« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 1, 2005

Dafydd: That Ain't the Half of It

In a blogpost that the Captain slapped up a few days ago -- Oh. Wait, let me introduce myself: this is Dafydd ab Hugh, guest-blogging for Captain Ed while he recuperates from winning $2.8 million in the World Series of Poker finale, playing (as is his wont for FEC reasons) under the name Tuan Le. If someone posts here under the name "Captain Ed" (including the quotation marks) in the next few weeks, it's actually the nom de plume du jour of well-known labor leader and founder of the Socialist Party of America, Eugene Debs. I may be the most well-known blogger in the blogosphere who doesn't actually have a blog (yet; shortly). You may remember me from my high-school filmstrip series "It's All About Adhesives." Getting back to the point at hand, in this post, Captain Ed (the original) noted that evidence is mounting that the recently elected president...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

I'm On Vacation

As CQ readers know, I will be leaving for Washington DC for a week-long vacation in our nation's capital. We've turned this into a family trip, with the First Mate joining me and my mother (Vayapaso) and my sister meeting us for parts of the week. None of us have been to DC before, and we're all looking forward to the trip. My vacation started last night, as I'm taking today off to finalize some arrangements for the dogs and the house ad, of course, start packing. Vacation for a blogger doesn't mean that blogging will stop; I plan to continue posting throughout my trip, hopefully with photos of a few of the sights of DC. However, it does mean that my pace will slow down a bit. For that reason, I have invited commenter extraordinaire and long-time correspondent Dafydd ab Hugh aboard as a guest blogger. His first post,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Poll That No One Reported (Updated)

Gallup announced yesterday that it had taken a snap poll after the speech given by George Bush on the war in Iraq from Fort Bragg. The poll showed some movement bolstering support for the war. In fact, it showed Bush picking up ten points on whether we are winning in Iraq (up to 54%), twelve points on keeping troops in Iraq until the situation improves as opposed to setting an exit date for their evacuation (now at 70%/25%), and seven points on whether Bush has a clear plan for handling the war in Iraq (up to 63%/35%). All of these gains were made, Gallup points out, despite the fact that the speech had the lowest ratings of any prime-time presidential address in Bush's terms of office. Only 23 million people watched the speech, and Gallup notes that most of them consisted of Bush supporters. CNN also reported on the low...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Sandra Day O'Connor Says Goodbye

As Sherlock Holmes would often say, the game's afoot -- Sandra Day O'Connor has resigned from the Supreme Court: Supreme Court Justrice Sandra Day O'Connor submitted her retirement notice to President Bush on Friday, setting the stage for a contentious battle over her replacement. ... One of the court's two swing votes, O'Connor often sides with more conservative justices as she did in the Bush v. Gore ruling in 2000. O'Connor's retirement puts more pressure on the Senate than a Rehnquist retirement would have done. Rehnquist has consistenly provided a conservative voice on the court, and replacing him with another conservative would probably not have concerned moderate Democrats, who want to keep their powder dry for selected battles. O'Connor, however, has voted more from the center, and replacing her with a staunch conservative might get some of those moderate Democrats to the firing lines in the political battle to come....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Next Generation Of Republican Leaders

The New York Times reports on the burgeoning effort by the GOP to extend its reach into a crucial Democratic demographic. Black Republicans have started to run for offices across the country, a phenomenon that threatens the last bastion of lock-step Democratic voting, and their last hope of recapturing majority status in national elections: In Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, black Republicans - all of whom have been groomed by the national party - are expected to run for governor or the United States Senate next year. Several other up-and-coming black Republicans are expected to run for lower statewide offices in Missouri, Ohio, Texas and Vermont in 2006. It is not clear that local Republican organizations will embrace all of those candidates, and several face primaries. But national Republican leaders have been enthusiastically showcasing those blacks' campaigns, saying that whether those candidates win or lose, the party can still gain...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Palestinian Security Forces Inadequate And Mostly AWOL

Glenn Kessler reports on the status of Palestinian efforts to secure their territories for more far-reaching peace initiatives in today's Washington Post, and finds that the Palestinian Authority has fallen far short in even forming a unified security force under civilian control. The Palestinians still refuse to confront and disarm militants, perhaps because a majority of their official state security forces don't really exist: Though Israel is scheduled to depart the Gaza Strip in six weeks, the badly fractured Palestinian security forces are still struggling to consolidate into a body capable of maintaining control, a top U.S. general told Congress yesterday. Lt. Gen. William E. Ward, who four months ago was assigned to assist the Palestinians with their security services, described a difficult and at times frustrating experience of trying to reorganize a "dysfunctional" system of individual fiefdoms and an almost nonexistent chain of command. The Palestinian police also have...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Saudi Columnist: We Owe America For Our Development

MEMRI provides a translation of a column that ran earlier this month in the influential Saudi newspaper, Al-Jazirah. In an interesting departure from normal Arab anti-American rhetoric, the state-approved daily published this reflection on the historical benefits that the Saudi-American association has provided the oil-rich kingdom. It also argues against the pan-Arabist impulse that has destabilized the entire region of Southwest Asia: What have the Arabs given us Saudis in comparison to what we have gained from our relations with America? I know very well that this is an extremely sensitive issue that many would hesitate to address; they are restrained by a culture of fear that prevents them from confronting controversial and sensitive issues head-on. The late King Abdul Aziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, was a resourceful and far-sighted statesman when he chose the Americans rather than the British to come and search for oil in the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Reuters' Anti-American Bias Shows Again

Reuters went out of its way to take a potshot at America today in a completely unrelated story about a 115-year-old Dutch woman and her predilection for herring: A Dutch woman who swears by a daily helping of herring for a healthy life celebrated her 115th birthday on Wednesday as the oldest living person on record. Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, a former needlework teacher, was born in 1890, the year Sioux Indians were massacred by the U.S. military at the Battle of Wounded Knee. So is Ms. Andel-Schipper a Sioux Indian? Did she marry a Sioux Indian? Is her middle name Sue? Apparently, the answer to all these questions is No. For some reason, however, Reuters chooses to use the Wounded Knee massacre as a benchmark for the life of a Dutch woman. Was Wounded Knee the only historical event of 1890 that Reuters could discover? Given that the article mentions...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: The Garza Trip

(I could actually have picked all of the categories for this post, as the Supreme Court now encompasses the entirety of human endeavor.) Over at Patterico's Pontifications, Patterico suggests, in an update to a guest post by Angry Clam that is both angry and potty-mouthed, that a good choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supremes would be Emilio Garza. I agree; but as always, I have my idiosyncratic reasons for doing so. UPDATE: Patterico notes in the comments here and on his own blog that he is not suggesting Judge Garza for the Supreme Court; he is predicting that Garza will get the nod. Patterico's actual fave for the seat is Judge J. Michael Luttig, who has sat on the 4th Circus for fourteen years. Apologies, Patterico! O'Connor was the first woman appointed to the Court. She was appointed by Ronald Reagan, but she turned out not to...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Why I Don't Write "Islamofascist"

First, why is this even important? Because language frames thought. I won't go as far as George Orwell in the "Newspeak" chapter of Nineteen Eighty-Four; I don't believe that absent a word for a concept, the concept itself becomes literally unthinkable. But I do believe language structures thought, changing how we think about an idea. So creating a new word for Islamic terrorism changes how we perceive it, which affects how we fight it. This is especially true when the new word is actually a contraction of two other words, Islamic and fascism, into Islamofascism. The shortening restricts the ability to think critically about the alleged connection, short-circuiting rational thought and heading straight for the emotional centers. Or as Orwell put it, "Comintern is a word that can be uttered almost without taking thought, whereas Communist International is a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily."...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Gitmo Papers Show Inmates Initiating Violence

AP reports that it has reports showing that inmates at Gitmo initiate violence against the guards at Camp X-Ray, and incidents of retaliation result in disciplinary action. Rather than the unfortunate victims of American oppression that Amnesty International has painted, the detainees actively attempt to provoke guards into confrontations, showing the dangerous nature of Gitmo's inmates: Military authorities have previously disclosed some incidents of guard retaliation at Guantanamo Bay, which resulted in mostly minor disciplinary proceedings. What emerges from 278 pages of documents obtained by The Associated Press is the degree of defiance by the terrorism suspects at Guantanamo. The prisoners banged on their cells to protest the heat. They doused guards with whatever liquid was handy from spit to urine. Sometimes they struck their jailers, one swinging a steel chair at a military police officer. And the American MPs at times retaliated with force punches, pepper spray and a...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 2, 2005

Democrats Go On Offensive, In All Senses Of The Word

The Democrats wasted no time coming out on the offensive against George Bush and the upcoming Supreme Court nomination. Senators from the minority caucus isseud warnings yesterday that they fully intend to continue their obstructionist tactics unless Bush meets with them in person to get their prior approval on any candidate: Capitol Hill braced yesterday for the first Supreme Court confirmation fight in nearly 11 years, and Democrats warned President Bush to consult them "face-to-face" before offering a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. ... Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat and a member of the committee, told reporters it would be "a shame" if Mr. Bush makes his nomination "without real face-to-face, back-and-forth consultation." Democrats argue that this is the correct meaning of the Senate's constitutional "advice and consent" role. No it isn't, and no Senate has ever demanded such a process from a President in American history....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Live 8 Starts Slow, Picks Up Speed

The grassroots effort to convince the G-8 nations to rescue Africa got off to a shaky start this morning in Tokyo, the launching pad for the concert series designed to produce political pressure on the richest nations act now. Only 10,000 showed up for the debut concert in Tokyo: he Live 8 global music marathon to raise awareness of African poverty began in Japan on Saturday, as Bjork and Good Charlotte joined local bands in a concert that failed to generate much interest in Asia's only G-8 nation. Added to the Live 8 list at the last minute, the concert in Japan drew only about 10,000 people, all of whom were selected in a lottery. The venue in this Tokyo suburb normally holds about 20,000. Even so, organizers said that considering they had less than a month to prepare, it was a good showing. The Tokyo venue came as a...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Brother, Can You Spare Your Personal Carbon Allowance?

The British government has started to research ways to ration energy use, not just for commercial ventures and government facilities but for each and every person in the UK. The Telegraph reports that Tony Blair's ministers have started thinking about imposing a system of "personal carbon allowances" that residents can barter or trade as they see fit, but which would restrict access to all forms of energy for consumers: Every individual in Britain could be issued with a "personal carbon allowance" - a form of energy rationing - within a decade, under proposals being considered seriously by the Government. Ministers say that increasingly clear evidence that climate change is happening more quickly than expected has made it necessary to "think the unthinkable". ... Under the scheme for "domestic tradeable quotas" (DTQs), or personal carbon allowances, presented to the Treasury this week, everyone - from the Queen to the poorest people...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Creepy Liar Strikes Again

MS-NBC analyst Lawrence O'Donnell announced on last night's McLaughlin Group that the person who outed Valerie Plame to Robert Novak was none other than Democratic bete noir, Karl Rove: Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to federal court, presumably revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant on the name of that source, and what might happen to him or her. Tonight, on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show, Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, claimed to know that name--and it is, according to him, top White House mastermind Karl Rove. Here is the transcript of O'Donnell's remarks: "What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails, within Time Magazine, are handed over to the grand jury, the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is. "And I...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: If It's Rove...

...Then he's off the hook legally. Again, a caution: I'm neither a lawyer, nor a law-school grad, nor a law-school admittee, nor even a wanna-be lawyer. (I was in the Navy once, so you can call me a sea lawyer.) I am, however, reasonably literate; so I will presume to give legal advice, secure in the knowledge that I have, in fact, nothing to lose! As Himself noted in Creepy Liar Strikes Again, Lawrence "Creepy Liar" O'Donnell now implies (without much credibility, and without explicitly making the claim) that the original leaker of Valerie Plame's name to Robert Novak was Karl Rove. O'Donnell says that e-mails from Time, Inc. between reporter Matthew Cooper and his editors at Time Magazine will prove this, though he does not claim to have actually seen the e-mail himself. So far as I can tell, O'Donnell, who is a producer of the NBC series the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Living It Up In The Nation's Capital

So this is what the Center of Democracy looks like! The First Mate and I landed in DC this afternoon, arriving at Ronald Reagan Airport around 4:30 pm. After the normal confusion of deplaning, we quickly collected our luggage and got our rental car, a Mazda compact that surprisingly handled all of our baggage. Due to a fundamental misjudgment of local geography, I booked our room in Gaithersburg, about 40 minutes outside of the sites we want to see, but the hotel is comfortable and affordable. The drive took so long that I had almost convinced myself that I had gotten lost, but the correct off-ramp appeared and we found ourselves checked in, exhausted. We ate at a lovely steak place called Sir Walter Raleigh's in Gaithersburg. It featured a generous salad bar and a casual atmosphere, and the 12-ounce sirloin I ordered came cooked to perfection. The only flaw...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

CU Escapes The Peter Principle

After generating months of controversy from his remarks about 9/11 victims being "little Eichmanns" to disputes over his alleged Native American heritage and claims that he falsified key parts of his curriculum vitae, Ward Churchill has embarrassed University of Colorado innumerable times. However, it hasn't kept CU from giving Churchill a merit increase for his performance (via LGF): University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill was awarded a 2.28 percent merit pay increase this week for work performed in 2004, a little less than his department's average recommended salary increase for professors. A statement released by CU said pay increases for Boulder campus faculty are approved by interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano and based on reviews and recommendations by committees at the department, school or college, and administrative levels. Churchill's increase was finalized Thursday. The average recommended increase for ethnic studies department faculty was 3.21 percent, according to the CU statement. "In...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 3, 2005

Would A Little More Hate Make Things Right?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune runs an opinion piece by Mark Fitzgerald today bemoaning the loss of confidence for the media in today's market. He notes the recent Pew polling that shows that less than half of Americans believe that the press protects American democracy. Fitzgerald also laments the case of Diana Griego Erwin, the latest example of Exempt Media columnists that simply made up sources to create stories which matched her preconceived notions of how the world should work -- in this case, dozens of times -- with all those editorial layers about which we hear endlessly allowing it to continue for years. Fitzgerald wonders how the press can recover from these debacles to once again capture the confidence of the American public. His answer -- to bash Bush even more: How did we in the press fall from defender of democracy to an institution the public sees as either...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Gray Lady Of Two Minds On Africa

The New York Times takes on Africa in its op-ed pages today, offering not only a house editorial but an opposing opinion piece that dashes a bit of cold water on the Times' idealistic approach. The unsigned editorial offers praise for the work already done by the Bush administration on Africa, but insists that more money and effort needs to be forthcoming from the G-8 in order to rescue the continent: An unusual and mutually reinforcing set of possibilities is converging around this week's summit meeting of the world's richest countries in Scotland. If Mr. Bush is truly the compassionate conservative he says he is, he will not let the moment pass with the United States continuing to contribute far less than its share to the international effort to include Africa in the prosperity of the 21st century. ... But so far there has been a discouraging gap between Mr....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

A Soldier Says Farewell To His Family

I received this in e-mail today from The Mahaka Surf Report, a blog that I had not yet read. While I'm pausing from my busy day seeing the sights of Washington DC, the capital of freedom and liberty, perhaps this can serve as a reminder of the brave men and women who have made it that. I pray Caelestis makes it back home, safe and sound, at the end of his tour of duty. I also pray that we Americans remember how fortunate we are to have someone like him defending and representing us. I hope Mahaka doesn't mind my reproducing this in full. Today I leave for the war Well it's time to go and do what I have been called to do. Today I head for to the war for the third time and I have some things to say. To me this is a blessing, a calling...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Leftist View Of SCOTUS: More Politicians, Please

Democrats have apparently decided to be helpful in the upcoming judicial nomination process. Instead of caterwauling at the mere mention of the SCOTUS opening, they now have people floating suggestions in the media for "acceptable" choices. Norm Orenstein advises Bush to look outside the judiciary altogether and select a politician instead: Choosing judges, especially at the Supreme Court level, has taken on a heightened importance -- and presidents and their partisans want to make sure they know what they are getting. A track record at the federal appeals court level is a much safer predictor of behavior at the next level up than service in the U.S. Senate, or as a governor or in other political office. But having a court that consists largely or only of nonpoliticians has serious costs for the public. Not only are judges less inclined to think broadly of the country and its social and...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Guardian Shifts The Live-8 Goalposts

Someone needs to give Sir Bob Geldof a call. The Guardian (UK) has shifted the goalposts on Live-8, now claiming that the effort to rescue Africa from poverty now includes a Kyoto-style global-warming plan to force drastic energy reductions on the United States. In an article on Bush on the eve of the G8 summit, the Guardian conflates the two issues into one push: George Bush sounds a warning today to those hoping for a significant deal on Africa and climate change at Wednesday's G8 summit, making clear that when he arrives at Gleneagles he will dedicate his efforts to putting America's interests first. The president will adopt a stance starkly at odds with the idealism professed by the performers at Saturday's Live 8 concerts around the world and their television audience of 2 billion. "I go to the G8 not really trying to make [Tony Blair] look bad or...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 4, 2005

Red On Red In Iraq

The London Telegraph reports this morning that Iraqis have increasingly become so disenchanted with the insurgents -- both foreign and domestic -- that the tribal leaders have organized their own counterinsurgencies in areas like Qaim. These clan-based factions have turned on those who attempted to impose their own Taliban-like rules on communities: Tribal leaders in Husaybah are attacking followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist who established the town as an entry point for al-Qa'eda jihadists being smuggled into the country. The reason, the US military believes, is frustration at the heavy-handed approach of the foreigners, who have kidnapped and assassinated local leaders and imposed a strict Islamic code. ... Captain Thomas Sibley, intelligence officer of 3rd battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, based in Qaim, said: "People here were committed supporters of the insurgency but you cannot now even get a marriage licence." ... The trigger was the assassination of...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

A Fourth For Remembrance

Yesterday, our family toured the DC area by bus, which allowed us to see most of the sites we intended to visit on our trip. We made it to the Vietnam War memorial, where the First Mate found the name of a family friend, William Rowland (picture in extended entry), who gave his life for his country in June 1968. The tour took us through other inspiring and thought-provoking monuments, such as the World War II memorial, the FDR monument, and Arlington Cemetery, where we visited John Kennedy's gravesite and thousands of others. We found all of these exhibits and remembrances remarkable. However, we found one particular display to resonate most with all of us, one that moved us the most. At the Smithsonian American History Museum, one of the newest exhibits greets visitors almost immediately upon entry. That is a three-story-long American flag -- a star-spangled banner with a...

Continue reading "A Fourth For Remembrance" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Happy Fourth From DC!

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

An Independence Day To Remember, Part I

When I first announced my trip to Washington, DC, I received many kind offers from local readers for assistance and pointers. One of the kindest offers came from a CQ reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, who gave me and my family a chance to tour the Pentagon on July 4th. Needless to say, we gratefully accepted this offer, and early this morning we started out our celebration of Independence Day by meeting him for the tour. He started us off in the west wing, the portion of the building that terrorists attacked on 9/11. We could not take pictures of the outside, but remarkably, we had no trouble taking pictures of the interior. The Pentagon has a beautiful memorial at Ground Zero for the victims of 9/11. (More pictures of the memorial and other experiences will be found in the extended entry.) Our friend also showed us the direction...

Continue reading "An Independence Day To Remember, Part I" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 5, 2005

End The One Party State: National Post

James Allan wrote yesterday on the occasion of America's Independence Day to urge his fellow Canadians to reconsider their political choices. Now an ex-oatriate living in Australia, Allan finds that he can no longer comprehend Canadian politics, where the Conservatives sound like liberals in his adopted homeland -- and yet the electorate consistently mistrusts them and elects a single-party government on a consistent basis: When I raised this point during my time back in Canada -- that any well-functioning democracy needs the voters to kick parties out of power on a fairly regular basis -- I was met every time with this reply: "But Harper and the Tories are so right wing. We agree in theory, but really, no one could vote for them." The same sort of message could be heard implicitly on CBC radio and in most of the mainstream media. But here's the odd thing. In global...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Pelosi Still Has More Trips To Disclose

After making Tom DeLay and his travel arrangements a major political issue this session, Nancy Pelosi has inadvertently created an embarrassment for dozens of Democratic lawmakers who found themselves in the same position as DeLay -- having outside funding for travel expenses go unreported and covered by lobbying groups in apparent violation of the House ethics rules. Now Pelosi herself has come under closer scrutiny as she revealed several questionable trips for herself: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) filed delinquent reports Friday for three trips she accepted from outside sponsors that were worth $8,580 and occurred as long as seven years ago, according to copies of the documents. ... The most expensive trip was not reported on Pelosi's annual financial disclosure statement or on the travel disclosure form that is required within 30 days of a trip. ... The unreported trip was a week-long 1999 visit to Taiwan, paid...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Al-Qaeda Diplomacy

The Arabic world has now gotten a taste of al-Qaeda diplomacy over the past week, as Iraq-AQ ringleader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has changed tactics. Instead of just blowing up Iraqis in an attempt to demoralize the populace -- a strategy that clearly has backfired -- he has now turned his guns and bombs on diplomats posted to Iraq from neighboring Middle East countries: Gunmen fired on a convoy carrying Pakistan's envoy to Iraq on Tuesday in the third attack on a senior diplomat in three days, police sources said. The sources said two cars of gunmen fired at the convoy in the wealthy Mansour district of Baghdad but sped off after guards returned fire. Nobody was reported hurt, they said. Earlier in the day, Islamist terrorists wounded the envoy from Bahrain in another spray of gunfire. This follows the kidnapping of the Egyptian ambassador on Saturday, demonstrating that Zarqawi has...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Book Review: 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America

Like a great many people in the blogosphere, Bernard Goldberg's book Bias resonated deeply with me. His honesty about the institutional biases of the mainstream media outlets, especially at his former home at CBS, confirmed what many of us argued for years: that the liberal mindset of the editorial filters at these institutions directly impacted what we read and saw in their output. Goldberg described himself in that book as "classically liberal," arguing that liberalism in America had taken a sharp left turn and left him and many others behind, allowing him to see the bias closely from the inside out. That self-categorization may not apply any longer after the publication of 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37. In this effort, Goldberg effectively outs himself as a conservative-libertarian as his roster of American embarrassments overwhelmingly takes on the Left. From its first pages, Goldberg...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: It Ain't Even the Quarter

A few days ago, when July was fresh and new, I argued in That Ain't the Half of It that it really doesn't matter whether Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was or was not a leader of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Teheran, because the enormity of his undisputed post-revolutionary career as an assassin for the Revolutionary Guard -- during which he murdered hundreds of Iranian dissidents living abroad -- simply overwhelmed the question of whether he was also a student radical. The only objection that could reasonably be raised (apart from dredging up some evidence to contradict the biography at GlobalSecurity.org) is that Ahmadinejad's homidical vocation, as horrific as it was, was not directed at us, and that we should only be concerned with attacks on America -- which moves the embassy-seizure question back to front and center. Now I argue that if that is your...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Bernard Goldberg Interview Summary

I had the opportunity to interview Bernard Goldberg this morning as we drove around Washington DC, as he kicked off the publicity campaign for his new book, The 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37). Unfortunately, my very full schedule today kept me from posting about the interview until now -- and that's too bad, because Goldberg has definitely declared himself on a mission with this book. Most of the people who frequent the blogosphere have read his seminal book on media bias, prosaically titled Bias. When I mentioned the fact that the book inspired me and many others to take action to combat the pervasive cultural bias in the media, he told me that the problem is much wider than that. "This takes on a much bigger subject, and this is the culture at large," he said. "Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, liberals...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 6, 2005

Bernard Goldberg Interview, Part I: Liberalism's Damage

Here is the first part of the transcript for my interview with Bernard Goldberg. In this part of the conversation, Goldberg talks at length about his disenchantment with liberalism and his frustration at the revolution in the liberal approach since the days of John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. CQ: Thank you for being here. Im a big fan of your previous book, Bias -- BG: Thank you. CQ: One of my inspirations for becoming a blogger was the work you did in Bias, and I think thats true of half the blogosphere, at least. That resonated, as you know, not just with the blogosphere but with a large portion of America that felt disenfranchised by the media at large. It seems that your new book speaks to that same constituency, but maybe on a broader basis. Is that your goal in writing this book? BG: Thats exactly right. What Bias...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Bernard Goldberg Interview, Part II: Not Just The Famous

I continue my converasation with Bernard Goldberg in this installment of the interview. Goldberg talks about his experiences with the blogosphere, the connection of sports to culture, and the New York Times. You can find Part I here. CQ: Did you follow some of the speculation in the blogosphere and the media as to who was going to be in your Top 10, Top 25? BG: [Laughs] A little bit. You know, Im laughing because Ive geared myself up to hear people say, What? How come you didnt put Hillary on the list? Things like that. Of course, it goes without saying that the people on the Left will say to me, How come Bush isnt on the list? How come Rush isnt on the list? So Im going to let people have fun with the list. I give them the opportunity on the very last page to tell me...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Heritage Foundation Event Coming Up!

As many of you already know, I will appear at the Heritage Foundation on July 8th to speak at a symposium on bloggers, journalism, and the convergence of the old and new media. Mark Tapscott, the Director for Heritage's Center for Media and Public Policy, has titled the presentation as "Are Bloggers and Journalists Friends Or Enemies"? Originally, Mark had lined up Jim Hill, the managing editor for the Washington Post Writers Group, as my counterbalance for the presentation. Mark has now added Daniel Glover, the managing editor for National Journal's Technology Daily. Daniel also runs the NJ's Beltway Blogroll blog. Here's the description from the Heritage Foundation invitation: American blogger Ed Morrissey has broken story after sordid story on Canada's multi-million dollar Adscam scandal. But are bloggers "real" journalists? Are bloggers and journalists natural enemies or allies in reporting the news? Or are bloggers a completely new kind of...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Schumer: Go To The Mattresses No Matter Who It Is

Matt Drudge reports today that Senator Chuck Schumer has no intention on preserving the comity of the upper chamber when George Bush nominates a replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor. Instead, he has joined his colleagues in the obstructionist camp to paint whomever Bush selects as a radical, regardless of their identity: Senate Judiciary Committee member Chuck Schumer got busy plotting away on the cellphone aboard a Washington, DC-New York Amtrak -- plotting Democrat strategy for the upcoming Supreme Court battle. Schumer promised a fight over whoever the Presidents nominee was: It's not about an individual judge It's about how it affects the overall makeup of the court. The chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was overheard on a long cellphone conversation with an unknown political ally, and the DRUDGE REPORT was there! Schumer proudly declared: We are contemplating how we are going to go to war over this. For...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Democrats: We Get To Define 'Consultation'

The Democrats ratcheted up the tension over the new opening on the Supreme Court, declaring today that the gestures from the Bush administration today to key Senate Democrats do not amount to their definition of consultation. Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin want a list of potential candidates from the White House that will allow the minority party to declare which are acceptable instead: Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois got a call Wednesday from White House chief of staff Andrew Card, who is with Bush in Europe for the Group of Eight summit. Card also has called Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Charles Schumer of New York and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, but no names of possible nominees were mentioned, according to the lawmakers' aides. The Democrats said they want to know more specifically, whom the president is considering before Bush sends his first Supreme Court nomination...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

ACLU Still Wants To Define Warfare As Criminal Investigations

The capture of five American citizens in Iraq who allegedly have plotted attacks against the Iraqi government and American troops has caught the attention of the ACLU. The civil-rights group now insists that those Americans captured in a theater of war must have due process through civilian courts and have filed habeas briefs for their release: The U.S. military in Iraq has detained five Americans for suspected insurgent activity, Pentagon officials said Wednesday. The five have not been charged or had access to a lawyer, and face an uncertain legal future. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to identify any of them, citing the military's policy of not providing the names of detainees. They are in custody at one of the three U.S.-run prisons in Iraq. One was identified by his family and U.S. law enforcement officials as Cyrus Kar, an Iranian-American filmmaker and U.S. Navy veteran. Saying Kar is being...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

DC Blogger Get-Together Tonight!

To celebrate my DC adventures, we have decided to get together tonight (Thursday) at the Phoenix Park Hotel in the heart of Washington DC. Mike from PajamaHadin has graciously volunteered to do the honors as the point person for this celebration. We're going to try to find a place for dinner and/or drinks and meet at the lobby of the Phoenix Park Hotel at 7 PM. I apologize for the lack of notice on this event. I have been busy almost every waking moment during my trip here, and quite simply have not been able to make sense of my schedule until very recently. I just got back from Gettysburg this evening and had a late dinner, after which I've had to catch up on posting and e-mail. Thank goodness Mike has a central point at which we can congregate; I don't think Gaithersburg would have great appeal to most...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 7, 2005

Dafydd: Future Shock & Awe

Extree, extree, getcha red-hot future combat today! As has been the case for, oh, a few thousand years, the violent tendencies of human beings are leading the way to tomorrow's technology. War is not only good for business, it's good for science. Here are just a few of the goodies that await us in future battlefields. Warning! This is a very long post, nearly all of which is tucked into the extended-entry section. Forwarned is forlorned!...

Continue reading "Dafydd: Future Shock & Awe" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Secret Life Of Gray Lady Editors

Sometimes watching the Corrections section of the newspaper can give readers the best instruction on the inner workings of the media. Normally, of course, one would expect that the kinds of corrections run by management fall into the category of poor fact-checking, which in this age of Internet and Nexis searches is inexcusable. The New York Times offers one today, however, that should raise eyebrows for everyone who reads it (emphasis mine): The Op-Ed page in some copies yesterday carried an incorrect version of an article about military recruitment. The writer, an Army reserve officer, did not say, "Imagine my surprise the other day when I received orders to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., next Sunday," nor did he characterize his recent call-up to active duty as the precursor to a "surprise tour of Iraq." That language was added by an editor and was to have been removed before the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Al Qaeda Bombs London

London suffered a series of coordinated bombing attacks this morning on the cusp of the G-8 conference in Gleneagles, Scotland, targeting its transportation systems just as in Madrid last year. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for these attacks, which has caused an unknown number of deaths and injuries: Two people have been killed and scores have been injured after three blasts on the Underground network and another on a double-decker bus in London. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was "reasonably clear" there had been a series of terrorist attacks. He said it was "particularly barbaric" that it was timed to coincide with the G8 summit. He is returning to London. An Islamist website has posted a statement - purportedly from al-Qaeda - claiming it was behind the attacks. London's police chief Sir Ian Blair said there had been "many casualties" but it was too early to put a...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

We Are All Britons Today

On July 7, 2005, let it be known that the world united behind our British brothers and sisters as fellow members of Western Civilization under attack by the forces of tyranny and oppression. We stand with our friends who have suffered a terrible act of war on their civilian population, a cowardly and shameful act that amply demonstrates the depths of depravity of the enemies of freedom and liberty. We are all Britons today. When we say that, we don't mean it to imply that this is conditional on Britain engaging in self-flagellation to maintain our sympathy. We don't mean that we expect our friends to simply remain victims to retain our friendship and support. We don't mean that the people who have been attacked should withdraw into a corner in order to somehow earn our tears. We mean that we support our friends -- and that support means that...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Saddam's Lawyers Quits, Supports Terrorists

The AP reports this morning, between updates on the London terrorist attack by al-Qaeda, that Saddam Hussein's Iraqi lawyer has quit his defense team. Ziad al-Khasawneh complained that the American contingent of Saddam's legal team tried to tone down Khasawneh's support of the insurgency that has killed so many Iraqis, what the AP calls a "resistance": Ziad al-Khasawneh told The Associated Press he tendered his resignation in a telephone call Tuesday to Saddam's wife, Sajida, who is believed to be in Yemen. "I told her I was resigning because some American lawyers in the defense team want to take control of it and isolate their Arab counterparts," said al-Khasawneh, an Arab nationalist who has often expressed support for Iraqi resistance. Among the Americans on the team are former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark. Al-Khasawneh said Clark and Curtis Doebbler, another American lawyer helping defend Saddam, were "upset with my statements...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

AQ Executes Egyptian Hostage

As if the bombings in London didn't demonstrate their brutality clearly enough, al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq have executed their Egyptian hostage. They released a video of the diplomat identifying himself for the camera before apparently killing him immediately afterwards: Al-Qaida in Iraq said in a Web statement Thursday that it has killed Egypt's top envoy in Iraq, posting a video of the blindfolded diplomat identifying himself. "We announce in the al-Qaida in Iraq that the verdict of God against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been carried out. Thank God," a written statement in the Web posting said. The video does not show the envoy, Ihab al-Sherif, being killed. Al-Qaida in Iraq, headed by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said a day earlier that it had sentenced al-Sherif to death as an "apostate" for his country's support of the United States and the Iraqi government. The...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Calling London

When a people are attacked, brutally and without warning, there are two possible responses: they can get up, scamper for safety, and there cower; or they can get up, stand on their own two feet, and hit back with everything they have. When a people are attacked in their own homes, they can't run anywhere else, so the only alternative is crawling and begging for mercy, doing what they're told, and hoping to be spared. Or they can fight. We will find out in a few days which path the Britons will take: that of Spain under Zapatero -- or that of Great Briton under Winston Churchill. The terrorists bet on the first, just as they bet in 2001 that we were the America of Vietnam, Beirut, and Somalia. But I'm betting on the second. Once again, the butchers have misunderestimated their expected victims. Of all people in the world,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: The Battle of London

One reason I have such faith in the British is that I remember my history. Great Britain did not simply endure the Battle of Britain, the attempt by Nazi Germany to subjugate the British people. They fought back. The RAF was in the air every damned day and hellish night, fighting, killing, and defying the enemy. In 1940, while America still slumbered in splendid isolationism and Stalin was still allied with Hitler, Great Britain became the very first country to refuse to join the Nazis, to refuse to surrender to the Nazis, and actually to defeat the Nazis and drive them off. Adolf Hitler was dumbfounded. After Dunkirk, he made the same mistake the terrorists make today: he thought Great Britain was defeated and would quickly offer her surrender. But instead, the British dug in and fought back, despite staggering losses -- more than 20,000 dead and 30,000 wounded --...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Gomery Financial Analysis: Corruption Includes The RCMP And Privy Office

The Fraser Institute has performed a financial analysis of the financial analysis of the Sponsorship Program, which shows that the corruption and graft runs far deeper than previously thought. The amounts of money and the scale of its laundering dwarf earlier estimates: The numbers of people and amounts of money involved in the Gomery inquiry are larger than previously known. Problems with federal government sponsorship and advertising programs can be understood using an economic theory of incentives and institutional structure. This study finds that at least 565 organizations and individuals are identified in reports and testimony related to the Gomery inquiry. The original 2003 Auditor General sponsorship and advertising report cited only 71 organizations. The activities under investigation are therefore quite widespread. The people identified in these reports and testimony are politicians and bureaucrats (government insiders), and political party members and business people(government outsiders). This paper finds that almost all...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Newsweek Does Not Protect Its Sources, Either

With all of the current debate on the responsibility and rights of the American press to protect its anonymous sources, one would think that media organizations would have a clear understanding about what constitutes confidentiality. However, a CQ reader has recently found out first-hand that not all media outlets take care to keep their confidential sources anonymous. Michael Sanders, the director of Expeditions and Research at the Ancient Cultures Research Foundation, sent an e-mail to Jon Meacham at Newsweek giving him a tip on research that supports the idea that the ancient Hebrew temple in Jerusalem was not built on the Temple Mount, but elsewhere in the city: In the recent issue of the Biblical Archaeological Review and in private correspondence, David Ussishkin, the doyen of Israel archaeologists is quite adamant in his conclusion that the Jerusalem of King Solomon did NOT extend further than the central portion of the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 8, 2005

Strib Still Not Quite Getting It Again

The Minneapolis Star Tribune demonstrates in its lead editorial today that it still doesn't quite understand the terror war, even after the London bombings yesterday. The editorial board knows enough not to engage in its usual Bush-bashing, so it hasn't succumbed to its usual tone deafness. Yet they still use the occasion to not only argue against the war in Iraq, but also to argue contradictorily that the war on terror mainly amounts to a law-enforcement problem: [T]here are ways to fight it. Some are better than others. Just days ago, Bush said again that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He asserted that the United States fights terrorists there so it won't have to fight them at home. The London bombings illustrate the fallacy at the heart of that argument: Terrorists aren't a finite army that you can defeat on a battlefield and achieve victory....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

London's Muslims Feel The Pressure

In contrast to the reaction of American Muslims after 9/11, when organizations like CAIR spent far more time declaring themselves as victims rather than working constructively to fight terrorism, London's Muslims wasted no time yesterday decrying the bloody attacks on Britain's civilian transportation systems: Muslim leaders in Britain yesterday were swift to condemn a series of deadly bomb blasts in London and they appealed to Britons not to single out their community for reprisals. The leaders also made an unprecedented appeal to the estimated 1.7 million Muslims living in Britain to tip off the police about who had carried out the bombings. "These evil deeds makes victims of us all," the Muslim Council of Britain said. "The evil people who planned and carried out these series of explosions in London want to demoralize us as a nation and divide us as a people. "All of us must unite in helping...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

More Progress In Afghanistan You're Likely To Have Missed

The Army News Service reports that eighteen top Taliban commanders have turned themselves over to the Karzai government for its amnesty program. The commanders come from the splinter Taliban group Hezb-i Islami, which often found itself at odds with Mullah Omar: Eighteen of Gulbiddin Hekmatyars Hezb-e Islami commanders turned themselves over to government officials in the Paktia Province June 12. Under the terms of the Afghan governments reconciliation program, Pakhm-e Sohl, the former commanders returned home after years of living in Pakistan. ... The loyalty statement to the Afghan government includes an agreement not to possess heavy weapons or take up arms against the Afghan government or Coalition forces. The commanders received new reconciliation identification cards and were embraced by Taniwal who welcomed them back to Afghan society. Talking through an interpreter, Taniwal said today is another important step toward bringing complete peace to the province. By working together and...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Heritage Foundation Event Recap

As many of you already know, I went to DC this week for both vacation and work, having scheduled an appearance at the Heritage Foundation to speak on blogging, journalism, and the intersection between the two. While I have regaled you with various adventures of our vacation, including my sudden lack of geographical comprehension, this event has remained my central focus this week. Mark Tapscott set up the panel discussion, with Jim Hill, the managing editor of the Washington Post Writers Group, and Daniel Glover from the National Journal, who now edits their Beltway Blogroll column. We had a lively presentation, I believe, on the issues facing journalists and bloggers in this new market for information dissemination, followed by a thoroughly enjoyable Q&A session afterwards. Post columnist E.J. Dionne joined us in person and tossed out a couple of tough and interesting questions. Mary Katherine Ham from Townhall blogged the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Another Democratic Cornerstone Goes Shopping

While the Democrats have watched the Republicans start to make inroads into the African-American demographic recently, trying to undermine their last lock-step traditional base, another key constituency has its leaders talking about looking outside the Democratic box as well. The president of the SEIU, the union that represents millions of government workers, warned the AFL-CIO that supporting Democrats exclusively will not benefit labor in the long run: Organized labor should help politicians who will advance labor's cause rather than simply supporting Democrats, says a union leader pushing for changes in the AFL-CIO. "We can't just elect Democratic politicians and try to take back the House and take back the Senate and think that's going to change workers' lives," said Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union. During a briefing Thursday, Stern said politics is only part of labor's strategy. He said "electing Democrats and taking back the House...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Hip Deep in the Big Muddy of SDP

I have my flak jacket, my helmet, and my concrete bunker. I'm going to need them... because I'm about to be in flagrante delicto of committing the act of controversy. I am about to make a case for a very selective version of substantive due process. I'm not talking about the trivial case that only argues for incorporation of some or all of the Bill of Rights to the states. I mean a full-throated argument in favor of so-called "fundamental rights," rights not explicitly enunciated in the Constitution, being used by judges to strike down some laws. Yep, the same judicial philosophy that was used -- misused, in my opinion -- to bring us the abominations of Dred Scott, Griswold, and Roe, along with many, many others. I hope to show that these were errors of execution, but that the principle is not necessarily wrong per se. And I even...

Continue reading "Dafydd: Hip Deep in the Big Muddy of SDP" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 9, 2005

Dafydd: Come One, Come All, and Have a Ball!

Bear Flag League Conference coming up soon! (The primary category for this post should be Log Rolling, but the Captain inexplicably failed to set that one up.) Where: CalTech (that's in Pasadena, California -- hence the "bear flag" reference) When: 17 July 2005 How much: $50 if you're a schlemiel who pays full price; $40 if you contact Patterico (see link) and pretend that you listen to Hugh Hewitt or that you read Captain's Quarters. Oh, wait, if you're reading this, I guess you qualify legitimately! Link: Bear Flag League Conference Why: I dunno... good conversation, rubber chicken, who could ask for anything more? Speeches by Ted Costa (conservative activist and one of the originators of the recall petition that booted Gray Davis back into the Outer Darkness); Daniel Weintraub (Sacramento Bee columnist who operates the SacBee corporate blog California Insider); and Bob Hertzberg (unsuccessful mayoral candidate in the recent...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Bombings Boomerang On Islamofascists

If the Islamist lunatics who bombed London two days ago expected the Brits to react as the Spaniards did after Madrid, their mission has failed utterly. The London Telegraph has a new poll taken in the aftermath of the bombings that show increased support for Tony Blair, the fight against Islamofascism, and the battle to establish democracy in Iraq (via USS Neverdock): The response of Tony Blair and his ministers to the attacks has clearly boosted the standing of both. Early this year, twice as many people said they were dissatisfied with Mr Blair as Prime Minister as said the opposite. In the aftermath of Thursday's bombings, Mr Blair's approval rating has flipped from negative to positive for the first time in five years. Moreover, the bombings have failed - despite Mr George Galloway's best efforts - to undermine support for the British presence in Iraq. The proportion wanting British...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Spielberg To Exploit Black September In Iraqi War Protest Film?

The Telegraph reports that Steven Spielberg has started filming a new movie about the terrorist attack on the 1972 Olympics in Munich, in which Palestinian terrorists murdered eleven Israeli athletes. Spielberg has shrouded the project in secrecy. However, Hugh Davies reports that one of the consultants for the project has tipped off the Israelis that the film will concentrate on the Mossad's actions in going after the terrorist planners in the attack's aftermath rather than the attacks themselves: The material is so delicate that the project, which is being filmed in Malta, is shrouded in secrecy. For while movies like 1977's Raid on Entebbe, starring Peter Finch and Horst Buchholz, portray Israel in a heroic stance, the new picture is about the misgivings of Golda Meir, the then Israeli prime minister, as agents from Mossad tracked down the perpetrators. ... The climax will show how the Israeli operatives, tired after...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

A Big Thank You To Michelle And Jesse

The First Mate and I have had a wonderful vacation here in the nation's capital this past week. We've seen amazing sights, such as the Pentagon tour we took, the Mount Vernon tour, visiting the founding documents of our nation at the National Archive -- really, so many that I can't name them all at the moment. I've taken almost 500 pictures on my digital camera so far. Plus, we've met with bloggers from here and elsewhere, and the speaking engagement at the Heritage Foundation was a tremendous honor. It's really been a great week. One of the highlights for Marcia and I was our evening last night as the guests of Michelle and Jesse Malkin and their two beautiful children. Even though we have corresponded numerous times over the past months, we haven't had a chance to meet until last night. They invited us over for dinner and we...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Reid To Bush: Pick An Activist, Any Activist

Senator Harry Reid proved himself completely tone deaf when it comes to the issue of nominations to the Supreme Court. While his fellow Democrats plan on going to war over the opening created by Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement, Reid offers a way to avoid partisan battle -- by having the White House completely capitulate: Contending that President Bush's far-right allies are pushing him to appoint an extreme conservative to the Supreme Court, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid pointed to liberal icon Earl Warren as a model. Earl Warren? The Godfather of judicial activism? In his party's weekly radio address, Reid, D-Nev., noted that Saturday marked the anniversary of the 1974 death of Warren, a Republican whose court established a liberal tradition with its 1954 school desegregation ruling and other decisions. Reid said Warren had been able to forge a consensus on the court that would become the national consensus. "Mr....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 10, 2005

North Korea Returns To The Table

North Korea has agreed to return to the six-nation negotiations that George Bush insists on using to address the nuclear expansion of the Kim regime. After a year of alternately threatening and flirting with the West, Kim Jong-Il has apparently decided that his economic situation has degraded to the point where he needs to engage the US on its terms, rather than his: The agreement to restart the talks was reached at a rare dinner meeting here between a senior U.S. envoy and his North Korean counterpart, held shortly before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived Saturday night for talks with Chinese officials on the North Korean issue. During the meal, Kim Gye Gwan, the North Korean deputy foreign minister, told Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill that North Korea was willing to attend talks in Beijing the week of July 25, according to a senior U.S. official traveling...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Sensenbrenner To Push Voting-Rights Renewal Legislation

Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner has told the NAACP that he intends on shepherding the renewal of expiring portions of the Voting Rights Act, a key issue for the NAACP and other minority groups. The GOP would like to use that effort to bolster its standing with these traditionally Democratic voters, as part of RNC chair Ken Mehlman's outreach efforts: House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) plans to announce today at the NAACP's annual convention that he will work to extend portions of the Voting Rights Act that are scheduled to expire in 2007, congressional aides said yesterday. Civil rights leaders recently reminded President Bush about the expiring passages and have been working to get congressional leaders' attention for the issue. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman has made outreach to minorities and support for enforcement of the Voting Rights Act a hallmark of his chairmanship. ... "While...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Thin Reed On Rove

The Karl Rove-Valerie Plame link that Matt Cooper supposedly protected appears very weak after Newsweek released its story today on the mysterious sourcing for last year's leak. Newsweek does its best to pump up the volume in its lead: It was 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003, and Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper was tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy. "Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" and suggested another reporter check with the CIA. The ellipsis here makes all the difference. What, exactly, did Cooper warn not to source to Rove? Readers have to move past...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Weep, Wail!

Is this the whiniest article ever? Newspaper Withholding Two Articles After Jailing by Robert D. McFadden The New York Times July 9, 2005 The editor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer said last night that the newspaper, acting on the advice of its lawyers, was withholding publication of two major investigative articles because they were based on illegally leaked documents and could lead to penalties against the paper and the jailing of reporters. The editor, Doug Clifton, said lawyers for The Plain Dealer had concluded that the newspaper, Ohio's largest daily, would probably be found culpable if the authorities were to investigate the leaks and that reporters might be forced to identify confidential sources to a grand jury or go to jail. "Basically, we have come by material leaked to us that would be problematical for the person who leaked it," Mr. Clifton said in a telephone interview. "The material was...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: If It's Rove... Part Deux

In an earlier post, Dafydd: If It's Rove..., I wrote the following: Lawrence "Creepy Liar" O'Donnell now implies (without much credibility, and without explicitly making the claim) that the original leaker of Valerie Plame's name to Robert Novak was Karl Rove. According to Michael Isikoff in a Newsweek story, luridly titled "Matt Cooper's Source: What Karl Rove told Time magazine's reporter," this implication appears to be false; while Rove was (one of) Cooper's sources, as O'Donnell claimed, it was nothing like the way the Left has portrayed it: it was not an attempt to retaliate against Wilson for speaking the truth; it was an attempt to warn Newsweek that Wilson's op-ed was, in fact, a lie. Cooper claims, in the now-famous Newsweek e-mail, that Rove told him that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA... but it appears that Rove did not even know her name, let alone that she was...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 11, 2005

Dafydd: Point of Order For CQ Readers

In the Navy, we used to say "two percent never get the word." So maybe this post will reduce that down to 1%.... Whenever you see a post here on CQ, or anywhere else, for that matter (since I'm just a vagabond blogger), that begins thus -- Dafydd: -- it means that the post was not written by Captain Ed. It was written by me, Dafydd ab Hugh, guest blogging on yet another brilliant, controversial, and stunningly popular blog owned by someone else. Got it? If the blogpost begins with just the title, no name, then the Captain Himself wrote it. But if it begins with my name, Dafydd, then I, Dafydd ab Hugh, wrote it, not the Captain. Thanks, all!...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Back From Vacation

I'm back from DC, not exactly well-rested after a whirlwing tour of the nation's capital, but certainly exhilirated from the wonderful events of the week. I doubted that we could have squeezed that much into two weeks, let alone the one week that we had in Washington. I'd like to thank all of the friends that helped make the trip so memorable, especially Mark Tapscott at the Heritage Foundation, who really made the entire expedition possible. I'd also like to thank Dafydd ab Hugh, who filled in admirably in my semi-absence this week to post some provocative and thoughtful essays. One of these days, Dafydd will start his own blog -- and we'll certainly look forward to that. Back to blogging ......

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Javier Solana's Fantasy World

One would expect that after the London bombings, European officials might have experienced some change in their outlook on the Middle East peace process and the necessity of self-defense for democracies the world around. However, one would have to ignore the deeply ingrained moral relativism that has infected the European consciousness, especially outside the Anglosphere, to be surprised at the latest nonsense from the EU foreign office. Javier Solana has once again spent his energy criticizing a wall for damaging peace efforts while ignoring the reason why the wall has to be built in the first place: European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana criticized Israel on Monday for a barrier it is building around Jerusalem, and the Palestinian prime minister said it made a farce of efforts to restart the peace process. srael faced new pressure over its controversial network of walls and fences a day after giving final...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Klein's Chickens Come Home To Roost

Ed Klein perceives a conspiracy in his inability to get bookings on television to promote his new biography of Hillary Clinton. Howard Kurtz notices that Klein hasn't received nearly the attention given to Kitty Kelley for her load of tripe about the Bush family: Despite the enormous hype surrounding Edward Klein's scathing and hearsay-filled book about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the author has been ignored by all but two television talk shows. This collective cold shoulder hasn't stopped "The Truth About Hillary" from hitting No. 2 yesterday on the coveted New York Times list. "It's the biggest example to date of how major media censorship doesn't stop a book anymore from being a bestseller," Klein declares. ... Klein says that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews, CNN's Paula Zahn, Fox's John Gibson and ABC's "Good Morning America" were among those who had tentatively booked or expressed strong interest in him, only...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Cadman's Death Presents Liberal Conundrum

The death of independent MP Chuck Cadman from long battle against cancer creates a difficult situation for the ruling Liberal minority. Cadman had provided the edge as one of three independents to back the government during the recent confidence motions that threatened to end Prime Minister Paul Martin's term at the helm of the Canadian executive. Without his vote, it could mean that the Liberals might not survive another such motion, but replacing him could make matters even worse: The death of independent MP Chuck Cadman leaves a big hole in the political landscape and all indications are it is not one the Liberals will be in a rush to fill. The vacancy, however, puts the minority government in a dilemma. Should it quickly call a by-election in Surrey North in an attempt to add a crucial seat by taking advantage of Conservative Party disarray in British Columbia? Or should...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Hillary's Latest Insanity, And It Ain't Mad

Hillary Clinton has received criticism for her remarks comparing George Bush to Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Newman in her speech to the first Aspen Ideas Festival. She accused Bush of avoiding tough issues with the character's famous attitude: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton went on the attack against President Bush in a speech Sunday, accusing him of damaging the economy by overspending while giving tax cuts to the rich. ... "I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Newman is in charge in Washington," Clinton said referring to the freckle-faced Mad Magazine character. She drew a laugh from crowd when she described Bush's attitude toward tough issues with Newman's catchphrase: "What, me worry?" Hillary appears to have a problem with reality. Unemployment has reached its lowest point in years, down to 5%, lower than the average unemployment rate during her husband's terms in office. The economy continues its strong growth, showing an annual...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

CQ Media Notes

I will appear on MS-NBC's Connected: Coast To Coast with Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley at 4 pm CDT today. The topic: sourcing for news stories, and the media's responsibility to protect its confidential sources. UPDATE: Once again, the folks at MS-NBC and Connected treated me very well and provided a thoroughly enjoyable experience. My thanks to Ron, Monica, and the producers at the show (especially Elizabeth and Susan) for their kind assistance. Ian has the video on his site -- and I'm about to watch it on my TiVo ... UPDATE II: Okay, at least it looks better than my last appearance -- although absent rigor mortis, I'm not sure it could have been worse. I was more nervous watching this than actually doing it. UPDATE III: The Generalissimo at Radioblogger has the transcript posted, along with a critique of my sartorial selection for the appearance. For the record,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Hillary Will Never Be the Presidential Nominee

...Not in 2008, not ever. First, a note: the Captain is now back, so I suspect this will be my last post. I haven't yet spoken to him; but this blog is not really a multi-person venue. Yes, there is Whiskey and a couple of others; but they post rarely. For the most part, this is the labor of love of Captain Ed. Heck, it's called Captain's Quarters, not General Quarters! So unless I hear different, I will assume that as he stands up, I stand down. But I just wanted to leave with a final controversial prediction. I absolutely believe, conventional wisdom notwithstanding, that Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham will never be the Democratic nominee for president. (She might not even be a candidate, if she thinks she's going to lose; but her ego may compel her to try, just as John Kerry's did.) The reason is fairly simple: because...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 12, 2005

Dafydd: Bride of "If It's Rove"...

I have received a reprieve from the governor, just as some clod in a mismatched gray jacket and Navy-blue trousers was throwing the switch. I may post a few more. And I have one here that.... But wait -- No, really; you'd better be sitting down for this. Seriously, I don't want to shock your system. Think of me as William Castle: there's a nurse standing by with a blood-pressure machine, checking to make sure you're medically fit to read this next post. Okay, you in the red pullover! Take a hike! I can recognize a weak heart when I see one. Here we go: it turns out that... the Democrats lied! Here is Harry Reid today. Don't tell me he didn't say this; I saw him on video on Brit Hume, and I just had to back up the DVR and get it down exactly, because I could not...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Reparations: The New Ransom

The NAACP has decided to extort payments and concessions from companies that transacted business in support of slavery as their next project, along with lobbying cities to cease contracting with such firms until they cooperate with the group: The NAACP will target private companies as part of its economic agenda, seeking reparations from corporations with historical ties to slavery and boycotting companies that refuse to participate in its annual business diversity report card. "Absolutely, we will be pursuing reparations from companies that have historical ties to slavery and engaging all parties to come to the table," Dennis C. Hayes, interim president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said yesterday at the group's 96th annual convention here. "Many of the problems we have now including poverty, disparities in health care and incarcerations can be directly tied to slavery." Since slavery ended 140 years...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

FEC Still Considering Blogger Exemption

The Washington Post updates its readers on the efforts by the FEC to determine whether bloggers deserve the media exemption granted by the McCain-Feingold Act, or BCRA as it is more officially known. Brian Faler reports that the panel has not yet issued a decision and covers the thrust of the commentary received by the panel during its public hearings: A growing number of the online pundits of various political persuasions are urging the Federal Election Commission to explicitly grant them the same wholesale exemptions from regulations governing contributions to political candidates that mainstream reporters, editorial writers and pundits get. "I'm troubled by the fact that participants in this emerging medium, which allows anyone the opportunity to participate in the national political discourse at a minimum cost, would face stricter regulation and stronger scrutiny -- along with the potential for ruinous legal expenses -- than would participants in media outlets...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Hawaiians Want Race-Based Public Policy Too

Today's second entry in racial politics comes from an unlikely source -- the 50th state and tropical paradise, Hawaii. Activists for native Hawaiians who can trace their geneaology to the time of the Hawaiian monarchy want to establish an autonomous reservation system on the Pacific archipelago, similar to those granted to Native American tribes in North America. Despite the decades of corruption and poverty these examples created for Native Americans, Lawrence Downes and the New York Times considers this a splenid idea: Over decades, the islands emerged as a vibrant multiracial society and the proud 50th state. Hawaiian culture - language and art, religion and music - has undergone a profound rebirth since the 1970's. But underneath this modern history remains a deep sense of dispossession among native Hawaiians, who make up about 20 percent of the population. Into the void has stepped Senator Daniel Akaka, the first native Hawaiian...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

A Mystery That They Could Solve Today

The New York Times plays the Rove card to the hilt today, putting their martyrdom of Judith Miller front and center while extending a mystery that the media created and the Times could immediately resolve. Instead, we get breathless accounts of non-comments from the White House that prompt 2,000-word front-page articles that wind up telling us nothing: Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer would be fired, and assuring that Karl Rove and other senior aides to President Bush had nothing to do with the disclosure, the White House refused on Monday to answer any questions about new evidence of Mr. Rove's role in the matter. With the White House silent, Democrats rushed in, demanding that the administration provide a full account of any involvement by Mr. Rove, one of the president's closest advisers,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Bombers Died, Arrest Made: London Investigation Continues

British intelligence and law-enforcement specialists continued their torrid pace in investigating the terrorist bombings of last week. Today, Sky News reports that the four bombers likely died in the explosions, while the BBC flashes that an arrest has been made in Yorkshire: It is "highly likely" one of the Tube bombers died in the attacks on the Underground network, police say. The suspected bombers travelled down from the West Yorkshire and met at Kings Cross station shortly before the attacks were launched on Thursday morning, police said at a press conference. Their images were captured by CCTV cameras. Personal documents have been found at all four bomb scenes and although the four attackers are thought to have died police were careful not to say whether Britain had suffered its first suicide bomb strike. Those personal documents have been received with some skepticism by investigators. They worry that the papers could...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Podhoretz On Rove: I Told You So

John Podhoretz writes an excellent column for the New York Post today, asking readers to recall his words from the beginning of the Plame controversy in 2003. Podhoretz predicted that the entire kerfuffle would consist of an administration official explaining why Wilson got selected for the Niger assignment in the first place: I offered my speculation of what an administration official might have said to a journalist to explain just how Wilson a Clinton administration official got the assignment in the first place: "Administration official: 'We didn't send him there. Cheney's office asked CIA to get more information. CIA picked Wilson . . . Look, I hear his wife's in the CIA. He's got nothing to do. She wanted to throw him a bone.' " Hate to say I told you so, but . . . According to this week's Newsweek, Karl Rove said something very similar indeed...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Abbott and Costello Meet "If It's Rove"...

I probably should not assume that everyone is on the same page of the dictionary. But one of the commenters to a previous post of mine, Dafydd: Bride of "If It's Rove"..., raised a definitional point that deserves response. Attempting to prove that Bush indeed made some sort of "firing pledge," he notes a press conference on June 10, 2004 in Savannah, GA, in which the following exchange occurred: Q: Given -- given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name? THE PRESIDENT: That's up to -- Q: And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so? THE PRESIDENT: Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Hamas: Israel's Days Are Numbered, Agreement Or No

For those who keep insisting that the Palestinians only want to live in peace and only resort to violence because of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the popular Hamas "Party" would like clear up that misunderstanding. Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told an Italian journalist that any agreement reached with the Israelis only amounts to a temporary solution, allowing them to gather strength to wipe out the Jewish state within a decade: Hamas will not compromise on one inch of Greater Palestine, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told an Italian newspaper earlier this week. Speaking to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, al-Zahar said Hamas would "definitely not" be prepared for coexistence with Israel should the IDF retreat to its 1967 borders. "It can be a temporary solution, for a maximum of 5 to 10 years. But in the end Palestine must return to become Muslim, and in...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 13, 2005

'I Can't Feel For You Because You're An Unbeliever'

A Muslim terrorist on trial for the brutal murder of Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands gave the world a glimpse of the reasons that Islamists have gone to war against the West for more than a decade. Mohammed Bouyeri, who almost decapitated Van Gogh before using his body as a pincushion to display Bouyeri's manifesto, told the victim's mother that killing her son meant nothing to him because Van Gogh wasn't a Muslim: Turning his chair towards Anneke van Gogh as she watched from the public gallery, Mohammed Bouyeri said: I dont feel your pain. I dont have any sympathy for you. I cant feel for you because I think youre a non-believer. The Islamic radical admitted killing Mr van Gogh, a Dutch film-maker, saying that he had been driven by his religious beliefs and would do the same again. Bouyeri, the son of Moroccan immigrants to the Netherlands,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Unprecedented Consultation Not Enough; Schumer Wants A 'Summit'

Senate Democrats, relying on a single instance where Bill Clinton asked Judiciary Committee chair Orrin Hatch his opinion on a potential nominee, have demanded that President Bush "consult" with them before selecting a replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Bush has now contacted 60 senators to get their input on the nomination, far exceeding what Clinton or any other President has done in the past -- and yet the Democrats still complain that it's not enough: White House officials and Senate Republicans have already declared that the outreach to lawmakers about the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is unprecedented, with more than 60 senators contacted or consulted about the choice. "He has gone way beyond what any president has ever done," said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah). But Democrats are trying to establish their own standard for the consultation, with demands likely...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Bolton Now Will Accept A Recess Appointment

Remember John Bolton? His nomination to the UN Ambassador's post had Washington and political circles in a tizzy until Sandra Day O'Connor retired from the Supreme Court. Despite his initial reluctance to do so, Bolton apparently has indicated that he will accept a recess appointment from George Bush rather than attempt to push his way through a recalcitrant Senate once again: With neither the White House nor Senate Democrats showing any sign of yielding in their long-running dispute over documents related to Bolton's State Department work, speculation is rife that Bolton is prepared to accept a recess appointment good through the end of 2006, despite warnings from some GOP senators that it would weaken his influence and effectiveness. ... "He'll take the recess" appointment, said the administration source, who is familiar with Bolton's thinking. "The president has made his selection, and the president is asking the Senate to confirm the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

US Aid Brings Democracy ... Now

The head of the agency responsible for distributing American development funds to international groups says that the money now goes to building democracy, even in Arab nations that previously vetoed such use of the funds. Andrew Natsios told reporters that previous to this year, the State Department prohibited USAID from supporting groups that established governments vetoed, especially nascent democracy activists: America's top aid official said on Wednesday Washington's new support for pro-democracy groups in the Arab world was bearing fruit, even in Egypt, once given a free hand to vet such funding by its U.S. ally. Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told Reuters during a visit to Amman that USAID had previously granted the Egyptian government the right to block money for any civil society group it disliked. "They didn't like democracy funding and they didn't approve it. They believed in tight control over civil...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Laffer Curve Strikes Again

It seems that every twenty years or so, politicians have to get a reminder on economics regarding the relationship between effective tax cuts and tax revenues. Presidents Kennedy and Reagan both cut marginal tax rates and wound up sparking economic growth that generated billions of extra revenue. Within hours of hearing the leading Democratic presidential candidate excoriate President Bush for following their lead, the White House now shows that the budget deficit has dropped significantly and more tax has come into federal coffers than expected: For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion. On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February. Mr. Bush plans to...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Only Three Violations Of Rules At Gitmo

An independent investigation into the detention facility at Gunatanamo Bay housing terrorists captured by the US only turned up three violations of Army regulations and the Geneva Conventions, the AP reports today. None of these involved torture of any kind, although one investigator found that the totality of techniques used on one prisoner qualified as "abusive": The chief investigator, Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, described the interrogation techniques used on Mohamed al-Qahtani, a Saudi who was captured in December 2001 along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. It was learned later that he had tried to enter the U.S. in August 2001 but was turned away by an immigration agent at the Orlando, Fla., airport. Mohamed Atta, ringleader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, was in the airport at the same time, officials have said. Schmidt said that to get him to talk, interrogators told him his mother and sisters were whores,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Priorities Of The National Education Association

The NEA published its agenda for its July 7th Assembly, listing all the new action items under consideration and the action taken on each. How long does one have to read down the list before the NEA actually addresses an issue having directly to do with educating students? The first item? Third? Fifth? How about ... fifteenth? Here's what comes ahead of education at the National Education Association: 1. [Defeated, no description] 2. Fighting Wal-Mart 3. Investigating the positions of financial firms regarding Social Security privatization 4. Adding "multiethnic" and "other" as options on ethnicity questions 5. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the NEA and ATA 6. Forming coalitions to "protect" Social Security 7. Explaining the difference between two different pension plans 8. Requesting an article for their newsletter on "health problems from exposure to fragrance chemicals". 9. Getting outside funding to allow 25 more people to attent the EPA...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Mad World Of CQ!

I am pleased to announce that I have joined the Daily Standard as a regular contributor to their pages. My first column, "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Left", reviews Hillary Clinton's Aspen speech in which she compared George Bush to Alfred E. Neuman. I posted briefly on this earlier this week, and my new column takes a closer look at the factual misrepresentations that Hillary made, and the lack of accountability given to them by the media: HILLARY CLINTON made headlines earlier this week when she compared President George W. Bush to Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman, the gap-toothed, freckle-faced mascot whose signature statement is "What, me worry?" As political put-downs go, this hardly ranks as the most egregious, even in the modern era of politics. Fellow Democratic Senator Harry Reid called Bush both a liar and a loser earlier this year, and later only grudgingly offered to retract...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Minneapolis Airport Terminal Evacuated On Possible Bomb Threat

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Minneapolis-St. Paul airport has evacuated its Humphrey terminal, where most charter flights embark and disembark, after an unattended package got the attention of a bomb-sniffing dog: The Humphrey Terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was evacuated this evening after bomb-sniffing dogs smelled something suspicious in an unattended bag. Passengers and employees were sent to a parking garage across the street. The Bloomington bomb squad was on the scene. The Lindbergh Terminal was not affected by the evacuation. No more details are available at the moment. Keep checking back. (h/t: Hugh Hewitt) UPDATE: The story has been updated. Now it appears that two dogs sniffed something suspicious in two vending machines. The machines were separated within the terminal, one being roughly in the center and the other located at the south end. Air traffic continues to get processed at the larger Lindbergh terminal, but Humphrey has...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Santorum Shoots His Mouth Off ... Again

I like Rick Santorum. I really do. Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Senator has a habit of talking without thinking about the consequences of his rhetoric. Earlier this year, he broke Godwin's Law and used Hitler for an analogy in reference to the Democrats and the judicial-nomination filibusters -- an analogy that actually made logical sense but was politically foolish. In his latest faux pas, he doesn't even have logic on his side: What drew the concentrated ire of the Bay State's congressional delegation was Santorum's decision this week to repeat his three-year-old comment that liberalism was at the root of the scandal over child sex abuse in the church. "Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture," Santorum wrote in a July 12, 2002 article for the Web site Catholic Online. "When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 14, 2005

CQ On ... CBS?

After checking my referrer logs this morning, I noticed that a few visitors had begun to arrive from cbsnews.com. I found this rather odd (pun intended), as I hadn't written anything about CBS in ages. I followed the link -- and found out that CBS picked up my Daily Standard article on Hillary Clinton and her Mad Magazine moments in Aspen. Interestingly, the site notes that the piece ran on CBS with permission from Nation Review Online. Of course, it originally ran in the Daily Standard and, as far as I know, never appeared at NRO. So far, I'm scratching my head on this one. However, I'm pleased that CBS saw fit to reprint the article, and I hope that new readers from that site take a look around CQ and decide to stick around....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Sunnis Campaign For Democracy, Participation

After seeing themselves politically marginalized for boycotting what turned out to be hugely popular elections, Iraq's Sunni leaders have now begun to urge their communities to take part in the electoral process: In mosques, conferences and on the street, some Sunni Arab leaders are rallying members of their once dominant community to join forces and participate in upcoming elections in a bid to find their place in the new Iraq. ... "Boycotting the last elections ... deprived the people of opportunities," said Sheik Adul Jabbar Qadri, preacher at the Fattah mosque in the largely Sunni town of Beiji. "Now everyone feels this was a mistake and that all Iraqis should participate." Qadri has been using his weekly Friday sermons to encourage Sunnis to cast ballots. "We also urged them to put their differences aside and to keep away from violence," he said. Qadri said a recent meeting in Beiji brought...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Breakfast Club Wants A Sequel

The members of the Senate's Gang of 14 that held off the GOP push for the elimination of filibusters on judicial nominations have scheduled a breakfast meeting to further discuss the ramifications of their agreement, the New York Times reports. Sheryl Stolberg reports that the Gang wants to remain unified to ensure a smooth process on the upcoming confirmation fight, but that appears easier said than done: With the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor - and renewed speculation that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who has thyroid cancer and was in the hospital Wednesday with a fever, could retire - the members of the Gang of 14 are trying to chart a course that would keep them unified in the event of a divisive Supreme Court confirmation fight. On Thursday, they are planning to meet for breakfast to do just that. If the gang sticks together, it could become...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Prayers Needed For Fellow Blogger

Kevin McCullogh, Salem Radio Network talk-show host and all-around great guy, has often written movingly about the struggle his mother-in-law has waged against cancer. It appears, sadly, that she will shortly pass on. Kevin writes about that in his post from last night titled, "The phone call you're never quite ready for...": The phone call that we knew since Feburary of this year - might come - finally has. Early tomorrow The Lovely Bride boards a plane headed for California to say goodbye. There is little that can be said at this time. This part of life is hard, and not without considerable pain - regardless of the amount of suffering someone has been through. I watched my Mom be bed-ridden for weeks and elude death multiple times in the final months... yet in that moment... nothing quite prepares you for it. ... Mom is a hero by every measure....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Le Tipping Point?

According to the Guardian (UK), the French may soon reach a level of political dissatisfaction that will threaten to not only topple Jacques Chirac but the entire economic structure of Europe's most socialized democracy. Kim Willsher reports from Paris that a movement has started to form in fits and starts that may soon generate into a revolutionary effort: Today should be Jacques Chirac's big moment. As the standard bearer of France's republican tradition he oversees an impressive parade on Bastille Day. Horseguards, soldiers, pilots, police officers and firemen will march down the Champs Elyses accompanied by as much hardware - tanks, rocket launchers and fighter jets - as France's military might can muster. But, even in his Bastille Day best, Mr Chirac cannot ignore the fact that France is deeply fed up, and with him above all. ... That France is not in the mood to party is clear. But...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Did Abortion Waiting Period Save 2,000 Babies In 2004?

The AP reports that abortions dropped by 30% in Minnesota in 2004, a year after passage of the Women's Right to Know Act. The new law requires abortion providers to give information about medical risks, potential fetal pain, and assistance options to women seeking abortions, and imposes a 24-hour waiting period. In its first year of application, abortions dropped to their lowest level in 30 years: The number of abortions in Minnesota dropped to a 30-year low in the first full year after the state passed a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. ... The number of abortions in 2004 dipped to 13,788, the lowest level since 1975, the first year the state Health Department started tallying the numbers. The department has been reporting annual abortion figures to the Legislature for the past five years. The number of abortions in the state has been falling since it peaked in...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

US Captures Terrorist Executioner Of Egyptian Diplomat

US forces in Iraq announced today that they captured the al-Qaeda leader in charge of the operation that kidnapped and later executed a diplomatic envoy from Egypt last month. American military forces found Abu Seba in Ramadi last Saturday as part of an ongoing mission to disrupt Zarqawi's terrorist network: The U.S. military on Thursday announced the capture of two key members of Iraq's most-feared terror group, including one suspected in the kidnap-slaying of an Egyptian envoy and attacks on senior diplomats from Pakistan and Bahrain. Khamis Farhan Khalaf Abd al-Fahdawi, known as Abu Seba, was arrested last Saturday following operations in the Ramadi area west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement. He was accused of involvement in the abduction and killing of Egypt's top envoy in Iraq and attacks on Pakistani and Bahraini diplomats earlier this month. "Seba served as a senior lieutenant of al-Qaida in...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Cold Water On Hot Blood

A new paradigm is sweeping the blogosphere -- well, that portion of it that I view in between my frequent naps, experiments in animal husbandry, and trips to the taxidermist. The global war on terrorism, or GWOT, is really not a war at all but more akin to a "blood feud." The idea has been discussed by Hugh Hewitt, both online and on the air; by Wretchard (Richard Fernandez) at The Belmont Club; at Free Republic; NoLeftTurns; a Canadian blog called ThePolitic; and many other sites. I think the originator of this new simile is one Lee Harris. Writing in Tech Central Station on July 8th, "War in Pieces: The Blood Feud," Harris opined: After the London bombing, I feel more than ever that the war model is deeply flawed, and that a truer picture of the present conflict may be gained by studying another, culturally distinct form of violent...

Continue reading "Dafydd: Cold Water On Hot Blood" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Osama Fades As Democracy Gains

An opinion poll in six Muslim countries shows surprising results for attitudes about Islamists and Western-style democracy. Support for Osama bin Laden has fallen to half of what it had been in previous surveys, while support for democratization and freedom has grown enormously: Osama bin Laden's standing has dropped significantly in some key Muslim countries, while support for suicide bombings and other acts of violence has "declined dramatically," according to a new survey released today. In a striking finding, predominantly Muslim populations in a sampling of six North African, Middle East and Asian countries are also as alarmed as Western nations about Islamic extremism, which is now seen as a threat in their own nations too, the poll found. ... Compared with previous surveys, the new poll also found growing majorities or pluralities of Muslims surveyed now say democracy can work in their countries and is not just a political...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Latest Gitmo Stupidity: Islamists May Mistreat US Soldiers

Sometimes I wish I could buy some people a clue in the same manner as Wheel of Fortune contestants can purchase vowels from Vanna White. The latest meme coming from Senate Democrats regarding Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay -- now that their characterizations of torture chambers worthy of Josef Mengele have been debunked -- holds that our failure to give full POW status to terrorists at Gitmo will lead our enemy to abuse captured US soldiers. Quit laughing. I'm serious: The U.S. Congress should pass legislation defining the legal status of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay to avoid more damage to the United States' image abroad and reprisals against U.S. soldiers, senators said on Thursday. ... Senators said harsh interrogation practices and the refusal to grant prisoner of war status to detainees could backfire when U.S. soldiers are captured. "Our troops are looking at us to see whether we're going...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

London Bombers Were The B-Team

According to ABC News, British intelligence thought they had stopped the coordinated attack on the London subway and bus system when they first discovered the plot -- when Pakistani officials arrested al-Qaeda computer expert Naeem Noor Khan a year ago this week. His laptop contained a remarkably similar plan for the attack, and the British arrested a "senior" AQ operative at the time: Officials tell ABC News the London bombers have been connected to an al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in the Pakistani city of Lahore. The laptop computer of Naeem Noor Khan, a captured al Qaeda leader, contained plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway system, as well as on financial buildings in both New York and Washington. "There's absolutely no doubt he was part of an al Qaeda operation aimed at not only the United States but Great Britain," explained Alexis Debat,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 15, 2005

Dafydd: Associated Press Chooses Up

And so it begins -- the canonization of the London bombers. Whenever I become convinced that the MSM cannot sink lower into their miasmic bolgia, they invariably find a way to tumble to a deeper circle of Hell. Now the "useful idiot" Scheherezade Faramarzi (if that is her name) profiles the four slayers of the innocent in London. Through her thousand and one tales of passion, spirituality, and beauty, we discover they were all fine, upstanding citizens who were driven into the frenzy of madness by the evil Bush and his wicked incursion into innocent Iraq. She starts with a bang, making certain that even the most casual reader will understand that IT'S ALL GEORGE BUSH'S FAULT: London Bombers Were Angered by War in Iraq by Scheherezade Faramarzi AP July 15, 2005 LEEDS, England (AP) - Shahzad Tanweer, the 22-year-old son of a Pakistani-born affluent businessman, turned to Islam, the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Senatorial Slapfight

The self-proclaimed world's greatest deliberative body and the chamber supposedly intended on being a "cooling saucer" for the passions of the day descended into the political equivalent of a playground slapfight yesterday. The pushing and shoving arose from the rapidly disintegrating effort to pin blame on Karl Rove for outing Valerie Plame as Senate Democrats attempted to strip him of his security clearances: The partisan fight over Karl Rove exploded onto the Senate floor yesterday, with Democrats trying to strip him of his security clearance and Republicans retaliating by trying to strip the chamber's two top Democrats of theirs. The moves, which came as amendments to a spending bill, both failed, but not before each side blamed the other for "juvenile" behavior and for poisoning a well of good feelings they said had existed in the past few weeks. ... Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, along with Minority Whip...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

'Arabic Assassin' Rapper Worked In Airport Security

The AP reports that a Muslim baggage screener for the Transportation Security Agency moonlighted as a rapper, calling himself the 'Arabic Assassin' and writing lyrics about killing people and blowing up buildings. The TSA fired Bassam Khalaf despite his assertion that he only used that identity as a publicity generator: When Bassam Khalaf raps, he's the Arabic Assassin. His unreleased CD, "Terror Alert," includes rhymes about flying a plane into a building and descriptions of himself as a "crazy, suicidal Arabic ... equipped with bombs." Until last week, Khalaf also worked as a baggage screener at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. ... Khalaf, 21, was hired on Jan. 16 and fired July 7, according to a TSA termination letter that cited his "authorship of songs which applaud the efforts of the terrorists on September 11th, encourage and warn of future acts of terrorism by you, discuss at length and in grave...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Only Tactic They Know

Democrats in the Senate twice threatened more executive-nomination obstructionism if the White House refuses to meet their demands, this time on lower-level appointees. Both Barbara Boxer and Barack Obama separately told nominees to two EPA positions that they will block their confirmation unless mollified by the Bush administration on policy: Two Democratic senators suggested Thursday they may block one or more of President Bush's nominees to key Environmental Protection Agency posts unless they get answers they want from the agency. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said he wanted to know when the EPA would issue regulations for lead paint exposure from house remodeling. ... Obama told reporters after the hearing that he wanted a definite date from EPA officials about when they would issue the regulations, which by law were supposed to have come out in 1996. If that's not forthcoming, he said, he would use "whatever mechanisms I have available...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Novak Told Rove About Plame

The New York Times now has a source within the grand jury proceedings in the Robert Fitzgerald investigation into the alleged leak of Valerie Plame's status as a CIA operative. The new article for tomorrow's edition by David Johnston and Richard Stevenson reveals that Karl Rove spoke with Robert Novak before he released his column -- but that Novak told Rove about Plame, including her name, and not the other way around: Karl Rove, the White House senior adviser, spoke with the columnist Robert D. Novak as he was preparing an article in July 2003 that identified a C.I.A. officer who was undercover, someone who has been officially briefed on the matter said. Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Catching The Chemist

Egyptian authorities arrested the chemist sought by British investigators after last week's bombings in London: Egyptian police on Friday arrested an Egyptian biochemist sought in the probe into the London bombings, an Egyptian government official said. Metropolitan Police in London said a man has been arrested in Cairo, but they would not confirm his name or characterize him as a suspect. Magdy el-Nashar was arrested in Cairo early Friday, the Egyptian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because an official announcement of the information had not yet been made. That happened pretty quickly. Apparently Nashar made a mistake thinking that he could find shelter in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood and its al-Qaeda allies must not have as much popularity as they once did in the North African nation -- but we hear that's going around these days....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

No Delay For Iraqi Constitution

Reuters reports this morning that despite initial widespread skepticism about the timeline for the Iraqi constitution, it will now arrive on time. The delivery of the draft by August 15th sets up the scheduled October referendum and the new general election at the end of the year: In a month, Iraq should have a constitution, meeting a deadline set as part of a U.S.-backed timetable for its transition from occupation to independence. Three months ago, after it had taken 12 weeks just to form a government, many doubted the Aug. 15 target for the draft constitution could be met; long, bitter wrangling had dented hopes raised by an election held, on schedule, on Jan. 30. Now, few doubt that some form of draft constitution will appear more or less on time -- even though the parliamentary committee working on it has not, as it once suggested, unveiled a preliminary text...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Federal Appeals Court Confirms Kollar-Kotelly

An appellate court has upheld the decision by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly forcing the FEC to regulate Internet speech as part of the BCRA: An appeals court agreed Friday that federal election regulators wrongly opened several loopholes in the new campaign finance law meant to take big contributions out of elections. The federal appeals court in Washington affirmed U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's 2004 ruling striking down several FEC regulations interpreting the 2002 campaign finance law and ordering the commission to write tougher rules. The lower court judge struck down 15 commission regulations. The FEC asked the appeals court to overrule her on five of them, but lost its bid Friday in a 2-1 ruling. We find yet another judge who cannot determine the meaning of "Congress shall pass no law ..." To be fair, this appeal was not on the BCRA itself but on Kollar-Kotelly's ruling on a lawsuit brought...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Military Tribunals Upheld

A federal appeals court has overturned an earlier ruling that attempted to give Gitmo detainees access to American courts for determination of status. In a sweeping victory for the Bush administration, the appeals court also ruled that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to Salim Ahmed Hamdan or any al-Qaeda or terrorist detainees, making the military tribunals legal and appropriate: A federal appeals court put the Bush administration's military commissions for terrorist suspects back on track Friday, saying a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison who once was Osama bin-Laden's driver can stand trial. A three-judge panel ruled 3-0 against Salim Ahmed Hamdan, whose case was halted by a federal judge on grounds that commission procedures were unlawful. "Congress authorized the military commission that will try Hamdan," said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The protections of the 1949 Geneva Convention do not apply to...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Spaniards With Convictions Fight Terrorists

After the Madrid bombings last year, the Spanish electorate voted out the Jose Aznar government and elected Jose Zapatero, who ran on a platform of withdrawal from Iraq. Zapatero took a lot of criticism, even from the troops he recalled from their posts, for flinching in the face of terror and holding up the nation to ridicule. Fortunately for Zapatero, some Spaniards have demonstrated that they have the convictions to fight terrorists where they find them: Inmates on Friday beat up a suspected al-Qaida cell leader jailed on charges he helped plot the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, breaking his jaw, nose and a tooth and injuring one of his eyes, Spanish officials said. Imad Yarkas, 42, a Syrian-born Spaniard, was set upon by other prisoners in the dining hall of a prison in the eastern city of Castellon, said officials at the Interior Ministry department that oversees...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

A Primer On The Credibility Of Joseph Wilson

After all of the hysteria coming from the Left about Karl Rove and his alleged leak of Valerie Plame's status as a covert agent -- for which her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, demanded Rove's firing -- perhaps we need to revisit the Wilsons and their involvement in the Niger investigation. In his New York Times opinion piece published on July 6, 2003, Wilson claimed that the CIA asked him the previous year to investigate claims that the Iraqis tried to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger. This is the conclusion he said he reached (emphases mine throughout post): Given the structure of the consortiums that operated the mines, it would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. Niger's uranium business consists of two mines, Somair and Cominak, which are run by French, Spanish, Japanese, German and Nigerian interests. If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Who's Your Daddy?

As the Captain reported below, a power-mad three-judge panel of the D.C. circuit has made a dreadful ruling. What the hell you been smoking, ab Hugh? The Hamdan ruling was incredibly good! We need those military tribunals to -- Not THAT ruling, you nitwit! I'm talking about the ruling that upheld Judge Kollar-Kotelly's ruling that the FEC had to start regulating blogs and other internet "communication" under the McCain-Feingold "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act," treating them not like the sainted "exempt media" (the MSM), but rather as if blogs were the equivalent of political ads... forbidding us from blogging about candidates within sixty days of an election, for example, without having our posts being assigned a dollar value and counted as "contributions" to a campaign. This would presumably mean that if I posted about the 2006 race and urged Santorum to be reelected, and if my insights were deemed to be...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 16, 2005

Dafydd: WHO are YOU?

According to this, I'm Jean-Luc Picard. Hindrocket over at Power Line is Yoda, as is Hugh Hewitt; and Lileks is Duke Paul Atreides from the Frank Herbert novel Dune. I'm not sure what any of this means; but there's a free meal in here somewhere, and I'm going to find it. UPDATE: I'm married to Yoda. Hm... maybe that should be "Yodette."...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

A Note About E-Mails

I get a lot of e-mail based on the work done here at CQ. Unfortunately, I also get lots of spam, and so I have had to set a spam filter on my e-mail account that takes some of the pressure off. I also have had to get a lot more selective about how to filter it. In order to make sure that your e-mail gets through, I thought I would let readers know how I'm approaching this issue. * Anything that doesn't include my e-mail address in the To: field will likely wind up in the spam bucket. Broadcast e-mails, except from services to which I've specifically subscribed, clog up my inbox and usually have a sales pitch involving former Nigerian princes and people who feel happy to be leaving me money in their will. * Except for known sources, e-mails with nothing but a URL will get ignored....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Why Can't The Gray Lady Read?

The New York Times reports on a memo that Colin Powell reportedly carried aboard Air Force One on a trip to Africa the week before Robert Novak named Valerie Plame as a CIA agent. The importance of this memo revolves around the people who accompanied the President and Powell on the Africa trip and the fact that it describes the circumstances of Joe Wilson's hiring for the mission to Niger. However, the report by Richard Stevenson makes several factual errors that even a quick perusal of the Intelligence Committee report would correct. The first error committed by Stevenson is one of omission. The Times has been beating a supposed Karl Rove connection to death over the past few weeks. However, if one looks at the contact dates for the two conversations Rove had with reporters -- July 9 for Novak, July 11 for Matt Cooper -- obviously Rove didn't go...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Abbas No Match For Hamas In Gaza

As could have been predicted by almost anyone watching events in the Palestinian territories, Hamas proved itself the stronger faction in an internecine confrontation yesterday that wound up drawing an Israeli response. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, under pressure to curb violence and disarm terrorists, finally authorized his security group to use force against Hamas in Gaza to keep them from firing rockets at Israelis. The patronage-riddled Fatah police fared badly against the more popular Hamas terrorists: Palestinian police and Hamas gunmen fought running battles, killing at least two civilian bystanders, after Mr Abbas sought to exert his authority on the militants who threaten to wreck the planned Israeli withdrawal from settlements in Gaza next month. ... The crisis in Gaza began late on Thursday when Hamas attacked Jewish targets. A volley of four rockets was launched towards the village of Netiv Ha'asara, which lies just inside Israel, killing a 22-year-old...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Europe Undermining African Debt Relief?

Normally the United States gets cast in the role of bad guy for insisting on economic and political reform as the basis for aid, especially to Africa. However, the Guardian (UK) reports that a group of smaller European nations has attempted to "undermine" the G8 agreement at Gleneagles pushed by the Live-8 movement by tying debt relief to verifiable reform: A group of small EU countries are seeking to water down some of the key proposals agreed last week by G8 leaders in Gleneagles, leaked documents have revealed. The documents, which were obtained by the Jubilee Debt Campaign group, showed that Belgium was leading an initiative that would make it more difficult for 18 of the world's poorest countries to be granted 100% debt relief. ... Under the deal brokered by Tony Blair at last week's G8 summit 18 of the world's poorest countries on the HIPC list - highly...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

SDA Nails CBC Investigation Into Grewal 'Donations'

Kate at Small Dead Animals finds a major problem with the CBC's reporting on donations made to Gurmant Grewal's political campaign. She has a copy of a letter from the Conservative Party to Terry Milewski at CBC that outlines the problems with the CBC report -- before the CBC went to air with it: As backgrounder on this complainant, it is a well-known fact that he is a very good friend of Ujjal Dosanjh. So good a friend is he of Mr. Dosanjh that just after the Taping Incident became public, and Mr., Dosanjh's central and principle role in that event became known to the public, Mr. Mann telephoned Mr. Grewal and voiced extreme displeasure with Mr. Grewal's actions. And then just a few short weeks later, up pops a complaint relayed to you regarding two cheques. Mann has provided you with two items, one for $1800. and another for...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Northern Alliance Radio Today

I'll be rejoining the Northern Alliance Radio Network today after a two-week hiatus in Washington DC. We start off our first hour at noon CDT at AM 1280 The Patriot, where CQ readers outside of the Twin Cities can listen on the Internet stream, talking about the week in review. In the second hour, Bernard Goldberg joins us to discuss his book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37. I interviewed Mr. Goldberg for the book's release -- in fact, I got the first post-release interview -- and I know you'll enjoy the conversation. Speaking of conversation, you're invited to join in by calling 651-289-4488!...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

More Democratic Fantasyland On 9/11

Cynthia McKinney has returned to her old tricks in Congress. Working through her new organization, 9/11 Citizens Watch, she plans on hosting a full-day "Congressional" briefing for Representatives and their staffs on the supposed lack of progress in investigating the 9/11 attacks. Much like the John Conyers "impeachment" panel based on the Downing Street Memos, McKinney and a couple of cohorts plan on offering their wild conspiracy theories in the guise of a sober, official hearing: On July 22, 2005, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) will host a full-day briefing, co-sponsored by Rep. Ral Grijalva (D-AZ), and other sponsors, for Members of Congress and their staffs in the Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building, Room 345, Independence Ave. & First Street SE, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. One year after the release of the 9/11 Commission Final Report many questions about what transpired on September 11, 2001 and who should...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Why Do the Bombings Continue?

Actually, the answer is absurdly simple. There are many, many, many Sunnis in Iraq who are not themselves terrorists; but they know who the terrorists are, where they can be found, and they know that they are plotting to murder dozens of children, women, and other innocents. But because the victims are largely Shia, these Sunni simply do not care enough to become "rats" or "tattletales;" thus the bombings continue. This probably describes a minority of Sunni, but it must be a sizeable minority, and sufficiently clustered together that there are "safe zones" known to the terrorists where they can plan, plot, and produce their deadly product. That is why the Iraqi forces cannot round them all up: a core group of several thousand are being shielded and supported by a group of cheerleaders for al-Qaeda among the Sunni in Iraq. There might be a smaller group of Shia in...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 17, 2005

Democrats And Their Kool-Aid

Dana Milbank and Charles Babington point out that Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman and New York Senator Chuck Schumer went to the same Brooklyn high school, James Madison. However, it appears that neither share that old school spirit with each other any longer, especially after Coleman singled out Schumer for "partisan attacks" in the Plame case: Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn and James Madison High Class of '66, took off Thursday after another nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn and James Madison High Class of '67, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). "The chairman of the Democratic Senate campaign committee" -- that would be Schumer -- is "sucking the oxygen out of that atmosphere of collegiality and constructive cooperation by trying to make a partisan issue of something that is being handled by a special counsel today," Coleman said in a news conference on the Wilson-Plame-Rove CIA leak...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Busy Days

Lots of project work on the plate for the Captain this Sunday, and a visit from friends as well. Given that the news has been relatively quiet this weekend, I'm taking the afternoon off. However, I will return later tonight with a book review and more blogging. Which book? Well, what's the book of the weekend?...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Cooper: Rove Didn't Call Me, Didn't Mention Name Or Status Of Plame

Matthew Cooper has decided to write about his testimony to the grand jury investigating the leak of Valerie Plame's name and status to Robert Novak. In the new edition of Time Magazine, Cooper confirms that the New York Times version of events published late last week which had him calling Rove, not the other way around, was accurate: In his 2 1/2 hour testimony last Wednesday before the grand jury investigating the CIA leak case, TIME White House correspondent Matthew Cooper testified that when he called White House political advisor Karl Rove the week of July 6, 2003, Rove did not reveal Joe Wilsons wifes name and did not reveal her covert status to Cooper. But he did say that Wilsons wife works at the Agency on WMD. This was the first time Cooper had ever heard of Wilsons wife. ... Cooper writes that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald asked me...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Will Someone Please Teach Godwin's Law To Congress?

Can ... we ... PLEASE ... get Congressmen and Senators to throw away the Nazi analogies? Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) became the latest idiot to get impaled on a historical swastika when he attempted to paint Islamofascist terrorists as worse than Nazis. That may have escaped notice, but then LoBiondo decided to up the ante by crediting Hitler with a rational motivation for killing six million Jews: Congressman Frank LoBiondo apologized for suggesting that Guantanamo Bay detainees were worse than Adolf Hitler because the Nazi dictator "sort of had a political rationale about what he was doing." The New Jersey Republican made the remark on a radio talk show this past week, describing his recent visit to the Naval Base in Cuba. Muslim terrorists, he said, were more evil than Hitler. "Hitler, in his philosophy, was, you know, he hated Jews, he was murdering Jews, and there were some people...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Book Review: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

I refrained from running out to purchase the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, during the midnight madness sales at the local bookstores. Last time, that meant serious delays in getting a copy of the book. However, either Scholastic produced a more realistic first run or the initial enthusiasm may have been overestimated. When I went to the bookstore on Saturday, I found several dozen copies at 40% off available and almost no shoppers in the store. I took advantage of the opportunity and picked up my copy, and after finishing a couple of other projects this weekend, tore through the new installment. * SPOILERS -- BEWARE! * In my opinion, J. K. Rowling improves with each new outing, and Half-Blood Prince follows in that tradition. Rowling plays around a bit more with the formula here, just as she started to do with Goblet of Fire,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 18, 2005

The New Hallmark Moment: Cheating

Apparently there really is a greeting card for every occasion, as the commercials used to claim. Cathy Gallagher has ensured that with her new line of greeting cards for cheating spouses, romantically named the Secret Lover Collection. This product line emphasizes the special bond formed between two people who promise other people not to sleep around, but then do anyway: Gallagher doesn't plan on patronizing her own business. "You don't have to be a murderer to write a murder mystery," she says. Nor, apparently, does one need to be unfaithful to write a Christmas card that says, "As we each celebrate with our families, I will be thinking of you." Gallagher says her Secret Lover Collection of 24 cards is the first line exclusively for people having affairs, and she expects hot sales. She says half of married people have had affairs (though some studies show the figure to be...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

LA Times Still Can't Get Plame Facts Correct

The Los Angeles Times runs an article on the Plame leak today that manages to avoid advancing the story with any evidence and get the existing facts almost entirely incorrect, despite a number of revelations in the past few days from grand-jury leaks and the new article by Matt Cooper. Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten concoct their stew of "revelations" and bad fact-checking by relying on anonymous sourcing: Top aides to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were intensely focused on discrediting former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in the days after he wrote an op-ed article for the New York Times suggesting the administration manipulated intelligence to justify going to war in Iraq, federal investigators have been told. Perhaps that springs from the fact that Wilson not only lied in that op-ed -- on which I have written extensively -- but also had begun leaking false versions of...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Strib Still Confuses Judiciary With Legislature

Is it too much to ask for a newspaper's editorial board to have passed their high-school Civics classes? Apparently so in Minneapolis, where the Star-Tribune's editorial this morning once again attempts to opine on the Supreme Court opening left by Sandra Day O'Connor. They start in the predictable pattern set by earlier missives: Americans have come to see how profoundly a single justice can influence the court and the country. No one has seized upon that lesson with more fervor than America's religious right-wingers, who consider O'Connor's retirement during a Republican administration a chance to redirect the court. They won't readily say it, but they're eager to see another ideological bedfellow on the bench -- a predictable thinker whose views on abortion rights, gay marriage, police power and strong governmental authority reflect their own. Uh-huh. I don't hear them complaining about Chuck Schumer demanding that any nominee answer questions about...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

French Lies Sink British Ties

The French continue to isolate themselves in the war on terror. First they allegedly concocted the forged documents that came to the CIA and caused a row over the State of the Union speech. Now they have gone out of their way to lie about sensitive information in the middle of the London bombing case simply to score a couple of political points, enraging the British and threatening to end cooperation between the two countries on intelligence: In an interview with Le Monde that appeared on the newsstands last Monday afternoon - two days after the exceptionally open briefing - [French antiterrorism coordinator Christophe] Chaboud announced to the world that he knew "the nature of the explosives" used in the London bombings. It "appears to be military, which is very worrisome," he said, adding: "We're more used to cells making homemade explosives from chemical substances. How did they get them?...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Broder Can't Read, Either

Unfortunately, the Plame investigation has uncovered a genuine national scandal -- the inability of the national news media to read a government report. David Broder provides another example in yesterday's Washington Post, where he continues to misrepresent the facts surrounding naming of Valerie Plame in a 2003 Robert Novak column. He starts off in a chatty vein by explaining the use of anonymous sourcing and the trust it requires, but quickly gets down to misrepresenting reality: The first publication of Plame's name came in a column by Robert Novak, who said he had been given her identity and occupation by two Bush administration officials. The obvious intent of the leak -- and of the column, which ran in The Post and other newspapers -- was to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had just published an op-ed article in the New York Times challenging a presidential claim that...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Tancredo Fouls The Water (Updated)

We have enough problems fighting the war on terror in the measured, strategic method used by the Bush and Blair administrations without Republican Congressmen recommending the bombing of sites held sacred by Muslims across the political spectrum. Yet today, Tom Tancredo (R-CO) suggested that a nuclear attack on an American city could result in a bombing run on Mecca: A Colorado congressman told a radio show host that the U.S. could "take out" Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked the country with nuclear weapons. Rep. Tom Tancredo made his remarks Friday on WFLA-AM in Orlando, Fla. His spokesman stressed he was only speaking hypothetically. ... "Well, what if you said something like if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered. "You're talking about bombing Mecca,"...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Bear Flag League Reception and Hootenanny

As predicted, a fine time was had by all, except for those who got lost, never finding the joint due to the wretchedly error-ridden directions. Some attendees, however, mistrusting the geographical abilities of bloggers, thought to look up the route on the map and arrived undetoured. Relying entirely upon my world-famous memory (and this "agenda" sheet of paper I hijacked back home with me), I shall post here a brief and entirely serious precis of the highlights of the Bear Flag League reception. If serious, sober-minded reporting of such a momentous occasion as this yanks your crank, read on. The management warrant that no outright fabrications will be found in the following dissertation. Everything is true, including the orgiastic fertility rites and the sacrifice of a llama following the event. Special Note: All times are approximated to within 3.825 minutes, due to obscured view of the sun....

Continue reading "Dafydd: Bear Flag League Reception and Hootenanny" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 19, 2005

Dafydd: Hugh's Got a Point, For Once

(All right, that's not fair. Hugh has had points before. So maybe "twice.") But this one is pretty big. Hugh was one of the first to jump on Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) for his hoof-in-mouth suggestion that if America is nuked by some militant Islamist group, we should increase the danger to the United States by orders of magnitude by bombing Mecca. (Michael Medved was also quick off the mark.) Here's Hugh: I want to be very clear on this. No responsible American can endorse the idea that the U.S. is in a war with Islam. That is repugnant and wrong, and bloggers and writers and would-be bloggers and writers have to chose sides on this, especially if you are a center-right blogger. The idea that all of Islam is the problem is a fringe opinion. It cannot be welcomed into mainstream thought because it is factually wrong. If Tancredo's...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Group Attack On Justices

UPDATE: Beldar has more on this topic, including a lengthy explanation in my comments. And on a personal note, I want to wish him well in his recovery from a recent (and blessedly mild) heart attack.

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Why The Law Enforcement Approach To Terrorism Doesn't Work

Germany has shown once again why using a law-enforcement approach with terrorists ultimately fails to protect Western nations. A German court released suspected terrorist financier Mamoun Darkanzli because of a dispute over an extradition request and the reversal of a newly-passed German law intended to strengthen legal tools to fight terrorism: In a ruling seen as a sharp blow to coordinated counterterrorism efforts in Europe, Germany's highest court refused Monday to turn over to Spain a citizen suspected of aiding Al Qaeda, arguing that a recent European agreement to streamline extradition procedures violated the rights of German citizens. ... But on Monday the German Constitutional Court declared the law creating the European warrant void, even though it was ratified by the German Parliament in November. The court reasoned that the law infringed on the right of every citizen of Germany, enshrined in its Basic Law, to a court hearing in...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Mr. Harper Goes To Washington

Stephen Harper took time off from his Canadian summer tour to speak at a convention of center-right parties from around the world meeting in Washington DC this week. Looking to invigorate his image abroad and to repair some of the damage to Canadian-US relations over Iraq and missile defence, Harper proclaimed that a Tory government in Canada would start getting serious about counterterrorism efforts: A Conservative government in Canada would move aggressively to step up efforts in the war on international terrorism and create a single office to oversee Canada's spy and security forces, Opposition Leader Stephen Harper promised yesterday in a speech to right-wing fellow travellers gathered in Washington. "In particular, Canada can play a stronger role in the war on terrorism," Mr. Harper told a receptive audience of representatives of centrist and conservative parties from more than 60 nations attending the triennial International Democrat Union meeting. The G&M...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Look Who (Used To) Read Government Reports

The Washington Times goes after the partisans still flogging the Rove-Plame connection in the face of all available evidence in its editorial today. The paper points out that the media has chased its own whistleblower while ignoring the corruption he pointed out: Let's make it clear at the start: Were special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation to bring evidence to light that Karl Rove or anyone else in the Bush White House had anything to do with revealing the identity of any covert CIA agent, President Bush should fire them and they should be forced to face the full consequences of the law. But nothing in the public record thus far suggests that Mr. Rove or anyone else in the administration has committed such a violation in the case of Valerie Plame. Mrs. Plame is the former CIA agent who suggested that her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, an opponent of...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Zarqawi Starts Targeting Sunnis

Iraqi terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has concentrated his effort in recent weeks on inflaming sectarian passions in Iraq by targeting Shi'ites and Kurds for attack, rather than Americans or the thus-far sympathetically inclined Sunni population. That changed today as a terrorist assassinated a prominent Sunni politician working on the new Iraqi constitution: Mijbil Issa was gunned down, along with an adviser to the committee and a bodyguard, in the Karradah area of Baghdad, according to Mohammed Abed-Rabbou, another Sunni member of the drafting committee. Issa was among 15 Sunnis named last month to a committee charged with drafting a new constitution by Aug. 15. The Sunnis were added in an attempt to reach out to the religious community at the heart of the insurgency. However, two Sunni committee members had already quit because of threats from the insurgents who oppose the U.S.-backed, Shiite-dominated government. Zarqawi seems to have decided...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Tories Still Polling Badly In Canada

Despite having one of the worst political scandals in Canadian history as an albatross, the Liberal Party continues to outpoll the Conservatives, building up strong leads in BC and the Atlantic area. The reason? The Tories still have not done a good job of showcasing their party leader: The gift of scandal and voter fatigue with the four-term Liberal government have done little for Stephen Harper's Conservatives, a new poll suggests. A Pollara poll gives the Liberals a commanding advantage - 11 points ahead of their arch-rivals, with staggering leads in battlegrounds like B.C., the Toronto area and Atlantic Canada. Michael Marzolini, who heads Pollara, says the Canadian electorate wants to punish the Liberals and there's only one explanation for such a large lead. "The whole thing is Stephen Harper at this stage," said Marzolini, who was once the Liberals' pollster. Once again, the lack of standing for Harper remains...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Bush To Announce End To Plame Debate At 9 PM EDT (Updated!)

Figuring that the press has eaten itself enough over the Plame leak investigation, George Bush announced that he will toss the media a fresh bone on which to chew for the next few weeks, tonight at 9 PM EDT: President Bush has decided whom to nominate to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court and was poised to announce his pick in a prime-time Tuesday night address. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the Bush administration was asking television outlets to broadcast the speech live. Bush's spokesman would not identify the president's choice. But there was intense speculation that it would be Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Speculation all morning long has centered on Edith Clement, as the gentlemen at Power Line have discussed. Neither appear terribly impressed with her selection, if it turns out to be her. Clement did get...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: The New Antisemitism

...Is Moslem Derangement Syndrome. Do I mean the undenial derangement of some but not all Moslems, who murder the innocent to make some irrational point of religious bigotry? Oh, not this time. By Moslem Derangement Syndrome, I mean those Americans who advocate the murder of hundreds of thousands of Moslems, just to make an equally irrational point arising from their religious bigotry. I explicitly refer to all those who propose, demand, and practically salivate over "nuking Mecca." I'm not talking about Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO). He never went that far. As far as he did go, he was still a dangerous fool; but just as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) does not really believe that American guards at Guantanamo Bay are just like Nazi concentration-camp guards, Stalinist gulag torturers, and Khmer Rouge butchers -- he was just stretching for a ridiculous (but dangerous) intensifier -- neither does Tancredo really support the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

ABC: It's John Roberts

ABC and Fox News now report that Bush will name John Roberts as Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement. (via Michelle Malkin) If true, this is great news. More later as it develops. UPDATE: People For the American Way won't share my enthusiasm: In the short time since he was confirmed by the Senate in May 2003, Judge Roberts has issued troubling dissents from decisions by the full D.C. Circuit not to reconsider two important rulings. These included a decision upholding the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act as applied in a California case and a ruling against Bush Administration efforts to keep secret the records concerning Vice President Cheney's energy task force. Hey, this might be a two-fer: a conservative justice and a member of the CheneyChimpyMcHalliburtEnron conspiracy! UPDATE II: He doesn't have many fans at the Alliance for Justice, either: As a political appointee in the Reagan administration, Roberts worked...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 20, 2005

Editorial Response To Roberts Nomination: Stunned And Cautious

If George Bush wanted to set the media elite back on their heels with his first Supreme Court nomination, he succeeded brilliantly. The selection of John Roberts appears to have stunned editorial writers in the four largest cities. Their entries today heralding this new judiciary battle show a healthy dose of caution and calls for a dignified process. Most of them tip their hat to Bush's political skills, noting the difficulty for Democrats to deal with the thin paper trail of Roberts, but still point out potential land mines for his confirmation. The Washington Post gives Bush the most credit for a thoughtful selection: IN NOMINATING Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, President Bush picked a man of substance and seriousness. Judge Roberts has served only briefly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but he was previously among the country's best-regarded appellate lawyers,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Report: Donnie Deutsch Sandbagged Bernard Goldberg

An informed source told me this afternoon that Bernard Goldberg's appearance on CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch turned out to be a sandbag to attack Goldberg and his book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37). The interview, which airs at 10:30 pm EDT on Wednesday night, starts off as a one-on-one with Deutsch, and apparently went off with no problem. Deutsch or his producer asked Goldberg to stick around for another segment to participate in a panel discussion on cultural mores, and Goldberg agreed. However, instead of debating cultural issues as the producers had explained the segment to Goldberg, it turned out that the show had stacked the panel with people who disliked Goldberg's book -- and ganged up on him to belittle it. Goldberg stuck it out for the segment, but was understandably irate at the end and told the booking...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Media Fickle On Anonymous Sources

My new Daily Standard column has now been posted. I explore the Rove-Plame debate in the light of anonymous sources and the Deep Throat celebrations of just a few weeks back: SO IN SUM: In July 2003, a rogue CIA operative, hired by his analyst wife at the agency, was leaking false information about war intelligence to national newspapers. When that didn't raise enough eyebrows, he went public, misrepresenting his findings and the nature of his selection for the assignment. Having a CIA operative suddenly take political potshots at the administration called into question whether the White House had lied about intelligence or the ambassador was telling the entire truth himself. Cooper went to his best sources to find the answer to the question, and he got the right answer. Sounds just like Watergate, except in this case, the White House told the truth while low-level elements at the CIA...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Timing Of Roberts' Nomination

UPDATE II: Jon at QandO nails bad reporting and criticism at Tapped. It's been a while since I've linked to Jon, but I read his neo-libertarian (libertarianism mixed with sanity) blog every day, and I recommend it to everyone. Great stuff there.

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Largest Battle Of The Roberts Confirmation War

I predict that, despite the mostly-pleasant sounds wafting from Washington circles in the past fourteen hours since George Bush made John Roberts his first Supreme Court nominee, we will see a highly contentious public battle over his confirmation. Senators Leahy, Schumer, Kennedy, and Durbin signaled in muted tones that they have no intention of treating Roberts expeditiously, and instead have emphasized that they will treat this confirmation as "starting from scratch" -- which, as Jon Cornyn correctly deduced, presaged obstructionist tactics. But that only speaks to tactics. The ammunition for the Democrats will prove too seductive to refrain from firing, and the largest battle will actually return them to a favorite accusation against the Bush administration: their conduct of the war on terror. Last week, Roberts joined in a unanimous decision to affirm the jurisdiction of military tribunals in processing terrorists detained overseas, a decision that has a solid basis...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Warp Speed, And Godspeed, Mr. Scott

Fans of Star Trek are mourning the loss of the colorful actor who brought the Enterprise's engineer, Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, to life on television and the silver screen. James Doohan passed away early this morning from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, at age 85: Doohan died at 5:30 a.m. at his Redmond, Wash., home with his wife of 28 years, Wende, at his side, Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens said. The cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, he said. He had said farewell to public life in August 2004, a few months after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I spent many wonderful moments watching Doohan portray the ever-resourceful Mr. Scott, whose love for the ship surpassed even that of the captain, James Kirk. My nickname comes from my earlier passion for the series, which has lessened considerably over the years, but the fondness remains. Doohan's Scottish...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Joyfulness On Roberts Nomination Not Universal On The Right

After the initial glow of George Bush's announcement of John Roberts as his Supreme Court nominee, rumblings have surfaced on the right about his lack of a track record defending conservatism. The loudest of these rumblings comes from the ever-outspoken and highly entertaining Ann Coulter, who takes her accustomed no-holds-barred approach to venting her dissatisfaction: So all we know about him for sure is that he can't dance and he probably doesn't know who Jay-Z is. Other than that, he is a blank slate. Tabula rasa. Big zippo. Nada. Oh, yeah...we also know he's argued cases before the supreme court. big deal; so has Larry Flynt's attorney. But unfortunately, other than that that, we dont know much about John Roberts. Stealth nominees have never turned out to be a pleasant surprise for conservatives. Never. Not ever. ... It means absolutely nothing that NARAL and Planned Parenthood attack him: They also...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Democrats Signal Filibuster Unlikely

Some Senate Democrats signaled today that they will not likely support any attempt to filibuster SCOTUS nominee John Roberts, at least not based on his judicial philosophy. The AP reports that two key Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Joe Lieberman, have characterized Roberts as mainstream enough not to invoke the "extraordinary circumstances" envisaged by the Gang of 14: The possibility of a Democratic filibuster against Supreme Court nominee John Roberts in the Republican-controlled Senate seemed to all but disappear Wednesday. ... "Do I believe this is a filibuster-able nominee? The answer would be no, not at this time I don't," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a strong abortion-rights supporter and a committee member. ... Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said the group had sent a message to the president to send the Senate a mainstream conservative. "And it appears at first look that Judge Roberts is that," he said. Roberts is "in...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Donnybrook (Updates)

So I watched the Donny Deutsch show, The Big Idea, featuring the appearance by Bernard Goldberg discussing his book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37). What a joke. The first segment got contentious but remained professional, but Deutsch obviously didn't like the book. He immediately jumped into the list and began to debate entries like Barbara Walters, and obviously had not read what Goldberg wrote about her and others. The argument proceeded like any number of cable-channel bickerfests, with the host and guest talking over each other, but nothing bitter or mean -- just a disagreement. One would presume, however, that an professional interviewer would have at least reviewed the material in some depth and have prepared factual support for their questions and points before the show. The next two segments should embarrass CNBC and everyone associated with the show. Deutsch invited four other...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 21, 2005

London Bombers Got Long-Distance Pep Talk?

Pakistani and British investigators have found phone records indicating that al-Qaeda leaders may have contacted the London bombers the night before the terrorist attacks that killed at least 56 and left hundreds injured on July 7. Haroon Rashid Aswat, now in custody in Pakistan, also visited all four bombers in the weeks leading up to the attack: Haroon Rashid Aswat has emerged as the figure that Scotland Yard have been hunting since he flew out of Britain just hours before the attacks which killed 56 people. Aswat, 30, who is believed to come from the same West Yorkshire town as one of the bombers, arrived in Britain a fortnight before the attacks to orchestrate final planning for the atrocity. He spoke to the suicide team on his mobile phone a few hours before the four men blew themselves up and killed fifty-two other people. Intelligence sources told The Times that...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Osama's Ambassador Loses Diplomatic Immunity In Britain

The Scotsman reports that Britain may finally get serious about deporting radical imams and activists preaching hate and jihad in the wake of its first-ever suicide bomb attack. Abu Qatada now faces deportation to Jordan in a hastily-arranged agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom not to execute or torture deportees from the UK: ABU Qatada, the extremist cleric known as "Osama bin Laden's ambassador in Europe", is finally facing deportation to Jordan after British officials brokered a potentially groundbreaking extradition deal. Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, announced yesterday that authorities in Amman had agreed to give verifiable commitments not to impose the death sentence or impose torture on anyone handed over. This was billed by ministers as the first in a string of deals aimed at dismantling what critics have called "Londonistan" - the community of Islamic extremists being protected from extradition. Qatada, a Jordanian national, is wanted by eight police...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Either/Or

A puzzling and intriguing story from AP raises -- and begs, of course -- a conundrum of the first order: who killed them? In "Sunni Arabs Continue Constitution Boycott," Qassim Abdul-Zahra writes that the Sunni delegation to the Iraqi constitutional convention are "continuing" their boycott, which I didn't even know was ongoing. Jeeze, you go away for a day, and all heck breaks loose. BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Sunni Arabs decided Thursday to continue boycotting the committee drafting Iraq's new constitution, casting doubt on whether the group can meet an August deadline to complete its work. Insurgent attacks, including two car bombings, killed 15 people, officials said. If that looks like two stories got accidentally shuffled together, get used to it; it's all through this piece. On the one hand, we have boycotting Sunni; on the other hand (now I sound like JFK), we have various people killed in terrorist...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Putin Tries New Method To Retain Power -- Acquisition

Who says the new Russia doesn't believe in capitalism? Just when Vladimir Putin faces mandatory retirement due to term limits on the Russian presidency, he comes up with a plan right out of the corporate playbook to change the rules. He and Belarus President Lukashenko have devised a plan to reunify the Belarussians to the Russian Federation, and Putin will use that to subvert term limits: PRESIDENT LUKASHENKO of Belarus arrived in Russia yesterday to promote a reunification plan for the two countries to offset growing Western influence in the former Soviet Union. Some analysts say that the new union would allow Vladimir Putin to stay on as President after 2008, when, having served two terms, he is obliged to step down under the present Russian Constitution. The two countries formed a loose union in 1996, but it has been hampered by economic disputes and personal animosity between Mr Lukashenko...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Gray Lady Wants A Shield, But For What?

Today's New York Times editorial argues for the passage of a federal shield law that would allow reporters to keep their sources confidential, proscribing law-enforcement agencies from subpoenaing journalists to reveal sources unless they can prove imminent danger as a result. They use the current Plame investigation as proof of the necessity for such protection: Witnesses spoke of the dozens of subpoenas that have been issued to journalists in recent times and the half-dozen or more reporters who have been found to be in contempt of court for doing their jobs - some journalists, like Judith Miller of The Times, have actually been jailed. As Mr. Dodd pointed out, the idea that jailing reporters will inhibit journalism is not a theoretical worry. Norman Pearlstine, editor in chief of Time Inc., testified yesterday that since his decision to turn over notes in the Valerie Wilson case to the federal prosecutor, Time...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Close Call For London's Round Two

It appears that terrorists have attempted a second wave of bombings targeting London's transport systems, but in this case failed to do much damage. The BBC reports that several incidents occurred in subways and buses, but that the only explosions came from the detonators and not from any other explosive material: Minor explosions using detonators only have sparked the evacuation of three Tube stations and the closure of three lines, a BBC correspondent has said. Police cordoned off large areas around Warren Street, Oval and one of the Shepherd's Bush Tube stations. A route 26 bus in Hackney Road in Bethnal Green had its windows blown out by a blast. There were no injuries. Police in London say they are not treating the situation as "a major incident yet". One person was injured at Warren Street. There were reports the injured person may have been holding a rucksack containing the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Maybe He Just Knows The Secret Handshake

Who needs the blogs? The Washington Post managed to kill off a John Roberts rumor within 24 hours, albeit one they helped fuel in yesterday's coverage of his SCOTUS nomination. Roberts, contrary to liberal-activist groups' hysteria, has never belonged to the Federalist Society: Everyone knows that, like all good Republican lawyers, John G. Roberts Jr. is a member of the Federalist Society, the conservative law and public policy organization where right-of-center types meet to denounce liberalism and angle for jobs in the Bush administration. And practically everyone -- CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Legal Times and, just yesterday, The Washington Post -- has reported Roberts's membership as a fact. One liberal group opposed to Roberts's nomination, the Alliance for Justice, has noted it on its Web site. But they are wrong. John Roberts is not, in fact, a member of the Federalist Society, and he says he never has been....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Nothing On Roberts? Go For The Wife

The Los Angeles Times must have taken its coverage about the lack of controversy attached to SCOTUS nominee John Roberts to heart. Instead of reporting further on Roberts, the LAT decided to go after his wife's pro-life beliefs instead: While Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s views on abortion triggered intense debate on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, there is no mistaking where his wife stands: Jane Sullivan Roberts, a lawyer, is ardently against abortion. A Roman Catholic like her husband, Jane Roberts has been deeply involved in the antiabortion movement. She provides her name, money and professional advice to a small Washington organization Feminists for Life of America that offers counseling and educational programs. The group has filed legal briefs before the high court challenging the constitutionality of abortion. A spouse's views normally are not considered relevant in weighing someone's job suitability. But abortion is likely to...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Secret S

UPDATE: Tom Maguire has some good analysis on this, which should shock no one.

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: A Pro-Christian Jewish Agnostic Speaks Out

I could have more provacatively titled this post "Are Atheists Actually Demented?" because that is the impression I get from the founder and head of the premier anti-religion organization in the country, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State -- or United Separators, as I call them for short. Up on their website, the United Separators have come out swinging against Judge John. G. Roberts, who the president named as his nominee to the Supreme Court a couple of days ago. In "Senate Should Reject Confirmation Of John G. Roberts To Supreme Court, Says Americans United," an unsigned article posted yesterday, founder and chief anti-religion guru Barry Lynn draws his line in the sand (hat tip to Michael Medved, who mentioned this on his radio show today): John Roberts has long been a faithful soldier in the right wings war on the Bill of Rights, said Barry W....

Continue reading "Dafydd: A Pro-Christian Jewish Agnostic Speaks Out" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Guess Who Wrote This?

It's time to play, "Guess The Author!", with your host, CQ. Here's how we play. I will give a quote about the Plame/Rove leak investigation, and readers have to guess who wrote it and when. The prize for guessing correctly -- well, lording it over your neighbors, feeling good, and so on. (Hey, this isn't Bob Barker, mm-kay?) Anyway, here's the quote, courtesy of CQ reader Andrew X: At the threshold, an agent whose identity has been revealed must truly be "covert" for there to be a violation of the Act. To the average observer, much less to the professional intelligence operative, Plame was not given the "deep cover" required of a covert agent. ... She worked at a desk job at CIA headquarters, where she could be seen traveling to and from, and active, at Langley. She had been residing in Washington -- not stationed abroad for a number...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Goldberg Goes For Number Nine

Bernard Goldberg appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, which for conspiracy theorists makes his ninth appearance on Fox since the release of his book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37). Bill O'Reilly and Goldberg mostly appeared amused at the debacle, with O'Reilly wondering why Goldberg bothered to appear on Donny Deutsch's show in the first place. Apparently, its overnight Nielsen rating was a whopping 0.1, or around 70,000 -- and that after this blog and others "promoting" Goldberg's appearance for 30 hours or so. Goldberg's tongue-in-cheek response: "Well ... it seemed like a good idea at the time." The tone remained light throughout the interview; when the satellite feed dropped out for a few seconds, both joked about Deutsch pulling the plug. Not as funny, though, was Goldberg's revelation that the Deutsch show edited down the segment. The show's 30-minute run time last night (when...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 22, 2005

Shooting In The Tube

After the second series of bombings in as many weeks in London's transport systems yesterday, police have tightened security to avoid another attack. This morning, that heightened scrutiny resulted in the death of an "Asian" man on the Tube when he tried to board a train despite a police warning to stop: Chris Wells, a 28-year-old company manager, said he was travelling on the Victoria Line towards Vauxhall when he left the train at Stockwell. He saw about 20 police officers, some of them armed, rushing into the station before a man jumped over the barriers with police giving chase. He said: "There were at least 20 of them [officers] and they were carrying big black guns. "The next thing I saw was this guy jump over the barriers and the police officers were chasing after him and everyone was just shouting 'get out, get out"'. ... Witness Mark Whitby,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

SchumerTo Use Estradification Ploy

Senator Chuck Schumer has decided to continue his quest for obstructionism in the John Roberts confirmation process despite the tentative endorsements of centrist Democrats of George Bush's SCOTUS nominee. He plans to pursue the same kind of documents that the Bush administration and former White House counsels of both parties said were inappropriate for release during the aborted Miguel Estrada confirmation: Democrats said yesterday they will demand that the Bush administration hand over internal legal memorandums written by Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. while he was a government lawyer -- something the White House has refused to do in the past. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said he broached the topic during a meeting yesterday with Judge Roberts, who replied that any decision about his writings as deputy solicitor general would be made by the White House. Republicans on Capitol Hill said the request is not...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Zarqawi Continues To Alienate Muslims

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi continued his strange new strategy of alienating Muslims by kidnapping yet another diplomatic envoy to Iraq. This time, terrorists captured the Algerian charges d'affaires nearby his embassy in an ambush: Algeria's top diplomat in Iraq was abducted Thursday by masked gunmen, witnesses said, nearly three weeks after the group called al Qaeda in Iraq kidnapped and killed an Egyptian envoy and threatened to seize more diplomats. Ali Belaroussi, the charg d'affaires at the Algerian Embassy, was accosted by gunmen about 100 yards from the embassy in the west Baghdad neighborhood of Mansour and forced into the back of a car, according to witnesses. One witness said a bodyguard was abducted along with Belaroussi; another said that only the envoy was seized. ... Because Algeria has not posted an ambassador to Iraq, Belaroussi is chief of his country's diplomatic mission here. No Arab country has sent an ambassador...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Let Me Revise -- Attack The Wife And The Kids

Yesterday I wrote that when opponents of the Bush administration couldn't find anything nasty to say about SCOTUS nominee John Roberts, the Los Angeles Times decided to attack his wife and her devout Catholocism instead. That looks positively Churchillian next to the fashion-police anklebiting coming from the Washington Post's style section, in which "reporter" Robin Givhan makes fun of the kids as well as the wife: It has been a long time since so much syrupy nostalgia has been in evidence at the White House. But Tuesday night, when President Bush announced his choice for the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, it was hard not to marvel at the 1950s-style tableau vivant that was John Roberts and his family. There they were -- John, Jane, Josie and Jack -- standing with the president and before the entire country. The nominee was in a sober suit with the expected...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Returning From Obscurity To Issue Inanities

Since the announcement of John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court, some pundits have grumbled about the fact that a white male has replaced the nation's first female justice. Of course, pundits get paid to grumble. Unfortunately, we have some sailing in from the waters of obscurity to claim another 15 minutes of fame -- and none less welcome to a Supreme Court confirmation process than the woman who attempted to scuttle one fourteen years ago. Anita Hill writes about her disappointment that George Bush didn't limit his search to minorities and women: As Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe wrote, Roberts' career reads like "a 1950s Boys' Life primer on how to prepare for the Supreme Court." But was John Roberts chosen because he's the best choice for the court or because he may easily be confirmed? And why not choose a woman to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Rallies For Oppression Shockingly Disappoint

Islamists in Pakistan called for massive rallies against the Pervez Musharraf government after it rounded up hundreds of suspected terrorists while investigating the London bombings. The grassroots effort to support Taliban-style tyranny fell somewhat short of expectations: An Islamist call for nationwide protests in Pakistan against a crackdown on militants after the July 7 London bombings fell flat on Friday with rallies in big cities failing to attract more than a few hundred people. ... Up to 700 Islamists, most of them teenagers or in their 20s, chanted anti-Musharraf and anti-U.S. slogans at Islamabad's Lal or Red Mosque, which was raided by security forces searching for militants on Tuesday. Some shouted slogans in support of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan's fundamentalist Taliban government, which was overthrown by U.S.-led forces after the al Qaeda attacks on U.S. cities on Sept. 11, 2001. The protesters pelted a police post...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 23, 2005

The Canadian Underground

Earlier this week, Canadian invesigators found a tunnel that runs under the border between British Columbia and Washington that ran drugs and guns between the two countries. American officials say that while they have uncovered more than 30 such tunnels between the US and Mexico, the BC-Washington tunnel is the first on our northern border, and one of the most sophisticated they've seen: The smugglers spent more than a year building the 360-foot (110-meter) tunnel that ran from a Quonset hut-style storage building in the rural Aldergrove neighborhood of Langley, British Columbia, to the living room of a home in Lynden, Washington, U.S. and Canadian investigators said. "It was well built, probably one of the most sophisticated tunnels we've ever seen," said Rod Benson, an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. "There was a significant drug trafficking organization that was responsible for the construction." Video supplied by investigators showed...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

AQ Kills Muslims In Egypt, Belies Iraq As Cause

Al-Qaeda took responsibility for the horrendous coordinated series of bombings in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday, killing 83 and wounding hundreds. The suicide car-bomb attacks targeted Egypt's tourist business, which hoped to recover from the Luxor bombings in 1997 and a series of attacks last year: The attacks dealt a fresh blow to the tourism industry so crucial to Egypt's economy, which was still recovering from the fallout of last year's bombings. There have also been several attacks in tourist areas in Cairo in recent months, as Egypt prepares for its first multi-candidate presidential election in September. The Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Levant and Egypt said it carried out the multiple bombings as a "response against the global evil powers which are spilling the blood of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya." Where has Egypt stationed its soldiers in any of these areas? Nowhere. Why does AQ want...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Sometimes And Whenever

Fox News reports this morning on a trend in weddings that not only demonstrates the slide away from commitment in our culture, but the erosion of confidence in what used to provide the apex of optimism in the confluence of private and community living. Instead of vowing to remain together "until death do us part," nuptials now include such tenuous promises as "until our time together is over": Vows like "For as long as we continue to love each other," "For as long as our love shall last" and "Until our time together is over" are increasingly replacing the traditional to-the-grave vow a switch that some call realistic and others call a recipe for failure. "We're hearing that a lot 'as long as our love shall last.' I personally think it's quite a statement on today's times people know the odds of divorce," said New Jersey wedding...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Collateral Damage

At first blush, the news reports from Britain indicated that special operations forces had averted another suicide bombing in the London subway system when they shot and killed a suspect who gate-crashed and attempted to escape on the Tube. The man had ignored several commands to stop and cooperate, and instead headed for the same system that had recently seen two coordinated attacks. When police stopped him, they immediately killed him to stop the suspect from blowing up the train, themselves, and surrounding Londoners. They had every reason to believe that they had saved dozens of lives. Every reason, until they discovered he had no bomb: Scotland Yard admitted Saturday that a man police officers gunned down at point-blank range in front of horrified subway passengers on Friday had nothing to do with the investigation into the bombing attacks here. The man was identified by police as Jean Charles de...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 24, 2005

The Left Ignores North Korean Tyranny

Nicholas Kristof discovers today that the Right actually gets it right regarding North Korean tyranny and says so in the New York Times. Unfortunately, the advice he gives the Left to address the problem gets it all wrong. Kristof starts out by scolding the Left for ignoring the problem altogether: Liberals took the lead in championing human rights abroad in the 1970's, while conservatives mocked the idea. But these days liberals should be embarrassed that it's the Christian Right that is taking the lead in spotlighting repression in North Korea. ... "The biggest scandal in progressive politics," Tony Blair told The New Yorker this year, "is that you do not have people with placards out in the street on North Korea. I mean, that is a disgusting regime. The people are kept in a form of slavery, 23 million of them, and no one protests!" Actually, some people do protest....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Word War III

All right, I confess: being a math geek, I actually love polls to death. I love nearly everything about them... especially the game of taking some tendentious poll and trying to tease out what's really going on beneath all the thud & blunder. And boy, did I run across a doozy yesterday! How's this for a headline? Poll: Americans Say World War III Likely by Will Lester AP Jul 23, 2005, 4:01 PM (ET) WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans are far more likely than the Japanese to expect another world war in their lifetime, according to AP-Kyodo polling 60 years after World War II ended. Most people in both countries believe the first use of a nuclear weapon is never justified. What caught my eye like a free-swinging fish hook [eeew] was the comparison between Japanese and Americans. Why such a huge difference? Six in 10 Americans said they think such...

Continue reading "Dafydd: Word War III" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Alliance Of People For Dishonesty

Dana Milbank highlights the laughable notion that People For the American Way and Alliance for Justice have not taken an official position on the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Titling his vignette "Profiles in Courage," Milbank skewers their silly denials of opposition behind their obvious antagonism towards any Republican nomination: The liberal group People for the American Way has many things to say about President Bush's choice for the Supreme Court, John G. Roberts Jr. It calls his record "disturbing" and says he is "hostile to women's reproductive freedom" and "detrimental" to free speech. It has "serious concerns about his ideology" and says he "falls far short of demonstrating the commitment to fundamental civil and constitutional rights that should be shown by a Supreme Court nominee." So the organization, it is fair to say, has a position in opposition to Roberts? "No, we don't," says Ralph Neas,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Back To The Encounter

I will be spending the day helping to facilitate a Marriage Encounter weekend. As I posted yesterday, we have worked with this marvelous nonprofit support organization to help bolster marriage for over five years now -- and we're really the new kids on the block. Most of the people who volunteer at Twin Cities Marriage Encounter have worked for ME for ten, fifteen, twenty years or more. In fact, I suspect that's how we became the President Couple; the others have already done their share in leadership ... and probably because we're gullible enough to agree to it! I'll be back to blogging later, but be sure to check out Michelle Malkin, QandO, The Anchoress, bRight and Early, Gay Patriot (who just got back to blogging), Anti Media, Mac's Mind, and the great bloggers on my blogroll. And if you'd like to contribute to the effort to help create stronger...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Key Democratic Pillar Crumbles

One of the key political pillars of the Democratic Party has crumbled. Labor has split, perhaps permanently, over the role of politics in the union movement, and the largest unions have voted to leave the AFL-CIO: The four unions, representing nearly one-third of the AFL-CIO's 13 million members, announced Sunday they would boycott the federation's convention that begins Monday. They are part of the Coalition to Win, a group of seven unions vowing to reform the labor movement outside the AFL-CIO if necessary. The Service Employees International Union, with 1.8 million members, plans to announce Monday that it is leaving the AFL-CIO, said several labor officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the developments. The Teamsters union also was on the verge of disaffiliating, and would likely to be the first to follow SEIU's lead, the officials said. Two other boycotting unions...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Souter's Neighbors Not Entirely Unsympathetic To New Hotel

Not long ago, after Supreme Court Justice David Souter supported the seizure of private property in the Kelo decision, a collection of activists decided to take Souter at his word and exercise eminent domain on his house in Weare, New Hampshire in order to build a hotel. Freestar Media wanted to bring the foolishness of Kelo to Souter's doorstep -- literally. And despite Souter's popularity among his fellow New Hampshire citizens, they have surprisingly looked at Freestar's efforts with understanding, if not outright support: People from across the country are joining a campaign to seize Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter's farmhouse to build a luxury hotel, according to the man who suggested it after Souter joined the majority that sided with New London, Conn., in a decision favoring government seizure of private property. "We would act just as these cities have been acting in seizing properties. We would give...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 25, 2005

Roberts Papers Will Not Get Extorted

The Bush administration made clear that it will not surrender to nor tolerate an attempt to Estradify the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Despite calls from a few Democratic Senators this weekend, the White House will not release privileged communications between Roberts and the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations: The refusal sets up a showdown between the White House and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who have said they want to see some of the documents from the time when Judge Roberts worked for previous Republican administrations. Specifically, Mr. Gonzales said the White House does not want to reveal any documents that are subject to attorney-client privilege. Doing so, he said, would "just chill communications between line attorneys and their superiors within the Department of Justice." Some documents, however, might fall outside the privilege and will be handed over on a "case-by-case" basis, said Mr. Gonzales,...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Leftist Vandals Attack Family Of Slain Soldier

The family of a soldier killed in Iraq and just buried less than 24 hours earlier awoke the next morning to a fire in their driveway, which totaled the car of the soldier's sister-in-law. The arsonist(s) set the fire with 20 American flags that the family displayed yard, given to them by mourners at the soldier's funeral: American flags, lining the lawn of the mother- and father-in-law of fallen U.S. Army Pfc. Timothy Hines Jr., were heaped in a pile early Saturday and burned under a car parked in front of the home - less than 24 hours after Hines was buried in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery. ... The flames totaled Sara Wessel's car. Sara is Hines' sister-in-law and Jim Wessel's oldest daughter. She had been staying at the house on Sando Drive since the family returned last week from Washington, D.C., where they were visiting Hines at Walter Reed...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

More Hate-Crime Stupidity

The AP, in today's Washington Post, reports on racial disturbances in Buffalo, NY, which have resulted in an inconsistent application of hate-crime charges. Gang wars in two difference neighborhoods prompted differing reactions from Buffalo law-enforcement officials: Five black teenagers are accused of roaming through a city neighborhood late Friday, shouting racially charged threats and, after an exchange of words, stabbing three young white men in a fight. The five were charged with second-degree gang assault. A week earlier, five white men in another neighborhood were charged with attacking a black man with a baseball bat and shouting racial epithets. They were charged with assault as a hate crime. This points out one of the follies of hate-crime legislation. Here we have two similar incidents, involving similar motivations, and yet we have one group charged with hate crimes and another with just assualt. Both groups went out of their way to...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Spammers Use Blogger

I have to temporarily block blogspot.com URLs because Blogger sites have begun spamming my trackbacks. Using a number of different sites, Blogger spam has flooded my site this morning. At first, I tried blocking the specific site URLs, but apparently Blogger has allowed a number of commercial sites to spam other bloggers. Until they fix their problem and block access to spammers, I have to keep the block on CQ. If your blog is part of the Blogger community, you may want to write Google (Blogger's owner) and tell them to clean up their act. UPDATE: I've taken the block off for the moment. It did manage to stop over 50 trackback spams during the day today....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Why India?

In a little-noticed blurb in yesterday's London Times, India sentenced an al-Qaeda operative for his participation in the 9/11 attacks. Mohammed Afroze got seven years for plotting attacks overseas on 9/11 to coincide with the attacks on America. However, Afroze's choice of targets certainly bears review, as Melanie Phillips and RattlerGator point out: AN INDIAN man was jailed in Bombay yesterday for plotting to fly passenger jets into the House of Commons and Tower Bridge in London on September 11, 2001. Mohammed Afroze was sentenced to seven years after he admitted that he had a role in an al-Qaeda plot to attack London, the Rialto Towers building in Melbourne and the Indian Parliament. ... Afroze admitted that he and seven al-Qaeda operatives planned to hijack aircraft at Heathrow and fly them into the two London landmarks. The suicide squad included men from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Afroze said. They booked...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

'Army People Are Respected'

The London Telegraph published a fascinating look at the Iraqis who defy the suicide bombers to serve their nascent democratic republic in the security services. Despite the targeting of recruiting offices, Iraqis still have enlisted in droves to oppose the Islamofascist lunatics that threaten to start a civil war: The young men and handful of women in the queues say they are as keen for the private's salary of $400 a month as they are to serve their country to rid it off insurgents. There are others who have had friends and relatives among the estimated 25,000 civilians killed over the past two years. Some also believe that the only way to get an American withdrawal from Iraq is to build a secure and substantial security force. But all have an air of defiance, and in some of the fresh recruits there is a hint of gratitude for just making...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Gray Lady Impersonates Kos

The New York Times published a rather offensive opinion piece by Standford history professor David M. Kennedy today, in which he describes our military as "mercenaries" and decries the dangers of the volunteer armed services: THE United States now has a mercenary army. To be sure, our soldiers are hired from within the citizenry, unlike the hated Hessians whom George III recruited to fight against the American Revolutionaries. But like those Hessians, today's volunteers sign up for some mighty dangerous work largely for wages and benefits - a compensation package that may not always be commensurate with the dangers in store, as current recruiting problems testify. Those who sign up for the wages and benefits must find it somewhat disappointing, as neither matches what one can receive with an above-average public-school education. Ask our military families how good they have it on those oh-so-attractive wages and benefits. A private makes...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Ten Million Strong ... And Growing

I noticed earlier today that Captain's Quarters has passed the ten million visitor mark this morning! Big thanks to all who have made this possible -- the CQ community most of all. No one does this without lots of help. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has sent plenty of his readers in this direction, as has Lucianne Goldberg. I've been blessed with great friends in the blogosphere like my pals at the Northern Alliance: Mitch, King, the Fraters Libertas gang, and Power Line, where John, Scott, and Paul gave me a lot of encouragement in my early days, as well as inspiration. Michelle Malkin has been a wonderful friend and colleague. Jon at QandO and I started out together and he kept me going with lots of encouragement. Alicia at the Twilight Cafe started her blog the same night, and created the first CQ logo as a wonderful favor to me....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: The Tancredo Threat

I cannot believe that this controversy is still roiling within the blogosphere. The newest argument I've seen is that threatening to bomb or even "nuke" Mecca is just the same as MAD, the Cold-War strategy of threatening massive retaliation in response to a Soviet first-strike on the American homeland. But it's not. And there is a very good reason why it is not analogous. The reason that MAD, Mutual Assured Destruction, worked is that the Soviets were modernist dictators; they were a modern, industrial society run by atheists who believed that this life was the only life, and who were motivated not by a transcendent religion but rather by an ideology of absolute temporal power. They took seriously the threat to destroy their realm and kill the leaders themselves. Now, I realize it seems crazy to postulate a group that literally believes that the fastest way to paradise is to...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 26, 2005

Steyn: Don't Excuse London Police

Mark Steyn takes the London police to task in a surprising Telegraph column this morning for the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician who got shot eight times after running from plainclothes police in the London subway system. After watching various people -- such as myself -- come to the defense of London's special operations police, Steyn argues that we should not let them off the hook so easily: [W]e turn to Jean Charles de Menezes, the supposed "suicide bomber" who turned out to be a Brazilian electrician on his way to work. Unfortunately, by the time the Metropolitan Police figured that out, they'd put five bullets in his head. We're told we shouldn't second-guess split-second decisions that have to be made under great stress by those on the scene, which would be a more persuasive argument if the British constabulary didn't spend so much time doing...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Pointing To A Failed State

An independent study on the effectiveness of official Palestinian security forces show them to be understaffed, outgunned, ineffective and corrupt. The BBC reports on the unsurprising results, which the Dutch and Canadian governments funded, that point to the folly of granting sovereignty to the Palestinian Authority: The lack of equipment includes shortages of ammunition, of means of communication beyond mobile phones and of all-terrain vehicles. Other problems include the continuing power of personalities and clans, which often create alternative, informal chains of command and weaken the authority of the man in overall charge, Palestinian Authority Interior Minister Nasser Yousef. BBC Jerusalem correspondent Nick Thorpe says the problems are closely tied to the history of the conflict in recent years - the destruction of the Palestinian police infrastructure by the Israelis since the start of the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in 2000. Continuing attempts to streamline the forces are praised...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: ab Hugh's Universal Rules of Intelligence

Thinking about the terrible shooting of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, shot to death in London by police who mistook him for a suicide bomber, recalls some rules of intelligence and analysis that we should always keep in mind: 1. The Law of Imperfect Precognition: Sometimes there is no "right choice." Throw the dice. 2. The Law of Imperfect Postcognition: Not even hindsight is ever really 20-20. 3. The Law of Colliding Interests: Five different people can each make a rational decision and still wind up in a melee. 4. The Law of the Rational Onion: There is always another layer of analysis that contradicts everything you've already concluded. At some point, you just have to stop. 5. The Law of Models: There is a real reality out there, whether you can see it or not. And it bites....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Democrats Offer (Non) Social Security Option

The Washington Post says that the Democrats have prepared a counterproposal for Social Security reform intended on competing with that of the Republicans. However, after reading the report by Mike Allen, it sounds as if the Democrats want to reform Social Security by ignoring it altogether: House Democrats intend to propose a retirement-savings plan today that will be their first leadership-backed alternative to Republican plans for a broad retirement-security package, which includes changes to Social Security. The Democratic plan, called AmeriSave, would increase incentives for middle-class workers to participate in 401(k) retirement accounts and individual retirement accounts. It would also create tax credits for small businesses that set up retirement accounts for their employees. ... The AmeriSave announcement is designed to partially preempt Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), who plans to focus on retirement security in September. Bush had proposed adding individual accounts to Social Security for...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Iraq Issues Ultimatum To Syria

The new government of Iraq apparently feels sufficiently established to flex its muscle with one of its more intransigent neighbors. Clearly fed up with the uninterrupted flow of terrorists into the Sunni Triangle, the new Iraqi defense minister warned Syria that its interference in Iraq could create a volcano that would flow lava over Damascus: Iraq's defense minister criticized Syria on Tuesday for ignoring Iraqi demands "to stop the infiltration of terrorists." The official, Saadoun al-Dulaimi, singled out Iraq's western neighbor as among states that are slack on stopping the flow of militants into his country. "When the lava of the exploding volcano of Iraq overflows, it will first hit Damascus," al-Dulaimi warned during a news conference to discuss an upcoming nationwide security plan. He said militants are coming into Iraq from Syria via three routes, with the intent of targeting the Baghdad region. Syria claims that it is trying...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Roe Open For Reversal: AG Gonzales

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will likely create more controversy than the Bush administration wanted for the upcoming confirmation hearings of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. In an interview with the AP, Gonzales raised the possibility that Roe v. Wade could get reversed by a succeeding Supreme Court: The legal right to abortion is settled for lower courts, but the Supreme Court "is not obliged to follow" the Roe v. Wade precedent, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday as the Senate prepared to consider John Roberts' appointment that would put a new vote on the high court. In an interview with The Associated Press, Gonzales said a justice does not have to follow a previous ruling "if you believe it's wrong," a comment suggesting Roberts would not be bound by his past statement that the 1973 decision settled the issue. ... "If you're asking a circuit court judge, like Judge...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Egypt Got Tip On Bombing

The Scotsman reports tonight that Egyptian authorities had received a warning about the bombings at Sharm el-Sheikh that killed 88 people and injured hundreds more. Security officials misunderstood the intended target of the al-Qaeda terrorists, however, leaving the hotels unprepared for the attack: THE Egyptian authorities received information about an imminent terror attack in Sharm el-Sheik days ahead of the devastating weekend bombings, security officials revealed yesterday. But they believed it would target casinos, so security was increased around those sites, said two officials. ... The officials, who have knowledge of the investigation, would not say where the tip came from, but said security had been put on alert in the resort on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula several days before the pre-dawn attacks on Saturday. Instead of casinos, the bombers, in two explosives-laden lorries, targeted hotels just after 1am on Saturday morning. One ploughed into the Ghazala...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 27, 2005

Air America Took Money From Poor Kids & Alzheimer Patients

Radio Equalizer and Michelle Malkin have followed a scandal in New York that, given the involvement of the nationally-broadcast Air America, should have received national media attention by now. It turns out that the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Clubs almost had to shut its doors following a funding shortfall despite receiving a half-million dollars in grant money and much more in city contracts, getting rescued at the last moment by other independent groups. The $500K in grant money had been loaned out -- to Air America: The nonprofit Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club and its affiliate Pathways for Youth found their city contracts, running into the millions of dollars, abruptly ended last month by the city Department of Investigation. ... He said he and other elected officials are still in the dark over the exact nature of the probe. In its initial announcement, the DOI said it was...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

IRA To Renounce Violence

Eighty years after the founding of an independent Ireland and thirty-five years after the start of the Troubles in Ulster, the IRA will finally disavow violence and embrace electoral politics exclusively, according to an American businessman acting as a liaison between the IRA and the American government. The New York Times reports on this historic development, which may revive home rule in Northern Ireland if the IRA follows through: The Irish Republican Army has given up its armed struggle for a united Ireland, agreeing to turn solely to political methods, an American businessman said yesterday after being briefed on a statement expected from the guerrilla group later this week. The agreement, if borne out, would be a historic turning point in the violent history of Ireland and Northern Ireland. But there is still widespread official skepticism about I.R.A. promises, particularly when it comes to the issue of disarmament. Indeed, it...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

75,000 Isn't Enough

Have the Democrats settled on an Estradification of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts? It certainly appear so. The White House offered to release 75,000 pages of documents relating to Roberts and his tenure at the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations, but the Democrats don't find that number acceptable: "This in no way satisfies any potential document request," said one Democratic aide, generally reflecting the sentiments of Senate Democrats. "The White House has artfully made it look like they are saying yes to our requests, when they are actually saying no." Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote President Bush late yesterday saying they are "disappointed" in the decision to cut off access to "important and informative documents written" by Judge Roberts. Those documents, they said, may be necessary to "evaluate Judge Robert's judicial philosophy and legal reasoning." The White House has refused to release federal Judge Roberts' papers from his...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Independent? Really?

The AP reports on a Council on Foreign Relations analysis which takes George Bush to task for postwar planning. The report, which claims that the administration did not consider the extent of nation-building required after the "stunning" military victory over Saddam Hussein, had two interesting people in charge of the "independent" CFR project: An independent panel headed by two former U.S. national security advisers said Wednesday that chaos in Iraq was due in part to inadequate postwar planning. Planning for reconstruction should match the serious planning that goes into making war, said the panel headed by Samuel Berger and Brent Scowcroft. Berger was national security adviser to Democratic President Clinton. Scowcroft held the same post under Republican Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush but has been critical of the current president's Iraq and Mideast policies. CFR hired Brent Scowcroft as a sop to the GOP, of course, but anyone who...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

A Lack Of Commitment

My new Daily Standard column is up today, titled "Exit Strategies". It looks at the lack of commitment in evidence today in what used to be our most basic social model -- marriage -- and how that lack of commitment gets reflected in our politics. This started as a post last week ("Sometimes And Whenever") about the increasing popularity of vows that avoid lifetime commitments. We covered this topic on the Northern Alliance Radio Network last Saturday as well. We had a lot of fun trying to predict the next variation of marriage that would lower the commitment level even less than that of today. Some suggestions: * One-year contracts with mutual renewable options (sports fans would love these) * Pre-paid marriage cards -- if things are going well, just put some more time on them * Cell phone minutes -- sort of like the pre-paid cards, only you get...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Pincus Still Has Truth Issues

Walter Pincus extends his conflict of interest in covering Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame in today's Washington Post, continuing his role as a purveyor of misinformation. He and Jim VandeHei write that Patrick Fitzgerald has widened his investigation, but still hasn't come up with much: The special prosecutor in the CIA leak probe has interviewed a wider range of administration officials than was previously known, part of an effort to determine whether anyone broke laws during a White House effort two years ago to discredit allegations that President Bush used faulty intelligence to justify the Iraq war, according to several officials familiar with the case. Prosecutors have questioned former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials, and even a stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street. In doing so, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Stupid Republican Tricks

The Illinois GOP has ignored one of the cardinal rules of politics, which advises people to stay out of the way when their opponents have begun to self-destruct. Instead of allowing the federal investigations into Mayor Richard Daley's administration to continue as apolitically as possible, the Republicans may have transformed Daley from an albatross to a political martyr: The Cook County Republican Party is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an indictment and conviction of Mayor Richard M. Daley, whose administration has been buffeted by scandal. "The arrogance of Richard Daley is appalling," said Gary Skoien, chairman of the county party. "We hope this reward will inspire someone with critical knowledge to come forward." ... The reward follows last week's announcement by federal prosecutors that they had charged two City Hall officials with rigging the city's hiring system to get around a 1983 court order that bars officials...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Egypt Starts Looking Inward For Answers

The bombings at Sharm el-Sheikh appear to have had one remarkable result -- the Egyptians have stopped making excuses for terrorism. Even their official media now openly acknowledge that their culture has created the elements for terrorism to thrive, especially the autocratic nature of their government: Stunned by terror attacks in a Red Sea resort, Egyptians are in a remarkably frank debate about whether mosques and schools and the government itself should be blamed for promoting Islamic extremism. Even pro-government media say authorities have created a climate where young people are turning into radicals and suicide bombers. In a country more used to hearing general condemnations of terrorism, critics on Wednesday were angry and specific hammering at instances where they say the government allowed mosque preachers or state media to promote intolerance. ... "There is no use denying. ... We incited the crime of Sharm el-Sheik,"...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Stupid Republican Tricks II (Update from Captain Ed)

Today, the Failed Millennium Bomber was sentenced for his attempt to "bomb LAX" (Los Angeles International Airport), a terrorist act that if successful, would have probably killed hundreds of people. Ahmed Ressam was caught, as he drove off a ferry from British Columbia, by an alert Border Patrol agent, who found a "trunk full of bomb-making materials." As Hugh Hewitt said a few moments ago, "this guy is Mohammed Atta, except he missed!" So what did this chappie get for this attempted heinous attack? According to AP -- SEATTLE (AP) - The man convicted of plotting to blow up the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in prison. Ahmed Ressam got a lighter sentence than prosecutors had requested, reflecting his cooperation in telling international investigators about the workings of terror camps in Afghanistan. In fact, it's really not even twenty-two years:...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 28, 2005

Further Collapse Of AQ Bombing Cell

British investigators have now added nine more people to the list of those arrested after the botched bombings of July 21, where all four bombs failed to detonate properly and left a treasure trove of evidence for police. Police confirm that they have arrested 20 suspects, including one of the erstwhile bombers: Anti-terrorist officers arrested nine men in raids early Thursday in connection with the botched July 21 attacks on London's transit system, bringing to 20 the number of people police have in custody, including one of the alleged bombers. Scotland Yard police headquarters said the nine were arrested under the Terrorism Act at two properties in the neighborhood of Tooting, in south London. The arrests follow a significant breakthrough on Wednesday, when authorities in the central England city of Birmingham arrested one of the four men suspected of carrying out the failed attacks Yasin Hassan Omar, 24. He...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

The Latest Roberts Hysteria

The Miami Herald adds fuel to the hysteria on the Left generated by the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. The Herald reports that Roberts did significant background work for the Bush campaign in Florida during the recount melee -- and predictably, the Left has jumped all over it: U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played a broader behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election than previously reported -- as legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation's highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job. Ted Cruz, a domestic policy advisor for President Bush and who is now Texas' solicitor general, said Roberts was one of the first names he thought of while he and another attorney drafted the Republican legal dream team of litigation ''lions'' and ''800-pound gorillas,'' which ultimately consisted of...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Stop Me Before I Violate Godwin's Law!

Dick Durbin disgraced himself and the Senate by comparing our detention facility at Guantanamo Bay with the deathcamps of Auschwitz and the killing fields of Pol Pot, and the resulting chorus of derision should have warned anyone else from following suit. Some people cannot learn from experience, however. Today's violation of Godwin's Law comes from the Washington Post, with Richard Cohen giving us the worst of theatrical reviews and political analogies in a single column: I need to be very careful here, to say precisely what I mean and leave nothing to chance. I have just seen the play "Primo," which is performed by a single actor, Antony Sher, with material taken from Primo Levi's incomparable "If This Is a Man," the book that made the obscure Italian chemist an international literary sensation. It is an account of his time spent in Auschwitz. I could not help but think of...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Air America Dodges Responsibility

Brian at Radio Equalizer, who first broke the story on Air America's grasping of funds meant for poor children and Alzheimers patients, now posts the official response from the liberal talk-radio network on the scandal: "On MAY 24, 2004 the newly formed PIQUANT LLC acquired the principal assets of AIR AMERICA RADIO from the prior ownership entities. PIQUANT has owned and operated AIR AMERICA RADIO since that time. The company that had run AIR AMERICA RADIO till then no longer had anything to do with the network. "PIQUANT had no involvement whatsoever with funds from GLORIA WISE BOYS &GIRLS CLUB. PIQUANT neither received nor expended any of the sums that are the subject of the City's investigation of the CLUB. "PIQUANT is not being investigated by the City, which is investigating a transaction that took place before PIQUANT existed." Unfortunately for Piquant, when they bought Air America, they bought its...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Roberts No Activist, Says Senate Dem

I don't know which side will feel more relief with this development. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), one of the Gang of 14 and a highly-vulnerable red-state Democrat, says that John Roberts convinced him that he will not be an activist jurist after a personal interview earlier today: Supreme Court nominee John Roberts gave assurances he wouldn't be an activist if confirmed, a key Democrat who already was leaning toward supporting him said Thursday. "I don't see anything that's going to be disturbing" in his record, Sen. Ben Nelson told reporters after a 30-minute meeting with President Bush's choice to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the high court. Democrats have been pushing to review as many of Roberts' writings as possible, hoping to gain a better understanding of his personal views and the extent to which he might seek to inject them into his judicial rulings. "He said he would not...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

AQ Religious Firebrand Gets 75 Years

A New York court sentenced Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad to seventy-five years in prison for providing funds, arms, and assistance to al-Qaeda and Hamas. A jury convicted the sheikh despite one of the government witnesses setting himself on fire earlier this year in protest of what he felt was unfair treatment by the US government: A Yemeni cleric who claimed to have ties with Osama Bin Laden has been sentenced to 75 years in prison in New York. Sheikh Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad was convicted on charges of conspiring to support the al-Qaeda network and Palestinian militant group Hamas. At a meeting with two FBI informants in Germany, he was recorded promising to funnel more than $2m (1.1m) to Hamas. He was arrested by German police in January 2003 and extradited to the US. For each of five counts, Moayad received 15-year sentences, each to be served consecutively. Contrast this...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Was Menezes In Britain Illegally?

The shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, the man shot in the London Tube after fleeing pursuing plainclothes police, took a strange turn this afternoon. The British Home Office released a statement that his visa had expired, and that the indefinite-leave stamp entered into it di not match that used on the date shown: The student visa of Jean Charles de Menezes expired two years before he was shot by police, the Home Office says. Officials said they wished to end speculation over his immigration status but added it was "not intended" to influence any investigations. A passport stamp apparently giving him indefinite leave to remain "was not in use" on that date, added officials. Home Office officials quickly noted that they did not intend to make a judgment on the validity of the lethal force used in his capture. However, it does shed some light on why Menezes may...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: A Climate Pact Even I Can Applaud

This one caught me totally by surprise: China, India, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States (we led the effort) have just signed an international agreement, the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, to "keep climate-changing chemicals out of the atmosphere, especially carbon from fossil fuels." But rather than the Kyoto-Protocol method of setting target goals for emissions reductions that force de-industrialization among complying nations (of which there are actually very few among the Kyoto signers), this new pact aims to reduce emissions by jointly developing new pollutant-control technologies. (Power Line's John Hinderaker, the only "SuperLawyer" currently blogging in the 'sphere, is on the story.) In a move to counter the Kyoto Protocol that requires mandatory cuts in so-called greenhouse gas emissions, [President Bush] is making the technology pitch as part of a partnership with five Asian and Pacific nations, including China and India. The idea is...

Continue reading "Dafydd: A Climate Pact Even I Can Applaud" »

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Durbin Inspires Hatred Of America

When Dick Durbin got up on the floor of the Senate and compared the detention center at Guantanamo Bay with the Nazi deathcamps, the killing fields of Cambodia, and the Stalinist gulags, we warned that he had handed our enemies a huge propaganda victory. When Ted Kennedy blew up over the Abu Ghraib abuses and turned them into a prime-time spectacle, we warned that publicizing them so widely would enrage our enemies. We suspected that Al-Jazeera had already looped the speech and the pictures and might play them continuously whenever the news got too slow. Perhaps we should also have pointed out that other people might want to use it for their own propaganda purposes. The Moscow Times has taken Durbin's correlation of Gitmo to the gulag to heart and used it to deliver the strangest and most venomous media attack on the American government outside of the Arab press:...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Democrats Eat Crow Over Lame Duck Claims

After declaring George Bush a lame duck in the opening months of his second term, the media has had to backtrack after the last couple of weeks. Instead of being a lame duck and despite sagging poll numbers, two separate media analyses now acknowledge that Bush has done remarkably well in pushing his legislative agenda. The New York Times reports in tomorrow's edition that Congress continues to bend to his will: In a flurry of last-minute action as it prepared to recess, Congress on Thursday passed or stood at the brink of final action on several hard-fought measures that had been at the top of Mr. Bush's summer to-do list and that at times had seemed to be long shots. The House narrowly approved a new trade deal with Central American nations early on Thursday morning, the final hurdle for a pact that was one of the administration's top economic...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 29, 2005

Sloppy Work At State

John Bolton's nomination ran into another stumbling block yesterday when Senator Joe Biden asked Condoleezza Rice, seemingly out of the blue, to reaffirm Bolton's denial that he had been interviewed as part of any investigation for the past five years. At first this resulting in an unequivocal denial, but by the end of the day, the denial had transformed into a grudging admission: John R. Bolton, President Bush's nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, failed to tell the Senate during his confirmation hearings that he had been interviewed by the State Department's inspector general looking into how American intelligence agencies came to rely on fabricated reports that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Africa, the State Department said Thursday. Reacting to a letter from Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said Mr....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Disengagement From Reality

Today's Washington Post publishes a column from an Al-Jazeera reporter who got miffed that Israel denied her entry from Gaza so that she could attend a reception in the West Bank. After that experience, Laila el-Haddad tells us that Israel's pullout from Gaza amounts to nothing more than a plan to keep the West Bank under its thumb, and that Israel's protection of its borders is the biggest obstacle to peace in the region: I spent eight hours at Gaza's Erez border crossing with Israel last month, waiting for Israeli approval to attend a reception in the West Bank, only to be denied entry based on dubious "security reasons." I'm a Palestinian mother of a stir-crazy 16-month-old boy, a journalist and a Harvard graduate. I'm not sure exactly what's threatening about me, though my son might disagree, if he could sit still long enough to do so. Being Palestinian is...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Poland's Pressure Gets To Belarus

Poland has started to put pressure on the dictatorship running Belarus, attempting to use its deep cultural ties to lend moral support to a burgeoning democratization movement. In response, the Lukashenko regime has seized a building near their shared border that provided community services to the Polish minority in Belarus: A bitter row between Poland and Belarus over human rights, alleged espionage and democracy escalated yesterday when Belarussian police special forces stormed and seized a Polish community building near the country's border with Poland. The Polish government responded by withdrawing its ambassador from Minsk. The dispute between the two countries pits the authoritarian regime of Belarus's president, Alexander Lukashenko - dubbed Europe's last dictator - against Nato and EU member Poland, which is crusading for greater democracy in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Mr Lukashenko - fearful of the pro-democracy tumult that unseated regimes in Ukraine and Georgia...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Senate Democrats Demand Abortion Litmus Test

Six women from the Senate Democratic caucus demanded an answer from John Roberts as to whether he would overturn Roe v. Wade if such a case presented itself, and committed to opposing his nomination if he answered yes or refused to answer. Barbara Boxer led the press conference and said she would find it "impossible" to vote for Roberts: A group of female Democratic senators said yesterday that they will vote against Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. unless he vows to uphold abortion rights. ... "Thousands of women a year died in back alleys," Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, said of the days before Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established abortion rights. "For more than 20 years, Sandra Day O'Connor has been an important vote in upholding Roe v. Wade," she said. "Will Judge Roberts be that same important voice?" Senators Patty Murray, Barbara...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Shots And Explosions Heard In London Raid (Updates: Captures!)

Londoners have heard shots and explosions -- as many as six -- coming from a raid which British authorities say is connected to the July 21 bombing investigation: Officers carrying machine guns and wearing gas masks moved in and a loud explosion was reported in the Ladbroke Grove area. ... Witnesses said the police swooped at 11.30am and sealed off Tavistock Road and the adjoining crescent. Tavistock Road runs close to Westbourne Park Tube station where the man who attempted to blow himself up on a train near Shepherd's Bush on July 21 got on to the network. Agence France-Presse reports that the six explosions came from the Notting Hill region, apparently part of the same raid. Further details to follow ... UPDATE: Police arrested two women in a queue at a transport station in London, in "dramatic fashion," as the Telegraph puts it in its update. Fox News reported...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Air America Rethinks Its Position

The transfer of public funds earmarked for poor children and Alzheimers patients to Air America by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club board -- which included Air America founder Evan Cohen -- did not disappear into oblivion, as Piquant Media obviously hoped it would with its initial statement on Wednesday. Thanks to fine work and dogged pursuit by Brian Maloney and Michelle Malkin, Piquant has adjusted its tone ... somewhat: If the allegations of mismanagement and corruption at Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club are true, it is absolutely disgraceful. As reported in the Wall Street Journal and the HBO Documentary, Left of the Dial the company that the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club officials gave money to, Progress Media, has been defunct since May 2004. That company was run at the time by Evan Cohen who has not had any involvement in Air America Radio since May...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

An Odd Lesson In Ethics

Lawyers have a saying that warns, "Hard cases make bad law." The Miami Herald may need to adjust that for journalism after a bizarre set of circumstances led to the firing of star columnist Jim DeFede for supposedly violating the law and the ethical standards of the Herald. How did DeFede get axed? It all started with a call from his friend, who happened to commit suicide in the Herald's lobby shortly afterwards: It seemed like a throwback to "Miami Vice": an eccentric politician, recently accused of money laundering and soliciting male prostitutes, fatally shoots himself in the lobby of The Miami Herald after an anguished phone conversation with a star columnist. But the storyline grew even stranger on Thursday as employees of the newspaper reacted with outrage after learning that the columnist, Jim DeFede, had been fired for secretly taping his conversation with the distraught man - a possible...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

UN Undersecretary Scored Big Commercial Gains From OFF

The intrepid Claudia Rosett uncovers yet another sordid connection between United Nations executives and the corruption in the Oil-For-Food program. This time, she focuses on the former French ambassador to the UN Jean-Bernard Merimee, who served as Kofi Annan's special advisor during the OFF period with a rank of Undersecretary: The 68-year-old Merimee, one of several individuals now under investigation in France for alleged involvement in Saddam Husseins Oil-for-Food scams, is well known for his role in the early 1990s as French ambassador to the United Nations. What investigators have not so far highlighted is that during the period Merimee is alleged to have come into commercial contact with Saddams regime, starting in December 2001, he was working not for the French government, but as a special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. ... On these lists, the apparent mention of Jean-Bernard Merimee, transliterated from Arabic as Mr. Jan Mirami...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Armstrong Williams: Many Apologies, Light On Remorse

The Hill reports today that Armstrong Williams has positioned himself for a comeback after a disastrous fall from grace at the beginning of this year. When USA Today discovered that Williams had taken $241,000 to promote the No Child Left Behind program from the Department of Education without ever disclosing his relationship with the program, his credibility took a well-deserved beating. Williams lost his broadcast jobs and his syndicated column, and his business fortunes looked bleak. Now the Hill reports that Williams has rebuilt his column and landed a new radio show in New York. He feels good about his comeback and wants people to know that he learned from the experience. However, he holds a grudge against conservatives who joined in the fierce criticism of his actions: The 45-year-old commentator admitted he made a huge error in accepting Department of Education contracts to promote President Bushs No Child Left...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 30, 2005

Passing A Test In Uzbekistan

One of the most important military bases operated by the US sits in Uzbekistan, which borders on Afghanistan. It provides strategic access to the northern part of Afghanistan, with good roads to Mazar-i-Sharif, plus long runways for heavy-load military flights. It opened shortly after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington and has been considered essential to our operations. Unfortunately, that base will no longer remain in our control, as the Uzbeks have delivered an eviction notice to the US: Uzbekistan formally evicted the United States yesterday from a military base that has served as a hub for combat and humanitarian missions to Afghanistan since shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Pentagon and State Department officials said yesterday. In a highly unusual move, the notice of eviction from Karshi-Khanabad air base, known as K2, was delivered by a courier from the Uzbek Foreign Ministry to the U.S....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Energy Bill Caps Powerful Legislative Session For GOP

What a difference a few weeks make! Less than two months after the Washington Post wrote off the second Bush term as moribund and Bush himself as a lame duck, the Post now joins the New York Times and AP in recognizing that rumors of Bush's political death are just a wee bit premature: After years of partisan impasses and legislative failures, Congress in a matter of hours yesterday passed or advanced three far-reaching bills that will allocate billions of dollars and set new policies for guns, roads and energy. The measures sent to President Bush for his signature will grant $14.5 billion in tax breaks for energy-related matters and devote $286 billion to transportation programs, including 6,000 local projects, often called "pork barrel" spending. The Senate also passed a bill to protect firearms manufacturers and dealers from various lawsuits. The House is poised to pass it this fall. Combined...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Blowing The Federalist Society Question

Today's Washington Post reviews the issue of the possible membership of John Roberts in the Federalist Society and what it could mean for his Supreme Court Nomination. Mostly, however, Michael Fletcher attempts to explain what the Federalist Society is to a nation whose only knowledge of the group paints it as a murky, subversive, and secretive cabal -- an image the White House inadvertently underscored in the days after announcing Roberts' nomination: Launched 23 years ago by a group of conservative students who felt embattled by liberals on the campuses of some of the nation's most elite law schools, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies has grown into one of the nation's most influential legal organizations. The group claims more than 35,000 members, an increasing number of whom work in the highest councils of the federal government. Many Justice Department lawyers, White House attorneys, Supreme Court clerks...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Jimmy Insults American Military On Foreign Soil

At one time, people considered Jimmy Carter the most successful ex-president, building a far better reputation through his philanthropical work than he ever did in his single term in the White House. However, over the past ten to fifteen years, his meddling in foreign policy and continuous left-wing stridency has dimmed the luster of his charitable efforts. Despite being out of office at the time, he may wind up most responsible for North Korea having nuclear weapons. One would think that would give him a legacy unmatched in recent times. Today he did what most of us thought impossible -- he actually made his reputation worse. Carter took an opportunity to castigate the American military for its treatment of terrorist detainees while traveling overseas ona visit to our most strategic ally: Former President Carter said Saturday the detention of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval base was an embarrassment...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

July 31, 2005

Leftists Stage Backlash While Air America Admits Its Theft

Brian Maloney has the latest installment of the Air America disgrace that revealed the liberal radio netlet's misuse of government funds under founder Evan Cohen's direction. Leftist bloggers have begun their inevitable backlash defending Air America, calling the story "phony" and irrelevant to Air America by trying to distingush between AA and its original owner, Progress Media -- which only had the one asset and whose chief executive sat on the board of the non-profit it helped to bankrupt through this "loan". Well, the Left simply hasn't caught up to reality. Air America said in its second press release on this matter that it planned to pay back the money, a very strange thing to do if it didn't take it in the first place. As I pointed out yesterday, it's also a very convenient position to take -- considering that Gloria Wise has gone bankrupt and closed its doors....

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Rethinking Saint Colin

Today's Washington Post contains a glowing profile of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the changes she has made in the nation's foreign-policy arena. Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler note her many substantial and subtle changes at a department often seen as an obstacle to carrying out George Bush's foreign policy goals. In doing so, an undercurrent of unspoken criticism of Rice's predecessor seems apparent: Now six months on the job, Rice has clearly wrested control of U.S. foreign policy. The once heavy-handed Defense Department still weighs in, but Rice wins most battles -- in strong contrast to her predecessor, Colin L. Powell. White House staff is consulted, but Rice designed the distinctive framework for the administration's second-term foreign policy. In short order, she has demonstrated a willingness to bend on tactics to accommodate the concerns of allies without ceding on broad principles, what she calls "practical idealism." She also...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Scotsman: Sham Iranian President Heralds Military Junta Against Liberals

In a rare moment for European media, the Scotsman published a powerful article today about the "sham" election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iranian president and the effect it will have on liberating influences on the Islamic Republic. The first fruits of this election, swayed by an increasingly powerful Revolutionary Guard, showed themselves in the execution of political prisoners this week: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incoming Iranian "elected" president, will assume his post next month, but his presence is already felt in the political circles and on the streets of Tehran. Since his election, under the banner of a renewed Islamic revolution, the clerical regime hanged six people and sentenced another to death in the space of seven days. ... Indeed, the real story of this election is the metamorphosis of the Guards Corps from an ideological army to an omnipresent political/military powerhouse. With Ahmadinejad's win, the IRGC is now able to...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Roberts Papers Reveal The Conservative Within

Today's Washington Post editorial on John Roberts, "Young Lawyer Roberts", reviews the documentation released so far by the Bush White House on their Supreme Court Nominee -- and finds that (surprise!) Roberts will not transform into the second coming of David Souter. However, beyond branding Roberts as an unabashed conservative, the Post doesn't do much except excerpt passages from long-passed legal debates within the Reagan administration, passages that hardly show him as the reactionary that Democrats desperately want people to believe: While it's dangerous to make judgments based on a quick and necessarily spotty reading of quarter-century-old documents, the picture that emerges from the first wave of papers, including a huge batch unveiled from Judge Roberts's tenure as an adviser to President Ronald Reagan's attorney general, shows a lawyer fully in tune with the staunchly conservative legal views of the administration he was serving -- and indeed, at times to...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Mark Kennedy, Northern Alliance, And A Troll

The Northern Alliance broadcast yesterday from the first Patriot Picnic, a listener-appreciation event from AM 1280 The Patriot. John Hinderaker has already posted a couple of pictures from the event from his first-hour appearance. He had to leave to join his family for a vacation, but he did get a chance to listen while we -- lovingly -- skewered him for his partial defense of the Kelo decision. (John, we can tell you apart from Karl Marx and Fidel Castro, even if our listeners can't. You're the one without the beard.) As you might sense, we had a terrific time at Staring Lake Park yesterday for our live show, and we had a great crowd on hand. In our second hour, Rep. Mark Kennedy dropped in for an interview, and he sounded fit and ready to take on the Senate race to replace Mark Dayton next year. Kennedy gave our...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Conclusion Jumping At CQ

On July 25th, I wrote that leftist vandals piled flags from the yard of a family mourning the loss of a son-in-law who died serving his country in Iraq. An arsonist had piled all twenty flags adorning the yard of the Wessel home under their daughter's car and set them on fire, totaling the vehicle and narrowly avoiding setting their house on fire. I had assumed that only someone who wanted to stage a protest to the war would do something that stupid and dangerous to make a point. Well, I was wrong. It turned out to be pointless after all: Two teenage boys were charged Thursday with burning 20 small American flags set up in honor of a soldier who died from injuries suffered in the Iraq war. Police said the boys apparently did not know the significance of the flags they took from the yard and set afire...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Iran Calls Europe's Hand

The mullahs of Iran moved today to push the nuclear nonproliferation talks into further crisis after a unilateral deadline they set for a European proposal expired. Iran announced that they will once again begin processing uranium ore, a step that likely will bring an end to the EU-3's efforts to reach accommodation with Teheran: Iran has announced it will resume its controversial nuclear programme imminently in the face of a European Union appeal to wait for talks. Officials said they would inform UN nuclear inspectors of the move on Monday and then begin converting raw uranium at a plant in Isfahan. The UK, which is leading EU attempts to negotiate a compromise, said the move would make further talks difficult. In fact, diplomats tell the BBC that offering any new proposals while Iran processes uranium will be pointless, and they expect Europe to defer to the IAEA instead. That will...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

Dafydd: Flipper the Duck

Patterico has noticed an astonishing claim by Howard Dean -- no, I mean astonishing even on the Dean Scale -- a few days ago (I can't find the exact date). Here comes Mr. Chairman: The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is "okay" to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is. Let us all ponder this audacious argument. My old dictionary defines "chutzpah" as Lizzie Borden pleading for mercy from the judge on grounds that she's an orphan. But next year's edition will eschew written examples in favor of a photo of Chairman Dean. What Dean has done, of course, is simply to flip the political identity of the justices on the Court; in Dean's world, it was the "right-wing" caucus on the Court -- Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, and Kennedy -- that ruled in favor of the...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »

London Arrests Seven More As Bombing Cell Collapses

British investigators captured another seven suspects in a raid earlier today connected to the July 21 bombing attempts. Even though Britain and Italy feel that they have all four would-be bombers in custody, they continue to raid locations and make arrests, indicating that their earlier captures may have resulted in a wealth of new intelligence: Police arrested seven people Sunday during a raid on an apartment in southern England, bringing to 21 the number in custody in the relentless hunt for accomplices in the failed July 21 transit bombings. Investigators determined to prevent further attacks also were probing possible ties between two of the bombing suspects and Saudi Arabia, British newspapers reported. Police were searching for anyone who may have recruited and directed the attackers and built the explosives. Police arrested the six men and one woman during a search of two buildings in Brighton, on the southern coast, said...

« June 2005 | August 2005 »