/* Am I A Pundit Now?: May 2005

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Baaaaad Books

The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries, according to a panel of 15 conservative scholars (is Phyllis Schlafly a 'scholar'?) chosen by Human Events.

The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Mein Kampf - Adoph Hitler
Quotations from Chairman Mao
The Kinsey Report - Alfred Kinsey
Democracy and Education - John Dewey
Das Kapital - Karl Marx
The Feminine Mystique - Betty Friedan
The Course of Positive Philosophy - August Comte
Beyond Good and Evil - Friedrich Nietzsche
General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money - John Maynard Keynes

Via Hit & Run.

4:04 PM | | |

Loose Lips Sink Ships

The New York Times today printed an article exposing Aero Contractors Ltd. as a C.I.A.-connected provider of charter flights.

Will the New York Times next print schedules of when American troop ships are leaving?

3:13 PM | | |

The Nation's Shameful Treatment Of Tillman

The Nation takes the Bush administration to task for 'exploiting' Army Ranger Pat Tillman's death. The Nation seems to forget that it was actually big news when Pat Tillman decided to forego a 3 million dollar contract to play with the Arizona Cardinals to instead join the elite Army Rangers. Tillman himself hoisted himself into the spotlight by doing this - even though he declined all interviews and other publicity regarding his amazing decision, it still became news. When Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, of course that became even bigger news. The Bush administration naturally had to address this situation - was this 'exploiting' Tillman? Hardly. It would have been oddly remiss for the Bush not to speak about the loss of a remarkable young man and his sacrifices. To read the Nation article, you would almost think the Bush administration held a Nuremburg rally in his honor.

The Nation then charges that there was a 'coverup' over the fratricidal killing of Tillman, that the Bush administration 'lied' about it, and that no one has been held accountable. First, it is impossible for there to be a 'coverup' when the White House comes out and states that Tillman was killed by friendly fire. This was not 'uncovered' by some intrepid Nation reporter - this information was released by the Pentagon. And what, exactly, did the Bush White House 'lie' about? It seems the Nation's style manual insists upon labelling Bush as a 'liar' in every article that mentions him, regardless of context. The opinion piece is loaded with plenty of accusations of lies, but little explanation of exactly what those lies are. Tillman was killed by friendly fire. There was simply no way to put a good face on that, but the Nation accuses the White House of trying. And for that someone needs to lose their job?

Of course, the Nation also gratuitously mentions Abu Ghraib in the editorial. The fact that this prison in Iraq has nothing whatsoever to do with a friendly fire death in Afghanistan is unimportant to the Nation, because this article is not about Tillman's death, government integrity or the dire events in Afghanistan. It is all about building yet another case against George Bush. Lies, torture, Gulag, coverup, let's just regurgitate our litany of grievances against Bush. The Leftists at the Nation could well be rooting for more soldiers to die, knowing that the Left defeated public opinion over Vietnam by harping on casualties, and no doubt consider this the way to win again. Remember how the Leftist press waited with baited breath for the 1000th soldier to die in Iraq prior to last November's election?

That is what American soldiers are to the Left: contemptible dupes that are only useful when they offer a chance to smear Bush.

2:37 PM | | |

Monday, May 30, 2005

France Joins The Second World With A 'Non'

Oh how Jacques Chirac must be regretting his gratuitous decision to place the EU Constitution on a referendum for approval. There was no requirement that France accept the Constitution by plebiscite, but Chirac, at the time basking in anti-American fervor, arrogantly thought his force of personality would win the day.

Bye bye Jacques, you are finished now.

And bye bye France, you are finished also. Clinging to an ossified program of strict labor rules, short workweeks, overly generous vacations, and cradle-to-grave socialism, history will now pass France by, as France settles into its new role as a once-great nation.

France: now more irrelevant than ever!

1:28 PM | | |

More Democrat Ethical Lapses

According to Howard Dean, the mere implication that Tom Delay might have committed some ethical lapses means Delay should go to jail.

If true, a lot of democrats would be joining Delay in a cellblock. A review of travel records by the Associated Press reveals nearly 200 unreported trips by congressmen and aides, and some trips go back as far as eight years ago.

Nancy Pelosi, Luis Gutierrez, and Maxine Waters are among these Democrat paragons of ethical purity.

Luis Gutierrez even relies on the lamest excuse concocted yet - he didn't know he was obligated to file travel disclosures.

1:08 PM | | |

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Rosie O'Donnell Coddles Saddam Hussein

Ace blogger Rosie O'Donnell called Bush a 'war criminal' for daring to attack Iraq without explicit approval from the U.N. (Via Drudge's radio show, Sunday 9-12 p.m. on WLS-AM 890 Chicago.)

Let me get this straight. Bush takes out and jails a man who started the third bloodiest war of the 20th century, used nerve gas on the minority Kurds, liquidated a Shia rebellion, executed 300,000 of his own people and who routinely used torture.

But no, Bush is the war criminal.


9:40 PM | | |

Israeli Air Strike, Prisoner Deal

Mahmoud 'Iron Fist' Abbas has failed to disarm Palestinian militants, so the Israelis do it for him.

The IDF destroyed two palestinian rocket launchers used in an attack on an Israeli village in northern Gaza today, just hours after Israel's Cabinet approved the release of 400 Palestinian prisoners.

9:22 PM | | |

Cheney Chews Up Kim

Vice-President Dick Cheney launched into a verbal attack on Kim Jong-Il, in remarks taped for a 'Larry King Live' show to air tomorrow night.

Cheney called Kim Jong-Il "one of the world's more irresponsible leaders", accused Kim of running a 'police state' and charged that Kim's people are living in "abject poverty and stages of malnutrition."

Easy prediction: the White House will be accused of having a 'failed' policy against North Korea due to bellicose language that causes Kim to lose face.

Save the criticisms. North Korea has been absolutely intransigent about each and every issue surrounding its nuclear arms, and has refused to even talk. Even now they are preparing for a nuclear test. And North Korea is, in fact, a brutal police state that is starving its own people. Is that irresponsible? No, it is in fact psychotic. Cheney merely calling Kim "one of the world's more irresponsible leaders" is a marvellously ironic understatement, almost a compliment compared to the truth.

Kim Jong-Il needs to be smacked on the nose with a rolled up newspaper once in a while - he is not entitled to diplomatic niceties. He will be rewarded with pleasant talk and adulation if and when he does something to actually deserve it. Until that time, he is nothing less than the Hitler of our age. He deserves a cyanide capsule, not airy kisses.

9:10 PM | | |

Trivialized Tribute To The Dead

Nightline and Doonesbury have both once again issued lists of the war dead for Memorial Day. I have seen the Nightline presentation of war dead names before, and it is a well-produced tribute. I have not seen what Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury tribute looks like, but using the cartoon as a medium for such a weighty subject will automatically trivialize it no matter how well drawn it is. And Trudeau is not known for his drafting skills.

Though the Nightline treatment of the war dead is invariably tasteful, thoughtful and properly reserved, in the end it really is a tasteless gesture. Double for Trudeau.

It is as if the dead were all that mattered in this affair, and that the goals of the administration are of no consequence. This is not about the dead, it is about a future that the dead sacrificed themselves to build. During World War II the public and the media kept their eyes focused on the goals, shed a tear for the dead and moved along. They knew the dead would castigate them for dwelling too long on their loss at the expense of the goal they died for. To do anything else is to waste the sacrifice.

The subtext of such memorials, as if it were scrolling like subtitles below the image, is "were it not for a misguided/greedy/manipulative White House, this person would be alive now." One can almost imagine Ted Koppel closing the show with an admonishment - "how many more of these shows do I have to do before america comes to its senses?"

Trudeau says "there is power in seeing actual names instead of numbers. Honor rolls always help deepen our understanding of what has been lost."

I have never counted myself among those who needed a reminder, or a deeper understanding, of our nation's loss. Reading about the loss of the anonymous '2 marines killed' or '1 national guardsman injured' always did send a twinge of anguish through me. These are my neighbors - or they could be. They were guys I went to high school with. I always wonder about what they lost when they died - their families, their plans, their aspirations.

Who are these people that Koppel and Trudeau think need reminding? Do they think that it will suddenly dawn upon a great swath of the american public that americans are really dying over there! Wow, I had no idea! Or do they think that americans consider the Iraq casualties as just some new form of regrettable DUI statistic that is unavoidable in this modern world? Perhaps in the circles they travel in, no one expresses regret or admiration for the war dead. Indeed some of them probably express elitist disdain for 'suckers' like Pat Tillman. But among red-state americans there is no need to 'remind' oneself of the fallen - they are taken to heart. A lack of outward bereavement does not mean the bereavement does not exist.

Speaking of bereavement, I have a question for Koppel and Doonesbury: come September 11, can we count on a recitation of the names of the World Trade Center victims?

3:29 PM | | |

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Memorial Day 2005

I am humbled on this day to give thanks to our selfless fallen warriors, and all the soldiers fallen from generations before.

It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit that young men living in the world's wealthiest nation would sacrifice their comforts, everything they cherish, and everything they love to preserve our republic.

And the republic in turn, on this hallowed day, is grateful, and pledges to keep a republic worthy of them.

2:43 PM | | |

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Pantano Cleared

Great news - murder charges against Marine 2nd. Lt. Ilario Pantano have been dropped. Pantano has beaten the rap put on him by a disgruntled subordinate, and by a media that presumes all soldiers in Iraq to be guilty of something.

1:45 PM | | |

The Gang Of Fourteen

From Tony Blankley:

So begins the Regency Period of the Senate. As long as these fourteen stick together, nothing can pass the Senate. Certainly they now possess, jointly and severally, veto power over the president's judicial appointments. Hereafter it would be imprudent of the president to send up any nominations without first requesting permission from Democratic Sens. Robert C. Byrd, Daniel K. Inouye, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and Ken Salazar.

The president need not check with the seven Republican senators because their only job is to keep the Republican leadership powerless. It is exclusively the Democratic senators who are empowered to give their imperial thumbs up or down signals.

What shall we call these 14 senators? Trustees, Regents, Governing Board Members, Blessed Ones, Lord Protectors, Proconsuls, Oligarchs, Cabalists, Conspirators, Usurpers? For the moment it doesn't matter. History will give them their final designation. Certainly they see themselves as saviors of the Senate traditions. (God save us from self-appointed saviors. It always ends in tears.)"

Yes, now we have not one, but three steps to the appointment of all officials, or four even if you want to include the committee vote.

Update: Heh, I guess this makes me a member of the Coalition of the Unhinged.

3:26 AM | | |

Lileks Is Bummed

James has the mid-life itch - maybe Minneapolis IS too small for him.

I suggest . . . Chicago.

Big, brash, but still midwestern.

History? You bet.

Cool buildings? Coming out its ears.

12:05 AM | | |

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Did Newsweek Actually Kill Anyone?

The victims of the Koran flush riots have yet to be identified.

Were there really any deaths at all?

There is no more evidence for these deaths than there is that a U.S. interrogator flushed a Quran down the toilet.

Not a single name of even one victim has been released. No details of the circumstances of the riots were released from any official sources – either U.S. or Afghan."

From WorldNetDaily.

10:00 PM | | |

CIA Wargames On The Internet


But, it is great that they are addressing this threat in a real and imaginative way.

8:55 PM | | |

Amnesty International Whines About Nothing

Apparently, Amnesty International equates holding terrorists (instead of shooting them) in sunny Cuba with the Gulag camps of the Soviet Union.

AI is either being dishonest here, or forgetful of history (or both, in my estimation). AI should save its outrage for real human rights victims, not murderous islamofascists who didn't deserve to leave the battlefield alive.

6:43 PM | | |

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Filibuster Fallout

Well this is really too much, from FilibusterFrist.com:
We are happy - indeed, relieved - that the rules of the Senate, that the nature of the Senate as a deliberative body, have been preserved. We thank Senators McCain, Chafee, Snowe, and Collins for their integrity in coming out against the nuclear option. We appreciate their having put their government above their party. We thank Senators McCain , Graham, Snowe, Collins, DeWine, Chafee, Warner, Leiberman, Landrieu, Nelson, Inouye, Pryor, Salazar, and Byrd for crafting the compromise that preserves our system of checks and balances."
Our system of 'checks and balances' resides in the separation of powers concept of the Constitution, not the Senate rules.

And the democrats absolutely loathed these hallowed rules when they were in the majority.

This newfound love and respect for the Senate rules has certainly turned the once ugly duckling into the beautiful swan, hasn't it. Are you telling me the filibustiers have some kind of fetish for Senate rules? Or, could it be that the Senate rules are now just a brick to be picked up and heaved at the hated George Bush?

There are a couple things here that some democrats just don't understand. Irate Republicans saw last Fall's election as a desperately won battle. Our guy, whom we admire, again earned the right to nominate judges for an up-or-down vote, according to the strictures of the Constitution. And, according to the Constitution, he is entitled to an up-or-down vote on 100% of his nominees - not 55%, or 95% or whatever the other various percentages being floated about are. We won fair and square, and we are entitled to the spoils. You guys would claim the same, with relish, had you won.

The republicans are not choosing the most inflammatory nominees they can find in order to show the democrats who's who - the republicans truly believe that these are high quality judges that are being vexatiously denied their chance at a hearing. And the Democrats are not entitled to substitute their judgment with the President on who is 'fit' for office without a majority vote in the Senate, period. This had always been Senate practice, until recently.

And for republicans, the real capper is the utter lack of party discipline here. Republicans were not defeated by the democrats, they were defeated by republicans, who knew better and put the primacy of Senate rules ahead of the Constitution and Senate tradition as an excuse to curry favor with the press.

Also, how can Harry Reid claim any kind of victory here? I thought the filibuster was to be used against the slobbering neothugs Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. Weren't their mesozoic views supposed to be a threat to the very foundations of the republic itself? How can Reid possibly let them through and call it 'victory'? Reid let the huns in through the front gates!

Update: I went over to DU for a jaunt, and from what I could tell they are too clueless to figure out if this is a victory for them or not.

12:22 AM | | |

Monday, May 23, 2005

Outrage Of The Day

I think allowing the filibuster of judicial nominees might actually have been a better outcome than the hopeless muddle we have now.

Thank you for your service to the Constitution, senators. Now, in addition to the extra filibuster hurdle nominees must now overcome, comes the pre-filibuster 'pledge' stage in which centrists now get an extra say over which nominees get an up-or-down vote.

This is the solution to please everyone that is no solution at all. The fact that all sides (even Frist) are claiming victory should be our first indication that this is a crappy deal. Allowing filibusters at least, would be a bad rule, but it would be a bright-line rule.

Could Frist have actually allowed this to happen, to let him run for president as an aggrieved hardliner, while his co-conspirator John McCain gets to run for president as the darling centrist maverick?

I have absolutely had it with McCain. He is an enemy of the Constitution now in my eyes, having tortured the First Amendment with his campaign finance reform, and now this. McCain yet again amends the Constitution. Everything the man touches wilts into media-whore expediency.

Who will be running against McCain, and where do I mail the check?

Michelle Malkin has an appropriate pic to go with all this.
Outside the Beltway, Captain's Quarters (again), and PoliBlog all weigh in.

Patterico is especially put out.

And thanks again to Mudville Gazette.

Ken Says: I think perhaps my biggest failing as a human being is that I enjoy being outraged.

10:22 PM | | |

Terry Neal Gets It Exactly Wrong

"A certain and clear pattern has emerged when a damaging accusation or claim against the media or major media figure is publicized: Bush critics laser in on a weakness, fallacy or inaccuracy by the administration while diverting all attention from the issue at hand regarding the accuracy of the story."

There. I have now corrected Terry Neal's opinion in today's Washington Post.

7:38 PM | | |

Deal Reached On Filibusters?

An alleged side deal by 12 Senators may have averted a filibuster showdown. Via Captain's Quarters.

Isn't this just kicking the entire problem further down the road?

Update: I think I am saying we need some kind of stare decisis on this? Please?

7:28 PM | | |

Gaddis On Bush

How good is this speech by John Lewis Gaddis?

It is so good, I haven't even finished reading it yet and I am posting about it.

7:05 PM | | |

Hey, The Sushi's On Me

China has taken the unpardonable retrograde step of banning sushi girls.

The UN Human Rights Commission needs to immediately investigate and condemn this abuse of the fundamental and inalienable right to eat raw fish off the tummies of nubile girls.

Say Anything brought us this tragic news.

9:01 AM | | |

I Spek Ze Englaise Verrry Nice

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English
20% Yankee
10% Upper Midwestern
0% Dixie
0% Midwestern

(h/t PoliBlog)

3:38 AM | | |

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sanity Leaves The Left

Keith Thomspon states why he has put the increasingly incoherent philosophy of the Left behind him. A very good read.

Via Memeorandum.

6:21 PM | | |

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Fidel's Worst Nightmare

Cuban dissidents protesting May 20, 2005 outside of Havana.

It is great to see people in Cuba finally getting the nerve to stand up to Castro's thugocracy.

7:18 AM | | |

Friday, May 20, 2005

Dean: Bad For Dems

Cap'n Ed informs us that some dems are not all that happy with Howard Dean.

Now, is anyone surprised that when the dems elected Dean as DNC chairman, they got . . . Howard Dean? Is he acting at all out of character? Playing to the base and foot-in-mouth remarks pretty much go with the territory here.

The good captain then quotes Jill Lawrence contrasting Dean with Ken Mehlman, Republican National Committee chair:

Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is courting black and Hispanic voters on a regular basis. Beyond the usual run of speeches, fundraisers and meetings with donors, he has visited Latino neighborhoods and historically black campuses. He has attended black-oriented receptions and ceremonies, spoken to minority chambers of commerce and raised money for Otto Banks of Harrisburg, Pa., a black city council candidate new to the GOP.

Dean, who reaches Day 100 as Democratic National Committee chairman Monday, is for the most part speaking to diehard Democrats who are the backbone of their party. He's addressed Democrats in nine states dominated by Republicans, such as Kansas and Mississippi, and in party strongholds such as California and Massachusetts. He's spoken to labor unions, gay-rights groups and state party chairs — all pillars of the party."

That pretty much mirrors how the two parties attacked the last election. Republicans on offense, democrats on defense.

Linked, as usual, to Mudville Gazette and Outside the Beltway.

3:11 PM | | |

Cloture Vote Tuesday

The filibuster 'kabuki' lurches forward, and we'll see if the dems decide to filibuster after all, once debate has ended.

See you there.

2:40 PM | | |

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Islam

Desecration of the Koran has not really broken my heart, chiefly for the reason that muslims are so often insensitive (to put it mildly) to the religious texts and symbols of other faiths. You reap what you sow.

Here we have an article by Ali Al-Ahmed that lays out the hypocrisy of Saudis, in particular. Ali Al-Ahmed is that rarest of birds, a muslim who is outraged by muslim treatment of other religions. In this article we learn that, the Saudi government incinerates bibles and crucifixes as official policy, and that they even desecrate the Koran when it gets in the way of violating human rights, which often seems to be the raison d'etre of the Saudi government.

It is a terrible thing that people have died over this isse, but I don't find myself shedding a tear for tender muslim sensibilites.

11:20 AM | | |

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Huff-To, Better Than Huff-Po

Oh man there is some funny stuff at Huffington's Toast. Far funnier than the stuff that is SUPPOSED to be funny at the real HuffPo.

Update: Oops! I had previously included some of Not Ariana's copyrighted material, and she got miffed at me. If I make her mad, I will never get on that blogroll, so its mea culpa all the way!

9:07 PM | | |

Kristen Breitweiser: Flush Bush

At least some enemies of the administration think George Bush is to blame instead of Newsweek for the deadly Koran flush riots. Considering that Iraq has nothing whatsoever to do with this issue, it oddly becomes the focus of the entire argument by Kristen Breitweiser at HuffPo.

Update: actually, Breitweiser should read this post at Right Wing News.

1:19 PM | | |

Friedman Nails It

Thomas Friedman's latest article seems to have hit a nerve - it is making the rounds pretty quickly, and with good reason:
Baathist and jihadist suicide bombers have killed 400 Iraqi Muslims in the past month - most of them Shiite and Kurdish civilians shopping in markets, walking in funerals, going to mosques or volunteering to join the police. Yet these mass murders - this desecration and dismemberment of real Muslims by other Muslims - have not prompted a single protest march anywhere in the Muslim world. And I have not read of a single fatwa issued by any Muslim cleric outside Iraq condemning these indiscriminate mass murders of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds by these jihadist suicide bombers, many of whom, according to a Washington Post report, are coming from Saudi Arabia. . .

" . . . some Arab regimes prefer to see the pot boiling in Iraq so the democratization process can never spread to their countries. That's why their official newspapers rarely describe the murders of civilians in Iraq as a massacre or acts of terror. Such crimes are usually sanitized as "resistance" to occupation."

Did you get that last part, Naomi Klein?

5:19 AM | | |

Fat Man Versus Little Boy

An outstanding explanation of the (important) differences between Fat Man implosion nuclear devices that use plutonium, and Little Boy devices that use U-235.

4:07 AM | | |

My How Times Change

Juan Non-Volokh cites a 1995 New York Times editorial that characterized the filibuster as "the tool of the sore loser."

3:34 AM | | |

In Defense Of Newsweek

One of the persistent arguments coming out of the Newsweek debacle is that, even if Newsweek could prove with certainty that Koran desecration took place, that Newsweek should not have printed it.

I completely understand this impulse. We conservative americans are frustrated that this nation has not united in the War on Terror as it did during World War II. Then, a reporter like Ernie Pyle faced fire in person, and delivered treasured and trusted front line reports that reinforced rather than questioned our sense of righteousness in the conflict. Our resolve was not diluted by thoughts that perhaps we were doing wrong. But now Newsweek prints a story that it surely would have buried during World War II. Why would it print such an incendiary story now? It appears either that Newsweek favors the the wrong side, or is not taking the War on Terror as seriously as it has taken other conflicts, or both. After all, nothing compelled Newsweek to print the story. Why would it then?

Well, we simply should not be destroying the Koran, not because muslims hold us to that standard, but because we demand that standard of ourselves. And if we break that standard we might be hypocritical, but we can only be hypocrites if we have standards to violate in the first place. If we are breaking our own standards, that alone is newsworthy and would have given Newsweek the right to print the story. Abu Ghraib was a bad bit of publicity too - but it was only a story because it was a man bites dog story, it was the exception that proved the rule. And did it not ensure that basically anything like it will not occur again? We have shown that we can be shamed, but that shows that we have shame. The power of truth may ultimately work itself out in odd ways, and bad publicity is easier to overcome when the entire affair is exposed, as opposed to the rumors that build in the mind when facts are absent due to coverups.

I wonder if it is completely lost on the middle east that, what they are witnessing in this Koran flushing episode might not be an american weakness, but an indication of american strength. How obtuse would an average middle easterner have to be, to believe that his native government is perfect, while nothing but bad comes from the U.S.? Which is more likely: that his government has achieved perfection in all things, or that his government does wrong things too, and hides them? And are the abysmal human rights records of the various middle east nations a complete mystery to the arab street? A surprise? The arab street sees the worst the U.S. has to offer, but can only guess as to what depths their own government has sunk.

Free speech serves many purposes, but one of its main functions is exposing error. And this mechanism is what gives free societies a structural and organizational advantage over tyrannies - we have a mechanism in place to discover error. In fact, politicians have great incentives to find errors, to fling at their foes. Free speech also places a great premium on sharpening your persuasion, rather than your sword.

Nations with a 'supreme leader' have no such way to uncover error, and thus no way to correct it. In fact tyrannies seek ever more effective ways to hide error. If a nation such as the U.S. shows that it is aware of its problems and organizes openly to fix them, is it in a better or worse position vis a vis the dictatorship?

Perhaps there are some contrarian afghanis, iranians or pakistanis who see this american-style openness as the key to its strength, and as salvation for their own national woes.

So fear not the truth, even when it arrives at your door covered in warts and smelling badly, it may yet set you free.

Ken Says: Try this on for size, and tell me if my logic is faulty - When you have pared away all errors, you arrive at the naked truth. If free speech is a tool to remove error, its ultimate goal must be truth. The salient features of truth is that it is universal and applies to all. Thus when we have truth, universal concensus is possible. With universal concensus comes the true lasting peace we sane people crave. Heh, couldn't fit this little aphorism into my essay up there, but I didn't want it to go to waste.

Scratch a cynic, and you will uncover a disillusioned utopian.

Linked to Mudville Gazette's Open Post and Outside the Beltway's Beltway Traffic Jam and Wizbang's Carnival Of The Trackbacks XII.

3:26 AM | | |

Ever Notice . . .

. . . that they call them news 'stories'? As if they might be fiction? Well it seems that has come to pass, thanks to Dan Rather and Newsweek.

Perhaps we should start calling them news 'tales'.

1:58 AM | | |

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Cuba Wants Terror Suspect

Cuba says Luis Posada is a terrorist living in the U.S., responsible for the bombing of a jet in 1976. The FBI agent that worked on this case says Posada was involved "up to his eyeballs." The feds don't know for sure that Posada is even in the country.

If the accusations are true, let the Cubans have their way with this terrorist scum. But don't take Cuba's word that Posada is a terrorist, communists have trouble telling the truth.

Update: Posada was arrested today in Miami.

9:54 PM | | |

Muslims Vandalize Holy Places

I remember well walking through the streets of Varanasi, India in 1991 when there were deadly riots between hindus and muslims.

Muslims were killing hindus, hindus were killing muslims in revenge . . . martial law was declared and the only living beings you saw on the streets were police, backpack travellers and cows. We had a bicycle taxi driver who tried to brave events on our behalf - but the police beat him with their canes and he ran off. Twice we almost ended up in the actual riots, with broken bricks and pavement falling everywhere and people scattering. People shuttered up in their houses whistled at us and yelled . . . something.

And what was the cause of this violence? The mosque at Ayodha, which muslims had built over the legendary birthplace of Rama.

We are supposed to respect Islam's traditions and symbols, when Islam has shown zero respect for that of others? When Islam goes out of its way to destroy and defile holy sites and sacred items of other faiths?

I don't recall buddhists ever opening up a mortar attack on any mosques, but the Taliban decided to do a little artillery practice on the cave statues at Bamiyan, Afghanistan, trying their hand at being curators of a world cultural and religious treasure.

And don't you dare utter a christian prayer aloud or attend a christian service in Saudi Arabia.

In fact, if you don't practice the right kind of Islam, you could be a muslim and still get killed over this stuff.

Let them all get 'angry' over the Newsweak misinformation (lies? I wouldn't go that far). Muslim anger is a plentiful commodity. This just makes it, what, jihad #2455 against me just because I am an american who has the nerve to exist? Death to the Great Satan and all that? Loses some of its effect, after a while.

As usual, linked to Mudville Gazette and Outside The Beltway, and thanks again!

9:12 PM | | |


So the Nation is upset that conservatives are muscling in on that federal Leftist preserve, National Public Radio.

Fundamental fairness and common sense dictate that taxpayer-funded information outlets should be completely opinion neutral, or balanced. Otherwise, isn't one of the hallmarks of a tinpot dictatorship an official government voice that is bent to favor one party? Do I even need to say that the government is not the private preserve of one party or the other?

Otherwise, all music all the time sounds fairest of all. Keep it up, NPR, and that might be how you end up.

1:36 PM | | |

Yes, We Know, Quagmire, Got It Already

USA Today has this opinion piece by Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio):
In Iraq there are no front lines, no easy way to tell friend from foe, and no clear way to measure success. Iraq is a quagmire. Meantime, it has become a recruiting poster for Osama bin Laden. Are we to keep fighting indefinitely, losing more troops every week, spending billions of dollars, and increasing the strain on our armed forces, especially the reserve and National Guard? . . . The troops have done their job. It's up to Congress and the president to forge a policy worthy of their sacrifices.

Heh, I think it is cute that the two feel it is up to Congress . . . and the president too, to come up with a 'policy'. Cutting and running does not seem like much of a 'policy', however. And even if it were, such a policy is the province of the executive only, not Congress. I know these two congressmen wish they were in charge of foreign policy, but fortunately it is in more capable hands right now.

5:56 AM | | |

Monday, May 16, 2005

Kim Jong-Il, Whatta Guy

A child in North Korea dying of starvation, from a very wrenching article on the atrocities committed by Kim Jong-Il against his own people. Via RealClearPolitics.

Why do decent people anywhere put up with monstrocities like this?

6:27 AM | | |

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Thanks, Newsweek

"The American soldiers are known for disrespect to other religions. They do not take care of the sanctity of other religions," Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Pakistani chief of a coalition of radical Islamic groups, said Sunday.'
Yes, as opposed to the famous tolerance and openness of muslims, I suppose.

Muslim nations, such as Pakistan, have laws calling for the execution of those who 'blaspheme' or 'insult' the Prophet. I always wondered about this. As if Allah, supposed creator of the universe, is such a simpering and insecure being that he can't stand a little criticism.

Christianity has advanced far beyond this rather primitive attitude I think. If you were to tear up and flush a bible, a christian would not be happy about it, but most christians would not think for a minute that you had sullied the real word of God. You can destroy the book, but that hardly destroys the message itself.

I get tired of these people that take their religion too seriously, and expect me to do so, also.

11:29 PM | | |

My Blog, My Precioussss . . .

Great News From Egypt

According to Charles Paul Freund at Hit & Run, judges in Egypt are refusing to give political cover to another Mubarak rubber stamp election. They are demanding full powers to oversee all stages of the election process.


12:11 PM | | |

Concensus: Huffington Sucks

Well, the overwhelming sentiment is that The Huffington Post blows.

Hmm, jealous, MUCH????

Heh not really - judging from their comments I would say the following genuinely DO think Ariana's blog does suck:

Ann Althouse
Huffington's Toast
Huffington Is Full Of Crap
Nikki Finke (Heh, one of the more thorough takedowns of anything I have read online).
Stephen Green

I am more in agreement with Jack Shafer at Slate, who is still intrigued by the HuffPost. It is too early to tell what the real character of the Huffington Post will be, that will take time, and again it could really provide a lot of great entertainment, both intentional and otherwise.

Matthew Yglesias was non-committal . . . but he is on the blogroll, so we can't blame him for rooting for Huff!

Ken Says: well I for one AM jealous. But no link for you, Ariana! Not until you give ME one . . . as if.

10:41 AM | | |

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Outrage Of The Day

No, make that outrage of the week. The more I stew over it, the more I think Reid engaged in unreasonably sharp practice over his leak about doubleplusungood things in nominee Saad's confidential file. After all, Reid just gutted this guy in front of the whole world, accused of something so horrible that he would not win confirmation. What could it possibly be? Now everyone imagines the worst possible thing, your mileage may vary, and this guy can't even defend himself. He doesn't even know what the charges against him are.

Very cruel, Senator Reid.

Does it rise to the level of Senate expulsion? Again, via Pejman, "Any Senator, officer, or employee of the Senate who shall disclose the secret or confidential business or proceedings of the Senate, including the business and proceedings of the committees, subcommittees, and offices of the Senate, shall be liable, if a Senator, to suffer expulsion from the body; and if an officer or employee, to dismissal from the service of the Senate, and to punishment for contempt." - Standing Rules of The Senate.

Update: WILLisms has a detailed background of Henry Saad and this whole sordid mess.

3:15 AM | | |

Revisionists Kill The Past

Why is it so important to the Left to rewrite history? Because to them, America is a big problem that needs to be fixed. They see America as a broken work-in-progress, that needs to be reformed, reshaped and rebuilt. The idea that America has ever done anything good is anathema to this program. If America can do good all on its own, why do we need progressives then?

And of course the defeat of Nazism is the greatest good the United States has ever performed. The Left cannot leave this legacy unsullied, for that would foster an illusion that America is good. This simply will not do.

And so when history is unkind to the Left, as it often is, it is not the Left that must change - it is history that must change. The survival of the Left is more important than mere history. In fact the survival of the Left is more important than anything, including (and especially) the survival of the United States.

The loss of history's lessons would be the greatest casualty here. What does the toil, the destruction, the mass deaths, the cruelties mean, if we can't wrench some wisdom from it all? It is one of our most valuable and hard-earned human resources, it is our legacy, and those that find it inconvenient to their cause would just flush it all down the memory hole and replace it with a sterile marxist misinterpretation of history.

Revisionism is a type of cultural genocide that seeks to denigrate the colossal sacrifices of our elders, and seeks to villainize their very motives. It needs to be uprooted wherever it is found.

Heh, now that I have made you read my little rant here, go read a far better one by Victor Davis Hanson.

Ken Says: Dean Esmay has had me thinking alot lately about issues of genocide and its place in history. North Korea has been on my mind much also, and it is not an unrelated issue. There we see the very same sociopathic impulses that drove Hitler and Stalin, and the means to carry out the mayhem. All this talk about judicial filibusters and John Bolton and so on seems important, until you remind yourself of the awesome horror of mass killings. It can happen again.

Also, I am surprised that the issue of revisionism doesn't rankle heritage democrats more. I mean, these people go apoplectic at the mere suggestion that FDR would have even contemplated private social security accounts. You would think the accusation that he incinerated 300,000 innocent civilians just to show Stalin who's boss would, um, generate a little more outrage? [oops, just remembered it was Truman who dropped the bombs].

Linked to Mudville Gazette's open post.

2:37 AM | | |

Richard Cohen Loves The Filibuster (For Now)

In his piece Mr. Smith's Lost Cause, Richard Cohen clings dearly to an elitist democratic conceit - that when liberal ideals are faced with foreclosure, extreme defensive measures are not just possible, but necessary. Liberal ideas are so necessary, so lofty, so noble and shining with goodness, that extreme measures to defend them are not only excused, but are expected and should be cheered by all americans. Thus he lauds the filibuster of judicial nominees, so as to block 'odious' judges.

Get over yourself Cohen. One thing liberals need to learn (and may need to learn quickly) is that the republic does not depend upon the survival of the democratic party or liberal policies. We will get along just fine without them, I assure you. A single article of the Constitution contains more genius and wisdom than an entire library of the collected 'wisdom' of liberalism. The Constitution trumps the liberal cause du jour, I am sorry to say. Liberalism, through the fiat of liberal judges, has done more harm to the Constitution than all of our foreign enemies throughout history put together. You might even begin to think that liberalism and the Constitution are mutually exclusive ideas.

Cohen describes the filibuster as a 'wonderful parliamentary procedure'. However, Cohen later admits that he was not always a fan of the filibuster, because it was "used to thwart civil rights legislation and other legislative acts of basic decency."

Ah I get it. The filibuster is 'wonderful' when democrats are in the minority, and terrible when the democrats are in the majority. This echoes Democrat Playbook Rule One: heads we win, tails you lose. Consistency and core beliefs be damned, expediency now trumps all.

Cohen calls removing the filibuster the 'nuclear option', and says it is 'a bit of mutually assured destruction for American politics.' So, removing the filibuster will 'destroy' American politics? Or will it merely rein in liberalism from the bench? To Cohen they are probably one and the same.

And a bit of advice: when you make extravagant claims, such as claiming that removing the filibuster will destroy American politics, be prepared to look like a fool when of course it does not happen. We live in the Age of Blogs now, Richard, and we can keep a record of how many times you cried wolf.

Cohen then locks into liberal ad hominem attack mode, saying that the 'Odious Seven' nominees have views "so extreme they suggest severe vitamin deficiencies in childhood or early trauma to the head." What, would you guess, are the chances that Cohen has actually read a single opinion by one of these brain-damaged judges? Well, he doesn't need to. He doesn't need to know anything about these judges other than the fact that democrats are seeking to destroy them, and that is good enough, facts be damned. This isn't about defeating nominees, ultimately, it is really about handing Bush a defeat, and trying to show the american public that George W. Bush is against Mr. Smith going to Washington. If Bush were nominating Thurgood Marshall himself, Cohen would be against him, if the DNC says so.

Cohen also mentions that Bush did not achieve a mandate in the last election. Even if this were true, and it is not, it would still be utterly irrelevant to the argument. Bush is entitled to have 100% of his nominees go to the floor for an up or down vote, regardless of whether he won by one vote, or by 10 million votes. There is no elasticity in the Constitution that gives or takes away a president's powers based upon his margin of victory. He might not have the political capital to enact changes, but the rules themselves do not somehow change.

If the nominees are as odious as Cohen describes them, they will not survive an up or down vote. If they do survive the vote, perhaps they are not quite as odious as Cohen thinks they are. And if they are, the Constitution can survive one bad judge here, one bad judge there. What the Constitution might not survive is a minority (or majority) bent on ignoring or destroying it, or letting it atrophy.

Surely Mr. Smith would agree.

Again, thanks to Mudville Gazette and Outside The Beltway for a chance to vulture a little traffic from them!

12:09 AM | | |

Friday, May 13, 2005

Hitler The Left-Winger

The Left always points to Hitler as a 'warning' of what out of control conservatives will become.

Hitler is considered to be 'right wing', but I fail to see how this is so.

Hitler's party was the National SOCIALIST Party. Socialism was not some afterthought for him. Hitler saw national socialism as a purer and improved form of socialism, purged of its bolshevik and jewish ideas.

Hitler was not 'conservative' - he was revolutionary. He was not trying to consolidate the old german ways, he tried to come up with an entirely new worldview to compete with the new worldview of Marxism.

If anti-semitism makes Hitler conservative somehow, the bolsheviks were not far behind. The purges of Trotsky and other jews in leadership positions, the unabated pogroms under both Lenin and Stalin, and the 'jewish doctors' plot' show that communism is hardly immune from racism and anti-semitism.

Hitler was no arch-capitalist either. Hitler was not beloved by Germany's industrialists. Most were distrustful of Hitler, and saw him as a naive and inexperienced political agitator. Only Fritz Thiessen, who was senile, openly embraced Hitler's ideas.

Hitler made a fetish of militarism, and this somehow makes him 'right-wing' also. Sorry, but my memory is not so short. I remember growing up, seeing the May Day parades in Red Square every spring on television. Don't tell me that all that goosestepping, those mobile missile launchers, jets flying overhead, and all the banners and posters is not a 'militarism fetish'.

American conservatism is pro-liberty, pro-rule of law, and laissez-faire. It is not, and can never possibly be, anything but the very antithesis of everything totalitarians such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao stood for.

2:53 PM | | |

Reid's Sad Treatment Of Saad

Harry Reid shows yet again that the democrats are masters of character assassination.

Captain Ed is right to point out that this is especially despicable, in that Saad cannot even defend himself against Reid's unspecified accusations.

At long last Senator Reid, have you no shame?

Update: Pejman supports expelling Reid from the senate as punishment for this appallingly unethical behavior.

1:58 PM | | |

Repo Man Stories II

I got a file to check on the south side of Chicago, a Mercury Marquis I seem to remember, and lo and behold the vehicle was sitting there right on the street in front of the main address, somewhere around Damen and 51st St. (an unusually crappy neighborhood, even for the south side).

There was a good two feet of lake effect snow, covering everything including the car. I brushed away some snow from the corner of the windshield, and yep the VIN matched my file. At this point, some lady across the street starts yelling at me "what are you doing with that car?"

As if it is any of her business.

I grabbed my trusty slimjim, and jimmied my way through the driver's side door. Lots of cars back then were easy to slim into, and Ford products were especially easy. I plunked my butt down in the seat and opened my toolbox. In my awesome tool arsenal I had a Ford force tool. I popped off the butterfly from the ignition, and pounded the force tool onto the ignition with my sledge hammer - a standard sledge hammer with half the handle cut off to make it more maneuverable.

I fit a wrench onto the force tool, cranked it backwards to break those pins in the cylinder, and then cranked the wrench forward. Crunch! The car turned over and started the first time.

Then came some tense maneuvering of the vehicle out of its parking spot, with the door open so I could see. This car was covered in thick, wet snow.

Just as the car was inching out of the spot and onto the street, the putative owner of the vehicle comes running out of the house, in his underwear, like a barefooted athlete through deep snow. The wheels on the car were spinning, but not much was happening . . . the deep unplowed snow was impeding almost all progress.

This guy almost caught up to me (and he was pissed). So here I am, hanging out of the door of the car, steering this boat as it barely pulls away from the screaming, nearly-naked customer.

It was like being in a cartoon.

I must have driven half a mile with that driver's door open, with me hanging out. I drove past not one, but two Chicago police patrol cars along Garfield Boulevard, who seemed nonplussed.

Go see the previous installment of Repo Man Stories.

1:31 PM | | |

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Voinovich Jabs Bolton

Bolton would have been fired if he worked for a major corporation,'' Voinovich said as the panel opened final debate on the nomination. Bolton is "the poster child for what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be,'' Voinovich said." - Via BuzzMachine.
I wonder if there aren't a few CEO's out there thinking they'd like to hire Bolton if this UN ambassador deal falls through.

3:22 PM | | |

Condoleeza Rice Knows Her Bill Of Rights

Very well put, by our Secretary of State:
I ... don't think we get to pick and choose from the Constitution," she said in the interview, which was taped for airing Wednesday night. "The Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment."

Condi, my heart be still!!

Via Pejman.

12:27 PM | | |

Mao Zedong, Mass Murderer

Communism has always avoided the criticism of their murderous ways that the nazis had to face, which is shameful. Communism was evil and monstrous before Hitler, and was evil and monstrous after Hitler. And yet, there are still plenty of fools that proclaim communism as a good thing. There is something self-destructively ingrained into the human psyche that we don't purge the meme-pool of such patently evil ideas.

Communism is the darkest chapter in human history, and a huge step backwards in human development. We are still dealing with the fallout from the destruction it has wreaked.

Dean Esmay reminds us that Mao zedong was the worst of all, the worst mass murderer in all of history, and introduces us to the Chinese Holocaust Memorial.

12:08 PM | | |

Huff Doesn't Impress Stephen Green

The best description of The Huffington Post comes from Stephen Green, "I looked at Huffingtonreportheraldpost today, but I didn't see a blog. What I saw was a mess of screaming headlines (ala Drudge) and snippets of blogposts which I'd have had to take the effort to actually click on to read. Oh, and the design screams "tabloid!" while the hype shouts "blog!" and the content whimpers "I'm being all clever and bloggy, right?"

Yes, it is a salad bar of options, supposed to entice everyone with something tasty. I think Stephen understimates the entertainment and blogging value of vapid celebrity opinions however. This is a godsend - a daily dose of Hollywood dimthink on display for the whole world.

Stephen freely admits that he is writing this venture off too soon. I bet Stephen will be lifting links from it a year from now though, as will I.

12:03 AM | | |

Why Blog?

Ask yourself this: what is the main reason that you blog?

For me, it gives me a chance to vent. Which is why I kept blogging even when I was sure I was getting no traffic whatsoever. I kept at it because it felt great to express exactly how I felt after being slapped in the face with the latest outrage in the news.

So, if you don't like my blog, remember: it's mostly for me, not you!

10:30 PM | | |

Dem Vote Fraud Behind The Cheddar Curtain

Powerline tells us that Wisconsin might have been stolen by the democrats during the last election.

Unlike Florida 2000 and Ohio last year, this is real, tangible evidence that voter fraud took place, not by republicans but by corrupt democrats.

No wonder the democrats oppose photo ID's at the voting booth - with that type of safeguard they might never win a damn thing again.

9:07 AM | | |

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Happy Birthday, Buddha!

Spread a little more of that compassion, will ya??

11:28 PM | | |

Markey Has It Backwards

My first Hufflink goes to Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who is wringing his hands over North Korea's nuclear proliferation. Markey is correctly upset that North Korea now has perhaps six nuclear weapons, and then asks "I wonder how many North Korean nuclear weapons we will have to discover in order for this Administration to conclude we can no longer continue to preach nuclear temperance from a barstool."

Does Markey advocate pre-emptive strikes on North Korea's nuclear facilities? Or cutting off aid or trade to North Korea? Or allowing Japan to arm itself with nuclear weapons?

No, because in his view the U.S. is the problem here, not North Korea. Markey believes that the way out of this impasse is for the U.S. to cancel the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, otherwise known as the bunker-busting nuke. Thus, Markey's logic seems to go as thus: the U.S. started this all, right? After all, we had the bomb first, and who are we to say that North Korea cannot have one too? Therefore, building down our own nuclear forces is the necessary and moral first step that shows a proper example to North Korea.

The DPRK will breath a sigh of relief, now assured that its deterrent is no longer at risk in their deep bunkers. And then, what?

Does Markey really believe that North Korea, touched by our display of unilateral kindness, will return the favor by giving up its nuclear program? If the congressman believes that, he places far too much faith in the willingness of North Korea to be a reasonable actor. This is the same logic that pulled us into the 1994 Agreed Framework, and what a sucker's bet that was. Before the ink was even dry, North Korea had broken the accord while walking away with all the goodies it was promised from the U.S.

I understand the impulse to 'set the good example' and light a way for other nations to follow. In many situations this is the correct thing to do. It is not the correct way to deal with North Korea, however. Totalitarian states as this are utterly immune to such kindnesses and gestures, they are merely taken as a sign of weakness.

Update: Dean's World alerts us that Hans Blix pretty much feels the same way as Markey. Surprised?

Ken Says: Hey Ariana dahling, it would have been great to be able to trackback this post to Congressman Markey so he can see it. What, don't think he can take the heat??

10:38 PM | | |

Kerry Fights Back!

Kerry responds to the scurrilous, but true! charge that he has not signed his Form 180 yet, via Michelle Malkin.

9:43 AM | | |

Lileks On Huff

A particularly good Bleat from Lileks, having mostly to do with Huffblog. Blogcred? Ick.

One of the reasons I like Lileks' writing is that he takes hard turns on tangents, and just keeps going. Like his take on the phrase 'looky-loo' which is a rather prissy phrase from Michelle Malkin.

7:25 AM | | |

Day 100: Kerry Holds Self Hostage

Via Instapundit we are reminded that 100 days ago, John Kerry promised to sign his Form 180.

Thought we'd all forget, eh John? PoliPundit shows us how to assemble a 'memory kit' for the good senator from Massachusetts.

6:42 AM | | |

In Praise Of Ann Coulter

Lately nothing has amused me more in the blogosphere than liberal whining about Ann Coulter. Coulter is not really my cup of tea - I think the ad hominem attack, at which she excels, is a devastatingly effective way to entertain people, but is not very good at persuasion on a particular topic. Mark Steyn is a far better combination of substance and snark in my opinion.

I am happy Coulter is around though, because finally the Left is being given a dose of their own medicine. Ever since the 60's, the Left has made a fetish of name-calling, ridicule and character assassination in the name of their 'higher good', whatever that is, as the preferred way to 'debate'.

The comments at Crooked Timber on this are just precious - one commenter calls for more pies and more questions about sodomy as the correct response to Ann Coulter, saying "this is very effective polemics." Talk about misreading the room. This is precisely what animates Coulter and those that invite her. Every pie thrown at Coulter is probably good for another 10,000 books sold.

The Left hates Coulter for calling them on their traitorous ways. They hate her for trying to rehabilitate Joe McCarthy, which for the Left is just beyond the pale. The Left clings to McCarthyism as their Shoah, their Holocaust, their Killing Fields. It doesn't matter that no one actually died because of McCarthyism, the moral equivalance (in their eyes) is nonetheless established. Coulter demolishes this myth, and they hate her for it. And of course since Coulter represents the advanced guard of the proto-fascist right, probably any actions up to and including assassinating Coulter will probably receive clucking approval at Daily Kos.

How should they handle Coulter? Ignore her. This is impossible for the vein-popping Left of course, she is irresistable, both to the Right and Left, so be prepared for Coulterisms for a long time to come.

Thanks to Juan Non-Volokh for bringing this to our attention.

5:21 AM | | |

Take THAT, Chimpy

Heh, this pic is just dying for a caption contest. North Korean children enjoying their one minute hate.

4:05 AM | | |

Monday, May 09, 2005

Is Judicial Review A Bad Thing?

Just listening to Mark Levin on WABC-770 AM New Yawk City, going on about the evils of judicial review.

In the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, John Marshall stated that his Supreme Court had the power to decide whether legislation is constitutional or not, thus establishing judicial review. I am intrigued by the conservative view that judicial review is a bad thing, as if removing this power is the key to preventing the court from making bad decisions. It would do that, but it would also prevent the court from making nearly any decisions at all. What we would be left with, then, is a Congress that has the final say on what laws are constitutional. Are we really better off that way?

Conservatives often get hung up on the words of the Constitution, without thinking through the necessary logical implications of those words. Judicial review is a great example. True, the Constitution does not say whether or not the Supreme Court has final say on the constitutionality of legislation. Had the founding fathers opposed it, no doubt they would have forbidden it directly in the Constitution. Judicial review was not an unknown concept at the time.

Without the power of judicial review, the Supreme Court becomes a nullity, and Congress has the final say on the constitutionality of its own legislation. No check, no balance. How different things would be, and no doubt conservatives would be railing against decades of bad law that the democrats would no doubt have cooked up during the years they were in charge of Congress. Maybe giving the Supreme Court the final say is really not such a bad thing.

7:14 PM | | |

North Korea To Return To Talks?

As North Korean preparations for a nuclear test continue, the DPRK has rewritten history, saying that it never asked Washington for bilateral talks.

North Korea has stated that it will return to the six-party talks, following its modus operandi of making provocative gestures (such as launching a missile into the Sea of Japan) and then making nice.

Meanwhile, North Korea is filling in a tunnel in the northeast Kilju region, a sign that a nuclear device is now buried deep inside this tunnel. A reviewing stand has also been built at the test site.

The AFP further reports: "A military intelligence official also said on condition of anonymity that Kilju was an unlikely test site as it was a well-populated area in which a large number of residents would likely be exposed to fallout."

If true, this would be a rare demonstration of concern for its own people by this Stalinist state. I doubt it is a part of North Korea's equation here.

8:32 AM | | |

Huffington Goes Live

The Huffington Post is now up and active, and frankly I think it looks good.

Is it good for us bloggers? I think so. If it brings more people into the blogosphere, I don't see how that can be bad.

Notice the lack of comments and trackbacks, however. This makes it more of a Drudge Report than a real blog in my opinion. This will limit the utility of the Huffington Report as a resource for other bloggers.

7:42 AM | | |

Reid Knows Who Is Naughty And Nice

The thinness of the democrats' ability to discuss issues and opinions in a substantive way was on full display again this weekend, as Harry Reid stated that Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen are 'bad people'. Not bad judges, not bad nominees, but bad people. Reid also said that Brown, an african-american, seeks to take the nation back to the days before the Civil War.

This is filthy, and Reid deserves to pay a heavy political price for it.

Why doesn't Reid just say that Janice Rogers Brown likes to fry babies up in a pan and eat them? Why doesn't he just say that Priscilla Owen idolizes Hitler? I mean, if you are going to just start making stuff up, why not really go for it.

Is Harry Reid even aware that Brown is rated "well-qualified" by the ABA? Yes he is, but that is not even a factor for Reid. This is about appealing to the Michael Moore base and keeping them wound up with the idea that Bush will be served a defeat - any defeat. I get the feeling sometimes that the democratic base would jettison the entire democratic experiment itself if it would make Bush look bad. This is "opposition simply for oppositions' sake" - the new motto of the democratic party.

I have no doubt that the democrats have been and will continue to be punished for just this type of behavior. Their furious lies about Bush, the economy, and the war in Iraq is basically what lost them the last election. They will continue to lose as long as they use lies instead of truth, rely on demagoguery instead of logic, and obstruct rather than rebut with debate. Fine with me, but it is truly embarassing to watch.

As a side note, Captain's Quarters has a good discussion of Canon 8 of the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility, which partly states "While a lawyer as a citizen has a right to criticize such officials publicly, he should be certain of the merit of his complaint, use appropriate language, and avoid petty criticisms, for unrestrained and intemperate statements tend to lessen public confidence in our legal system. Criticisms motivated by reasons other than a desire to improve the legal system are not justified." While all of this certainly applies to Reid, I am opposed to measures such as these, which seek to stifle rather than open a full and vigorous debate on issues. Moreover, a canon such as this could be used as a type of "Sedition Act" whereby controversial lawyers and views could be silenced by an overzealous adherence to its tenets. Fortunately, this canon is never invoked in practice, as far as I know.

6:40 AM | | |

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Al-Libbi Singing Like A Canary?

Al-Libbi's capture this week in Pakistan has already led to the arrest of 7 more al-Qaeda operatives there.

Dunno what they did to make the guy talk, don't really care.

10:03 AM | | |

Four Explosions In Myanmar, Scores Dead

Myanmar is a brutally thuggish totalitarian regime, but this is not the way to defeat them.

9:22 AM | | |

Friday, May 06, 2005

Reid: Bush Is A Loser

Harry Reid:
The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid said in response to a question about President Bush's policies. "I think this guy is a loser.

"I think President Bush is doing a bad job."

"He's driving this country into bankruptcy," Reid said, referring to the deficit. "He's got us in this intractable war in Iraq where we now have about 1,600 American soldiers dead and another 15,000 injured."

Interesting, but this is small potatos in the ongoing verbal war between democrats and republicans. Now, if Reid were wearing a 'Kill Bush' tee shirt while he said this, that would be something.

8:17 PM | | |

Karl Rove Not Pulling The Strings

I received this email from Peter Paul's organization about my previous post about Hillary's ethics problems. I mentioned Karl Rove there in a purely tongue-in-cheek way, but Paul wants to set the record straight -

"I can assure you Karl Rove nor anyone in the GOP have anything to do with his whistle blowing which began in March, 2001 (see attached Robert Novak column) He explained his reasons for turning the Clintons in when he sent a demand letter to Hillary in July 16, 2001, 2 weeks before the last fraudulent return was filed by her campaign to the FEC."

7:52 PM | | |

I Guess This Makes Me A Rethuglican

I am:
"To you, Fox News really is 'Fair and Balanced'."

Are You A Republican?

6:32 AM | | |

China: Tear Down This Wall

From AFP:
"My foreign minister did not specifically mention what the Chinese should do, but he requested that China should do more," Park said.
Tearing down the wall between China and North Korea would be the obvious solution. It worked in bringing down the eastern bloc, and eventually the Soviet Union itself. The borders fell, and tens of thousands began streaming out of Hungary and then the rest of eastern europe.

China should open its borders with North Korea, and let anyone who may flee to food and freedom. The U.S. should pay for it, and relocate any that want to come here. It would be an awesome humanitarian gesture, toward the most deprived people on earth.

3:20 AM | | |

Naomi Klein Has All The Answers

To a carpenter, every problem looks like a nail. To Naomi Klein, every world problem is caused by U.S. corporations, whom she blames for the Iraq war. The secret to ending all wars then, is to make them unprofitable.

It must be comforting to have discovered that single font of all the world's ills, that one pandora's box from which all problems arise. Once you find it, all one needs to do is nail it shut and the world returns to its pristine, pure and balanced condition. Right?

This is the timeless siren call of the anti-masons, anti-semites, and of course the anti-capitalists, of which Klein is one. Klein gets so wigged out by corporations, that their mere logos are an affront to her eye.

Klein never cites the White House memo calling for war in Iraq to help the corporate bottom line of Halliburton. Of course no such memo would likely exist even if the Iraq war was a make-work project for Cheney's buddies. But neither does Klein cite any evidence of a corporate cause for war, except as a sort of post hoc ergo prompter hoc argument that the rebuilding of Iraq is evidence we went to war to help U.S. construction companies. Klein seems so surprised that we would hire american companies to do the work and not iraqi or french companies, for example. What did she expect?

Oddly, one of her complaints is that we are not rebuilding Iraq. This complaint comes after she complains that U.S. corporations are rebuilding Iraq as payoff for initiating the war there. Confused? She attempts to rationalize this by saying that all the rebuilding in Iraq is the construction of military bases. Is she lying, or does she really believe this? I assume that Naomi Klein is fairly tech savvy, she is only 30 years old, and depends a lot upon the internet to inform herself. Would she make such a statement about Iraq reconstruction without any research into what the U.S. is actually doing there? Even a skimming of the subject shows the myriad projects the U.S. is involved in that are of a strictly civilian nature. She talks about what she perceived as a lack of reconstruction in Baghdad when she was there, but frankly I don't think that gives you a very full view of what is going on in a country the size of California.

Klein tries hard to make that point that, somehow, the anti-war Left in the U.S. and the Iraqi people have some natural affinity for each other, in some amorphous struggle against McImperialism. This greatly overestimates the esteem with which your average Iraqi is likely to hold these enablers of Saddam Hussein, in my opinion. The Iraqi people have not forgotten the daily terrors that came from living under Saddam. And, they have also learned that the U.S. forces are not slobbering huns bent on being even more ferocious to them than Saddam. I am sure Klein believes that there is a seething hatred for the U.S. bubbling just under the surface of every Iraqi, but clearly such feelings as they did exist among some iraqis is far less deep and widespread than when the occupation began. And the idea that every iraqi is some kind of WTO protestor at heart just made me chuckle. Every problem indeed is a nail.

Klein rather clumsily tries to pull off an ugly intellectual trick by labelling all criticisms directed at the U.S. and the Iraq government as part of 'the resistance'. "Iraqis are resisting in many ways—not just with armed resistance. They are organizing independent trade unions. They are opening critical newspapers, and then having those newspapers shut down. They are fighting privatization in state factories. They are forming new political coalitions in an attempt to force an end to the occupation."

Get it? The terrorists are just expressing legitimate grievances . . . just like newspaper editors.

Klein is also anxious to remind the reader that the puppet regime in Iraq is a sham, has no power, no control over the reconstruction budget. " . . . democracy has been shackled", she says, "in other words, they have the vote, but no real power to govern." This is critical to her entire argument, because otherwise the greedy U.S. corporations actually did bring legitimate democracy to Iraq!

Imagine that. Capitalism, in exercising its self-interest, propagated itself along with its best growing soil, democracy, in a foreign nation. Are you as horrified by that as I am???

Ken Says: I apologize for this rambling pseudo-essay. I am not sure why I even went spelunking into this moobat cave, to be honest. Naomi Klein is not serious, and her views are not serious. They are on par with Michael Moore. Do read the article however, it is worth it as a good look into this particular mindset.

I trackbacked to Wizbang's Carnival of the Trackbacks X, and I forgot to mention that I originally found this article via RealClearPolitics.

2:18 AM | | |

Big Blog versus Little Blog

There would be obvious advantages to running a big blog of course: actual MONEY maybe, recognition, the ego strokes that come from successfully planting your memes around the blogosphere.

But, having a little blog has its advantages too . . . I can write any damn thing I want without too much risk of repercussion. I can play fast and loose with the materials . . . I have no pressures, really. Hell, if I don't want to write, I don't write, and there is no guilt attached to that.

And when I DO write, no one cares if it is crap!

12:04 AM | | |

Thursday, May 05, 2005

North Korea Preparing For Nuclear Test

There is 'wide agreement' in the intelligence communities that North Korea is building a tunnel for an underground nuclear test similar to one built by Pakistan for its 1998 test.

All that is missing so far are the electronics necessary to measure the effects of the blast.

What will happen if NK actually does detonate a bomb? Not much, I expect. The administration has stated it is purposely downplaying these test preparations, to limit Pyongyang's ability to cause panic. I understand this rationale, but will the White House respond the same way when they actually detonate a nuke? If the administration just goes "ho hum, not a big deal" then the public might just accept it as if it were a natural development.

I suspect that the press reaction too will be a combination of "no big deal" and "it is all George W. Bush's fault." Did the press blame Bill Clinton for India's and Pakistan's nuclear tests in 1998? Of course not. Does the press remind its readers and viewers that it is likely North Korea had a nuclear device before George W. Bush was even president? Of course not. The MSM will merely repeat Hillary Clinton's statement that this all happened on George Bush's watch, as if that is all there is to it.

Would Hillary have approved of a pre-emptive strike to prevent this from happening? Of course not. Typical democrat, all nagging, no solutions.

10:23 PM | | |

The Shadow Constitution

David Bernstein at Volokh writes about the alleged "Constitution In Exile" movement, and contrasts it with the liberals' very real "Shadow Constitution . . . under which the government has affirmative obligations to alleviate inequality, protect people from harm..."

I love this meme, may it grow and prosper.

3:20 PM | | |

My Favorite Profs

1. Marc Grinker, R.I.P. Chicago-Kent, an awesome professor and friend, his lessons on legal writing and developing a legal mind were the best education I ever received.

2. Howard Zinn, Boston University, probably the funniest person I ever knew. His lectures are comedy legends at Big & Ugly.

3. Ralph Brill, Chicago-Kent, Another very funny guy - you never knew law could be that funny. Packed an entire year of torts into one semester, with aplomb.

4. Bernard Elevitch, Boston University, this guy would just go into a sort of stream of consciousness questioning of politics and invite his students to jump in. He twisted my head around a couple times.

6:21 AM | | |

Explosion Outside Of NY British Consulate

Curtis and Kuby, WABC 770AM New York are informing us that an improvised grenade was detonated outside of the British Consulate in New York City.

Hmm, Ron Kuby seems extraordinarily well-informed about this, telling us that the devices were a hollowed out grenade filled with black powder and probably detonated with a fuse, along with another device(?) filled with CA, a weaker version of CS tear gas. He also stated that it appears that these devices were set in order not to hurt anyone, and it was probably set by a disguntled irish guy. Not making this up here.

More from the AP.

5:21 AM | | |

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

So Much For "Iron Fist" Abbas

Via Little Green Footballs, we find that the PLA plans to do nothing to disarm militants.

11:36 PM | | |

Repo Man Stories

Every repossessor that works in that business for any length of time usually has at least one or two amusing and/or horrifying tales to tell.

Other than the time I got punched in the head while slowly driving my car through an open air drug market two blocks away from Argo High School in Summit, Illinois (and then chased out of the neighborhood with enough shattered 40 ounce glass on the back of my car that I needed to hose it off) I never had any tussles in the one year+ I was a repo man. My tow guy Anthony had a tussle though with a guy fresh out prison with slashes on his face who objected to us towing his Mitsubishi 3000GT, but somehow the two of them ended up staring each other down and we got the car without real violence. Those were the two worst situations I faced, neither was really horrible. (I got paid $600 to pull that 3000GT, the car had been missing for a couple years and the creditor put a nice bounty on it. Most money I ever earned in one day I think, for maybe 2 hours work).

The most horrible I have heard of though is a guy who worked for our same company who was shot by an ex-Chicago cop who was dying of AIDS and had dementia. The repo man drove off in the car and got himself to a hospital.

9:56 PM | | |

Nobel Prize for Bush and Blair?

John Hughes thinks they deserve it.

If it were me, I wouldn't touch the Nobel Prize, now that Arafat has basically defecated on it.

8:09 PM | | |

Pulling A Swift(boat) One On Hillary

We haven't heard too much - yet - about Hillary's problems with David Rosen, her campaign finance director under indictment.

Fear not. The idea that Hillary is corrupt is starting to take root. This is a little seedling meme that will grow and bloom gloriously over time.

If anything, this story is coming out way too soon. Karl Rove should have waited a year at least (yes Karl we all know you are behind it) to slowly open this story and drag it out over several months. One can just picture Karl standing in the darkness of the wings, pulling his fingers apart and mouthing 'stretch . . . stretch!' to his minion puppets onstage.

Yeah, this will be a 'Swift-boating' of Hillary, make no mistake. And it will work just as well, because this story too will have the power of truth on its side. Saying over and over again that the swift-boat veterans had been 'discredited' did not make it so. Hillary is an unindicted co-conspirator now, if Peter Paul is to be believed. Michelle Malkin introduces us to the Hillary Clinton Accountability Project.

And the New York Times article about HillCAP immediately tries to invoke right-wing conspiracy creepiness by by stating that Peter Paul is 'collaborating with a conservative group' to publicize the charges. Does the New York Times ever refer to, say, the ACLU as a 'liberal group'? We all know what the next play out of the DNC playbook will be: expect an all-out assault on this 'group', complete with charts of arrows and boxes and lines all pointing to Karl Rove.

7:21 PM | | |

Arab On Arab Terrorism

Saudi Columnist: The Arab Nations Neglect the Misery of Others as Long as it Does Not Affect Them

"According to a BBC report last week, the number of civilian casualties as a result of the ongoing violence in Iraq since July 2004 has spiraled to 3,274. Although official figures are not available, some sources, such as Iraqbodycount.net, run by academics and peace activists, estimate some 19,696 civilian casualties. To be fair, however, we must not forget the Iraqi soldiers who have died in their efforts to secure, and also to spread, democracy in Iraq. We are left with a total of 25,000 Iraqis killed by either former Ba'thist rebels or the jihad group led by [Abu Mus'ab] Al-Zarqawi.

"Nothing can be compared to what happened last month in Hilla. The Al-Zarqawi group claimed responsibility for the deaths of at least 124 people when a massive car bomb exploded in the worst incident since the U.S.-led invasion nearly two years ago. The coverage of this massacre in the Arab media was poor in general and rather sketchy. No clear condemnation of the act was heard from Arab nations. It is not that they supported or justified it, but it was merely a matter of neglecting the misery of others as long as it didn't affect them. If this tragedy had happened in Palestine, for example, then the Arab reaction would have been overwhelming. And yet, Arabs wonder why their grievances don't receive the attention of others!"

Imagine the power that could be unleashed if arabs felt the outrage at 3,000+ plus killed by their own that we felt when Timothy McVeigh killed 100+ of our own.


6:32 PM | | |

Bill Cosby Says Look In The Mirror

Let us assume that racism is rampant in the US. If you are black, how do you respond? Do you light a candle or curse the darkness?

Any racial minority that relies upon the goodwill of the majority to end racism will have a very long wait - but this is exactly what the professional race grievance peddlers would have them do. They do not want to solve the problem you see - they need the power that comes from channeling these grievances. Thus, they perpetuate the problem.

Cosby offers the solution. Success is not a shameful sell-out to the whites - success is the best revenge. If the racists say that blacks are not good at anything, is the proper response to recoil into a world of drugs, shortened life spans and violence, or to prove the crackers wrong?

Blacks are not inferior. Once you meet a few blacks that are smarter than you are, you will prove this to yourself.

Blacks are not held back by racism, Cosby is proof of that.

Blacks are held back by a self-imposed cultural straitjacket that says success is 'white', proper english is 'white' and respect for self and others is 'white'. Who is being cheated by this self-defeating ethos? Not the whites. I am sure the KKK supports this platform.

Cosby receives criticism it seems not so much for what he says, but that he airs this dirty laundry in public. Good. We all need to hear it. He is going about it the right way, and the controversy it has stirred is a testament to that.

Linked to Mudville Gazette's open post and OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam. Thanks!

4:44 PM | | |

Newsflash: Chicago City Hall Corrupt

No, really?

Actually I feel sorry for Mayor Daley. I don't think that he is corrupt. Neither was his father - it just isn't the Daley way.

They much prefer 'enabling' their friends, and enjoying the power that comes from it.

3:17 PM | | |

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Don Wade & Roma: Hunter Is Okay

Great news and a sigh of relief for Don Wade & Roma, morning hosts on WLS-AM 890 Chicago - their son Hunter, marine pilot on the USS Carl Vinson, was not among the pilots involved in a collision over Iraq, though the pilots in the accident were in his squad. My condolences to the families of the as-yet unnamed pilots downed by this tragedy.

6:09 AM | | |

Filibuster Showdown Looms

Bill Frist has stated that the constitutional option is 'almost inevitable', and that we will have a vote to remove the filibuster by Memorial Day.

4:10 AM | | |

Kofi Annan Was A Squish On Zionism=Racism

As Meryl Yourish reminds us.

And who was instrumental in getting this nasty resolution repealed? None other than John Bolton. Can't we all at least agree that was a good thing about him?

3:32 AM | | |

Iran To Go To The Security Council?

Referring anything to the UN these days may seem like an utter waste of time, but sending the matter of Iran's non-proliferation treaty violations to the Security Council is not a toothless gesture.

It would help the White House establish its legal case against Iran in the event that push comes to shove. Imagine too if France referred the matter to the Security Council on behalf of the EU. We would all be in danger of actually appearing to be united in the War on Terror. Iran might notice that.

North Korea would notice it too. They too have been threatened with referral to the Security Council.

What better time than now, during this month's conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? (And remind your liberal friends that the U.S. acquisition of nuclear weapons does not constitute 'proliferation'. We already have them. We have proliferated about as much as we can).

3:19 AM | | |

Monday, May 02, 2005

Pentagon Says Iraq Limits US Ability To Fight


Which is why we need to put Iraq into top shape, then leave as soon as possible. This means going hammer and tongs against the resurgent insurgency. It also means we need to pull all of our troops from europe. There is no reason to station one american serviceman there anymore, except putting them at a staging ground toward the middle east. John Kerry was right, we need to get out of Iraq soon. But not for the reasons John thought . . .

11:36 PM | | |

Dan Drezner: Masochist

Via Pejman I found out that Daniel Drezner is guest blogging for Kevin Drum. He was welcomed with the famous civility of the Left with this comment:

Are you going to cover the car bombs issue? How about the issuance of artificial legs for Iraqi children? Any discussion about the number of dead Iraqis due to "liberation"?

And when are you enlisting? There is nothing so disgusting and nauseating as chicken hawk Repuke chicken shit cowards discussing how noble our war is. I hope many of your close relatives get a serious head injury."

On the Left, this counts as a 'serious discussion of the issues'. No wonder they keep losing at the polls.

Ken Says: I rewarded Daniel Drezner with a link on my blogroll for his efforts! I should have had him there already.

7:20 PM | | |

Flashpoint: North Korea

Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK)

Leader: Kim Jong-IL, the 'Dear Leader', and now the 'Great General'. Kim Jong-Il assumed dictatorial power over the DPRK on July, 1994 upon the death of his father, Kim Il Sung.

Military Posture - North Korea fields the world's fourth largest army with 1 million men-at-arms, in a country of only 22 million people. The Korean People's Army is considered to be the vanguard of the revolution, and now North Korea has adopted a 'Military First' policy that makes the military the top priority of the nation. North Korea spends 22% of its GDP on military forces. The North Korean Order of Battle includes 12 corps, 4 mechanized corps, 2 armored corps, and 2 artillery corps.

The U.S. has 30,000 troops in the Seoul area, acting as a 'tripwire' that will invoke security agreements with the ROK in the event of an invasion.

Nuclear Weapons: North Korea's acquisition of nuclear weapons is now a fait accompli. The DPRK has a variety of ICBM and orbit-capable missiles, based upon a mix of Soviet and chinese designs. Their longest range ICBM is the Tae'po-Dong 2, see below. The head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency testified last week that he believes the DPRK can now arm this missile with a nuclear weapon, and that it is capable of hitting the U.S.

North Korea's main nuclear facility is at Yongbyon, located 100km north of Pyongyang. This reactor has recently been shut down, leading to suspicions that the regime intends to remove fissible material from it. It is estimated that North Korea may have as many as five nuclear weapons.

Will Kim's Regime Collapse? Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. Apparently Kim is obsessed with being deposed by his own people, in the style of Ceaucescu of Romania. Odd, considering that the national motto is "One is sure to win if one believes in and depends upon the people." Kim Jong-Il actually seems to engender genuine affection from much of the population however (even causing women to 'swoon' in his presence), and polls of his popularity show wide support for him, even in the face of obvious deprivations. The North Korean people have some access to radios and south korean videotapes of popular programming. Their relative poverty compared to the south is not unknown. North Korea has suffered repeated famines, with the most serious famine occuring in 1997. There were reports of people resorting to eating grass, and bark from trees. The United States sends some 300 million in food aid every year to North Korea, and they are quite dependent upon it.

Kim's son, Kim Jong-chol, age 23, is reported to be the heir apparent as party chairman.

The economy of the DPRK is a centralized command economy based upon the principle of 'juche' or self-reliance. The North Korean economy has essentially collapsed: during the 90's it had periods of negative economic growth. North Korea is also loosening the autarky that kept their economy shut out from the world, and is now engaged in small free-market reforms and trade with China, as well as in their own cities. North Korea's economy has failed, yet since the regime has survived widespread starvation and negative economic growth, it appears that economic collapse, by itself, it not sufficient to cause the fall of the regime.

Prognosis. There are few options available to stem North Korea's nuclear proliferation. The DPRK is autarkic and mostly immune from trade sanctions. The one nation that has real leverage over the DPRK, China, has been reluctant to take harsh measures against its neighbor. One of the best methods of undermining the regime would be for China to open the borders and drain North Korea of its population - but China runs detention camps for defectors and returns them once they are caught.

Night satellite picture of the Korean peninsula.

Tae'po-Dong 2 Missile

2 or 3 stage liquid-fueled rocket, range of 6-10,000km - full specifications.

1:30 AM | | |