31 January 2005

Old Media credibility watch

[source, source]

The BBC apologised on Saturday for erroneously reporting that U.S.-led and Iraqi forces may be responsible for the deaths of 60 percent of Iraqi civilians killed in conflict over the last six months.


Iraq’s health minister said the BBC misinterpreted the statistics it had received and had ignored statements from the ministry clarifying the figures.

“Today, the Iraqi Ministry of Health has issued a statement clarifying matters that were the subject of several conversations with the BBC before the report was published, and denying that this conclusion can be drawn from the figures relating to ‘military operations’,” the BBC said in a news statement on Saturday.

“The BBC regrets mistakes in its published and broadcast reports yesterday.”

I think they mean “regrets that our mistake was discovered”. I don’t think this is the kind of mistake that gets made honestly.

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No sense in updating a classic

It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will.

Adam Smith

I think nothing else need be written by anyone else on this topic.

Robert Schwartz

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30 January 2005

So many stories, so little time

[source, source]

SEN. KERRY: I still have the hat that he gave me, and I hope the guy would come out of the woodwork and say, “I’m the guy who went up with John Kerry. We delivered weapons to the Khmer Rouge on the coastline of Cambodia.”

It’s one thing to have a crazy old aunt you have to just nod and agree with on family visits, it’s quite another to elect them to the US Senate.

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How long till it's an EU regulation?

[source, source]

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.


Under Germany’s welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit.


When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that it had not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer.

Of course, I read the problem as being the welfare system with its attendant rules about employment and job seeking. It’s a lot harder for the other side to argue that if prostitution is legal that it should not be treated the same as other jobs. It should also be noted that the job centre, in reducing benefits, wasn’t just not breaking the law but in fact was legally forced to do so. I suppose the German solution will be to waive job seeking requirements.

It’s a hoax. That’s what I get for trusting Old Media.

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Those facts on the ground are pesky things


News reports of terrorist bombings in Iraq were marred Sunday by shocking graphic images of Iraqi “insurgents” voting by the millions in their first free democratic election.

Despite reporters’ hopes that a well-orchestrated barrage of mortar attacks and suicide bombings would put down the so-called ‘freedom insurgency’, hastily-formed battalions of rebels swarmed polling places to cast their ballots — shattering the status quo and striking fear into the hearts of the leaders of the existing terror regime.

Hopes for a return to the stability of tyranny waned as rank upon rank of Iraqi men and women filed out of precinct stations, each armed with the distinctive mark of the new freedom guerrillas — an ink-stained index finger, which one former Ba’athist called “the evidence of their betrayal of 50 years of Iraqi tradition.”

Journalists struggled to put a positive spin on the day’s events, but the video images of tyranny’s traitors choosing a future of freedom overwhelmed the official story of bloodshed and mayhem.

I expect Old Media will get its groove back soon enough.

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29 January 2005


The UN takes credit for other nation’s efforts once again.

According to the UN,

More than 20 foreign militaries have lent their aircraft, naval vessels, search and rescue teams, logistical support, air traffic and ground handling crews, etc to the effort.

“Lent”? I have to agree that I haven’t seen any mention of that, except from the UN. Let’s quote the Diplomad’s final paragraph, which epitomizes this sorry excuse for an organization:

The Diplomad finds absolutely stunning the language about the response being “remarkably, perhaps singularly, effective, swift and muscular” and that it “had succeeded in just one month. Normally, such a phase took three or more months . . .” Why was it so quick and effective? Thanks to President Bush who quickly threw together a “core group” of nations that responded right away, without waiting for the UN.

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Old Media credibility watch

A good tale from Powerline about what normally be just a silly little bit of bias from Old Media, labeling various lefty Senators ‘centrist’. Like a situation comedy, a small little error is compounded in to a major embarassment via repeatedly stupid decisions. It’s worth reading, but the bottom line is

So at the Post, at least, liberal slant is added anonymously by unknown editors who are completely unaccountable—in public, at least. This is not exactly how the Post and other MSM outlets present themselves when they brag about their accountability, credibility and “professional” standards.

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28 January 2005

You can't stop if you don't start

I don’t want to appear to be picking on the Arch-Blogger but I think he’s mistaken when he writes:

There was a time when the Left opposed fascism and supported democracy, when it wasn’t a seething-yet-shrinking mass of self-hatred and idiocy. That day is long past, and the moral and intellectual decay of the Left is far gone.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it? But I’m afraid it doesn’t conform to the actual historic record. The American Left did support the Communists against the Fascists in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. But they certainly did not support democracy during World War II.

When the Third Reich invaded democratic Poland in September of 1939 the American Left did not call for support of the Poles. Nor did they call for support of the Danes and Norwegians when Hitler invaded Denmark and Norway in April of 1940. They maintained solidarity with the isolationist America First Committee when the Germans invaded democratic France and the Low Countries in May of 1940. There also wasn’t a peep from them as the Soviet Union, in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, occupied parts of Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, etc.

In fact it wasn’t until Germany violated that pact and invaded the Soviet Union that a rift began to form between the isolationist Right and the Left. Three months after the invasion Norman Thomas, chairman of the American Socialist Party, announced his break with the America First Committee and threw his support behind intervention in the European war against Germany. I think the record here is clear: the Left wasn’t supporting democracy, it was supporting socialism. And, in my opinion, that was the beginning of the consensus that enabled the United States to enter the war.

So, Glenn, when was it that the American Left supported democracy? Or did you have some other Left in mind?

The Glittering Eye

I think the Left paid some lip service to democracy, by which I think they meant “we can do as we like, you pick up the tab”.

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Punish them! Punish them!

[source, source]

Settlers who came to Australia 50,000 years ago and set fires that burned off natural flora and fauna may have triggered a cataclysmic weather change that turned the country’s interior into the dry desert it is today, U.S. and Australian researchers said on Tuesday.

Their study, reported in the latest issue of the journal, Geology, supports arguments that early settlers literally changed the landscape of the continent with fire.

“The implications are that the burning practices of early humans may have changed the climate of the Australian continent by weakening the penetration of monsoon moisture into the interior,” Gifford Miller of the University of Colorado at Boulder, who led the study, said in a statement.


People are also blamed for killing off 85 percent of Australia’s huge animals, including an ostrich-sized bird, 19 species of marsupials, a 25-foot-long (7.5-meter) lizard and a Volkswagen-sized tortoise.

Some experts have suggested climate change caused by burning killed off these species, rather than direct hunting by human.

Clearly, according to modern environmentalist standards, these people should never be trusted with land again. I await such a statement from the Green Party in Australia.

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Forget the body guards, I want my Marla Maples clone

[source, source]

Libya on Friday will unveil its most sweeping proposals for economic reform in 35 years as part of a new national strategy aimed at ushering the country into the modern economic era, Libyan officials said Thursday.

The multi-pronged initiative would streamline government, speed up privatization and liberalize the media sector in a bid to begin a transition from what remains essentially an authoritarian regime to a more liberal economy that is competitive in the region, Seif el-Islam el-Qaddafi, son of the country’s ruler, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, and Abdulhafid Mahmoud Zlitni, the chairman of Libya’s National Planning Council, said Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

A number of Western advisers, including Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School and Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning economist, have agreed to work with Libya in the transition to craft an efficient framework for implementing the changes over the next two years.

“The old times are finished and Libya is ready to move onto the new stage of modernization,” Seif el-Islam el-Qaddafi said in an interview. “This will be conducted in a well organized manner that ensures new openness and ownership by the people of Libya, not a small class of oligarchs like Russia or Egypt.”

“We are determined,” he added. “But of course success can only be measured by the implementation.”

More big news, this time from Libya. I think of a few things when I read this:

  • The Colonel’s sons have apparently realized that it’s a better life to be Donald Trump in America than Saddam Hussein in Iraq
  • Some talk is cheap, but this isn’t — going back now would be expensive
  • Some credit must go to President Bush, who’s shifted the cost/benefit calculations for being a dictator
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Talent prefers the iron hand, not the velvet glove

[source, source]

The Bush administration unveiled a new personnel system for the Department of Homeland Security yesterday that will dramatically change the way workers are paid, promoted, deployed and disciplined — and soon the White House will ask Congress to grant all federal agencies similar authority to rewrite civil service rules governing their employees.


A raise or promotion — moving up in a pay range or rising to the next one — will depend on receiving a satisfactory performance rating from a supervisor, said officials with homeland security and the Office of Personnel Management.


Leaders of federal employee unions, however, immediately denounced the new DHS system and any plans to expand it government-wide. They said the system would undermine the morale of homeland security employees and make it harder to attract and keep talented workers. [emphasis added]

Oh yeah, that’s certainly been a noted feature of pay systems that reward talent over seniority.

Back in reality, this is very big news that’s going to fly right under the radar. It does seem to be some vindication for those who claimed these changes at DHS would serve as a foot in the door for similar changes in other parts of the federal bureauocracy.

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26 January 2005

It's a round story on our square page

[source, source]

I want you to try to imagine how the major media might cover the following story.

A Muslim family of four, known for boldly proselytizing the Islamic faith in the shadow of where the World Trade Center stood before Sept. 11, 2001, is bound, gagged and murdered execution-style, throats slit, jewelry left behind.

I don’t know about you, but I can almost envision the Page 1 New York Times coverage of this apparent “hate crime.” I can almost hear the hand-wringing pundits fretting about this undeserved, unwarranted backlash against innocent Muslims. I am almost certain a week after such an attack there would be calls for new sensitivity in the way Muslims are portrayed in newscasts and entertainment programming. You can be certain the self-appointed Muslim-American and Arab-American spokesmen would be getting maximum face time brining international attention to America’s intolerance toward Islam.

Tragically, an attack like this actually took place last week in Jersey City, N.J. – though it wasn’t a Muslim family, it was a family of Egyptian Coptic Christians who fled persecution in their homeland for the safety and security and freedom of the USA.

Is this bias or fright on the part of Old Media? Or being willing to pay any price tomorrow for peace today?

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Oh Canada!


There’s little to say about the tragedy of Canada’s response to the tsunami tragedy that hasn’t already been said. A lot of excuses have been bandied about for why Canadian soldiers weren’t sent, when Australia, Taiwan, Israel, and other countries despatched forces early, and the American military launched its largest operation in the area since Vietnam to try to save lives.

In the end, though, the answer’s pretty simple: 600 tonnes.

That’s the amount of airlift required to move the DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team). Since Canada only has the 4 CC-150 Polaris (modified Airbuses) for strategic airlift, with a cargo capacity of 13 tonnes each, rapid deployment of DART anywhere outside the effective ferry range of our 30-odd additional short-range Herc transports (ie, off this continent) was a mathematical impossibility, without civilian airlift… and civilian airlift is in pretty short supply at the moment.


Unfortunately, as was commented on at the time, that mentality makes it now effectively impossible to deploy in natural disaster scenarios, as well. DART, an Eggleton “first-in” project, has atrophied to the point where it proved undeployable even to Haiti during the hurricanes last year. If all this makes you wonder how effective the CF might be if that earthquake had been off of Vancouver Island, instead of Aceh, well, you probably should wonder. It’s certainly not encouraging. Hopefully the Americans will have an aircraft carrier free then, too.

How did the nation that took Juno beach come to this pass?

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O green striped rod
so warm in my hand,
ringed by gold,
and black capped,
screwed on or off.
Plunge you, i do,
into your azure bath
of darkest liquor,
wherefor to quench
your thirsty tip.
Then lovingly i wipe
clean the leaky dew
from your gleaming
golden head.
May i hold you to
my parting lips
as i ponder
a newer note?
My pelikan, my love,
what pleasure you bring!
i will stroke you lightly
and only across
the cleanest,
whitest sheets.


What can I say, I’m one of those pen freaks you hear muttered tales of.

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That was then, this is now


While I was trying to find out whether BBC reporter and presenter Jeremy Paxman had explicitly endorsed the idea that HIV is a manufactured virus (see previous post) — apparently he did not — I came across a new 2002 edition of his book, A Higher Form of Killing: The Secret Story of Chemical & Biological Warfare, with a newly written final chapter; and the final chapter said something which, in the context of the way the BBC has covered the Iraq war, is almost as startling.

Most of that final chapter is a strong argument trying to convince the reader that Saddam Hussein kept his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons after the first Gulf War, and that, at the time of the writing and publication of the new edition in 2001 and 2002, Saddam had an active program of producing chemical and biological weapons. Indeed, the new chapter is one of the most powerfully persuasive pieces of writing in favor of the idea of taking action against Saddam Hussein that I’ve ever seen. If I didn’t know better, I might have guessed that Tony Blair or Christopher Hitchens had written it.

Doesn’t exactly sound like the BBC’s point of view these days, does it?

I find quite plausible the author’s theory that back then tales of chemical warfare could be used to bash the USA, but later there were better ways to do such bashing that would be contra-indicated by pointing out what people thought about the Ba’ath and WMD before the invasion.

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I won't be foiled by those pesky kids


Third graders at a mostly black, mostly poor school in Rockford, Illinois aced the state reading tests, coming in second behind a school for gifted students, a few years after their school adopted scripted, teacher-directed instruction in phonics in the early grades. But fifth graders, who’d been taught under the “balanced literacy” method, were reading poorly, so the principal expanded the direct instruction program to all grades. The district relieved the principal of her instructional duties and ordered a return to “balanced literacy,” reports the Rockford Register Star.

The original instructional system was the same one in use at another school which has high reading scores. Therefore, obviously it should be use at all schools regardless of the actual results at those schools.

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25 January 2005

Oh, that's what they mean by "activism"


MILWAUKEE - The sons of a first-term congresswoman and Milwaukee’s former acting mayor were among five Democratic activists charged Monday with slashing the tires of vans rented by Republicans to drive voters and monitors to the polls on Election Day.

[…] The activists — all employees of the John Kerry campaign — are accused of flattening the tires on 25 vehicles rented by the state Republican Party to get out the vote and deliver poll watchers Nov. 2. [emphasis added]

Let’s keep that last fact firmly at the lead of this story. We all know how this would play if it had been Bush campaign workers charged with slashing tires.

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24 January 2005


[source, source, source]

[S]ome American elites are actively shilling for the Chavez regime even as the media crackdown proceeds. Jack Kemp, notably, has been busy opening doors for the Chavez government. Recently Kemp and the Venezuelan ambassador visited the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board in an unsuccessful attempt to charm the paper away from its anti-Chavez stance. Since that visit, the Journal reported that Kemp has been trying to broker a complicated deal to fill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve with Venezuelan oil via an intermediary company—Free Market Petroleum LLC—on whose board Kemp sits. Since hooking up with Free Market Petroleum, Kemp has visited with Chavez and his ministers in Caracas. Surely he must have noticed Chavez’s brutality here.

Hopefully we’re seeing the end of the days when one can suck up to dictators with impunity. At least, if you’re a Republican.

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23 January 2005

Boxer gives reality another slip

Senator Boxer was on a roll during the Condoleeza Rice confirmation hearings. Via Progressive Reaction we have this tidbit

My last point has to do with Milosevic. You said you can’t compare the two dictators. You know, you’re right; no two tyrants are alike. But the fact is Milosevic started wars that killed 200,000 in Bosnia, 10,000 in Kosovo and thousands in Croatia, and he was nabbed and he’s out without an American dying for it. […]in one case we did it without Americans dying. In the other case, we did it with Americans dying. […] We cannot forget. We cannot forget that.

As PR noted, Milosevic wasn’t nabbed, he was turned out during subsequent elections. More over, one of the big reasons he was turned out was because NATO heavily bombed Serbia, targeting civilian infrastructure and said they’d keep on doing it. I’d love to see Boxer’s reaction to realizing she is advocating that we should have done the same to Iraq.

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Is it obvious now what's being fought over in Iraq?

[source, source]

DUBAI - Al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi declared a “bitter war” on Iraq’s parliamentary elections next Sunday, in an audiotape purporting to come from the Jordanian militant and posted on the Internet.The speaker urged Sunni Muslims to fight against the vote, which he said was a plot against them by Washington and its ”infidel” Shia Muslim allies.

“We have declared a bitter war against the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it,” the speaker, who was identified as Zarqawi, said in the tape posted on Sunday.

“Candidates in elections are seeking to become demi-gods while those who vote for them are infidels. And with God as my witness, I have informed them (of our intentions).”

Like those of us paying attention hadn’t already figured that out. This will definitely come in handy, though, next time I engage one of the caliphascists’ useful idiots.

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You gotta have something to work with


Protesters, many carrying signs and wearing homemade aluminum hats, walk through the streets of Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, during a demonstration against the inauguration of President Bush for his second term. [emphasis added]

Yeah, like there were any brains for the lasers to control in the first place.

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Hey, at least I actually talked to someone other than the bartender in the hotel!


The Washington Post’s Jackie Spinner meets a calm and reasonable Baghdad resident who turned against the US after …

After some Coalition forces alledgedly let his live-in mom know he had soft porn magazines. That’s apparently what Spinner considers an example of the horrors of living under the Occupation in Iraq.

What I like best, however, is the way a reported writing a stupid story like this can become within hours a laughing stock across the entire planet. If only she had an editor to save her from that!

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The enemy of our enemy…

[source, source]

Zarqawi is a declared member of al Qaeda, and has full terrorist credentials. He has operated al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, beheaded civilians and recorded his handy work in snuff films on al Qaeda websites, attempted to conduct a poison gas attack in Jordan, ricin and other chemical attacks in Europe… The list goes on. And yet the New York Times, the paper of record, cannot, even once, refer to him as a terrorist. Instead, he is a “rebel leader”, “insurgent”, “militant” and “guerrilla”. They know his history, yet they choose to obscure his brutal nature in the romantic language of resistance fighters.

They did the same for Stalin, so why not?

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Tales from the front lines of the imperial hegemon


Everyone else is quoting this, so I might as well. It’s a sad but hardly surprising tale of the spoiled vultures of the UN doing more harm than good once again, this time to the US Navy effort for the tsunami victims.

It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline. I’d like to say that this has been a rewarding experience for us, but it has not: Instead, it has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid workers who have invaded our spaces.


As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of “Nice china, really makes me feel special,” in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives.


When they got to Sumatra with no plan, no logistics support and no five-star hotels to stay in, they threw themselves on the mercy of the U.S. Navy, which, unfortunately, took them in. I guess our senior brass was hoping for some good PR since this was about the time that the U.N. was calling the United States “stingy” with our relief donations.

The author hopes for some good public relations in the Islamic world from this, but I don’t such much prospect of that. The USA is now considered simply a force of nature that is required by the laws of reality to help out, so why shouldn’t anyone curse it, oppose it and interfere with it if that’s helpful to one’s self?

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Staying on message

[source, source]

“We were a target, and an easy one,” said Capt. Mohammed, an 11-year veteran of the Palestinian preventive intelligence service. Like other low- to mid-ranking officers interviewed, he did not want his name used because he was not authorized to speak to journalists. [emphasis added]

Clearly that’s the mark of an open society trying to live in peace with its neighbors, with it’s law enforcement personel forbidden to speak to reporters.

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At that price there's no reason to wait

[source, source]

Descendants of the Moors expelled from Spain 500 years ago failed to receive an apology from King Juan Carlos as he toured Morocco yesterday.

Residents of Tetouan, many of whose ancestors were driven from the Iberian peninsula by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, said an opportunity had been lost to heal an historic wound, which has become all the more sensitive in recent years.

Have the Moors apologized for invading yet?

— Orrin Judd

If an apology would set things right for an expulsion, then the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, France, and others might want to jot that down for future reference.

Alex Kassel

It’s good to make everyone happy.

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21 January 2005

Our voters don't remember things like elephants

[source, source]

[T]he Bush administration may not have to worry about the opposition for round two. While Hersh surmises that Bush’s Iran invasion could be carried out with Israeli special operatives, political opposition may never reach the doorsteps of Congress. After all, the Democrats have long agreed that Iran must be dealt with militarily.

Recently, the Democratic Party’s rising “progressive” star Barack Obama said he would favor “surgical” missile strikes against Iran.

As Obama told the Chicago Tribune on September 26, 2004, “[T]he big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures [to stop its nuclear program], including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point … if any, are we going to take military action?”

He added, “[L]aunching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in” given the ongoing war in Iraq. “On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse.” Obama went on to argue that military strikes on Pakistan should not be ruled out if “violent Islamic extremists” were to “take over.”

Senator John Kerry echoed this sentiment on May 29, 2004, when he told the Washington Post that the Bush Administration has not “been tough on the [Iran] issue … which is the issue of nuclear weaponry, and again just like I said with North Korea, you have to keep your eye on the target.”

Even DNC chair hopeful Howard Dean, allegedly the liberal arm of the Democratic Party, concurs Bush has not been tough enough on Iran. The Forward quotes Dean as saying, “The United States has to … take a much harder line on Iran and Saudi Arabia because they’re funding terrorism.”

In fact, while campaigning for president, Dean contended that President Bush had been far too soft on Iran. In a March appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation, Dean even went so far as to say that “[President Bush] is beholden to the Saudis and the Iranians.”

As the commentor says, the Democratic Party leadership did this with Iraq as well and managed to easily discard their previous positions when that became convenient.

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Former President Carter has always liked a certain class of people

[source, source]

Based upon an investigation by Move America Forward, it appears President Carter and his associates are among the former officials with whom [Samir] Vincent collaborated.

“One of two things happened,” suggests [Melanie] Morgan. “Either President Carter was totally duped, and allowed himself to be conned into working as an indirect agent of Saddam Hussein, or President Carter knowingly associated himself with a foreign agent who was seeking to undermine American foreign policy.”

Who is Samir Vincent?

Samir Vincent admitted on Tuesday to receiving allocations for more than 9 million barrels of oil between 1996 and 2003 in return for serving as an agent of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Vincent worked at Hussein’s direction, lobbying U.S. and U.N. officials to end sanctions and to instead implement the oil-for-food scam.

Ah, everything’s clear now. Vincent was a friend of a brutal dictator, and therefore would be highly esteemed by Carter.

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I hope you read it, because I didn't


What was perhaps most infuriating about [Senator Barabra] Boxer’s pissy little tirade was that she cited a movie by a hate America lefty called Fog of War as if it were gospel, and had the unmitigated gall to basically call Condi a liar on Iraq. This from a woman who defended Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky matter. True to here nature as nobody’s fool, Condi shot back with a wonderful defense of the Iraq war that Boxer, one of the Senate’s dimmest bulbs (and that’s saying something), probably didn’t understand because Condi used words over 2 syllables.

However, in her harangue against everything about President Bush and Iraq, Boxer made a statement that was patently false. Even worse, it’s easy to prove as such.


After Condi had so brilliantly and passionately defended the Iraq war, and the reasoning for it that included cites to reasons other than WMD’s, half-wit Boxer smugly made this astounding statement:

BOXER: Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote.

The only problem for Boxer is that the internet exists, and we can go back and read, and link to, the actual text of the resolution.

Needless to say, the record doesn’t support Boxer. Any doubters are strongly recommended to read the text themselves.

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20 January 2005

Fishy business from the EUlite


TSUNAMI-struck Thailand has been told by the European Commission that it must buy six A380 Airbus aircraft if it wants to escape the tariffs against its fishing industry.

While millions of Europeans are sending aid to Thailand to help its recovery, trade authorities in Brussels are demanding that Thai Airlines, its national carrier, pays £1.3 billion to buy its double-decker aircraft.


As the world’s largest producer of prawns, Thailand has become so efficient that its wares are half the price of those caught by Norway, the main producer of prawns for the EU.

To ensure the Thais cannot compete, EU officials five years ago removed its shrimp industry from the EU’s generalised system of preferential tariffs - designed to share Western wealth with developing countries by trade.

The tariffs are bad enough (and something the USA is quite guilty of as well), but the Airbus deal - that’s salt in the wound. It would also seem an admission that there’s not a lot of confidence in the A380.

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Reading, writing and racism

No Illusions has a good roundup on the problem with math test scores in a particular school district. The basis is that three years ago a new math cirriculum was adopted and for three years math test scores have been dropping. The administrators can’t figure out any connection. The key point that has been cleared up is that the new math cirriculum has as its stated goals anti-racism, with not a mention of mathematics. It’s important to be clear that the anti-racism isn’t a component of an overall educational program but specifically for the math program. I guess the concept of teaching math to boost math scores is beyond some people.

P.S. This post is an excellent resource for just how bizarre the academic backstory for this kind of thing is.

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They're not anti-war, they're on the other side


An Associated Press article describes the execution of two Iraqi electoral officials by insurgents in a Baghdad street.

A series of pictures taken by an AP photographer show three pistol-wielding gunmen, who had earlier stopped a car carrying the election officials and dragged them into the middle of Haifa Street in the midst of morning traffic.

Even with today’s proliferation of compact photographic equipment, a legitimate photojournalist rarely gets the opportunity to capture an execution. Apart from the beheadings which are purposely recorded on video by the jihadis and from gun camera film, most footage of people actually being shot are taken by photographers in company with combatants who are ready to film an ambush. Those individuals are combat cameramen for their armies or embedded reporters.

Clearing up some old notes and I didn’t want this example of Old Media acting a propaganda arm for the caliphascists to disappear down the memory hole.

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[source, source]

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, visiting the United Nations, cautioned his Congressional colleagues to “take a deep breath” before making a political football out of the world body by withholding dues.

Leahy’s right. Instead of making a political stink over withholding dues, we should just withdraw and kick the UN out of New York City.

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The EU - an institution of one sort or another

The purpose of electing UKIP MEPs is to cause as much trouble as possible among the corrupt, extreme, clapped out or incompetent denizens of the European Parliament.

This account by Dan Hannan (aka the one good Tory MEP) of proceedings is priceless:

It fell to a man called Nigel Farage, capo of the UK Independence Party, to inform the chamber of [French European Commissioner] Mr Barrot’s conviction [for embezzling party funds]. The pro-EU parties had not looked into his background because, deep down, they didn’t want to find anything… The way MEPs reacted to Farage’s revelation was horrible. One by one they rose to threaten him with legal action. The Liberal leader, Graham Watson, likened him to the football hooligans who had disgraced Britain in Europe. A fomer colleague of Barrot’s, Jacques Toubon, rushed up and down the aisle, apparently looking for someone to punch (Robert Kilroy-Silk, recognising him as the minister who had tried to ban the English language from French airwaves, told him mischievously that no one would understand him unless he spoke English, which sent him into a choking fit). All this because Farage was doing the job that the rest of us ought to have done.

It’s clearly a waste of effort to plot against the EU.

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We say to our lefty “friends” if you genuinely believe in the UN, now’s your chance to put your filthy lucre where your pie hole is. Please respond generously to the UN Sec-Gen’s Humanitarian Appeal, known as the “Consolidated Appeals Process,” or CAP. Give the UN your money. See where it goes. Where, you ask? Hey, Lefty, don’t take The Diplomad’s word that it will be wasted, go and see what the UN is asking and for what. Go to the Overview page and see what the UN lists as its pre-tsunami priorities and then go to the Funding page and see who is the biggest donor by far. Surprise! The number one priority, well ahead of caring for suffering tens-of-millions of Africans is UNRWA!

It can hardly be surprising that the UN’s number one recipient of aid are open supporters of terrorism.

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19 January 2005

Old Media credibility watch

[source, source, source]

What ABC News wants

Jan. 19, 2005 — For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20. If you know of a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below:

Remember, only American military personel dead in Iraq and only if the funeral is during President Bush’s inauguration! Mustn’t get the story line confused.

P.S. ABC News has removed the page.

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Voter suppression

[source, source]

What is sure to go down as the most exhaustive and publicized investigation of tire slashings in Milwaukee history will soon end with felony charges - possibly by the end of the week.


After all of the police and FBI interviews, sources have indicated that no out-of-state individuals are expected to be charged with slashing the tires of 20 vans and cars rented by the state Republican Party to schlep party faithful to the polls.

I expect the defense to be that it was a justified act in order to preserve democracy. After all, they were Republican voters. What more needs to be said?

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18 January 2005

He's not our source so who cares?

At the moment, the New York Times is in court, demanding constitutional protection for its sources. If they’re exposed, it fears, they may suffer consequences that will make others less likely to come forward in the future. That, we’re told, would be bad for America.

But the New York Times has no compunctions about putting the lives of pro-American and pro-democracy Iraqis at risk with baseless speculation even though the consequences they face are far worse than those that the Times’ leakers have to fear. It seems to me that doing so is far worse for America.

When journalists ask me whether bloggers can live up to the ethical standards of Big Media, my response is: “How hard can that be?” Not very hard, judging by the Times’ latest.

I think it’s more a question of whether webloggers will sink to the ethical standard of Old Media.

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If you can't conquer them, ruin them

Apparently the decline of Canda from a real nation to the irrelevant sack of mush that is Trudeautopia was caused by Americans. Oh yeah, you guys should have surrendered in 1812!

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Republicans have to win big or not at all


In Wisconsin, people can register at the polls on election day. […]

The incompetent Executive Director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, Lisa Artison, failed to do her duty and mail out the confirmations until a full two months after the election. This is not the first time that she has shown rank incompetence. […]

In Milwaukee, about 75,000 people went through the process of registering at the polls in the November election. Got that? 75,000 people in a city of 600,000 were not registered to vote on the day of the election, so they registered at the the polls. […]

In the City of Milwaukee, there were 198, 907 votes cast for Kerry/Edwards and 75,746 votes cast for Bush/Cheney. As you can see, the City of Milwaukee came out strong for Kerry/Edwards.

So what we have is an instance where there were an abnormal number of election day registrations were filed for which the voters can not be verified in a city that voted overwhelming for the Democratic candidate. In addition, the number of voters in question far exceeds the margin of victory of the Democratic candidate. There is a strong indication that some massive voter fraud took place in Milwaukee. Although it appears that the Dems may have won Wisconsin through fraud, thank goodness it did not change the outcome of the race.

Interesting how so many of these stories are coming out now that the Old Media monopoly is breaking up, eh?

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My politics is personal and they're not me

Does your domestic political agenda really require that an entire nation suffer from more war, more poverty and more terror and have their dreams of democracy dashed so that you can have a smug laugh at Blair and Bush?


This is what always gets me. Even if one believes that President Bush lied and scammed the USA in to invading Iraq, why are his opponents so flagrantly indifferent to the fate of the Iraqis?

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17 January 2005

Planning ahead

Everyone knows it was the US that was responsible for the exinction of the dinosaurs. They could have stopped the asteroid but didn’t. Have they denied it? No. Have they shown any proof of their innocence? No. Why? Because IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE OIL!


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Proving your opponent's point

[source, source]

The president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers, sparked an uproar at an academic conference Friday when he said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Summers also questioned how much of a role discrimination plays in the dearth of female professors in science and engineering at elite universities.

Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, walked out on Summers’ talk, saying later that if she hadn’t left, ”I would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.”

Yep, I’m sure walking out to avoid an overly emotional reaction was what every guy in the audience was thinking.

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15 January 2005

Palestinian death squads

[source, source]

A young Palestinian man suspected of “collaboration” with Israel was executed on Friday in a public square in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus.

Eyewitnesses said Mahmoud Mansour, 23, was brought to the center of the camp by gunmen belonging to Fatah’s armed wing, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and shot to death in the presence of dozens of residents after noon prayers.

Armed gunmen from a group officially affiliated with the government hauling off enemies of the state and executing them in public. One might think that this is a classic example of what is normally called a “death squad”. But I’m confident that that is one phrase that won’t show up in Old Media.

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Finally, a litmus test I can support

[source, source]

“U.S. law is not handed down from on high even at the U.S. Supreme Court,” [US Supreme Court Justice Breyer] said. “The law emerges from a conversation with judges, lawyers, professors and law students”.

I’m seriously embarrassed that our great nation has Supreme Court justices as clueless as this.

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Oh, Canada!

[source, source]

Dear Judy [Sgro, Canadian Federal Immigration Minister] is apparently going to be resigning today. Because, in addition to having improperly granted special privileges to a Romanian stripper, she now faces allegations that she agreed to arrange for special treatment of an individual subject to a deportation order.

In exchange for free pizza.

Federal Immigration Minister Judy Sgro will step down today following allegations she promised a Brampton man asylum in Canada in exchange for assisting in her election campaign. Sgro’s decision to step aside came only hours after the Toronto Star obtained a copy of an affidavit in which pizza shop owner Harjit Singh claims Sgro pressed him to supply food and workers for her campaign last spring. Singh, a father of three facing deportation from Canada, alleges in the sworn affidavit filed in the Federal Court of Canada in Toronto yesterday that when word of his arrangement with Sgro started to leak out, Sgro suddenly reneged on the deal and last month ordered his arrest and removal from Canada “to save her job.”

Ferchrissakes, can’t you guys at least engage in impropriety for something worthwhile? Like, I don’t know, cash payments ending with lots of zeros? Private islands in the Caribbean? Castles in small European countries? Hell, small European countries? Instead, you throw it all away for a couple of boxes of pizza and a couple of shmucks who will hammer some signs into lawns? Y’all suck.

One of the commentors castigated the readers for believing Singh, who might well be just a crank looking for revenge. But if that’s true, then Sgro is even dumber for resigning immediately after the allegations came up because it certainly makes them look accurate. One might even contend that if her position is so weak that any random crank can simply make up stuff and damage her, it’s probably time for her to go.

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13 January 2005

It's "investigative" reporter, not "verifiable" reporter

Shouldn’t every journalist and professional journalist board be decrying the new standard set by CBS (and Thornburg, by implication)? That new standard is: It’s up to our detractors to provide evidence of the documents’ falsity.


I suspect that’s always been the standard, the only difference now being that it’s out in the open.

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12 January 2005

Old Media credibility watch


On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times editorialized about Justice Thomas and his acceptance of gifts while serving as a Supreme Court Justice. The editors couldn’t even get past the first sentence without saying something that isn’t true:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas insists that because he reported the sometimes lavish gifts he has received over the years, he should be off the hook.

No, he hasn’t. He hasn’t said a word about the gifts. As the Times’s own news article on the topic reported:

Thomas, through a court spokeswoman, declined to comment when asked in writing why he deemed it appropriate to accept some of the larger gifts.

Why does the Times feel the need to start with a misstatement of fact right off the bat?

I’m pretty sure Thornburgh would say “myopic zealotry” but no evidence of political bias.

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10 January 2005

Proper labeling

I’ll also note that guerrillas who kill people are called “insurgents” and compared to Minutemen when they’re anti-American, and “death squads” when they’re not. Typical.


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[source, source]

Kofi Annan has decided that the Aussie-American coalition of the willing is, in fact, a UN operation whether they know it or not. “The core group will support the United Nations effort,” he said. “That group will be in support of the efforts that the United Nations is leading.”

So American personnel in American planes and American ships will deliver American food and American medicine and implement an American relief plan, but it’s still a “UN-led effort.”

That seems to be enough for Kofi. His “moral authority” is intact, and the European media can still bash the Yanks for their stinginess. Everybody’s happy.

I presume that by “effort” Annan means “promoting the UN”, although he’s probably somewhat aware that there is some sort of crisis serving as the background for PR campaign.

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09 January 2005

Stop me before I screw up the vote again

[source, source]

What happens on Election Day is that the Democrats lose and then decide it was because of “unusually long lines” in “minority neighborhoods.” What “minority neighborhoods” means is electoral districts run by Democrats. In Ohio in 2004 as in Florida in 2000, the “problems” all occur in counties where the Dems run the system.

Clearly the solution is for the national Democratic Party to work to turn out local Democratic governments, so as to decrease the number of voting irregularities.

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07 January 2005

From your column to the RNC's ears

[source, source]

Imagine a campaign commercial that starts with a grainy, shadowy image of a Nativity scene being ripped from the front lawn of city hall.

A sad, weary announcer intones, “President Bush appointed judges who know what made America great … but Democrats in the Senate used stalling tactics to stifle the will of the people.”

The shot dissolves to quick-cut scenes of same-sex couples in tuxedos and wedding dresses celebrating on the courthouse steps.

“Americans want judges who won’t substitute their values for ours,” says the voice-over, “but the Democrats listened to the radical activists.”

Next we see some grinning convicts emerging from a prison’s revolving door - then a shot of fat, cigar-chomping lawyers congratulating each other. “The president appointed tough judges to protect our children from criminals and our jobs from frivolous lawsuits,” says the announcer, “but our senator obeyed his Democrat bosses - he wouldn’t even let those appointments come to a vote.”

The TV spot suddenly goes full-color, with a confident-looking Republican on a beach, among a cluster of elderly people. Next, we see that candidate in earnest conversation with some cops and soldiers, then surrounded by upward-gazing young people in a church or university setting.

“Fortunately, we don’t have to let the Democrats block the president’s plans to keep us safe at home … to strengthen Social Security … and to get some judges with common sense,” says the announcer. The commercial closes with the candidate saying he or she approved the message, while shaking hands with Bush before a background of American flags.

That’s a little preview of the Florida Democratic Party’s worst nightmare. It’s the sort of thing we might see in 2006 as Sen. Bill Nelson, the party’s sole survivor in statewide office, is one of at least six Democrats being targeted for defeat by the White House.

If something like this comes out, I’m mailing the RNC a check the next day.

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06 January 2005

If I'm not in charge, let it burn

[source, source]

Visiting with U.S. troops in Baghdad on Thursday, failed presidential candidate John Kerry trashed Commander-in-chief George Bush for making “horrendous judgments” and “unbelievable blunders” that have undermined the war effort.

In a series of demoralizing comments first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the defeated Democrat griped, “What is sad about what’s happening here now is that so much of it is a process of catching up from the enormous miscalculations and wrong judgments made in the beginning.”

Once again Senator John Kerry shows how much more he cares about America and our soldiers than his own political venting.

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Using C4 on the barrel


Forgive me for shooting the sitting duck, the fish in the barrel, but under the headline “The Army We Need” the Times has written an editorial calling for the Army they need.

The Pentagon is beginning to resemble a desperate farmer who feeds his starving family the seed corn meant for sowing next year’s crop. To keep enough boots on the ground now, it is sacrificing the ability to retain the leaders of tomorrow. As overdeployment has become chronic, promising young officers are opting not to re-enlist. When new crops of young people graduate from school, they will be less willing to combine their civilian careers with service in the Army National Guard; recruitment is already down almost 30 percent. The Regular Army is hurting too. Despite enlistment bonuses, it has had to speed up its reporting schedules, sending new recruits straight into basic training.

It’s an editorial, so these folks are entitled to their opinions, but a few factual matters could add a bit of weight to their arguments:

1. Officers don’t enlist. Enlisted members enlist. Hence the term “enlisted”.

2. All new recruits go “straight to basic training” - hence the term “basic” training. Skipping basic training would be the sign of an Army in a hurry.

Sadly, the NY Times’ indifference to facts renders them insensitive to this type of devastating argument.

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Cost free abuse


I mentioned that I was curious about the credentials of Christine Ahn, the California activist, and why someone with no apparent expertise in Korean affairs would be invited to speak at a conference sponsored by the South Korean Human Rights Commission. Josh of One Free Korea got back to me with the answer. It turns out that Ms. Ahn is a member of the Korea Solidarity Committee, a far-Left and pro-Pyongyang front group whose aim is reunification under the North Korean government. In other words, they’re rooting for the Dear Leader, and don’t much care what he does inside his own borders. That affiliation was not disclosed at the conference, or in any of the related material I read in assembling that last post. If you’re rooting for Kim Jong Il, then of course human rights are an inconvenience.

It makes as much sense as having Sudan on the UN Human Rights Commission while it’s government is committing genocide. What I get stunned by is not that this kind of thing is done, but that it’s done without any apparent cost.

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Get me some new voters!

[source, source]

according to the senator [Patrick Leahy], the American people have failed our government: By placing Republicans in charge of all three branches, they have left too few checks and balances in place.

I guess there were still plenty of checks and balances when the Democratic Party controlled all three branches, though.

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05 January 2005

Old Media credibility watch

[source, source, source]

To those of you who saw Ocean Rover in the CBS News report about coral damage: do not believe what they are telling you! We are furious at CBS. One of their producers contacted us and asked if we could help them get to the Similan Islands to report on coral damage. They assured us the piece would be “fair & balanced.”

We did everything we could to assist the CBS news team and they spend half a day filming and interviewing people on board Ocean Rover. One of our clients kindly gave them his underwater video footage for use during the broadcast. CBS promised our client that his footage would be used in a responsible manner.

Our Cruise Director Hans Tibboel described one specific divesite in Surin Island with the words: “it looked like a giant sandblaster was used”. Again, Hans was describing only one divesite and made positive remarks about the actual lack of damage at other places. Of course, the CBS editor used the “sandblast” soundbite and hardly anything else.

Footage was also arranged in a “before & after” method that is not consistent with the real situation. All the beautiful “before” footage shown by CBS was actually filmed AFTER the tsunami. [emphasis added]

Somehow the media just cannot help themselves and turn everything into a gloom & doom story. CBS should be ashamed of what they did here. We have talked to their producer since but of course she blames the New York editor. This is the way the media works. The way the news piece came out is 100% the opposite of what was promised to us. We urge fellow dive operators to be very careful in dealing with the media. These people do not let scruples get in the way of a juicy story. Shameful!

The CBS piece is damaging to our reputation and business. It paints the wrong picture about the true level of coral damage in the Similans AND it makes our own website reports look like lies. All we can say is when you dive with us, you trust us with your lives. When you read our website, you can trust us to be truthful.

What did they expect from CBS News? They’re lucky CBS didn’t fabricate memos from them laughing at ripped off customers.

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Market experiment

[source, source]

Laser eye surgery has the highest patient satisfaction ratings of any surgery, it has been performed more than 3 million times in the past decade, it is new, it is high-tech, it has gotten better over time and… laser eye surgery has fallen in price. In 1998 the average price of laser eye surgery was about $2200 per eye. Today the average price is $1350, that’s a decline of 38 percent in nominal terms and slightly more than that after taking into account inflation.

Why the price decline in this market and not others? Could it have something to do with the fact that laser eye surgery is not covered by insurance, not covered by Medicaid or Medicare, and not heavily regulated? Laser eye surgery is one of the few health procedures sold in a free market with price advertising, competition and consumer driven purchases. I’m seeing things more clearly already…

I expect that if this gets passed around, the next step will be for Old Media to start digging up horror stories of laser surgery gone wrong.

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03 January 2005

Looking for friends in all the wrong places


Before the last war, we Iraqis spent decades cut off from the outside world. Not only did the Baathist regime prevent us from traveling during the Iran-Iraq conflict and the period of the sanctions, but they punished anyone possessing satellite television. And of course, internet access was strictly limited. Because of our isolation, most of us had little idea or sense about life beyond our borders.


I met a Dutch woman on Mutinabi Street, where booksellers lay out their wares on Friday morning. I asked her how long she’d been in Iraq and, through a translator, she answered, “Three months.”

“So you were here during the war?”

“Yes!” she said. “To see the crimes of the Americans!”

I was stunned. After a moment, I replied, “What about the crimes of the regime? It killed millions of Iraqis. Do you know that if the regime was still in power, the conversation we’re having now would result in our torture or death?”

Her face turned red and she angrily responded, “Soon will come the day that the Americans will do worse.”

We have. We’ve humiliated the EUlite and embarassed the UN. What crime could be worse?

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02 January 2005

Mohammed Al Durrah update

[source, source]

Old news with new details about the alledged killing of Mohammed Al Durrah by the Israel Defense Force back on 30 Sep 2000. Evidence of it being a fake (and raising serious doubts as to whether Durrah was shot at all) continues to accumulate. It remains relevant because the incident is still cited as evidence of IDF brutality even though the evidence (to me) is overwhelming that no such thing happened.

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Old Media cluelessness watch

[source, source, source]

The [Chicago] Tribune reported the series, which ended this month, to answer some simple questions posed by readers in the wake of Sept. 11: Why are people from faraway lands attacking America and Americans? Why do they happen to be Muslims? Is there something about Islam that promotes violence?

Reporters found little to suggest that Islam encourages violence, despite the impression Westerners might have because of exposure mostly to extremists. In fact, its venerable history suggests that Islam, like most religions, promotes peace and charity.

The article at Jihad Watch has a number of good cites from the Qu’ran that contradict this assessment by the Tribune, but one wonders how the Tribune reporters could have over looked the centuries of expansion, conquest and conversion by the sword of Islam or today’s bloody borders. I suspect it was written in the clean room, protected from any contamination by facts.

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