31 October 2003

THIS JUST IN: Conservatives use language to dominate politics

[source, source, source]

Framing the issues: UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff tells how conservatives use language to dominate politics

BERKELEY – With Republicans controlling the Senate, the House, and the White House and enjoying a large margin of victory for California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s clear that the Democratic Party is in crisis. George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley professor of linguistics and cognitive science, thinks he knows why. Conservatives have spent decades defining their ideas, carefully choosing the language with which to present them, and building an infrastructure to communicate them, says Lakoff.

I can just see the Democratic Party members slapping themselves in the head and saying

Use language to communicate! Jeebus, it’s so obvious now! Thanks, Professor! Oh, and Tom - tell the mimes that they’re outta here.

The only real question is, why didn’t the VRWC oppressively silence this guy before he revealed such a deep secret?

Posted by orbital at 4:42 PM | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Big Media credibility watch

Lots of Big Media badness today:

Carol Williams’ 10/25 story draws an analogy to the invasion of Iraq—does its best to leave the impression that the 1983 American takeover may have been responsible for the death of charismatic leftist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Williams’ piece does note that “hard -line Marxist rivals” deposed Bishop before the invasion. But then it says that “he and his allies were killed six days later” and adds vaguely that “grave doubts remain about who ordered and conducted the executions.” The photo caption in the print edition actually says “Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and others were killed in October 1983, after the U.S. invaded.” [Emphasis added.] …

In fact, Bishop is universally reported to have been killed on October 19, 1983, five days after the internal coup against him but six days before the U.S. invaded on October 25. As for who killed Bishop, does Williams have any evidence that disputes the conventional account, accepted on the left and right and backed by witnesses, that Bishop was killed by Grenadan soldiers serving a hard-line faction of Bishop’s own leftist New Jewel movement—the crime for which Bishop’s New Jewel rival Bernard Coard has been convicted and imprisoned? All Williams offers to support the “grave doubts” about this basic account is the statement of … Bernard Coard, who “intimated” to her in a prison interview that “the executions were the work of two Grenadian quislings of the CIA.”

Has the LA Times simply abandoned the practice of obtaining facts in order to write news reports?

Posted by orbital at 1:25 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

30 October 2003

Supreme Court Justice O'Connor sez "Oath? Constitution? I don't remember any of that!"

[source, source]

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor predicts that the U.S. Supreme Court will increasingly base its decisions on international law rather than the U.S. Constitution, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

By doing so, the court will make a good impression among people from other countries, she said.

“The impressions we create in this world are important and they can leave their mark,” Justice O’Connor said.

On the whole, the U.S. judicial system leaves a favorable impression around the world, she said “but when it comes to the impression created by the treatment of foreign and international law and the United States court, the jury is still out.”

The 73-year-old justice made her remarks at a dinner in Atlanta sponsored by the Southern Center for International Studies.

The first cited case was decided in 2002 when the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded, she said. In arriving at that decision, Justice O’Connor said, the high court noted that the world community overwhelmingly disapproved of the practice.

Also influential was a court brief filed by American diplomats who discussed the difficulties confronted in their foreign missions due to U.S. death-penalty practices, she said.

The second ruling cited by Justice O’Connor was the striking down of the Texas antisodomy law, relying partly on a series of decisions by European courts on the same issue.

“I suspect,” Justice O’Connor said, “that over time we will rely increasingly — or take notice, at least — increasingly on international and foreign courts in examining domestic issues.”

I’d express my opinion on this but I don’t like to use profanity. O’Connor is deciding US Supreme Court cases based on making EU-lite intellectual poofs happy?

WHAT ABOUT YOUR XXXXING OATH TO UPHOLD THE US CONSTITUTION AS THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND? Or is it that international opinion frowns on taking that kind of thing seriously?

So now two of the nine on the Supreme Court no longer regard the US Constitution, even in its “living” form, as the final word.

Posted by orbital at 2:31 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Oh Canada!


Last week, Canadians were outraged!!! to discover Sony was producing a PlayStation game in which violent Quebec separatists were the villains. One separatist Quebec MP, who presumably managed to contain her outrage when Jacques Parizeau blamed the “ethnic vote” for helping federalists win the 1995 referendum, declared the game “hate propaganda”. Sony ultimately agreed to change the game, and everyone relaxed, now that the people who want to break up Canada weren’t offended anymore.

This week, police in Montreal arrested seven separatist radicals who had homemade bombs in their car:

Seven arrests, the discovery of explosive devices, and anti-English graffiti in communities that want to break away for Montreal have some people in the city on edge. […]

The letters FLQ, which stands for Front de liberation du Quebec, were also spray-painted onto the building. The separatist terrorist organization was responsible for the murder of provincial cabinet minister Pierre Laporte back in October 1970. […]

Police said they know very little about the group, but they are linked to convicted FLQ terrorist Raymond Villeneuve.

The 54-year-old Villeneuve is now the leader of the Mouvement de libération nationale du Québec (MLNQ).

In an interview with CFCF news, Villeneuve compared the plight of Quebec nationalists to that of the Palestinians and warned the violence could soon escalate.

“There is no limit. The Algerians, the Palestinians, they kill themselves because they are occupied,” Villeneuve said.

But, you know, it’s wrong to put this kind of thing in a video game and give people the impression that there are violent Qebecois separatists.

Posted by orbital at 9:36 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Noam Chomsky, scum

[source, source]
Noam Chomsky, attending an academic conference, said the United States needs to “conjure up another imminent threat” to make up for their “failure” to occupy Iraq. The conference in question was held in Havana, and Castro himself attended Chomsky’s lecture. […] But don’t worry, human-rights activists: he assured his audience that the jailing of 75 Cuban dissidents was “a mistake”. Whatta guy.
If the incarceration of the Cuban dissidents really was a mistake, why didn’t Chomsky ask Castro, who was in the audience, to correct it? Don’t count on any Chomsky cultist to wonder about that.
Posted by orbital at 8:56 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

No Turkish troops in Iraq


The debate over whether Turkey is to deploy troops in Iraq as part of a US lead stability force is closed, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Wednesday night.

[…] even though the Turkish parliament voted to authorise the government to send troops […] in the past week, Washington has backed off from its request for Turkey to send up to 10,000 troops to Iraq to serve as peace keepers due to increasing opposition from Iraqi leaders.

This was a contentious issue in the blogosphere as well, as to whether the symbolism of a Muslim majority state sending troops was worth the inevitable friction between Iraqis (particularly Kurds) and the Turks.

Posted by orbital at 7:33 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Big Media credibility watch


President Bush on how the reconstruction of Iraq would be easy after the invasion:

We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We’re bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We’re pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We’ve begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We’re helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people. The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done.

Speech on the USS Lincoln after the invasion

The work ahead is demanding. It will be difficult to help freedom take hold in a country that has known three decades of dictatorship, secret police, internal divisions, and war. It will be difficult to cultivate liberty and peace in the Middle East, after so many generations of strife. Yet, the security of our nation and the hope of millions depend on us, and Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard. We have met great tests in other times, and we will meet the tests of our time.

26 Feb 2003

Our victory in Iraq is certain, but it is not complete. Centralized power of the dictator has ended — yet, in parts of Iraq, desperate and dangerous elements remain. Forces of our coalition will engage these enemies until they surrender or until they’re destroyed. We have waged this war with determination and with clarity of purpose. And we will see it through until the job is done. As we press on to liberate every corner of Iraq, we are beginning the difficult work of helping Iraqis to build a free and stable country.

15 Apr 2003

American and coalition forces still face serious risks in Iraq. Scattered enemy is still capable of doing harm to our forces and to the innocent. But we’ll stay focused. We will finish what we’ve begun. We will press on until our mission is finished and victory is complete… With all the hardships of this transition, the lives of the Iraqi people will be better than anything they have known for generations. The journey from a totalitarian, brutal dictatorship to a free society is not easy. It will take time to build the institutions of democracy and the habits of freedom.

16 Apr 2003

Based on this, I expect a standard meme for Big Media will be that Bush “lied” about how easy the reconstruction would be.

Posted by orbital at 7:27 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Devious or just clueless?


[US Senators] Roberts and Rockefeller, who have been waiting for information that they said “was to have been provided five months ago,” also took offense at another part of Tenet’s Friday letter that said there was “additional material” still to be supplied to the panel. “The committee has been patient,” the senators wrote yesterday, “but we need immediate access to this information.”

If you’re a rogue agency, feuding semi-openly with the Executive Branch, it doesn’t seem very smart to piss off the Senate in a bi-partisan fashion.

Posted by orbital at 7:18 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

29 October 2003

Big Media Quote Watch

This one [Dowd Award] goes to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for deliberately mangling a quote from Congressman George Nethercutt. He’d just returned from a tour of Iraq and, like so many others, reported a much more optimistic scenario than many in the media have been reporting. He gave a talk in which he said,

“So the story is better than we might be led to believe - I’m - just - indicting the news people - but it’s a bigger and better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day which, which, heaven forbid, is awful.”

The Seattle P-I chopped off the quote so that it said in its subhead: “It’s a better … story than losing a couple of soldiers every day.” They added in their own words: “He added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed.” But that is not an accurate rendition of the full quote. It’s a device to protect themselves in what is clearly a hit-job. Nethercutt complained

“I requested that the Post-Intelligencer correct the record. They refused. And they even refused to at least run my full quote. But the P-I didn’t stop there. They then wrote an editorial condemning me, repeated the quote they had deliberately distorted, and put my ‘quote’ next to the name of one of our fallen soldiers. To do so was completely heartless.”

But not unexpected. Here’s how the Seattle P-I responded:

“It’s a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day,” the would-be senator gaffed at a gathering Monday. The family of Pfc. Kerry Scott of Concrete, who buried their young hero Tuesday, likely would not share Nethercutt’s news judgment.

Charming, huh? What they implied with their first story is now explicit in their editorial: that Nethercutt doesn’t give a damn about the military casualties that have taken place. And once the quote is in the database, you can’t escape it. Guess what? Maureen Dowd ran with it! Dowd’s insinuation is particularly unfair. She wrote:

On Monday, Representative George Nethercutt Jr., a Republican from Washington State who visited Iraq, chimed in to help the White House: ‘The story of what we’ve done in the postwar period is remarkable. It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day.’ The congressman puts the casual back in casualty.

Well, he would have put the casual back in casualty if he hadn’t added, “which, which, heaven forbid, is awful.” Doesn’t that elision completely undermine Dowd’s cheap shot? Dowd is not personally guilty of deliberately distorting the quote; the Seattle P-I is. But it behooves Dowd and the NYT to run a correction exonerating Nethercutt from the charge of insensitivity to the troops.

It does seem to indicate a bit of desperation when Big Media feels the need to simply misquote in order to make its political point.

UPDATE: [ source] More Seattle-PI flesh-rending commentary over at the Shark Blog. In particular, the newspaper now admits that they did, in fact, alter the quote. The paper calls it a “paraphrase”, but paraphrase are not generally put inside quote marks.

Posted by orbital at 9:38 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Not so hot


Meanwhile, there’s another nail in the coffin of the scientific “consensus” surrounding greenhouse alarmism. Much of the case for panic has been based on the suggestion that the recent rise in surface temperature is unprecendented in the last 1000 years. That conclusion is based on Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graph that was included in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report. Many paleoclimatologists have been suspicious of this graph as it contradicted long established theories of a medieval warm period and a little ice age during that time.

Well, now it seems that the proxy data on which the graph was based contains several glaring errors, especially in the earlier part of the period. Once those are corrected, the 1400s — after the end of the medieval warm period according to all earlier research — is as hot or hotter than today, with equally dramatic rises in temperature (and dramatic falls too). The corrected graphs are available here.

They missed the Little Ice Age? How could any alledged “climatologist” miss that? I’d call them “amateurs” but that would be insulting to the amateurs who seem to be the ones doing the real science and investigation.

Posted by orbital at 9:27 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Too clever by half on the Left


At the San Francisco protest on Saturday, I may have got a glimpse of the future of far-left activism in America, at least through November 2004 […]

I can’t find confirmation for this on the Internet or elsewhere, but as Muhammad was finishing up a tirade against the twin evils of the Republicans and the Democrats, he said something like (paraphrasing) ‘and that’s why the Peace and Freedom Party is running Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal on its 2004 presidential ticket.’ If it’s true, it’s a brilliant move. Leonard Peltier murdered two FBI agents, Ronald Williams and Jack Coler, while Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner. Thanks to their notoriety, the ticket will generate a huge amount of media publicity. Since the far-left simply assumes the two of them were framed by the U.S. government, they won’t have any trouble voting for them, and will use the presidential election to promote their innocence. In turn, Peltier and Abu-Jamal, through their writings and representatives, will promote a radical, revolutionary brand of politics that’ll make the Green Party look like Rush Limbaugh.


If this scenario plays itself out (again, I’ve got no confirmation), it’ll be a disaster - not for conservatives, but for the Green Party. I doubt the Green Party is so far left that they could endorse a Peltier-Abu-Jamal ticket without provoking a split in their ranks; after all, even people as left as Michael Moore know Mumia Abu-Jamal’s a murderer. But if the Green Party runs its own ticket, it’s going to see its vote split across the country thanks to young college kids who just can’t resist the temptation to vote for Mumia.

Bwahahahahahaha! Please, oh please - it’ll be better than the California recall.

Posted by orbital at 8:28 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Just when you need them, they're gone

[source, source]

So, remember before the war, when the Human Shields were going over to Iraq? And whenever someone even hinted that they were supporters of Saddam they would denounce that, and say that no, they abhorred Saddam and his policies but were for the Iraqi people?

Ok, so I’ve been reading the news accounts of the latest round of bombings in Iraq. I figured that if anything was deserving of such protection as having a ring of human shields to prevent bombing, it might be a Red Cross facility dedicated to succoring the Iraqi people. But no mention of any human shields. But then I thought: Of course, they left Iraq after the fighting (some left during the war). But of course now they should be planning on returning to Iraq, right? Out of the same interest for the well-being of the Iraqi people. I mean, sure, they don’t like Bush’s policies, but they claimed they didn’t like Saddam, either. So I scanned the papers and news wires for stories of their plans to return to Iraq. I haven’t found any such stories about any of the former human shields who went to Iraq to protect it from American bombs planning on returning to Iraq to place their bodies between bombs and Red Cross facilities now. But surely they must be doing just that, if they were sincere when they said they did not support Saddam, only the Iraqi people. I just haven’t found the stories. Do you happen to know where the human shields are?

Posted by orbital at 8:23 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

The New Ruling Class Act

[source, source]

Labour leaders backed Diane Abbott, the Left-wing MP, yesterday over her decision to educate her son privately, days after condemning a Tory MP for saying he would do the same.

Labour MPs were taken by surprise by the news that she had chosen the £10,000-a-year City of London Boys School for her son, by-passing four comprehensives in Hackney and Stoke Newington, the constituency she represents.

Many of the commentors at Samizdata seem to have missed the point of why this is flaming hypocrisy — it’s not just that Abbott is preventing other parents from helping their kids as she is but that she had just flamed another MP for doing the same thing.

UPDATE: Abbot discusses her actions noted above [source]:

On BBC2’s This Week, Miss Abbott, a member of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, said: “I’ve said very little about this because anything you say just sounds self-serving and hypocritical. You can’t defend the indefensible.”

That’s actually a lot more honest than you’d expect out of a politician.

Posted by orbital at 8:10 AM | View 1 Comments | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

28 October 2003

It's the act of dissent that matters, not the substance

[source, source]

Allan Johnson, a high school English teacher and debate coach from Fairfax, Va., held a sign saying “U.S. Troops Out of Iraq. Bring Them Home Now!” at Saturday’s “End the Occupation” rally in Washington. In fact, though, Johnson isn’t sure he wants to bring the troops home now, or to end the American occupation of Iraq. At least, not yet.

“We’ve made a giant mess,” said Johnson, a handsome man who wore his long snowy hair in a ponytail and had a sparkling stud in one ear. “I would hate for the Bush administration to halfway fix things and then leave, and then blame the Iraqis if things go wrong. Once you go to somebody’s house and break all the windows, don’t you owe them new windows?”

Why, then, was he marching at an End the Occupation rally? “I don’t agree with all the people here, believe you me,” he said. But his own sign? He glanced at it, startled, and explained that someone had handed it to him. “I didn’t even look at it,” he said. “I was just waving it.”

Well actually, Mr. Johnson, the Ba’ath broke most of the windows, plumbing and electrical systems before we got there. But if you’re willing to attend marches sponsored by groups whose politics you don’t agree with and wave signs they give you without reading them, facts are clearly not going to have much effect on you.

Posted by orbital at 4:30 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

No introspection here!


Attack Is a Media Coup for Iraq Resistance, Experts Say

Alissa J. Rubin, LA Times Staff Writer

Perhaps Ms. Rubin should ask why it’s a media coup. Maybe that has something to do with the media?

Posted by orbital at 4:25 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Big Media bias watch

[source, source] Newsweek says
Iraqis like to point out that after the 1991 war, Saddam restored the badly destroyed electric grid in only three months. Some six months after Bush declared an end to major hostilities, a much more ambitious and costly American effort has yet to get to that point.
However, [source, source, source]
Iraq had the most sophisticated power grid in the middle east during the eighties. It was damaged heavily during the first Gulf war. After which Saddam ordered that electricity be restored in Baghdad before his birthday on April 28.


Other provinces had to suffer 12-16 hours of outage just to supply the capital. It remained that way throughout the whole of the nineties.

Just another honest mistake by Big Media which just happens to put the USA in a bad light.

Posted by orbital at 10:39 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

You're supposed to be killing Americans!

As noted in the Corner earlier, suicide bombers used a vehicle packed with explosives to kill about 10 people at the offices of the International Red Cross on Monday. “Of course we don’t understand why somebody would attack the Red Cross,” said Red Cross spokeswoman Nada Doumani. “It’s very hard to understand.”

Yes, the Caliphascists have always respected those of other faiths and countries if they’re pure of heart, unlike those Evil Americans.

Posted by orbital at 10:30 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Persecution complex

[source, source]
To compile this ranking, Reporters Without Borders asked journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists to fill out a questionnaire evaluating respect for press freedom in a particular country…

29. Benin
30. East Timor
31. Greece
31. United States of America (American territory)

130. Palestinian Authority
131. Morocco
132. Liberia
132. Ukraine
134. Afghanistan
135. United States of America (in Iraq)
136. Yemen

Special situation of the United States and Israel. The ranking distinguishes behaviour at home and abroad in the cases of the United States and Israel. They are ranked in 31st and 44th positions respectively as regards respect for freedom of expression on their own territory, but they fall to the 135th and 146th positions as regards behaviour beyond their borders.

If only Bremer hadn’t strung up those Iraqi bloggers and Michael Moore were still alive…

Posted by orbital at 8:25 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Celebrating Ramadan


The forces of resistance to civilization in Iraq have started off Ramadan in their distinctive style.

Baby bombs:

Someone told me yesterday that a woman carrying a baby just a few months old was arrested in front of Al Yarmuk hospital in Baghdad after trying to enter. The IP and FPS found out that the baby was wrapped in explosives between his clothes. After questioning the woman she confessed that the baby was kidnapped and that some Arabs had offered her a considerable amount of money to get the baby inside the crowded emergency hall in the hospital, leave it there and they would do the rest.

Car bomb attacks:
Striking in rapid succession, suicide car bombers bent on death for “collaborators” devastated the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations Monday, killing three dozen people and wounding more than 200 in the bloodiest day in Baghdad since the start of the U.S. occupation.
Posted by orbital at 7:56 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

27 October 2003

Tyranophilic hippies

[…] it seems to me that the far left anti-war message, misguided before the war, is close to obscene today, and tells us something about what we’re up against. Before the war, these people claimed they weren’t pro-Saddam; they were just pro-peace. But now that the Iraqi people have the first chance in living memory to have a decent, pluralist and democratic country, these demonstrators want to abandon them to chaos, terror, civil war and a possible new dictatorship. The only connective thread in this movement is hatred of the United States. (Oh, and Israel. Some posters openly called for the eradication of the Jewish state.) They assail one of the biggest humanitarian efforts in recent history while Iranian Qaeda surrogates are busy locating synagogues in Britain for terrorist attacks; and while Iran itself may be preparing to become the nuclear-armed vanguard of Islamo-fascism. They march under these banners when polling suggests most Iraqis want to construct a viable democracy; and when even the New York Times concedes that Iraqis view their present as far preferable to their past. It’s now that we can see what really lay behind the activist core of the “peace movement”: not peace but hatred of the West; not democracy, but alliance with dictators, terrorists and Islamo-fascism. Here’s a prediction: the fledgling links now forged between left-wing anti-war campaigners and Islamo-fascism will get stronger in the years ahead. The anti-globalization far left has nowhere else to go. Fanatical political Islam provides them with an over-arching structure for the loathing of the West. Now that Marxism is dead and post-modernism has shown itself inept as a basis for a real political movement, Islam will fill the void.

Andrew Sullivan

UPDATE: Harry responds with the theory that the nihilists descendants of the Left will co-opt the Caliphascists. I guess we’ll know how the Germans felt in the 20’s and 30’s watching the Communists and the National Socialists use and abuse each other. I’m betting on the Caliphascists because that side won the last time and it has the money from the Saudi Entity.

Posted by orbital at 7:24 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Importing pathologies

One of the things I’d feel humiliated about if I lived in the Arab world is that almost all the forms of expression of my anti-Westernism are themselves Western in origin. Pan-Arabism was old-school 19th century nationalism of the type that eventually unified the various German and Italian statelets. Nasserism was transplanted European socialism, Baathism a local anachronistic variant on ‘tween-wars Fascist movements. The Arabs even swiped Jew hatred from the Europeans. Though there was certainly friction between Jews and Muslims before the 20th century, it took the Europeans to package a disorganized, free-lance dislike of Jews into a big-time ideology with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Mein Kampf and all the rest.

Even Islamic fundamentalism, though ostensibly a rare example of a homegrown toxin, has, as a practical matter, more in common with European revolutionary movements than with traditional expressions of Islam — an essentially political project piggybacking on an ancient religion to create the ideology of choice for the world’s troublemakers.

There’s something pathetic about a culture so ignorant even its pathologies have to be imported.

Mark Steyn

Posted by orbital at 9:39 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

The Year In Review

Light posting this weekend because I was fiddling with the website instead of posting. But check it out - the year in review. There’s a version for 2002 as well but it’s kind of boring. Be sure to notice the hover text on each of the date links. You won’t find that kind of attention to detail anywhere else! Now you can see the majestic sweep of this weblog in one handy page. That’s quality, mister. Delivering real value to our customers!

P.S. You can find these links under “Archives”.

Posted by orbital at 9:34 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Supporting the peace of the dead

A good photo essay on the anti-liberty protests at the Washington D.C. Mall. Some quotes from protestor signs:

The Destruction of the U.S.A. is a necessary condition for Peace

There certainly sounds non-violent.

Bush Kills U.N. Heals

A slight mispelling but still a good idea.

God loves us all, you stupid asses

Reminds me of “Jesus Love You – The rest of us think you’re a jerk”.

Posted by orbital at 8:38 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

AP joins the enemy

The anti-Israel bias of the wire services seems to be getting worse—something I wouldn’t have thought possible. Get a load of the headline on this article, written by an Arab stringer for the Associated Press: Israeli Military Kills Palestinian. You have to read seven paragraphs down to find out that this “Palestinian” who was “killed” was on a mission of murder:

… a Palestinian, armed with a rifle and hand grenades, approached an army outpost guarding a Jewish settlement bloc, the military said. An army guard saw the gunman and alerted a nearby force. A fierce gunbattle erupted and the Palestinian was killed, the military said.

I guess AP’s fantastic investigative machinery has yet to uncover a reason Israelis might react with hostility to an armed Palestinian approaching an Israeli settlement. Also note that it’s a Jewish settlement, not an Israeli one.
Posted by orbital at 7:17 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

26 October 2003

Judge slammed for speaking truth to power

[source, source]
California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, President Bush’s controversial nominee for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, ran into a firestorm of criticism from Democrats […]

In her questioning, Feinstein zeroed in on a speech Brown delivered three years ago to the Federalist Society at the University of Chicago Law School that the senator said was disturbing because of its anti-government tone.

In that speech, Brown said that “where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege, war in the streets, unapologetic expropriation of property, the precipitous decline of the rule of law, the rapid rise of corruption, the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit.”

Apparently, to Senator Feinstein, it doesn’t matter whether Brown is right but only if she is anti-government (although, to be fair, those are probably synonymous in Feinstein’s world).
Posted by orbital at 9:19 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Missile attack on Baghdad headquarters of US military.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — An American colonel was killed and at least 16 people were wounded early Sunday when a barrage of air-to-ground missiles from a homemade launchpad slammed into a highly protected hotel where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz was staying, in what American military officials called a carefully planned attack.


Half the missiles were 68-millimeter, which have a range of two to three miles; the others were 85-millimeter, with a 3- to 4-mile range, [commander of the 1st Armored Division, Gen. Martin E.] Dempsey said. The smaller ones were French-made and designed for use by helicopters. The others were Russian-made. The French rockets, officers said, were quite new, and likely purchased after the arms embargo was in place.

“They were in pristine condition,” said one military officer who inspected the rocket tubes and assembly.


Dempsey said he was convinced the attack was linked to the opening of the 14th of July Bridge on Saturday — the trailer was parked on the road leading to the bridge — and to the easing of the curfew in Baghdad, which was lifted by the authorities for Ramadan. Every move to return Baghdad to some level of normality was met by terrorist actions by those who do not want the coalition to succeed, he said.

Can I hear again how it was the US that armed the Iraqi Ba’ath, and how it would be good for Iraq for the US to pull out? Or how Iraq was a paradise because of the wise oversight of the caring and gentle Ba’ath (who always were concerned only with the overall successful of Iraq) so obviously if they’re trying to get the US to leave, that must be good for Iraq.
Posted by orbital at 9:03 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

24 October 2003

Now there's a business idea!

[source, source]
German women fed up with their partners’ grumbling on weekend shopping trips can now dump them at a special kindergarten for men offering beer and entertainment.

“The women are issued a receipt for their partners when they hand them in and can pick them up again when they return it to us later,” Alexander Stein, manager of the ‘Nox Bar’ in the northern city of Hamburg told Reuters on Tuesday.

The men are given a name badge on arrival and for 10 euros ($11.80) they get two beers, a hot meal, televised football and games.

Stein said the idea for the Saturday afternoon men’s creche, or “Maennergarten,” came from a female customer who thought it would be a good way of getting shot of her husband so she could shop in peace.

Posted by orbital at 5:27 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Just how difficult is that to check?

During September 2003, mass hysteria spread through Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, which was ultimately quelled by police intervention and statements made by the health minister. The panic was caused by rumors of foreigners roaming the city and shaking men’s hands, making their penises disappear. The rumors were spread rapidly by text messages on cellular phones


Chief Criminal Attorney-General Yasser Ahmad Muhammad added that all the persons who filed complaints were sent to the hospital. In all cases, the medical reports said that their penises were normal and that they suffered no atrophy or pain.

“Twenty percent came the next day to court and withdrew their complaints, claiming that they had recuperated. But some of them persisted with the charges.”

Allright, it’s one thing to be superstitious but another to believe something that you can prove false in about 2 seconds and would be highly motivated to check. If this had been in Monty Python sketch it would have been considered too silly - “She turned me in to a newt! — A newt? — I got better”.

UPDATE: I wonder if this is actually a problem in translation, where what these people mean is “rendered impotent” and the stolen bit just slang for that.

Posted by orbital at 8:45 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

The pulse of peace in the Middle East

The poll of Palestinians, Israeli Jews, and Israeli Arabs was released in Washington on Wednesday by Itamar Marcus, founder of Palestinian Media Watch and written by pollster Frank Luntz. It was conducted by two polling firms, the Public Opinion Research of Israel and The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.
The results?
  • 59% of Palestinians believe that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad should continue their armed struggle against Israel even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created
  • 80% of Palestinians say that, under those circumstances, the Palestinians should not give up the “right of return” .
  • 26% of Palestinians believe Israelis planned the 9-11 attacks.
  • 42% of Palestinians and 61% of Israeli-Arabs stated that they support the people who are attacking Americans in Iraq.
Posted by orbital at 8:26 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

And this is not a clash of civilizations?

[source, source]
Mahathir’s speech raised no storm of controversy among most Muslims because the Muslim world by and large has no problem with anti-Semitism. Even in the United States there was little shocked repudiation of Mahathir’s venom by American Muslim leaders. A Nexis search turns up just one mild quibble: When CNN invited the head of CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, to comment, he said only that he doesn’t believe Jews run the world, “so I see that statement as a misguided opinion.”

On Tuesday I asked six American Muslim organizations — CAIR, the American Muslim Association, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Institute, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council — whether they had any reaction to Mahathir’s words. Three never replied; two replied by saying they had no comment. Only MPAC condemned Mahathir for his “extremely offensive, anti-Semitic comments.”

The Muslim world suffers from many problems, but none is more crippling than its culture of intolerance. Rampant anti-semitism anywhere is always a sign of grave moral sickness. Until more Muslims are prepared to confront and conquer that sickness in their midst, the Muslim world will remain the benighted backwater that so many Muslims deplore.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir’s speech was effectively a declaration of war on Jews and the West. If most Muslims are willing to at least accept that, then how is it not a war between Islam and the West? It only takes one to make a war.
Posted by orbital at 7:02 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Galloway, British MP for Baghdad, expelled from Labor Party

[source, source]
George Galloway, who denounced U.S. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair as “wolves” during the Iraq war, has been expelled from the Labour Party.


Ian McCartney, the Labour party chairman, said it was right to throw out the maverick MP after comments he made on the war on Iraq.

“The issue here is a very simple one. George Galloway incited foreign forces to rise up against British troops at a time when they were risking their lives. He was the only Labour MP to do this and he has never taken back or apologised for those comments,” he said.

“Any reasonable person would have been disgusted by this incitement and I believe the NCC reached the right verdict today.”

Posted by orbital at 6:45 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

23 October 2003

Medal of Honor nominee

Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith, a soldier in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003, is about to become the first serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor since MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart’s “Blackhawk Down” heroics in 1993. SFC Smith was the key player in a firefight at the Baghdad Airport that saw 15 to 20 engineers, mortarmen and medics defeat 50-100 soldiers of Iraq’s Special Republican Guard.
Sargent Smith will receive his medal posthumously.
Posted by orbital at 6:03 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Oh, yeah, people drop in all the time. I'm thinking of getting guards.

[source, source]
The independent Iraqi weekly Al-Yawm Al-Aakher reveals details on the training of Al-Qa’ida members operating under the orders of Saddam’s Presidential Palace two months before the September 11 attacks.
Oh, gosh, how surprising! I’m sure that the Al Qaeda guys just walked in (because what would stop them from just dropping in on Saddam?) and offered their services to a mortal enemy so this would in no way indicate any prior relationship.
Posted by orbital at 5:49 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Violent agreement

We might see the EU crumble before NATO. NATO at least has a potential reason to exist and therefore somebody might want it.

Orrin’s dance on Europe’s grave would be more persuasive if Europe had not done OK in the 1940s after being so sick in the 1930s. It’s not in nearly as bad shape now as it was in 1938.

— Harry Eager
I don’t see how we disagree. I expect Europe’s future to look very much like the ‘40s—war, genocide & famine, while waiting for rescue from America.
— Orrin Judd
This one made me almost drop my laptop.
Posted by orbital at 9:45 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you!

Al-Jazeera is getting its burqa in wad over a picture of a US soldier frisking a small boy. This is labeled as “shocking” that will “shame the US military” and has “shocked human rights campaigners across the world”. Actually, I believe that last one.

But the question to ask is, why would a US trooper frisk a small boy? Could it be because certain groups operating in Iraq are known to use small children as expendable munitions? Maybe Al-Jazeera could do a story on that.

Posted by orbital at 7:57 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

What does it mean to be worrisome?

[source, source]
There is some stunning— and so far unreported — news in a new poll conducted by Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg.

The survey — sponsored by Democracy Corps, the group founded by Greenberg, James Carville and Robert Shrum — focused on Democrats who take part in the nominating process in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

What Democracy Corps found was that Democrats, at least those who are most active in politics, simply don’t care about terrorism.

Just don’t care.

The essense is that on polls asking which was issue was the most concernng to the respondent out of the standard list, 2% or less of the respondents picked “terrorism”.

I think this is indicative but not as strong as result as claimed here. Note that the respondents weren’t asked whether the threat of terrorism concerns them. In contrast, they could only respond with one item on the list.

I’m not sure I would have answered “terrorism” myself for several reasons.

  • We aren’t fighting “terrorism”, but Caliphascism. You can’t fight means, only people and ideologies.
  • There’s no doubt in my mind that should we actually commit to a real fight, we would win. The war is ours to lose, not theirs to win.
  • I’m actually more concerned with some other long term structural problems in the Republic which don’t seem as winnable to me.

While some signs are worrying for the war, overall support seems high and as long as that’s true, we will win.

Posted by orbital at 7:49 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

The anti-anti-Caliphascists

The big story of the day is another leak from the Pentagon, this time of a memo from Donald Rumsfeld. A whole of spinning on this one. To me the big questions are:

Posted by orbital at 7:35 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Policy checklists

A CYNIC might advise Israel to simply kill all the Palestinians. After all, the world doesn’t seem to mind mass murder:

The pictures that the committee has procured — and now published, together with a report called “The Hidden Gulag” — are satellite photographs of North Korean concentration camps. With remarkable clarity they show, for example, the contours of Yodok, one of the most notorious prison camps in North Korea: the barracks and “villages” inhabited by different categories of prisoners, including political prisoners; the mines, the flour mill, the farms where prisoners work; the cemetery. They also show the outlines of Bukchang, another vast camp, including its cement factory, its hospital, its punishment barracks, its school for prisoners’ children. Distinct objects, including the high walls that enclose the camps, are clearly visible.

Claudia Rosett has more. The Israelis are, of course, too humane to subject the Palestinians to the genocide that the Palestinians would surely visit on them if positions were reversed.

For this, however, the Israelis get no credit, from the world that is busy ignoring what is going on in North Korea.

UPDATE: Reader Joe Hrutka emails:

Scary, professor, all they would have to do is announce universal health care and education, shut the borders and kill anyone they want. Or denounce George W. Bush as a warmonger. Then they get a free pass. Call it the Castro technique.

It does look that way, doesn’t it?

Posted by orbital at 7:14 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

22 October 2003

The workers' paradise

[source, source, source]
Richard Lapper, the FT’s Latin America editor, became frustrated with the reticence of Havanans living in a police state to discuss politics, and thus set out with his wife to ten days of ferrying around hitchhikers, and discussing politics, in a rental car.

What he finds is not surprising of a police state which spies on and imprisons its human rights workers and poets: “In less than two hours we give lifts to five Cubans, and the picture they are painting of Fidel Castro’s Cuba is not attractive. While the ubiquitous roadside slogans urge sacrifice to defend the revolution, Castro seems to be losing the battle of ideas.” (Lapper’s ending sentence is particularly evocative: “In the gloom, I vaguely make out yet another fading party slogan on a roadside billboard. “Firmness and dignity”, it reads.”)

This should be required reading for the misguided collegiate fans of the regime, along with Human Rights Watch’s extensive documentation of Cuba’s repression of its people (including congressional testimony last month by OxBlog’s friend Tom Malinowski, a Rhodes scholar from 1989) Although in its report on the latest wave of brutal political repression, Amnesty International curiously spends most of its words playing for the gallery and attacking the U.S. embargo and (quote) the “war on terror” - their scare quotes. (Amnesty’s bias against actually looking at countries that repress their people, and instead concentrating with increasing exclusivity solely on criticizing the United States, has been well documented - a sad end to an organization which once stood for human rights.)

Posted by orbital at 6:46 AM | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

That's how we do things in the big city

[source, source]
The Gray Lady’s review trashing “Bill Clinton: An American Journey. Great Expectations” was written by Todd S. Purdum, the husband of Clinton’s first White House press secretary, Dee Dee Myers - though Times readers weren’t informed of his connction to Clinton.
The readers! Why would they deserve to know?
Posted by orbital at 6:25 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

21 October 2003

Just not the right sort of thing for us, dear

[source, source]
The [new] appointment comes on the heels of the YWCA National Coordinating Board’s decision to terminate Patricia Ireland’s employment in accordance with her employment agreement.

“We have the deepest admiration for Ms. Ireland’s dedication to women’s issues and social justice, but the YWCA has proved to be the wrong platform for her to advocate for these issues,” said NCB Chairman Audrey Peeples.

Patricia Ireland is the former head of NOW who was appointed to head the YWCA six months ago.
Posted by orbital at 8:41 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

EU puts farmer in jam

[source, source]
Johann Thiery was fined and threatened with jail after trading standards inspectors found him selling apricot marmalade using his grandmother’s recipe.

According to a European Union ruling, marmalade can contain only citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and oranges and not apricots or other soft fruits. Such mixtures have to be labelled as jam.

A bit of a sticky situation, eh?
Posted by orbital at 8:36 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Krugman defends Judenhass as domestic policy technique

[source, source, source]
So what’s with the anti-Semitism? Almost surely it’s part of Mr. Mahathir’s domestic balancing act, something I learned about the last time he talked like this, during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98.


What became clear watching Mr. Mahathir back then was that his strident rhetoric was actually part of a delicate balancing act aimed at domestic politics. Malaysia has a Muslim, ethnically Malay, majority, but its business drive comes mainly from an ethnic Chinese minority. To keep the economy growing, Mr. Mahathir must allow the Chinese minority to prosper, but to ward off ethnic tensions he must throw favors, real and rhetorical, to the Malays.

Krugman ignores Mahathir’s history of making anti-Semitic remarks. It didn’t take more than 5 minutes of Google searching to find this article detailing Mahathir’s long-time hatred of the Jews. It extends all the way back (at least) to his 1969 autobiography in which he wrote “The Jews … are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.” In 1991 he accused leaders of Australia’s Jewish community of plotting to overthrow him, and in 1994 he banned the movie Schindler’s List from Malaysia because he felt it was pro-Jewish propaganda. […]

Krugman’s apologetics are the worst sort. They excuse a bigotry so evil that it resulted in the mass slaughter of 6 million innocents as long as the bigotry is used to pacify domestic discontent.

Just let President Bush try to balance his “domestic concerns” with something similar and see how Krugman reacts.

P.S. Just to pile on, did you notice that Krugman defends the policing of placating the ethnic hatred of Chinese with the ethnic hatred of Jews instead of, you know, opposing ethnic hatred?

Posted by orbital at 8:02 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

New electrical generation technique

[source, source]
With the help of two graduate students, the two professors were able to light a small bulb by simply squeezing a syringe of ordinary tap water through a glass “filter” with microscopic-sized holes they call microchannels.

They invented their “electrokinetic” water battery by harnessing the natural energy that is created on a very tiny scale when a flowing liquid meets a solid surface, creating an electrical charge. Water forced through a microchannel results in the movement of positive and negatives ions in such a way that one end becomes positive and the other negative.

Ok, that’s cool. It’s key to note that it’s converts energy from kinetic to electrical, it doesn’t create it. The kinetic energy is the energy of the moving water.
Posted by orbital at 9:08 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Clean it up but don't change it

[source, source, source]
Police say they try to transcribe the words in interviews exactly as they are pronounced by the person being questioned. The cops say they do it across the board.

Every mispronunciation gets written phonetically, regardless of the race of the speaker, Denver’s public safety manager insisted.

I think the transcriptions make the speakers sound stupid. The translations seemed tortured. Another wedge gets driven into an already divided community.

“It’s not only insensitive, it’s insulting,” said the Rev. Gill Ford, the NAACP’s regional director and a member of the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

It tags blacks as dumb, Ford explained. That dumbness presumes an inability to communicate well. That lack of good communication lets folks blow off your complaints, “because you don’t even understand English.”

And the solution would be inaccurate transcripts?
Posted by orbital at 8:51 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Lines of loyalty

[source, source]
Oct. 27 issue — The clash of civilizations rages in some surprising places, and one of them is the large room in the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office that houses a unit known as CI-19. In one set of cubicles sit the foreign-born Muslims; across a partition is everyone else.

They have the same vital job: to translate supersecret wiretaps of suspected terrorists and spies. But the 150 or so members of CI-19 (for Counterintelligence) segregate themselves by ethnicity and religion. Some of the U.S.-born translators have accused their Middle Eastern-born counterparts of making disparaging or unpatriotic remarks, or of making “mistranslations”—failing to translate comments that might reflect poorly on their fellow Muslims, such as references to sexual deviancy. The tensions erupt in arguments and angry finger-pointing from time to time. “It’s a good thing the translators are not allowed to carry guns,” says Sibel Edmonds, a Farsi translator who formerly worked in the unit.

Isn’t that kind of segregation illegal? Where is the ACLU — shouldn’t it be suing to prevent a government agency from this kind of religion based division?
Posted by orbital at 8:46 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

20 October 2003

Can't we all just get along?

[source, source]
Who produced the fake Niger papers? There is nothing approaching a consensus on this question within the intelligence community


Another explanation was […] a small group of disgruntled retired C.I.A. clandestine operators had banded together in the late summer of last year and drafted the fraudulent documents themselves.


Like all large institutions, C.I.A. headquarters, in Langley, Virginia, is full of water-cooler gossip, and a retired clandestine officer told me this summer that the story about a former operations officer faking the documents is making the rounds. “What’s telling,” he added, “is that the story, whether it’s true or not, is believed”—an extraordinary commentary on the level of mistrust, bitterness, and demoralization within the C.I.A.

The failure to do some house cleaning after 11 Sep 2001 is one of the largest failures of the Bush administration. As a result we have what is close to open warfare between the White House and the CIA which doesn’t bode well for understanding the facts on the ground.
Posted by orbital at 5:35 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

It's simple, really

[source, source]
p(qq). This is no longer the India of Gandhi, among history's most famous ascetics. p(qq). The change in values, habits and options in India – not just from his day, but from a mere decade ago – is undeniable, and so is the sense of optimism about India's economic prospects. p(qq). Much of India is still mired in poverty, but just over a decade after the Indian economy began shaking off its statist shackles and opening to the outside world, it is booming. The surge is based on strong industry and agriculture, rising Indian and foreign investment and American-style consumer spending by a growing middle class, including the people under age 25 who now make up half the country's population. The lesson – and being taught in the New York Times, please note, rather than merely in some free market Think Tank think piece – is that if you want rapid economic progress and a sense of optimism, you have to shake off your "statist shackles" and open up to the outside world. The use of the word "statist" I find especially interesting. I could be wrong, but I don't believe that's a very common usage over here, and for that matter how common is it in the USA's mainstream media? It makes the point perfectly that the important divide now is not between different factions wanting to use state power to do this or alternatively that, but rather between all of those who want their country or state to be or to remain bound by statist shackles, and all those want those statist shackles shaken off.
I agree -- I can't believe that the ??NY Times?? came out against statism and called it by its correct name. Will wonders never cease?
Posted by orbital at 11:36 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Same old, same old

[source, source]
Three senior officials of President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement plan to visit Washington for talks about achieving a truce with Israel in the occupied territories, they told Reuters Saturday. Legislator Hatem Abdel-Qader said he and his colleagues had been invited by Democratic members of Congress for what would be their first U.S. visit since the start of a three-year uprising for statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
"Uprising for statehood", huh? That's why it was planned for months before the final, failed negotiations. I would ask "why are these Congressmen _inviting_ terrorists over for lunch?" but then I noticed they were members of the Democratic Party. Believing in obvious lies that will lead to death and destruction is just what they do.
Posted by orbital at 7:42 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

19 October 2003

Department of History

Greg Easterbrook was fired from ESPN for some alledgedly "juden-hass":http://www.tnr.com/easterbrook.mhtml?pid=844 remarks. ESPN took the further step of "erasing all of Easterbrook's former columns":http://www.instapundit.com/archives/012081.php as if he had _never_ worked for ESPN. There's been quite a brouhaha about this, while _real_ "juden-hass":http://orbital-mind-control-laser.net/leo/archives/2003_10_18.html#001032 doesn't seem to excite as much commentary and "Big Media whitewashes it":http://www.yourish.com/archives/2003/oct12-18_2003.html#2003101703.
Posted by orbital at 9:08 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

18 October 2003

Winning the war, losing the peace in Europe

[source & source, source, source]
We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.
This is not a parody, but a quote from a real article in ??Life?? magazine from 1946, six months after the end of WWII. The headline is
Americans are losing the victory in Europe

Destitute nations feel that the U.S. has failed them
Hopefully, though, 50 years from now Iraq won't be failing like Europe is now.
Posted by orbital at 12:22 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

See, it wasn't worth missing the camel milk

[source, source]
Except for a convention of European intellectuals, the only place on earth where you could draw applause by damning Jews for their alleged "invention" of human rights and democracy is the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a collection of miserably failed states represented largely by aging dictators. They're hardly in a position to condemn human rights and democracy, since they've never tried either one.
Remember, although Prime Minister Mahathir may sound like a lone wacko, he got "strong support from the rest of the OIC":http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=8595_Islamic_Nations_Unite_in_Jew-Hatred. Mahathir himself is "unrepentant":http://www9.sbs.com.au/theworldnews/region.php?id=71059®ion=2. The EU doesn't "see a problem":http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/351102.html either.
Posted by orbital at 12:08 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

17 October 2003

Another example of professional standards in journalism

MEDIA BIAS IN IRAQ: Josh Marshall isn't happy that people are starting to complain about media reporting over Iraq: p(qq). CNN was in full grovel mode. It's revealing, isn't it, that by the professional standards of American journalism, groveling to Saddam was widespread and seen as barely worth reporting, while even the possibility that someone might write something favorable about the United States is seen as an appalling breach of accepted practices.
But not groveling to third world despots or praising America might _hurt a career_! Can't have that.
Posted by orbital at 7:51 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

No, I don't see the elephant either.

[source, source]
If the CIA ever gets serious about investigating Saddam-al Qaeda ties, it can start by sending someone to Toronto. On April 27, 2003, Toronto Star reporter Mitch Potter, his translator, and a colleague from the London Telegraph came across a document in the burned-out headquarters of the Mukhabarat in Baghdad. The document was found in the accounting department of the old Iraqi intelligence building and discussed who would pick up the tab for upcoming meetings between a bin Laden representative and Iraqi intelligence. It was, Potter wrote at the time, "the first hard evidence of contact between bin Laden's al Qaeda organization and Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime." Bin Laden's name appeared three times in the document--crudely covered with liquid paper. The goal of the meeting, according to the memo's author, was to discuss "the future of our relationship with him, bin Laden, and to achieve a direct meeting with him." The individual coming to Baghdad, the memo continued, may represent "a way to maintain contacts with bin Laden." […] His [Potter's] phone rang off the hook after he reported his find. One of those calls, he assumed, would come from the CIA or some other investigative arm of the U.S. government. It's been nearly six months. That call never came. As of Thursday, no one from the U.S. government had contacted Potter about the document his editors are now holding.
Apparently this kind of inaction is fine with President Bush, because we don't see him taking any action against an agency that's obviously shirking its mission.
Posted by orbital at 5:51 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

America responds to Palestinian terror

[source, source]
The man, Akhram Tubassi, a member of the Palestinian Coast Guard, was detained by the Shin Bet on October 7th. He confessed to purchasing weapons in Egypt, commissioned by senior officials of the PA security system. The connection to Dahlan is still under investigation. To smuggle the weapons, Tubassi used tunnels (those same smuggling tunnels the IDF has been trying to eliminate in its recent Operation Root Canal) and three "errand boys", who went back and forth carrying, among others, guns, missiles and thousands of bullets. According to the allegations, the weapons were delivered to senior security official Nabil Tamus. Tubassi testified Tamus asked him to wait while he checked with Dahlan before "placing an order" for missiles. Tubassi was arrested before Tamus returned with an answer. Tubassi also testified to his involvement in smuggling six missiles in January 2001, commissioned by Fuad Shubaki, the man who financed the attempted smuggling of the Karine A arms vessel into the Gaza Strip. He was further involved in the preparation of anti-tank missiles.
And America responds [source, source]:
Yesterday, on the same day three Americans were killed by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, President Bush once again signed a waiver allowing the PLO to continue operating in the US by granting them an exemption from the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987.
Posted by orbital at 2:01 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Don't let them steal the election!

[source, source]
p(qq). […] writer Mark Barabak recently gave to University of California students: While the campaign may be over, Barabak said, the story of Schwarzenegger's past is not. He said *the Times is investigating potentially more damaging charges against the governor-elect*. [Emph. added.] p(qq). Do reporters usually say they are investigating damaging charges before they are proven? It seems permissable to me--but if a Times reporter announced that the paper was investigating unspecified 'potentially damaging' but unproven charges against, say, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, I suspect the editors of the Times might come down somewhat hard on him.
But Pelosi isn't a member of a "criminal organization such as the Republicans":1026, of which Schwarzenegger is a openly admitted member.
Posted by orbital at 7:34 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

16 October 2003

Funny, but true?

[source, source]
WASHINGTON - Concerned about the appearance of disarray and feuding within his administration as well as growing resistance to his policies in Iraq, President Bush - living up to his recent declaration that he is in charge - told his top officials to "stop the leaks" to the media, or else. News of Bush's order leaked almost immediately. Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he "didn't want to see any stories" quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used.
Ok, that's funny. Possibly apocryphal, but funny.
Posted by orbital at 6:02 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Big Media credibility watch

A "long story":http://www.jillstewart.net/php/issues/issue1014.php on the witch hunt mentality at the ??LA Times?? during the run up to the California recall election. Key quotes:
Toward the end, a kind of hysteria gripped the newsroom. I witnessed a deep-seated, irrational need to get something on this guy [Schwarzenegger]. By Wednesday before it was published, I counted not fewer than 24 reporters dispatched on Arnold, and this entire enterprise was directed by John Carroll himself. [hellip;] The paper used methods as if they were trying to crack a criminal enterprise. That is fundamentally what happened here. They took the rules of criminal investigation and overlaid them onto a political campaign, as if we had an organized crime figure running for office.
The last quote is a key one - I suspect that many liberals and in particular California liberals _do_ view the Republican Party as a largely criminal organization.
Posted by orbital at 3:31 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Michael Moore forgets his tin foil lining

[source, source]
[MICHAEL] MOORE: I'd like to ask the question whether September 11 was a terrorist attack, or was it a military attack? We call it a terrorist attack. We keep calling it a terrorist attack. But it sure has the markings of a military attack. And I'd like to know whose military was involved in this precision, perfectly planned operation. I'm sorry, but my common sense has never allowed me to believe since that day that you can learn how to fly a plane at 500 miles per hour. And you know, when you go up 500 miles an hour, if you're off by this much, you're in the Potomac. You don't hit a five-store building like that. You don't learn how to do that at some rinky-dink flight training school in Florida on a little video game with PacMan buttons. I'm sorry. I just don't buy that.
Which military, exactly, does Moore think executed this attack and why hasn't he called for a military response against that nation? He probably considers those details irrelevant next to the chance to bash President Bush. Or he's completely clueless. We can't, however, rule out the answer "both".
Posted by orbital at 12:54 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Health care - the only thing that matters

[source, source]
Nethercutt and Senor highlighted the return of electricity to Iraq, which now has a higher megawatt output than it did before the war. Reconstruction has targeted schools and hospitals, and the *Americans are spending 3,500 percent more on health care than Saddam Hussein did*, Senor said. p(qq). Does that mean that all those people who defend Castro's dictatorship based on the "excellent health care system" will now start defending the war in Iraq? p(qq). And if not, _why_ not?
Because it's stealing food from the mouths of The (obese) Children™ in this country!
Posted by orbital at 8:09 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

You just gotta believe!

[source, source]
Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they believe in God (by eight percentage points), in heaven (by 10 points), in hell (by 15 points), and considerably more likely to believe in the devil (by 17 points). Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they believe in reincarnation (by 14 percentage points), in astrology (by 14 points), in ghosts (by eight points) and UFOs (by five points). p(qq). it's still interesting that the hallmarks of true credulity are much more the preserve of the Left than the Right
Only the truly gullible can buy in to most Leftist dogma, especially after the results of the last century.
Posted by orbital at 7:59 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

15 October 2003

Palestinians lie, Americans die

[source, source]
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip - A massive explosion ripped through a U.S. diplomatic vehicle Wednesday, killing at least three American security guards in the first attack on U.S. targets in the past three years of Israel-Palestinian fighting. Israeli radio reports said four Americans were killed in the explosion, which tore the vehicle in half and left the pavement stained with blood. […] Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat, speaking to CNN, said the Americans were in Gaza to monitor the peace process. "These are American martyrs that came here at Palestinian request," he said.
Yeah, just _who_ could have _possibly_ conducted such an attack? The "Rhodesians?":http://mcj.blogspot.com/2003_02_01_mcj_archive.html#89920347 So we have the Palestinian Authority inviting over Americans and then killing them with explosives smuggled in from Egypt. This will help the Palestinians how, exactly? And why do we continue to pretend Egypt is an ally? UPDATE: The "BBC reports that Palestinians are celebrating this attack":http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3194432.stm [source] while "??Ha'aretz?? reports":http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/350191.html that American investigators were forced to leave the scene by rock throwing Palestinians [source].
Posted by orbital at 6:57 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

14 October 2003

What do they really want?

[source, source]
Palestinians would be better off staying under Israeli rule (as some Palestinians admit, when safe to do so). To the extent that the Arabs living in Israel have accepted Western values such as individual responsibility, property rights, and the rule of law, they have thrived. The material evidence of that flourishing can be seen in the relatively high standard of living found in many Arab villages in Israel. Indeed, Palestinians rely on the relative economic freedom and prosperity offered in Israel to make a living. What Arab country gives its inhabitants the liberty to protest, to publish articles and books opposing the government (as many Jews and Palestinians do in Israel)? What Arab country has free elections or a judicial system in which all are treated equally before the law? None. In Israel, Palestinians have more freedom and more economic opportunities than they have in any Arab country, and than they could possibly have in a future Palestinian state run by the PLO or any other dictatorial group. If the choice is between a Palestinian state run by terrorists like Arafat and remaining under Israeli rule, the latter is by far the better option.
Just more evidence that a better life _for the Palestinians_ is not the goal of the Palestinian leadership or people nor their Arab allies.
Posted by orbital at 8:34 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

A Honest Politician

[source] News from the Great White North, Newfoundland Division:
In the early 1990s, "Payne":http://stjohns.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=nf_payne_20031010 was part of an Unemployment Insurance scam that paid more than $1 million in phony benefits to more than 100 people. [...] During a campaign stop Thursday, [Liberal Party leader] Grimes said the conviction and 64 days Payne spent in jail won't hurt. "All in the past, other than if it is an issue, it's a plus for our candidate because what he did was to help people," the premier said." p(qq). Grimes thinks the defrauding of a million dollars from the federal treasury is nothing wrong - and he expects other premiers to help him argue for more transfer payments from Ottawa?
Hey, at least Grimes is being open about standard Leftist beliefs - theft is OKhen _we_ do it.
Posted by orbital at 9:27 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

State department erases Israel

The State Department’s "map of Saudi Arabia":http://www.state.gov/p/nea/ci/c2419.htm finds space for the name of every nearby country in the region. Except one. Guess which one.
Posted by orbital at 9:22 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

13 October 2003

Why stop hitting yourself with a foam bat if it means using a hammer instead?

[source, source]
A LEADER of an Arab country wanted to bring over a tent and two camels should he attend the OIC(Organization of the Islamic Conference) summit in Putrajaya. He was unwilling to give up camel milk even for two mornings.
To go to the OIC meeting? Who would?
Posted by orbital at 9:31 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Incompetent journalist watch

[source, source]
"I think Joe Stalin was a guy that was hugely misunderstood. And to this day, I don't think I have ever seen an adequate job done of telling the story of Joe Stalin, so I guess my answer would have to be Joe Stalin." - actor, Ed Asner, responding to the question, "If you had the chance to play the biographical story of a historical figure you respected most over your lifetime, who would it be?"
UPDATE: This story has been withdrawn, Asner was misquoted. I have to agree with "Instantman":http://www.instapundit.com/archives/012019.php that it's a _major_ misquote. Here's the "corrected version":http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35016:
McCullough: "If you could portray an historical biography and you had an unlimited budget, unlimited support cast and everything you could ask for, who would it be?" Asner: "Well, you know something, they've played Hitler, nobody has ever really touched Stalin, it just occurred to me. It's not because I am a liberal or anything like that. Stalin is one big damn mystery, I wonder why nobody has tried it? Many people, you know, speak of the fact that he killed more people than Hitler -- why does nobody touch him? It's strange. So, and he was about my size, my height -- with a wig I probably could do it."
Frankly I think Asner makes an excellent response. But I know the answer - the movie would have to either be a total whitewash inviting massive ridicule or openly admit what a mass murdering scum Stalin was. Neither of those is something that would warm the heart of Hollywood producer.
Posted by orbital at 6:23 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

What I meant to say was …

[source, source & source]
I watched Senator Jay Rockefeller on Fox News Sunday this morning - what amazing, I dunno, chutzpah, he displayed. He said that Iraq wasn't an imminent threat like the President said it was, and Tony Snow challenged him on that, saying the President never said it was. Snow also put up the Senator's own words from last October, where the Senator said Iraq was an imminent threat. And Rockefeller said that he said that because of the President's speech. Of course, the speech was made in January, after the Senator's comments.
Who writes this Senator's talking points? Why does he still have a job?
Posted by orbital at 6:19 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Carnival of the Capitalists - check it out

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is now operational. We'll definitely be deploying the orbital sensors on that.
Posted by orbital at 8:50 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Protecting the politicians from the public

In the EU, that "strong but unpopular action that governments have to take" apparently extends to deciding on your behalf what constitutional entity you'll belong to. If you want the very opposite of the raw responsiveness of Californian democracy, it's the debate on the European Constitution. As noted over the page this week, the Brussels correspondent of the BBC worries that letting the voters express a view on their constitution risks undoing "two years of painstaking work by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing". Can't have that, can we?
Those voters! So impertinent!
Posted by orbital at 8:44 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

FBI says: we're not that desperate

[source, source]
Despite a shortage of Arabic translators, the FBI turned down applications for linguist jobs from nearly 100 Arabic-speaking Jews in New York following the World Trade Center attacks, WorldNetDaily has learned. […] not one of the more than 90 applicants was hired, even though some had helped translate Arabic for Israeli radio and TV news stations and the Israeli army before coming to America, the charity's director says.
Lots of other fun facts in the article concerning security breaches due to unreliable translators.
Posted by orbital at 8:40 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

11 October 2003

Governor Schwarzenegger? It's the media's fault!

[source, source]
Instead, we in the media let this recall train leave the station. We blamed Davis for California’s energy “crisis” two years ago (which, would you believe it?, was actually a result of Enron and other energy traders cooking the books). As apt as Davis’s first name actually is, he is not the kind of elected official for whom the recall law was written. He has not violated the public trust. He has not committed treason. He has not exhibited immoral or criminal behavior. You may think he’s doing a bad job as governor, but the standard for firing an elected official should be much higher than merely disagreeing with his approach to governing and having a right-wing Congressman in your state who has several million dollars with which to pay the so-called “volunteers” to man the recall barricades. Where was the coverage that should have called the effort what it is: a coup?
Yes, clearly the root of the problem in California is that _voters_ determine the elected officials, not Big Media. In modern journalism, it's _always_ about the journalists - everything else is just a prop.
Posted by orbital at 9:35 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Illinois goes nano

While I don't support government financing of research, it's still interesting to hear the Governor of Illinois talk about the "funding and commercialization of nanotech":http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/News/C93C90A208F91DAE86256DBC000CA9C9?OpenDocument&Headline=Illinois+signs+off+on+$82+million+in+spending+on+2+university+labs. Nanotech is definitely going mainstream.
Posted by orbital at 8:46 AM | View 2 Comments | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Flood disaster in Iraq

[source, source]
A dozen years after Saddam Hussein ordered the vast marshes of southeastern Iraq drained, transforming idyllic wetlands into a barren moonscape to eliminate a hiding place for Shiite Muslim political opponents, Iraqi engineers have turned on the spigot again. The flow is not what it once was -- new dams have weakened the mighty Tigris and Euphrates rivers that feed the marshes -- but the impact has been profound. As the blanket of water gradually expands, it is quickly nourishing plants, animals and a way of life for Marsh Arabs that Hussein had tried so assiduously to extinguish. . . . "Everyone is so happy," Kerkush said as he watched his son stand in a mashoof and steer it like a gondolier with a long wooden pole. "We are starting to live like we used to, not the way Saddam wanted us to live."
I'm surprised that this wasn't repored as another disaster in Iraq, a massive flooding of all that land that the Ba'ath so laboriously reclaimed.
Posted by orbital at 8:37 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Europe's present, our future?

[source, source]
Were the federal government to account for its Social Security obligations under the rules of accrual accounting, which govern public companies, its financial outlook would be far worse. By the end of last year, the Social Security system owed retirees and current workers benefits valued at $14 trillion. The system's assets, in contrast, were only $3.5 trillion. These assets include not only the trust funds' current reserves ($1.4 trillion), but also the present value of the taxes that current workers will pay over the remainder of their working lives ($2.1 trillion). In other words, the system's current shortfall — its assets minus its liabilities — is $10.5 trillion. Unless Congress chooses to rescind Social Security benefits that have already been earned, this shortfall must be shouldered by future generations. This implicit debt of the Social Security system is more than two and a half times larger than the government's public debt. What's more, the magnitude of the Social Security shortfall grew immensely last year. At the beginning of 2002, the trust fund's deficit was $10.1 trillion. Under a system of accrual accounting, Social Security would have had to report a loss of approximately $370 billion. If this figure — and not the trust fund's annual cash-flow surplus — were added to other federal accounts, the federal government would have reported a $930 billion deficit last week. Add in similar adjustments for Medicare and other retiree benefits, and the flow of red ink last year surges even higher.
It's even worse than this, because the trust fund doesn't exist. The money's been spent.
Posted by orbital at 8:32 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

10 October 2003

It's about form, not function

[source, source]
New York airport baggage screeners were fed answers to written tests and were not asked to identify bombs, guns or other dangerous objects in carry-on luggage, a homeland security official said yesterday. Clark Kent Ervin, the acting inspector general for the Homeland Security Department, said a review of the Transportation Security Administration's testing procedures found that on a recent final exam given to new screeners at LaGuardia Airport, 22 of the 25 questions were used during the practice quiz, and testing protocol "maximized the likelihood that students would pass."
Well, you wouldn't want them to _not_ pass, right? That's the goal.
Posted by orbital at 10:43 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Second-hand electromagnetism

Though previous scares over electromagnetic fields in overhead power lines and cellular phones have pretty much petered out, fear springs eternal and now is taking as its subject "Wi-Fi" computer-access technology: "Parents in Oak Park, Illinois, have launched a class action lawsuit against their local school board for allegedly threatening the health of children by installing wireless local area network technology in classrooms." (Tim Richardson, "US parents sue over WLAN school fears", The Register (UK), Oct. 8; Wi-Fi Networking News, Oct. 6 (check out the comments); complaint courtesy Wi-Fi Networking News (PDF))
Posted by orbital at 9:03 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Big Media credibility watch

[source, source]
Almost a year following the stunning announcement of that they had engineered the birth of the world's first cloned humans, Rael and Clonaid president Dr. Brigitte Boisselier have yet to prove the existence of these babies, even to their own members. In fact, Raelians have made fun of the media that gave such extensive coverage to their cloning story. "Come my beloved friends and journalists, and ask me if we did all that just to benefit from free publicity ... YESSSS!" Rael cries and bursts out laughing during a Raelian gathering staged in Montreal. Boisselier is also much amused as she recalls the press conference last December 27. [...] Today Claude Vorilhon, known to his followers as Rael, laughingly contends that the cloning controversy was perhaps a simple stroke of genius to make his movement known. "Even if you want to think that we did all that only for publicity, it is wonderful. If that is the case, we are promotional geniuses!" he says. "But if what we say we did is true, we are also scientific geniuses. In any case, we are geniuses! Wonderful! In any case, we win!"
OK, now that's just mean. Funny, but mean.
Posted by orbital at 7:24 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

09 October 2003

A bit too deep of a cover

[source, source]
BOSTON - A former FBI agent who handled high-profile mob informants in Boston was arrested Thursday and charged with the 1981 mob-related murder of a Tulsa, Okla., businessman, his lawyer says. H. Paul Rico, 78, is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Roger Wheeler, the 55-year-old chairman of Tulsa-based Telex Corp., who was shot in the head after playing a round of golf at Southern Hills Country Club on May 27, 1981. Investigators have said Rico provided John Martorano, a hit man for the Boston-based Winter Hill Gang, with information on Wheeler's schedule so he could be killed.
Posted by orbital at 7:17 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Fighting the good fight against drugs

[source, source]
Andra Ferguson and her boyfriend, Brandon Kivi, both 15, use the same type of asthma medicine, Albuterol Inhalation Aerosol. Ferguson said she forgot to bring her medication to their school, Caney Creek High School, on Sept. 24. When she had trouble breathing, she went to the nurse's office. Out of concern, Kivi let her use his inhaler. […] But the school nurse said it was a violation of the district's no-tolerance drug policy, and reported Kivi to the campus police. The next day, he was arrested and accused of delivering a dangerous drug. Kivi was also suspended from school for three days. He could face expulsion and sent to juvenile detention on juvenile drug charges.
Gosh, I'm _so_ glad to see our fierce Prohibitionists cracking down on evil drug pushers like this Brandon kid. That kind of drug use just can't be tolerated in a drug free America! UPDATE: Both kids ended up getting expelled. They've decided to start home schooling and not return to the school.
Posted by orbital at 4:58 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

How to achieve your ambition

[source, source]
A California author and filmmaker who became famous for trekking to Alaska's remote Katmai coast to commune with brown bears has fallen victim to the teeth and claws of the wild animals he loved. Alaska State Troopers and National Park Service officials said Timothy Treadwell, 46, and girlfriend Amie Huguenard, 37, were killed and partially eaten by a bear or bears near Kaflia Bay, about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, earlier this week. […] "I told him to be much more cautious … because every time a bear kills somebody, there is a big increase in bearanoia and bears get killed,'' Miller [former Alaska Department of Fish and Game's top bear authority] said. "I thought that would be a way of getting to him, and his response was 'I would be honored to end up in bear scat.' ''
Sadly, the rangers had to kill a couple of bears while investigating.
Posted by orbital at 4:38 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

It'll work this time!

The triumphal march of the Clintons -- a pictorial history of Bill Clinton's electoral efforts since he became a former President. As is frequently mentioned, no one can be _all_ bad.
Posted by orbital at 9:55 AM | View 1 Comments | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

The agony of victory

"I campaigned saying that I will not raise taxes. I say this again. I will not raise taxes."
-- California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger
California budget deficit could rise to $20 billion next year
-- California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger
Raise taxes!
-- UCLA economics Professor Edward Leamer
-- Steve Keil, legislative representative, CA Association of Counties
Posted by orbital at 8:01 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

08 October 2003

It's ok, there's wasn't a blue dress involved

[source, source]
Seven days after the Oklahoma City bombing, the INS agreed to deport a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden who had been implicated as a possible accessory to the attack by a jailhouse confession and documents relating to bomb construction. At the same time, the government agreed to remove allegations of terrorism from Mohammed Jamal Khalifa's INS records and to return evidence seized from his luggage. Evidence in the FBI's possession at the time potentially implicated the Saudi businessman in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the airliner bombing plot and the Oklahoma City bombing. Khalifa was formally named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center case. On April 26, 1995, Khalifa abruptly changed strategy and requested the deportation proceed. His lawyer blamed an "anti-alien climate" generated by the OKC attack for his change of heart. The U.S. government not only agreed to Khalifa's request for deportation to Jordan, but in exchange for his cooperation it expunged terror-related charges from his INS record […] According to author Peter Lance, the Justice Department had wanted to hold Khalifa and investigate his alleged ties to terrorism as early as December. But *Secretary of State Warren Christopher wrote a three-page letter to Attorney General Janet Reno in January urging that the deportation proceed*. [emphasis added] p(qq). The government had one of the few terrorists in the world who could possibly link all three of the most deadly terror attacks in US soil in the past decade, and they _let him go_. Worse, they gave him all the evidence they had against him, which was quite a bit. Bomb recipes that matched both the 1993 WTC bombing and the OKC bombing, manuals for terrorist tactics, the works--and they gave it all back.
Jeez, a very disturbing tale of Clinton era terrorist appeasement and I can't blame Janet Reno? That hurts. But I'm sure "it wouldn't have happened if Warren Christopher had still been alive":http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3a24323940b5.htm#31.
Posted by orbital at 9:49 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

They're everywhere, they're everywhere!

[source, source]
University College Cork in Ireland has put together a list of well-known authors and speakers who are Jews, under the name ??Palestine: Information with Provenance??. p(qq). The material presented here is intended to help people who, after a lifetime's indoctrination by Zionist propaganda, are starting to question their beliefs and who are interested in learning the truth.
Posted by orbital at 9:36 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Living on the edge

[source, source, source]
Planning bias. Again and again, critics charge the government with having no plan or strategy. Whenever the Pentagon or administration changes course, they charge it with having planned poorly. Headlines speak of events "out of control" in Iraq. More than just hindsight bias is at work here. Many people, particularly the sophisticated sort, hate messiness. They like to know that smart managers are in charge, figuring out everything. Surprises are defeats. In truth, the planning mind-set is exactly wrong for Iraq. Anything might have happened after the war: a flood of refugees, a cholera pandemic, a civil war--or, for that matter, the discovery of an advanced nuclear program. The fact that the Bush administration keeps adjusting its course, often contravening its own plans or preferences, is a hopeful sign. The administration's decisions to raise rather than reduce troop levels, to ask for $87 billion that it never planned on needing, to go looking for help from the United Nations--all this suggests not that the Iraq effort is failing but that the administration is more flexible than its rhetoric.
It's a fine line to walk, between flexibility and chaos. But as we're finding out in many areas, if you want to be able to respond rapidly to the real world, you have to live right on the edge of instability.
Posted by orbital at 8:58 AM | View 2 Comments | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Davis sacked, long live Ah-nuld

[source] Soon-to-be-former California governor Gray Davis is recalled, Arnold Schwarzenegger wins the run-off. But you knew that already.
Posted by orbital at 8:55 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

07 October 2003

Soft target watch

[source, source]
Gun crime is soaring in the UK: p(qq). The demand from drug gangs for firearms has created a trade in cheap lethal weapons, easily imported, often even sent by surface mail. Their use is becoming commonplace. In more than two-thirds of reported armed robberies in England and Wales, the weapon used was described as a small handgun. Reports are also rising of houseowners with expensive cars being threatened with guns at their homes. The number of armed robberies on public highways has also risen, by 19 per cent in a year. These facts are from ??The Observer??, which says, Let's rid the streets of guns. Now how are they going to do that? By targeting legal gun owners, of course! p(qq). David Blunkett is right to call for tough sentences for possessing unlicensed fire arms. But that will not be sufficient. Some 125,000 firearm licences were issued last year. To whom? For what? How regularly are certificate holders checked? It's quite obvious what happens when a Yardie drug dealer wants to commit a crime -- he goes through the labyrinthine proces of obtaining a legal firearms certificate! This must be the only case in history of the usual suspects being the most law-abiding citizens. Barking mad.
Posted by orbital at 10:11 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Power failure

[source, source]
'Wind farms are an expensive dead end,' says Wright. 'Ten years down the road they will have to concede that wind is not the answer they thought it was, and we will have a lot of tall white elephants all over our hills.'
The original source has lots of details that back up this base claim, including rent-seeking, government subsidies, bird kills and secondary ecological effects.
Posted by orbital at 10:07 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman "get the vapors":http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/murray200310060830.asp on global warming.
Posted by orbital at 9:52 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

California election winner announced!

From the land of tomorrow, Tim Blair let's us know who's going to be the next governor of California. The platform is a good read. I especially like this one:
7. I will coordinate the state’s unemployment and jury systems, so that *anyone who applies for unemployment will instantly be called for jury duty*. This will save California state and local governments millions of dollars, because we won’t have to pay for jury duty. It will also relieve those with jobs from the stress of serving on lengthy juries.
Posted by orbital at 9:34 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

06 October 2003

Worlds in collision

A year ago the Minneapolis Public Library found itself at the center of a very public maelstrom, after employees complained that patrons were using computer terminals in the downtown branch to surf the Internet for pornography.[…] But by the time the measures [against Internet porn] went into effect, a dozen employees had filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that the library's failure to regulate access to sexually offensive material had created a hostile work environment. [more background] Late last month the EEOC issued a preliminary ruling siding with the plaintiffs--going so far as to recommend that the library pay each of the so-called Minneapolis 12 a financial settlement of $75,000 to compensate them for their suffering.
Oooh, it hurts when two liberal pieties collide! As the ??Wall Street Journal?? noted (subscription required), it's simply not true that librarians don't exercise editorial control over library contents - otherwise, where are the bound volumes of ??Penthouse???.
Posted by orbital at 9:52 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Why we hate them

Arnold Schwarzenegger's massive rally on the south side of the state Capitol, the climax of his four-day bus tour of California, provided just what the Los Angeles Times editorial board must fear. It was a dramatic demonstration of how a powerful celebrity can channel populist anger, creating a political experience unmediated by elites. While Schwarzenegger for the most part struck a positive, upbeat tone Sunday afternoon, declining to attack his principal antagonists -- Gray Davis, Cruz Bustamante, and the Times -- the disdain for the political class underlying his message was palpable. There was no torch-lit Nuremberg-style parade, of course…
-- "Bill Bradley in the ??LA Times??":http://www.laweekly.com/ink/printme.php?eid=47593
Is it just not possible for the media elite to _not_ use a Nazi reference? Is that all they have left?
Posted by orbital at 7:26 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Is the Big Media tide turning on Iraq?

A "good roundup":http://www.instapundit.com/archives/011834.php of stories of the real situation in Iraq, which is hardly perfect but looking good.
Posted by orbital at 7:19 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

05 October 2003

Real issues in the occupation

[source, source]
Last month the Iraqi Governing Council questioned why the American occupation authority had issued a $20 million contract to buy new revolvers and Kalashnikov rifles for the Iraqi police when the United States military was confiscating tens of thousands of weapons every month from Saddam Hussein's abandoned arsenals.[…] Iraqi officials and businessmen charge that millions of dollars in contracts are being awarded without competitive bidding, some of them to former cronies of Mr. Hussein's government. […] The lack of transparency and competition, Governing Council members said in interviews, may be encouraging corruption. They said they believed that many contracts had been inflated beyond the reasonable cost for the work, creating opportunities for kickbacks between prime contractors and subcontractors.
If Big Media wants to get in some hits on President Bush about the occupation, this is the kind of thing they should focus on, not bury it. This should be on the front page and could well serve as constructive criticism instead of partisan mud slinging.
Posted by orbital at 8:14 PM | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

And they say it's the conservatives who are parochial and ahistorical…

'We should have been culturally sensitive,' a Special Forces officer admitted to Time magazine. 'We should never have gone into people's houses. Saddam's soldiers never went into houses.'
-- Ted Rall, cartoon journalist
This is a completely accurate quote -- without any, you know, cite, from Ted. But I'm sure it's true on the facts. In Iraq, the Fourth Amendment was sacred. Every Iraqi was safe from state intrusion in the sacred castle of her, or his, house.
Am I ever that cynical and cutting? I can only hope…
Posted by orbital at 12:47 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

The other side of the stonewall

"InstaPundit":http://www.instapundit.com/archives/011830.php has some excellent advice for the White House on the "Plame affair":http://www.maderblog.com/archives/2003_09.html#000134:
One comment that I made in passing earlier, and that seems more and more relevant as I think about it, is that the White House has a lot to gain by subpoenaing reporters who know about the Plame leaks. Doing that serves several useful purposes. First, once the press clams up and starts going on about protecting sources, it becomes extremely hard for it to claim that the White House is covering things up. "Who's stonewalling now?" can be the response. Second, the press's complaints will look like special pleading (which they are). "If you leak this you're a traitor, but if we publish it, we're being great Americans," won't wash. Third, subpoenaing reporters will likely reduce the number of leaks in the future. And that's a good thing, right? We keep hearing that these leaks were disastrous for national security. If that's true, we certainly want people to think twice before leaking in this fashion again, or publishing the results of such leaks.
Posted by orbital at 9:50 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

If you're smart enough, you can get away with anything

Katha Pollitt believes Arnold Schwarzenegger mistreated women. Her response is "clear and direct":http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/05/opinion/05POLL.html: p(qq). Here is a man who seems to have a long history of contempt for women, who uses his celebrity to get away with sexual humiliation -- why does he belong in public life? Katha Pollitt believes Bill Clinton raped a woman. Her response is ... "well, what can anyone do about it, you know?":http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/1999/03/cov_03feature3.html Nothing much, I guess. It’s a real pity. Just too bad: p(qq). I think Juanita Broaddrick told her story in a very persuasive way. She has people who say she told them about the rape at the time … In my heart I believe her, yes. But what do you do with this information? One of the things that's so frustrating about this is: It's out there, people think about it, but there isn't anything you can do with it. It's not an allegation that anyone can use legally; it's only an allegation that people can try to use politically.
But for those who are still mystified about this double think, Patricia Foulkrod helpfully "points out the difference":http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=106&u=/nypost/20031004/cm_nypost/sexlieshiddenagendas&printer=1 between Ah-nold and Clin-ton:
"The difference is that Clinton was so brilliant," she said. "If Arnold was a brilliant pol and had this thing about inappropriate behavior, we'd figure a way of getting around it. I think it's to our detriment to go on too much about the groping. But it's our way in. This is really about the GOP trying to take California in 2004 and our trying to stop it."
Presumably by "brilliant" she means "left-wing". Shades of "brightness":http://blog.thought-mesh.net/archives/000569.html! P.S. Just to be clear, because it's hard to tell sometimes -- the last quote is *not* satire.
Posted by orbital at 9:33 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Oh, Canada!

[source, source]
OTTAWA - Marc Bellemarre, the Quebec Justice Minister, has repeatedly ordered his province's head of criminal prosecutions to proceed with charges of judicial bribery against a federal Immigration and Refugee Board judge, but the senior official will not follow instructions, the National Post has learned. […] Sources familiar with the dispute said Mr. Bilodeau, a supporter of Quebec separatism, does not want to ask the federal government for permission to lay any criminal charges as a matter of principle. He wants to lay obstruction of justice charges instead. They require no consent be sought from anyone in Ottawa.
Yes, well, clearly it's more important to uphold Qebecois separatism than the rule of law. Alternatively, it could be that Bilodeau is also involved and just using this as an excuse. The fact that is presumed a viable one says a lot.
Posted by orbital at 9:25 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

04 October 2003

With a bang instead of a whimper?

[source, source]
Basically, Kyoto is dead and the claim of 'scientific consensus' about anthropogenic climate change lies in ruins. BBC environment correspondent Tim Hirsch is one of the few reporters to realize its significance: p(qq). Taken together with a succession of Russian scientists using this conference to cast doubt on the science of global warming, the event is proving something of a nightmare for supporters of worldwide action to combat climate change. Russians, chess players all, delight in outflanking maneuvers they term "the knight's move." They've completely bamboozled the enviros here, who thought that this would be another grim worryfest like the IPCC meetings. Instead, you have the spectacle of the head of the Russian Academy of Scientists (not a fringe scientist, by any means, although I'm sure the ad hominem attacks will start) saying that the only people who would be affected by the abandonment of Kyoto "would be several thousand people who make a living attending conferences on global warming" (he was quoted in a BNA report, which is subscription only).
Oh, that last one has gotta hurt!
Posted by orbital at 6:55 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Fighting city hall

Randy Bailey, the owner of the Mesa, Arizona, brake shop featured in our recent story about eminent domain abuse, has won his case against City Hall. (The case was featured last Sunday in a great segment on 60 Minutes.) Special props to the Institute for Justice, the DC-based libertarian law firm that represented Bailey.
I'm a big supporter of the Institute for Justice because they do things like this.
Posted by orbital at 6:25 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Effectiveness? That's not the point!

[source, source, source]
A report published by the Centers for Disease Control on Thursday found no conclusive evidence that gun control laws help to prevent violent crime, suicides and accidental injuries in the United States. […] a national task force of health-care and community experts found "insufficient evidence" that bans on specific guns, waiting periods for gun buyers and other such laws changed the incidence of murder, rape, suicide and other types of violence. The findings were based on 51 studies, some partly funded by the CDC, of gun laws enacted in the mid-1970s and later.
As "Instantman":http://instapundit.com says, that's striking giving the clear anti-RKBA(Right to Keep and Bear Arms) bias of the CDC(Center for Disease Control). Over in the UK, we see a graphic illustration of the CDC results:
2 Oct 2003 -- A shopkeeper who was shot dead in a robbery stepped in front of her killers to save her daughter, said her husband. Thieves killed Marion Bates, 64, in front of her daughter Xanthe in an attack at their family-run jewellery store in Arnold, Nottingham, on Tuesday. 3 Oct 2003 -- A man has died and another has been injured after a drive-by shooting in Hertfordshire. Police say the two men came under fire - possibly from an automatic weapon - outside the Physical Limit Health and Fitness Club in Brewery Road gym in Hoddesdon.
It's key to point out that the UK has the strictest gun control laws in the developed world and that all of the weapons here were completely banned years ago.
Posted by orbital at 8:03 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

03 October 2003

France: helping Saddam too little, too late

[source, source]
WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish troops in Iraq have found four French-built advanced anti-aircraft missiles which were built this year, a Polish Defense Ministry spokesman told Reuters Friday.
That means the missiles were provide to the Ba'ath _after_ the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. UPDATE: [source, source] Poland now claims that the initial report was mistaken, that the French missiles found were not made recently.
Posted by orbital at 6:17 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Leading with a glass jaw

[source, source]
On Sunday, InstaPundit made this comment on the Plame affair: p(qq). This seems like a case of manufactured outrage to me. I rather doubt that most of the people who are so exercised here were condemning that hero of the antiwar left, Philip Agee, who really did put lives in danger. I thought it a bit unfair to drag out Philip Agee, and reluctantly had to agree with lefty blogger Jim Henley that it was unfair to target most current leftists over an event of 1969. Silly me. I should have known better. Today the ??LA Times?? actually "drags Agee out of the bed he was shacking up with Castro in":http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-agee3oct03,1,6790747.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions, to give him space on its pages to attack the Bush administration, to express his shock that the law has been violated. Now that Agee is back in his brothel, perhaps the ??LA Times?? will track down Saddam and give him a column to denounce the Bush administration for cruelty to Iraqis.
It shows the bizarre mindset of some of the anti-Bush forces that they think dragging out Phil Agee _helps_ their case.
Posted by orbital at 11:26 AM | View 2 Comments | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Toys for Iraqi children

"Chief Wiggles":http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com, who is stationed in Iraq, is "asking for donations of toys":http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com/read/234561.htm to distribute to children in Iraq. You can send the toys to a APO address, which counts as domestic shipping. The Pentagon will pick up the tab for moving them over to Iraq.
Posted by orbital at 10:54 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

A plague of NGOs

[source & source]
When foreigners come in with their international solutions to local problems it can create a dependency. For example East Timor is one of the poorest countries in Asia yet the capital is now one of the most expensive cities in Asia, local restaurants are out of reach for most the Timorees and cater to international workers who are paid probably something like 200 times the local average local wage. […] 4 years after the war the United Nations still run Kosovo by executive fiat. Decisions made by the elected local parliament are invalid without the signature of a U.N. Administrator and still to this day Kosovo ministers have U.N. overseers.
-- Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense
The humanitarian touring circuit is now the oldest established permanent floating crap game. Regions such as West Africa, where there's no pretense anything will ever get better, or the Balkans, which are maintained by the U.N. as the global equivalent of a slum housing project, suit the aid agencies perfectly: There's never not a need for them. But in Iraq they've decided they're not interested in staying to see the electric grid back up to capacity and the water system improved if it's an American administration at the helm. The Big Consciences have made a political decision: that it's not in their interest for the Bush crowd to succeed, and that calculation outweighs any concern they might have for the Iraqi people.
And who is it that wants to leave Iraq to the mercies of such as these?
Posted by orbital at 10:46 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

02 October 2003

Absence of malice

[source, source]
Neo-conservatives and religious conservatives have hijacked this administration, and I consider myself on a personal mission to destroy both.
-- Joseph Wilson, husband of "Valerie Plame":http://www.townhall.com/columnists/robertnovak/rn20031001.shtml
Posted by orbital at 6:07 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Where are they now?

Damian Penny asks a good question: bq(qq). Since "peace" protestors oppose sexism and violence against civilians, I'm sure they're lining to up to serve as human shields to stop this sort of thing, right? bq. Suspected Taliban insurgents set fire to two girls' schools in northern Afghanistan, a local official said Monday, in the second such attack in recent days. bq. Two tents housing schools for girls in the Charar Bolak district in Balkh province were destroyed in the blaze late Sunday, said Abdul Sabur Khan, a local military official. […] bq. On Saturday, insurgents destroyed a girls' school in eastern Nangarhar province. Earlier this month another school was burned down just several kilometres south of the Afghan capital, Kabul. I'm sure that the only reason they're not there yet is because of "bus troubles":http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/03/02/wshiel202.xml.
Posted by orbital at 2:05 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Journalism in action

[source, source, source]
Pelley: I spoke with a man who claimed to be with the Fedayeen and was avowed to kill American soldiers. He… Bremer (interrupting): Did you arrest him?? Pelley (clearly taken aback): Uh, we don't have the authority to arrest anyone. Bremer: Did you turn him over to the authorities or military? Pelley: Uh, we're just here to report… Bremer: Well, listen. Next time you find someone like that, call me and I'll come arrest him.
-- From memory transcript of ??60 Minutes II??
Posted by orbital at 7:35 AM | View 1 Comments | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Taking the fun out

[source, source]
*PARIS* -- A growing sense of France's decline as a force in Europe has developed here. The idea's novelty is not the issue itself. Rather it is that for the first time in a half century that the notion of a rapid descent in France's influence is receiving wide acknowledgment within the French establishment. At its most hurtful and remarkable, and yet perhaps its most honest, there is the start of acceptance by segments of the French intellectual community that French leadership, as it is constituted now, is not something Europe wants - or France merits.
That could really take all the fun out of France-bashing. It was that delusional state combined with excessive arrogance that made France such a worthy target.
Posted by orbital at 7:16 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

01 October 2003

The future of Iraq

The story of some young Iraqi exiles who visited Iraq after the invasion and what they saw there that being quoted all over the blogosphere. Well worth the time to read.
Yasser adds: "There's something I'd like to say to your readers. People who really care about Iraqis should join us in fighting for democracy in Iraq and for the debts accumulated by Saddam to be cancelled. Join Jubilee Iraq [["a group campaigning against Saddam's debt":www.jubileeiraq.org]]. Argue for the Governing Council to be strengthened. Support us. Don't spend your time hoping that Iraq fails just so you feel better about opposing the war."
Posted by orbital at 8:56 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Good and bad unilateralism

*Democrats Give Belligerence a Chance When it Comes to Trade* If there's one point of agreement among all of the Democratic presidential candidates, it's that President Bush has unnecessarily alienated the world with an approach to international security that is "arrogant," "bullying" and "belligerent." […] Now here's Dean, back in Iowa in August, telling a union audience how he would convince America's trading partners to adopt labor and environmental laws as stringent as those in the United States: "How am I going to get this passed?" Dean asked. "We are the biggest economy in the world; we don't have to participate in [the North American Free Trade Agreement] and we don't have to participate in the [World Trade Organization]. If we don't, it falls apart."
Yes, _my_ unilateral bullying is good, _yours_ is bad. Armed Liberal has a good post on this.
Posted by orbital at 10:37 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

I say again, why are we still funding these people?

[source, source]
The newly appointed Egyptian Mufti (one of the highest clerical positions in Islam), Sheikh Dr. 'Ali Gum'a, issued a fatwa shortly after the beginning of the Iraq War forbidding Muslims in the US military from fighting other Muslims. Sheikh Gum'a has also gone on record supporting Islamic orthodoxy that says Muslims can agree to anything, sign any treaties, and then break the agreements as soon as they are strong enough. This Egyptian hate-monger also (unsurprisingly) supports and encourages suicide bombings and _shaheed_ attacks.
All of that for only $2 billion a year!
Posted by orbital at 9:25 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Why are we still funding these people?

[source, source]
Palestinian non-government organizations have refused to sign a U.S.-sponsored commitment that they will not transfer funds to individuals or groups that engage in attacks against Israeli civilians. […] So far, the sources said, about 30 NGOs have declared that they would not sign the anti-terror commitment. *Many of the groups obtain funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development and American philanthropies*. [emphasis added]
Seems like there is a simple solution to this problem.
Posted by orbital at 9:19 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Bustamante cracks VRWC code!

[source, source]
They are against food.
-- Cruz Bustamante, talking about Republicans
Posted by orbital at 8:36 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL