31 March 2006

Not quite grasping the concept


Clinton vows to block bill criminalizing illegal immigrants

Uh, aren’t they already criminalized? What part of “illegal” does Senator Clinton not understand?

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30 March 2006

No defense of tradition

[source, source]

Yesterday the Royal Scots was the oldest infantry regiment in the world, boasting battle honours from Marlborough’s victories at Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet. Today the regiment is no more.

In 1745, the Black Watch was described by a French officer at the Battle of Fontenoy as “Highland Furies who rushed in on us with more violence than ever did a tempest-driven sea”. Today that regiment, too, is no more. Six Scottish infantry regiments are being merged into one, and all these historic regiments have similar proud stories.

Pride in tradition is at the heart of the fighting spirit. Men die for it. That tradition is being destroyed, on grounds of economy. While the Army is at a stretch round the world, these regiments are scrapped at the behest of Gordon Brown - the man who’s just come up with the idea of a “Veterans’ Day”. Today those traditions are no more.

I guess they weren’t cool enough for Cool Britiannia. And it’s not like the UK is at war, right?

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29 March 2006

The Wages of Voting

[source, source]

The wave of robberies the city of Malmö has witnessed during this past year is part of a “war against the Swedes.” This is the explanation given by young robbers from immigrant backgrounds when questioned about why they only rob native Swedes, in interviews with Petra Akesson for her thesis in sociology. “I read a report about young robbers in Stockholm and Malmö and wanted to know why they rob other youths. It usually does not involve a lot of money,” she says. She interviewed boys between 15 and 17 years old, both individually and in groups.

Almost 90% of all robberies reported to the police were committed by gangs, not individuals. “When we are in the city and robbing we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes.” This argument was repeated several times. “Power for me means that the Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet.” The boys explain, laughingly, that “there is a thrilling sensation in your body when you’re robbing, you feel satisfied and happy, it feels as if you’ve succeeded, it simply feels good.” “It’s so easy to rob Swedes, so easy.” “We rob every single day, as often as we want to, whenever we want to.” The immigrant youth regard the Swedes as stupid and cowardly: “The Swedes don’t do anything, they just give us the stuff. They’re so wimpy.” The young robbers do not plan their crimes: “No, we just see some Swedes that look rich or have nice mobile phones and then we rob them.”

Doesn’t seem to be much fear of the police either, does there? As noted, this is simple if one presumes the immigrants have the attitude of a victorious army instead of assimilation. The West has forgotten what is normal when an army conquers, the restraint of Western militaries and the American military in particular has made that seem normal. But it, historical, very much the aberration.

P.S. One must blame the Swedes to a large extent for their predicament, as they have elected (over and over) the politicians who have brought them to it.

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27 March 2006

Let's go to well one more time


Several months ago, Frank L. Cowles Jr. was arrested for securities fraud. After an investigation, the charges were dropped (as the source notes, it would be interesting to do the investigation first, then decided whether to indict). There are two interesting bits.

The cast of characters, which includes the US district attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (yes, the investigator of Plame / Wilson fame) and the plaintiff’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, currently also serving as Karl Rove’s lawyer. That has to look good from Rove’s point of view.

On the other hand, Old Media splashed Fitzgerald’s name all over this when Cowles was arrested. Now that Cowles has been cleared, the name “Fitzgerald” no longer appears. No longer a relevant fact, it appears.

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Who cares, we already got our mileage out of them


AUSTIN - A state appeals court Monday gave U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay a legal and public relations victory by throwing out more than 30 subpoenas issued by Travis County prosecutors investigating the Sugar Land Republican’s political finance activities.

The Third Court of Appeals said the subpoenas issued by District Attorney Ronnie Earle after a senior district judge stayed proceedings in the criminal case against DeLay in December are “null and void.”


The panel, which is scheduled to hear Earle’s appeal on March 22, said Earle may not issue any more subpoenas while the stay is in effect; ruled all the ones issued after the stay are “null and void;” and any subpoenas issued before the stay are suspended while the appeal is pending.

Oh yes, the hallmarks of a solid case.

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24 March 2006

We were just looking for some pointers

[source, source]

A statement from Yale University, defending its decision to admit former Taliban spokesman Ramatullah Hashemi, explained that he had “escaped the wreckage of Afghanistan”. To anyone who is aware of the Taliban’s barbaric treatment of the Afghan people, such words are offensive — as if Mr. Hashemi were not himself part of the wrecking crew. It is even more disturbing to learn that, while Mr. Hashemi sailed through Yale’s admissions process, the school turned down the opportunity to enroll women who really did escape the wreckage of Afghanistan.

In 2002, Yale received a letter from Paula Nirschel, the founder of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women. The purpose of the organization, begun in that year, was to match young women in post-Taliban Afghanistan to U.S. colleges, where they could pursue a degree. Ms. Nirschel asked Yale if it wanted to award a spot in its next entering class to an Afghan woman. Yale declined.

So it really was about finding enemies of Yale’s host nation.

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23 March 2006

This whole "fact" concept eludes them, doesn't it?

[source, source]

An article in The Metro Section on March 8 profiled Donna Fenton, identifying her as a 37-year-old victim of Hurricane Katrina who had fled Biloxi, Miss., and who was frustrated in efforts to get federal aid as she and her children remained as emergency residents of a hotel in Queens.

Yesterday, the New York police arrested Ms. Fenton, charging her with several counts of welfare fraud and grand larceny. Prosecutors in Brooklyn say she was not a Katrina victim, never lived in Biloxi and had improperly received thousands of dollars in government aid. Ms. Fenton has pleaded not guilty.

For its profile, The Times did not conduct adequate interviews or public record checks to verify Ms. Fenton’s account, including her claim that she had lived in Biloxi. Such checks would have uncovered a fraud conviction and raised serious questions about the truthfulness of her account.

Perhaps we’re being too harsh on the NY Times. Perhaps they have moved on from centralized fact checking to a more distributed version, where the journalists just write whatever comes to mind and the blogosphere fact checks it for them.

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The customer is always right.

[source, source]

A coalition force on Thursday freed three Christian peace activists taken hostage in Iraq, ending a four-month hostage drama in which an American among the group was shot to death and dumped on a Baghdad street.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the captives were rescued in a joint U.S.-British operation in rural area northwest of Baghdad, between the towns of Mishahda, 20 miles north of Baghdad, and the western suburb of Abu Ghraib, 12 miles from downtown.

Well, that group did request that no violence be used to rescue them, so I think the Caliphascists should get a “do-over”.

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21 March 2006

Broken tools for sale – cheap!

Judging from his private statements, the single most important element in Saddam’s strategic calculus was his faith that France and Russia would prevent an invasion by the United States. According to Aziz, Saddam’s confidence was firmly rooted in his belief in the nexus between the economic interests of France and Russia and his own strategic goals: “France and Russia each secured millions of dollars worth of trade and service contracts in Iraq, with the implied understanding that their political posture with regard to sanctions on Iraq would be pro-Iraqi. In addition, the French wanted sanctions lifted to safeguard their trade and service contracts in Iraq. Moreover, they wanted to prove their importance in the world as members of the Security Council — that they could use their veto to show they still had power.”

Foriegn Affairs magazine

Yep. Today’s antiwar movement: tools of the international oil companies and arms traders.


They have to be someone’s tools, as they clearly lack any ability to work with facts and thereby come to their own conclusions.

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We don't like to clutter our opinions with facts

The New York Times has an editorial slamming the Administration for their

accommodation of the mining industry — notably by packing the mine safety agencies with pro-management appointees — has produced a marked decline in major fines for negligent companies. A recent data analysis by The Times documented a risky, business-friendly downturn in penalties since 2001.

Sadly, the professional journalists at the Times couldn’t so the five minutes of research that would have told them that - with the exception of an outlier to date this year - deaths under the Bush Administration are significantly lower than those under pro-labor Clinton.

Go back and read my old post (linked above) and marvel at the diligence of our national newspaper of record.

At least this time, the facts weren’t from an article previously published in the NY Times.

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20 March 2006

If a biased article is published and no one tells us, is it really biased?

NGO Monitor “was founded to promote accountability, and advance a vigorous discussion on the reports and activities of humanitarian NGOs in the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”. They applied to be part of Reuters AlertNet which provides content feeds to NGOs. They were rejected because AlertNet claimed that NGO Monitor didn’t meet their feed requirements and because

While we feel that your organisation offers a valuable service, the political arena in which you/we operate is very sensitive - and as you are mainly interested in highlighting anti-Israel bias, we were concerned that if we publish your material, we risk offering a rather one-sided view.

Yes, because exposing bias and one-sided articles from other groups might lead to … bias! Better to just be able to be ignorant.

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An excellent primer in defining disaster down

A timeline of predictions and events in Iraq.

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19 March 2006

Hacking Movable Type

I’ve been spending my time hacking Movable Type, as noted here.

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Cruel but true

The NY Times recent embarassment gets better, because the NY Times itself had reported on the picture a while back. But Just One Minute has the best quote:

Look, it is an understandable mistake - the rest of us don’t have a lot of confidence in the Times, either, so why should they?

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18 March 2006

Not quite grasping the point

[source, source]

WASHINGTON, March 16 /U.S. Newswire/ - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for an independent investigation of allegations that America played a role in an Israeli attack on a Palestinian prison that came 10 minutes after U.S. and British monitors withdrew from the facility. […]

I sure hope there was coordination! I mean, what was the purpose of the monitors except to, you know, monitor?

“The fact that the assault came just minutes after the withdrawal of American monitors creates the impression that there was coordination with the Israeli military,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Washington-based Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR). He said that impression, if left unaddressed by an independent investigation, can only serve to reinforce the perception in the region that our nation’s foreign policy serves Israeli, not American, interests.

I fail to see any difference in this instance between Israeli and American interests. It is interesting to note that Awad cannot even concieve of a situation in which those two interests are the same.


The report also states: “…the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the occupied territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians. This situation undercuts Washington’s efforts to promote democracy abroad and makes it look hypocritical when it presses other states to respect human rights.”

If the Israelis were fighting against a regime that promoted democracy and human rights, there might be a point here. But aiding the fight against facism, in its modern guise of Caliphascism, is something to be proud of. If the rest of the world prefers fascism, too bad for them.

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"Too good to be true"? Is that possible?

[source, source]

The [New York] Times did not adequately research Mr. Qaissi’s insistence that he was the man in the photograph. Mr. Qaissi’s account had already been broadcast and printed by other outlets, including PBS and Vanity Fair, without challenge. Lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib vouched for him. Human rights workers seemed to support his account. The Pentagon, asked for verification, declined to confirm or deny it.

Despite the previous reports, The Times should have been more persistent in seeking comment from the military. A more thorough examination of previous articles in The Times and other newspapers would have shown that in 2004 military investigators named another man as the one on the box, raising suspicions about Mr. Qaissi’s claim.

The Times also overstated the conviction with which representatives of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International expressed their view of whether Mr. Qaissi was the man in the photograph. While they said he could well be that man, they did not say they believed he was.

As usual, the bias of the NY Times manifests not as deliberate misrepresentation, but as a willingness to believe the shoddiest stories as long as they confirm that bias.

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15 March 2006

Oooooh, that's gotta hurt

[source, source]

SPIEGEL: Your fundamental criticism stands in stark contrast to the great attraction the EU has had in the last 16 years for many people, especially in Eastern Europe. Hasn’t the European Union played a decisive role in promoting democracy in Eastern Europe?

[Czech President Václav] Klaus: No, the EU didn’t advance our democracy by a single millimeter.

Democracy has never been a value of the EU.

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08 March 2006

It's people like her they are trying to put a stop to


And here is a letter Yale grad Debbie Bookstaber (Yale ‘00 BA/MA) sent to Yale president Richard Levin that hits the nail on the head (hat tip: John Fund):

Dear Mr. Levin,

My name is Debbie Bookstaber (Yale `00 BA/MA). I’ve volunteered as an ASC Interviewer every year since graduation.

Over the years, I’ve seen so many qualified students denied admission to Yale. While I was saddened to see these heartbroken students rejected, I understood that Yale just didn’t have enough spots for all the amazing valedictorians with excellent SATs, impressive extracurriculars and an admirable history of community service.

You can imagine my shock when I read in the Wall Street Journal that Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. He has a “fourth-grade education and a high-school equivalency degree,” but Yale was impressed that he “pulled down a 3.33 grade-point average” in a special students program. Judging from all the students I’ve seen rejected by Yale, a perfect 4.0 average isn’t impressive enough to guarantee admission or even a wait-list spot, yet Yale was convinced that a 3.33 (a B+) was an adequate demonstration of academic talent? Since when has a B+ been considered impressive according to Yale’s admissions standards?

My husband (David Bookstaber, Yale `99 and Captain, USAF) went to Yale on a ROTC scholarship. As an ROTC cadet, he had to commute over an hour to UCONN because Yale would not allow ROTC on campus. This was reportedly due to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy the military uses to exclude homosexuals from serving openly. Even efforts to allow the military to recruit on campus in order to comply with the Solomon Amendment were met by fevered protests by many Yale students/professors as being inconsistent with Yale’s standards of tolerance.

The last time I checked, the US military doesn’t kill anyone for being a homosexual. Nor would any soldier-on-soldier hate crime ever be tolerated. On the other hand, the Taliban advocated murdering any homosexual and anyone else they felt violated their version of Islam. So ROTC isn’t acceptable because it offends Yale’s standards, but a Taliban leader who condones the Taliban’s policy of brutally killing homosexuals and stoning women for not wearing a burka should be recruited lest Harvard win his matriculation?

Apparently when you combine a sub-par 4th grade education, a B+ college average in a special program, and a job history as a spokesperson for a regime that hates America, destroys priceless Buddhas, oppresses women, stones homosexuals, and enforces brutal sharia law in violation of UN Human Rights agreements, you have the magic formula for admission to Yale. Next time I get a phone call from a high school senior in tears over Yale’s rejection, I’ll tell them to visit a local museum and blow up some sacred Buddhas, stone a homosexual or threaten to beat his/her mother to death if she refuses to wear a burka.

Thank you very much for helping me understand Yale Admissions.

Yours sincerely, Debbie Bookstaber (Yale `00)

At what point do people like this ask themselves — “Why does Yale deserve me?”.

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Thereby demonstrating that continued ignorance is bliss

I have to agree that the most important fact about the recent USSC decision about military recruiters on campus is the utter humiliation of the putatively top flight legal scholars populating the “elite” law institutions of this nation. Not only did they lose a case they put so much effort in to, not only did they get skunked at the USSC 8-0, but the decision twisted the knife by saying that federal funding issue was moot.

If only those law professors were self-aware enough for that to hurt.

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07 March 2006

Religious wedge issue

In an article discussing the Treaty of Hudaybiya, Daniel Pipes also writes:

Early Muslims saw Muhammad as an exemplary human but by no means a perfect one. Indeed, they dared not. The Qur’an itself refers to Muhammad as “erring” (93:7) and includes much information that reveals his foibles. Perhaps the most damning concerns the Satanic verses episode when, for evidently political reasons, Muhammad recognized the validity of pagan Meccan gods (53:19-21), thereby temporarily making Islam into a polytheistic religion (and appeasing his Quraysh critics). Internal evidence suggests to Muhammad’s leading modern Western biographer, Montgomery Watt, that the Satanic verses incident must be true: “It seems impossible that any Muslim could have invented this story.”

Then, over the centuries, Muhammad’s blemishes faded. That is because, as Annemarie Schimmel explains in her study of the prophet’s place in the Islamic faith, “the personality of Muhammad is indeed, besides the Koran, the center of the Muslims’ life.” The jurists, the mystics, and the pious turned Muhammad into a paragon of virtue, explaining away his apparent faults. Fundamentalists took this process a step further; in their eyes, Muhammad has acquired a Jesus-like perfection. As concerns the Satanic verses episode, for example, an influential Egyptian intellectual simply dismissed information about it as “fabricated (even though it is in the Qur’an itself),” indeed, he calls it nothing less than “a fable and a detestable lie.”

The belief in the perfection of Muhammed is, IMHO, one of the big stumbling blocks to Islam adapting to liberal democracy. If, as Pipes writes, that is in fact not an original article of faith and contradicted by the Qur’an itself, then that would serve as an excellent “hook” toward a Reformation in Islam.

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Fool us twice, we don't mind

[source, source]

The man who for two years led Iran’s nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic programme.

In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.

The sad part is that this open bragging about how the mullahocracy duped the EU-3 isn’t stupid, because it will have no effect on future events. The UK, France and Germany were fooled not because the Iranians were clever, but because the EU-3 wanted to be fooled and the reasons for that haven’t changed.

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03 March 2006

A la Carter

[source, source]

President Carter personally called Secretary of State Rice to try to convince her to reverse her U.N. ambassador’s position on changes to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the former president recalled yesterday in a talk in which he also criticized President Bush’s Christian bona fides and misstated past American policies on Israel.

Mr. Carter said he made a personal promise to ambassadors from Egypt, Pakistan, and Cuba on the U.N. change issue that was undermined by America’s ambassador, John Bolton. “My hope is that when the vote is taken,” he told the Council on Foreign Relations, “the other members will outvote the United States.”

In unsurprising news, former President Carter

  • still thinks that he is in charge of American foreign policy
  • is rooting against his own country
  • is kissing the bloody boots of brutal dictators

Given Carter’s record on upholding the oaths he swore when he became President, how can any of these people be surprised at how little his word is worth?

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Don't mess with Texas

To the town of Beaumont, Texas
Came a stranger one fine day
Riding slowly from the west side
Didn’t have too much to say
He’s a stranger who’s been running
Came the whisper from each lip
And he’s here to do some business
With that Big Iron on his hip
Big Iron on his hip

In the town lived one Jihadi
Who sold cigareets and gas
Al-Bayed would talk about how he’d
Soon kick some Texas ass
Tho’ he swore that he’d behead ‘em
So far his jihad had been strange
20 men bought cheap gas and smokes
20 men had been shortchanged
20 men had been shortchanged

It wasn’t long before the stranger
Made it known to folks around
He was a Texas Ranger
Wouldn’t be too long in Town
Here to capture a cheap conman
Maybe live or maybe dead
It didn’t really matter
He was after Al-Bayed

It was early at the Truck Stop
When they met to make their play
And the swiftness of the Ranger
Is still talked about today
Al-Bayed whipped out a scimitar
and flailed it round his head
The Ranger drew his .45
and shot that rascal dead
He shot that rascal dead

It was kinda like that scene
From “Indiana Jones”
Where ol’ Indy shoots the Swordsman
“Dipshit, just leave me alone”
Al-Bayed might have gone on living
til he made one fatal slip
When he tried to match the Ranger
With the Big Iron on his hip
Big Iron on his hip

So Jihadi’s pay attention
When you’re planning your Jihad
Your silliness plays better
Where the local folks ain’t bad
If you want to throw a hoohaw
It might play in Boston, Mass
If you try to mess with Texas
They will kill your ragged ass
They will kill your ragged ass 

Carl H

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02 March 2006

We prefer to deal only with the abstract


The Stoppers in England organized a talk about Iran which ended being disrupted by (gasp!) actual Iranians who had been victims of the mullahocracy. Gosh, what are things coming to when you can’t support a repressive theocratic regime without torture victims showing up and insinuating that the USA is not the Source of All Evil?

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Another reason to avoid podcasts

David Gregory is in the news again, this time for calling in to the Imus show apparently stoned or drunk (and those are the less derogatory explanations). But what stunned me was Imus himself. That was the first time I had ever heard him talk and I thought — “how in the world did he get to be a talk show host?”. I could barely understand a word he said. He makes Brando sound overly enunciated.

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Not much for logical consequences

[source, source]

America remains a land of opportunity despite its booming economy today [emphasis added]

The ability of journalists to pen such lines in all seriousness never fails to astound.

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