission Accomplished," when Donald Rumsfeld looked like a brilliant tactician. American troops the lean, mean fighting machine Mr. Rumsfeld assembled swept into Baghdad with a speed that surprised even the most optimistic hawks. I believe that came directly after the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Strong Job Growth Adds To 2004 Gains

Job-growth numbers released this morning surprised analysts for a second straight month, and even last month's spectacular job growth was underestimated, reports USA Today: Employers added 288,000 jobs to their payrolls in April as the nation's unemployment rate slipped to 5.6%, reinforcing hopes for a sustained turnaround in the jobs market that had lagged for so long. Payrolls have risen now for eight months, with 867,000 new jobs created so far this year, the Labor Department reported Friday. March's blockbuster job numbers, meanwhile, were updated from 308,000 to 337,000 new jobs created, emphasizing the explosion in job growth. Ever since the last of Bush's economic plan was implemented in Q1 2003, the economy has turned around and now significant job growth has returned. Even the much-maligned manufacturing sector has grown, adding 21,000 jobs in April. Kerry will shift focus from the economy to the war from this point forward as...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Washington Post/ABC Poll: Let Rummy Stay On

The numbers are in, and they indicate that the Democrats overplayed their hand, and badly. According to a new Washington Post/ABC poll, majorities of Republicans, independents, and Democrats reject forcing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from office during wartime due to the actions of soldiers in the field: Seven in 10 Americans said Rumsfeld should not be forced to quit, a view held by majorities of Republicans, Democrats and self-described political independents. The survey comes a day after President Bush gave Rumsfeld a vote of confidence, and as Rumsfeld faced stiff questioning by members of Congress enraged that they were kept in the dark about abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. ... Republicans and Democrats largely agree on the seriousness of the allegations, the scope of the problem and the future of the secretary of defense, but differ dramatically when it comes to Bush's role in the process...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Minnesotans Owe You An Apology

I just heard the exchange between Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton, Donald Rumsfeld, and General Richard Myers at the Senate hearings regarding the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The transcript of the exchange has to be either read or heard to be believed. The worst of it -- but not all of it -- revolved around Myers' request to CBS to delay the publication of the pictures until the hot spots where troops were taking fire, and could conceivably be captured, until after they had pacified those areas. Dayton became hysterical at the notion that the military might ask the media to assist them in keeping American troops as safe as possible, under the circumstances: DAYTON: Mr. Secretary, is that standard procedure for the military command of this country to try to suppress a news report at the highest level? MYERS: It didn't -- let me just -- Senator...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Captain's Quarters Expands: Introducing 'Whiskey'

As I alluded earlier, Captain's Quarters will be making a big change. When I started the blog in October of last year, I envisioned this as a solo effort -- one that probably wouldn't attract a lot of notice. Well, thanks to some terrific readers and big assists from people like the Power Line guys, Hugh Hewitt, and all of the Northern Alliance and many others, Captain's Quarters has had much more success than I ever would have imagined. So much so, in fact, that it's time to bring on a partner to expand boundaries of the blog beyond my own experiences. So I'd like to introduce my new partner, Whiskey, who will start posting tonight. She's an American attorney, a graduate of Cornell Law School, living in East Asia, who has had military experience and so can speak to those issues from a more personal perspective when she desires....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 8, 2004

Let Justice Prevail

In todays WSJ, Newt Gingrich cautions the American media on its hysteric response to the Iraqi prison scandal: The media coverage of the violations of American law against Iraqi prisoners is in peril of setting a dangerous double standard for America and the Arab world. The administration must be very careful in explaining how we feel and what we will do. Otherwise our enemies will use our own words as an excuse to exploit this double standard. To be clear, a very small number of Americans did a terrible thing at Abu Ghraib. And because we live under the rule of law, and we take protecting the Constitution seriously, the accused will be investigated and, when guilty, punished. The incidents themselves are to be condemned. The fact that Mr. Gingrichs warning is necessary is more unfortunate than the acts committed in Abu Ghraib. The spectacle of Congressmen and Senator Kerry...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

NYT's Wilgoren Shilling For Kerry

Jodi Wilgoren attempts some heavy lifting for the John Kerry campaign in today's New York Times. In an attempt to undo the damage that Kerry has inflicted on himself, Wilgoren takes on the worst of Kerry's stumbles -- the infamous "$87 billion" vote comment: President Bush's re-election campaign sent squadrons of researchers to scour Senator John Kerry's three decades in public life in search of material to use against him. But they turned up nothing as potent as 13 words that spilled from Mr. Kerry's mouth shortly after he effectively secured the Democratic presidential nomination. "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it," Mr. Kerry said on a March afternoon in Huntington, W.Va. Mark McKinnon, Mr. Bush's media man, summed up the sound bite: "You don't get gifts like that very often." Michael Meehan, a spokesman for Mr. Kerry, called it "an expensive lesson."...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Critics threaten military justice system

The U.S. military justice system works. It effectively prosecutes criminal activity committed by troops, while preserving an accused members constitutional rights. One of the cornerstones of the system is the concept of unlawful command influence. Simply put, a commander must remain free to exercise his or her own discretion to impose discipline without inappropriate interference from a superior commander. Superior commanders must not make comments that would imply they "expect" a particular result in a given case or type of cases. Critics, like Peter Beinart of the New Republic, have ruthlessly attacked Secretary Rumsfeld for his lack of outrage regarding the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison. These critics should be mindful that Secretary Rumsfeld is not in a position to demand court-martials or specific punishments for the members suspected of those offenses. Comments by him could be attributed to the officers responsible for charging those individuals, which would provide a...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Brooks: Ctrl-Alt-Del

David Brooks gets uncharacteristically hysterical in today's New York Times op-ed piece, but in his wildly pessimistic viewpoint he does score one important point regarding international relations and the role of the UN. In order to get there, though, you have to wade through a lot of hair-shirt rhetoric: It's pretty clear we're passing through another pivot point in American foreign policy. A year ago, we were the dominant nation in a unipolar world. Today, we're a shellshocked hegemon. We still face a world of threats, but we're much less confident about our own power. We still know we can roll over hostile armies, but we cannot roll over problems. We get dragged down into them. We can topple tyrants, but we don't seem to be very good at administering nations. Our intelligence agencies have made horrible mistakes. Our diplomacy vis--vis Western Europe has been inept. We have a military...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Bush to Arafat: No Rush

George Bush made it clear that in order to proceed to a two-state solution in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinians need to stop terrorism and begin complying with the road map, starting with security issues. Otherwise, the timetables will be adjusted accordingly, according to the BBC: US President George W Bush has said the deadline for setting up a Palestinian state has slipped due to violence and a change of Palestinian leaders. "I think the timetable of 2005 is not as realistic as it was two years ago," Mr Bush told Egypt's al-Ahram daily. ... Mr Bush said the US remained committed to the internationally-accepted peace plan for the Middle East - the roadmap, and would underline this with a letter to Mr Qurei. "Well, 2005 may be hard, since 2005 is right around the corner. I readily concede the date has slipped some, primarily because violence...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

More Apologies from The Gopher State

After yesterday's performance by our intellectually- and historically-challenged Senator, Mark Dayton, Minnesotans have felt the need to abjectly apologize to the rest of the nation in general, and to the military specifically. Hugh Hewitt challenged us to demonstrate our contrition, which I did on his show yesterday and here at CQ as well. One of my readers, a fellow MN-blogger who operates the Intergalactic Capitalist blog, also apologizes in a humorous and R-rated rant that discusses Dayton's intellect, his grasp of history, his neurology, and his potential for becoming an Enzyte spokesman. StarBanker notes this Power Line entry by Rocket Man, who reported on Dayton's "homily" to a Roman Catholic audience at St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis last summer: Our country has moved decidedly to the right. Our citizens, many are less involved. Our social system is less compassionate, government is less effective and liberalism is more distrusted....Where...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

And You Thought Americans Were Ignorant About Geography

The Guardian reports today that the Irish postal service, An Post, issued a stamp which confuses Cyprus with Crete and failed to include its own border with Northern Ireland, which belongs to the UK: The 65 cent stamp - 330,000 of which were issued on May 1 to commemorate the EU's expansion and for use to mail letters to all 25 member states - places Cyprus off the south-east coast of Greece, much closer to the location of Crete than Cyprus. The horizontal sliver bears scant resemblance to the chubby, rhino-horned shape of Cyprus but comes uncannily close to the long and slim Crete, Greece's largest island. ... In Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, symbol-sensitive Protestants also found fault with the stamp, which has erased the staunchly defended border between Irish south and British north. "The stamp manages to get every single European border right on the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio: Our Investors Don't Panic

Don't forget that the Northern Alliance Radio Network will be broadcast in the Twin Cities this afternoon, as usual on Saturdays, between noon and 3 PM. I suspect that one topic we may indulge will be a little Schadenfranken over the continuing debacle over at Err America. As the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday, more ra -- er, people seem to be deserting the sinking ship while others insist on rearranging the deck furniture: In yet another sign of trouble for Air America Radio, the liberal talk network's co-founder and chairman, Evan Cohen, resigned Thursday along with his investment partner and vice chairman, Rex Sorensen. The company also failed to make its scheduled payroll Wednesday, leaving its staff of roughly 100 writers and producers unpaid until Thursday. ... "We're on a wild ride," said Jon Sinton, the network's president, acknowledging that Air America has suffered "the typical bumps and bruises faced...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Let's All March ... Somewhere

I don't often do this, but I perused the local Minneapolis Star-Tribune due to acute boredom this afternoon. After getting past the fact that the Strib managed to bury most of Mark Dayton's appearance at the Hill yesterday -- which means they understand exactly how poorly he fared -- another headline caught my eye: 1,000-Man March Planned May 21. I suppose these days a protest just doesn't count if you can't tag "[round number]-Man March" onto it in the same way that a scandal without a "-Gate" suffix gets relegated to page A-32, but the number seems to be pretty low, compared to the Million-Man March (that attracted about 800,000) and the Million-Mom March (which drew 150,000). I figured that a thousand-man march might draw something like, oh, twelve guys and thirty-three reporters for their true and noble cause. Of course, on this point, the whole notion falls apart. Take...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

NYT: Abandon Ship

Roger Cohen signals our surrender in tomorrow's New York Times, arguing that the Abu Ghraib scandal has so damaged our credibility that our best option is to pull up stakes and crawl back home: A military defeat is a damaging thing, and Iraq remains a tense battleground. But a moral one may be more devastating and more enduring for a power like the United States that has long held that its actions are driven, at least in part, by the desire to be a force for good with a liberating mission for all humanity. It is precisely such a rout of the American idea that now confronts the United States in Iraq. The world is asking what sort of liberation is represented by an American woman holding a prone, naked Iraqi man on a leash in Saddam Hussein's Abu Ghraib prison, of all places. No matter that the offenders represent...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

First the Dutch, Now The Germans

The latest UN peacekeeping failure took place earlier this year in Kosovo, when ethnic Albanians rioted throughout the region, burning churches and other buildings to the ground. Nineteen people died in the process, despite the presence of a UN peacekeeping task force designed to provide security and stop violence before it gets out of hand. Now a German police report criticizes the German troops making up that UN KFOR unit for cowardice, according to tomorrow's London Telegraph: German troops serving with the Kfor international peacekeeping contingent in Kosovo have been accused of hiding in barracks "like frightened rabbits" during the inter-ethnic rioting that erupted in the province in March. A hard-hitting German police report sent to the Berlin government last week criticises the troops for cowardice and for their failure to quell the rioting in which 19 people died and about 900 others were injured. ... "Despite continuous appeals for...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 9, 2004

Marines Making Friends In Fallujah

After over a month of bad news, especially in Abu Ghraib, Fallujah and Najaf, Americans have been fed a steady diet of our troops under fire and under suspicion. Today's Los Angeles Times looks at another aspect of our troops on the front lines by reporting on Marine efforts to build relationships with the people of the area around Fallujah: When the Marines in mid-March assumed responsibility for much of Al Anbar province from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, they hoped to emphasize the first part of the 1st Marine Division's motto, "No better friend." Instead they found themselves emphasizing the second part, "No worse enemy." Now they're attempting a new beginning. ... Accompanied by Navy corpsmen and a chaplain, the Marines spent much of the day handing out toys, candy, crackers, backpacks and soccer balls to eager children in this farming village adjacent to Fallouja. For adults, the Americans...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

NATO Won't Go To Iraq: LA Times

The Los Angeles Times reports more news on the efforts to internationalize the efforts in Iraq, this time with NATO. According to Paul Richter, diplomats and defense officials tied to NATO will not consider joining the Anglo-American efforts until, oddly enough, after the US presidential election: The Western military alliance had expected to announce at a June summit that it would accept a role in the country, perhaps by leading the international division now patrolling south-central Iraq. But amid continuing bloodshed and strong public opposition to the occupation in many nations, allies want to delay any major commitment until after the U.S. presidential election in November, officials say. NATO suffers from the same disease that has crippled the UN -- namely, the reluctance to commit troops to anyplace where they might take fire. Unsurprisingly so, as the same member-nations that decry the lack of international input in Iraq are the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Post: Tougher Interrogation Techniques OK'd By Pentagon

Dana Priest and Joe Stephens report in today's Washington Post that the Pentagon approved a list of tough interrogation techniques designed to extract intelligence from reluctant detainees at Guantanamo, in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, given the nature of the threat, the approval process and techniques employed seem reasonable: In April 2003, the Defense Department approved interrogation techniques for use at the Guantanamo Bay prison that permit reversing the normal sleep patterns of detainees and exposing them to heat, cold and "sensory assault," including loud music and bright lights, according to defense officials. The classified list of about 20 techniques was approved at the highest levels of the Pentagon and the Justice Department, and represents the first publicly known documentation of an official policy permitting interrogators to use physically and psychologically stressful methods during questioning. The use of any of these techniques requires the approval of senior Pentagon officials -- and...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Smash: Troops' E-Mail Not Going Away

One of the most effective and relentless advocates for our men and women on the front lines, Citizen Smash, notes a hoax floating around the blogosphere based on a misunderstanding. Rumors are swirling that the military wants to cut off Internet access to troops in Iraq, but the truth is a bit more complex -- and for those of us who sometimes take the pragmatic approach to "borrowing" bandwidth, all too familiar: A POST by milblogger Ginmar has sparked a rumor that the military is planning to cut off Internet access to all GIs in Iraq. At the very least, KBR is not allowing any private computers on their system for the next ninety days. There might be one other option, but if you don't hear from me for a while... Several bloggers have picked up on this story, and speculation is rampant on why the military is asking KBR...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Home of the Brave, Finally

After reading countless op-ed pieces preaching nothing but gloom and doom about Iraq, the military, and America in general, I was delighted to see Doug Giles' recent entry at Townhall.com. Mr. Giles believes our nation is finally getting over our culture of protest and victimization and giving courage and bravery its due attention. According to the author: The United States of America originated from intelligent, freedom loving, hard working, God fearing people. They had a clear sense of right and wrong and were not afraid to face down tyrants who tried to take away their God given freedoms. Our Founders were not sleepy, lethargic, passive goons who hit the brakes when they encountered the first speed bump in their path to liberty. They said, Dont Tread on Me Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Live Free or Die! Theres been a totemic shift in what our nation...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

I might have been wrong

OK, in my previous post, I said there weren't very many good movies out there, despite Doug Giles' assertion (though I agreed with the rest of his cheery article). Mr. Giles has been backed up by a surprising source: the LA Times! The Times reports: "There's a hot new special effect headed for the multiplexes this season: the summer movie that appeals to grown-ups." "Hollywood's usual summer lineup of over-the-top car chases, fiery explosions and gross-out comedies this year also will feature adult thrillers, a social satire, a musical portrait of the composer Cole Porter and even a couple of Oscar hopefuls." "Among the offerings from the major studios: a remake of 'The Stepford Wives,' the Cole Porter portrait 'De-Lovely,' the latest Robert Ludlum adaptation, 'The Bourne Supremacy' and Michael Mann's 'Collateral,' in which a cabdriver picks up a passenger (Tom Cruise) who turns out to be an assassin. 'The...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Torricelli Option Goes Mainstream

Howard Kurtz, the political correspondent for the Washington Post, writes in his column tomorrow about the Torricelli option, perhaps the first time it has received mainstream attention. Kurtz notes the despair and panic amongst the Democrats about just how bad a candidate Kerry really is, and how the alternatives are being considered: "John Kerry Must Go." That Village Voice headline may be a tad dramatic, but stories about disaffected Democrats are spreading like wildfire through the media forest. ... Strange as it seems, given that Kerry swept to the nomination, at least a few chattering-class members are discussing the Torricelli option, a reference to the replacement of scandal-scarred Robert Torricelli on the New Jersey ballot late in the 2002 U.S. Senate campaign. "Look for the Dem biggies, whoever they are these days, to sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 10, 2004

Michael Mukasey, chief judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, provides highly readable response to the hysteria surrounding the Patriot Act on todays OpinionJournal.com. His article is required reading for anyone wishing to engage in a rational debate on the anti-terror legislation. Some highlights: "Most of the provisions have nothing to do with the current debate, including provisions authorizing purchase of equipment for police departments and the like, and provisions tightening restrictions on money laundering, including restrictions on the export of currency, which is the lifeblood of terrorists. Recall that when Saddam Hussein was captured, he had with him $750,000 in $100 bills." "The statute also breaks down the wall that has separated intelligence gathering from criminal investigation. It allows intelligence information to be shared with criminal investigators, and information that criminal investigators unearth to be shared with those conducting intelligence investigations. I think many people...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

It's Not The Theft, It's The Worthlessness They Steal

The New York Times reports this morning on a tempest in the teapot of the reality-TV world, as NBC and Fox duke it out over their upcoming, competing boxing shows: The producers of NBC's "The Contender," which has secured a financial commitment of $2 million an episode, accused both Fox and Endemol, the production company behind "The Next Great Champ," of stealing their idea, an idea that Fox had had access to, because every network had bid on "The Contender." The result has been a nasty dispute, even for television where thievery has been standard operating procedure. The Fox boxing show is now expected to get on the air before the NBC show, possibly damaging that show's chances - clearly part of the point of its creation. The dispute involves big Hollywood names - Peter Chernin, the president of the Fox Entertainment Group; Jeffrey Katzenberg, the co-founder of the Dreamworks...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Sharon Tries Again

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refuses to give up on his plan to withdraw from Gaza, again announcing plans to submit a modified version which has yet to be seen. John Ward Anderson reports in today's Washington Post that Sharon's cabinet reacted strongly -- in both directions -- once the subject aired itself in his weekly cabinet meeting: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told cabinet ministers Sunday that he was devising a new plan to withdraw Israeli troops and Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and expected to present it to the government in about three weeks, the officials and their aides said. Sharon's announcement reportedly set off fireworks in the weekly cabinet session between ministers who threatened to leave the government if the Gaza settlements were not evacuated and those who have vowed to quit if they are. Either scenario could lead to the collapse of Sharon's four-party coalition...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Victor Davis Hanson Explains It All

Victor Davis Hanson may wind up as the leading intellectual voice behind the war on Islamofascist terror. In today's lengthy essay on OpinionJournal, Hanson relates the historical context of our current conflicts and the debilitating philosophies that brought us, finally, to this pass: The 20th century should have taught the citizens of liberal democracies the catastrophic consequences of placating tyrants. British and French restraint over the occupation of the Rhineland, the Anschluss, the absorption of the Czech Sudetenland, and the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia did not win gratitude but rather Hitler's contempt for their weakness. Fifty million dead, the Holocaust and the near destruction of European civilization were the wages of "appeasement"--a term that early-1930s liberals proudly embraced as far more enlightened than the old idea of "deterrence" and "military readiness." ... Most important, military deterrence and the willingness to use force against evil in its infancy usually end...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Zogby Falls Down

John Zogby writes an entertaining essay explaining why, in his opinion, the presidential election belongs to John Kerry. Zogby, whose polling data provided equal parts entertainment and incredulity in past elections, makes the strange assumption that a focus on the economy in the middle of an expansion will hurt the incumbent: First, my most recent poll (April 12-15) shows bad re-election numbers for an incumbent President. Senator Kerry is leading 47% to 44% in a two-way race, and the candidates are tied at 45% in the three-way race with Ralph Nader. Significantly, only 44% feel that the country is headed in the right direction and only 43% believe that President Bush deserves to be re-elected - compared with 51% who say it is time for someone new. In that same poll, Kerry leads by 17 points in the Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000, while Bush leads...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 11, 2004

Is this a war we really want to win?

Deroy Murdock has a thought-provoking article in today's National Review. I thought we already lost the war on drugs, but apparently, the government has decided to expand it. Mr. Murdock observes, "At a time when federal officials should focus obsessively on crushing terrorists, they are expanding the disastrous war on drugs into an even more pointless war on substances. From old bogeymen like marijuana to new 'hazards'like Oxycontin, Washington busybodies are knocking themselves out combating compounds that, by themselves, do not threaten public safety." First, the Justice Department has initiated a new assault on medical marijuana: "The Justice Department has appealed a December 2003 federal court decision that barred Uncle Sam from impeding Californians who use personally grown, locally cultivated, or charitably donated medical marijuana. In Raich v. Ashcroft, the Ninth Circuit correctly disallowed the Constitution's commerce-clause rationale for federal intervention. After all, how can interstate commerce include intrastate, noncommercial...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

NYT Indulges in Pointless Red/Blue Rhetoric

Rick Lyman writes an odd analysis for the New York Times this morning regarding the supposedly red-meat rhetoric that the two major candidates for President use when preaching to the choir. Lyman sets up his analysis based on the red/blue state paradigm, but then assigns Louisiana blue-state status when Bush carried it by 8 points in 2000 and leads by 14 points now. He seems to get closer by referring to Ohio as a red state, as Bush edged Gore there by 4 points, but only leads by 2 now. If Lyman's research is poor, the rest of his analysis is equally suspect, as he quotes the candidates and their supporters using pretty much the same rhetoric they use anywhere: To applause and angry shouts, Mr. Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, told them not to be discouraged by Bush campaign efforts to paint him as an out-of-touch Northeast liberal....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Shi'a to Sadr: Drop Dead

Reuters reports that far from leading a popular uprising against the infidel Anglo-American armies, the Shi'ite general population and religious leaders have begun counterdemonstrating to push Moqtada al-Sadr and his dwindling militiamen out of the holy city of Najaf: Hundreds of people marched in Najaf on Tuesday calling on rebel Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to pull his militia out of the Iraqi holy city. Witnesses said they marched to the central shrine area of the city before dispersing peacefully. Some Sadr gunmen fired in the air toward the end of the march, but most marchers had dispersed by then. The demonstration, organized by Sadr's political foes, followed a smaller one on Monday and reflected increasing pressure from Shi'ite elders on Sadr to move his men out of the city as U.S.-led forces tighten their noose around it. The al-Sadr militia have been reduced in number from continuing pressure by Coalition...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Waziristan to Osama: Drop Dead

More good news, this time from Pakistan, where Pervez Musharraf has united the tribes in South Waziristan in the mission to find, capture, and/or kill al-Qaeda 'militants', as the BBC calls them: Tribesmen in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan say they will raise a force of 1,800 armed men to capture suspected al-Qaeda militants. The force would be the biggest armed militia - or Lashkar - so far raised for such a purpose. The decision to form it was made by the Ahmedzai Wazir tribe in the main town of Wana, 400 km southwest of Peshawar. It is the first time that all the clans and sub-clans of the region have unified against al-Qaeda. Musharraf has not won much popularity with his campaign against al-Qaeda in the western border regions of Pakistan. The tribes have felt pushed around and under attack themselves as Musharraf's army has campaigned against "foreigners",...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Americans In Iraq: The Contractors Connect With Iraqis As Well

Glenn at Instapundit points out that Sissy Willis has a photo up showing the oppression of the Iraqi people by the American military. Since we're back on that subject lately, I thought I'd show you how those evil contractors also continue to pursue their hatred of Iraqis: The contractor shown is a friend of mine who currently works in Iraq, and this photo was taken, I believe, in March. I've blurred the face, with no particular skill as you can see, based on some of the reactions I received to his e-mail that I posted last month after the Fallujah murder of the four American contractors there. Some people just want to vent hatred towards anyone who doesn't believe that surrender brings peace....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Captain Brian R. Chontosh, USMC, Navy Cross

Reader Peyton Randolph forwards me the story of Marine Captain Brian R. Chontosh, who was awarded the Navy Cross last week at Camp Pendleton. Blackfive originally noted the story. Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh received the Navy Cross Medal from the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, during an awards ceremony Thursday at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. Three other Marines received medals for valor at the same ceremony. Chontosh, 29, from Rochester, N.Y. , received the naval service's second highest award for extraordinary heroism while serving as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom March 25, 2003. The Medal of Honor is the highest military award. While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Mylroie: More Evidence of Saddam-9/11 Ties

Laurie Mylroie writes in today's Front Page that the Czechs have further confirmation of contacts between the Iraqi Intelligence Services (IIS) and Mohammed Atta, one of the leaders of the 9/11 plot that killed 3,000 Americans and launched the war on terror: Important new information has come from Edward Jay Epstein about Mohammed Attas contacts with Iraqi intelligence. The Czechs have long maintained that Atta, leader of the 9/11 hijackers in the United States, met with Ahmed al-Ani, an Iraqi intelligence official, posted to the Iraqi embassy in Prague. As Epstein now reports, Czech authorities have discovered that al-Anis appointment calendar shows a scheduled meeting on April 8, 2001 with a "Hamburg student." That is exactly what the Czechs had been saying since shortly after 9/11: Atta, a long-time student at Germanys Hamburg-Harburg Technical University, met with al-Ani on April 8, 2001. Indeed, when Atta earlier applied for a visa...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Get The Picture Now?

I abhor the illegal abuses that occurred in Abu Ghraib prison by a few American servicepeople. Their arrest and courts-martial please me no end, and anyone who participated in such un-American and inhumane treatment should get the punishment they richly deserve. But before anyone starts drawing equivalencies between those actions in Abu Ghraib and the terrorists we fight, try this on for size first: A video posted Tuesday on an Islamic militant Web site appeared to show a group affiliated with al-Qaida beheading an American in Iraq, saying the death was revenge for the prisoner-abuse scandal. The video showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit who identified himself as an American from Philadelphia. After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and cutting off his head with a large knife. They then held...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #9!

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike ... I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like ... It's a beautiful Friday out here on the road, and so it must be time for another Captain's Caption Contest! John Kerry gave us this image to rally around, so let's kick off this week's contest in high gear. Shift into the comments and pedal [groan] your best effort to caption this delightful image. The contest will remain open until Tuesday, May 11, at 6 PM CT, when our mystery guest judge will decide on the winners! Oooh ... a mystery guest judge, you say! Or maybe you're saying that I'm covering up that I don't have one. Nonsense! [ahem] No, really ... I'll be making a major announcement later today, and at that time I'll update this post with the name...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

UN Still Obstructionist, Threatens OFF Contractors

The Wall Street Journal discloses a confidential memo sent from the UN Secretariat on behalf of Benon Sevan, the Oil-For-Food Program chief. The memo instructs their contractors to withhold any documents or information until the UN gets around to authorizing their release: Dated April 27, the note--like earlier ones to inspection companies Saybolt and Cotecna--is signed by another U.N. official "for Benon V. Sevan," the outgoing Iraq Program chief. In this case the recipient was an individual consultant whose name was blacked out by our Capitol Hill source. The letter informs the consultant of a contract clause stating: "contractors may not communicate at any time to any other person, Government or authority external to the United Nations any information known to them by reason of their association with the United Nations which has not been made public, except in the course of their duties or by authorization of the Secretary-General...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Mark Dayton, Partisan Political Hack

Mark Dayton, our illustrious senior Senator, managed to make a name for himself again today in the hearings regarding the abuses at Abu Ghraib. While the rest of the Senate asked questions of Maj. General Antonio Taguba, who spent months investigating the incidents, Dayton could not be bothered to ask one single question. Dismissing the opportunity to actually get information from an important witness, Dayton instead spewed forth with his partisan posturing during his entire ten minutes, making clear that the purpose of the public hearing was to score as many points against the military and the administration: On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Mark Dayton of Michigan [sic] never asked a question during his time, instead using it to accuse Pentagon officials of sanitizing the abuse and obscuring the truth. "That's why the pictures have been so important," he said. "The pictures showed us the truth. ......

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Economic Expansion Continues ... Quietly

Jon at QandO notes the AFP report on the economic expansion, indicating that we can continue to expect expansion into 2005: A robust recovery driven by productivity and tax cuts puts the US economy on track for growth of 4.7 percent this year and 3.7 percent next, the OECD reported. The figure for this year shows a significant 0.5-point increase from the growth being forecast by the OECD six months ago in November when it pencilled in growth of 4.2 percent. And what gets the credit for this good news? "The expansion is now firmly established across most sectors of the economy, helped by continued stimulus from fiscal and monetary policies," the OECD reported. Jon reminds us that our expansion continues despite a lack of growth in the European economy. Read QandO for excellent economic analysis. It's definitely on my daily-read list, for all three bloggers there -- Jon, McQ,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Outraged by the Outrage

Finally, proof I'm not the only one who is more outraged by the hysteria surrounding the Abu Ghraib incidents than the incidents themselves. According to Reuters (via Drudge Report): "As others condemned the reported abuse of Iraqi prisoners, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe expressed outrage at the outcry over the scandal and took aim at "humanitarian do-gooders" investigating American troops." "I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment," Sen. Inhofe announced at U.S. Senate hearing probing the case. "I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons looking for human rights violations, while our troops, our heroes are fighting and dying," he said. "These prisoners, you know they're not there for traffic violations," said Inhofe, whose senatorial Web site describes him as an advocate of "Oklahoma values."...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

No more photos, no more apologies, end of discussion

It's time to stop the flood of photographs from Abu Ghraib and the pouring of apologies before our war on terrorism ends up sunk and broken a la the Titanic. Releasing more photographs serves no legitimate government objective. It won't make international opinion swing into our favor, and it will not make us any new friends in Iraq. It will make Arab anger even more inflamed, but let's face it: the radical Islamafascists want us dead. Who cares if they want us even deader than before? Why can't we just accept the fact that no one likes us, every body hates us. Really, they do . . . if we have something they want, they will feign agreement but it does not make them like us. Does this matter? No. What most Americans want is to have a job, a nice home, and time to watch cable TV; we do...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

A Sad Epilogue to Political Correctness Insanity

In a sad coda to a story we just discussed on the radio last Saturday, the subject of a socio-medical experiment in the supposed irrelevance of biology in gender has committed suicide at age 38: David Reimer, a man who was born a boy but raised as a girl in a famous medical experiment, only to reassert his male identity in the last 20 years of his life, died on May 4. He was 38. His family says he committed suicide. ... After a botched circumcision operation when he was a toddler, David Reimer became the subject of a study that became known as the John/Joan case in the 60's and 70's. His mother said she was still angry with the Baltimore doctor who persuaded her and her husband, Ron, to give female hormones to their son and raise him as a daughter. After removing his genitalia, the doctors gave...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Can we condemn them now?

Yesterday, the Weekly Standard posted an article by Jonathan V. Last cricitizing the Presidents paternalistic treatment of the Muslim world regarding the Abu Ghraib incidents. According to Mr. Last: On May 5, just days after the scandal broke, Bush rushed onto two Arab television networks, Al Arabiya and Alhurra. He apologized (or nearly apologized) to the people of Iraq for the behavior of the American abusers. Then he went on pleading with his audience to understand that these abusers are not indicative of the rest of America. Mr. Last quotes President Bushs statements about the images, then contrasts this response to the lack of an administration reaction regarding the mutilation of American contractors in Falluja: When these images became public in America, there was no condemnation of the Iraqi people. There was no concern that American citizens might view the wider Iraqi public as savages or evildoers. There was no...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 12, 2004

9/11 Panel Grandstanding Again

The Washington Post reports today that the 9/11 Commission, whose public hearings provoked bitter partisan bickering but produced little in the way of actionable information, now wants to question al-Qaeda detainees: The commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is trying to gain access to some members of al Qaeda in U.S. custody to pose questions to them, panel officials said yesterday. ... The Sept. 11 panel, which has sporadically feuded with the Bush administration over access to information and witnesses during the past year, already has had access to transcripts and reports about al Qaeda detainees in U.S. custody, officials said. But an ability to directly question them would give the panel a remarkable level of access to detainees held in secrecy and generally off limits to defense attorneys. The panel has particular interest, the Post reports, in interviewing Zacarias Moussaoui and Ramzi Binalshibh. Lee Hamilton, the ranking Democrat,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The FEC Calls For A Punt

Faced with a tidal wave of unchecked money flowing to 527s in this election cycle, the Federal Election Commission response has revealed it to be completely unprepared to deal with the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reforms enacted in the last session of Congress. Now FEC lawyers want even more time to review the law before making decisions on how they apply to the 527s, even though the decision would then come far too late to have any significant effect on this election: Federal Election Commission lawyers recommended Tuesday that the agency hold off on deciding whether to impose new fund raising and spending limits on tax-exempt groups, which would allow them to spend millions on ads and other activities in this year's presidential race. FEC lawyers urged the commission to take at least three more months to review the issue. If the FEC approves the recommendation, it would make it unlikely the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Caption Contest #9 Winners!

Drum roll please! Here are the winners of Captain's Caption Contest #9 (say that 5 times fast) and the photo that inspired them: The Whiskey Award: Bryan John Kerry models the Nuance Cycle 2004, the only bicycle that advances and retreats at the same time, allowing the rider to go nowhere very quickly. Most popular entry: Bob Hawkins (voiceover): "I'm George Bush, and I approved this ad." Obscure Dean Trivia Award: Peyton Randolph "Thank goodness that Howard Dean fought so hard for these bike paths! His courageous battle reminds me of my time in Vietnam, where I served in combat, you know." Voter solicitation award: Mike John Kerry courts the "Tour de France" dads. Ain't That the Truth: Shiroi Norite John Kerry engages in another ploy to keep people from paying attention to his Senate record. Most likely to come from Kerry: Jim S I didn't choose this color scheme...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

If He Can't Figure This Out ...

John Kerry continued his irresponsible rhetoric this morning on the Don Imus show, again insisting on the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and claiming that changing DoD leadership in time of war would have no effect: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) said Wednesday any number of people, including Republican Sens. John McCain and John Warner, could replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, rejecting concerns that a change in Pentagon (news - web sites) leadership could hurt the war effort. "If America has reached a point where only one person has the ability in our great democracy to manage the Pentagon and to continue or to put in place a better policy even, we're in deeper trouble than you think," Kerry told broadcaster Don Imus. "I don't accept that. I just don't accept that. I think that's an excuse. The fact is that we need a...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

A Letter To America, From One Of Its Sons

Amy Ridenour at the National Center for Public Policy posted a letter from a serviceman, Army Specialist Joe Roche, that explains to us what he faces on the front lines against Moqtada al-Sadr's militia and in Iraq in general. I know I'm not the only blogger to point this out, but it's important to get this out as widely as possible: The fighting we are engaged in against the uprising of Muqtada Al-Sadr is one that is extremely sensitive and risks catastrophe. Had we entered this previously, it would not have been possible for us to win. Over the months, we have been involved in preparations and much planning. Thus, today we are scoring amazing successes against this would-be tyrant. I ask that the American people be brave. Don't fall for the spin by the weak and timid amongst you that are portraying this battle as a disaster. Such people...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Nader May Accept Reform Party Endorsement

In a move that has to worry Democratic Party leadership, the Reform Party officially endorsed Ralph Nader for President today, allowing him access to ballots in seven states: Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader has been endorsed by the national Reform Party, giving him ballot access in seven states, including Florida and Michigan, party leaders announced Wednesday. Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said Nader welcomes the support but plans to continue running as an independent. He said Nader would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept the ballot lines in each state. The Democrats need to win both Florida and Michigan if they are to win the White House in 2004. Michigan went to the Democrats in 2000 by 4 points, about the same lead Kerry has in a two-way race right now. Florida, of course, went to Bush -- eventually -- by the slimmest of margins in 2000, and many...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Should We Release The Pictures?

CNN reports that Congressional leaders have reviewed all of the confiscated pictures and video of Iraqi prisoner abuse, and the bipartisan consensus is that the images are "disgusting", "appalling", and "horrifying". Where that consensus disappears is in the ultimate disposition of the pictures -- should they be made public? Top GOP leaders said Wednesday they oppose the release of hundreds of fresh images showing the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, saying they could compromise the prosecution of those soldiers implicated in the acts and further inflame tensions in Iraq. ... McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, and Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, all said the pictures should be kept under wraps. "In my view, and it's solely my view, these pictures, at this time, by the executive branch, should not be released into the public domain," Warner, R-Virginia, said, citing the possibility that more images...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Watcher's Council Weekly Picks!

The Watcher's Council has made its weekly selection of the best posts around the blogosphere, and the Council has kindly nominated my post on the latest UNSCAM developments for the non-Council contest. Be sure to read all of the great posts at Watcher of Weasels ......

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 13, 2004

The Governator Delivers

It seems that Arnold Schwarzenegger has made substantial progress in breaking through the trench warfare of California politics and will do the impossible this year -- deliver a state budget on time, with no new taxes: Today's proposal will mark a milestone on the way to the June 30 constitutional deadline for obtaining a budget agreement from the Legislature. It is built largely on a series of deals privately negotiated by the governor, the latest of which was announced Wednesday: an agreement between the administration and local government officials that would save the state $1.3 billion in the coming fiscal year. Despite the state's persistent multibillion-dollar budget gap, despite a Legislature controlled by Democrats who want new revenue, and despite the governor's resistance to cutting programs more deeply, he is on his way to delivering on his pledge. When Arnold began his run for California's top spot, he received a...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Stop The Presses: CIA Uses "Harsh" Interrogation Techniques on Al-Qaeda Leaders

The New York Times reports today that the CIA uses "harsh" interrogation techniques on top al-Qaeda leaders and often uses a rotating jurisdictional strategy in order to protect Special Ops interrogators, in an article certain to raise the ire of anti-war protestors: The Central Intelligence Agency has used coercive interrogation methods against a select group of high-level leaders and operatives of Al Qaeda that have produced growing concerns inside the agency about abuses, according to current and former counterterrorism officials. ... In the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a high-level detainee who is believed to have helped plan the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, C.I.A. interrogators used graduated levels of force, including a technique known as "water boarding," in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown. These techniques were authorized by a set of secret rules for the interrogation of...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Media-Blackout Effect?

Instapundit notes a phenomenon related to the Nick Berg horror and the lack of media coverage of its images. He quotes Neal Boortz and Andrew Sullivan on the curious dichotomy of the media's approach to Abu Ghraib and the Berg execution, where they argue for publishing the pictures of one and spiking the pictures and video of the other. Jeff Quinton takes a look at his referrer logs today and sees an interesting bump in traffic, mostly from Google and other search engines looking for information on Nick Berg. When I got up this morning and began to blog, I checked my own traffic stats from Sitemeter (Hosting Matters' own stats collection only updates daily, which is unfortunate because it is tremendously detailed). I know what my normal traffic in the early morning hours usually is, and I was surprised to see that traffic was well above my normal rate....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Air America Shuts Some Doors

In more bad news followed by some first-class spin, Air America announced today that it will close sales offices in Los Angeles and Chicago and will "recast" its plan, all of which follows a month that has seen the network booted off the air in the two cities and a number of executives and investors leave or get fired: Air America has shut its sales offices in Los Angeles and Chicago and is recasting its business plan, the network's president said on Wednesday as troubles beset the liberal talk show network. With Air America not broadcasting in those two cities after a financial dispute in April, network president Jon Sinton said, "There's not much sense in having sales offices in cities where you don't control a station." About 15 to 20 people were laid off in the closing of the sales offices, the latest sign of problems for Air America,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Stark's Constituents Not Impressed By His Responsiveness

On Monday, Best of the Web pointed us to KSFO, which reported on the response Rep. Pete Stark left on the voice mail of a constituent who disagreed with his "nay" on a resolution deploring the Abu Ghraib abuse while honoring American servicepeople. The letter-writer, Daniel Dow, had written a polite, respectful, but critical letter, summarized thusly: I urge you to stop your contemptuous display of bitter partisanship and your politicization of this War. Your actions are very divisive and destructive to the morale of our troops and the morale of our nation. I know that a majority of the population of the 13th Congressional District are very strong in their support of our soldiers and in their support of the War in iraq [sic]. Your "NO" vote today reflects that you are way out of touch with the people of this district. Stark's response to his constituent? Dan, this...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Power Corrupts, UN Corrupts Absolutely

Instapundit links to a breaking story regarding an important international organization that may have lost $100 billion or more to corruption. No, it's not the UN per se, but the UN subsidiary World Bank, which supposedly exists to combat poverty and provide development support for third-world countries. Senator Richard Lugar set off warning bells at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon: Corrupt use of World Bank funds may exceed $100 billion and while the institution has moved to combat the problem, more must be done, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Thursday. Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, charged that "in its starkest terms, corruption has cost the lives of uncounted individuals contending with poverty and disease." ... He cited experts who calculated that between $26 billion and $130 billion of the money lent by the World Bank for development projects since 1946 has...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 14, 2004

Blair's Loyalty

The London Telegraph reports that Tony Blair made it clear in an interview that he has no intention of turning his back on George Bush, despite political trouble at home: Tony Blair has dismissed calls for him to distance himself from President George W Bush, insisting he will not change course over Iraq. ... Mr Blair was scathing about "this idea that at the time of maximum difficulty you start messing around your main ally", adding: "I am afraid that is not what we are going to do." He said: "I know we are going through a difficult time. People should just take a step back and look at the fundamentals. Despite the appalling stuff about prisoner abuse, we are trying with the majority of the Iraqi people to get the country on its feet. "The people who are attacking coalition forces and assassinating construction and aid workers are trying...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Battle of the Valley of Peace

It appears the battle for Najaf is back on. A few hours ago, American forces pushed deep into the city and wound up engaging Moqtada al-Sadr's militia in the world's largest cemetery, ironically called the Valley of Peace: Backed by helicopters, American tanks charged into the center of this holy city on Friday and shelled positions held by fighters loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who launched an uprising against the U.S.-led coalition last month. In a sermon in a nearby city, a defiant al-Sadr condemned the United States and its chief coalition partner, Britain. The U.S. attack represented a strongest U.S. push yet against al-Sadr, whose forces fought intense battles with American forces this week in another holy city, Karbala. The intensifying battles have eclipsed efforts by Iraqi political and tribal leaders to seek a peaceful solution to the confrontation ahead of a planned transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis on...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

George Galloway, Teenager

The London Independent -- a very left-wing newspaper in the fine British broadsheet traditions of partisanship -- reviews the new book published by disgraced Labour MP George Galloway, whose support of Saddam was apparently buttressed by numerous payoffs from the Iraqi regime. You might expect that the Independent would receive Galloway's new book with some sympathy. You would be wrong. Reviewer Johann Hari savages Galloway with a zeal one would have expected from the Telegraph or a Rupert Murdoch publication like the Sun, calling Galloway a "Saddamist" and his book an "incoherent rant" (via Memeorandum): Unlike the vast majority of those who opposed the recent war, he has crossed over into blatant, full-throated apologism for dictatorship. Initially, he tries to keep up the pretence that he consistently opposed Saddam. He claims that when he saluted Saddam with the words, "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength and your indefatigability", he...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Pvt. Christopher Tenayuca, Purple Heart

Continuing the series on telling the stories of the servicemen and servicewomen on the front lines in the Middle East, I found this account of a young man who was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received in a firefight with insurgents. Despite being a newlywed now, he's anxious to return to his unit. Read on. Pfc. Christopher Tenayuca received a Purple Heart May 4 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, for a wound he received in Iraq Feb. 10. "I'm proud of getting it because I've actually gone to war, but I'm not proud, because if I wasn't in the way of that round, I'd still be over there with my guys," he said. Not long after arriving in Kirkuk in early February, Tenayuca's unit learned there were insurgents who often fired mortar rounds at Kirkuk Air Base. A task force was sent out on a cordon and search mission to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

VDH: Taking Our Eyes Off The Ball

Victor David Hanson writes another brilliant essay for National Review Online, reminding us why we went to war in the first place, and how some people are allowing themselves to be distracted from the stakes. In particular, Hanson focuses on the silly and hysterical calls for the resignations of Donald Rumsfeld and now Richard Myers, the two men who put together perhaps the most efficient and successful major war plans ever into operation, liberating 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq from two of the worst tyrannies in recent memory (via Hugh Hewitt and Memeorandum): The idea that anyone would suggest that Donald Rumsfeld and now Richard Meyers! should step down, in the midst of a global war, for the excesses and criminality of a handful of miscreant guards and their lax immediate superiors in the cauldron of Iraq is absurd and depressing all at once. What would...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Better Late Than Never, I Suppose

In the current war on Islamofascism, we have been repeatedly warned by elites not to conflate the hooded terrorists who bomb and behead innocent civilians and the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims, who reject violent jihad in favor of internal, spiritual warfare. However, as many have noted, Islamic public-interest groups such as CAIR as well as Muslim communities have seemed much more focused on carping about anti-Islam sentiment in the US and how Americans have mistreated Muslims rather than the supposed hijacking of of their faith by genocidal maniacs. Almost three years after 9/11, it finally took the brutal imagery of an unarmed civilian having his head hacked off his body and proudly displayed to a video camera to get American Muslims off the dime: Alarmed by resurgent anti-Muslim rhetoric in the aftermath of the beheading of an American in Iraq, U.S. Muslim leaders launched a new campaign Thursday to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Big Get of Few Words. Heh.

Bill from INDC Journal scored a major blogosphere "get" by having Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, answer a few questions at Bill's blog. This may be the funniest thing you'll read in the blogosphere all week. Indeed. Heh. Read the whole thing....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

We Have Our Ups And Downs (Updated)

If you're having trouble loading my site ... well, so am I. Not sure why yet, but I will put in a trouble ticket with my hosting service and see if I can find out why. Hopefully, this is all just a momentary glitch. UPDATE: Well, we found out what the problem was -- someone on the same server as us got extremely popular very quickly. Apparently, another Hosting Matters client serves as an aggregator for news from Iraq, and with the news over the past couple of days, they've been flooded with traffic. HM is moving the client to a separate server. 5/13 UPDATE: Still having problems, so if you've had bad luck connecting to me today, you're not alone. This time, a power failure in one cabinet led to a cascade of failures at HM's servers. Not related to what happened yesterday, so it really was just bum...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Love Or Let Them Be Lonely

General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of US forces in Iraq, has issued an order putting some of the most coercive interrogation techniques out of bounds, the Washington Post reports in tomorrow's edition. In fact, the Iraqi commander made it clear to his staff that anything more coercive than isolation or segregation would not even be considered: The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq has barred military interrogators from using the most coercive techniques potentially available to them in the past, declaring that requests to employ the measures against detainees will no longer even be considered, officials said yesterday. ... Under the new order, which was issued Thursday, Sanchez and his staff will no longer consider any extraordinary interrogation methods other than putting prisoners alone in cells or in small groups segregated from the general prison population for more than 30 days. Regular interrogation techniques such as direct questioning of detainees without...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 15, 2004

A checklist for victory

Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. With strong leadership from both President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld, we can turn the situation there from one of embarrassment to resounding victory. In this week's Weekly Standard, William Kristol provides a five-step to-do list for the administration: First, Mr. Kristol suggests the president stop apologizing and order legal proceedings regarding the prison abuses move ahead as quickly as possible. I agree the apologies are not necessary and must cease. However, the president should avoid making statements which appear to direct prosecution of the offenses; such statements could, as I discussed a week ago, be construed as illegal command influence. Instead, President Bush should declare his confidence in the military justice system, and let the military commanders prosecutors take care of the offenders. Second, Mr. Kristol believes President Bush should order the SecDef to send an additional 50,000 troops to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

On 1 May, American lawyers celebrated law day. This years theme: To Win Equality by Law: Brown v. Board at 50. For the American Bar Association, it was an unambiguous celebration of the power of the courts to improve our lives. Among the recommended talking points, the ABA suggests: Civil rights legislation has brought the ideal of equality closer to reality. So have the many laws passed to assure equal opportunity in the workplace for women, persons of different races and ethnic backgrounds, and persons with disabilities, among many others. In this weeks townhall.com, Thomas Sowell offers some much-needed scrutiny regarding the relationship between the law and the reality of equality. In his first article, he observes, The key fallacy underlying the civil rights vision was that all black economic lags were due to racial discrimination. That assumption has survived to this day, in the courts, in the media, in...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

A kindler, gentler approach to the War on Terror?

When reading Deroy Murdocks recent op-ed in the New York Post, I was reminded of the famous quote, Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at nigh only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." But according to Mr. Murdock: America's top commander in Iraq, Lt.-Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, prohibited Thursday the use of sensory deprivation and "stress positions" (uncomfortable body poses) as tools of interrogation in Iraq. Chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita admitted "the heightened scrutiny of the last couple of weeks" might have forced Sanchez's hand. Such scrutiny was on vivid display as Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) hurled an accusatory question at Pentagon intelligence Undersecretary Stephen Cambone at Tuesday's hearing: Secretary Cambone, were you personally aware that permissible interrogation techniques in the Iraqi theater included sleep management, sensory deprivation, isolation longer than 30 days and dogs? Levin's query suggested that these tactics should be...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

A Great Example Of The Left's Hypocrisy On Race

The Left tosses another double standard at the Republicans today in an op-ed piece in today's Los Angeles Times. Lawrence Weschler, author and academic, writes a smirking, breathless piece on the audacity of George Bush to include pictures of black people on his website. Oh, the scandal! Of course, the lack of minorities in John Kerry's inner circle never quite comes up: Quick. Before they take it down. Go to your computer, log on to http://www.georgewbush.com the official Bush/Cheney '04 reelection website. ... Nice big picture of Bush merrily shooting the breeze with two black teenage girls. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll find a quadrant labeled Compassion Photos, with the invitation, "Click here for the Compassion Photo Album." Do so. And let's see, what have we got? First one up: short-sleeved Bush, holding a black kid in his arms, a bleacher full of black...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

More evidence Kerry is a war criminal

Senator Kerry admitted on several occasions he committed war crimes in Vietnam. Apparently fellow swift boat officer Thomas Wright agrees. I had a lot of trouble getting him to follow orders, recalls Wright. He had a different view of leadership and operations. Those of us with direct experience working with Kerry found him difficult and oriented towards his personal, rather than unit goals and objectives. I believed that overall responsibility rested squarely on the shoulders of the OIC or OTC in a free-fire zone. You had to be right (before opening fire). Kerry seemed to believe there were no rules in a free-fire zone and you were supposed to kill anyone. I didnt see it that way. Hat tip: Command Post. Candidate Kerry consistently cites the so-called free fire zone as an example of a war crime committed by himself and others in Vietnam. (A free-fire zone is an...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

McCain: The Canary In The Mine of Democratic Desperation

The New York Times continues to insist that John Kerry wants Republican Senator John McCain to fill out the bottom of the Democratic ticket in November. Sheryl Gay Stolberg and reliable Kerry hack Jodi Wilgoren report from that even some Democrats often named as potential VP choices dream abut a Kerry-McCain ticket: Despite weeks of steadfast rejections from Senator John McCain, some prominent Democrats are angling for him to run for vice president alongside Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, creating a bipartisan ticket that they say would instantly transform the presidential race. The enthusiasm of Democrats for Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, is so high that even some who have been mentioned as possible Kerry running mates including Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska senator are spinning scenarios about a "unity government," effectively giving Mr. Kerry a green light to reach across the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Paid To Hate: The Err America Experience

God bless Air America, for its bounty apparently is endless. The Star Tribune's Deborah Caulfield Rybak reviews the "bumpy start" that has plagued the netlet's first few months ... if you can call getting kicked off the air in two of the three largest markets, the mass exodus of executives, and failing to meet payroll simply a "bumpy start". Bumps like that usually indicate ... a crash, don't they? However, the on-air talent at Err America keep their spirits up, because despite the devastating reviews from even other liberals, they believe the shows' quality has improved: Because, at least outside the revolving doors of the executive suites, the mood -- and news -- is good. Personalities for the various shows are beginning to emerge and the amateurish technical glitches are beginning to subside. "People need to separate the business stuff from the on-air success," said Tom Taylor, editor of the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio Needs A New Logo - Obviously

As I've mentioned already in the Caption Contest post, the Northern Alliance Radio Network is holding a contest for a new logo. The guys at Fraters Libertas has already blogged about the contest, in a post accurately titled, "Our Logo Blows Contest". Here's the current blow-worthy logo that NARN has struggled under: Mitch Berg cooked up the logo by spending three minutes in Microsoft Paint, which as Mitch notes in his post on the subject, was three minutes more than any of us bothered to spend on the idea. However, we were more than happy to spend lots of minutes trying to determine the meaning of the logo. Did it point north? Was it a wedgie? (The studios get pretty rough when the Fraters guys are around, after all.) Did it represent us as pointy-headed intellectuals? We do have two lawyers and an economics professor on board. Saint Paul at...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Gene Simmons to Islam: KISS Off!

Gene Simmons, bass player in glam-rock band KISS and no stranger to controversy for his outspoken views on religion, stirred up a hornet's nest in Australia when he called Islam "vile" and the UN useless (via The Corner): KISS bass player GENE SIMMONS has angered the Muslim community after labelling Islam a "vile" culture on a live radio interview ... Simmons also warned that the West was under threat, and that the United Nations didnt work, adding the West must "speak softly and carry a big stick". "This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it's going to just live in the sands of God's armpit you've got another thing coming," he said. "They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you're evil." Melbourne's 3AW radio received a large number of complaints following Simmon's statements, claiming that Simmons' insults...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

THIS is torture

Roger Simon has a scoop on real torture video and photographs from Abu Ghraib about to be released. (Hat tip: Instapundit) According to Roger, "These are all acts performed by Saddam's soldiers and police in uniform." According to Roger's source, the photographs show Kurds being castrated and the videos portay the following: "Two beheadings, during one of which "Happy Birthday, Saddam" is being sung in Arabic." "ingers being cut off one by one from a hand tied to a board." "People being thrown off four-story buildings, one forced to wear a Superman costume." "A man scourged ninety-nine times." "Three different instances of gas poisonings (probably employing different types), including dead babies." Roger comments, "I also would like to know what Senator Kennedy has to say about the moral equivalence of our actions after watching these tapes. And finally, I would like to know why it took so long for these...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Al Qaeda is winning the war of ideas

In a previous post, I commented that the war in Iraq is the central front in the War on Terror. I've changed my mind. It is becoming clear the war of ideas is the most critical engagement in our efforts against Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists. Sadly, this is a battle we are losing. The legendary Hugh Hewitt has posted a brilliant article written by a colleague. The anonymous academic describes several historical instances where great military forces have been defeated not on the battlefield, but by strategic blunders. He/she begins with the premise of the center of gravity: People schooled in strategy wisely and routinely consult THE giant of strategic thinking, Carl Von Clausewitz and his tome On War. The great Prussian strategist discussed the concept of an enemy's "center of gravity" (COG). If one can successfully identify an adversary's center of gravity and destroy it, the war...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Captain's Quarters E-Mail and Comment Policy

E-Mail You'll find my e-mail address at the top of the left sidebar. When I receive e-mail, I assume that I can quote any or all of e-mails in the blog unless you specify that you do not want it republished, which I would honor, of course. Due to the overwhelming amount of e-mail I receive, I may not answer every one. However, I do read them all and try to respond when I can. I've had readers ask if they can post messages to this blog. I'm inclined to say no, but if an e-mail is well-written and I'm interested in the subject, I'll occasionally post it myself with appropriate credit. I encourage anyone who thinks they'd like to write posts from time to time to start their own blogs. Blogspot and Blogger have free blog programs (they sell banner advertising for revenue), and Typepad allows a more professional...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 16, 2004

Stop the rush to justice

I've warned several times on this blog that rushing the prosecution of the Abu Ghraib offenses would cause more harm than good. It will cause hard working JAGs to lose these cases. The military justice system works, but like the federal court system, litigation takes time. The stakes are high. If the military does a sloppy job on these cases and loses, hysteria will rule the day and Congress could take away the armed forces' ability to try their own. Barry D. Halpern, a former JAG, makes this exact point (albeit more eloquently) in the new issue of the Weekly Standard. Subscription is required to read the entire thing, but here are some highlights: "The upcoming court martial trials in the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse cases may have consequences neither intended nor anticipated by the military and civilian authorities who are pushing for a quick and decisive resolution of the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Post: A Confusion of Chaos and Purpose?

The Washington Post reports today on the continuing investigation into the Abu Ghraib abuses, reducing the story to two somewhat contradictory themes. The first theme, and the one which grabs the headline, says that the abuses resulted from decisions made within the command structure to allow for harsh interrogation techniques and the conflating of MP and intelligence roles, something that the military normally avoids. The second theme lays the blame on a lack of discipline that extended even to casual dress within the prison facilities themselves. On the first theme, R. Jeffrey Smith names Col. Thomas M. Pappas as the author of the first theme by his insistence that Army reservists assigned MP duty at Abu Ghraib set the table for interrogations: But the fact that a plan for such intense and highly organized pressure was proposed by Col. Thomas M. Pappas -- a senior military intelligence officer in Iraq...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Magical World of Michael Moore

Michael Moore, whose new film Fahrenheit 911 was rejected by Disney over a year ago for distribution, continues to claim that Disney actually refused to distribute the film due to pressure from a "top Republican" in the White House: The White House tried to halt the making and release of Michael Moore's new film Fahrenheit 9/11, the film-maker alleged in Cannes on Sunday. The director told a Cannes audience the Bush administration wanted to keep the film off screens in the run-up to November's US election. ... He has given no evidence to substantiate his allegations, but said "someone connected to the White House" and a "top Republican" had put pressure on film companies not to release the film. The BBC fails to note the London Independent's report from two weeks ago, Moore knowingly lied about Disney in order to promote his new film: Less than 24 hours after accusing...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 17, 2004

Brown v Board of Education: Declining Legacy?

This month marks the 50th anniversary of what some consider the most influential Supreme Court decision of the 20th century: Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled legal structures for the "separate but equal" doctrine for public schools to be unconstitutional and helped to set in motion the Civil Rights Movement. However, as CNN notes, city public schools such as the celebrated Central High School in Little Rock have seen a progressive trend towards resegregation as white students move to the suburbs or into private schools: But while Central High students sound upbeat about harmony in the hallways, legal and social activists warn that a problem from the past may return to the classrooms in Little Rock and the rest of the nation. The percentage of white children enrolled in America's public schools -- 60 percent in 2001-2002 -- is 7 percentage points less than a decade before, according to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Early Iraqi Elections -- Kaus v. Zakaria

Mickey Kaus and Fareed Zakaria debate the wisdom of early Iraqi elections -- or any elections at all -- due to the current security environment in occupied Iraq. Zakaria argues that the current lack of a reasonably secure and stable environment means that any elections will make the results meaningless, and possibly self-destructive: Some in America are now urging elections even sooner than January 2005. This is not a democratization strategy. It is an exit strategy. But it will not work. Elections held in an uncertain security environment with militias running around the country will produce contested results and a renewed power strugglein other words, a road neither to peace nor to pluralism. ... In the Kurdish regions, the United States has allowed the two parties and their peshmerga military force free reign, which has included some ethnic cleansing of Arabs in Kirkuk. In Fallujah, the Army has agreed that...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Sarin Artillery Shell Discovered In Iraq

It looks like the death of the WMD justification has been somewhat exaggerated: A roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday. Two people were treated for "minor exposure," but no serious injuries were reported. "The Iraqi Survey Group confirmed today that a 155-millimeter artillery round containing sarin nerve agent had been found," said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the chief military spokesman in Iraq. "The round had been rigged as an IED (improvised explosive device) which was discovered by a U.S. force convoy. Jon at QandO (one of my favorite blogs) points out that only one shell has been found, and it's likely of older manufacture -- so, he argues, it's insufficient to re-energize the WMD argument all by itself. Fair enough, and after numerous false alarms, rhetorical caution should be the order of the day anyway. However, as the AP...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Minnesota Senate Sneaks Out After Partisan Cheap Shot

The Minnesota Senate closed its session early Sunday morning on a legally mandated schedule, but snuck in a final cheap partisan shot by firing Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke. Yecke's sin was not malfeasance nor gross incompetence, but her pledge to enact Governor Tim Pawlenty's policies for education -- the same policies that won him the election in 2002: When the smoke cleared from the education wars at the Capitol early Sunday, Minnesota had one fewer commissioner but a brand new set of requirements for social studies and science. Cheri Pierson Yecke was fired by the Senate on a 35 to 31 vote at 3:40 a.m. that followed strict party lines, after a day virtually devoid of any education action. ... Yecke's firing was effective immediately, without so much as a two weeks' notice. Yecke, who hosted reporters at a Sunday afternoon news conference in her Blaine home, said she...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 18, 2004

Abu Ghraib: The Latest Judicial-Nominee Excuse

The Washington Post reports this morning that the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal has become the latest, sexiest excuse for Senate Democrats in holding up judicial nominees. The latest victim in the judicial wars is William J. Haynes, who had already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote -- but Ted Kennedy wants him recalled to committee before the full Senate takes up the vote to answer questions about Abu Ghraib: Key Senate Democrats are pushing -- so far without success -- to reopen hearings on a top Pentagon official whose judicial nomination has become entangled in the scandal over abuses of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. forces. The nomination of Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee two months ago -- well before the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke into the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Testimony: Abu Ghraib Abuses Exceeded Orders

The New York Times reports briefly this morning that testimony in a preliminary hearing for Sgt. Javal Davis, one of the soldiers accused of abuses at Abu Ghraib, demonstrates that the abuses originated with the soldiers involved and were not the results of orders from above: Interrogators from military intelligence and other government agencies told guards at the Abu Ghraib prison to deprive detainees of sleep and food, and would strip detainees and make them sleep naked in their cells, but their orders stopped well short of the abuse at the center of the prison scandal, guards and investigators have testified at a preliminary hearing for one of the soldiers accused of abuse. ... But the testimony offered no evidence to back up what lawyers for the accused soldiers have said: that their clients were following orders when they threw naked detainees in a pile, stomped on their hands and...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Homeland Security Operations Center Makes A Difference

According to the Washington Post, the new Homeland Security Operations Center has made a big difference in the war on terror, providing a focus point for intelligence and investigators working the domestic beat: The center is critical to the government's efforts to address an issue raised by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: the failure of agencies to share information with one another. That problem has come under intense scrutiny since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. All sides have vowed to change the culture, but some skeptics doubt that intelligence agencies will share their deepest secrets with one another. The director of the CIA, for example, oversees another multiple-agency command center set up a year ago by the president -- the Terrorist Threat Integration Center. But Broderick says the two aren't in competition: His center focuses on activities in the United States, while the other...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #10!

Most people understand that it takes a lot of effort to run for office, but so much of it happens behind the scenes. For instance, one important component of campaign preparation is to go over talking points -- making sure the candidate knows a few core themes to sound out in every appearance. These talking points should represent the basic policy positions of the candidate so that the public understands why they should vote for him or her. In a Campaign 2004 exclusive, Captain's Quarters has discovered confidential images of Senator John Kerry reviewing his policy stances: Yes, it's Friday, and that means it's time for another Captain's Caption Contest! We want you to serve up your best caption for this picture -- I know with this audience (with all the aces we have!), we can smash a few winners. Just lob them up into the comments section -- no...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Four Held In Berg Butchery

Britain's Sky News reports from Iraq that four men have been detained in the butchery beheading of American Nicholas Berg: Four people have been arrested over the beheading of American Nicholas Berg, Iraq sources say. The 26-year-old businessman's decapitated body was found 10 days ago in Baghdad. His killing was shown around the world on the internet. ... The website said the execution was performed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a top ally of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It is not known if he was among the four people arrested. Thus far, Sky News is the only outlet reporting their capture. The report is (at this time) about 45 minutes old. I'll update this post as more information comes through. (via Memeorandum) UPDATE: From the French news service AFP: Four people have been arrested over the beheading of US businessman Nicholas Berg, whose killing was shown earlier this month...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Link Love, The Quarter-Million Hit Version

I noticed yesterday that the hit counter finally tripped 250,000 visitors sometime in the afternoon -- and I wanted to thank everyone again who makes Captain's Quarters a regular read. When I started the blog less than eight months ago, I couldn't imagine that CQ would be reaching as many people as it does, and I count myself as incredibly fortunate to have as many regular readers and commenters as CQ does. Thinking about all of the friends I've made in the blogosphere reminded me that CQ hasn't passed around link-love in too long a time -- so, here's what's happening at the blogs that gave me a tremendous help along the way. First, starting with my colleagues in the Northern Alliance: Hugh Hewitt wants to know why the Los Angeles Times keeps burying the lede when it comes to WMD, sarin and mustard gas. (Hugh has been tremendously gracious...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Democrats Target Janklow's Congressional Seat in SD

South Dakota will hold a special election to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Rep. Bill Janklow (R) from Congress. Democrats have targeted this seat for conversion and will be launching a major get-out-the-vote effort to try to capture the seat for Stephanie Herseth, an Emily's List beneficiary. The NRCC needs Minnesota volunteers to spend a few days in South Dakota to counter these efforts, as Marcus Esmay, spokesman for Minnesota Republican candidate John Kline, informed me by e-mail today: Congressman John Kline (R-MN) will be leading a bus-load of hard-working Minnesotans to help South Dakota counter this effort [by Democrats], and he has asked me to e-mail the administrators of all of his favorite blogs to request assistance in filling up our bus. Those who join us will not only have 4+ hours to quiz Congressman Kline, but they will also have the satisfaction of helping lay...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Defense Confirms Sarin Find

Fox News reports that the Defense Department has confirmed that the shell that partially exploded by the roadside yesterday contained four liters of sarin -- enough to kill thousands of people under the right conditions. The discovery indicates that more such shells will come to light (via Instapundit): Tests on an artillery shell that blew up in Iraq on Saturday confirm that it did contain an estimated three or four liters of the deadly nerve agent sarin, Defense Dept. officials told Fox News Tuesday. The artillery shell was being used as an improvised roadside bomb, the U.S. military said Monday. The 155-mm shell exploded before it could be rendered inoperable, and two U.S. soldiers were treated for minor exposure to the nerve agent. ... New weapons caches are being found every day, experts said, including "hundreds of thousands" of rocket-propelled grenades and portable anti-aircraft weapons. "Clearly, if we're gonna find...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

"Despicable"

The 9/11 Commission jumped the shark once and for all this afternoon when Commissioner John Lehman launched a hyperbolic, unfair, and grandstanding attack on the leaders of the New York police and fire departments -- who lost scores of men in the disaster of the World Trade Center: The former police and fire chiefs who were lionized after the World Trade Center attack came under harsh criticism Tuesday from the Sept. 11 commission, with one member saying the departments' lack of cooperation was scandalous and "not worthy of the Boy Scouts." Commission members, in New York for an emotional two-day hearing, focused on how leaders of the two departments failed to share information effectively in the early frantic moments after two hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center. Former fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen and former police chief Bernard Kerik shot back with infuriated responses to commissioner John Lehman's...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 19, 2004

Rolling away the tripwire

The AFP reports 4,000 Army troops will leave South Korea and redeploy to Iraq. This will be first reduction in US force levels on the Korean peninsula since the early 1990s. US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz remarked: "We have moved troops off of the DMZ, where frankly, they were performing nothing except, a kind of useless -- and indeed I would say counterproductive -- tripwire function." The US force structure on the Korean peninsula is obsolete. The threat from the North is no longer an army marching across the DMZ; it is Kim's nuclear collection which poses the real danger. The US troops are merely potential nuclear hostages. The reduction is the second step in a necessary reconfiguration. (The first being the plan to move troops from the DMZ to bases south of Seoul.) AFP also reports: "South Korea is seeking assurances that the 4,000 troops will return...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The War on Democracy

Let's face it, there is no War on Terrorism. Yes, I have thrown that phrase around a lot on this blog because I wanted to believe it. But it's not our war, we didn't start it, and despite 9/11, we still hesitate to call it what it is. On todays OpinionJournal.com, Garry Kasparov offers us a glimpse of clarity: "Since the Abu Ghraib abuses were revealed, the battleground has been chosen by those who would blur the lines between terrorists and those fighting against them. The Bush administration has contributed to the confusion with its ambiguous "war on terror." You cannot fight a word. You need targets, you need to know what you are fighting for and against." "The situation is worse in the Muslim world. Calling the terrorists "militants" or "radical Islamists" presupposes the existence of moderates willing to confront the radicals. Outside of Turkey, it is very hard...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Commons Takes A Powder

The London Telegraph has a disturbing story in this morning's breaking news about a protest in the House of Commons which culminated in a stupid and frightening attack on Tony Blair: The House of Commons has been suspended after protesters threw missiles containing purple powder at Tony Blair during Prime Minister's question time. Mr Blair was hit on the back by the powder which spread a cloud of dust over MPs on the Labour benches. The Prime Minister continued to answer a question from Michael Howard, the Tory leader, before the session was suspended by Speaker Michael Martin. The protest was staged by two men who were sitting in an area of the public gallery normally reserved for distinguished guests. They were dragged from the gallery by security staff as MPs began to leave the chamber. That's all of the information known at this point. British leftists seem to have...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

ABC Witness Says "Cover-Up"

ABC News features an interview on its website with a "military intelligence analyst" who claims that the Army is conducting a deliberate cover-up of the abuses at Abu Ghraib. In an article by Brian Ross and Alexandra Salomon, Sgt. Samuel Provance says that "dozens" of people knew about the abuse, and that it stemmed from orders given by military intelligence. The emphasis in the excerpt are mine: "There's definitely a cover-up," the witness, Sgt. Samuel Provance, said. "People are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet." Provance, 30, was part of the 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion stationed at Abu Ghraib last September. He spoke to ABCNEWS despite orders from his commanders not to. "What I was surprised at was the silence," said Provance. "The collective silence by so many people that had to be involved, that had to have seen something or heard something." Provance, now stationed in...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Caption Contest #10 Winners!

Sorry for the delay -- I hadn't realized that it was the Captain's serve! It's time to announce the winners of this week's Captain's Caption Contest, and our guest judges this week are Dr. Kate and Farmer Joe from Urban Farmhouse, a terrific new blog -- be sure to check it out. Just to jog your memory (another Forrest Gump reference?), here's the picture: Here are the winners! Captain's Award (Box of Chocolates) -- Shark: "Look at me! I'm playing poor man's squash!" You Have The Conn #1 (Floating Feather) -- Spd Rdr: With a subtle grace not seen since the Ford Administration, Senator Kerry gently nuances the ball over the net. You Have The Conn #2 (We're Not Relations, Sir) -- Chris B: "No, in Press-Ping-Ping you toss softies to me and stand there motionless as I score off you." You Have The Conn #3 (Sorry, Jenny) -- Attila:...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

"Wedding" Attack At 3 AM? Pentagon Says No

Earlier today, the AP and others reported that American military forces fired on a wedding celebration near the Iraqi-Syrian border after mistaking celebratory gunfire for an attack. Now, however, the Pentagon disputes that story and insists that forces attacked a terrorist safe house: "Our report is that this was not a wedding party, that these were anti-coalition forces that fired first, and that U.S. troops returned fire, destroying several vehicles, and killing a number of them," a Pentagon spokesman said. He was responding to a video distributed by The Associated Press showing Iraqi witnesses who said that at least 20 people were killed and five others critically wounded early Wednesday when planes fired on a wedding celebration. A man on the video said all homes in the village near the Syrian border were destroyed in the attack at about 3 a.m. local time Wednesday [emph mine]. ... A coalition official...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

9/11: The Circus Continues

The 9/11 Commission, which has lately become the (Grand)Standing Committe on National Scolding and Punditry, interrogated former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani from a site less than two miles from Ground Zero. This hearing provided yet another opportunity for a handful of victim family members to act irrationally in order to get their faces on the evening news: Outraged relatives of World Trade Center victims heckled former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on Wednesday as their hopes that he would be grilled by the Sept. 11 commission faded in the face of gentle questioning and effusive praise from panel members. "My son was murdered because of your incompetence!" shouted Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son died in the trade center. Seated three rows behind Giuliani, she jabbed her finger at the former mayor and waved a sign that read "Fiction" as he gave the city's emergency response a glowing review. Regenhard may want...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Daschle, Thune In Dead Heat

South Dakota television station KELO and the Argus-Leader, the state's largest daily newspaper, announced that their polling shows that John Thune has pulled into a virtual dead heat with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle -- without having spent a cent on advertising (via Hugh Hewitt and Power Line): We polled 800 registered voters last week who say they regularly vote. Here's who they'd choose as senator if today were Election Day. Our KELOLAND-TV/Argus Leader scientific poll shows 49% of voters would support democrat Tom Daschle. 47% would vote for republican John Thune. And just 4 percent are undecided. There's a three and a half percent margin of error. ... At this point, the Senate race is a tale of two campaigns. Daschle's camp has been on the air for months, and spent millions of dollars doing it. His supporters argue it's been more effective than our numbers suggest. Thune's camp...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Nine Songs, Plus A Tap Dance

The Guardian (UK) reports on a controversial new film, Nine Songs, being released in Britain, and its lead actress who took Method acting to a level not seen anywhere else except ... er, California? You could, perhaps, have seen it all coming. Or maybe not, if you were a 21-year-old with no significant acting roles to your name. What is clear is that Margo Stilley, the female lead in Michael Winterbottom's film Nine Songs - already famous as the most sexually explicit film in the history of mainstream British cinema - is at the centre of an almighty media ruckus. On Tuesday, tabloid headlines gleefully announced the arrival of the "Muckiest Film Ever" and the "Rudest Film Ever to Hit Our Cinemas". By yesterday Fleet Street's finest had caught up with friends and family in Stilley's native North Carolina. "Mother of Beauty in 'Real Sex' Film Shocker Prays For Her...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 20, 2004

Catholic Church Takes Stand On Principle, Confuses Politicians

Pro-abortion Catholic politicians sent an angry letter to the Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington DC, protesting the stand taken by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in recommending withholding Communion from those politicians who promote or enact laws legalizing abortion: Forty-eight Roman Catholic members of Congress who are Democrats have signed a letter to the cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C., saying the threats by some bishops to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights were "deeply hurtful," counterproductive and "miring the Church in partisan politics." ... The letter's signers, including about a dozen who are considered anti-abortion Democrats, said the bishops are "allowing the church to be used for partisan purposes.'' They also question why these bishops made abortion a litmus test while ignoring politicians who voted counter to the church by endorsing the death penalty and the war in Iraq. This argument demonstrates a lack of insight into the Church to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Ecosystem Update: Upward and Onward

The Truth Laid Bare Ecosystem, in which many blogs voluntarily participate in order to determine their relative ranking, just went through an update after a week of status quo. When the dust settled, Captain's Quarters evolved from Large Mammal to Playful Primate and made it to the top 100 blogs for the first time. We're now ranked at #89. (And on a slow blogging day, no less, although I'll pick up the reins later on today.) NZ Bear uses a complicated methodology to calculate inbound and outbound blogroll links from each registered blog and then ranks the results based on inbound links. CQ has 395 unique inbound links, so to everyone who's been kind enough to blogroll me, I appreciate it! If you haven't yet blogrolled me, I hope you will sometime in the future, but more importantly, I hope you come back here to read and debate the posts...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Navel-Gazing In New Jersey

Everyone says the same thing about polls in the spring -- they don't mean anything, it's still too early, lots of things could change, yada yada yada. They may not make a good predictor of the eventual outcome, but they certainly indicate how campaigns are performing -- and in heavily-Democratic New Jersey, the Kerry campaign has just received a shock: Forty-six percent of the respondents support Kerry, 43 percent back Bush, and 5 percent would vote for independent candidate Ralph Nader. The poll, released Thursday, has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Among independent voters polled, Kerry and Bush are about even in the race for New Jersey's 15 electoral votes. Kerry's favorability is poor in New Jersey, which Al Gore won by 16 percentage points in 2000. Twenty-seven percent approve of the Democrat, 28 percent don't and 33 percent are mixed, according to the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

First Mate Update

I planned on doing a lot of blogging tonight from the dialysis center, where we go three days a week for the First Mate, but it looks like I won't be able to do much. The good news for the First Mate is that we have a transplant date scheduled for her -- June 8. Our friend retested after failing an initial test as she was convinced nothing was wrong with her. Well, she was right; the first test results turned out to be mistaken. She's now completed her testing and everyone's approved for the transplant. We're incredibly grateful for all of the thoughts and prayers directed our way from all of you. Now, the bad news: her catheter got infected again and won't work now. We're waiting on some lab results to check out her blood chemistry to see if she's way off on her potassium levels, which we...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Handy And Media-Friendly Excuse For All Deserters

Fox News reports on a soldier who deserted his unit by failing to return from leave who now faces a court-martial. However, the soldier plans on using two different and interesting defenses for abandoning his unit while it currently serves under fire in Ramadi, Iraq. Can anyone guess which one will get all the media attention he could wish? A U.S. soldier charged with desertion for leaving his unit in Iraq contended Thursday at this court-martial that he did not commit a crime because the Army had improperly failed to discharge him. Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, an infantry squad leader in the Florida National Guard, acknowledged disobeying his commanders' orders to return to Iraq in October after a two-week furlough. Mejia said he asked to be discharged under a National Guard regulation barring non-U.S. citizens from serving more than eight years. Mejia, who joined the Army nine years ago, has...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 21, 2004

The Story Behind The Pictures

Tomorrow's Washington Post outlines the abuses at Abu Ghraib in a detailed and disturbing report based on declassified sworn statements from the victims themselves. They describe a disgusting example of inhumanity, but interestingly, the article only implicates a small number of MPs at the Iraqi prison: Previously secret sworn statements by detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq describe in raw detail abuse that goes well beyond what has been made public, adding allegations of prisoners being ridden like animals, sexually fondled by female soldiers and forced to retrieve their food from toilets. ... Some of the detainees described being abused as punishment or discipline after they were caught fighting or with a prohibited item. Some said they were pressed to denounce Islam or were force-fed pork and liquor. Many provided graphic details of how they were sexually humiliated and assaulted, threatened with rape, and forced to masturbate in...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Post: Material Witness Will Prove Abuse Localized

The Washington Post's Jackie Spinner analyzes the plea deal that Spc. Jeremy Sivits completed with his conviction and sentencing at his court-martial yesterday in Baghdad and concludes that he will make a powerful witness for prosecutors in upcoming cases: Spc. Jeremy Sivits's tearful apology and no-excuse testimony at his court-martial on Wednesday will make him a credible witness against other soldiers charged with mistreating Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and could undermine arguments that they were simply following orders, military legal experts said Thursday. Sivits, the first of seven U.S. soldiers charged with prisoner abuse to be convicted, told an Army judge that he knew what he was doing was wrong, saying, "sir, I am truly sorry. I am sorry for what I've done." The 24-year-old Army reservist agreed to testify against his fellow soldiers in the 372nd Military Police Company in exchange for a lighter sentence. A judge...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Ivory Tower

Stanley Fish, retiring dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Illinois-Chicago, argues in a New York Times op-ed that academia dilutes and warps its raison d'etre when it attempts to play active roles in partisan politics. Instead, Fish exhorts his colleagues to focus on the truly academic roles of analysis and scholarship: Marx famously said that our job is not to interpret the world, but to change it. In the academy, however, it is exactly the reverse: our job is not to change the world, but to interpret it. While academic labors might in some instances play a role in real-world politics if, say, the Supreme Court cites your book on the way to a decision it should not be the design or aim of academics to play that role. While academics in general will agree that a university should not dance to the tune of external...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Herbert Rehabilitates Camilo Mejia

Normally I skip over Bob Herbert in the New York Times as he reliably demonstrates a complete lack of understanding on almost anything he writes. However, today's column covers the story of Sgt. Camilo Mejia, whose story I noted in a post late last night. As expected, Herbert insists on rehabilitating Mejia by excusing his desertion on the basis of ... well, on the basis of his working for Rumsfeld, as Herbert concludes: When there is time later to reflect on what has happened, said Sergeant Mejia, "you come face to face with your emotions and your feelings and you try to tell yourself that you did it for a good reason. And if you don't find it, if you don't believe you did it for a good reason, then, you know, it becomes pretty tough to accept it to willingly be a part of the war." A military...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Michael Berg, Moral Coward

I can understand the grief of a parent mourning the loss of a treasured son, and how that grief can lead a father to lash out irrationally. I try to make allowances for those unfortunate enough to find themselves in that situation. However, Michael Berg has completely exhausted my sympathy and patience with a twisted and craven opinion piece published by the London Guardian today, in which he romanticizes his son's killers while saving his venom for George Bush (emphases are mine): People ask me why I focus on putting the blame for my son's tragic and atrocious end on the Bush administration. They ask: "Don't you blame the five men who killed him?" I have answered that I blame them no more or less than the Bush administration, but I am wrong: I am sure, knowing my son, that somewhere during their association with him these men became aware...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

First Mate Update, Cont'd

Just a short note to update everyone on the First Mate. She's back home and very tired but doing well. What happens from time to time on a dialysis shunt is that the natural tendency of blood to clot will narrow the line where it enters the body. To combat this, the dialysis center fills the line with a medication that suppresses the clotting reaction at the end of each session. (The medicine sits in the line and doesn't flow into the body; it has something to do with the pressure differential, but I'm a bit unclear on that concept.) If this doesn't work, though, what happens is that the shunt becomes to narrow to pump the blood at a sufficient rate to properly dialyze, and a failure to dialyze is a big deal for the patient. Normally they would have sent her home to try again the next day,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Veneer of Civilization

Dale Franks at QandO posted a difficult lesson for Americans and people of Western civilization, one that we have forgotten but that history proves time and again: Scott Higham and Joe Stephens of the Washington Post continue the rollout of allegations from Abu Ghraib. And it just keeps getting worse and worse. The Post has also obtained more pictures from Abu Ghraib, which they present along with the article. Seeing, the pictures, they remind me of nothing so much as something you'd hear about going on in the gulag or the konzentrationslager. We like to think that, because we are Americans, we don't do stuff like this. That we are better than that. That's something the Nazis or the commies would do, probably because they are, in some way, morally deficient in a way that Americans are not. That is a bright and shining lie. The awful truth is that,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Welcome To America

I want to offer my congratulations to my long-distance Northern Alliance colleague, Deacon from Power Line, and his wife Yvonne on her naturalization as an American citizen today, in Baltimore. Yvonne originially came from France. As Deacon states, Yvonne was joined by what would appear to be a UN coalition for today's ceremony: America became even more diverse today as a new batch of citizens was sworn-in in Baltimore (and presumably elsewhere). One of these new citizens is my wife. Her group of about 50 was, as one would expect, quite a melange. It contained a few Anglos, at least one Frenchwoman (my wife), a handful of Eastern Europeans (mostly Russian), many Latino[a]s, many Africans, and some Asians, a few from the near east and a few from the far. There may even have been a couple of Bush voters in the group. Deacon noted a jarring, discordant note prior...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Kerry, The Reluctant Bride

The presumptive Democratic nominee for President, John Kerry, wishes to remain "presumptive" as long as possible, it seems. Party activists now propose to have Kerry wait as long as possible to accept the nomination in order to avoid campaign-spending limits that kick in once the nomination is made: Sen. John Kerry may postpone accepting his party's presidential nomination at the July Democratic convention -- a tactic aimed at reserving his campaign war chest for the fight against President Bush. Under federal campaign rules, once a candidate accepts the party nomination, the campaign is limited to spending around $75 million. So, just as with the proliferation of 527s and MoveOn, we have the party of campaign-finance reform manipulating the rules on which they insisted for their own gain. If nothing else illustrates the futility and hypocrisy of classifying money into silly little categories, the spectacle of a major-party nominee addressing a...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Watcher's Council: New Opening!

The Watcher of Weasels informs me on a quick break from his patrol that the Watcher's Council has another opening available. Those fortunate few members select the best of the blogosphere every week and vote on the nominated posts. Plus, you get to claim membership in a murky and vaguely menacing-sounding fraternity! What could be better? I wish I could commit to it, but unfortunately I don't have the time. I encourage one of you intrepid bloggers to contact the Watcher ASAP, if for no other reason than to ensure CQ posts continue to get nominated. [Yes, everything's all about me. I admit it - Ed.] It looks like a lot of fun!...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

If They're Unhappy Now ...

Boston reacted in disbelief and anger at the proposed closing of major highways for the four-day Democratic National Convention in July, and some businesses now may furlough workers during the week and close down: Boston business owners and area motorists reacted with disbelief and fury on Friday to plans to shut down major highways for security reasons during this summer's Democratic National Convention. ... Convention planners had already said one of Boston's two main train stations and some roads would close during the event. But on Thursday, officials unveiled a more draconian set of traffic restrictions involving several miles of highways. At the same time, they launched a new public relations campaign entitled "Let's Work Around It" which urges residents to adjust travel plans and asks businesses to let employees work from home or take vacation. In response, Boston's radio airwaves echoed with howls of protest from angry commuters, and...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Did Saddam's Nephew Help Kill Nick Berg?

While Michael Berg continues to blame everyone except the people who sawed his son's head off while he was still alive for Nick Berg's death, US and Iraqi forces continue their investigation into his brutal murder. The London Guardian reports that Iraqi forces have arrested an uncertain number of people in the case, including a nephew of Saddam Hussein: The mystery of who killed Nick Berg, the freelance contractor beheaded on video, took a new twist last night when Iraqi police claimed they had arrested four suspects with links to Saddam Hussein's family. Iraqi security officials said Berg's alleged killers were part of a group led by a close relative of Saddam - his nephew Yasser al-Sabawi. The men were seized a week ago after a tip-off, they said. All were former members of the Fedayeen Saddam, the para military group notorious for its loyalty to Iraq's ex-president. American commander...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 22, 2004

Boston Awakes To A $15 Million Scam

The Boston Globe carries local reaction this morning to the Democrats' surprise announcement yesterday that the Democratic nominating convention may not produce a nominee. Needless to say, for a city that spening millions of dollars and proposing a week of major highway blockages and business shutdowns for the convention, the prospect of suffering all of this for a "pep rally" does not amuse Bostonians in the least: Local organizers were caught off-guard by the Kerry campaign yesterday. Mayor Thomas Menino told WBZ-TV, "I was very suprised by it." This week's announcements of road closings for the convention have already taken a toll, he said. "After being beat up two days, and now this. . . . It's just a question about why this wasn't brought up earlier." ... Raising the stakes for the city and state, too, the Democratic Party has received about $15 million in taxpayer funds to hold...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

New York State Gov't Misdirected 9/11 Rebuilding Funds: WaPo

In the aftermath of the destruction in Lower Manhattan on 9/11, Congress acted on the will of the American people to defiantly rebuild what had been destroyed by the Islamofascists within the space of a few hours. Congress created, and President Bush approved, the Liberty Bond program and funded it to the tune of $8 billion. They intended the money to rescue the financial condition of the areas damaged at and around Ground Zero and gave New York state and city officials unprecedented leeway to manage the funds in order to reduce bottlenecks and promote maximum efficiency and speed for the rebuilding effort. Unfortunately, state and city officials have spent the money on an ever-widening radius of projects, both in geography and scope, according to the Washington Post: Six months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress approved an $8 billion program to repair this city's damaged office towers,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Country's Secrets Lost -- Again?

Noel Schachtman at Wired reports that the Los Alamos National Laboratory reports that the lab has once again lost a data-storage device containing classified information, which at this facility would consist of nuclear technology -- something that al-Qaeda, North Korea, Iran, and a host of other hostile countries and organizations would love to have fall into their hands: The latest episode came to light Thursday, after Los Alamos admitted that, since a Monday inventory check, its custodians hadn't been able to find a "classified removable electronic media," or CREM -- disks and drives inscribed with the country's secrets. A Los Alamos press release played down the incident, calling it "a single accounting discrepancy (that) in no way constitutes a compromise of national security." Los Alamos has tens of thousands of removable hard drives, discs and memory sticks. When one can't be found, it's usually because of something innocent, like "administrative...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

WaPo: Abuse Not Intended For Interrogations

Scott Highan and Joe Stephens report in today's Washington Post that witness and suspect statements in the Abu Ghraib abuse investigation cast doubt on the notion that the abuse stemmed from military intelligence direction, but instead serviced the amusement and frustration of the MPs assigned to guard them: Prisoners posed in three of the most infamous photographs of abuse to come out of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were not being softened up for interrogation by intelligence officers but instead were being punished for criminal acts or the amusement of their jailers, according to previously secret documents obtained by The Washington Post. ... In one of the most striking images to surface, a detainee jokingly referred to as "Gilligan" by the MPs was forced to stand on a box of food, with wires connected to his fingers, toes and penis. [Spec. Sabrina] Harman said she attached the wires to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Village Voice Flashback: Kerry Obstructed POW/MIA Investigation

John Kerry released new advertisements this month designed to shore up his credentials on foreign policy and veterans' affairs. Among the statements made in the advertisements made in his support promoted Kerry's efforts in investigating the POW/MIA issue, along with John McCain, whose partnership Kerry's ads also promote. As Kerry says on his campaign blog: John Kerry and Senator John McCain chaired the country's most thorough investigation into the fate of POW/MIAs in Southeast Asia. Kerry has personally pressed Vietnamese officials to cooperate in ongoing efforts to get answers for families. And he also sponsored POW/MIA Recognition Day. Kerry's Senate committee pressed for unparalleled declassification of documents, increased excavation work in Vietnam, and gathering of testimony from 144 witnesses. According to the Boston Globe, "the effort produced real answers for the some 120 families who had lived for decades without knowing whether a loved one was still alive in Southeast...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Al Franken Calls For Voter Fraud To Elect Kerry

Ben Wikler, from Al Franken's Air America blog, has called for Democrats in safe states to move to so-called "battleground states," using Civil War imagery to promote the strategy of voter fraud in the latest example of left-wing contempt for democratic process (posted here and scroll down to 5/18/04, at the Permalink-deficient Air America website: Just as 1850s Kansas became a battleground in the fight against slavery, so has 2000s Ohio become a battleground state--in fact, some say, the battleground state--in the fight for the White House. If we win in Ohio, we almost certainly win the entire election. And we can win. But it will take some work. The most important factor, of course, is the work being done by Ohioans. But those of us in the rest of the nation could tip the balance. As the office of the Ohio Secretary of State notes, only 30 days of...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

New Map at Politburo Diktat: Kablogh, Holy City of the Ri'ight

The Commissar has long been known as the official cartographer of the Blogosphere, and regularly produces vivid active-link maps to navigate through the blog universe. He's created a new, Party-approved map of Kablogh that you must check out (or the KGBlog agents will get you, Comrades!): The monuments of Kablogh, notably the now-empty House of Allah Mosque, have seen fierce fighting in recent weeks. The righteous Ri'ightes pray to the House of Allah mosque five times daily, hoping for the imminent return of its rightful occupant. Other Ri'ight strongholds include the LFG Embassy, the Captain's Quarter, the Canadian Embassy, and the Barking Moonbat Airport. Be sure to report promptly to the Commissar, and check out all of the great spots on the map. Don't forget to visit the eerily quiet House of Allah while you're there....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Estonians To Build Nazi Memorial?

The European Union's new member, Estonia, has just handed them their first major cultural challenge. Estonian veterans of World War II, which consist of men who fought for Nazi Germany's notorious SS, plan on building a memorial to Estonian SS soldiers who fought the Russians: The Society of Fighters for Estonia's Freedom, which includes, among others, veterans of the Estonian 20th SS division, has initiated the opening of a monument to Estonian SS fighters who fought for Nazi Germany during WWII, Russia's Interfax quoted the Postimees newspaper as reporting on Saturday. The initiators plan to install the monument in Tallinn's district of Maarjamae, about fifty meters away from a memorial in honor of the Soviet forces who fought in Estonia, in July this year, Interfax said. Three large crosses are already installed at the site. The new monument is intended to include plaques bearing the names of 16 Estonian units...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Wedding Bell Blues

The Coalition Provisional Authority released more information on the "wedding" attacked by US forces near the Iraqi-Syrian border. Not only did that "wedding" take place at an unusual time, but its celebrants all seemed to be about the same age: Senior coalition military spokesman said that dozens of people killed in a U.S. attack in the Iraqi desert early Wednesday were attending a high-level meeting of foreign fighters, not a wedding. Photos shown to reporters in Baghdad support that contention. ... Kimmitt said troops did not find anything -- such as a wedding tent, gifts, musical instruments, decorations or leftover food -- that would indicate a wedding had been held. Most of the men there were of military age, and there were no elders present to indicate a family event, he said. No one found dead children at the site of the attack, either, despite earlier reports. Kimmitt told CNN...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 23, 2004

John Kerry, Wiseguy

Drudge has a report this morning that John Kerry remarked to a group of reporters about George Bush taking a tumble off of his bike on Friday at his Crawford ranch. According to Drudge: Kerry told reporters in front of cameras, 'Did the training wheels fall off?'... Reporters are debating whether to treat it is as on or off the record... Developing... Hmmm. Well, in case anyone has forgotten, the paragon of athletic accomplishment has two tumbles to his credit -- one on his own bicycle earlier this month, and one off his snowboard in Idaho. (Actually, make that last one six falls.) Regarding the Idaho incident, Kerry handled that with as much grace as he apparently shows for Bush's tumble. As I blogged at the time: As Senator John Kerry carved his Burton snowboard down a green rated Upper College run, another skier interrupted his stride, colliding with the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

People of mass destruction

Last week the F.B.I. warned law enforcement offices around America to be on the lookout for suicide bombers. They urged police to be on the lookout for individuals wearing bulky over garments in the heat of summer, especially those with wires hanging out. Is it really only a matter of time before our local papers are dominated by stories of buses being blown apart and people killed by "homicide bombers" while on a dinner date? In today's New York Times, Thomas Friedman coins a useful phrase to describe the men and women capable of such horrific acts: "P.M.D.'s" or "people of mass destruction." Regarding the situation in Iraq, he notes: "My rough estimate is that there have been 50 to 75 suicide bomb attacks in Iraq in the last year. So the first question I have is this: Where are all these suicide bombers coming from? How do you just...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

WaPo Uses More Hearsay, Pentagon Issues Denial

In its continuing coverage of the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, the Washington Post reports today on statements made by defense counsel that Gen. Ricardo Sanchez may have been present for some of the abuse, and that Gen. Janis Karpinski seems to have switched from defense to offense as a result: The lawyer, Capt. Robert Shuck, said he was told that Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez and other senior military officers were aware of what was taking place on Tier 1A of Abu Ghraib. Shuck is assigned to defend Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II of the 372nd Military Police Company. During an April 2 hearing that was open to the public, Shuck said the company commander, Capt. Donald J. Reese, was prepared to testify in exchange for immunity. The military prosecutor questioned Shuck about what Reese would say under oath. "Are you saying that Captain Reese is going...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Kerry Fire Drill Strategy

The Washington Post reviews the latest weather-vaning going on at the John Kerry campaign in an article humorously titled "Kerry Broadens Scope of His Pitch." Instead, Jim VanderHei and Dan Balz document the essence of the Kerry campaign as it has bounced between constituencies like a pinball at the arcade, promising centrism to one audience while defending leftist policies to another, and all the while with Democrats excusing his shiftiness as necessary to win the White House regardless of his misrepresentations. For example, Kerry's allies have not only pressured John McCain to accept the VP role but also Chuck Hagel, another Republican, despite significant policy differences. The Post never mentions anything about Kerry's outreach to Democrats, leaving the impression that Kerry's handlers believe that only a bipartisan ticket will win in November. In other policy venues, Kerry continues to play both sides of the fence, with increasing shamelessness: Despite the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 24, 2004

Detroit News: 9/11 Families Ungrateful, Rude

Nolan Finley, the opinion editor of the Detroit News, has also lost all patience with the 9/11 victims' families that have chosen to politicize themselves and promote themselves at every opportunity. In a signed editorial yesterday, Finley scolds those who acted so rudely during former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's testimony last week: America adopted the families of the September 11 terrorism victims, showered them with support and sympathy, and lifted them up as a living emblem of the national wound suffered. But now, some of the family members are wearing thin. Some groups have morphed into quasi-political organizations, using their mourner status to gain a platform for pushing their views on everything from immigration laws to the Patriot Act to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Others express their grief in the form of endless protest, rallying against the design of the September 11 memorial, carping about the inadequacy of the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Err America Ratings Explained

A major buzz-kill for fans of schadenFranken.

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Bostonians Not Pleased With The Empty-Convention Tactic

John Kerry may be on the road today for his presidential campaign, and as far as some Bostonians are concerned, he should stay there. Beantowners aren't pleased at all to have spent a fortune on a nominating convention that won't nominate anyone, and both Boston dailies blast Kerry this morning. First, we have Adrian Walker in the Globe offering to write Kerry's non-speech for his non-nomination: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, delegates. Thank you, you suckers from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and FOX, for attending our nominating -- pardon me, our four-day "unity conference." ... I'd like to say a few words about my good friend Tom Menino, the mayor of this great city. Mayor, all Democrats owe you a debt of gratitude for your tireless efforts in shaking down everyone in town to raise money for this fabulous shindig. People will say it was all for nothing, that...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Ralph Nader, Political Advisor to Democrats

John Kerry has been given plenty of advice on selecting his candidate for Vice President; pundits and politicos alike have weighed in on the matter. Some even have suggested picking a Republican, apparently convinced that there are no qualified Democrats. (I've suggested that they need to address the same problem at the top of the ticket.) The AP reports today that one more politico has met with Kerry and extended his advice -- only the man in question intends on running against John Kerry in the general election: Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said he had advised John Kerry to choose North Carolina Sen. John Edwards or Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. ... "They're very careful," Nader said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "They're not going to cause him any embarrassment. And they do bring an additional voter support for him." The advice...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Don't be so proud to be an American

According to the London Sunday Telegraph: "American athletes have been warned not to wave the U.S. flag during their medal celebrations at this summer's Olympic Games in Athens, for fear of provoking crowd hostility and harming the country's already-battered public image. ... U.S. Olympic officials have ordered their 550-strong team to exercise restraint and avoid any jingoistic behavior." Internet difficulties prevented me from posting on this subject last week, but James Lileks provides a terrific response to this nonsense in his Dallas Morning News op-ed: Please. You'd think President Bush had announced that our Olympians have a God-given right not only to grab the flag but to use the pole to knock the losers senseless. Apparently if an athlete grabs an American flag and runs around the stadium, it will enflame the European Street. And the Arab Street, the Asian Street, the African Street, the Central and South American Streets,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Nuts Look For Their Own Shell in South Carolina

Sooner or later, it is said, everyone gets embarrassed by their friends or family. While it seems like it happens more frequently to our colleagues on the rational Left, we have our own lunatic fringe on the right, and when they get out of the box they can be just as, ah ... entertaining as anything the Left can provide. Today's lesson in right-wing/Christian idiocy comes to us from WorldNet Daily, via Memeorandum, in which a Texas group of Christians propose mass Christian migration to South Carolina and a subsequent secession as a cure for all evil in America: Calling the approval of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts "the straw that broke the camel's back," a group of Christian activists is in the beginning stages of an effort to have one state secede from the United States to become its own sovereign nation. "Our Christian republic has declined into a pagan...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 25, 2004

UN Implements Sex-For-Food Program In The Congo

The London Independent reports this morning that the UN, which has been so critical of the abuses by American troops at Abu Ghraib, faces its own scandal. In a hideous twist, UN "peacekeeping" troops stationed in the Congo and supposedly assisting refugees of the war there have forced women, many barely teenagers and some already rape victims, to prostitute themselves for food: Teenage rape victims fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being sexually exploited by the United Nations peace-keeping troops sent to the stop their suffering. The Independent has found that mothers as young as 13 - the victims of multiple rape by militiamen - can only secure enough food to survive in the sprawling refugee camp by routinely sleeping with UN peace-keepers. Testimony from girls and aid workers in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Bunia, in the north-east corner of Congo, claims that every...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Nader, with Tinfoil Hat

Ralph Nader made a campaign detour through Tinfoil Hatville on his way to Manhattan, calling for President Bush's impeachment -- five months before the general election -- and saying that the terrorist threat to the US has been exaggerated mere blocks away from Ground Zero: Ralph Nader, the independent candidate for president, condemned President George W. Bush yesterday as a "messianic militarist" who should be impeached for pushing the nation into a war in Iraq "based on false pretenses." Mr. Bush's actions "rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors," Mr. Nader said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan. He said Mr. Bush had exceeded his authority in the face of widespread opposition at home and abroad. "The founding fathers did not want the declaration of war put in the hands of one man," he said, contending that United States foreign policy goals are...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Day After Tomorrow: "Lies Cloaked As Science"

USA Today published an op-ed piece by Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute (via Drudge), that reviews the science in the upcoming disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow and finds it ridiculous and impossible: Global warming causes the Gulf Stream to shut down. This current normally brings tropical warmth northward and makes Europe much more comfortable than it should be at its northerly latitude. The heat stays stuck in the tropics, the polar regions get colder, and the atmosphere suddenly flips over in a "superstorm." The frigid stratosphere trades places with our habitable troposphere, and in a matter of days, an ice age ensues. Temperatures drop 100 degrees an hour in Canada. Hurricanes ravage Belfast. Folks in Japan are clobbered by bowling-ball-size hailstones. If we had only listened to concerned scientists and stopped global warming when we could. Each one of these phenomena is...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Libertarian Threat?

CBS News makes quite a splash today with an analysis of the presidential election and the impact that the Libertarian Party will have on conservative voters this fall. Despite a decades-long history of utter futility and the consistent selection of obscure candidates, suddenly CBS thinks that a Libertarian challenge to Bush's war and budget policies could spell the difference between his re-election and his defeat: With conservatives upset over the ballooning size of the federal government under a Republican White House and Congress and a portion of the political right having opposed the war in Iraq from the start or else dismayed at how it's being handled the Libertarian nominee, who will be on the ballot in 49 states, may do for Democrats in 2004 what Nader did for Republicans in 2000. It is a hypothesis not yet made in the mainstream media. But interviews with third-party experts...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Northern Alliance Radio On The Air For Hugh Hewitt!

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will fill in for Hugh Hewitt on his radio show tonight -- meaning we get to go national again! Almost everyone from NARN will be in studio for tonight's show, and we'll rotate through in order to get as many people on the air as possible. I'll be on in the first hour, when we have Kathryn Jean Lopez from NRO and Frank Gaffney scheduled as guests. If you don't get Hugh's show in your market, get the Internet feed from KTKZ in Sacramento! If you want some background on Hugh, however, check out the Elder's comprehensive biography of the Lord High Commissioner of the Blogosphere. I didn't realize Hugh fought in the Battle of the Big Birds ... UPDATE: As always, guest-hosting Hugh's show was a complete blast! Kathryn Jean Lopez and Frank Gaffney are regular Tuesday guests on the show, and they were...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Captain's Caption Contest #11!

It's Friday, and that means it must be time for another Captain's Caption Contest! Yes, we all know how close the last contest was -- Dr. Kate and Farmer Joe nearly wrecked the Urban Farmhouse deciding which of your entries captioned the Kerry table-tennis extravaganza. Even John Kerry himself knows how close the last one turned out: I can't wait to see what you make out of this one! The contest stays open until 9 PM CT on Tuesday, May 25th (late closing time for some personal business, so take advantage!), at which time our guest judge will decide which of your entries wins out. Enter as often as you like, no purchase necessary, winner need not be present to win, bribes freely accepted ... you know the drill. Make sure you put your entry into the comments section -- e-mail will be shredded, set on fire, and force-fed to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

AP: Terrorists Planning Summer Surprise

The AP reports that US intelligence has "highly credible" information that al-Qaeda terrorists plan on staging a large attack or series of attacks in America this summer: U.S. officials have obtained new intelligence deemed highly credible indicating al-Qaida or other terrorists are in the United States and preparing to launch a major attack this summer, The Associated Press has learned. The intelligence does not include a time, place or method of attack but is among the most disturbing received by the government since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a senior federal counterterrorism official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday. Of most concern, the official said, is that terrorists may possess and use a chemical, biological or radiological weapon that could cause much more damage and casualties than a conventional bomb. "There is clearly a steady drumbeat of information that they are going to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 26, 2004

They're everywhere!

The AP reports Al Qaeda's ranks have multiplied, with 18,000 terrorists now operating in 60 countries. The International Institute of Strategic Studies has concluded: "Al-Qaida is probably working on plans for major attacks on the United States and Europe, and it may be seeking weapons of mass destruction in its desire to inflict as many casualties as possible . . . " I think we well aware of those facts. Some of the report's other findings are questionable, to say the least. The ISS stated that the wars in Afganistan and Iraq have "benefitted" Al Qaeda by dispersing its members to other countries. For me, it's hard to see how removing two state sponsors could have "benefitted" our enemy. The report also found that our efforts to defeat al-Qaida "might accelerate only if there are political developments that now seem elusive, such as the democratization of Iraq and the resolution...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

John Kerry, The Lonely Guy

Another Democrat makes it clear that no one from his party is as qualified to be Vice President as a Republican by again suggesting John McCain as Kerry's running mate. Only this time, the Democrat making the suggestion is presumed VP short-list candidate Dick Gephardt: Representative Richard A. Gephardt, the Missouri Democrat who has often been mentioned as a running mate for Senator John Kerry, is talking kindly about another choice: Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. Asked after a speech in California on Monday what he thought of Mr. McCain's potential for the Democratic presidential ticket, Mr. Gephardt described him as a "very attractive figure in American politics" who "would be accepted by the Democratic Party," according to CNN. Mr. McCain is "someone a lot of Democrats could get interested in," Mr. Gephardt said at the Leon Panetta Center in Monterrey. Gephardt's comments come just days after Ralph Nader...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Going To The Dogs

According to a Washington Post article today, military intelligence specialist Col. Thomas Pappas claims that the idea of using dogs during interrogations in Abu Ghraib came from the commanding general of the detention facility at Guantnamo. However, buried below the jump is an admission by Pappas that he disobeyed orders in unmuzzling the dogs: A U.S. Army general dispatched by senior Pentagon officials to bolster the collection of intelligence from prisoners in Iraq last fall inspired and promoted the use of guard dogs there to frighten the Iraqis, according to sworn testimony by the top U.S. intelligence officer at the Abu Ghraib prison. According to the officer, Col. Thomas Pappas, the idea came from Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who at the time commanded the U.S. militarydetention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and was implemented under a policy approved by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top U.S. military official...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

ABC News: Saddam, Al-Qaeda Linked Through Al-Zarqawi

ABC News posted a story to its website yesterday on the hunt for Ayman al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda leader whose attacks in Istanbul and the beheading of Nicholas Berg have catapulted him to the forefront of the war on terror. According to their final section of the story, titled "Training Under Bin Laden," ABC reports (hat tips RantingProfs, Blogosapien): During the 1990s, Zarqawi trained under bin Laden in Afghanistan. After the fall of the Taliban, he fled to northwestern Iraq and worked with poisons for use in potential attacks, officials say. During the summer of 2002, he underwent nasal surgery at a Baghdad hospital, officials say. They mistakenly originally thought, however, that Zarqawi had his leg amputated due to an injury. In late 2002, officials say, Zarqawi began establishing sleeper cells in Baghdad and acquiring weapons from Iraqi intelligence officials. Late 2002? That preceded the American effort to get UNSC Resolution...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Caption Contest #11 Winners!

Better late than never, I always say! I've reviewed all the entries for the latest Captain's Caption Contest, and I have to tell you that it was a most difficult task. Too many of these entries were laugh-out-loud funny, and I know that I'll be leaving off some favorites. Woe to the Captain! When asked for comment, John Kerry indicated how much sympathy he has for my plight: Yeah, well ... A few themes developed in the submissions, and I've tried to get a representative of each one in the winner's circle (so to speak). So without further ado -- Captain's Award (Hip, Self-Referential/Suck-Up Category) -- Xrlq: And to think, Captain Ed was this close to finally running one measly caption contest that wasn't about me... You Have The Conn #1 (Vatican Ragging) - Jim S: ... and then I told the Bishop, "You'll have to pry this Communion wafer...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Malkin: DC's Double-Ws Libertines, Not Liberated

I've mostly avoided the entire Washingtoniette fracas that erupted on Wonkette's blog because I don't normally comment on sex blogs (and don't make a habit of reading them, either). Regardless of whether the interpersonal relations are located in the halls of power in Washington DC or in the cornfields of Nebraska, does it really shock us in this age that people get promiscuous, both in their sexual habits and their inability to remain discreet about it? I blog on politics for the most part, but blogs exist to talk about whatever interests the writer. For Jessica Cutler, what interested her was her numerous and concurrent sexual flings with co-workers, including the cash "gifts" received for a few of these encounters. However, Michelle Malkin -- a real journalist, as opposed to Cutler -- wrote a terrific piece for today's Townhall edition, explaining why this episode in the blogosphere damages the credibility...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Reuters, critics recommend decreased vigilence

The quack reporters at Reuters and their useful idiots would like us to believe the new terror threats are politically motivated. "A vague new U.S. warning that al Qaeda may be planning a massive attack smacks of political back-covering and campaigning, not just a call for heightened vigilance, analysts and former government officials say." "Stung by accusations that the Bush administration ignored key intelligence in the run-up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, officials may now be issuing warnings to prove to Americans they are on the ball this time, say terrorism analysts on both sides of the political fence." "Apparently there were warnings over 9/11 and nothing came out to the public before that, and they've paid a dear price for that," said Jonathan Schanzer, a terrorism analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "They need to alert the public that there could be something coming down...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Well, If It's Not Too Much Trouble

John Kerry has deigned to accept the nomination for the Democratic presidential ticket at the nominating convention, apparently deciding that playing games with both his hometown power base and the $15 million in federal funding would be too stupid, even for his campaign: Bowing to pressure, John Kerry decided Wednesday to accept the nomination at the Democratic presidential convention in July, scuttling a plan to delay the formality so he could narrow President Bush's public money advantage. ... The statement ended four days of controversy over an idea that was supposed to remain a secret for several more weeks. This ends yet another tone-deaf episode for John Kerry and his campaign staff, who demonstrated that they have no talent for national politics, and possibly even state and local politics are beyond them. Not only is this illustrated by the entire foolish notion of delaying the acceptance of the nomination, but...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Peace Comes To Sudan?

The longest current war may be coming to a close. The London Telegraph reports that the Bush and Blair administrations scored a foreign-policy victory by pushing the warring factions to the bargaining table in the Sudan, resulting in a tentative peace agreement: A peace deal to end Africa's longest civil war was finally signed last night. The fighting in Sudan, which has raged intermittently for nearly 50 years, has claimed two million lives. ... The conclusion of the fraught negotiations - in which the two sides have come under intense pressure from the United States - hands President George W Bush a rare foreign-policy boost in a Muslim country. ... A transitional government headed by President Omar alBashir will take charge later this year. His fiercest enemy, John Garang, commander of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, will become vice-president. North and south will split oil revenues equally and both sides...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The abyss gazes into Gore

I caught part of Al Gores speech this morning, and I was (predictably) horrified. Hindrocket beat me to the punch on this one, and you can read his rebuttal here. He concluded, There is simply too much falsehood and confusion in Gore's speech for any one person to deconstruct. We should perhaps divide his tirade by paragraphs and parcel out to websites in the blogosphere--the Northern Alliance, for example, with help from others, since the job is so vast--the task of refuting Gore's misrepresentations and libels, one by one. OK, Ill take a few paragraphs, starting with this one: But amazingly, even active duty military officers are speaking out against President Bush. For example, the Washington Post quoted an unnamed senior General at the Pentagon as saying, the current OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) refused to listen or adhere to military advice. First of all, the OSD is...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 27, 2004

Have you seen these people?

According to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Al Qaeda is close to launching a major attack, these seven individuals may be involved. The AP reports that a steady stream of "disturbing" intelligence indicates terrorists already are already in the United States and ready to execute the plan, though Mr. Ashcroft acknowledged there is no information indicating when, where or how an attack might happen. In today's news conference, Mr. Ashcroft declared, "We do believe that al-Qaida plans to attack the United States, and that is a result of intelligence that is corroborated at a variety of levels." The AP reports: "Six of the al-Qaida operatives, including two Canadian citizens, whose photos and backgrounds were highlighted Wednesday have been the subject of FBI pursuit for months. The seventh, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, 25, is a U.S. citizen who grew up on a California goat farm and converted to Islam as a teenager....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Gore Goes Mad

John Podhoretz thinks Al Gore is bonkers. In today's New York Post he describes Gore's speech as a public mental meltdown: "I mean that based on his behavior, conduct, mien and tone over the past two days, there is every reason to believe that Albert Gore Jr., desperately needs help. I think he needs medication, and I think that if he is already on medication, his doctors need to adjust it or change it entirely." From the ill-conceived Faustian reference to the "American Gulag" analogy, Gore's speech was a barely-coherent mass of bitterness. Mr. Podhoretz concludes: "Gore's speech is the single craziest political performance of my lifetime, and I use the word "craziest" advisedly. The speech, at 6,600 words, was twice as long as Bush's address to the nation on Monday night. The indiscipline shown by the sheer endlessness of Gore's address is a reflection of the psychic morass...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

WSJ: Another Saddam-AQ Link Discovered

Two days after ABC News reported, deep into a story on Abu al-Zarqawi, that the al-Qaeda operative and beheader of Nick Berg had received support, shelter, and arms from Saddam Hussein at least as far back as "late 2002", the Wall Street Journal discovers another link to Islamofascists and Saddam Hussein. In this case, the terrorist in question has long been suspected of having involvement in 9/11 and now appears to be a commander in the Saddam Fedayeen: One striking bit of new evidence is that the name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime's dirty work. Our government sources, who have seen translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. This matters because if Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen,...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Telegraph: Abu Hamza To Be Extradited To US

The London Telegraph reports this morning that Abu Hamza, a radical muslim cleric linked to Britons held in Guantanamo, has been arrested in a dawn raid and will soon be extradited to the US: Police were acting on an extradition warrant issued by the US government: it is thought the US authorities plan to charge him with terror-related offences. ... According to The Sun, the preacher faces deportation to the US on terror charges. The newspaper also claimed that sources in Washington revealed that the extradition process has been under way in secret for weeks. While this article does not detail the charges pending against Hamza, an earlier Telegraph article from February reported that the US wanted Hamza in relation to al-Qaeda recruitment activity in Oregon: The American authorities are understood to be close to presenting a formal request for Hamza's extradition to face accusations contained in US court papers...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

NYT: Abu Ghraib MPs Chronic Discipline Problems

I have repeatedly asserted that the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses resulted from a lack of discipline in the unit and the command, not from some sort of insidious conspiracy to humiliate Iraqis. Now the New York Times reports this morning that three of the seven soldiers involved in the abuse scandal had long histories of poor discipline, including Spec. Charles Graner, considered to be the ringleader: In the six months leading up to the investigation of prison abuses at Abu Ghraib, three of the seven soldiers now charged with abuse repeatedly committed infractions and disobeyed orders but received only the mildest of punishments. Their violations of military rules included entering buildings they had been ordered to avoid, continuing improper sexual relations with one another and being aggressive with detainees, according to records obtained by The New York Times. ... Among [Taguba's] concerns were flippant comments in logbooks, lack of standards...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

The Nader Effect

As the LA Times reports in its analysis today, John Kerry's campaign strategy on Iraq has come under fire from both sides, as George Bush continues to push for greater international involvement in Iraqi reconstruction and Nader stumps for withdrawal, an option increasingly popular with Kerry's base: From one side, Kerry confronts calls from growing numbers of Democrats to establish a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. That idea will receive a major boost today when Win Without War, a coalition of 42 liberal groups, launches a campaign urging the U.S. to set a date for ending its military presence in Iraq. From the other direction, Bush has come much closer to Kerry's view that the U.S. should rely more on the United Nations to oversee the transition from occupation to a sovereign Iraqi government, thus blurring the contrast between the two men. In the long run, these shifts...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Did Any Drive Home Afterwards?

The Democrats in the Minnesota State Legislature had quite a time in the closing hours of its last session, when they fired Cherie Pierson Yecke just to show their solidarity. Apparently, the DFL fortified themselves with more than just a healthy dose of partisanship, as local station KMSP found out when a news crew looked behind the scenes in the session's final hours: Late at night, in the closing days of the legislative session, lobbyists, state workers and even some lawmakers gathered in offices at the State Capitol to drink beer, wine and liquor, KMSP-TV reported Wednesday night. The station showed trash cans full of beer, wine and liquor bottles and suggested that at least some the alcohol of might have been provided by lobbyists. Lobbyists are not allowed to give gifts to legislators. ... KMSP said state policy forbids state workers from drinking on the job, even during rest...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Hey, Juice, It's All Going To Fred Anyway

Apparently upset that he no longer gets wall-to-wall TV coverage, O.J. Simpson has his lawyer shopping him around for TV and print interviews for the upcoming 10th anniversary of his wife's brutal murder (via The Corner): "It will be expensive," [Star Magazine] quotes [attorney Yale]Galanter. "TV rights are going for $100,000. For print rights, between $20,000 and $25,000." Nothing if not classy, Galanter adds that O.J. might even be willing to do a photo shoot at the Brentwood crime scene and at Nicole's grave site - if the price is right. "It would have to be a multimillion-type deal," Galanter says. A grave site photo would be "worth $500,000 ... Our preference is a standard interview ... but it's just money." Simpson, of course, has a $33 million judgement against him from Fred Goldman, the father of the other victim of the slaying that mesmerized a nation and made Geraldo...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Another Roll Of The Dice, In Najaf This Time

The CPA and the Bush administration rolled the dice again today, reaching a negotiated settlement with radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Under the agreement, the Americans and al-Sadr's al-Mahdi army will both pull back from Najaf as well as Kufa and allow Iraqi civilian authority to once again take control of the cities: American forces and guerrillas loyal to the radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr agreed today to pull back from the holy Shiite city of Najaf, in a deal that signaled the end of a seven-week-old stand-off that has left hundreds of Iraqis dead. The agreement, hammered out between Mr. Sadr and Iraqi leaders and approved by the Americans, calls for the Mahdi Army, whose fighters have held the city since April 5, to put away their guns and go home, and for the American forces to pull most of their forces out of the city. Under the agreement, the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 28, 2004

Kerry: Looking Backwards On Security

John Kerry talks about strengthening security and fighting terrorists, saying earlier this week that those who plan to attack us should understand that he would hunt them down and kill them, if he became president. However, The New York Times reports today that the foreign policy/national security team he has assembled for his campaign represents a flashback to eight years of the so-called "law-enforcement approach" that culminated in the 9/11 attack: Seated in leather swivel chairs in the glass-walled conference room at Senator John Kerry's Washington campaign headquarters two Fridays ago was a veritable reunion of President Bill Clinton's national security team: Madeleine K. Albright, Samuel R. Berger, William J. Perry and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili. Richard C. Holbrooke joined his former colleagues via conference call from Tokyo. ... Besides the Clintonites and Mr. Biden, those in the loop or on its fringe include former Senator Gary Hart, who ran...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Right Wing News: CQ 'Website Of The Day'

John Hawkins' excellent web site, Right Wing News, is a must-read for conservatives and libertarians on the internet. John has great links, terrific posts, and uses a lot of humor to score points off the left. I discovered this morning that John has made Captain's Quarters the RWN Website of the Day! Thanks, John, and I hope that all your readers enjoy their visit today. If you like what you see, be sure to blogroll or bookmark CQ and come back often!...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

New Iraqi PM Selected Unanimously

The BBC reports that the Iraqi Governing Council has unanimously approved a leading Shi'ite exile during the Hussein regime to lead the new, liberated Iraq after the transfer of sovereignty: Former exile Iyad Allawi has been chosen to head an interim Iraqi government after sovereignty is handed back on 30 June. Mr Allawi - a Shia Muslim - was endorsed unanimously by the Governing Council, member Mahmoud Othman said. An aide to Mr Allawi said his nomination had been approved by UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi - who is charged with putting together a new government. He will lead the administration until direct elections scheduled for 2005. The unanimity displayed by the council gives the hope of a smooth and politically viable transfer to civilian authority. Mr. Allawi's Shi'a background will allay fears of continued Sunni domination, especially after the dissatisfying resolution of the crisis in Fallujah, at least from the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

From KIA To Murdered: One Casualty's Story Changes

The AP and the Washington Post report on a change made in the status of an American casualty of the initial invasion, a soldier in the same unit as Jessica Lynch and who had been listed as killed in action. The Pentagon changed the status of Sgt. Donald Walters based on new evidence from an Iraqi civilian and the tenacity of Walters' parents, fighting to find out the truth: A soldier in the same ambush as former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch was not killed in action but captured by Iraqi fighters and then executed, officials said. The family of Sgt. Donald Walters of Salem -- who had pressed officials for an investigation of their son's death -- learned the new information from the Oregon National Guard. Guard officials released the details to the public Thursday, more than a year after the March 23, 2003, ambush. ... "He was executed...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Taking a break

I have the entire weekend off, so I'm headed to the beach for a much-needed break! I'll be back to blogging Monday night (Monday morning for all of you in the states). [Note: Whiskey's taking a break, but I'll continue posting throughout the weekend. -- Captain Ed]...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 29, 2004

Slaves? I Think Not

The First Mate and I had dinner last night with a couple who are good friends of ours from a non-profit for which we all volunteer. As usual when we get together, the conversation flowed over many topics for several hours, which is why you didn't see me post at all last night. We talked about everything except politics until the end of the evening when our friends were ready to leave. We usually skip politics because our friends are fairly liberal and they know that Marcia and I are fairly conservative. On the way out, however, "Sally" asked me how long I thought we would be in Iraq, to which I replied, "Well, we're still in the Balkans, and I think we'll be out of Iraq before we leave there." This prompted a brief but spirited conversation, at the end of which she claimed that the Bush administration, specifically...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Slaves, Revisited

One last point regarding Reggie Rivers' screed yesterday: the NFL seems to produce slavery analogies on a regular basis. After reading his column, it reminded me of another, more famous NFL star who claimed to be the victim of slavery: The way Warren Sapp apparently sees it, his human rights have been violated. ... If you missed it, his comments followed a spat involving LaVar Arrington of the Washington Redskins. Arrington threatened retaliation if Sapp ran or jumped through the Redskins' pregame warmup line at FedEx Field, as he has done in the past. The NFL responded by warning that a 15-yard penalty would be assessed on the opening kickoff if a player disrupted warmups - and that anyone involved in fighting would face ejection. Sapp told Jay Glazer of cbs.sportsline before Sunday's game: "(Arrington) got what he wanted. He snitched, and the slave master came down. Stop a man...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Has Iran Declared War On The US?

According to translations of Iranian speeches and documents provided by MEMRI, the Iranians have announced to their Revolutionary Guard that they intend to attack and destroy "Anglo-Saxon civilization": A source close to [Revolutionary Guards] intelligence confirmed that P.R. has been appointed secretary-general of a new office that has begun registering the names of suicide volunteers to be sent to Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon. [The newspaper reported that it had obtained] a tape with a speech by H.A., a [Revolutionary] Guards intelligence theoretician, who teaches at the Revolutionary Guards' Al-Hussein University. [In the tape, H.A.] spoke of Tehran's secret strategy aimed at taking over the Arab and Muslim countries by means of helping revolutionary forces and organizations. H.A. is regarded as one of the advisors of a branch in the organization, and has published a number of works on exporting the [Islamic] revolution and the method of the struggle against the...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Resplendent Mango: Give War A Chance

I've seen this math before, but it bears repeating again. Katie at the Resplendent Mango offers up an accounting lesson to the folks at Win Without War: If there was one thing I could drill into the heads of the loony leftists (pointy things not withstanding) it would be the fact that we are not necessarily at peace just because we're not at war. Nor is that faux-peace necessarily better than war. By some estimates, 11,000 Iraqis have died from unnatural causes in the past 14 months. As opposed to approximately 36,000 a year under Saddam. Now, I understand that the Left believes that the US is evil as a matter of faith, but I fail to understand how 25,000 people not dying in the past year, people that would have either starved, or been raped and killed, or dismembered, or buried in mass graves, or some combination thereof, is...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Hayes: Saddam, Al-Qaeda Links Verified By Clinton Administration, NPR, ABC, et al

Stephen Hayes, a contributor to the Weekly Standard, will release a new book this week titled The Connection, describing in great detail the ties between al-Qaeda and the deposed Iraqi strongman. The Weekly Standard features an excerpt from the Hayes book in its latest online edition which discusses the curious and massive case of amnesia that the media suffers on the question of these ties: "THE PRESIDENT CONVINCED THE COUNTRY with a mixture of documents that turned out to be forged and blatantly false assertions that Saddam was in league with al Qaeda," claimed former Vice President Al Gore last Wednesday. "There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda, ever," declared Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism official under George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, in an interview on March 21, 2004. The editor of the Los Angeles Times labeled as "myth" the claim that links between Iraq and al...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Kerry: Democracy Not Important

In words that echo his 1971 Senate testimony on the Vietnam war, John Kerry told the Washington Post that establishing democracy would not be a priority of a Kerry administration, preferring to work on more pressing issues other than liberty and freedom: Sen. John F. Kerry indicated that as president he would play down the promotion of democracy as a leading goal in dealing with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Russia, instead focusing on other objectives that he said are more central to the United States' security. ... In many ways, Kerry laid out a foreign-policy agenda that appeared less idealistic about U.S. aims than President Bush or even fellow Democrat former president Bill Clinton. While Kerry said it was important to sell democracy and "market it" around the world, he demurred when questioned about a number of important countries that suppress human rights and freedoms. He said securing...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

A Clinton Rescue?

You won't read this in American newspapers, but the London Telegraph reports that the John Kerry presidential campaign has decided that they need Bill Clinton to energize the lackluster candidate that John Kerry has proved to be: Top advisers to the Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, have asked Bill Clinton to play a starring role in the final months of the Massachusetts senator's campaign. ... "There has been talk about the danger of Bill Clinton overshadowing John," said a senior Democrat last week, "but the decision has been taken to accept him as being centre stage and hope that some of the magic rubs off". After spending the past few months worrying that the release of Clinton's memoirs, due in mid-June, would drown out the struggling Kerry campaign as Clinton attracted all of the limelight, the Democrats now appear to hope that Kerry gets buried. As has been remarked by...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 30, 2004

CBS Poll Skewed, Biased Against Bush

Note: This originally was going to be an update on my post from yesterday noting the desperation at the Kerry campaign and their plan to bring in Bill Clinton to boost Kerry on the stump. After being challenged in the comments about polling numbers, I intended on giving a brief explanation ... but you know how 'brief' I can get ... The recent CBS News poll, published May 24th, showed a dramatic increase in support for John Kerry and an equally significant drop in George Bush's approval ratings. It looked as though John Kerry had finally achieved some traction in the race, using his new advertising campaign to attack Bush at a vulnerable point and building some momentum towards the convention. CBS' poll got massive exposure in the mainstream media and generated a huge amount of buzz in the blogosphere. The poll only has one problem. It lies. Just to...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

John Tierney Attempts Spin Control

The New York Times' John Tierney reviews the John Kerry nomination two-step in his political roundup today, noting that the episode has some of the earmarks of a trial balloon. If that's the case, Tierney's piece has all of the indicators of spin control, trying to give the Kerry campaign a boost it doesn't deserve for this debacle: The news broke on a Friday afternoon, politicians' favorite time for leaking problematic stories they hope will not get noticed by the public over the weekend. At first glance, it looked like a radical idea being put out discreetly to test reaction among the chattering classes a classic trial balloon. But campaign officials have steadfastly insisted, on and off the record, that the leak was not authorized, and other Democrats say they believe them. As one well-connected Democratic strategist noted, it was hard to believe professionals would have planned this one....

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

A Housekeeping Note

I'm making a small change to Captain's Quarters. I've received feedback especially from dial-up readers that the load time for CQ is pretty darned slow. Up to now, I've kept four days active on the page in order to allow readers to scroll through several posts at a time. However, due to the length of the posts we typically write and the sheer number of posts, I've decided to cut the active days to two. Archives are always accessible through the calendar on the left or through the weekly and monthly archives, using the drop-down boxes. Hopefully, these changes will work out for everyone. Please feel free to comment on this post or to drop me an e-mail with your feedback on the modification. Thanks! UPDATE: Still working on it .... and screwing things up, as usual. Bear with us for a little while on this. Right now, I've managed...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

May 31, 2004

Escalation In The Eucharist Wars

The Star Tribune reports today that we have seen an escalation in the battle over the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. Now, lay groups have formed to prevent members of other lay groups from participating in Communion: About 40 men from a recently formed group, Ushers of the Eucharist, collected in the central aisle in the Cathedral of St. Paul during holy communion and asked the Rainbow Sash Alliance not to take part. They then knelt in the aisle to block those wearing rainbow sashes, which symbolize support of gay Catholics taking communion. Other members of the group created a bottleneck by kneeling in front of the altar. The Eucharist, which Catholics believe are the body and blood of Jesus Christ, has been at the center of politics in this election cycle. Catholic bishops have opined, on both sides, as to whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be allowed to receive...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Libertarian Nonsense No Threat To Two-Party System ... Again

Jon at QandO points out that the Libertarian Party has nominated its selection for President -- the selection that CBS News breathlessly suggested last week would create a threat on the Republican's right flank. Jon, who regularly blogs on libertarian issues and philosophy, can't wait to not support Michael Bednarik: I mean, really. It's like the LP is competing with PETA to see who can appear more ridiculous in pursuit of Idealism. 10 out of 10 for standing on principle, but minus a few thousand for doing it in a clown costume. Why does Jon get so cynical about the Libertarian Party? As Jon suggests, take a look at the approach on issues that their candidate espouses, and try to think how these will go over with either the left or the right of the political spectrum in November: Children take drugs because criminals actively sell them. Criminals sell drugs...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

First Mate Update, Again

I intended to do a bit more blogging today, as we planned to attend a party for the Little Admiral, our granddaughter, who turns 2 today. I had my digital camera at the ready for a bit of instantaneous photosharing. Unfortunately, while we were shopping for her presents this morning, the First Mate started feeling oddly and slurring her words. Fortunately, we were right around the corner from a hospital, and I got her in through the Emergency room. It turned out that she had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is related to a stroke but causes no permanent damage; it's sort of a blockage that clears itself rather quickly. We knew that the First Mate ran the risk of a stroke because of the high blood pressure that comes from diabetes and kidney failure. Since we're only nine days away from the scheduled kidney transplant, we had hoped...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Remembering Our Brave Soldiers

I want to send out my appreciation, admiration, and gratitude for our nation's men and women of the military, active duty and veteran alike. You make it possible for a man to sit down at his computer and talk about how he sees the world, complete with criticism of our nation's leaders, without fear of retribution or imprisonment -- or worse. While I have never served in the military, my family has served in several conflicts. My father served in combat during the Korean War, and like most men with those experiences, he chooses not to speak of it. When he recalls his service to his country, he tells soldier's stories of grizzled non-coms, young and foolish junior officers, and commanders of either stripe. His oldest brother, who recently passed away, served in World War II in the Seabees, seeing action in the Pacific Theater. Two other brothers served in...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Wes Clark's Rambling Fantasy

While I regarded Gen. Wesley Clark as a terrible candidate, I had respect for his experience in uniform and his outlook on foreign-policy issues. However, in his essay in The New Republic, Clark endorses a series of proposals more rooted in fantasy than reality and demonstrates his unsuitability for involvement in the war on Islamofascist terror -- in which he would surely play a significant role during a Kerry administration. Clark argues for a course correction in Iraq without clearly explaining why the current course is a failure, except by pointing at polls that says people think it's failing: But today, 14 months later, the mission is in shambles, scarred by rising Iraqi popular discontent, continued attacks against U.S. forces, infiltration of foreign fighters, mounting civil strife, and no credible sense of direction. Despite President George W. Bush's calls for staying the course, American public opinion has clearly turned against...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »

Arafat On The Way Out?

Despite the blatherings of Wesley Clark (see below), the days of Yasser Arafat may be numbered, according to a report from the Jerusalem Post (via Drudge). The pan-Arab news source Al-Quds-al-Arabi reports that the Egyptian government has issued an ultimatum to Arafat to reform or face an Israeli response unrestrained by either the US or Egypt itself: According to a report Monday in the pan-Arab Al-Quds-al-Arabi, Suleiman handed Arafat three demands: First, to unite all the Palestinian security forces under one command authority, and into three components. These include the police, the Preventative Security Service (equivalent of Israel's General Security Service), and the Palestinian foreign security service (equivalent of Israel's Mossad). Secondly, give PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei complete authority to conduct negotiations with Israel over Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan. Thirdly, stand aside and accept a symbolic position and let others lead the Palestinian Authority. If these demands are...

« April 2004 | June 2004 »