Saturday, February 16, 2008
1. Do you support the use of harsh interrogation tactics like these and, if so, which ones and under what circumstances?
2. If you do not support the use of any harsh interrogation tactics under any circumstances, should military and CIA interrogations be subject to the same rules imposed on the police or do you support even more restrictive rules?"
"Ynet quotes a Lebanese newspaper which says Hezbollah has gone to full alert following the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, ordered 50,000 of its fighters to high alert, and evacuated most its openly used buildings in south Lebanon in order to prepare 'to curb any Israeli aggression"Would anyone be surprised if either or both of these killings were accidents, or, even worse, done by Hezbollah itself in order to start a conflict or just get everyone speculating about Israel?
"Still, it seems to me that Barack Obama is the triumph of flesh, color, and despair over word — that’s to say, he offers an appealing embodiment of identity politics plus a ludicrously despairing vision of contemporary America (sample: “Trade deals like NAFTA ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with their teenagers to work for minimum wage at Wal-Mart”) that triumphs over anything so prosaic as a policy platform. Mrs. Clinton, the earthbound wonk, is reduced to fulminating that this race is about “speeches versus solutions.” But a lot of Democrats seem to have concluded that Hillary’s the problem, and Obama’s speech is the solution."
As always, the sensible Mr. Steyn penetrates the BS and gives you a fresh perspective on what seems to be the runaway train known as the Obama candidacy. Read it all....
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: "First Umad Mughniyeh takes the 72-virgin ride with a Bashar Assad Special. Now Ayman Atallah Fayed gets blasted in the most literal sense of the word. Both men were high-ranking members of terrorist groups arrayed against Israel. Coincidence?"
"I do very well realize where this reaction is coming from. Stanford is a liberal university, and I very much hope that the good word “liberalism” is not degraded in your institution as it has been degraded by the likes of Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky and many others. I hope the word “liberal” in the mind of Stanford students still means “progressive” and “broad-minded.” The left symbolizes progress. At least, it has done so in the past. It has always stood for women’s rights, for gay rights, for the rights of African-Americans. The reaction which I see today at Stanford demonstrates to me that there are changes in the left and that these changes are for the worst. What I read today in The Stanford Daily is nothing more than intellectual terrorism. A dogmatism that I can only compare to one of religion. (If-you-don’t-think-what-I-think,-you-are-an-idiot-and-a-delinquent.) It’s difficult for me to understand how the progressive left can defend the most backwards and reactionary ideology on earth, the ideology of Islam."
Friday, February 15, 2008
"Anyway, given the nature of his career, it's certainly a legitimate point to question his experience and qualifications as president (ignoring the minimal constitutional requirements of native born and thirty-five years old). His speeches remind me of Gertrude Stein's comment about Oakland--there's no there there."
"A nice-sounding bill called the 'Global Poverty Act,' sponsored by Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama, is up for a Senate vote on Thursday and could result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States. The bill, which has the support of many liberal religious groups, makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations."
Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has not endorsed either Senator Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. But on Thursday, February 14, he is trying to rush Obama’s “Global Poverty Act” (S.2433) through his committee. The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.
Ann Althouse has her own opinion:
Well, I've seen "The Vagina Monogues." Who hasn't? It plays everywhere, since it says things a lot of people want said and it's so easy to produce and perform — 3 women sit on stools and get to read their lines off index cards. Ensler is a theater genius for thinking it up, and I congratulate her for devising such a brilliantly successful money-making writing project. But it not a very good play, and no one needs to feel inferior for passing it up. It's not like never having seen "Hamlet." And anyone watching "The Today Show" clip can easily see that Fonda is saying the name of her monologue in the play. That's all beside the point. She said the baddest bad word, and she planned to say it. She's not out of control. She did exactly what she wanted to do, and she's got your rapt attention — something she's done for 5 decades.
Object to the content all you want, but give her credit. She's a first-class media genius. For purporting to apologize for her, Meredith Vieira owes Jane Fonda an apology.
In an interview on Hizbullah's Al-Manar television, Mugniyah's mother called on Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah not to fear, saying she regrets not having a fourth son to offer Jihad."
"Smart young women shouldn’t fear the mom label. It’s impossible to rip that name tag off a cardigan. And they might not want to, because whether or not it’s a resume-builder, it’s a better job than they think."Apparently, we need to explain to young women these days that there is value in motherhood. But I am amazed that with all of the devotion we express to the theory evolution in modern society, how we can be so ignorant of what our real responsibilities are....
"To date, Obama’s masterful rhetorical skills have wooed voters across the political spectrum, but for those of us who grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we may well be advised to start considering Obama as the “Milli Vanilli candidate."
HERE'S A ROUNDUP on that shooting at Northern Illinois University. I'm pretty sure that this will turn out to be yet another mass shooting in a "gun free zone."
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here, including a report that there were no fatalities other than the shooter, according to the hospital. Stay tuned and things will no doubt clear up.
MORE: Local newspaper site here. It says 5 confirmed dead.
"...a white supremacist Web site called Vanguard News Network (its motto is “No Jews. Just Right.') drew attention to an article in the Long Beach student paper about how some professors there want more distance between the institution and a psychology professor, Kevin MacDonald, who has applied evolutionary psychology to studying Jews in ways that scholars find offensive and inaccurate."Read the whole thing, and then wonder how such "scholarly" work can be permitted in a publicly funded university...
MacDonald argues — with backing from Vanguard News Network — that Jewish people band together, in part to undercut white society in the United States. He says that they do this in part by supporting immigrants, with the idea that letting more Latinos into the United States would advance Jewish interests by weakening the country.
Beleaguered by hedge fund shareholders angry at the dismal performance of the New York Times Company, Pinch Sulzberger has opted to nominate two new directors for the company's board. Unfortunately for him, the paper is already on the record savaging companies on whose boards these two directors have already served. The New York Sun has a brilliant editorial this morning pointing out Pinch's proclivity for hypocrisy:
When a director of an oil company tries to make profits for his shareholders, he is accused of "greed." When a Wal-Mart director tries to make profits for her shareholders, she is lectured about being "tight-fisted." But when The New York Times Company's shareholders start getting restless for profits, where does Arthur Sulzberger Jr. turn to for "exceptional individuals"? Why, to veterans of the boards of Wal-Mart and Chevron. When it is the Times that is hoping to make the profits, somehow it isn't "greed" but, as Mr. Sulzberger put it, "skills, expertise and leadership qualities." We couldn't have put it better ourselves.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
He's having fun. Doing a radio show.This echoes something I have been trying to articulate for quite some time (everyone is better at it than me, it seems): All of these geniuses -left, right and in between - are there to sell you soap and little more. Sure, they may come up with something intelligent every month or so, and the guests can be interesting; but getting your politics from the airwaves is just a bad idea.
I've been listening to the show — over the website, without the commercials — for the last month, so I've developed my own opinions about Limbaugh. One thing I've noticed — which doesn't come up in the linked Time interview — is that he has no real affinity for social conservatism. He likes to talk about the "3 legs" to the "stool" of conservatism. (That sounds so wrong!) But this leg man is only interested in 2 legs: national security and economics. He doesn't care about family values and that sort of thing. He's constantly alluding to his interest in having his fun with women and evading any burdensome entanglements. He has absolutely no interest in children. And he brags about his pleasures: parties, good food and drink, cigars, comfy beds, nifty gadgets. He gives every sign of being a shameless sybarite.
The Texas ban on dildoes -- yes, it expressly mentions "dildo" -- has just been struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The law, the court held, violates Lawrence v. Texas right of "adult consensual sexual intimacy in the home."
On this, the Fifth Circuit disagrees with the Eleventh Circuit, which upheld a similar Alabama law last year. Sounds like there's a solid split, so there's a decent chance that the U.S. Supreme Court will step in to resolve this (though there's of course no guarantee).
"The chief of Hezbollah threatened Thursday to retaliate against Israeli targets after accusing the Jewish state of killing the militant Imad Mughniyeh in Syria."It never ceases to amaze me how the Arab mind works. "How dare you shoot back at me for shooting at you!" seems to be their MO virtually all of the time. And then the MSM buys into it....
The Wall Street Journal has it's own take:
Mughniyeh died in a car bombing, probably orchestrated by Mossad, though Israel denies it. It'd be nice to think the CIA was up to this, but we have our doubts. The location -- Damascus -- of his killing is of special note, and the private intelligence agency Stratfor reports that he died as he was leaving a meeting at a Syrian intelligence office. Syrian officials surely knew of his whereabouts and could have arrested him if they really wanted some accommodation with the U.S. At least Mughniyeh will kill no more.
The government as vending machine....
Undeterred by criticism from President Bush and Senator John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, lawmakers have told outside groups to file all requests for earmarks within two weeks, so lawmakers can submit their proposals to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees by mid-March.
Many lawmakers have created online “request forms” for people to use in seeking federal money for local projects. The House Appropriations Committee has a Web site on which House members are asked to submit their requests for earmarks by March 19.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Jewish Rep. Cohen Battles Antisemitism and Racism In Re-Election:
"'Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus,' blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail -- inducing gasps -- last week.
Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro Tenn., which isn't even in Cohen's district, the literature encourages other black leaders in Memphis to 'see to it that one and ONLY one black Christian faces this opponent of Christ and Christianity in the 2008 election.'"
So Penn Gilette, who I was on stage with once (long story), refers to Hillary as a "white bitch" in a bit that he does. Hmmm...what if he had done another bit and referred to Obama as a "dumb coon" (or worse)?
Spencer Ackerman offered a gentle critique of his friend George Packer's essay on Iraq in the premiere issue of the new World Affairs journal. I'd go a bit further -- I think this very much represents the worst of Packer's writing on Iraq rather than the best. It opens with some striking on-the-ground reporting from Iraq, then shifts to a discussion of how un-visceral these events are to most Americans, who are far more distanced from the conflict than we were from Vietnam and earlier wars. Eventually, though, it shifts into a kind of lame plea for open-mindednessWell, Mr. Packer, one of the war's earliest critics, seems to have softened his stance since his last visit. Even Michael Totten credits him with a fair-minded approach to the latest goings-on in Iraq:
Liberal journalist George Packer has spent a lot of time in Iraq and is a reliable critic of the Bush Administration and the war. He, like me, has his opinions and doesn't conceal them. But he reports what he sees honestly and comprehensively. You can trust him whether you agree with his views or not.I think poor George is about to get shived by his old liberal friends. Any call for reason or patience regarding the war, or, more importantly the long-term outcome will not be tolerated. You can be sure of it....
“I can never blame the Americans alone,” an Iraqi refugee named Firas told me in early 2007. “It’s the Iraqis who destroyed their country, with the help of the Americans, under the American eye.” To gain this wisdom, Firas had to lose almost everything. What would it take for Americans to understand what Firas already does? A recognition that Iraq was everyone’s loss, whichever side you were on.Read the entire story...it is memorable.
The AP reports: "BAGHDAD – Iraq's Parliament cleared the way Wednesday for provincial elections that could give Sunnis a stronger voice and institute vast changes in Iraq's power structure after the Oct. 1 vote." This is a critically important development.Maybe this will quiet some of the critics...but probably not.
PETA spent $100,000 in advertisements on cable stations in New York and four other major cities, timed with the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, which ended on Tuesday night. PETA criticizes the show for promoting dog breeding and spurring interest in “purebreds” while animal shelters overflow with unwanted dogs in need of homes (perhaps like this one). The three commercials, which cost $30,000 to make, will be rolled out more broadly in the spring.
Sharing meals has always been an important courtship ritual and a metaphor for love. But in an age when many people define themselves by what they will eat and what they won’t, dietary differences can put a strain on a romantic relationship. The culinary camps have become so balkanized that some factions consider interdietary dating taboo.
No-holds-barred carnivores, for example, may share the view of Anthony Bourdain, who wrote in his book “Kitchen Confidential” that “vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans ... are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”
But that's not to say that Bourdain is wrong....
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I just finished his latest book Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life; and if you are interested in what makes a comedian tick, you will probably like this story. It's not written quite as well as I had expected, but Martin's journey from a lonely child to aspiring comedian and philosopher is quite interesting. He quit standup at the height of his popularity, apparently for all the right reasons and he never looked back - until now. Check it out...
Iraq Is Not the Worry
It is surrender and self-destruction at home.
The new multicultural and relativist British elite in just a decade or so has managed to make in comparison the 12th-century England of Thomas Becket seem humane. In the last analysis, the real worries about the survival of the West in this war are not with America and its courageous twenty-something suburban kids in Anbar trying to offer something better than the sharia morality of the seventh century, but with the likes of sanctimonious and cowardly churchmen in England trying to spread it.
Read the whole long thing......
Post-Saddam Iraq is not a police state. Even so, while it's orders of magnitude more moderate and humane than the genocidal and fascistic regime it replaced, many individuals in the government and police departments have rough authoritarian habits that are rooted in Arab culture itself as much as they are legacies from the previous era.
Bill Maher, speaking about Rush Limbaugh and OxyContin:
Why couldn’ta he croaked from it instead of Heath Ledger?
Maher is little more than a dog. The classic weasel who has been given a platform to exercize his inflated ego at the expense of anyone he doesn't care for. There is no respected blogger out there, left or right, who pays him any mind - and neither should you. The only benefit I see to the Democrats being elected is that Maher will probably disappear into oblivion...
This was part of a children's broadcast on Hamas Television this week. The program is called Tomorrow's Pioneers, which previously featured a fuzzy Mickey Mouse character named Farfur and a cute bee named Nahul. We've learned from previous episodes of the program that both Farfur and Nahul were "martyred" by Israelis. In the latest episode, we learn that Assud, the new rabbit character, has come from Lebanon "in order to return to the homeland and liberate it." Later in the show Assud and the child hostess discuss the eventual conquering of Tel-Aviv through terror.If you have any questions, read the whole post, and then make sure you follow Atlas Shrugs every day.
Hybrids like the Toyota Prius are selling like mad, but they are a stop-gap measure at best and the "misinformed craze" for them may delay sustainable technologies like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, French researchers say.
"In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee”—the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:
‘’You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”
I wonder what the Archbishop of Canterbury would make of that one? Anyway, I can’t wait for a chance to use that quote at faculty senate meeting."
I have come up with a viable and, frankly, excellent solution to our nation's intel problems: Send every Jewish woman in the country over there for the good of the United States.A worthwhile post to read (with attribution to my son who sent me the link)....
There is no doubt whatsoever in my clouded, feeble mind that Jewish women are the greatest clandestine spies on the planet. They're always on the job, never taking a night off. They're always stationed in the right place at the right time and they always know the best way to report the gossip they've just attained.
"Kolarik tallied a goal and three assists for the No. 2 Wolverines, who won and tied at No. 1 Miami this past weekend (Feb. 8-9) to take over first place in the CCHA and most likely the nation's top ranking when the weekly polls are released. Pacioretty led all U-M players with three goals in the series. He also added an assist.
On Friday (Feb. 8), Kolarik tied his season high with two assists, one of which came on U-M's game-winning goal in the 4-2 triumph. On Saturday (Feb. 9), Kolarik scored his 20th goal of the season, which tied him for fifth nationally, and later added an assist as the Wolverines tied the RedHawks 5-5."
[A]s a moral matter, the possibility that a suspect could be put to death in the United States based on statements coerced from him by torture is an abomination — even more so because it might be legal. Under the Military Commissions Act, evidence obtained by coercion may be introduced at trial provided a judge finds it “reliable and probative” (meaning persuasive and damning). Congress rushed to pass this deeply flawed act, which also denies detainees the ancient writ of habeas corpus, after the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the military commissions could not be used to prosecute enemy combatants for war crimes without congressional authorization. But the act failed to guarantee that the tribunals would give defendants a fair trial, or to provide any mechanism for the release of innocent detainees wrongly deemed enemy combatants.
It's clear Americans are looking for a change this election -- or at least the candidates think that's where the voters are. But we're a cynical bunch here at Passport, so we've decided to provide you with a list of things you can be sure won't be too different in 2009. Sorry, folks.Read it and weep, laugh, cry, whatever....and then realize that the person you elect really doesn't "run the country". That's the way it was set up in the first place.
Monday, February 11, 2008
An important article by Sudarsan Raghavan in the Washington Post shows how the AQI is coming to grips with their ever-shrinking habitat. Al Qaeda is on the run. They are demoralized and being fractured and re-fractured.
Please click here to read Sudarsan Raghavan’s article in the Washington Post.
...these days even the Democratic Party seems to be turning into Nixonland.Paul Krugman tries to convince us today that the Dems are getting as nasty as the old Nixon boys. If you read carefully, he seems to think this because his personal favorite, Hillary, is getting beaten by Obama; and, quite frankly, he doesn't like it.
Thankfully, he is finally drawing fire from all corners and being exposed for the crank that he is. Ann Althouse wonders if he has his metaphors mixed, Glenn Reynolds quotes a reader who can't believe that Krugman paints the Clintons as victims, and even The New Republic thinks he's lost touch:
Since Krugman has not been showing even fake evenhandedness for months now, I suppose this disclaimer should count as a step in the right direction. And what are the examples of "venom," anyway? Oh right, he doesn't have any, other than the obligatory reference to David Schuster's stupid comment about Chelsea Clinton.Is the world finally waking up?
"But Merkel is a conservative. Meir fought for Israel’s survival in the Yom Kippur War. Even Condoleezza Rice’s term as secretary of state has not been hailed as a great advance for women and/or African-Americans. So is a leader who happens to be a women only hailed as advancement if she pursues a feminist agenda outlined by NOW or the Code Pink sisters?Typically, the most successful women in the world aren't the namby pampy fools who run NOW or publish magazines. They are tough-minded realists who know that shooting to kill is always an option, and they don't apologize for who they are. Sound familiar?
It raises serious questions when Ms. magazine last month refused to run an American Jewish Congress ad hailing Israel’s powerful women leaders: Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, with the words “This is Israel.”"
"Income statistics, however, don’t tell the whole story of Americans’ living standards. Looking at a far more direct measure of American families’ economic status — household consumption — indicates that the gap between rich and poor is far less than most assume, and that the abstract, income-based way in which we measure the so-called poverty rate no longer applies to our society."
KUWAIT CITY — Valentine’s Day is just three days away, but one Muslim politician is heading up a committee to make sure it goes completely ignored.
Kuwaiti MP Waleed Al-Tabtabae, head of the National Assembly’s Committee Monitoring Negative Alien Practices, will chair his group Wednesday to discuss ways to repress all public displays recognizing the international day of love. “We want to discuss measures that should be taken by these ministries to prevent such alien events from impacting Kuwaiti society and spreading corruption among the Kuwaiti youth,” Al-Tabtabae told reporters Monday. ...
Saudi Arabia, which had strongly condemned public Valentine’s Day celebrations, has eased its ban, allowing the sale of cards and candy, but still prohibiting public exhibitions of affection.
Michael Totten warns of rumblings in Lebanon again. "Just a few nights ago I said to some out of town friends that I thought another war, between Hezbollah and whichever adversary first decides to pick up the sword, is all but inevitable in Lebanon. I wish it weren't so, but it probably is. If the Israelis don't do it, someone in Lebanon will unless the Syrian and Iranian regimes are first brought to heel."
On Super Bowl Sunday, Duke University played host to a group of strippers, prostitutes, phone-sex operators, and others in a 'Sex Workers Art Show.This doesn't need much in the way of elaboration; but I suggest you read the whole post so that you can try and fathom the depth of the stupidity of the Duke University administration relative to the rape case of 2006. You can't make this stuff up...
"Netflix Inc., the online movie rental company, said Monday it is switching exclusively to the Blu-ray format for high-definition DVDs, following four major movie studios in selecting the Sony technology over one pushed by Toshiba Corp."Another nail in the HD-DVD coffin as far as I am concerned. This is a good thing - Blu-Ray should be a better format because of its greater storage capacity, and we can start focusing on a single format going forward. Prices will come down faster and adoption rates will increase. Sony finally wins one!!
"Wake up, fellow Israelis, it’s over, we’ve won! What is more we’ve won a lot: more than 8,000 square miles out of the 10,400 square miles of the British Mandate for Palestine. And most Palestinians have accepted this territorially lopsided resolution of the 100-year-old dispute."In spite of everything that's been going on, there's nothing wrong with rubbing a whole mess of salt in the Arab wound.....Heh.
For the first time, scientists of the Food and Drug Administration have launched studies to identify the chemical composition of tattoo and permanent makeup inks.
They want to know how the chemicals break down in the body, the long-term safety effects and the products that may pose the greatest risk.
Big Media types are always claiming that bloggers should adopt their standards. I have decided that they are right. So here, for the first time ever, is a blog post written according to the standards of the Los Angeles Times. (In a separate post, I will explain, line by line, how the post meets the paper’s standards.)Once again, here is a perfect example of what's wrong with today's mainstream journalism, and how the blogosphere is working to set things right. Bravo...
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in an effort to deal with food shortages nationwide, threatened today to expropriate farms and raised the price rice producers are permitted to charge.
Fallow farmland ``can't be allowed,'' Chavez said on his weekly television and radio broadcast, calling for the National Guard to take over farms with nonproductive lands. He also announced a price boost of 44 percent for rice growers."
Sunday, February 10, 2008
“Ever since you started X-raying our shoes, I’ve been forced to carry all my plastic explosives in my pants, which I find most inconvenient.”
Anonymous poster on the new T.S.A. blog, www.tsa.gov/blog/
Well, you've got to give them credit for trying. It's a job that cannot be done...
More than just a phone and an iPod squeezed into a nice little form factor, it's a whole new platform for portable computing. The screen is incredibly gorgeous and readable for its size, and the user interface is a miracle of ergonomic engineering. Apple designs their products to make life easy for their users - Microsoft designs their products to be good for their stockholders. More to follow...