Talking Points Mimeo Now Playing:seeming worse than being
I don't know if this is actually John Kerry or not, but it's pretty funny stuff, either way. Here's the junior Senator from Massachusetts, writing at The Daily Kos:
There's something that doesn't sit right with me when, on the day Osama Bin Laden resurfaced in a disturbing audio tape, cable television ends up in a game of name calling as a war protester is compared to Osama Bin Laden.
Ha, ha. You caught that, too, huh, John? Yeah. I thought that was very honest of Chris Matthews, but he's right: Osama does sound like Michael Moore, the notorious traitor/film-maker.
Very clever of you to notice.
Shouldn't the similarity of their rhetoric to Osama's sober my Leftist friends?
Charles Johnson: "The Absurd Dead End of Multiculturalism" Now Playing:a 1,400 year-old blowfish
In Britain, defense attorneys for radical Islamic preacher Abu Hamza have hit on a novel approach. They’re arguing that Hamza’s hate speech and incitement to murder cannot possibly be criminal—because it comes straight from the Koran.
I'm too dull and congested just now to launch into any one of the dozens of responses swimming in my head, but suffice it to say that the Koran could also be offered as a defense of insanity. And is. Five times a day on a billion pair of knees.
I don't want these people on the Mothership anymore. They're a real fucking drag.
Abu Hamza’s remarks, which the prosecution alleges amount to an attempt to stir up racial hatred against the Jewish people, were, [his defense attorney] Mr Fitzgerald said, a reference to the Hadith — sayings of the Prophet Muhammad — in which fighting between Jews and Muslims is predicted.
The Hadith says that the trees will call out to the Muslims “there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him”.
I'm not sure that the Hadith are properly part of the Koran, but it's all the same angry, xenocidal shit throughout. Ever read the Koran? I've read some big chunks of it ---and it's a very angry piece of work. I think it explains a lot about the nature of the Muslim character.
Those people are going to have to be watered down. They're gonna have to lose some of their fight or they're never gonna make it to Mars with the rest of us.
Hillary Announces for the Presidency Now Playing:the bush administration downplayed the threat from iran, which is why they only called its regime evil
That's what that was just then. That speech was an unmistakable message that she is going to run for the White House.
Enjoy yourselves, my Democratic friends. It's gonna be a hell of an election.
CORRECTION: I've been ill the past 24 hours or so and, thanks to huge amounts of time-bending sleep, I didn't realize that HRC gave this speech yesterday.
"A 72-Hour Delay Mechanism" Now Playing:jane harman
The floppy pair of shoes (or is it the big red rubber nose?) on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 is the provision that allows a warrantless search to be conducted and authorized retroactively as late as 72 hours after the initiation of the search.
If, at the actual point in time at which a warrantless search or an act of surveillance is conducted and is presumed legal ---contingent upon that retroactive approval--- then what is the significance of those 72 hours? Why shouldn't it be 72 days or 72 months afterwards?
Considering the vast amounts of collected information to go through in this age of unprecedented global communication, it is unreasonable to restrict the executive in this way. Reasonableness is putatively the guiding principle in that provision of the FISA, but I don't see any in those magical 72 hours that are supposed to make all the difference.
A Single Nail in the Frame of the House of Propaganda
Ed Morrissey takes the New York Times to task for their dishonest report in today's paper about the Administration's own recently-declassified 2002 conclusion that Saddam probably could not have procured uranium ore from Niger.
Reporter Eric Lichtblau does the same thing that all the President's opponents do: associate the supposedly infamous "sixteen words" (from Bush's 2003 State of the Union address) with the apparent impossibility that such a sale could have ever taken place.
But it was never claimed that Saddam had succeeded in procuring yellowcake; only that he had made an attempt. Why does that point not come through for some? That Saddam attempted to make the deal is all Bush ever claimed.
Morrissey writes (emphasis his):
Once again, the Times conflates two different questions and in doing so misrepresents the intelligence that both the British and Wilson himself found. The first question, which prompted this release of material, is whether the Nigeriens were likely to sell and transport uranium to Iraq. The second question is whether Saddam Hussein was still making the attempt to buy uranium at all, from Niger as well as anywhere else. All of Iraq's uranium had been sealed by the UNSCOM team and was out of Saddam's reach, at least while UNSCOM remained in Iraq. Had Saddam sought uranium from any other source, it would prove that Saddam intended to rebuild his WMD nuclear program.
The anti-war Left can concede that much, can't they?
Bush, in fact, turned out to be correct in his "sixteen words," a fact not lost on British intelligence, who have all along insisted that Saddam had tried to buy uranium, and not just from Niger. The SSCI report makes this dodge very transparent, but the Paper of Record never bothers to research its findings whenever reporting on this subject.
"That Could Be Taken from My List" Now Playing:my just and gentle antony
Max Boot writes in today's Los Angeles Times:
I CAN CERTAINLY understand the uproar over President Bush's flagrant abuses of civil liberties. This is America. What right does that fascist in the White House have to imprison Michael Moore, wiretap Nancy Pelosi and blackmail Howard Dean?
Wait. You mean he hasn't done those things? All he's done is intercept communications between terrorists abroad and their contacts in the U.S. without a court order? Talk about defining impeachable offenses downward.
If you want to see real abuses of civil liberties, read Geoffrey R. Stone's 2004 book "Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism." It tells how John Adams jailed a congressman for criticizing his "continual grasp for power." How Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and had the army arrest up to 38,000 civilians suspected of undermining the Union cause. How Woodrow Wilson imprisoned Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for opposing U.S. entry into World War I. And how Franklin D. Roosevelt consigned 120,000 Japanese Americans to detention camps.
To my hypothesist friends on the Left, historical precedence is a low-grade rebuttal to their virginal notions of the Bill of Rights. But it's rather effective, especially on the political level. All the great Presidents of the past century and a half have gone Napoleon at one point or another.
And don't talk about how "Americans" are getting spied on; give us some names. Let's have some examples of whom these rights-tramplings have ruined.
When the average man in the street discovers that these "unwarranted" searches have been made especially of our Muslim enemies, he will shrug and ask you why you insist on defending murderers who aren't really Americans in any meaningful sense of that word.
Child of God (Part 2)
Yesterday, on MLK Day, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said:
And as we think about rebuilding New Orleans, surely God is mad at America, he's sending hurricane after hurricane after hurricane and it's destroying and putting stress on this country. Surely he's not approving of us being in Iraq under false pretense. But surely he's upset at black America, also.
Nagin's got everything but the kitchen sink in this little speech of his. He channels Dr. King, baits the races, judges the war, and melts down. Read it all.
So Nagin said some outrageous, Pat Robertson-like shit. And he's getting called on the carpet for it. Good. That's what's supposed to happen in a political society. People make criticisms. People get criticized. Rock on.
Child of God Now Playing:ichthus in two strokes
In the course of watching all the local coverage of the National Champion UT Longhorns, I have been struck by how natural and uncomplicated has been the depiction of Vince Young as a dedicated young Christian man. A lot of his teammates feel the same way about their common faith ---and they haven't been shy about sharing it with the world.
I note this because it runs counter to this idea that the Christian religion is a source of oppression for non-believers in our public schools and colleges. I see no evidence of that; instead, I see a whole community who has embraced a young man whose Christian faith is a significant part of his spiritual and emotional well-being. He is a success, in part, because of that faith.
So tell me again how it is that the free expression of Christian belief is a drag on our society's institutions. Because some may be obligated to stand while others pray? Why not be charitable? Why not do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says you'll have the host stuffed down your throat tomorrow if you don't spit on it today?
Non-Christians should do as I have done and accept the better part of that belief as an advantage for those who share it. That is the politic thing to do. That is the truly tolerant attitude to take with one's fellow man.
Reviewing Glory Road
I saw Glory Road this afternoon ---and it was an entirely appropriate way to spend part of this national observance of Dr. King's birthday.
The movie is a dramatization of the 1966 NCAA National Basketball Championship season of the Miners of Texas Western College. The Miners' victory over the University of Kentucky Wildcats was not just a story of a little-known school defeating one of the great dynasties in collegiate basketball history, but a major step in the history of the racial integration of American sports.
And it was understood to be as such in its own time.
My Daddy became the chief of police at TWC the year after that epochal event (when the school became the University of Texas at El Paso) and knew well the film's protagonist, head coach Don Haskins. Daddy had great respect for what Haskins had accomplished and shared that admiration with his boys. (I recall sitting near an unfinished temple on the Greek island of Naxos back in 1995, reading a long article in a newspaper I had found about Haskins and why he hadn't yet made it into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. I hear that's since been rectified.)
The movie itself is exceptionally well-paced, essentially honest, and an important story that very much needed to be told, even 40 years on.
With my many personal and familial connections to that school and its hometown, it was gratifying to see its 1966 champions remembered in this way. (At the end of the movie, the entire audience burst into applause. When the credits began to roll, many dozens of theatergoers remained to watch the accompanying interviews with the actual players and Haskins himself. It was a heartening sight.)
A Further Note to My Distinguished Correspondent Now Playing:dear abby's confidential to des moines
The potential threat to our civil liberties posed by the executive use of data mining and massive eavesdropping programs is intractable because of the nature of these operations. The actual threat is, as you seemed to agree, vastly smaller than how it is being sold because of practical considerations of personnel and resources.
Considering the multiplicity, complexity, and speed of global communications, it is unreasonable to hold our governmental monitors to the hypothetical standard that innocent persons should be left entirely unwatched. Our intelligence agencies are scooping up huge swaths of information and combing through them with appropriate intentions. Reasonable people know that. Reasonable people know that fishermen don't always know what they're going to catch and that inventors don't always know to what uses their creations are going to be put.
I'm not too worried that my words are being filtered in some server barn somewhere. I'm more worried that bureaucratic nonsense is going to prevent my Government from sifting out some Islamofascist murderers from all that noise and leave us defenseless against the next major attack.
Out-Shatnering Shatner Now Playing: "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke
I'm listening to a replay of the Gorebot's speech from earlier today ---and I declare it to be the worst impersonation of Bill Shatner I've heard in years.
What fragrant language! What an assortment of weird, inhuman intonations and rhythms that attempt to escape Al Gore's spittle-filled piehole! Can condescension come in any more concentrated a form ---repulsive, insinuative, and schizoid?
Provincials Now Playing:and the switchboard lights up like a xmas tree...
Over the past 15 minutes or so, the dumbasses at our local FOX affiliate have insisted on running a split screen between a very good NFC divisional playoff game and the celebration down at the stadium for the Longhorns.
Can't really enjoy either one since I own the last (and very fritzy) 21-inch analog TV in North America, but I can tell you that the local television coverage of the new National Champions hasn't exactly tapered off much in the past week and a half. Plus, we'll be treated to footage and reports of this celebration on every station here for many days to come, so why does FOX have to go and annoy me like this?
"A Football Move" Mood:
smelly Now Playing:where the hell did that phrase come from, anyhow?
I wanted the Colts to win ---mostly because I hate the Steelers--- but they have been the beneficiaries of two ridiculous calls: that was a safety on Manning in the third quarter and that was a pick by the guy with the hair. Pittsburgh is totally getting ripped off.
I was watching some decent playoff football when I could have been enjoying Sasha Cohen win her first US Figure Skating Championship.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Sasha Cohen stood in the middle of the ice long after her program ended, her eyes wide as she drank in the applause. Then she dropped into a deep curtsy, bowing to all four sides of the arena.
After all these years of waiting, she’s finally a champion. And she was going to savor every minute of it.
I admit to having a mild, pervo-avuncular crush on Miss Cohen, but it's all in good taste, mind you. Real good taste.
Oh, goddammit! I'm just a Nineteenth Century man, through and through.
Don't worry...I'm already calling the cops myself.
My man at Mudville Gazette has for us a letter from Katherine Curtis Stethem, the sister-in-law of Robert Dean Stethem, the young US Navy diver who was murdered by the Hizbollah terrorist Mohammad Hammadi during the infamous hijacking of TWA Flight 847 back in 1985. Last week, the German government not only commuted Hammadi's sentence, but saw that he got safely home.
The feeling of betrayal by the German government, our supposed ally, is overwhelming. Commutation of a convicted murderer’s sentence is bad enough, but to grant him safe passage back to his native country is unconscionable. For twenty years this family has had to live with the knowledge that the other three terrorists associated with the hijacking remain at large. Ali Atwa, Hassan Izz-Al-Din, and Imad Mugniyah have, with the assistance of rogue nations, consistently eluded capture.
Hammadi was arrested in 1987 in what was then West Germany for possession of liquid explosives in Frankfurt airport. Chancellor Kohl denied President Reagan’s requests for extradition. The United States was assured, however, of the strictest of sentences contingent upon conviction. The trial began in July of 1988. The West German government spent millions of dollars related to security for this trial. They certainly considered Hezbollah enough of a threat to spend an exorbitant amount of money for security. In May of 1989 Hammadi was found guilty of air piracy and the murder of Robert Stethem. He was also found guilty of possession of liquid explosives in West Germany. This man is a dangerous criminal. Germany has released an obvious threat back into the world. Hammadi is in his early 40’s; he has plenty of years left to wreak havoc. It’s beyond belief.
These are the European powers we're supposed to trust to help us control Iran? What a sick joke.