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Archive for November, 2007

November 30th 2007

The Religion Of Peace: Off With Her Head!

Thousands of sword-wielding, hate-spewing Muslims are protesting in Sudan, demanding that Gillian Gibbons, the teacher who allowed her students to name a Teddy bear Mohammed, be executed.

We cannot allow anything bad to be said about He Who Is Too Lame To Be Insulted! Kill her!

I made that up. Here’s what they really were chanting:

“No tolerance: Execution,”

“Kill her, kill her by firing squad.”

“Those who insult the Prophet of Islam should be punished with bullets.”

Check out the photos posted at The Daily Mail and shudder. This face of Islam, of brutality and intolerance, is our enemy. Sudan gave cover to Osama bin Laden for years, and in the country’s response to the Gibbons affair, we see why.

Gibbons now faces 15 days in the Khartoum’s squalid Omdurman women’s prison, which was built for 200 and now houses about 1,500. The Mail described it as “massively overcrowded and infested with mosquitoes.”

It may also be infested with radical Islamists, so Gibbons is by no means safe within its walls.

hat-tip: memeorandum

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November 30th 2007

Quote Of The Year?

“I think the ‘surge’ is working.”
– Rep. John Murtha

Here’s the story, from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Murtha today said he saw signs of military progress during a brief trip to Iraq last week, but he warned that Iraqis need to play a larger role in providing their own security and the Bush administration still must develop an exit strategy.

“I think the ‘surge’ is working,” the Democrat said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president’s decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis “have got to take care of themselves.”

Violence has dropped significantly in recent months, but Mr. Murtha said he was most encouraged by changes in the once-volatile Anbar province, where locals have started working closely with U.S. forces to isolate insurgents linked to Al Qaeda.

He said Iraqis need to duplicate that success at the national level, but the central government in Baghdad is “dysfunctional.”

Mr. Murtha’s four day-trip took him to a Thanksgiving dinner with troops in Kuwait last Thursday, and he then made stops in Iraq, Turkey and Belgium.

The word “speechless” would come to mind, except that the word “but” keeps blocking it out.

Murtha may be wrong but he’s not dumb. He knows he has to acknowledge success that’s this obvious, but he’s wiley enough to cage his phrase within the context of the Congressionally-approved milestones so he can continue to fight the war.

The left lobe of the blogosphere is silent on Murtha’s statement, as can be expected. Among the many blog links to the story on memeorandum, only Huffpost represents the Left, writing of the briefing, but fails to mention his assessment on the surge. Rather, the post describes what it calls a set-up for Dem capitulation on Iraq:

And soon enough, the Democratic bluff will be called. In response, they will posture, bluster and then – you can bet on it– they will fold. For a harbinger of this dreary scenario, you need look no further than the briefing held Thursday by the powerful Democratic chief of the House subcommittee on military spending, Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha. “Congress wants to come up with an agreement,” he said. “Leadership may be willing to compromise” on the time line for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

May be willing to compromise? Really? Insert your laugh track right here, please.

Compromising and capitulating are the only things the Democrats have been doing on this issue. Murtha’s statement implies that some sort of deal can be reached with the Republicans in which a somewhat extended troop withdrawal timetable will be agreed upon. During his press conference, Murtha suggested that might be something like a two year calendar.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the author, Marc Cooper, did not feel compelled to mention to his readers Murtha’s assessment of the war’s progress? The truth? You can’t take the truth. Or something like that.

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November 30th 2007

Watcher’s Winners

The Watcher’s Council was all over the place this week, struggling to pick winners from a collection of worthies. Myself, I rated two entries 10 and at least a half dozen 9 or 9+. Here’s how it all fell out:

Among the Council’s entries, my pick for first, Right Wing Nuthouse’s Pat Buchanan’s New Book: “Prepare Ye for the End” came in first, followed by a very interesting piece by The Glittering Eye, The Visual Imagery Society
, which was more esoteric than most winners, dealing with provocative questions on the future of communications and the implications of increasing use of visual communications.

My entry, Still No Evidence 9/11 Nuts Rule, was one of three tied for third.

Over on the non-Council side, things were a bit more spread out, with Wolf Howling’s excellent Have Our Copperheads Found Their McClellan in Retired LTG General Sanchez? running (… well, jogging) away from the competition. My nominee, Michelle Malkin’s Letter from the Front: Turkey Day in Tikrit, came in second.

See all the rankings here.

The Council bids too quick an adieu this week to Okie on the Lam. Okieboy in real life is a very busy and very talented graphic designer, and reading these entries is a time-consuming task. Keep visiting his blog, folks — against all odds, it may get even better now that he’s got a bit more time on his hands.

And Watcher, thank you very much for giving us much more than cold turkey and old dressing this week.

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November 29th 2007

Teddy Mohammed Teacher Jailed

A Sudanese judge has ordered British teacher Gillian Gibbons to jail for 15 days after her schoolchildren named a teddy bear Mohammed.

Gibbons faced a year in jail and 40 lashes for her inadvertent insulting of He Who Isn’t Tough Enough To Take A Joke. Still, in a just society where the dominant religion isn’t paranoid and intolerant, she would have walked.

One, and only one, good thing came of this story: Muslims in Britain lobbied hard for Gibbons’ release and professed disappointment that she was jailed. Reports the NYT:

“I’m utterly disappointed with this decision. We have been calling on the Sudanese authorities to show leniency, that this was a case of an innocent oversight, a misunderstanding, and there was no need for this to … be escalated …” said Ibrahim Mogra of the Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest Muslim organisation.

“We are very hopeful that perhaps the appeals process will be more successful”, he added.

“The question that I would want the judiciary there and the authorities to ponder over is: How does this help the cause of Islam? What kind of message and image are we portraying about our religion and our culture?”

Indeed, Ibrahim, indeed. Now perhaps you can ask the same question of your Palestinian brothers who insist on firing rockets into Israel and your Iranian brothers who profess their wish to wipe Israel off the face of the planet, and your terrorist brothers who want to kill us all in the name of Islam.

How does their behavior help the cause of Islam? What kind of message and image are they portraying of your religion and your culture?

hat-tip: Real Clear Politics

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November 29th 2007

Enriched Uranium Bust In Slovakia

Two Slovaks and one Hungarian are in custody and half a kilo of weapons grade enriched uranium has been seized in Slovakia, potentially foiling a dirty bomb attack. Spiegel reports:

Police in Slovakia and Hungary have busted a black-market ring allegedly aiming to sell nuclear contraband on the eastern frontier of Europe, Slovak authorities said late Wednesday. Three people have been arrested for trying to sell 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of enriched uranium for for €680,000 ($1 million).

On Wednesday the Slovak police had also said the contraband was a full kilogram (2.2 pounds) of a “highly dangerous radioactive material,” but on Thursday they amended the information to say it was just under half a kilogram of enriched uranium in powder form.

“It was possible to use it in various ways for terrorist attacks,” said First Slovak Police Vice President Michal Kopcik.

The uranium originated from an ex-Soviet republic, he said, without going into detail, and police weren’t sure yet who was trying to buy it.

Kopcik said the 481.4 grams of powder had been stashed in unspecified containers, and that investigators determined it had a 98.6 percent uranium-235 content. “Weapons-grade” uranium contains at least 85 percent uranium-235.

That’s far short of the 25 kilos needed to manufacture an atomic bomb, but it would be enough to create an effective dirty bomb … or worse, the thwarted sale could have been part of a stockpiling scheme by someone seeking to build a bomb.

Fox News reports the Uranium is Russian in origin, but there’s nothing released yet on how it was acquired … or more importantly, who was going to buy it.

With Europe a favorite target of Islamist rage, you have to wonder if similar deals have transacted unnoticed, so I would like very much to know what these three scumbags know. I trust the Slovak police will have the means (Geneva-approved nice, but not mandatory) to get it out of them.

If you play that dirty — selling massive death for personal profit — you lose the right to be treated decently.

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November 29th 2007

Pakistan: Back From The Brink?

Now-civilian Pakistan prez Pervez Musharraf now says he will withdraw the state of emergency in his country on December 16 — the day after candidates can withdraw their applications to run, as they would have to do if they move forward with plans to boycott the election.

And if that happens, some experts say the state of emergency could be reinstated.

Political analyst Shafqat Mahmood told private English channel DAWN NEWS that the date of Dec. 16 is significant because it came a day after the date by which candidates are allowed to withdraw their nomination paper.

“If political parties boycott elections, he might not withdraw [the] emergency an [Provisional Constitutional Order],” he said.

It’s a long, long way to a stable Pakistan — something there’s precious little precedent for — but at least the toes aren’t hanging over the cliff now.

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November 29th 2007

A Smarmy End For The YouTube Debate Format

YouTube debate outing continues unabated this morning at Free Republic and Michelle Malkin.

First was the gay general who supports Hillary. Then the “abortion girl in blue” who is an Edwards supporter. (Picture courtesy of michellemalkin.com) The Log Cabin Republican questioner is an Obama supporter. The lead toy questioner is a union activist and Edwards supporter.

Is this an outrage or simply the end of the YouTube debate format?

Most definitely an outrage is the chatter going on at Free Republic where the outting of the “abortion girl in blue” is getting quite creepy, with her Internet guts getting spread all over the blogosphere with info like this:

Blue Girl’s Profile:

she listens like spring and she talks like june View all userpics
Name: cold as fire, baby, hot as ice
Text
Message: Send likespring a text message
on his/her cellphone/pager.
Website: website
Location: Arlington, Texas, United States
Birthdate: 1988-09-21
E-mail: ******* @ gmail.com [all addresses censored by C-SM]

AOL IM: ***** (Add Buddy, Send Message)
MSN Username: ******* @ hotmail.com

Bio:
******* @ l i v e j o u r n a l . c o m
journey. yes, that’s her real name. female. 19. arlington, texas. liberal. vegetarian. feminist. lesbian. has an inexplicable teeny crush on joey
fatone. attending the university of texas in arlington. hoping to transfer to ut-austin in 2008. political science. aims for law school. enjoys good food. finding a great new book. watching glbt movies. and lots of shopping. was a princess in another life. future president of the united states of america.

Yes, of course Likespring opened the door to this exposure by becoming a public figure with her question, and she should know her cyber-fingerprints are easily lifted, but digging into her personal info like this seems a bit like cyber-stalking — and with her various cyber-contact addresses now posted for all to see, she’s probably in for a long bout of ugly inbox.

That’s unfortunate because she probably had every right to ask the question. Nothing in the rules of the YouTube-CNN debate says questioners must be of the party that’s debating that night, so there may well have been GOP questioners in the Dem debate.

“Abortion girl in blue” did not misidentify herself; she merely failed to identify her candidate of choice — and being a GBLT supporter of the most feminine of all the Dem Prez wannabes isn’t a crime. If, however, Likespring works for the Edwards campaign or cooperated with the Edwards campaign in designing and submitting the question, then it’s another story. And it’s a story that may turn out to be difficult to document one way or the other,

Also another story is the Log Cabin Republican questioner because he created the sense that he was a gay Republican by the way he asked his question. He is a political trickster, scum, persona non grata.

As is Gen. Keith Kerr, who, if he were an honorable man, would have stated his position in the Clinton campaign.

CNN has no excuse for not ID-ing Kerr. I traced his background in a couple clicks last night, and even this morning after his exposure, the Clinton news release listing him as a member of her GLBT task force is fifth from the top on Google:

HillaryClinton.com – Media Release
It includes people like former US Assistant Attorney General Eldie Acheson, Keith Kerr, retired Colonel., US Army; retired Brigadier General,
www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=2196 – Similar pagesNote this

The most cursory review by CNN staff would have turned up this news release, so either they were entirely too cavalier in their screening of questioners, or someone at CNN knew full well who Kerr was and to whom he was affiliated.

This should, I hope, spell the end of YouTube debates. As refreshing as it has been to have real people ask real questions, the system is simply too easily corrupted by unreal people asking unreal questions. Winnowing out the Kerrs is as easy enough job, but tracking down the political affiliations and sexual orientations of people like Likespring infringes on their rights and chills the political process.

With YouTube so problematic, the format simply must be dropped. We then are back to the awful format of pundits asking preened-up questions of wooden, overly trained candidates, all to the detriment of the American people, who deserve a better way to evaluate their candidates.

I propose as an alternative a round-robin kind of debate, where two candidates are selected at random, then given five minutes in proper debate format to pound back and forth on a question from a list prepared by a neutered (not neutral) body, i.e., questions worked out by the party that’s debating in concert with the media outlet that’s sponsoring the debate.

Then another two candidates would get the opportunity, until every candidates has had at least two opportunities to give detailed responses under the pressure imposed by the responses of the other candidate.

It’s compact, challenging and intelligent. It’ll never happen.

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November 28th 2007

Hillary Plants A Question In YouTube-CNN Debate?

Hillary, much criticized for planting questions (here, here), apparently succeeded in planting one tonight in the YouTube-CNN GOP debate.

The question, on the candidates’ position on gays in the military, was asked by retired brigadier general Keith Kerr, who lived in the closet throughout his 40-year service to the country.

Kerr is much more than a YouTube video submitter who got his question about the candidate’s position on gays in the military on tonight’s debate.

He’s even much more than being, to my knowledge, the only non-candidate, citizen advocate of a radical position to be given the microphone for several minutes during a nationally televised debate — not to answer or ask a question, but to harangue.

What Kerr really is is an official part of Hillary’s team, having served on her lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender steering committee. The CNN news release attempts to gloss over this scandal in the making, saying only:

A retired brigadier general Keith Kerr, who is gay, asked candidates if they thought U.S. military personnel were professional enough to work with gay and lesbian troops.

CNN later learned that Kerr served on Clinton’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender steering committee.

Note CNN refers to Kerr’s role on the task force in the past-tense, “served,” but a news release dated June 2007 shows Kerr as a member of the task force as recently as less than six months ago. If indeed Kerr is no longer a member of the task force, is it because his question was selected, so he temporarily stepped down? That would be Clintonesque.

The CNN release also says the network learned of this affiliation “later,” but doesn’t bother to explain how they learned of it or when. Does “later” mean after the debate aired? Before or after they handed Kerr the mike?

Who know what when? It’s probable, with all the gays, lesbians and probably transgenders employed at CNN, and with the support Hillary gets from highly placed CNN execs, that there would be awareness of her GLT task force in CNN’s news room. Therefore, I’d like CNN to support its position that they found out “later.”

Update: Instapundit reports,

“MORE: An on-air apology from Anderson Cooper, saying that CNN didn’t know that Gen. Kerr was on Hillary’s steering committee: “If we had known that we would have disclosed it before using the question, if we used the question at all.”

So perhaps it was an innocent mistake by CNN — but was it a deliberate plant by Hil’s campaign?

This episode reveals a weakness in the YouTube debate format. Clearly, more policing is needed, and just as clearly, we can’t trust the MSM to do it.

It’s worth continuing to work to improve the format, because it is superior to the sorry excuse for what passes for debates today. Because the media has cast itself as the moderator, directing what will be asked of whom, in what order, the debates are fatally flawed by the preening peacocks who stink up the process with their cheap-cologne-like egos, and not-so-hidden biases.

In the YouTube debate, Anderson Cooper’s on-camera role is simply that of celebrity host with a bit of traffic cop thrown in. That’s a massive improvement of format — but with this revelation of Kerr’s background, we see that Cooper’s off-camera role of selecting which 30 or so of the 5,000 submitted videos (up from 3,000 in the Dem debate!), it’s obvious CNN has too much power, and that the network obviously is not capable of handling that power responsibly.

CNN — and the Clinton campaign — have some tough questions to answer.

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November 28th 2007

The Snowmanization Of Presidential Politics

Mitt Romney may be answering questions from a snowman after all.

That was his quip when he said earlier in the year he didn’t want to follow the Dems into a CNN-YouTube debate, referring to a YouTube clip that made the cut, allowing a talking snowman to ask the Dem Prez candidates about global warming.

Romney wanted the prez race to be held to a higher standard — uh, with Kucinich and Paul in the running? — but the standard gets dropped tonight.

Writing in Politico, Garrett Graff says “the 2008 election will be the first one dominated and shaped heavily by the issues and technologies of the 21st century — from YouTube and MySpace online to China’s rise and information age educational reforms.”

It is, he thinks, the triumph of the interesting over the boring.

But is it? And if it is, is that a good thing?

We kid ourselves if we think this format allows the people to speak. In August, over 3,000 submitted videos got winnowed down to 37 that were used; winnowed not by the people, but by the gatekeepers.

Anderson Cooper and his staff decided what should be asked and what should not. They supposedly went for a mix of entertainment and policy — but who’s to know what they left behind and why they left it there?

It’s the same old MSM-driven system, but the system has found citizens to ask the questions the system wants asked. As such, it’s all packaging and the substance stays the same.

Granted, it’s more interesting to have two lesbians from Brooklyn, Mary Matthews and Jen Weidenbaum, ask the candidates if they would allow the to be married than to have Anderson Cooper (who reportedly would be personally interested in the answer) ask it. But it’s the same question in a different package, and it drew the same packaged answers from the Dem Prez wannabees.

I sympathize with Romney. I would like a more elegant campaign. Bring back the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which were real debates, with some 30 hours of back and forth, in depth, without a blow-dried moderator intervening.

But woe, that is not to be, at least not in this race or the next. Maybe sometime in some new and improved America.

But for now, we have two options: The standard, fatally flawed format of preening questioners and parrying responders, or a slightly more vital and fun, but still imperfect, format of YouTube questioners and parrying responders.

It’s hardly the ideal, but I’m with Graff if the format draws more people, especially young people, into the political process.

Bring on YouTube. Goodbye, Cooper, hello Frosty.

hat-tip: memeorandum

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November 28th 2007

Wednesday Reading

Here’s the Watcher of Weasel’s smorgblogsboard for your reading pleasure. The Watcher’s Council has nominated:

Council links:

  1. The Never-ending U.D. Thought-control Saga
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  2. Carnage
    Done With Mirrors
  3. The Visual Imagery Society
    The Glittering Eye
  4. Today’s Non Sequitur: San Fran’s Bohemian Intolerance
    The Education Wonks
  5. Legacy of Legacies
    Soccer Dad
  6. The Gap Between Critics and the Rest of Us
    Bookworm Room
  7. Arabs Coming To Annapolis
    Rhymes With Right
  8. “Apt Natural — I Have a Gub”
    Big Lizards
  9. Dealing With Disinformation
    Joshuapundit
  10. Still No Evidence 9/11 Nuts Rule
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  11. Buchanan’s New Book: “Prepare Ye for the End”
    Right Wing Nut House

Non-council links:

  1. Bowling with Others
    Commentary Magazine
  2. One Lesson from Life of Logan Man: History Matters
    Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels
  3. A Remarkable Disconnect From Context and Causation
    Zenpundit.com
  4. Another Victory for Colorblind Government Policy
    La Shawn Barber’s Corner
  5. What’s Happening on the “Street”
    West Bank Mama
  6. The American Non-Empire
    Captain’s Quarters
  7. America Magazine: Two Items on Summorum Pontificum: A Jeer and a Reflection
    What Does The Prayer Really Say?
  8. 50,000 By November?
    Captain’s Quarters (2)
  9. US Withholding Reports That Are Critical of Abu Mazen’s “Security Forces”
    Israel Matzav
  10. Letter from the Front: Turkey Day in Tikrit
    Michelle Malkin
  11. Outrage in Annapolis
    Eternity Road
  12. Have Our Copperheads Found Their McClellan in Retired LTG General Sanchez?
    Wolf Howling
  13. Hugo the Truther
    Dodgeblogium

Council members vote Thursday; results will be posted here Friday p.m. Happy reading, and thanks, Watcher, for the delicious spread! No left-overs here!

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With Obama winning the presidency by seven percent, we can't blame the media. Their laudatory coverage and refusal to extensively probe into Obama's background and [lack of] experience was at best responsible for five percent of his vote, the pundits tell us. Here is a compilation of over 100 significant instances of pro-Obama/anti-McCain bias during the 2008 campaign.

For all 'Media Bias 2008' – Click Here

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