31 August 2007

They've seen it made, they won't eat it

So I guess once you’re elected to Congress, you’re immune from drunk driving laws; you can stash the evidence that you’ve committed a crime in your office, because investigators aren’t allowed to search it; if you kill someone because you’ve got a lead foot and blew a stop sign, the taxpayers will cover your financial liability; and, we learn today, you can commit whatever Internet-related crimes you please, because the police aren’t allowed to search your computer.

Meanwhile, the same  Congress that has immunized itself from much of the law is also responsible for the ever-expanding federal criminal code, which we can thank for our shamefully enormous and still-soaring prison population, which is by far and away the largest in the world.

You have lawmakers who feel they’re above the law. And who at the same time are criminalizing anything and everything they find tacky, repugnant, or immoral.

Forgive the lofty language, but you know what?  This isn’t healthy for our republic.

And they’re totally mystified why Congress has a lower approval rating than President Bush.

[source]

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Soul of the bureaucracy

In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.”

Because slaughtering tens of millions for counter productive industrialization, or building a wall with guards with shoot to kill orders to keep workers from escaping a worker’s paradise, is perfectly rational.

[source]

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30 August 2007

Nobody can help you if you don't want to change

Two years after Katrina hit, a storm of bitterness and anger has yet to clear. While memorials were held to mark the day, residents fumed about the government’s response and marched to demand help.

“We want people to know that nothing is being done to help people here,” said Samuel Banks, 40, as he marched with about 1,000 other protesters Wednesday. “How can the city rebuild if nobody has money or jobs?”

You could start by not re-electing the same mayor and city government that destroyed your city the first time.

[source, source]

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29 August 2007

Simplify, simplify

This was the first time I heard the suggestion that flying abroad should be rationed, or worse still, banned. The denunciation of material comfort is so widespread in the West that even schoolchildren seem to think affluence is an evil. Many people I met in Britain told me that there is less happiness and laughter in British society due to economic development. Some said that Africans are happier than Brits even though they are poorer. […]

If Westerners are not happy with such great things, perhaps they should swap with us Africans.

I would be more than happy to swap those Westerners out as well.

[source, source]

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27 August 2007

Feasting on misery

Theirs is the only ethnic minority underrepresented in the government workforce. The U.S. is using media and other methods to try to change that
As Thomas Sowell has written, immigrant groups that sought political power and patronage—the Irish Catholics of Boston, for example—ended up economically retarded, while those that eschewed government influence for economic success—for example, Jews—ended up with both. Why would Latinos choose to follow the formula for economic failure that blacks and Indians followed?

Because it’s good for the poverty pimps.

[source, source]

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24 August 2007

Not fitting the narrative

Seven Iraq war vets and members of Vets for Freedom respond to the New York Times Seven, of the 82nd Airborne, whose op-ed column appeared in the paper this past Sunday. They respond in a terrific column for the Standard. Among the seven co-authors of the Standard column is our friend (and Minnesota native) Pete Hegseth. The column concludes:
We understand the frustration our fellow soldiers feel. All of us were in Iraq before the “surge” and lament never seeing a coherent, security-based counterinsurgency strategy. In truth, we were only clearing—not holding.

But we also know what’s possible when even small portions of counterinsurgency strategy are applied. Insurgents are exposed, leaders stand up, and stability occurs. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker understand the principles of counterinsurgency and are applying them up and down the chain of command. It’s unfortunate that soldiers in the 82nd Airborne have not yet benefited from the new strategy, but it will ensure that their actions, and those of their fallen brethren, will not have been in vain.

Meanwhile, we applaud our brothers in the 82nd Airborne for their courage under fire, thank them for their commitment to our nation, and pray for the recovery of their injured co-author.
You have to read to the end to find this item of interest:
This Op-Ed was originally submitted to the New York Times, which declined to publish it.

Wouldn’t want that kind of thing in the paper of record, after all.

[source]

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Ready for the defeat parade

(2007-08-24) — Sen. John Warner, R-VA, yesterday called on President George Bush to start bringing troops home from Iraq “to show al Qaeda that the U.S. commitment to fighting Muslim terrorists overseas is not open-ended.?

“This is a two-way street,? said Sen. Warner. “We’ve kept our end of the deal, delivering crushing blows to the terror networks, but al Qaeda has refused to capitulate. It’s time to send a strong, clear message that our devotion to fighting the enemies of freedom is not a blank check.?

The influential member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said, “Usama Bin Laden and his minions need to see that we mean business, and that someday soon they won’t have the U.S. military to kick around Iraq anymore.?

The lawmaker added that best way to quell the violence against U.S. forces in Iraq is to remove them from Iraq.

“After we’re out,? he said, “if al Qaeda wants to kill Americans they’ll have to come to America to do it, where our troops will be enjoying a well-deserved rest at home and time with their wives and children.?

That’s kind of toughness we have come to expect from Congress.

[source]

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22 August 2007

If Rove really were an evil genius

I don’t think they [the Iranian mullahocracy] have any intention of stamping it [heavy metal fanboys] out completely. If you create a species of contraband and generally turn a blind eye to it, you wind up with a ready-made excuse to arrest dissidents on non-political charges.

(In fact, if Bush was the tyrant he’s made out to be, you’d [have] half the leadership of Code Pink and ANSWER in jail on marijuana charges at any given time.)

Eric J.

Once again demonstrating that the MAL has no clue at all about how real oppression works, undermining their claims of it twice over.

[source]

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21 August 2007

Ooooh, that's gotta hurt

Senator Calls for Maliki’s Ouster: Levin Urges Iraqis To Replace Leaders (Jonathan Weisman, 8/21/07, Washington Post)
Declaring the government of Iraq “non-functional,” the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said yesterday that Iraq’s parliament should oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet if they are unable to forge a political compromise with rival factions in a matter of days.
It would be worth the price of admission if Mr. Maliki called for Senator Levin to be replaced since the Democrats have failed to deliver on any of the reforms they promised.

Bwahahaha!

[source]

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18 August 2007

UN-associated

Kevin Rudd has a wild side:
Kevin Rudd’s hopes of becoming Prime Minister have been rocked by a visit to a New York strip club where he was warned against inappropriate behaviour during a drunken night while representing Australia at the United Nations.
The UN connection is more embarrassing. What on earth was Rudd thinking?

The strip club trip is probably just a briar patch move, to cover up his complicity in the UN.

[source]

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None of us is as dumb as all of us

Approval for handling the war in Iraq:

President Bush: 24%
Congress: 3%

If Bush has low approval ratings because he’s an incompetent idiot, what does this say about Congress and its Democratic Party leadership? Nothing I didn’t already know, actually.

[source]

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11 August 2007

Celling out

20 percent of convicted criminals do not show up for their prison terms, according to the Norwegian Correctional Services. Prison authorities can do little but hope that the criminals will eventually come knocking on the prison door. […] Criminals sentenced to long prison terms are particularly prone to bunking off.

A big problem because

“It’s difficult to make plans for the prison terms when we have no idea who will show up and who won’t,” said Ellinor Houm, director of the Norwegian Correctional Services, section for eastern Norway.

Why don’t the prisoners show up?

The dilemma facing the prison authorities is that failure to show up at prison is not yet illegal.

Oh, yeah, that’s why.

[source, source]

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09 August 2007

Clinton takes the curves just right

Republicans would have more hope, from a purely partisan perspective, if Hillary Clinton would pander to the Kos crowd. In fact, she has not done so. She has refused, for example, to apologize for her vote to go to war in Iraq. And at the Kos gathering she was booed for defending her decision to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists. The positions she’s taking are, I believe, indistinguishable from the ones she would take if the blogosphere did not exist and Kos was still managing projects for a software company. They are formulated with swing voters in mind for the purpose of winning in November 2008.

Clinton has not yet had her “Sister Souljah” moment with the Kos crowd, nor would one expect her to have it while she’s still seeking the nomination. But as she steamrolls her way to that nomination without owing anything to that fringe of her party, she will leave Kos and company with a simple choice — sign on or be left out. Kos, a realist at heart, will probably sign on. Otherwise, we might well see that Sister Souljah moment.

Power Line Weblog

I hate to admit it, but Clinton’s campaign seems to be hitting on on cylinders these days. I particularly like her response to the nuclear weapons question, although it does represent some hypocrisy and a flip-flop. Still, it sounds good now.

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08 August 2007

There's always one thing we know for sure

What can you say when the Chicago Tribune publishes an article on the Minnesota bridge collapse that highlights it is as part of the backlash against Somali Muslims because of their religion?

I envisage the newspaper having a huge sidebar with every single trendy social group profiled. “Brown People - Mildly uneasy?, “Self-Lovers - Not uneasy?, “Furry Enthusiasts - Unconcerned?, “Koreans - Uneasy?. “Illegal Immigrants (recent) - Uneasy?. And so on.

Apeking

I’m surprised it’s not already there, in a USA Today style cartoon graphic.

Oh, and (obviously, how could I forget?) “President Bush hates Somalis”.

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07 August 2007

Data picking

Todd Zywicki makes a strong argument that it is taxes, not health care, mortgage, or other expenses, that has had the biggest impact on middle class prosperity. Best of all, he does it using data from book arguing the opposite.

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05 August 2007

No moral agency watch

That Palestinian “refugee camp? in north Lebanon, home to the Al Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Islam and about 40,000 “refugees,? has been completely wiped out by the Lebanese army.

It’s been a couple weeks now since this happened, and I have yet to see the world wide condemnations and UN investigatory committees get under way. Odd, isn’t it?

[source]

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Penny wise, pound foolish

British military leaders had a brilliant idea. Instead of fighting in Afghanistan (aka, the Graveyard of Great Armies), the Ministry of Defence decided to buyoff the other side. Hey if Saddam Hussein can buy off George Galloway, why not buy off the Taliban?

Brilliant plan.

Except for the part where it did not work because the bureaucracy tried to do it on the cheap.

[…]

Here is why the Brits failed: They were too damned cheap. The MoD only ponied up £1.5 million — $3 million. We spend more than that on toilet paper for our soldiers.

[…]

The Brits say they bought off 4,000 people with this £1.5 million. That’s $750 a man.

Oddly, that wasn’t enough to insure permanent loyalty. One advantage the enemy has is that he doens’t have to buy off everyone, just select members of the chatterati, who then become the darlings of the “trangressive” Left. If we tried the same thing, the enemy would just shoot them. On the other hand, maybe we should buy enemy commanders, just for a short time, to engage in defeat in detail.

[source, source]

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03 August 2007

That was then, this is now files

A lawyer for an Algerian army veteran held at Guantanamo Bay said Friday he faces persecution from both the Algerian government and Islamic extremists if he is returned to his homeland as planned.

A U.S. federal judge in Washington rejected an emergency motion Friday to prevent Ahmed Bel Bacha’s repatriation, and one of his attorneys said they will appeal.

Bel Bacha is among at least two dozen Guantanamo detainees who have expressed fear that they will face abuse if sent to their native countries, according to human rights groups who dismiss as worthless diplomatic assurances they will be treated humanely.

But I thought the Guantanamo camp was the worst abuse of human rights on the entire planet. How could it possibly get worse for anyone leaving it?

[source, source]

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02 August 2007

If our enemies believe it, it must be true

JERUSALEM (AFP) - History textbooks for Israeli Arab students this year will for the first time present the Palestinian version of Israel’s creation as a “catastrophe,? the education ministry said on Sunday.

“For these types of events, both the Israeli and Palestinian versions have to be presented,? Education Minister Yuli Tamir said in a statement.

Alongside presenting the Israeli interpretation of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the books will also present the version “that is generally accepted among the Arabs, according to which Israel’s War of Independence is perceived as a catastrophe (Naqba) by the Palestinians,? Tamir said.

Putting paranoid fabulism above historical fact seems to be metasizing disease in the Anglosphere, as Israel here seems to be just following the trail our own educrats have blazed.

[source, source]

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Potted plants

Last night, the US Senate erased a page of history — literally. The body agreed to permanently remove from the constitutionally mandated Congressional Record a vote they’d taken earlier in the evening on a measure saying the president should not pardon Scooter Libby. The vote failed 47-49, but any reference to the vote itself was expunged as though it never happened.

[…]

After the Libby vote failed, Republicans struck back hard, offering a amendment condemning about a dozen previous pardons by President Clinton. As one GOP aide put it, “we brought our gun to the knife fight.” But cooler heads prevailed when both party leaders decided not to have the Clinton vote, and the Majority Leader Harry Reid simply asked that the Libby vote “be vitiated and stricken from the record.”

What’s striking is that the Democratic Party gang didn’t anticipate this obvious counter-ploy. Everytime I think that Congress can’t get any dumber, they blow the bottom off.

[source, source]

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01 August 2007

Oh, Canada!

Mr. Donolo also said that a lack of progress in Afghanistan may be behind another finding that shows 65 per cent of Canadians believe their role on the world stage is more suited to peacekeeping than as enforcers of peace.

So a majority of Canadians think they should keep the peace, but not enforce the peace. O…K… Good luck with that!

[source, source]

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Didn't you hear me, peasant? I said "Yale"

IN THE MAIL: Daniel Brook’s The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America. The tragedy, apparently, is that jobs in corporate America pay more than social activism. The Amazon reader reviews are fun, too.

As with Anya Kamenetz’s Generation Debt, this seems like more excessive complaint from the privileged classes. (Brook and Kamenetz overlapped at Yale, in fact). And is it really true, as the back cover asserts, that only the “corporate elite” can now enjoy middle-class comforts?

I opened Brook’s book up and saw this passage:

After graduating Yale in 2003 with a double major in film studies and gender studies, Tara moved to San Francisco to pursue queer documentary filmmaking. She settled in the Castro district, the historic epicenter of American gay culture, and quickly discovered plenty of enticing projects. “There were lots of opportunities to do film and to help people with their films, but no one had any money to pay me so I did a lot of volunteering and part-time work,” she told me in a Castro coffee shop.

My goodness. What message could the market system have been trying to send?

UPDATE: Another perspective from reader Robert Holmgren:

My goodness, since when is a Yale double major in film studies and gender studies not able to make it in San Francisco’s Castro district? Better get word back to Yale on this.

I too have lived in the Castro district with a different perspective. I had a modest education, community college followed by a 2nd tier state university. During my time in the Castro I was able to earn a handsome living as a photographer for many national magazines. In fact, I was able to provide temporary support for other photographers who went on to similar or greater accomplishment. All of us now own homes in a ridiculously priced real estate market. Our secret—none of us had double-majors in anything with the word ‘study’ in them…plus, we provided a service for which there was a ready market.
Better get back to Yale on that.

I think it’s that “service for which there was a ready market” bit that really makes the difference. But Yale, like other top schools, does tend to imbue its graduates with a sense of entitlement that often serves them poorly out in the world. You only get so far by acing standardized tests.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts from a Yale alumnus: “I found this hilarious because I’ve been Tara once upon a time, immediately upon graduating from Yale. But thankfully, real world intruded and I was able to wake up. . . . I know the vast majority of my fellow Yalie — even some with degrees in Film Studies — have productive, extremely well-paying jobs in some of the largest companies in the world. Or they’re lawyers.” You can’t win ‘em all.

So much for higher education, especially from Yale, creating people with a broad view and the ability to introspect.

[source]

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