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July 31, 2007

Incredible College Ignorance

Proof that too many students at the University of Vermont are terribly ignorant.

Most of the women interviewed at the University of Vermont, as seen in this YouTube video, think women's suffrage is "women's suffering" and want to end it.

Hmmm. So much for the outdated notion that an educated young person should know a bit about the history of the struggle for civil liberties.

I suspect you would get similar responses at too many institutions of higher learning.

H/T Phi Beta Cons





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Hitchens Nails One

I disagree with Christopher Hitchens when it comes to his assertions about religion generally, but the conclusion to his column pointing out that fear dominates our society's treatment of Islam, and the special sensitivity that too many advocate towards that faith.

There can be no concession to sharia in the United States. When will we see someone detained, or even cautioned, for advocating the burning of books in the name of God? If the police are honestly interested in this sort of "hate crime," I can help them identify those who spent much of last year uttering physical threats against the republication in this country of some Danish cartoons. In default of impartial prosecution, we have to insist that Muslims take their chance of being upset, just as we who do not subscribe to their arrogant certainties are revolted every day by the hideous behavior of the parties of God.

It is often said that resistance to jihadism only increases the recruitment to it. For all I know, this commonplace observation could be true. But, if so, it must cut both ways. How about reminding the Islamists that, by their mad policy in Kashmir and elsewhere, they have made deadly enemies of a billion Indian Hindus? Is there no danger that the massacre of Iraqi and Lebanese Christians, or the threatened murder of all Jews, will cause an equal and opposite response? Most important of all, what will be said and done by those of us who take no side in filthy religious wars? The enemies of intolerance cannot be tolerant, or neutral, without inviting their own suicide. And the advocates and apologists of bigotry and censorship and suicide-assassination cannot be permitted to take shelter any longer under the umbrella of a pluralism that they openly seek to destroy.

To answer Hitchens, though, the answer seems to be that there is not a possibility of a violent response to Islam when atrocities are regularly and gruesomely carried out in its name. We know that because we have seen, time and time again, that the rest of us stand by as Islamic barbarism is perpetrated against us and out co-religionists (or, in Hitchens' case, co-irreligionists). When there is a response, the meekest voices among us demand that we turn the other cheek, forgetting that the same Christ said that the day would come when his followers would need to buy a sword to defend themselves.

Of course, I do not suggest that we need to duplicate the methods of the jihadi swine who engage in riots, bombings hostage-taking and murder to advance their malignant faith. I do not advocate that we behead innocent Muslims or otherwise murder random Islamic hostages. But I do insist that it is right and proper that people of good will speak out against the teachings and actions of the Islamists -- and that we not hold back for fear of radicalizing those who object to such condemnations as treading upon what they hold sacred.

And to the Muslim who demands that we not blaspheme against the Koran or Muhammad, let me remind you of an inconvenient truth -- Islam's teachings that the Bible is corrupt and that Jesus is a human prophet and not the eternally preexistent Son of God constitutes blasphemy to the ears of Christians. Shall we impose upon you the penalties that you and your faith demand upon those who tread upon your religious sensitivities and sacred tenets?

H/T Blogs for Bush





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Will We Get

Riots?

Beheadings?

Media condemnation?

Hate crime prosecutions?

I doubt it -- they are only ridiculing Jesus and demonstrating hatred for Christians.

While college students are thrown in jail on multiple felony charges for pranks involving Korans, Hollywood merrily continues a campaign of ridicule against Christianity, which does not enjoy the favor Islam does in our politically correct establishment. The latest assault is The Ten, a comedy spoof of the Ten Commandments, which features a lecherous Jesus who corrupts a virgin librarian.

How daringly provocative, in a vulgar sixth-grade bully sort of way.

I'm curious -- where is the film mocking the false prophet Muhammad and the heresy of Islam?

H/T Moonbattery





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Common Sense On NCLB

Here is a change I can support on No Child Left Behind -- but one that probably won't make it into law.

The House education committee chairman called yesterday for "serious changes" to the No Child Left Behind law, including new ways to measure school progress, in a proposal some Republicans fear could jeopardize efforts to renew the law this year.

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the chairman, said the five-year-old law, a cornerstone of President Bush's domestic policy, has put too much emphasis on standardized testing.

* * *

Miller said he expects that the House will vote in September on legislation to renew the law, which requires students to be tested in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. Schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress on those tests face possible sanctions.

But Miller said yesterday that schools should be able to include measures besides the reading and math tests in determining progress, such as graduation rates or the number of students passing Advanced Placement exams. "Many Americans do not believe that the success of our students or of our schools can be measured by one test administered on one day, and I agree with them," he said.

Some civil rights groups have expressed concern that such changes could weaken the law. "In our experience, institutions that are held accountable for too many things are, in the end, accountable for nothing," several groups that back the law, such as the Citizens' Commission for Civil Rights and the Education Trust, wrote in a recent letter to Miller.

Please understand -- I am a supporter of the notion that we need testing in order to hold schools and teachers -- and , most importantly, students -- accountable for learning, but I do not always believe that the current testing regimes in place do that. We here in Texas will be making a change in a few years because ours really does not do that -- and something NCLB needs to ensure that other states do so as well.





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Raid At Home Of Senator Ted Stevens

Accusations over close ties to lobbyists have led to the search of the home of Senator Ted Stevens.

Agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service raided the Alaska home of Sen. Ted Stevens (R) yesterday as part of a broad federal investigation of political corruption in the state that has also swept up his son and one of his closest financial backers, officials said.

Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, is under scrutiny from the Justice Department for his ties to an Alaska energy services company, Veco, whose chief executive pleaded guilty in early May to a bribery scheme involving state lawmakers.

Contractors have told a federal grand jury that in 2000, Veco executives oversaw a lavish remodeling of Stevens's house in Girdwood, an exclusive ski resort area 40 miles from Anchorage, according to statements by the contractors.

Stevens said in a statement that his attorneys were advised of the impending search yesterday morning. He said he would not comment on details of the inquiry to avoid "any appearance that I have attempted to influence its outcome."

If he broke the law, I urge vigorous prosecution. I don't embrace criminals holding office under the my party's banner -- that is the custom of the Democrats.

So far there are no reports of cash hidden in the freezer.





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Thompson Fundraising

Some folks are ready to write off Fred Thompson due to early fundraising numbers.

Fred Thompson plans to announce Tuesday that his committee to test the waters for a Republican presidential campaign raised slightly more than $3 million in June, substantially less than some backers had hoped, according to Republican sources.

Thompson plans to make the disclosure in a filing with the Internal Revenue Service, as he continues to operate his prospective campaign as a political organization that does not require disclosure to the Federal Election Commission.

Many Republicans had seen the Law & Order actor and former U.S. senator from Tennessee as a potential savior in a tough election cycle.

He attracted support from such top-shelf party figures as Mary Matalin, Liz Cheney, George P. Bush and other GOP stalwarts who saw him as a potential Hillary Clinton slayer.

But many Republicans have turned queasy as Thompson has ousted part of his original brain trust and repeatedly delayed his official announcement, which is now planned for shortly after Labor Day, in the first two weeks of September.

Some are already saying a prospective Thompson run is a flop. I just dont see it anymore, said a key Republican who had been extremely enthusiastic about a Thompson candidacy.

"That number is really underwhelming. There were indications it could be double that. They've been saying that people were waiting for Fred, and the money was going to pour in. He looks like he's already losing momentum."

Some thoughts on this.

1) This represents only a one month's worth of fundraising. All things considered, not bad.

2) Exploratory committees are only supposed to raise "what could reasonably be expected to be used for exploratory activities. As Captain Ed has pointed out, Politico (which now is questioning the "low" numbers) raised that issue weeks ago -- and there have already been accusations by the KOS-sacks are, in fact, accusing Thompson of raising TOO MUCH money under that provision.

3) There are many Republicans, especially among the grass roots, who don't give to exploratory committees -- we wait for a candidate to formally announce before writing our checks.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Perri Nelson's Website, Rosemary's Thoughts, third world county, DeMediacratic Nation, Right Truth, Adam's Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Republican National Convention Blog, Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, and Pursuing Holiness, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 08:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some More Thoughts On Chief Justice Roberts' Health

According to reports, Chief Justice John Roberts is resting comfortably following yesterday's seizure. At this point, there is no additional information as to the cause of the "benign idiopathic seizure" which led to his hospitalization yesterday.

I did encounter some interesting information as I perused various articles.

Take this from the New York Times' excellent Supreme Court reporter, Linda Greenhouse.

In an interview on Monday evening, Dr. David J. Langer, the director of cerebrovascular neurosurgery at St. Lukes-Roosevelt, Beth Israel and Long Island College Hospital, said that medical care after such a seizure should include a good M.R.I., CAT scan and EEG. All these tests are available at the Penobscot Bay Medical Center, according to the hospitals Web site.

But the chances theyll find anything and be able to do anything about it are pretty low, said Dr. Langer, who is also an assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University.

In the majority of seizures you see no anatomical cause, he said. Such a cause could be a tumor, bleeding in the brain, a clogged blood vessel or an injury.

Dr. Langer said it could be difficult for doctors to decide whether the chief justice, who at 52 is the youngest member of the court, should start taking medications, which Dr. Langer said have significant side effects. Chief Justice Roberts appears otherwise healthy and is not known to have any chronic medical problems.

In other words, given that the Chief Justice has had only two seizures and they are nearly 15 years apart, there is some disagreement as to whether or not the medications are really necessary. The "significant side effects" comment strikes me as a bit of over-kill, though, as I have worked with a number of colleagues with epilepsy over the year and have known only one to have exhibited major side effects from the medication. After all, most long-term medications (such as my diabetes and blood pressure medications) do have significant side effects, but not for all (or even a majority of) patients.

Indeed, the disagreement over how to classify and treat Roberts' seizures (if ongoing treatment is necessary) is highlighted later in the article.

Dr. John W. Miller, a professor of neurology and director of the University of Washingtons regional epilepsy center in Seattle, said that anyone who had more than one seizure, no matter how many years apart, should be classified as having epilepsy.

Based on news accounts, Dr. Miller said, Chief Justice Robertss epilepsy would be categorized as cryptogenic, meaning that there is presumably a cause but that doctors cannot identify it.

Statistically, he said, it is extremely unlikely that this seizure represents a brain tumor. Fewer than 5 percent of those with recurrent seizures have brain tumors as a cause, and a very slowly progressing brain tumor would be rare.

However, as pointed out in an email to me last night, even if one presumes (as Dr. Miller does) that the Chief Justice can legitimately be diagnosed as having epilepsy, that does not necessarily indicate mental illness or intellectual incapacity. After all, the following modern individuals are known to have suffered from epilepsy.

Despite the stigma, many famous people have suffered from the disorder and excelled in spite of it. They include:

* Bud Abbott, American comedian of Abbott and Costello fame
* Richard Burton, Welsh actor
* Truman Capote, American author
* Lewis Carroll, English author and mathematician
* Dante Alighieri, Italian author
* Charles Dickens, English author
* Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian author
* Danny Glover, American actor
* Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter
* Margaux Hemingway, American actress, granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway
* Elton John, English pop singer
* James Madison, fourth U.S. president
* Guy de Maupassant, French author
* Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist, engineer and founder of the Nobel Prize awards
* Niccolo Paganini, Italian violinist
* Peter the Great, Russian czar
* Edgar Allen Poe, American author
* Neil Young, Canadian rock musician
* Jonathan Swift, English author
* Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer
* Alfred Lord Tennyson, English poet
* Lord Byron, English poet

There are some truly great and creative minds on that list -- including the man often described as the Father of the Constitution. Given Roberts' lifelong fidelity to that document, I think that he is in excellent company.

There are, of course, other figures who some historians speculate also had epilepsy, though time and the tenuousness of evidence makes classifying these individuals less certain.

Some historical researchers believe there is evidence to suggest that the following famous figures may have also suffered from seizure disorders:

* Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia
* Aristotle, Greek philosopher/scientist
* Napoleon Bonaparte, French general/emperor
* Buddha, founder of Buddhism
* Julius Caesar, Roman emperor
* Hannibal, Carthaginian general
* Michelangelo, Italian painter/sculptor
* Mohammed, prophet of Islam
* Sir Isaac Newton, British mathematician
* Pythagoras, Greek mathematician
* Saint Paul the Apostle, a father of the early Catholic Church
* Socrates, Greek philosopher
* Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect and engineer

All are known to have suffered from some sort of seizures at some time, as reported by historical documents. While I might not agree with every classification, it is again pretty clear that a history of seizures is not a bar to success in life. That should demonstrate that this incident is not necessarily a prelude to the Chief Justice's retirement from public life. As I said last night, there is nothing in this incident that should be seen as barring his remaining on the court for another three decades or so.

A second point that I feel needs to be brought up is the earlier seizure. Folks speculated that it was hidden from the administration and from senators at the time of his confirmation hearings. That issue can be definitively laid to rest.

Newsweek reported in November 2005 that Roberts suffered a seizure in January 1993 while golfing. "It was stunning and out of the blue and inexplicable," Larry Robbins, a Justice Department colleague, told the magazine. Robbins said Roberts was not allowed to drive for several months after the seizure and took the bus to work. The magazine quoted a senior White House aide as describing the episode as an "isolated, idiosyncratic seizure."

There is no record of any discussion of the 1993 seizure or of Roberts's health in general during his confirmation hearings. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who chaired the hearings, told CNN on Monday night that senators were told about the previous episode but did not find it serious enough to ask Roberts about. Roberts has no known history of major illness.

Senators knew about the 1993 seizure, but absent any other history of seizures found it to be unimportant. Those seeking to disqualify Roberts based upon the incident (or upon a presumptive diagnosis of epilepsy arising from this incident) find themselves in the position of arguing that the Senate should have considered (or should today consider) an issue that private employers are forbidden to consider -- a real or perceived disability on the part of a candidate for a job. And since there is nothing inherent in epilepsy that would preclude the Chief Justice fully and effectively doing his job, it strikes me that they are seeking to create an ideology exception to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And again, as I noted yesterday, the level of hatred being spewed by liberal sites deemed "mainstream" among Democrats is pretty frightening. When Bill Clinton fell ill during the 2004 presidential election, we on the right offered prayers and best wishes, despite our previous opposition to the former President and our general dislike of his wife. Contrasted with the comments found on Democratic Underground, DailyKos, and other sites of that ilk. I won't drive them traffic, though, so no links from me.

UPDATE: Chief Justice Roberts has been released from the hospital and says he is doing well.

H/T Malkin, Ace, Bill's Bites, Volokh, Volunteer Opinion Journal, Texas Rainmaker

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July 30, 2007

Chief Justice John Roberts Hospitalized

This report is disturbing, but not necessarily a sign that the Chief Justice will need to leave the bench any time in the next three decades.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., a seasonal resident of Hupper Island, located off Port Clyde, will be staying overnight at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport following a seizure.

St. George Ambulance responded to a call at about 2 p.m. Monday of a man who had fallen 5 to 10 feet and landed on a dock, hitting the back of his head. The patient was ashen and was foaming at the mouth. National news report quotes a Supreme Court spokeswoman as saying that Roberts was conscious the entire time of the incident. That spokeswoman has not returned a telephone call to the newspaper.

PBMC issued a statement at about 7 p.m., saying that Roberts was being kept overnight as a precaution and was recovered. He suffered some minor scrapes from the fall, the hospital stated. A comprehensive neurological examination was administered to the chief justice and the seizure was determined to be a benign one, the hospital stated. The chief justice suffered a similar seizure in 1993.

According to a Supreme Court spokesperson, Roberts is fine.

Arberg said Roberts suffered "a benign, idiopathic seizure," medical terminology for an attack whose origin is unknown. She said Roberts suffered a similar episode in 1993.

Seizures are any "sudden, abnormal electrical activity" in the brain, according to background information posted online by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.

While some seizures are focused in one part of the brain, government researchers note, others can be generalized. Not all seizures involve convulsions.

"Most seizures last from 30 seconds to two minutes and do not cause lasting harm," the Institute said. "However, it is a medical emergency if seizures last longer than 5 minutes or if a person has many seizures and does not wake up between them."

While seizures can be the result of a brain disorder such as epilepsy, the Institute notes they can also be a consequence of fevers, head injuries or even medication side effects.

Let's consider the term used -- benign idiopathic seizure. It indicates that it is an incident that caused no significant harm to the Chief Justice and does not seem to be related to any underlying medical condition. It may yet turn out to be caused by any number of relatively trivial circumstances, including low electrolytes or a reaction to a flashing light source. Based upon the initial diagnosis, there is no reason to believe that the Chief Justice should not be able to return to his duties at full strength by the end of the summer recess -- or that he won't be able to resume his normal schedule by the weekend, for that matter.

The Leftard-sphere has reacted with its usual level of (no) class and (no) decency, and I've already seen posts and comments hoping that he is incapacitated, dies, and "damned to Hell". I won't drive any traffic their way.

Decent Americans (or all political stripes) send their prayers and/or best wishes for the Chief Justice and his family.

H/T Malkin, Ace, Bill's Bites,





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More Religious Oppression In China

Human rights don't mean a thing if you are a religious believer in China.

Four priests from China's underground Roman Catholic church were detained by police, a U.S.-based monitoring group said Sunday.

Three priests were detained Tuesday in the northern region of Inner Mongolia after fleeing their hometown to avoid arrest for refusing to join the state-sanctioned church, the Cardinal Kung Foundation announced. It said the fourth priest was detained in early July in the northern province of Hebei following a motorcycle accident.

The world cries out in outrage when someone looks askance at a Muslim. Where is the voice of the world community on behalf of the oppressed religious believers of China?





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We Don't Have To Lose In Iraq

If the spineless don't prevent it. At least that is what a couple of scholars from the definitely-not-conservative Brookings Institution have to say on the matter

VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administrations critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administrations miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily victory but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

And then Michael E. OHanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack go on to point to the real progress in Iraq that tends to get glossed over in favor of bad news stories. Things are, in fact, getting better in Iraq, and the US effort there is showing great success. Indeed, it is only on the political front that there is weakness.

What needs to be done?

In the end, the situation in Iraq remains grave. In particular, we still face huge hurdles on the political front. Iraqi politicians of all stripes continue to dawdle and maneuver for position against one another when major steps towards reconciliation or at least accommodation are needed. This cannot continue indefinitely. Otherwise, once we begin to downsize, important communities may not feel committed to the status quo, and Iraqi security forces may splinter along ethnic and religious lines.

How much longer should American troops keep fighting and dying to build a new Iraq while Iraqi leaders fail to do their part? And how much longer can we wear down our forces in this mission? These haunting questions underscore the reality that the surge cannot go on forever. But there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.

But that isn't what the Democrats want. They seek to begin withdrawing troops within 90 days, and to have the American military essentially out of Iraq by spring. Even the plans for a slow withdrawal have all the troops home within a year. Such plans, however, surrender American and Iraqi success to violence and bloodshed on an unspeakable level. And while the New York Times and liberal elites don't seen preventing genocide as a value to be upheld, those with a moral compass do -- especially when we are on the verge of ensuring that such a Holocaust does not come to pass.

UPDATE: Fortunately, the American people are beginning to see the truth in Iraq, even if it bugs the crap out of the NY Times. H/T Don Surber





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It's All In How You Spin The Story

Take this one, for example.

Fewer See Balance in Court's Decisions

Sounds bad, until you read the actual story.

About half of the public thinks the Supreme Court is generally balanced in its decisions, but a growing number of Americans say the court has become "too conservative" in the two years since President Bush began nominating justices, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Nearly a third of the public -- 31 percent -- thinks the court is too far to the right, a noticeable jump since the question was last asked in July 2005. That's when Bush nominated John G. Roberts Jr. to the court and, in the six-month period that followed, the Senate approved Roberts as chief justice and confirmed Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

In other words, 7 in 10 Americans believe the Supreme Court is either in balance or too liberal -- but that isn't what the media wants to focus on. Instead, they focus on the Americans of a liberal bent -- and even then can find less than 1/3 of the public who find the High Court to be too conservative. Indeed, with roughly half the public finding the court to be just about right, it strikes me that we need to ensure that the Court does more of what it has done this term.

And while the story notes that the public disagrees with the school desegregation decision handed down at the end of the term, I'm not surprised. After all, the media generally presented the story as a setback for civil rights rather than the step forward towards non-discrimination that it really was. The majority explicitly upheld Brown v. Board of Education's central holding -- that assigning students to school based upon their race is a violation of the Constitution. Given teh misreporting of the story by the press, it is no wonder that the American public is misinformed about that decision -- and I firmly believe that the public would agree with the holding if they wee presented with the truth.





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July 29, 2007

Marvin Zindler -- RIP

Earlier this month I noted that Houston television legend Marvin Zindler was gravely ill. Today he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.

For nearly two generations, he's been part of Houston, never farther away than a television set.

Marvin was a product of Houston and never strayed from his home. His father was the first mayor of Bellaire. Marvin was a drum major at Lamar High School. One thing he was not was cut out for his family's clothing business. Marvin as it's said marched to his own beat.

First he took to the radio and then TV. He was fired from his first on-air job at KPRC in the 50's. Marvin claims he was told he was too ugly. So he embraced plastic surgery.

With a career in law enforcement, Marvin served warrants for the sheriff's office and started the consumer fraud division. His exploits got him noticed and in 1973, at my request, he was hired here at Channel 13.

As Marvin would say, he wasted no time in making news. First he exposed the goings on at a house of ill repute in La Grange known as the Chicken Ranch. The confrontation between Marvin and the sheriff is stuff of legend and the basis for a Broadway musical.

The bread and butter of Marvin's Action 13 though was representing the people who'd been cheated out of what was owed them or ignored by government.

And so it went for nearly 35 years. It was an unprecedented career for a man who was more than a personality. Marvin Zindler was a true character, one who will never be replaced.

I urge you to watch the videos -- they chronicle a true character, and have excerpts from the classic "Chicken Ranch" reports, which led to his being immortalized as the thinly disguised Melvin P. Thorpe in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.

Houston media will never be the same.

Farewell, Marvin.





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LA Times Demands Mercy For American Taliban

Un-FREAKIN'-believable! Now we have a major metropolitan newspaper calling for the release of the little jihadi pig from California. I'll just quote the whole thing, as it is utterly beyond belief.

The president's power to grant clemency -- in the form of either a pardon or a commutation -- is much maligned and occasionally abused, as was the case when President Bush used it to keep his colleague, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, from facing even a day in prison for lying and obstructing justice. But the power has its appropriate uses as well, and the case of John Walker Lindh calls out for it.

Known unfortunately as "the American Taliban," Lindh became a symbol for fanaticism, even treason, in the early months of the nation's response to Sept. 11. He was apprehended in late 2001 in the mountains of Afghanistan, where, at the age of 20, he was serving in the army of a nation that harbored terrorists, including Osama bin Laden. Weak and wounded, he was blindfolded and duct-taped naked to a stretcher, kept incommunicado in an uninsulated shipping container and interrogated by intelligence and FBI agents. Once home, he was charged with terrorism in a 10-count indictment, deliberately sought by the government in the Eastern District of Virginia, then still reeling from the attack on the Pentagon.

Lindh was pilloried by officials at the highest levels of the government. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft called him an "Al Qaeda-trained terrorist," and the charges against Lindh originally included conspiring to commit terrorism. Those charges were dropped, however, and Lindh today is serving time not for any act committed against the United States, but for violating a Clinton-era presidential order that prohibits providing "services" to the Taliban. Lindh, who converted to Islam as a teenager, joined the Taliban before Sept. 11, not after; he did so to fight the Northern Alliance, not the United States. Lindh never took up arms against this country. He never engaged in terrorism; indeed, his commitment to Islam leads him to oppose the targeting of civilians.

John Walker Lindh broke the law. He pleaded guilty to the one crime of which he was guilty -- aiding the Taliban -- and to carrying a gun and hand grenades in the service of that regime's war against the Northern Alliance. For that, he deserved to go to prison, and he should not receive a pardon. He is a felon, and his record should never be cleared.

The issue, then, is not Lindh's guilt but his sentence. He was ordered to spend 20 years in prison, far longer than comparably situated defendants. Maher Mofeid Hawash pleaded guilty to violating the same law, and, after he agreed to cooperate, the government recommended that he serve seven to 10 years in prison. Yaser Esam Hamdi, who fought with Lindh in the Taliban military, was released back to Saudi Arabia in 2004, having spent less than four years in custody. David Hicks, an Australian, pleaded guilty to terror charges before a military commission and was sentenced to nine months. Of all the suspects rounded up across the world in the administration's war on terror, only shoe bomber Richard Reid, who actively attempted to destroy a plane in flight, is serving a longer sentence than Lindh. And to deepen the inequity, Lindh's sentence also gags him, preventing him from protesting his confinement or discussing his interrogation and treatment.

Some will object that Lindh pleaded guilty knowing he could receive this sentence. His plea was entered, however, under what one can only call extreme duress. A poll of potential jurors in the Eastern District of Virginia at that time found that more than a third were ready to sentence him to death without even hearing the case against him. His lawyers cut the best deal they could, but Lindh has spent nearly a quarter of his life in custody for his foolish decision to pursue his religious convictions by aiding another country in its civil war. Without relief, he will spend another dozen years, at least, behind bars.

The concept of mercy spans testaments and faiths, and any system of justice requires the embrace of mercy for leavening and legitimacy. In this case, justice has been served by Lindh's time in prison. Now Bush is uniquely positioned to grant mercy, for while many will long argue over the effectiveness of his war on terror, none question his commitment to it. By giving Lindh a commutation, Bush could prove that his war is, as he often and properly asserts, not against Islam but against those who seek to harm America. Lindh never sought to harm his country; he has served long enough. Bush should send him home.

John Walker Lindh deserved nothing less than a bullet to the back of the head. So does every other terrorist. He was, in fact, involved in a prison uprising that resulted in the death of a CIA agent. His release even one second short of 20 years would be a travesty of justice even greater than the one that occurred when a jury was not allowed impose a sentence that would have sent him to join the rest of his ilk in Hell.

UPDATE PoweLine details the crimes of John Walker Lindh

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|| Greg, 11:18 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Clinton Administration Wouldn't Forswear Torture

And so we didn't get intel about bin Laden from the Brits in 1998.

Ministers insisted that British secret agents would only be allowed to pass intelligence to the CIA to help it capture Osama bin Laden if the agency promised he would not be tortured, it has emerged.

MI6 believed it was close to finding the al-Qaida leader in Afghanistan in 1998, and again the next year. The plan was for MI6 to hand the CIA vital information about Bin Laden. Ministers including Robin Cook, the then foreign secretary, gave their approval on condition that the CIA gave assurances he would be treated humanely. The plot is revealed in a 75-page report by parliament's intelligence and security committee on rendition, the practice of flying detainees to places where they may be tortured.

You see, the practice of rendition -- much condemned by terrorist-sympathizing liberals today -- was begun by one William Jefferson Clinton during his term as President. The British wanted assurances that the terrorist mastermind would not be subject to that practice before they would help the US capture him.

It is therefore fair to say (using the rhetoric of the deranged left-wingers who place the comfort of terrorists above the lives of innocents) that Bill Clinton's policy favoring torture was a proximate cause of 9/11.

I'm wonder what the position of the leading Democrat presidential candidate is on this revelation?

H/T Don Surber, Say Anything





|| Greg, 10:53 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But They Would Still Rather Close Gitmo

Even though the folks there have this funny tendency to be terrorists -- and return to terrorism after release.

AT LEAST 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following their release.

They have been discovered mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in Iraq, a US Defence Department spokesman told The Age yesterday.

Commander Jeffrey Gordon said the detainees had, while in custody, falsely claimed to be farmers, truck drivers, cooks, small-arms merchants, low-level combatants or had offered other false explanations for being in Afghanistan.

"We are aware of dozens of cases where they have returned to militant activities, participated in anti-US propaganda or engaged in other activities," said Commander Gordon.

I guess we can just chalk that one up as another inconvenient truth for the Democrats -- one that the US media is likely to ignore because it doesn't fit with their skewed view on the crusade against jihadism.


H/T Malkin





|| Greg, 10:39 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Proof The Left Doesn't Support Fairness In Media

I caught this little blurb in one of the articles on left-wing attempts to target FoxNews advertisers.

Groups like the Sierra Club have targeted Home Depot because they believe it's inconsistent for the company to promote environmentally friendly products while advertising on a network that has questioned global warming.

Oh -- so you mean that all sides of the issue shouldn't be presented? That "fair and balanced" treatment of the issue really means that only one side should be heard -- even though there is significant questioning of the underlying premise that human beings are causing global warming?

It appears to me that the problem is not that FoxNews isn't fair and balanced -- it is that the rest of the news media is not, and they want to silence the only dissenting voice.





|| Greg, 09:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Impact Of Cut-And-Run Democrats

What do the constant claims that "the war is lost" and we need to "bring them home now" have on America's position in Iraq?

Try to imagine what was running through the mind of Hassan Kazemi Qomi, Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, as he sat across the negotiating table from his American counterpart, Ryan Crocker, last week. While the U.S. diplomat delivered his stern warning against Iranian meddling in Iraq, Qomi must have wondered: Why should I listen to this guy? Congress is going to start pulling U.S. troops out soon, no matter what he says.

That's the difficulty for Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus as they try to manage a stable transition in Iraq while Congress chants ever more loudly: "Troops out! Troops out!" It's hard for anyone to take American power seriously when prominent members of Congress are declaring the war already lost.

In short, though he essentially agrees with the position of this administration and those of us who still support victory in Iraq -- the Democrats in Congress have undercut the US military and national security with their efforts to ensure defeat in Iraq. Their efforts are making the situation in Iraq -- now and in the future -- worse rather than better.





|| Greg, 08:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NY Times Discounts Own Reporting

Yesterday, the new York Times ran an article that demonstrated that Alberto Gonzales told Congress the truth about disputes over NSA surveillance programs and his meeting with John Ashcroft.

Today, however, the New York Times insists that Alberto Gonzales be fired or impeached for not telling the truth about such dissent.

Their argument?

As far as we can tell, there are three possible explanations for Mr. Gonzaless talk about a dispute over other unspecified intelligence activities. One, he lied to Congress. Two, he used a bureaucratic dodge to mislead lawmakers and the public: the spying program was modified after Mr. Ashcroft refused to endorse it, which made it different from the one Mr. Bush has acknowledged. The third is that there was more wiretapping than has been disclosed, perhaps even purely domestic wiretapping, and Mr. Gonzales is helping Mr. Bush cover it up.

As far as I can tell, there are three possible explanations for the New York Times talk about the veracity of Mr. Gonzales comments and the need for his firing or impeachment.. One, they don't read their own newspaper. Two, the editorial page operates using a different set of facts than the newsroom does, making the reality on the editorial page different from the one that has been reported in the news pages of the New York Times . The third is that the facts don't matter to the editorial page of the New York Times, and that they therefore choose to ignore the reporting of their own reporters in an attempt to undermine the Bush administration.

Regardless, it is clear that the New York Times is no longer a reliable news source -- based upon the reporting and editorials of the New York Times.





|| Greg, 07:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Little Noted But Long Remembered by Right Wing Nut House, and ON THE FRONTLINE / Cpl. JOHN MATTHEW BISHOP: In the Shadows of Fallen Comrades by The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
3Little Noted But Long Remembered
Right Wing Nut House
1  2/3Russia Vs. The US: No Contest
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1  2/3Boy, Was Thomas Right
The Colossus of Rhodey
1  1/3Max Boot to Kissinger -- Iraq Isn't Vietnam, Henry
Okie on the Lam
1Snark vs. Smart 2
Done With Mirrors
1Palestinian Terrorists' Release -- Rattlesnake Logic
Joshuapundit
2/3The Limits of Student Speech and School Authority
Rhymes With Right
1/3Prisoners to Prisoner Releases
Soccer Dad
1/3Dubai Ports Weird
Big Lizards

VotesNon-council link
2ON THE FRONTLINE / Cpl. JOHN MATTHEW BISHOP: In the Shadows of Fallen Comrades
The Atlanta Journal Constitution
1  2/3Name That Party: Investigators
Don Surber
1  1/3General David Petraeus on the Conditions on the Ground in Iraq
Hugh Hewitt (2)
1Meanwhile, in the Real World.
Donklephant
1Watching the Debate Would Not Have Helped My Mental Health
Classical Values
1The Night Mitch McConnell Became the Leader of the Republican Party.
Hugh Hewitt
2/3The 9/11 Generation
The Weekly Standard (2)
2/3Defence Against the Dark Arts
The Possum Bistro
2/3(Updated) Foer: "Shock Troops" Just Practical Jokers
The Weekly Standard
2/3The Brahmins of Labor
Captain's Quarters
1/3Does Biden Really Have the Better Shine?
Kavips





|| Greg, 01:19 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 28, 2007

What The People Want

Ronald Reagan, not a "liberal" or "progressive".

The Gipper still has a hold on American hearts and minds. Of five political labels meant to designate presidential hopefuls, "like Reagan" proved to be the most popular in a new Rasmussen survey, trumping a quartet of more familiar descriptors.

The survey revealed that 44 percent of the respondents rated the phrase "like Reagan" positively, followed by "progressive," favored by 35 percent, "conservative" (32 percent), "moderate" (29 percent) and at the bottom, "liberal" (20 percent).

On the other hand, we have what amounts to a statistical dead heat between moderate, conservative, and progressive, each getting roughly 1/3 of the American people to view the term as positive when one takes into account the 3% margin of error.

And as far as progressive goes, I'm all for progress -- but what the left-wing is selling these days is hardly progress, but is instead nothing more than the same old failed liberal crap re-branded.





|| Greg, 04:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Free Speech And Pedophiles

Here's a chilling story from the New York Times -- how far does the First Amendment go to protect the speech of a pedophile about his perverse predilections?

The search for the self-described pedophile in the large-brimmed black hat commences nearly every day here, with findings posted on chat rooms frequented by mothers.

He was spotted at a fair in Santa Clarita. He recently emerged from the Social Security office on Olympic Boulevard. He tapped away on a computer at the library in Mar Vista. Warnings have gone out. Signs have been posted.

And yet unlike convicted sex offenders, who are required to stay away from places that cater to children, in this case the police can do next to nothing, because this man, Jack McClellan, who has had Web sites detailing how and where he likes to troll for children, appears to be doing nothing illegal.

But his mere presence in Los Angeles coupled with Mr. McClellans commitment to exhibitionistic blogging about his thoughts on little girls has set parents on edge. One group of mothers, whose members by and large have never met before, will soon band together in a coffee shop to hammer out plans to push lawmakers in Sacramento to legislate Mr. McClellan out of business.

Just the idea that this person could get away with what he was doing and no one could press charges has made me angry, said Jane Thompson, a stay-at-home mother in East Los Angeles who recently read Mr. McClellans comments about a festival in her neighborhood in which he seemed to be describing her child.

The sick thing here is that I see no legitimate way to shut down this sick bastard's website or limit his activities. After all, he has committed no crime, is legitimately in public places, and carefully treads a fine line to avoid inciting criminal acts.

The observation of law professor/blogger Eugene Volokh really sums up the problem well.

It is an interesting case, said Eugene Volokh, a law professor and First Amendment expert at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Professor Volokh cited a federal statute that bars the posting of bomb-making information on the Web, and suggested that a similar statute banning information that helps people find children to molest could be enacted, perhaps. But simply providing information about where children gather was not likely to constitute such a crime, he said.

In terms of childrens images, he said: The general rule is pictures of people in public are free for people to publish. Now if it is without permission and the person is a child and he suggests the children are sexual targets, you can imagine a court saying this is a new First Amendment exception. But it would be an uphill battle.

So how can we respond to a sick man like this, one who is engaged in legal activities in fulfillment of his sickest fantasies? Through vigilance and publicity.

Interestingly enough, the New York Times is behind the game. FoxNews wrote about this sick puppy in March.





|| Greg, 11:48 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Shocker! Democrat Front Group Finds Dems On Rise

But then again, when the group is run by a group of old Clinton, Kerry, and Kennedy hands, why would you expect anything else?

This is about what you'd expect, but Democracy Corps has released yet another survey demonstrating that the Republican Party is losing young people in droves. Among 18-29 year olds, 50% have a favorable view of the Democratic Party compared to only 35% for the Republican Party. There are plenty of reasons for this, but basically they hate George Bush, they hate the Iraq war, and they hate religious conservatives.

The good news, of course, is that people are brand loyal. Once they make up their minds in their twenties which party they like better, they generally stick with it for the rest of their lives. So the Republican Party's deal with the devil to embrace the Christian Right might have helped them out for a while, but in the long term it's a disaster. Sic transit etc.

So let's see -- a left-leaning columnist for a left-leaning publication is pumping a study bya left-leaning froup purporting to show that young people lean to the left. Like I should believe that there is any objectivity there.





|| Greg, 10:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Perhaps The Solution Is Sharia Air

If you want your every religious dictate respected by the airline, I guess you'll just have to take some of your cash and start your own.

A Qatar sheik held up a British Airways flight at Milans Linate airport for nearly three hours after discovering three of his female relatives had been seated next to men they did not know.

When none of the other business class passengers agreed to swap seats, the sheik, a member of Qatars ruling family, went to the pilot, who had already started the engine, to complain, an airport official said.

But the pilot ordered him and his traveling companions, the three women, two men, a cook and a servant, off the plane.

Some requests are reasonable. Demanding that other passengers be inconvenienced for your convenience is not. After all, reserving the seats in advance wouldn't have been so hard, would it? Or maybe you could have flown coach?

But if you want Islamic law imposed on airline flights, maybe you need your own airline.

UPDATE: This story is even worse than it initially sounded.

After passengers had fastened their seat-belts and the plane had taxied on to the runway, two male passengers in the entourage got up to protest about where the women were sitting.

According to the customs of Qatar and other Gulf states, women are not allowed to mix with men who are not relatives.

Cabin crew tried to rearrange the seats but passengers travelling together refused to give up their allotted places. The captain tried to mediate but after more than two and a half hours of wrangling he ordered the bulk of their royal party off the plane.

It is understood that five of the eight - including the princesses and the men who left their seats to protest - were removed.

So it appears that not only were did they demand that their views be accommodated, but they demanded that other passengers be seriously inconvenienced to make that accommodation. After all, they wanted to break up families and other parties traveling together to meet their convenience needs for their afternoon shopping trip. As it was, nearly half of those on the plane missed connecting flights because the captain took as long as he did trying to reach a compromise. A better solution would have been to give them 30 seconds to sit down, shut up, and and fly in their assigned seats -- or hump it back to Qatar by camel.





|| Greg, 09:53 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NY Times Can't Count

But what the heck -- they only misreported the number of refused shipments by 634%. And they expect us to believe any other piece of news they report?

The Food and Drug Administration refused entry to 82 candy shipments from Denmark in the last year, not 520, as The Times reported in an article in Business Day on July 12.

The article, which described the F.D.A.s rejection of shipments to the United States of food and other products for violations of sanitary, safety or labeling standards, detailed problems with shipments from India, Mexico, Denmark and the Dominican Republic. It was based on an analysis by The Times of inspection records in an online F.D.A. database.

Because of flaws in its analysis method, The Times miscalculated the number of shipments refused from those countries from July 2006 through June of this year.

In doing the analysis, The Times incorrectly tallied the number of violations cited by the F.D.A., and reported that figure as the number of refused shipments. Because more than one violation may be involved in each refused shipment, that approach resulted in an overcount, exaggerating the export problems.

Sloppy research, sloppy reporting, sloppy editing -- that's the New York Times!





|| Greg, 09:45 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Research Teams Hack Voting Machines

But I have to ask, does it really mean anything.

State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California's voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems' electronic functions, according to a University of California study released Friday.

The researchers "were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,'' said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the "top to bottom review" of every voting system certified by the state.

Neither Bowen nor the investigators were willing to say exactly how vulnerable California elections are to computer hackers, especially because the team of computer experts from the UC system had top-of-the-line security information plus more time and better access to the voting machines than would-be vote thieves likely would have.

Now what sort of information were these folks given?

"All information available to the secretary of state was made available to the testers,'' including operating manuals, software and source codes usually kept secret by the voting machine companies, said Matt Bishop, UC Davis computer science professor who led the "red team" hacking effort, said in his summary of the results.

Oh -- so the Secretary of State's office gave them the key to the lock and now loudly announces that the teams were able to open the front door. DUH!

Given unlimited access to the machines, unlimited information about them, and the latest in technological resources, a team of top researchers can break into the machines. But even the researchers recognize that their work does not mesh with real-world conditions.

And interestingly enough, the integrity of the computer code itself was found to be high, with no malicious software issues that could be used to alter the outcome of an election. So much for the claims of opponents of "black box voting" and screenwriters like those who produced Man of the Year.

The problem is, of course, that any system can be gamed. Considering the history of voting irregularities with paper ballots and computer punch cards, are the new electronic systems really any less secure? And while I would like to see a paper trail added to the electronic voting machines, I feel pretty secure about them.





|| Greg, 09:03 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (35) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Schumer Promises Obstruction Of Justice

After all, leading liberals believe they have a God-given right to control the courts and impose liberalism through the judiciary, no matter what the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of Americans.

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush except in extraordinary circumstances.

We should reverse the presumption of confirmation, Schumer told the American Constitution Society convention in Washington. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts, or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.

Schumers assertion comes as Democrats and liberal advocacy groups are increasingly complaining that the Supreme Court with Bushs nominees Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito has moved quicker than expected to overturn legal precedents.

Senators were too quick to accept the nominees word that they would respect legal precedents, and too easily impressed with the charm of Roberts and the erudition of Alito, Schumer said.

Let's see -- to the best of my knowledge, only one precedent was overturned last year, and that in a lawsuit dealing with product pricing. Brown v. Board of Education was vigorously upheld by the conservative majority -- much to the chagrin of liberals who wanted its central holding overturned so that government could classify students by race and then use that to send students to schools far from their homes, just like was done to little Linda Brown. They upheld the First Amendment by holding that government cannot ban all speech about officeholders prior to an election. Justice Kennedy (a moderate that liberals profess to admire) was able to further clarify the holding on partial-birth abortion from several years ago.

But not to worry -- if Schumer carries through on this threat, the GOP can pay it back in spades from blocking the confirmation of any nominee put forth by a Democrat in the White House. We may yet have a five judge court by the 2012 election.

H/T Malkin, Captain's Quarters

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson's Website, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, DeMediacratic Nation, 123beta, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Stuck On Stupid, Webloggin, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, The Bullwinkle Blog, Leaning Straight Up, , Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, Pursuing Holiness, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, Nuke's news and views, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, Wyvern Dreams, CommonSenseAmerica, Dumb Ox Daily News, High Desert Wanderer, Church and State, and Public Eye, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 08:11 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Satan's Robes OK For Defendant

Like this is going to help the guy's case when it is presented to a jury.

A satanist on trial for allegedly killing and dismembering another man, then eating portions of the body, may wear his full religious regalia when he defends himself in court, a Florida judge has ruled.

The prosecutor in the case, Assistant State Attorney Herbert E. Walker III, told WND the motion was brought by Lazaro Galindo, who is on trial for the 2000 death of Argelio Gonzalez.

It was approved by trial Judge Peter Adrien.

Walker said he did not object to the request, because Galindo cited recent decisions that have allowed Islam into U.S. courtrooms for Muslim faithful, and he didn't want to set up a circumstance that could result in grounds for an appeal if Galindo is convicted.

This strikes me as a particularly dumb move -- after all, it is likely to give teh jury a bad impression of a guy charged with murdering a man and then eating parts of his victim. But then again, maybe that is the idea -- seek to get off on the argument that he cannot get a fair trial because people are inherently biased against cannibalistic devil-worshipers.





|| Greg, 08:00 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 27, 2007

Romney To Give Speech On Religion Issue?

It looks like the former Massachusetts governor may have to address the Mormon issue head-on -- although it doesn't seem to be something he will do immediately.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday he'll probably deliver a speech explaining the role his Mormon faith plays in his political life, but he argued he's made strong gains among evangelicals despite questions about his religion.

"I have thought about that," Romney said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I haven't made a final decision, but it's probably more likely than not."

* * *

In the interview, Romney acknowledged the issue crops up often enough that he's pondering dealing with it in a comprehensive manner.

"It's probably too early for something like that," Romney said. "At some point it's more likely than not, but we'll see how things develop."

There is precedent for such a step. When John F. Kennedy sought the presidency in 1960, there was a whispering campaign about his Catholicism and he largely put the issue to rest by going to Texas to deliver a speech about the role that religion played in his life.

Romney said it's too early to decide what he would say in such a speech, largely because he hasn't made a final decision to deliver such a talk.

Personally, I don't think Mitt Romney can afford to wait to deal with the issue. His best bet, from where I stand, would be to address the issue at the time of the time of the Texas straw poll, in about five or six weeks. It is an event that all candidates are participating in, in a state where he does not already have a lead. What's more, Texas is a state where the evangelical wing of the GOP is strong -- and a strong showing following such a speech would be viewed as a sign that he has, in fact, laid the matter to rest.





|| Greg, 08:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Harry Potter Follow-Up

Just finished Deathly Hallows last night. I enjoyed the book, but was disappointed by the loose ends left hanging. Now I know why -- J.K. Rowling admits that she left out a lot of details about the years between the climax and the epilogue that seem to cry out for answers.

She has now revealed some of them.

We know that Harry marries Ginny and has three kids, essentially, as Rowling explains, creating the family and the peace and calm he never had as a child.

As for his occupation, Harry, along with Ron, is working at the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic. After all these years, Harry is now the department head.

Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department, Rowling said. They are now the experts. It doesnt matter how old they are or what else theyve done.

Meanwhile, Hermione, Rons wife, is pretty high up in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, despite laughing at the idea of becoming a lawyer in Deathly Hallows.

I would imagine that her brainpower and her knowledge of how the Dark Arts operate would really give her a sound grounding, Rowling said.

Harry, Ron and Hermione dont join the same Ministry of Magic they had been at odds with for years; they revolutionize it and the ministry evolves into a really good place to be.

They made a new world, Rowling said.


Personally, I found the details about Luna and Neville interesting as well. I wonder if Rowling ever expected Neville Longbottom to become the beloved character that he did. Indeed, I found his growth during the series to be almost as enjoyable to observe as I did the main plot of the series.

But not to worry -- it is very likely that there will be a Harry Potter encyclopedia, containing all that information and the back-stories about many of the characters and events. After all, Rowling has pages of material that she editted out that fans are dying for.





|| Greg, 08:09 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

John Edwards Proposes Taxing You To Create Savings Accounts For The Poor

Yeah, that's right -- that money you earned won't go in your savings account, but in the account of someone that John Edwards views as more worthy of your hard-earned dollars.

Among the proposals, Edwards would make long-term savings easier for low-income families with "Get Ahead Accounts" that would match savings up to $500 per year. He also would provide a tax credit he calls work bonds, which would also be matched and would go directly into savings accounts. He proposes exempting the first $250 in interest, capital gains and dividends to allow low-income families to get a start on savings tax-free.

This is a whole new level of government transfer payments -- not only will the federal government continue seeing that basic needs are met (not a power delegated to it by the Constitution, but a reality for decades), but now it is going to engage in a little wealth-building for them by guaranteeing that they all have savings accounts and regular deposits by Uncle Sugar.

Don Surber comments on another aspect of the Edwards plan.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson's Website, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, DeMediacratic Nation, 123beta, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Stuck On Stupid, Webloggin, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, The Bullwinkle Blog, Leaning Straight Up, , Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, Pursuing Holiness, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, Nuke's news and views, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, Wyvern Dreams, CommonSenseAmerica, Dumb Ox Daily News, High Desert Wanderer, Church and State, and Public Eye, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 07:48 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Maybe She Should Have Stuck To Cattle Futures

After all, then Democrats would have nothing to say about any particularly good deals Senator Murkowski made.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Thursday she and her husband will sell Alaska land back to its owner, a day after a complaint to the Senate ethics committee about the purchase of the riverfront property.

"While Verne and I intended to make this our family home and we paid a fair price for this land, no property is worth compromising the trust of the Alaskan people," the Alaska Republican said in a prepared statement.

Murkowski said the vacant lot was being sold back to a friend, real estate developer Bob Penney, for $179,400, the same price that she and her husband, Verne Martell, had paid Penney.

Murkowski has drawn criticism over the purchase late last year of property along the scenic Kenai River, southwest of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.

Real estate agents said the land could have fetched as much as $350,000. Penney, who lives two lots from the tract he sold Murkowski and owns the land in between, has said he considered the price paid a fair deal.

This seems to be a case of "less than meets the eye". However, I applaud the Senator for taking a course of action to end even the appearance of impropriety. After all, it isn't like she was making sweetheart deals with a a known criminal.





|| Greg, 07:12 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NASA Sabotage

Since this was for a part for the International Space Station, one has to ask if this sort of thing could explain some of the other problems up there.

A space program worker deliberately damaged a computer that is supposed to fly aboard shuttle Endeavour in less than two weeks, an act of sabotage that was caught before the equipment was loaded onto the spaceship, NASA said Thursday.

The unidentified employee, who works for a NASA subcontractor, cut wires inside the computer that is supposed to be delivered to the international space station by Endeavour, officials said.

The space agency declined to speculate on a motive.

The computer is supposed to measure the strain on a space station beam and relay the information to flight controllers on Earth.

The damage would have posed no danger to either shuttle or station astronauts, said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's space operations chief.

The worker also damaged a similar computer that was not meant to fly in space, Gerstenmaier said.

When i was a kid, the space program was teh pride of this country, and doing anything o harm any element of it would be unthinkable. here's hoping they throw the book at this idiot.





|| Greg, 07:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 26, 2007

Ruins Of Alexandria Before Alexander Found

Interesting news for my fellow history geeks.

The legendary city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great as he swept through Egypt in his quest to conquer the known world.

Now scientists have discovered hidden underwater traces of a city that existed at Alexandria at least seven centuries before Alexander the Great arrived, findings hinted at in Homer's Odyssey and which could shed light on the ancient world.

Alexandria was founded in Egypt on the shores of the Mediterranean in 332 B.C. to immortalize Alexander the Great.

The city was renowned for its library, once the largest in the world, as well as its lighthouse at the island of Pharos, one of the "Seven Wonders" of the ancient world.

Alexandria was known to have developed from a settlement known as Rhakotis, or R-Kedet, vaguely alluded to as a modest fishing village of little significance by some historians.

But now it looks like there was something more than a sleepy fishing village -- hardly a surprise, given that there are a limited number of sites that meet the needs of a Bronze Age city. I'd have been shocked if something hadn't been discovered there.





|| Greg, 09:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Border-Jumper Advocated Decry Hotline To Report Illegals

After all, we can't have Americans calling the authorities to report folks breaking the law, can we?

Latino leaders and faith-based organizations are calling for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to disconnect the hotline he created for people to report information about undocumented immigrants.

The hotline, they say, perpetuates a climate of fear within the immigrant community, raises the chance of racial profiling and opens the possibility for people to take revenge on former friends and family.

"What right does he have to investigate people based on the color of their skin, or their accent or the way they look," said Phoenix attorney Antonio Bustamante. "I want him to stop this nonsense and enforce criminal law instead of going after landscapers and nannies. He needs to stop this hotline."

* * *

"There's nothing unconstitutional about putting up a hotline," Arpaio said, pointing out that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have similar hotlines.

In fact, Arpaio told The Republic, he is stepping up efforts to crack down on illegal immigration by forbidding undocumented immigrants to visit friends and family in county jails. "Once they come in, we're going to have to arrest them and turn them over to ICE."

Actually, I'm all for a climate of fear in the border-jumper community. After all, since they are law-breakers they ought to be afraid -- very afraid.

What next -- will these folks protest CrimeStoppers as a violation of the rights of the Felon-American community?





|| Greg, 09:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Spitzer Stonewalls

Yesterday I wrote about the New York Times and its effort to downplay the scandal in the administration of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Well, now Spitzer is proclaiming that the State Senate lacks the authority to investigate his administration -- even when it involves efforts by the Governor's Office to use state law enforcement to investigate and discredit political opponents.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer vowed on Wednesday to fight any State Senate inquiry into his administrations internal operations, even as Republican senators were laying the groundwork for an investigation that could lead to subpoenas of top officials.

The administrations stance sets the stage for a potential showdown with the Senate, and it came amid rising concerns even among Mr. Spitzers fellow Democrats about whether the governor and his staff had been candid about their offices effort to discredit a political rival.

A scathing report issued on Monday by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo concluded that the governors staff had broken no laws but had misused the State Police to gather information about Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, in an effort to plant a negative story about him.

The governor has maintained that he was misled by his staff and knew nothing about the effort to discredit Mr. Bruno. But two of his closest aides refused to be interviewed by the attorney generals investigators, intensifying suspicion, especially among the governors critics, that Mr. Spitzer and his staff had not been forthright.

During his tenure as Attorney General, Spitzer was known for subpoenaing and investigating everyone and everything on the most tenuous grounds. here we have clear wrong-doing by the Spitzer administration, and the governor is unwilling to submit to the same sort of probing to which he subjected others. Maybe this matter needs to be turned into an impeachment proceeding -- because we know that liberal Democrats are just wild about impeachment. And i',m curious -- will the New York Times write an editorial like this about the Spitzer Administration?





|| Greg, 08:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Senators Seek Government Censorship Of The Internet

It's for the children, don't you know.

US senators today made a bipartisan call for the universal implementation of filtering and monitoring technologies on the Internet in order to protect children at the end of a Senate hearing for which civil liberties groups were not invited.

Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Vice Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) both argued that Internet was a dangerous place where parents alone will not be able to protect their children.

While filtering and monitoring technologies help parents to screen out offensive content and to monitor their childs online activities, the use of these technologies is far from universal and may not be fool-proof in keeping kids away from adult material," Sen. Inouye said. In that context, we must evaluate our current efforts to combat child pornography and consider what further measures may be needed to stop the spread of such illegal material over high-speed broadband connections."

"Given the increasingly important role of the Internet in education and commerce, it differs from other media like TV and cable because parents cannot prevent their children from using the Internet altogether," Sen. Stevens said. "The headlines continue to tell us of children who are victimized online. While the issues are difficult, I believe Congress has an important role to play to ensure that the protections available in other parts of our society find their way to the Internet."

Nobody I know is for kiddie porn or sexual solicitation of children over the internet. However, I've got a bit of a problem here, in that this proposal would make the government the censor of the internet, imposing a prior restraint upon the publication of any material until it has been signed-of on by a government employee of some sort. The First Amendment bans such prior restraint in the case of printed material and broadcast material. I fail to see how it could not do so for the internet.

And, of course, once we set the precedent for kiddie porn, the next step is to impose restraints on other material deemed harmful to children -- perhaps government limits on so-called "hate speech" -- in an attempt to make the internet safe for kids. The result, would be, limiting the freedom of adults to access legal, adult-appropriate material on the internet. because when the government decides that only that which is appropriate for children can be published, then adults are only permitted to read or watch that which is deemed to be appropriate for children.

H/T Captain's Quarters





|| Greg, 07:58 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Liberal Writer Encourages Court Packing Scheme

Shades of FDR!

Still, there is nothing sacrosanct about having nine justices on the Supreme Court. Roosevelts 1937 chicanery has given court-packing a bad name, but it is a hallowed American political tradition participated in by Republicans and Democrats alike.

If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two. Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues might do well to bear in mind that the roll call of presidents who have used this option includes not just Roosevelt but also Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant.

So let's get something clear on this one -- if the Supreme Court continues to issue well-reasoned opinions backed with Constitutionally-sound principles, it should be overthrown in the interest of assuring politically popular decisions instead. Now tell me -- who then is adopting "a manifestly ideological agenda, [that] plunges the court into the vortex of American politics" -- the justices or those seeking to overturn justice via the political process.

Oh, and interestingly enough, at no point does the author cite a single decision this term that was manifestly incorrect -- or even one that he views as decided based upon political ideology rather than the law. But he still appears to want to make the Supreme Court a branch politically subservient to the whims of the Democrats by adding seats and packing the bench after a presumed victory by the Democrats in 2008.





|| Greg, 07:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NASA Equipment Losses Criticized

Now it sounds like there is a problem -- but I see at least one explanation of missing equipment that I have a question about.

In one instance documented by the accountability office, an unidentified worker explained the fate of a missing laptop, worth $4,265:

This computer, although assigned to me, was being used on board the International Space Station. I was informed that it was tossed overboard to be burned up in the atmosphere when it failed.

The employee was not disciplined.

I suppose that there might be an obvious reason for the employee not being disciplined -- perhaps the computer was taken aboard the ISS and jettisoned after it quit working. After all, a service call was probably out of the question.

I wonder if next they will take on the issue of NASA employees managing their blogs from work?





|| Greg, 07:17 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Look Who Got Picked Up By Slate!

Your favorite blogger here at RWR! (Actually, your only blogger here at RWR.)

Thanks for the traffic, folks!





|| Greg, 01:18 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (37) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 25, 2007

Fred Thompson Arrives In Houston

HolaFred.JPG

Running a few minutes behind schedule, Senator Fred Thompson took some time to visit with a crowd of supporters upon his arrival in Houston this morning. Upon arrival he found a couple of hundred supporters to see and hear what the unofficial candidate for the GOP nomination had to say. I got a chance to shake hands with the Senator and even got more than just a wink and a nod when I urged him to "Make history in Houston" -- he grinned and said "I can come back, can't I?"

FredThompsonHat.JPG

Senator Thompson had a few words for the waiting crowd -- I picked up right after the obligatory amusing anecdote about the state of Texas.

Overall, I was favorably impressed with how he handled the crowd, the press, and the Ron PauLunatic who attempted to disrupt the event.

Now I realize that I have endorsed a different candidate for the nomination, and I still support that candidate. I may, however, be open to reconsidering that support once Fred Thompson actually enters the race.

UPDATE: It seems that the Ron PauLunatic has become something of a story -- so how about if I tell you what happened from my perspective STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HER (if you see a red Hawaiian shirt in any picture or video, that is me).

1) She was permitted to ask her first question -- and Fred Thompson tried to answer it. He had to ask her to stop talking in order to be able to do so. Once he was done, staff attempted to ask her to leave. She whined about being touched, and ignored their attempts to remove her from an event in a private terminal booked by the campaign (which was therefore a private venue, not a public forum).

2) At least twice more that I recall, the staff attempted to speak to her. She rebuffed them each time.

3) Finally, as she began raving again, police (presumably off-duty cops hired by the organizers to provide security) stepped in so as to prevent her from disrupting the Senator's departure. Again, this is consistent with this being an event in a non-public venue.

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Spitzer Has Lived By The Unethical Leak -- Will He Die By The Unethical Leak?

During his tenure as New York's Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer's office was noted for its willingness to leak information damaging to the targets of its investigation in an unethical attempt to pressure them to "compromise" when Spitzer had a weak case but needed to score PR points. Many views those leaks as running right up to the edge of ethical conduct -- or crossing that line. Reporters, of course, viewed those leaks as acceptable, so never raised questions about the conduct of the leaker -- Darren Dopp.

Unfortunately for Dopp and his boss, it appears that years of playing fast and loose with ethics and the law has caught up with them.

This week, though, a withering report by the attorney generals office found that some of Mr. Spitzers top deputies crossed an ethical line by ordering the State Police to gather embarrassing information about Mr. Bruno to share with reporters.

The report and its revelations have rocked an administration that appeared to relish political combat a Spitzer biography, after all, was called Spoiling for a Fight and they raised new questions about the bellicose, competitive ethos of an administration that has at times seemed more adept at breaking eggs than at making omelets.

But then again, why should we be surprised. Spitzer and Co. were known for splashy announcements about questionable lawsuits, demands for settlements, and leaks to friendly reporters designed to damage their opponents in teh public eye and prejudice juries. Why should they have changed simply because the moved to the Governor's Mansion?

The New York Times, of course, is more interested in salvaging the Spitzer Administration than in seeing justice done. After all, it has run a puff-piece on Dopp, another concerned about how the Administration can salvage itself, and a third that applies a radically different standard than they would if this were, for example the Bush Administration. Note the failure of Spitzer's top aides to cooperate with the investigation.

Two of Gov. Eliot Spitzers top staff members refused requests from the attorney generals office that they submit to interviews in the investigation of the administrations use of the State Police to tarnish a political rival.

The two men, Darren Dopp, the communications director, and Richard Baum, the secretary to the governor, are considered Mr. Spitzers closest advisers, and their roles in the internal effort to damage Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno have drawn intense attention. The governor has repeatedly said that his staff fully cooperated with the investigation. Mr. Dopp was suspended indefinitely by the governor on Monday, and no action was taken against Mr. Baum.

According to documents and interviews, Mr. Dopp and Mr. Baum never subjected themselves to questions under oath from investigators in Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomos office.

Instead, on Sunday, the day before the report was released, they submitted two-paragraph statements sworn before the governors legal counsel that minimized their role.

I'm curious -- had Scooter Libby taken such a course, would the New York Times have found that acceptable? If the Bush Administration chose to follow such a path in any investigation, would the New York Times have let that matter pass? hardly -- but since Spitzer is a friendly Democrat, what do you expect. Biased reporting, double standards -- that's the New York Times.





|| Greg, 06:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NY Times -- Disagreeing With Us Irresponsible

One has to wonder what qualifications the editors of the New York Times have that make them more qualified than our generals and the president to determine what is responsible military policy.

The American people have only one question left about Iraq: What is President Bushs plan for a timely and responsible exit? That is the essential precondition for salvaging broader American interests in the Middle East and for waging a more effective fight against Al Qaeda in its base areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it is exactly the question that Mr. Bush, his top generals and his diplomats so stubbornly and damagingly refuse to answer.

* * *

Mr. Bush proposed no realistic new plan for more effectively fighting Al Qaeda in its heartland or for exiting from the tragic misadventure in Iraq. Instead he offered the familiar, simplistic and misleading arguments that he used to drag the country into this disastrous war to start.

Prolonging the war for another two years will not bring victory. It will mean more lives lost, more damage to Americas international standing and fewer resources to fight the real fight against terrorists. If Mr. Bushs advisers cant tell him that, Congress will have to with a veto-proof majority.

Of course, the Surge is working, recent polling data shows increasing public support for the war, and the Congress does not have veto-proof majority. The New York Times, however, considers anything that disagrees with it to be "irresponsible" and "unrealistic". It may come as a shock to them, but the military ant the president are Constitutionally charged with determining the conduct of the war -- nowhere does the Constitution require that a once-great newspaper, noted for its bias and hackery, be given deference in making that policy.





|| Greg, 06:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 24, 2007

Vick Benched

Will the NFL treat him as it has several other players in recent months? Or will quarterback Michael Vick's high profile get him special treatment?

Michael Vick was ordered by commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday to stay away from the Atlanta Falcons' training camp until the league reviews the dog fighting charges against him.

"While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy," Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback.

The NFL said Vick would still get his preseason pay and Goodell told the Falcons to withhold any disciplinary action of their own until the league's review was completed.

Goodell told Vick the league would complete its review as quickly as possible and that he expected full cooperation. The review is expected to involve conversations with federal law enforcement officials so the NFL can determine the strength of the case against Vick.

These are serious charges -- and Vick has been less than forthright throughout this case. If only for the sake of the league's image, Michael Vick needs to be off the field this season. And, as Captain Ed notes, the nexus between dogfighting and illegal gambling raises a troubling issue about Michael Vick's on-field integrity.





|| Greg, 07:47 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Blowing His Own Horn With Your Dollars

Gotta love this earmark. Congressman Charles Rangel has tucked a $2 million appropriation into a pending piece of legislation -- for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service.

New York Rep. Charles Rangel has been raising funds from taxpayers and corporations for a center in Harlem to be named after a prominent U.S. congressman Charles Rangel.

The Democrat has quietly raised nearly $25 million for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College, located in a four-story Harlem building and aimed at steering low-income and minority students into politics, the New York Post reports.

Last week Rangel chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee pushed through a $2 million "earmark in the House to serve as seed money for the project.

Corporate contributions so far include $10 million from insurance company AIG and $500,000 from the Verizon Foundation. Rangels committee has jurisdiction over taxes and trade, including corporate taxation.

I'm curious -- aside from the fact it is named after the chairman of the committee, what does the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service have to do with taxes and trade? And why are we appropriating public money for a monument to a sitting congressman?

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|| Greg, 07:40 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Castro Complains

If only the US would quit being a free nation where people can start with nothing and become successful because of hard work and God-given talent, there wouldn't be such defections from the Caribbean Communist Paradise.

Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro deplored the defection of three athletes and a coach during the Panamerican Games in Brazil, saying on Monday they had betrayed Cuba for dollars.

Cuba's Olympic and world amateur boxing champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and teammate Erislandy Lara failed to appear for their scheduled bouts in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

A member of the Cuban handball team, Rafael Dacosta, and gym trainer Lazaro Lamelas defected earlier, Castro lamented, accusing the United States of luring Cuba's best athletes.

"Betrayal for money is one of the favorite weapons of the United States to destroy Cuba's resistance," Castro wrote in his latest column e-mailed to journalists in Havana.

Yeah -- what is wrong with these guys? Didn't they watch Michael Moore's movie about how great their life is in Cuba with HillaryCare government-provided medical care for the masses?





|| Greg, 07:32 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Muslim Leader Lied For Residency, Citizenship

And, of course, "religious leaders and civil rights advocates" are outraged by this attempt to enforce American law.

The spiritual leader of a mosque in Sharon was arrested yesterday on federal immigration fraud charges, sparking a protest outside the courthouse in Boston by a group of religious leaders and civil rights advocates who called the case a witch hunt.

Muhammad Masood, 49, imam of the 1,500 member Islamic Center of New England, is accused of lying repeatedly to federal immigration officials between 2002 and 2006 in a bid to obtain a green card and ultimately become a US citizen.

The criminal charges follow administrative charges brought by immigration officials last year. That case also drew wide protest from local Muslim leaders, who have accused authorities of ignoring efforts to smooth relations with members of various cultures.

A detailed affidavit filed in federal court alleges that Masood told authorities that after attending a master's degree program in economics at Boston University in the early 1990s, he returned to his native Pakistan for two years, as required by law, before returning to the United States in 1993 and later applying for residency.

But, the affidavit says, Masood never left Boston, and records show that he continued to live in Boston University housing with his wife and children, even though he was no longer a student. He was cited for a couple of traffic violations and was present when his fifth child was born in Boston in 1992, the affidavit indicates.

Authorities also allege that Masood did not disclose that he had collected state health benefits from 1997 to 2005 and initially denied ever being charged with any crimes, although he later acknowledged that he had been arrested for shoplifting in Norwood in 2000. The charge was later dismissed.

The protesters want to call this a witch hunt. The only problem is that the evidence clearly shows that Masood is guilty of the crimes with which he was charged. Let's hope we can get him shipped back to Pakistan as quickly as possible -- minus his fraudulently-obtained citizenship.





|| Greg, 07:26 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Bit Of Historical Trivia

I tip my hat to blogger and author Michael Zak, whose Grand Old Partisan website includes this bit of information I had never connected together about Yale historian and Republican Senator Hiram Bingham.

On this day in 1911, Yale University historian Hiram Bingham discovered in Peru the ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world. Machu Picchu turned out to be a 15th century residence of the Incan emperor. Today, tourists arrive at the site via the Hiram Bingham Highway or the Hiram Bingham train.

Bingham would go on to become a successful member of the United States Senate -- and would also be one of those who would become a model for the character Indiana Jones.





|| Greg, 07:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But They Said He Wasn't Dangerous Or A Terrorist

After all, we know that those folks at Gitmo are all innocent and being unjustly held. They were never terrorists, and would never engage in terrorist activities after their release -- right?

A former Guantanamo Bay prisoner wanted for the 2004 kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in Pakistan blew himself up with a grenade during a clash with security forces on Tuesday, officials said.

One-legged Taliban militant Abdullah Mehsud killed himself to avoid capture after troops raided his hideout, interior ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema told AFP.

The Islamic rebel's death comes amid intensifying US pressure on President Pervez Musharraf to take military action against Al-Qaeda and Taliban safe havens in tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

"Abdullah Mehsud blew himself up with a grenade and died when security forces raided his hideout. Three of his accomplices were arrested," Cheema said.

Mehsud, 32, became the leader of Pakistani Taliban insurgents based in South Waziristan in 2004, after Pakistani forces launched military operations in the troubled tribal region.

So just remember, next time some liberal starts ranting about Guantanamo Bay -- there have been a number of released Guantanamo detainees who have returned to their terrorist ways. Why would we want the place closed -- or the remaining detainees brought into our heartland?





|| Greg, 07:12 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Administration's Iraq Plan

While the Democrats try to cut-&-run-&-surrender, the Bush Administration ahas created a plan that will lead to an orderly withdrawal from Iraq after certain key goals have been met -- expected in the summer of 2009.

The classified plan, which represents the coordinated strategy of the top American commander and the American ambassador, calls for restoring security in local areas, including Baghdad, by the summer of 2008. Sustainable security is to be established on a nationwide basis by the summer of 2009, according to American officials familiar with the document.

The detailed document, known as the Joint Campaign Plan, is an elaboration of the new strategy President Bush signaled in January when he decided to send five additional American combat brigades and other units to Iraq. That signaled a shift from the previous strategy, which emphasized transferring to Iraqis the responsibility for safeguarding their security.

That new approach put a premium on protecting the Iraqi population in Baghdad, on the theory that improved security would provide Iraqi political leaders with the breathing space they needed to try political reconciliation.

The latest plan, which covers a two-year period, does not explicitly address troop levels or withdrawal schedules. It anticipates a decline in American forces as the surge in troops runs its course later this year or in early 2008. But it nonetheless assumes continued American involvement to train soldiers, act as partners with Iraqi forces and fight terrorist groups in Iraq, American officials said.

Ultimately, this comes down to a very basic question for the American people -- do you value on immediate withdrawal or success in Iraq? That is the choice we face right now -- and with one political party committed to immediacy, we face teh real possibility of the second Democrat-engineered military defeat in my lifetime.





|| Greg, 06:30 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

July 23, 2007

Islamic Rage Boy Speaks!

Shakeel Ahmad Bhat has become the face of all that is extreme in modern Islam. Now Islamic Rage Boy speaks out -- and his perpetually outraged feelings are again hurt.

"I am not happy with people joking about me or making me into a cartoon, but I have more important things to think about. My protests are for those Muslims who cannot go out onto the streets to cry out against injustice. This is my duty and I believe Allah has decided this for me."

And after all, why would people possibly joke about Shakeel Ahmad Bhat or make him into a cartoon?

islamicrageboyimage.jpg

After all -- what is really so funny about a frothing-mouthed radical who calls for the death of the Pope, Salman Rushdie, or the editors who published the Muhammad cartoons?

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|| Greg, 06:06 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (247) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||