Monthly Archives: March 2006

Quote Of The Day

"The mission was to insulate the president. It was about making it appear that he wasn’t in the know."

That’s a quote from a Bush administration official.  What’s he talking about?

He’s talking about how Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush’s 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration.

Read the whole incredible thing.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

This whole Kallogian/Downtown Baghdad photo thing just keeps getting funnier and funnier.

Let’s recap:

(1)  On his website several months ago, Candidate for Congress Howard Kallogian tells how he "just got back" from Iraq, and despite what the media says, it is very peaceful there.  To make his point, he posts a picture of a street in "downtown Baghdad", which does indeed look peaceful.

(2)  Except his picture is from a street in Istanbul, Turkey.

(3)  Having been busted, he replaces the Istanbul picture with another picture.  This time the photo is Downtown Baghdad . . . from half a mile away . . . taken safely from a guarded hotel in the Green Zone (thus belying the argument that downtown Baghdad is really safe).

(4)  AND the new photo isn’t even recent.  It’s from July 2005, and some of the building in it have since been bombed to rubble!

Jesus’ General spoofs.

On What Planet?

Tim Graham, at the Corner:

It’s also fair to push back at reporters who feel free to use sensationalistic terms in their own precincts. How many times have we heard versions of Republicans waging "war on the poor," or "war on women"?

From reporters

Um, zero.  If it happens with such frequency, why can’t Tim cite some examples?

Seriously, I think these people are delusional.

It’s Istanbul, Not Constantinople Iraq

Howard Kallogian, a Republican congressional candidate in California’s 50th District (to replace the now-indicted "Duke" Cunningham) goes to Baghdad, and reports how calm and peaceful it is.  Therefore, the press is making shit up.  To prove his point, Kallogian posts a picture (that he supposedly took) on his website.  Here’s the picture he posted:

Downtownbaghdad

Wow, downtown Baghdad does look peaceful.  Couples in western style clothing, holding hands, etc.

Why, the downton Baghdad picture almost looks like this neighborhood in the Istanbul suburb of Bakirkoy (which is in Turkey, not Iraq):

Bakirkoy_1

Yes, those two photos look a LOT alike!!!

Forkinhim

Major props to Josh Marshall (who created the comparison graphic).

UPDATE:  Read it at TPM

UPDATE #2:  E&P covers the story.

UPDATE #3:  Hilarious.  Check out the "replacement photo" that Kallogian used to make his point that downtown Baghdad was safe.  It seems quite obvious that he didn’t even leave the safe confines of his Green Zone hotel!

Let’s Help John Out

Poor John Hindrocket.  Hampered by his own desire to be right, he can’t see the plain evidence in front of his face.  Here’s what he writes in his post "Someone’s Misreporting This Story":

Yesterday, five former judges of the FISA court testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the National Security Agency’s international terrorist surveillance program. Some observers have alleged that the NSA program is illegal to the extent that it includes surveillance conducted without a FISA court order.

John’s problem is that the headline in the Moonie-owned Washington Times says: "FISA Judges Say Bush Within Law", but the New York Times coverage [subscription required] says (under the headline the neutral headline "Judges on Secretive Panel Speak Out on Spy Program"):

…several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president’s constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order.

So which news account is accurate here? That’s what John wants to know.

Well, let’s look at the Washington Times story.  The first paragraph:

A panel of former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges yesterday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally when he created by executive order a wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).

So far, so good.  That seems consistent with the story’s headline ("FISA Judges Say Bush Within Law").

But now the second paragraph:

The five judges testifying before the committee said they could not speak specifically to the NSA listening program without being briefed on it, but that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not override the president’s constitutional authority to spy on suspected international agents under executive order.

Ah.  Well, that’s a total contradiction of the first paragraph AND the headline.  According to the second paragraph, the five FISA judges didn’t opine at all about the specifics of Bush’s program, or whether or not it "within law".

So right off the bat, you’ve got a self-contradictory report from the Washington Times which, if not misreporting, is spinning what the judges "say".

Now, the third paragraph from Washington Times:

"If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the president to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now," said Judge Allan Kornblum, magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and an author of the 1978 FISA Act. "I think that the president would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute."

This is the part of the story that John latches on to.  Judge Kornblum seems to think think that Bush has the constitutional authority to conduct the wiretapping, hence the headline "FISA Judges Say Bush Within Law".

There’s only one problem.  Judge Allan Kornblum isn’t,  and never was, a FISA judge.  The Washington Times piece fails to point this out.

But the New York Times piece, reprinted here, does:

Five former judges on the nation’s most secretive court, including one who resigned in apparent protest over President George W. Bush’s domestic eavesdropping, have urged Congress to give the court a formal role in overseeing the surveillance program.

In a rare glimpse Tuesday into the inner workings of the secretive court, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president’s constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order. And they suggested that the program could imperil criminal prosecutions that grew out of the wiretaps.

Harold Baker, a sitting federal judge in Illinois who served on the intelligence court until last year, said that the president is bound by the law "like everyone else."

***

Committee members also heard portions of a letter in support of the proposal from a fifth judge, James Robertson, who left the court last December days after the eavesdropping program was disclosed.

Bush’s decision to effectively bypass the court in permitting eavesdropping without warrants has raised the court’s profile. That was underscored by the appearance on Tuesday of the four former judges on the court – Baker; Stanley Brotman, who left the panel in 2004; John Keenan, who left in 2001, and William Stafford Jr., who left in 2003. All four still sit on the federal judiciary.

So John asks:

Is [NYT reporter] Lichtblau’s commitment to that proposition causing him to report falsely on testimony that was given to a Senate committee? Or did the Washington Times go too far in characterizing the judges’ approval of the NSA program?

Well, John.  Seeing as how the Washington Times story is self-contradictory, biased, sloppy and/or misleading (take your pick), I think you’ve got your answer.

Fox Trying To Spin Good News From Iraq

Digby caught this.  Fox reporter Bill Hammer got back from Iraq and turned in a report, including this hilarious bit:

We’re in a "cop-shop" outside Falluja. A year ago, they went out on patrol for three hours. Later it was one hour. Then seven minutes. Now they can’t get them to go out at all.

But then again, the building wasn’t even here a year ago, so there is progress.

Nathan Tabor – Hypocrite

Nathan Tabor, today, writing about PETA’s exhibit entitled ""Are Animals the New Slaves?":

And it seems that PETA wants to do something else. It’s fully prepared to use the pain of slavery and the Holocaust to try to push its questionable agenda.

Yeah, I know what you mean, Nathan. 

Different issues shouldn’t be conflated as if they are one and the same.  It’s kind of like using the pain of slavery to push one’s views about pornography.  Or arguing that abortion and illegal immigration are really the same issue.

RELATED: In the same article today, Nathan scribes this gem:

What about the lack of compassion for innocent human babies who fall victim to abortion? Apparently, that’s not on PETA’s radar screen.

Well, gosh, you’re right, Nathan.  And the Council For A Drug-Free America hasn’t weighed in on the Iraq War either.

I can’t believe I have to see "Elect Nathan Tabor for Congress" signs in my neighborhood for the next few months.

Riddle Me This

According to a recent U.Minn study, atheists are the most hated and distrusted minority group in America.

So how can anyone take seriously the claim that there is a "War On Christians"?

This victimization thing has got to stop.  The resurgence of Christian faith is the highest I’ve seen in my lifetime.  We have a President who claims to be born-again.  Most Americans believe in God, and a plurality believe in a Christian God. 

I begrudge nobody for their beliefs.  But the nonsense that Christians, who represent the overwhelming majority in this country, are being subjugated and attacked by — who, exactly? — is a pernicious lie.

Tom Delay:

"We are after all a society that abides abortion on demand, that has killed millions of innocent children, that degrades the institution of marriage and often treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition. Seen from this perspective, of course there is a war on Christianity," he said.

So, because you don’t agree with individual freedom and choice, your faith is being attacked?

I agree with these people:

To some outsiders, it illuminated the paranoia of the Christian right.

"Certainly religious persecution existed in our history, but to claim that these examples amount to religious persecution disrespects the experiences of people who have been jailed and died because of their faith," said K. Hollyn Hollman, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

"This is a skirmish over religious pluralism, and the inclination to see it as a war against Christianity strikes me as a spoiled-brat response by Christians who have always enjoyed the privileges of a majority position," said the Rev. Robert M. Franklin, a minister in the Church of God in Christ and professor of social ethics at Emory University.

Pam Spaulding has more on the "War On Christians", including their list of demands.

UPDATE:  Over at The Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru chastizes his Christian conservative brethren:

…But the notion that liberals are waging a "war against Christians"–the theme, or at least title, of the conference that Milbank covered and that you spoke at–strikes me as deeply mistaken. They don’t think they’re waging war against Christians, and many of them think of themselves as Christians. Even if you grant the premise that social liberals aren’t "true" Christians, which I don’t grant, the most you could say is that some people, including some people who mistakenly think of themselves as Christians, are inadvertently waging a metaphorical war against Christians. By the time you’ve qualified the thesis enough to bring it in the ballpark of truth, you don’t have much of a thesis left.

And there’s at least one other problem. Tom DeLay brought up the injustice of abortion on demand. That is, as his own words suggest, an injustice to unborn children. Christians who object to abortion should not think of themselves as its victims. At its best, the pro-life movement is a struggle for civil rights–primarily the civil rights of unborn children; not the supposed civil right of conservative Christians to see their policy views prevail.

Top Ten Mistakes The Bush Administration Is Repeating From Vietnam

This is very good, and you should read the whole thing.  My favorite from the list:

1.  Underestimating the enemy. As in Vietnam, the superpower’s potent military has been astounded by the tenacity and competence of a nationalist rebellion attempting to throw a foreign occupier from its soil. For example, the U.S. military, a hierarchical organization, views the Sunni insurgency as disorganized and without a central command structure. Yet the insurgents are using this decentralized structure very effectively and are not threatened by any U.S. decapitation strike to severely wound the rebellion by killing its leaders.

2.  Deceiving the American public about how badly the war is going. President Bush continues to talk of victory, and his chief military officer, Gen. Peter Pace, argued that the United States was making “very, very good progress” just two days before the more credible U.S. ambassador to Iraq warned that a civil war was possible in Iraq. President Lyndon Johnson painted an excessively rosy picture of U.S. involvement in Vietnam until the massive communist Tet offensive against the south in 1968 created a “credibility gap” in the public mind. The U.S. and South Vietnamese militaries successfully beat back the offensive, but the war was lost politically because the U.S. government lost the confidence of its own citizens. The Bush administration has fallen into the same trap by trying to “spin” away bad news from Iraq. Polls ominously indicate that Bush’s trustworthiness in the eyes of the American public has plummeted more than 20 points since September of 2003 to 40 percent.

3.  The Bush administration, like the Johnson and Nixon administrations, blames the media’s negative coverage for plunging popular support of the war. Yet the nature of the press is that it would rather cover extraordinary negative events, such as fires and plane crashes, than more mundane positive developments. Vietnam demonstrated that normal media coverage of mistakes in war could undermine the war effort. The Bush administration should have expected such predictable media coverage.

And then this one:

10.  Most important of all, starting a war with another country for concocted reasons, which did not hold up under scrutiny. Lyndon Johnson used a questionable alleged attack by Vietnamese patrol boats on a U.S. destroyer to escalate U.S. involvement in a backwater country that was hardly strategic to the United States. Bush exaggerated the dangers from Iraqi weapons programs and implied an invented link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. In a republic, the lack of a compelling rationale for sending men to die in a distant war can be corrosive for the morale of the troops and public support back home.

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." – George Santayana

American Idol Update: 21st Century

This week, the theme was "21st century songs".  The remaining ten Idol finalists had to pick and perform a song from this century.

And, if nothing else, tonight’s show confirmed one thing for me: 21st century music sucks.

That said, almost the entire show was a disappointment.  Sharp and flat notes, coupled with bland performances, ruled the evening.

I was disappointed with Kelly Pickler, a real sweetheart country girl, doing an amazingly boring country song.  A few weeks ago, she was a "mynx".  Now she just stinks.  She better turn it around.

The greatest fall by far was Chris Daughtry.  A terrible Creed song, sung waaaaaay off pitch.  He’s got a great tone in his voice; I wish he would perform songs that have more than one note in them.

I told someone earlier today that I thought this was going to be Bucky Covington’s last week.  But he did better than usual tonight.  Still not great, but on a par with most of the others.

So who’s going?

The only "wow" person for me tonight was Paris Bennett.  So she’s safe. 

Taylor Hicks was very good, as always (although not his best). 

Katharine McPhee didn’t blow me away, but she was entertaining.  Same with Elliott Yamin.

Both Mandisa and Chris Daughtry were way below their best, but they’ll get through because they’ve been so good for so many weeks.

I would love to see Ace should go — he’s way overrated — but he’s got a pretty solid base (I’m guessing), and so does Kelly Pickler (a base which includes me). 

Bucky, as I said before, will probably squeak by, although he’ll be in the bottom three.

So that leaves Lisa Tucker.  She’s been in the bottom three before (so, not a strong base), she went first tonight (always a disadvantage), and she was actually very bad, if not the worst.  She’s pleasant enough, and she’s got some experience (she apparently was in the stage version of "The Lion King").  But she’s only sixteen, and I think her youth is getting the best of her.  She’s no dynamo, so it’s time to go.

Stupider Than ID

GeocentricMeet intelligent design’s stupider younger brother: Geocentrism.

Sungenis is a geocentrist. He contends the sun orbits the Earth instead of vice versa. He says physics and the Bible show that the vastness of space revolves around us; that we’re at the center of everything, on a planet that does not rotate.

He has just completed a 1,000-page tome, "Galileo Was Wrong," the first in a pair of books he hopes will persuade readers to "give Scripture its due place, and show that science is not all it’s cracked up to be."

Geocentrism is a less-known cousin of the intelligent design, or anti-evolution, movement. Both question society’s trust in science, instead using religion to explain how we got here – and, in geocentrism’s case, just where "here" is.

Mention geocentrism and physicist Lawrence Krauss sighs. He is director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics at Case Western Reserve University and author of several books including "Fear of Physics: A Guide for the Perplexed."

"What works? Science works. Geocentrism doesn’t. End of story," Krauss said from Cleveland. "I’ve learned over time that it’s hard to convince people who believe otherwise, independent of evidence."

To Sungenis, of Greencastle, Pa., evidence is the rub.

Evidence is the rub?  I’ll bet it is.  But here’s my favorite part of the story:

For several years the Web site of his Catholic Apologetics International (www.catholicintl.com) offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who could disprove geocentrism and prove heliocentrism (a sun-centered solar system).

There were numerous attempts, Sungenis said, "some serious, some caustic," but no one did it to his satisfaction.

Now, that’s the rub — proving something to a wacko’s satisfaction.

Pollster’s Memo To GOP: Let’s Sink Together

Well, that’s the practical effect of what this GOP pollster is saying in this memo to GOP Poohbah Ken Mehlman, urging Republicans not to distance themselves from Bush:

To: Ken Mehlman
From: Jan van Lohuizen
Date: March 3, 2006
Re: Bush — Congressional Republicans

Per our conversation, we took another look at the way voters, Republicans specifically, link President Bush and Republicans in the House and the Senate. There are several points worth making:

1. President Bush continues to have the strong loyal support of Republican voters. Despite slippage in approval ratings among all voters, the President’s job approval among Republicans continues to be very high. Most members will be elected with between 80% and 100% of their support coming from Republicans. I don’t see that Republicans driving a wedge between themselves and the President is a good election strategy.

2. My read of the current environment is that our problem will be turnout. ’06 could become an election like ’82 or ’84. In ’82 Republicans showed up at relatively normal turnout rates, while Democrats, because they were angry, showed up at abnormally high turnout rates. In ’94, Republican turnout was elevated, while Democratic turnout was depressed. We have every reason to believe ’06 could become the inverse of ’82. We don’t see signs of a depressed Republican turnout yet, but we have every reason to believe Democrats will turn out in high numbers. Anything we do to depress turnout, by not running as a unified party for instance, could very well lead to serious consequences in November.

3. The President is seen universally as the face of the Republican Party. We are now brand W. Republicans. The following chart shows the extremely close correlation between the President’s image and overall ratings of the party.

President Bush drives our image and will do so until we have real national front-runners for the ’08 nomination. Attacking the President is counter productive for all Republicans, not just the candidates launching the attacks. If he drops, we all drop.

I love this infighting among the GOP.

The Democrats are really going to have to work hard to screw up ’06 and ’08.  But if anybody can do it, Democrats can.

It’s Not A Democracy If We Meddle Into It

For all its talk about wanting to make Iraq a self-sufficient democracy, the Bush Administration sure likes to kibbitz and strongarm:

Senior Shiite politicians said today that the American ambassador has told Shiite officials to inform the Iraqi prime minister that President Bush does not want him to remain the country’s leader in the next government.

It is the first time the Americans have directly intervened in the furious debate over the country’s top job, the politicians said, and it is inflaming tensions between the Americans and some Shiite leaders.

The ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the head of the main Shiite political bloc at a meeting last Saturday to pass a "personal message from President Bush" on to the prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who the Shiites insist should stay in his post for four more years, said Redha Jowad Taki, a Shiite politician and member of Parliament who was at the meeting.

Ambassador Khalilzad said that President Bush "doesn’t want, doesn’t support, doesn’t accept" Mr. Jaafari to be the next prime minister, according to Mr. Taki, a senior aide to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shiite bloc. It was the first "clear and direct message" from the Americans on the issue of the candidate for prime minister, Mr. Taki said.

Whatsa matter?  Frankenstein’s monster no like-y Dr. Frankenstein?  That’ll teach somebody not to play God.

SCOTUS Report: Rumsfeld v. Hamdan

To hear Lyle Denniston tell it, the government had a rough day in front of the Supreme Court justices today, and the "existing ‘military commission’ scheme may well fail".  Good.

And no, Scalia didn’t recuse himself, although he opined on the subject matter earlier this month.

Denniston’s analysis:

With Justice Antonin Scalia taking part — and, in fact, providing the only clearcut signs of unstinting support for the federal government’s arguments — the Supreme Court on Tuesday probed deeply into the validity of the war crimes tribunals set up by President Bush, and came away looking decidedly skeptical. From all appearances during the 90-minute argument, the Court may have some difficulty fashioning an opinion, but perhaps not a result: the existing "military commission" scheme may well fail.

The Court spent comparatively little time on the issue of whether it has jurisdiction to proceed to a ruling on the merits in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (05-184), but Justices Stephen G. Breyer and David H. Souter strenuously — and repeatedly — advanced the point that the Court would have to find it has jurisdiction in order to avoid the very difficult constitutional question of Congress’ power to abolish all forms of habeas challenge to the treatment of war-on-terrorism detainees. It was a point that seemed likely to draw the support of enough Justices to prevail.

If the Court does proceed to the merits, it appeared that there would be at least three ways that a majority could be formed to find the "military commissions" to be flawed: first, those tribunals would be using procedures that would violate federal laws, the Constitution, or an international treaty; second, a variation of the the first, the "commission" system was not set up properly in the first place, or, third, they can only try crimes that definitely are recognized under the international laws of war and that does not include the most common charge brought so far — terrorism conspiracy. There was little exploration of an ultimate argument against the "commission" setup: the claim that the President had no power to create them on his own, without specific authorization from Congress.

With only eight Justices participating (Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., is recused), it appeared that Justice Anthony M. Kenney might well emerge as holding the decisive vote. In a variety of ways, Kennedy seemed trouble about the legitmacy of the tribunals as presently arranged. Most of his questions seemed aimed at locating the specific deficiencies that might be found in their functioning. At one point, he suggested openly to the detainees’ lawyer, Georgetown law professor Neal Katyal, that the Court might well "think there is merit" in his argument that the tribunals were not "properly constituted." In that event, Kennedy suggested, the Court would not have to get into the complex question of what kind of charges were within the tribunals’ authority to try.

There were a number of comments or questions indicating that the detainees may well be able to draw the votes of Justices Breyer, Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens. There was no doubt whatsoever that Justice Scalia (whose recusal had been suggested by some amici, troubled over public statements he made about detainees’ rights) would line up definitely on the side of the "commissions" in their present form. Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., through a few questions, seemed to be sending a message that he was inclined to allow the "commissions" to go forward with trials, leaving any challenges until after convictions, if any, emerged. Justice Clarence Thomas said nothing, but he has been, in the past, the Court’s most fervent supporter of presidential wartime powers.

The overall tone of the hearings seemed significantly in favor of the challenge to the new tribunals. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement seemed more challenged than is customary for him; indeed, at times he appeared genuinely relieved at the help Justice Scalia provided for his argument. He rushed to embrace Scalia’s points as if they were stronger than his own.

Lying To SCOTUS — Not A Good Idea

The full story is here; I’ll just give the funny bits.

Today, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case of Rumsfled v. Hamdan.  At issue in the case is whether a provision in last year’s Detainee Treatment Act ("DTA") effectively strips the Court of jurisdiction to hear Hamdan’s case.  The Government contends that it does.

In support of the government’s position, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kyl (R-AZ) have filed an amicus brief with the Court.  In their brief, they say that it was Congress’ intent to strip the court of jurisdiction.

Their "evidence"?  An eight-page colloquy between Graham and Kyl discussing this very thing.

Here’s where it gets amusing.  The colloquy reads like a typical exchange on the Senate floor, complete with lines like "Mr. President, I see that we are nearing the end of our allotted time…" and interjections like "If I might interrupt…".   The problem is . . . it never happened.  It was totally scripted and inserted into the Congressional Record.

Now, as C-SPAN viewers know, it is a common and accepted practice for Members of Congress to "revise and extend" their remarks made on the chamber floors.  And that’s fine.  But to make a fictional conversation that never took place?

Kaye Grogan: “Americans Vote Too …Ya Know!”

Grogan0329With immigration being so much in the news lately, and Kaye being a rampant xenophobe, we could have predicted the topic of her column this week — them damn fereners:

Our government has become so transparent even a fake crystal ball gazer can read what their next step is going to be.

"This, this is the same genuine, magic, authentic crystal used by the Priests of Isis and Osiris in the days of the Pharaohs of Egypt— in which Cleopatra first saw the approach of Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony, and—and so on, and so on. Now, you—you’d better close your eyes, my child, for a moment, in order to be better in tune with the infinite. We—we can’t do these things without reaching out into the infinite."

While they sat back (in spa rooms) this country was being bombarded with illegal immigrants — now they don’t know what to do with them.

This is imagery that is going to take some time to digest:  scores of bloated towel-clad sweaty Congressmen kicking back in the sauna, while planes drop Mexicans on an unsuspecting American population.

Is this how Kaye views the world?

Wake up government! While you are catering to foreigners hoping to not alienate them for their votes — you are foolishly forgetting about the American voters.

We weren’t aware that non-American foreigners could vote.  Thanks for that wake-up call, Kaye.

And most Americans are fed up with taking a back seat to lawlessness embraced by those using our borders to traffic illegal drugs and swamp our country with foreigners.

Right.  Why should Americans take a backseat to foreign drug trafficking when we should be doing it ourselves?

Yes, our ancestors came to America, and those who came through Ellis Island had to register so the people already here knew about them.

Maybe we should start using bar codes.  Right, Kaye?

Now we have half of Mexico here illegally.

We hope it’s the warm half.

If we are a land of laws as President Bush insists — who is paying any attention to the laws already on the books?

Olympic sprinter Lauryn Williams.  That’s just a wild guess though.

I would say we are more a land of lawbreakers now.

We are?  Kewl!  What law should we break first?

Everybody in Washington, D.C., is encouraging illegal activity by rewarding it with our American jobs, and straining their necks to look the other way…

"Catering" to illegal aliens while looking the other way?   Neat trick.

…while 11 million people break the law and then have the audacity as one woman said: "it’s not fair to try and send us back to Mexico."  Not fair? . . . don’t they have laws in Mexico too?

Yeah, but they’re in some fucked-up language.

I get sick and tired of hearing how our people won’t take jobs, so we need a foreign country to invade our territory and take the jobs.

Right.  Then you won’t have to hear about it anymore.

Let’s get one thing perfectly straight: people in America can’t afford to take jobs making $2.00 an hour — while employers are bilking the system to their advantage to line their pockets with money. One loaf of bread and a gallon of milk cost more than five bucks! That would add up to over two hours of hard labor for just peanuts!

Well, no, Kaye.  It would add up to two hours of hard labor for bread and milk.  Peanuts would be extra.

If you’re fed up with the whole system — then clap your hands! Boy that was resounding!

Tinkerbell lives!!!

While some of the churches are also encouraging more illegals to come on over — they need to keep them up, instead of our tax dollars, since churches are tax exempt.

And that bitch in the New York harbor says the same thing!

Most foreigners hate America, but they don’t have a problem lapping up our milk and honey, taking it right out of the mouths of Americans.

Lapping up the milk right out of our mouths?  Ewwwww!  I think I saw something like that on David Letterman’s "Stupid Pet Tricks".

Actually, I think those foreigners are French, Kaye, and what you’re talking about is called french kissing.

Now, having said all that: it is the fault of our leaders for letting everything get totally out-of-hand (not the foreigners). And as I said before: "they don’t know what to do about the overflow of immigrants here." Well, it’s high time they found a workable solution.

Don’t you mean, a final solution, Kaye?

The way things are going in Washington or not going I should say — they are causing a lot of hostility.

Well, in the Grogan household at least.

Many illegals crossing the borders — especially in Arizona are also involved with criminal activity there. Do you think for one minute that Americans crossing over into Mexico could get by with the same kind of intimidation? Hardly!

That’s right.  "Illegals" are crossing the border and committing crimes in order to intimidate us.  And we just let them get away with it!

Many may think that this situation is just going to go away quietly, and fade into the sunset, but as the song goes: "this time you gave me a mountain, Lord . . . a mountain that I may never climb" applies to this mess we are in.

Frankielaine_1These and other Frankie Laine hits are available at Amazon.com.

Naturally, if people openly refuse to obey the laws by coming to America illegally — then their motives have to be suspect. There is a right and wrong way to do things (no in-betweens), and coming into a country illegally is certainly not the way to gain favor with the country’s natural born citizens.

Kaye, we have a funny feeling that you will always disfavor foreign-born people, even those who immigrate here legally.

The majority of Americans are opposed to illegal immigrants taking American jobs — leaving many of them unemployed.

Well, obviously not the Americans who hire illegal immigrants, right?

To say that the "guest worker" program is successful is like claiming someone saw a UFO landing in Wrigley Field.

Or a huge green monster at Fenway Park.

The pro-guest workers’ groups are conveniently ignoring the enormous strain illegal immigrants are having on the economy through the welfare and medical programs.

Now we’re confused.  If the government has passed a guest-worker program, then how is it "illegal"?

Something is definitely wrong when 92 hospitals in one state, had to close their doors permanently due to the influx of immigrants needing medical attention.

Yes, the thing that is wrong is your use of unsupportable "facts".

Don’t you think it’s time for you (as leaders and lawmakers) to get inside the real world and quit pandering to a large group who has made a mockery out of the laws of this county?

Who does Kaye think she is talking to?  And what’s this about "the laws of this county"?

As long as you reward people for bad conduct . . . you will never be taken seriously as a person who abides by or respects the law.

We won’t?  Aw shucks.

Grape News From Iraq

Yup.  I’ve been too negative about the way things are going in Iraq.  Sure, I could write about the events of the past few days — like the 69 Iraqis killed in military blunders over the weekend, the U.S trained police acting as death squads, the string of kidnappings, or the fact that Iraq’s ruling parties are so pissed at us that they want us to stop handling security.

But why focus on that when I can read this:

Iraqgrapes_1

Why doesn’t this get more coverage?

White House Infighting

The rumors are apparently true.   Rove is cooperating with the Fitzgerald investigation, and pointing investigators to the Cheney office.  It was Rove, reports say, who informed Fitzgerald about the "missing" emails from the VP’s office.  From The Washington Note:

According to several Pentagon sources close to Rove and others familiar with the inquiry, Bush’s senior adviser tipped off Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to information that led to the recent "discovery" of 250 pages of missing email from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

***

According to one source close to the case, Rove is providing information on deleted emails, erased hard drives and other types of obstruction by staff and other officials in the Vice President’s office. Pentagon sources close to Rove confirmed this account.

None would name the staffers and/or officials whom Rove is providing information about. They did, however, explain that the White House computer system has "real time backup" servers and that while emails were deleted from computers, they were still retrievable from the backup system. By providing the dates and recipient information of the deleted emails, sources say, Rove was able to chart a path for Fitzgerald directly into the office of the Vice President.

Georgia Woman Gets Fined For “Bushit” Bumper Sticker

As reported here, a woman in Dekalb County was pulled over and given a $100 fine for having a bumper sticker that read "I’m Tired Of All The Bushit".

Okay, it’s not a very funny bumper sticker, but it’s not obscene either.

Rumor is that the police officer then went into the woods, where he started nailing citations to shittemwood trees. 

Then he went to a local Little League game, where he ticketed a young kid for mishitting the baseball.   

Then he went to a church and fined a pastor for reading from Isaiah 41:19:

"I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together…"

Oh, I got a million of ’em.

Rearranging Deck Chairs On The Titanic

The news that Andrew Card is resigning as Chief of Staff is not entirely unexpected, but it hardly represents a sea change in the way the White House will operate.  His replacement is budget director and former deputy chief of staff Josh Bolton.  It does  not, as The New York Times notes, "represent an infusion of new blood."

This is part of a broader move by the White House to push up the sinking poll numbers.  Another tactic is to have private informal meetings with members of the press

I think all these moves are wasteful.  The White House problems don’t stem from bad PR, but bad policies.  If they want to turn things around, they simply have to change their policies, not their public face.

Huge Iraq Screwup

The Left Coaster:

A day after Iraqi Special Forces under the supervision of American advisors apparently shot up a Shia religious center in Moqtada al-Sadr’s stronghold, the Iraqi government itself is blaming us for the killings of possibly 40 worshippers, possibly execution-style. Government ministers are condemning the Americans for the killings, and Saddam’s former Number Two, a Sunni who has somehow escaped our capture for three years, has called upon neighboring Arab states to support the Sunni insurgency.

Worse yet, after initially denying that an attack took place on a “mosque”, the American commanders on the ground are now distancing themselves from the Iraqi Special Forces they were supervising as advisors yesterday, and are now waiting for new talking points from Washington.

Against this backdrop, it was revealed this afternoon that our ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad signaled to the Shiites Saturday that the United States wanted Prime Minister al-Jaafari, who is supported by al-Sadr, moved aside for a new prime minister, which is being interpreted by some in the ruling Shiite alliance as an attempt by the Americans to control the government, with Kurdish support.

Iraqi Special Forces are run out the Defense Ministry, which is headed by a Sunni Arab. Iraqi police operate out of the Shia-run Interior Ministry, and several of them were killed yesterday. It appears that Sunnis conducted yesterday’s attack in an area run by al-Sadr, a Shiite stronghold. Can someone tell me why our commanders on the ground, with three years of intelligence about this insurgency, would allow themselves to supervise Sunni Special Forces on an operation in a Shiite stronghold, unless Donald Rumsfeld wanted to provoke a civil war?

Update 3:39 PM Pacific Time: Nevermind, we now have seen the new talking points: our commander on the ground is accusing the Shiites late today of making it all up, and of moving bodies from the firefight into the religious center to paint a picture of an American-led massacre. I kid you not. That’s our story from the Pentagon. (Then why did our commanders distance themselves from the Iraqi Special Forces today?) All I can say is this: with the ruling Shiite political party now firmly behind this story of an American-led assault yesterday, the Pentagon better be right, because if this newest defense from Rummy falls apart, it will be game, set, and match for our credibility over there.

About Those Iraqi Schools

Bush supporters complain that the "good news" in Iraq isn’t being reported.  They condemn the media for not talking about the number of schools open, and so on.

Well, here’s some Iraqi school news:

On Wednesday, armed insurgents burst into the classroom of Khidhir al-Mihallawi, an English teacher at Sajariyah High School, accused him of being an agent for the CIA and Israeli intelligence and beheaded him in front of his students, according to students, fellow instructors and a physician at a local hospital.

One teacher, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he feared retaliation from insurgents, said that most students ran from the classroom but that some stayed to watch. Many stopped coming to school after the incident, he said. Another teacher, who said he moved his mathematics class to his home to accommodate frightened students, said Mihallawi had earlier been threatened because he worked as a translator for U.S. forces in Ramadi, a hotbed of the Sunni Arab insurgency.

Mihallawi "looked at us just like he was telling us that we do not have to be scared. Even as we were running out of the door, his looks were still telling us that nothing will happen and we do not have to be scared," said a student, whose father asked that his name not be used. "I heard him screaming for a few seconds, then stop screaming."

On the plus side, the school is set to get a new coat of paint next month.

Provoking A Confrontation

THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise — in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist — is that — I didn’t want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect —

Q Everything —

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.

Q — everything I’ve heard —

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it’s just simply not true. […]

Part of that meant to make sure that we didn’t allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that’s why I went into Iraq — hold on for a second —

Q They didn’t do anything to you, or to our country.

THE PRESIDENT: Look — excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That’s where al Qaeda trained —

Q I’m talking about Iraq —

THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. […] I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That’s why I went to the Security Council; that’s why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences —

The New York Times today takes a closer look at the Manning Memo, the memo dated January 23, 2003 detailing a meeting between George Bush and Tony Blair, written by David Manning (Blair’s chief foreign policy advisor).

The memo cites Bush as acknowledging that he was going to invade Iraq . . . regardless.  In fact, since the inspectors were unable to find WMD, Bush was talking about provoking Saddam into a war:

During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons.

….The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation

…."The U.S. was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in U.N. colours," the memo says, attributing the idea to Mr. Bush. "If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach."

Att01694It also described the president as saying, "The U.S. might be able to bring out a defector who could give a public presentation about Saddam’s W.M.D," referring to weapons of mass destruction.

A brief clause in the memo refers to a third possibility, mentioned by Mr. Bush, a proposal to assassinate Saddam Hussein.

People who have Bush scandal fatigue (that would include me) might pass this item by with a ho-hum, but history will not be so forgiving.

UPDATE:  Think Progress has a nice side-by-side comparison of Bush’s public/private statements regarding the Iraq War.

Scalia Recusal

According to Think Progress:

Newsweek reports that in a controversial unpublicized March 8 speech, Scalia “dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions.”

“War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts,” he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. “Give me a break.” Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don’t have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: “If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I’m not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it’s crazy.” Scalia was apparently referring to his son Matthew, who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

It seems clear to me that Scalia should recuse himself from Hamden v. Rumsfeld, set to be heard this coming week.

Ben Resigns

The controversy is over.  From Ben Domenech’s blog at Washington Post:

Ben Domenech Resigns

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.

When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.

Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. Washingtonpost.com will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.

We also remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies in our Opinions area.

Jim Brady
Executive Editor, washingtonpost.com

I feel like singing the send-off song to "American Idol".  "You had a bad day…."

UPDATE:  Ben’s explanation is here back at the group blog he founded, Redstate.

Basically, he offers three explanations for three specific claims:

(1)  In one case, the plagiarism allegation is wrong, because he was the author of both pieces. [Frankly, I think Ben’s excuse here bears out.  So, he’s off the hook for ONE of the accusations].

(2)  In another case, P.J. O’Rourke gave Ben (then a 17 year old college student) "permission" to copy from his piece.

(3)  In another case, he was writing about an event where other reporters were present.  So, to Ben, "it is no surprise that we had similar quotes or similar descriptions of the same event."

Heh.  It wasn’t "similar decriptions", Ben.  Your descriptions were the same — almost verbatim.

Here’s what Ben wrote for the New York Press:

In his shirtsleeves, Frist got out of the car and sprinted onto the Capitol grounds, past police and camera crews, tourists and reporters, and into a ground-floor door. A security guard put his hand up to stop him, then realized who he was.

Here’s what the Washington Post wrote:

In his shirtsleeves, Frist gets out of the car and sprints onto the Capitol grounds, past police and camera crews, tourists and reporters, and into a ground-floor door.

A security guard puts his hand up to stop Frist, then realizes who he is.

I know plagiarism when I see it.

The Washington Post provides another example, which Domenech explains away with a lie:

Daily Kos, a Web site edited by liberal activist Markos Moulitsas, posted a comparison of Domenech’s National Review piece on the film "Final Fantasy" and a review by Steve Murray of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Domenech wrote:

"Translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls, splaying their tentacles and snapping their jaws, dripping a discomfiting acidic ooze. They’re known as the Phantoms, otherworldly beings who, for three decades, have been literally sucking the life out of the earthlings of the human."

Murray had written:

"Translucent and glowing, they ooze up from the ground and float through solid walls, wriggling countless tentacles and snapping their jaws. They’re known as the Phantoms, alien thingies that, for three decades, have been sucking the life out of the earthlings of ‘Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.’ "

Domenech said he thought his piece appeared first, but a database review found that Murray’s review was published three days earlier.

As for the other accounts, Ben writes that "virtually every other alleged instance of plagiarism" came from his college writing day.  And finally, he claims that editors (specifically of the New Yorker) were inserting plagiarized material into his writing.  [UPDATE: His college editors also scoff at the accusation, as do the editors of National Review Online]

Aside from the laughability of the final excuse, please note the phrase "virtually every other alleged instance…".  For example, Ben does not explain the document examples of plagiarism here and here — both occurring when he was into his career as a writer.

So who does Domenech blame?  The left.  This is as close as he gets to an admission:

A less sloppy writer would have made sure that material copied from other places never made it into a published piece, and never necessitated apologies or explanations that will do nothing to stop the critics.

That’s it.  He was being "sloppy".  But it’s everybody else’s fault.

UPDATE:  Okay, finally he is contrite:

I want to apologize to National Review Online, my friends and colleagues here at RedState, and to any others that have been affected over the past few days. I also want to apologize to my previous editors and writers whose work I used inappropriately and without attribution. There is no excuse for this – nor is there an excuse for any obfuscation in my earlier statement.

Another Holiday, Another War

I swear.  Conservative Chistians just can’t stop acting like they’re being persecuted.  Here’s the latest from World Nut Daily:

FAITH UNDER FIRE
Is Easter latest holiday hijack?
Bunny gets booted from city council as some fear offending non-Christians

In the wake of the national uproar over the celebration of Christmas in America, some are now focusing their attention on Easter, wondering if political correctness will have an impact on what many Christians consider to be the holiest time of the year.

This week in Minnesota’s capital, a toy rabbit, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words "Happy Easter" adorning the entrance to the St. Paul City Council offices were ordered to hit the bunny trail by the city’s human-rights director who claimed the items might offend non-Christians.

"I sent an e-mail that Easter is viewed as a Christian holiday and advised that it be taken down," Tyrone Terrill told the Pioneer Press. "It wasn’t a big deal."

But City Council Member Dave Thune had no problem with the seasonal display.

"I absolutely wonder how colored eggs and bunnies and chickens are Christian," Thune told the paper. "I’m a little puzzled how people can be offended."

In response to the bunny ban, the New York-based Catholic League is sending Terrill a full-size bunny suit.

"It is our hope that once Tyrone dons the costume, he will realize that even non-Christians are not offended," said the league’s president, Bill Donohue. "And we urge him to read and digest a copy of the First Amendment, preferably while munching on some rancid carrots."

New York, London, Miami, NOLA Under Water By 2100

GloblwrmingUh-oh:

Would towering sea waves lap over economic hubs of London, New York and Hong Kong, where the world’s business transactions take place, by 2100?

Experts have warned that without efforts to curb the rise of greenhouse gases, the polar ice caps may melt far faster under the pressure of global warming than it was previously thought, threatening island states and coastal cities.

The world’s ice sheets could retreat farther by the year 2100 than they have in the past 130,000 years, leading to a huge rise in sea level, experts say adding, low-lying islands such as Tuvalu and the Maldives look set to disappear.

Coastal cities will be forced to beef up their defences or else think about relocating.

The financial districts of London, New York and Hong Kong to name but three, lie barely above sea level, a report in the Nature magazine claims.

"I think sea-level rise is a huge threat," says Colin Prentice, who studies ecosystem responses to climate change at the University of Bristol, UK.

"As humans, everything we’ve done is set up for a stable climate. We’ve built huge cities within a metre of sea level and never thought they would be swamped," Prentice says.

Researchers led by Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona in Tucson and Bette Otto-Bliesner of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, have looked at a period known as the Last Interglaciation.

At this time, 130,000 years ago, shifts in Earth’s orbit caused the Arctic to warm by 3-5 degrees Celsius and the sea level to rise by some 5 mt, the magazine says.

The team, the report adds, has worked out how Earth responded to that temperature rise in the past and asked when a similar shift might happen in the future.

The answer, it seems, is surprisingly soon.

More here.

060324_glacier_300

Tell Us How You Really Feel

Curbstone Critic, citing Will Durst:

I don’t know about you guys, but I am so sick and tired of these lying, thieving, holier-than-thou, right-wing, cruel, crude, rude, gauche, coarse, crass, cocky, corrupt, dishonest, debauched, degenerate, dissolute, swaggering, lawyer shooting, bullhorn shouting, infrastructure destroying, hysterical, history defying, finger-pointing, puppy stomping, roommate appointing, pretzel choking, collateral damaging, aspersion casting, wedding party bombing, clear cutting, torturing, jobs outsourcing, torture outsourcing, "so-called" compassionate-conservative, women’s rights eradicating, Medicare cutting, uncouth, spiteful, boorish, vengeful, noxious, homophobic, xenophobic, xylophonic, racist, sexist, ageist, fascist, cashist, audaciously stupid, brazenly selfish, lethally ignorant, journalist purchasing, genocide ignoring, corporation kissing, poverty inducing, crooked, coercive, autocratic, primitive, uppity, high-handed, domineering, arrogant, inhuman, inhumane, insolent, know-it-all, snotty, pompous, contemptuous, supercilious, gutless, spineless, shameless, avaricious, poisonous, imperious, merciless, graceless, tactless, brutish, brutal, Karl Roving, backward thinking, persistent vegetative state grandstanding, nuclear option threatening, evolution denying, irony deprived, depraved, insincere, conceited, perverted, pre-emptory invading of a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 911, 35 day vacation taking, bribe soliciting, incapable, inbred, hellish, proud for no apparent reason, smarty pants, loudmouth, bullying, swell headed, ethnic cleansing, ethics eluding, domestic spying, medical marijuana busting, kick backing, Halliburtoning, New Deal disintegrating, narcissistic, undiplomatic, blustering, malevolent, demonizing, baby seal clubbing, Duke Cunninghamming, hectoring, verbally flatulent, pro-bad, anti-good, Moslem baiting, photo-op arranging, hurricane disregarding, oil company hugging, judge packing, science disputing, faith based mathematics advocating, armament selling, nonsense spewing, education ravaging, whiny, unscrupulous, greedy exponential factor fifteen, fraudulent, CIA outing, redistricting, anybody who disagrees with them slandering, fact twisting, ally alienating, betraying, god and flag waving, scare mongering, Cindy Sheehan libeling, phony question asking, just won’t get off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling, two-faced, inept, callous, menacing, oppressive, vulgar, antagonistic, brush clearing, suck-up, showboating, tyrannizing, peace hating, water and air and ground and media polluting — which is pretty much all the polluting you can get — deadly, illegal, pernicious, lethal, haughty, venomous, virulent, ineffectual, mephitic, egotistic, bloodthirsty, incompetent, hypocritical, did I say evil, I’m not sure if I said evil, because I want to make sure I say evil… EVIL, cretinous, fool, toad, buttwipe, lizardstick, cowardly, lackey imperialistic tool slime buckets in the Bush Administration that I could just spit.

Friday iPod Random Ten

ColorbirdieFurther proof that having an iPod really doesn’t make you hip and trendy:

  1. Takin’ Care Of Business – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  2. Mama Used To Say – Junior
  3. America – Simon & Garfunkel
  4. Overture from "Jesus Christ Superstar"
  5. Where In The World Is Carmen Santiago – Rockapella
  6. Kung Fu Fighting – Fatboy Slim
  7. One Last Kiss – "Bye Bye Birdie"
  8. Sexual Healing – The Nylons
  9. Breaking Us In Two – Mandy Moore
  10. Touching Once (Is So Hard To Keep) – Renaissance

By the way, whatever happened to Dick Gautier?

Red State Education

In this article, a public high school teacher in Arkansas reports that teachers are not allowed to use the "e" word (meaning "evolution").  He also says:

“I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD … but I am NOT to say that these rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old.”

Arkansas is ranked 37 in public education rankings, but it clearly has its sites set on number 50.

RELATED:  A music teacher in Colorado — a woman with two Christian music CDs to her credit — gets suspended because she showed a video of sock puppets singing the opera "Faust":

The video clip, narrated by opera star Joan Sutherland, featured sock puppets singing in French from the 16th-century morality tale.

Several parents complained that the video, which Waggoner got from the school library, contained references to abortion and Satan worship.

Interesting.  Especially when you read this:

Faust, a legendary character in music and literature, dates back to a medieval morality tale of a deeply depressed man who sells his soul to the devil.

In all versions of the Faust story, the man obtains power and knowledge, but suffers dire and eternal consequences.

Early Christian teachers used the story to show the horrors that befall those who give in to the devil’s temptationsSource: Encyclopaedia Britannica

Copy Cat

Uh, oh.

Looks like Ben Domenech, the new conservative blogger hired by WaPo to give it "balance", has a bit of a plagiarism problem.

Like this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this

As of my latest update to this post (1:30 pm),  Red America (Domenech’s Washington Post blog) — as well as WaPo itself — have been silent on the plagiarism charges.  It’s been nearly 24 hours since Ben’s last post.

UPDATE:  Blogometer has the most complete list to date:

Here’s an as-complete-as-we-can-manage list of alleged incidents:

There’s also the problem of Ben making shit up.

UPDATE:  Irony alert — please read what Ben Domenech wrote regarding Jason Blair (who was fired from the New York Times for not, you know, doing the work) back in May 2003, :

Jayson Blair is just one more journalistic pezzonovante amidst a crowd of his peers. The only difference is, he’s unashamed of his pretty little lies. In fact, he’s proud of them.

And even more ironically, this comment from his blog in February 2002:

And who says there’s no fallout from plagiarism?

Indeed, Ben.

UPDATE:  You know it’s bad when Michelle Malkin writes:

I cheered for Ben, the editor of my last book at Regnery, when he announced his new position. I criticized unhinged bloggers on the Left who leveled vicious ad hominem attacks against him. It’s clear, as the good folks at Red State (which Ben co-founded) note, that his detractors were on a search-and-destroy mission from the get-go.

But now the determined moonbat hordes have exposed multiple instances of what clearly appear to me to be blatant lifting of entire, unique passages by Ben from other writers.

***

The bottom line is: I know it when I see it. And, painfully, Domenech’s detractors, are right. He should own up to it and step down. Then, the Left should cease its sick gloating and leave him and his family alone.\

UPDATE:  Looks like lots of the right blogosphere is jumping off the Ben bus, all except Redstate (Ben’s former blog "home"), which is spewing out hyperventilating posts like "We Must Defend" and "We Must Attack".

UPDATE:  Ezra provides some bigger thoughts:

In some ways, the most interesting thing about Ben Domenech’s plagiarism is its discovery. If you’re a young writer reading this blog, tattoo this on your typing fingers: The internet never forgets.

***

A California political operative I know had a maxim he liked to repeat: Don’t ever write it if you can say it, don’t ever say it if you can whisper it, don’t ever whisper it if you can imply it, don’t ever imply it if you can nudge it, don’t ever nudge it if you can wink it, and don’t ever wink it if you can help it. I thought it a pretty ugly piece of advice, but spot-on if you wanted to enter politics. It’s why I decided to become a writer instead. But man is my generation, packed full of LiveJournals and MySpaces and blogs and e-mails and messageboards, going to get bit in the ass by that aphorism.

Headlines Of The Day

’99 Red Balloons’ Video to Air for an Hour: Ooooh.  Fire up the TIVOs!!

One Dead in French Chemistry School Blast:  Brie and camembert don’t mix

No Crying for Big Baby: LSU Takes Out Duke:  Around the office this morning, you’d think someone died.

Why Fidel Castro Burns His Underwear: File under "TMI".

‘The Simpsons’ to Show Live-Action Opening:  I’ve seen it.  So should you.

Endless Arousal Can Cripple A Woman’s Life:

Paris – A health journal on Friday describes a newly-identified syndrome affecting women – non-stop sexual arousal that can last for months and cannot be satisfied regardless of the number of orgasms.

Oh . . . nah.  Too easy.  Write your own joke.

And finally . . . two headlines from today’s CNN:

Tom Cruise Jumping On Furniture Again

Cruise Fire Leaves One Dead, Several Injured

Man, that Tom is outta control!!!

And speaking of headline news, have a laugh at this video from CNN’s Headline News from Tuesday, when the anchors react to a fire in their studio.

Pro-Life Art

Img_0026

This sculpture is entitled "Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston", by Daniel Edwards.  It is being hailed as the first sculpture honoring the pro-life movement, and was funded in part by the Manhattan Right To Life Committee.

Sean Preston, for those not in the know, is the son of pop icon Britney Spears, and yes, that is Britney giving birth to him on a bearskin rug (which totally ruins bearskin rugs for me now). 

According to the press release:

Natural aspects of Spears’ pregnancy, like lactiferous breasts and protruding naval, compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head.

Now, I’m a pretty anything-goes person — especially when it comes to the arts.  But even I’m put off by this sculpture a little bit.  I have a hard time believing that American Family Foundation and the rest of the religious right are going to get, um, behind this.

Paul Explains It All

Here’s Paul at Powerline:

According to ABC News, the documents show that the Iraqis were, at a minimum, interested in exploring a potential relationship and prepared to show good faith by broadcasting the speeches of al Ouda, the radical cleric who was also a bin Laden mentor. The documents do not establish that the two parties did in fact enter into an operational relationship. But Iraq’s position was that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties [should] be left according to what’s open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation."

Got that?  They were interested in exploring a potential relationship, but didn’t actually have one.

Now, here’s Paul, two paragraphs later:

These documents further undermine the claim that ideological differences precluded a relationship between secular Saddam and fundamentalist bin Laden. The documents show that they had a relationship and that Iraq was prepared to cooperate with al Qaeda to the extent that it would be beneficial to do so. Whether or to what extent such coooperation occurred is still not known.

So to summarize, Saddam and bin Laden had a relationship to explore a potential relationship at some point in the future . .  but only if it was beneficial for them to do so . . . but it’s not clear if that future day ever came.

So, in other words, the documents prove nothing.  Then, to save himself, Paul writes:

But the documents support the view that Saddam, who was almost universally thought to have WMD and clearly had the capability of producing them, might well cooperate with al Qaeda in future attacks on the U.S. or its interests. That’s something we don’t have to worry about anymore.

Right.  And by the same tortured logic, Paul has the potential to kill me one day, if he hooks up with bad elements at some point in the future and might well find it beneficial for him to do so.  So I should kill him so I won’t have to worry about it anymore.

Seriously, Paul seems to think that a joint Saddam-bin Laden attack on the U.S. would have been more destructive than 9/11.  Seeing as how Saddam and his country was inert, locked down, and flown over, I wonder how much Saddam could have hoped to contribute to such an effort.   In fact, given the bureaucratic nature of Iraq under Saddam — not to mention Saddam’s propensity for, well, lying — it’s quite easy to see how such an unholy alliance would simply prevent such an attack from ever taking place.  (Hey, this spekulatin’ thing is fun!!!)

The Block Study – A Closer Look

Conservatives in the right blogosphere are apparently put off by the Block study, and are making efforts to punch holes in it.

So having made the study available, I decided to take a closer look.

Most of the criticism from the right focuses around the fact that the research was done at Berkeley, and Berkeley is a hot-bed of liberalism.   

This, of course, is a pretty weak criticism.  The study does not purport to talk about the general numbers of conservatives versus liberals in the general population.  Nor does it attempt (as some critics apparently believe) to lump all conservatives and liberals into one pile.  Instead, the study acknowledges that there is a continuum of political orientations from "liberal" to "conservative", and as one progresses to either end of the spectrum, it is more likely that they exhibited certain personality characteristics as a child.

Even when you look at some of the study’s conclusions, I don’t think many will find it alarming.  Take, for example, this excerpt:

Whinystudyexcerpt_1

Is the characteristic of conservo-children as being "moralistic" or "conventional" something that conservatives are likely to disagree with?   And how can they complain about liberals being the "intellectual elite" while denying that liberals (as children) are "bright" and "complicate the simple"?

And what about the women?  Before I give you the study’s conclusion, let me give you two mental images: Jane Fonda, and June Cleaver.

Whinyexcerpt2

Well, well, well.  Seems like the study pegged them pretty good.

So what, I ask, is offensive — or even controversial — about the study?

People Getting Better Informed

That’s my headline, but it’s just as fitting as the actual headline: "Poll: opposition to gay marriage declining".

51% still oppose it, but that’s down from 63% in February 2004.

And even among those who oppose gay marriage, the opposition is weaker:

The number of people who say they strongly oppose gay marriage has dropped from 42 percent in early 2004 to 28 percent now. Strong opposition has dropped sharply among senior citizens and Republicans.

The Straw That Broke The Conservative’s Back

Discussing the Georgia v. Randolph case (which I touched upon here), A-list blogger John Cole – a staple in the right blogosphere – announces that he has had enough:

My 20 year affair with the Republican party is coming to an end. I am not voting for any Republican in 2006 at any level, and I will be hard pressed to vote for this party in 2008- unless, of course, Cindy Sheehan is the Democratic candidate. These ‘conservatives’ need abut 10-15 years in the wilderness.

Cole comes from the small-government wing of the Republican Party, so it’s easy to see why he is outraged:

[T]he modern ‘conservatives’ are clearly nothing more than statists who, rather than redistributing wealth like their brethern on the left, instead have decided that the state must have excessive rights in order to ‘protect’ us all from whatever the imagined fear du jour might be. Meanwhile, no one is left protecting us from the religionists and the the state itself.

In the new Republican era, only fetuses , tax shelters, and ‘traditional’ marriage deserve protection. According to the actions of the current Republican party, the rest of us need to be wiretapped, monitored, have our homes inspected for whatever reason without warrants, and are incapable of making decisions on our own.

On Cole’s defection, Glenn Greenwald writes:

Cole is not some fringe theory-libertarian or doctrainaire Goldwater conservative whose numbers are quite small. Instead, he represents a type which makes up a big bulk of the Republican Party. He’s a common sense conservative who basically believes that the Government should, when possible, stay out of our lives and that we should err on the side of restrained Federal Government intervention.

As the NSA scandal among many other things illustrates (and, from what I can tell, the real wake-up call for Cole was the Schiavo travesty), the Bush Administration has been operating for many years from the opposite premise, and conservatives like Cole are feeling extremely alienated from the comprehensively non-conservative Republican Party.

The Democratic tent just got bigger.  Welcome John.

The War On Non-Belief

While fundamentalist Christians want the world to think that Christianity is a minority religion constantly under attack, nothing could be further from the truth.

And all you have to do is realize the truth is answer this question: Could an atheist be elected to office?

The truth is that religion – espcially Christianity – is alive and well and the majority viewpoint in this country.  And everyone knows it.

So if anything is "under attack", it’s atheism.

American’s increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesn’t extend to those who don’t believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

And here’s the not surprising part:

The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated, East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their Midwestern counterparts.

I Heart Fire Thunder

Paul The Spud has it right: these people get an A+ for creativity.

What did a South Dakota Indian Tribe do in response to the South Dakota ban on abortion?  They opened up a Planned Parenthood clinic:

The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

“To me, it is now a question of sovereignty,” she said to me last week. “I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.”

UPDATE: If you want to mail donations to the reservation, you may do so at:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770

OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

ATTN: PRESIDENT FIRE THUNDER
PO BOX 990
Martin, SD 57751

Cheney’s “Performance Contract”

Thinking of hiring Dick Cheney to come to your speaking event?

Here’s his list of demands (click to enlarge):

0322061cheney1_01

"All lights turned on"?  What’s the matter?  He can’t do this for himself?   

And "extra lamps" (in handwriting at the bottom)?  He’s probably going to do some interrogatin’.  Maybe a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling would be best.

"All Televisions turned to FOX News"?  Why does that not surprise me?

And Wonkette (from whom I got this), makes fun of Cheney’s pussy request for "Diet Caffeine Free Sprite".

Funeral Picketing

180pxphelps_child_picketFred Phelps, a supposed "Christian", has made a name for himself by leading a band of degenerates.  Together, they protest at funerals across the country, usually of fallen soldiers.  They shout and carry signs that say "Thank God for 9/11" and "Thank God For Dead Soldiers" — all to spotlight their belief that these things are God’s way of punishing America because of our "endorsement" of homosexuality. [For more on Phelps, read this]

Larfely in response to Phelps, states are considering legislation that would limit (although not ban) protests at funerals.  Wisconsin, in fact, passed a law, keeping protesters 500 feet away from the funeral, and not letting them protest within an hour of the funeral.

Obviously, an admirable law, but it raises serious constitutional concerns.

Eugene Volokh has a nice primer on the current state of First Amendment law as it applies to protests.  Like me, he’s skeptical of the legislation.  But I think such laws ultimately pass constitutional muster.

SCOTUS Limits Warrantless Searches

One thing that struck me in law school, and to this day, is how often the U.S. Supreme Court visits the issues of searches under the Fourth Amendment.

Seriously.  Every year they take a couple of these cases, it seems.  I don’t even pay attention any more.

But this morning, the Court addressed an interesting issue: consent searches.  Consent searches fall into that category of warrantless searches by law enforcement.  They are constitutionally permissible because the target of the search consents to it, thereby waiving his Fourth Amendment protections.

At issue in today’s case was who can give consent.  Or, to be accurate, whether a spouse can effectively waive 4th Amendment protections for another spouse.

The current law in most states, and on the national level, was that as long as one person gives consent, the police can search without a warrant.  For example, if the wife lets the police come in and look around, the husband cannot do anything.

Well, no more.

The Supreme Court narrowed police search powers yesterday, ruling that officers must have a warrant to look for evidence in a couple’s home unless both of the partners present agree to let them in.

The 5-to-3 decision sparked a sharp exchange among the justices. The majority portrayed the decision as striking a blow for privacy rights and gender equality; dissenters said it could undermine police efforts against domestic violence, the victims of which are often women.

The ruling upholds a 2004 decision of the Georgia Supreme Court, but still makes a significant change in the law nationwide, because most other lower federal and state courts had said police could search with the consent of one of two adults living together.

I think this makes sense.

In the majority opinion, Justice David H. Souter said the consent of one partner is inadequate because of ”widely shared social expectations" that adults living together each have veto power over who can enter their shared living space. That makes a warrantless search based on only one partner’s consent ”unreasonable" and, therefore, unconstitutional.

”(T)here is no common understanding that one co-tenant generally has a right or authority to prevail over the express wishes of another, whether the issue is the color of the curtains or invitations to outsiders," Souter wrote.

Roberts wrote the dissent.

Just by agreeing to live with someone else, a co-tenant surrenders a good deal of the privacy that the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment was designed to protect, Roberts said. ”The majority’s rule apparently forbids police from entering to assist with a domestic dispute if the abuser whose behavior prompted the request for police assistance objects," he wrote.

But Souter was all like "Nuh-uh, bitch.  Back off."

But Souter called that argument a ”red herring," saying that police would still have legal authority to enter homes where one partner was truly in danger.

”[T]his case has no bearing on the capacity of the police to protect domestic victims," Souter wrote. ”No question has been raised, or reasonably could be, about the authority of the police to enter a dwelling to protect a resident from domestic violence; so long as they have good reason to believe such a threat exists. . . ."

Souter said Roberts was guilty of declaring that ”the centuries of special protection for the privacy of the home are over."

Joining Roberts dissent were Justices Scalia and Thomas.  Alito took no part in the decision, since he was appointed to the bench when arguments were made.

I guess the elephant in the room is the whole NSA wiretapping/right to privacy issue.  I’m not sure how much can be extrapolated from this decision to the larger controversy, except to say that the majority of the court still respects the right of privacy, going so far as to roll back current law enforcement practices to preserve it.  That’s encouraging.

Bush Bites

(1) Tuesday, Bush said this:

Mr. Zarqawi and al Qaeda, the very same people that attacked the United States, have made it clear that they want to drive us out of Iraq so they can plan, plot, and attack America again.

This is just one of the many many things that Bush says that just floats across the screen into our living rooms, and a significant portion of the population hears it and nods in agreement.

But it’s total B.S.

First of all, "Mr. Zarqawi" was not one of the "people that attacked the United States".  He simply wasn’t.

Second of all, the notion that our presence in Iraq is somehow preventing plans to attack America here at home is silly.  Worse than that, it’s a dangerous mindset, because it assumes — with absolutely no basis in logic or fact — that al Qaeda is incapable of doing two things at once.   Does anyone in their right mind think that the long tentacles of al Qaeda can’t do both things — fight us in Iraq and plot an attack on the U.S. mainland — at the same time?

After all, the war in Iraq didn’t stop AQ from taking neraly 200 lives in Spain two years ago, right?

(2)  Yesterday, Bush said:

We’re making good progress, we really are, in parts of the world. Afghanistan has now got a constitution which talks about freedom of religion and talks about women’s rights.

Really?  Freedom of religion in Afghanistan?  A man named Abdul Rahman has been put on trial for converting to Christianity. For this "crime", he could be put to death.

Not surprising . . . or new.  Back in 2003, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote that Afghanistan’s constitution:

  • subordinates to ordinary legislation most basic individual rights, including rights to life and the freedoms of expression and association. The rights provisions are thus non-binding aspirations that may be displaced by ordinary enactments of legislative bodies.

  • mandates that all legislation must conform to the religion of Islam, enshrining the supremacy of Islamic law even over the individual rights provisions in the constitution.

  • fails to include a specific guarantee for individual rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to both of which Afghanistan is party.

  • threatens to create a judicial theocracy where judges who are unrestrained by checks and balances of other branches of government, have the ultimate authority to determine the conformity of enacted laws with Islam and must apply specific schools of Islamic jurisprudence when no provision of law addresses an issue before them. This would allow for a religious orthodoxy to be officially imposed, stifling dissent within the Islamic tradition.

  • What planet is Bush living on?

    Short Takes From The Right

    Shorter Leon Wolf: Even though pro-lifers would never support killing children with handicaps, they should be supporting it, which is why they’re such evil people.

    Shorter Hindrocket: Dick Cheney is no Clay Aiken.  Just thought you should know.

    Shorter Hindrocket:  Soldiers on active duty have always died from suicide, accidents, and so on.  So what’s the big deal if they die in Iraq?

    Shorter Michelle Malkin: Look at me.  Look at me looking at them.  Aren’t we conservatives great?

    And the best one:

    Shorter Marie Jon:  I recently had a dream that Hillary Clinton became President.  As a result, there was a "new surge of growth and prosperity",  …"only peace and tranquility filled the day", …"crime had disappeared", and "sickness was a thing of the past".  It was a nightmare.

    Idol Update

    BuckyWell, a bad salad (I’m guessing) got be bedridden, so I missed American Idol last night, but (as the 21st century phrase goes), I TIVOed it.

    A quick zip through the recording. FRzzzzzbrzzzzzzppp!

    Looks like it’s Bucky’s night to go.  He’s just not bringing it.  Even the A-gamers were a little off last night, and Bucky just didn’t rise to their level even then.

    So I think he’s history.  Unfortunately, that means I have to endure that smamry little Chicken Little puke for another week.  Ugh.

    KevinUPDATE:  Well, Bucky had the second lowest votes, and Kevin "Chicken Little" Covais was booted.

    There is a God.

    No, I mean, he’s a nice kid, but  . . . you know . . . American Idol?

    For my money, we can get rid of Ace and Bucky in the next couple of weeks.  Then we have a real competition.

    Red America Dawns

    Responding to criticisms from the right about "liberal bias", the Washington Post has given a blog to a bigtime conservative named Ben Demonech.

    This, of course, is a huge mistake.  When conservatives complain about "liberal bias" in the mainstream media, they are not begging for "balance".  Rather, they’re trying to bully and intimidate mainstream reporters into adopting — hook, line, and sinker — the GOP spin (regardless of whether it is factual or not). 

    Frankly, conservative media dominates AM radio.  An entire cable news network has an open conservative slant.  And even shows which claim to have objective balance?  They overwhelming book conservative pundits more so than liberal or mainstream one.  But that doesn’t stop the mainstream media from running like babies for the bogus "liberal bias" label.

    So to avoid the "liberal bias" label, CNN hires Glenn Beck and Bob Bennett.  MSNBC ditches Phil Donahue and hires Michael Savage.

    And now WaPo, who already has columnists George Will and Charles Krauthammer, adds another conservative to its ranks: Ben Demonech.  Who is Demonech?  From his WaPo bio:

    After 9/11, he abandoned the journalism field for a taxpayer-funded life and was sworn in as the youngest political appointee of President George W. Bush. Following a year as a speechwriter for HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and two as the chief speechwriter for Texas Senator John Cornyn, Ben is now a book editor for Regnery Publishing, where he has edited multiple bestsellers and books by Michelle Malkin, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Hugh Hewitt.

    Oh, great.  Well, let’s take a gander at his first blog post at "Red America" for WaPo, and see how long he can go before the lies and deceptions start:

    This is a blog for the majority of Americans.

    Shit, that didn’t take long.

    Since the election of 1992, the extreme political left has fought a losing battle. Their views on the economy, marriage, abortion, guns, the death penalty, health care, welfare, taxes, and a dozen other major domestic policy issues have been exposed as unpopular, unmarketable and unquestioned losers at the ballot box.

    Bob, the problem with seeing an election result as a refereundum on ALL those domestic issues is this: when Democrats win, it means that you will have to concede that Republicans are on the wrong side of all those issues.  Are you ready for that?

    Oh, and Bob.  Take a gander at a poll every once in a while.  The liberal/Democratic position on ALL those issues, as well as Iraq, constitutes the plurality, if not the majority, of Americans.

    Bush: Troops To Stay In Iraq Throughout His Presidency

    Today’s press conference:

    REPORTER: Will there come a day, and I’m not asking you when — I’m not asking for a timetable — will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?

    BUSH: That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.

    Looks like 2008 is going to be a referendum on Iraq.  That sound you hear is the sound of hundreds of GOP Congressmen slapping their foreheads all at the same time.

    What Connected Dots Look Like

    Via Think Progress:

    Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, My FBI, pg. 289:

    But in theory – and I stress theory – if we had been able to do that, and if we had connected that information with the arrest the next month in Minnesota of Zacarias Moussaoui, the French-Moroccan who aroused a flight instructor’s suspicions when he asked to learn how to fly a commercial airliner, and then tied that to the two al Qaeda cell members living in San Diego and to the earlier warnings that terrorists were plotting to use commercial flights as kamikaze planes…then perhaps 9/11 never would have happened, or would have happened at a lesser scale.

    Washington Post, 3/21/06:

    An FBI agent who interrogated Zacarias Moussaoui before Sept. 11, 2001, warned his supervisors more than 70 times that Moussaoui was a terrorist and spelled out his suspicions that the al-Qaeda operative was plotting to hijack an airplane, according to federal court testimony yesterday.

    Good News From Iraq Is Just Hope and Hooey

    Yesterday, and again today, Bush says there is a lot of good news from Iraq that doesn’t get reported.

    He cites, as his Exhibit A, the success story of city of Tall Afar.

    The problem is, it’s B.S.:

    A Washington Post employee interviewing residents of Tall Afar found continuing anxiety in the streets. "Al-Qaeda has started to come back again," said Jaafar al-Khawat, 33, a tailor. "They have started to kill Shiites and Sunnis who cooperate with the Americans. Last Wednesday, they killed a truck driver because he worked with the Americans."

    Yasir al-Efri, 23, a law student at Mosul University, said al-Qaeda pamphlets began appearing on the biggest mosque in Tall Afar in the past two months claiming credit for attacks. "The Tall Afar mission failed," he said. "The city will turn back to how it was before the battle within two months. The Americans are busy putting cement barriers and barbed wire around their bases and no one is taking care of the infrastructure."

    Sebti, the mechanic, was more fearful of sectarian conflict. "People now are afraid to send their kids to school," he said. "I have to take my son to and from the school every day. There are two gangs in Tall Afar now that specialize in kidnapping children. Police can do nothing against that."

    Steve Soto says it nicely:

    This is Bush’s idea of a success story: claim credit for some short-lived security, abandon reconstruction efforts, and pull your forces back to your safe permanent bases while Al Qaeda returns to haunt the towns, an Al Qaeda that wasn’t there until Bush and Rummy let them into Iraq.

    Game Set Match

    The Corner’s John Derbyshire on the "Whiny Babies Grow Up To Be Conservatives" Study:

    From the report on that study: "Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative. At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals."

    Doesn’t EVERYBODY from the Berkeley area grow up to be liberal? I must say, though, they have me dead to rights. I was indeed whiny and insecure in the nursery-school years. But then, I grew up to be a liberal, and only changed teams after age 30. So this study proves… what most of these bogus "studies" prove: diddly-squat.

    Nobody ever said it was a direct progression from whiny insecure baby to whiny blowhard conservative.

    But thanks for proving the point.

    UPDATE:  The Corner’s Jonah Goldberg adds his two cents:

    Here’s a question: since the single best predictor of political orientation is the orientation of your parents, how many parents of this sample were liberal? My guess is — as Derb notes — is most of them. Perhaps the conservative kids have conservative parents and the whining is a red herring?

    Who SAYS the single best predictor of a child’s political orientation is the orientation of your parents?  If anything, children grow up to have the OPPOSITE political orientation of their parents (call it the "Alex Keaton Effect", if you will).  Although in truth, I don’t think one can generalilze one way or the other; hence, it is not the "single best predictor".

    Deja Vu

    LA Times:

    U.S. intelligence officials, already focused on Iran’s potential for building nuclear weapons, are struggling to solve a more immediate mystery: the murky relationship between the new Tehran leadership and the contingent of Al Qaeda leaders residing in the country.

    Some officials, citing evidence from highly classified satellite feeds and electronic eavesdropping, believe the Iranian regime is playing host to much of Al Qaeda’s remaining brain trust and allowing the senior operatives freedom to communicate and help plan the terrorist network’s operations.

    And they suggest that new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be forging an alliance with Al Qaeda operatives as a way to expand Iran’s influence or, at a minimum, that he is looking the other way as Al Qaeda leaders in his country collaborate with their counterparts elsewhere.

    Change the "n" in Iran to a "q", and this sounds remarkably familiar, oui?

    Kevin Drum says only a moron would fall for the same thing twice and demands something called e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e.