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Archive for February, 2008

February 29th 2008

A Movie Star With A Brain

Do read Angelina Jolie’s piece, Staying to Help in Iraq, in WaPo today. You would think that a high-profile star who’s tied at the hip to the UN would return from Iraq with a scathing report on the US effort, but think again.

Her subject, as you probably know, is displaced Iraqis in Syria and Jordan, so she has plenty of oportunity to blame the US for their condition, but she does not. She recounts pledges she got out of Gen. David Petraeus and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and makes a plea for increased funding for the UN’s humanitarian efforts with the refugees.

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and thought it was about to at the end, when I read:

As for the question of whether the surge is working …

But she went on:

… I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental
organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt
to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go
home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in
Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian
progress they now feel is possible.

Jolie’s language is careful and deliberate. Surrounded as she is by those who blithely say “withdraw now” as if there would be nothing but positive consequences of such action, she looks at the refugee situation and says:

Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced
people, in the heart of Middle East, won’t explode in violent desperation,
sending the whole region into further disorder?

This is a realistic acknowledgement of the fact that poverty, lack of opportunity and disenfranchisement are the engines that feed jihad — a simple notion for most of us, but one lost on the Hollywood Leftist Elite.

Jolie has removed herself from that crowd and proved herself not just a figurehead (despite, as we see, having both quite a figure and quite a head) ambassador, but a smart and powerful spokesperson.

Do you think the GOP could talk her into running for Prez in 2012?

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February 29th 2008

Wednesday’s Winners

It’s been a bit of a while since a Cheat-Seeking Missiles post made the big times at the Watcher of Weasel‘s weely festival of good e-stuff, but the drought is over. My peers on the Watcher’s Council voted my entry, In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run? as the best post of the week.

The challenge the GOP will face this year running against all the “ists” that will be thrown at it is an intreguing subject for a message guy like me, and I’m grateful others found my musings interesting enough for a vote. If anyone knows the email address of McCain’s communications guy, please forward it to him.

Two outstanding posts (both of which got votes from me) were tied for second.

Soccer Dad’s Find the Adjectives presents a clever to fisking a story, since in straight reporting there should be precious few of these colorful little words. By focusing on the adjectives, SD was able to show just how biased an article on Palestinians and Israelis was. Guess which way the story tilted.

Wolf Howling’s Obama (with links) & McCain’s Petard is a must-read tutorial if you’re not up on the intracacies of election law. The picture it paints of Obama is anything but one of a conciliator.

Over on the non-Council side, the winner is from a blog called My Shrapnel, named after some Islamist terrorist residue that’s now inside an Israeli survivor of a suicide bombing. In this post, To Die in Jerusalem, Part II, the author confronts a filmmaker apologist for suicide bombers, showing the awesome power words can have.

Runner up went to an American Thinker post by Lance Fairchok, The Fierce Urgency of LiesThe Fierce Urgency of Lies, on a topic I’ve written about: The religious devotion of Obama supporters.

See all the winners here.

Thanks, as always, Watcher, for oiling the gears of this commentary machine.

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February 28th 2008

The Silent Sound Of Reporters Guffawing

Every once in a while you read a line in a news story, presented straightforwardly, cool, and oh, so reportorially, and you just know the reporter was slapping his knees and laughing out loud as he typed it.

Here’s one such line:

There was no immediate comment from rebels to the PETA’s letter.

Here’s what leads up to it:

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – An international animal rights group called on Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil Tigers to “leave animals out” of the armed conflict, two weeks after a grenade attack blamed on rebels at the island’s main zoo.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, said in a letter dated Feb. 15 to Velupillai Prabhakaran, the reclusive rebel leader, that “the explosive device that was set off near the zoo’s bird enclosures terrified many animals at the zoo.”

PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk pleaded with the rebel leader “to leave animals out of this conflict,” the letter said.

Newkirk added that the group has been inundated by messages from people saddened by the attack.

Drum roll, please …

There was no immediate comment from rebels to the PETA’s letter.

Note that no birds were even killed in the Tamil Tiger attack; they just had their feathers ruffled. Yet the animal rights wing of the Lefty insane asylum — which from the billboard appears to view terrorism as a big hoot — is a-tizzy with outrage. Of course, they weren’t particularly worried about dead people, just bothered birds.

PETA fans will remember that this is hardly the group’s most egregious animals-over-people debacle. That came when in their protest to al-Aqsa TV — the station that brought us Farfur, a character who resembled Mickey Mouse and advocated Palestinian attacks against Israelis until his poor little electrons were beaten to death by an actor depicted as an Israeli.

PETA got mad at the station because an actor verbally harassed some animals at a zoo as part of a show that was teaching children not to be cruel to animals! As I wrote at the time:

Apparently, PETA isn’t antisemitic; if it were, and it didn’t consider Jews to be fully human, it would rally for their protection. But thinking Jews mere humans, PETA finds itself admonishing the Palestinians for taunting some animals, but not admonishing them for blowing up buses filled with school kids.

Hat-tip: Jim

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February 28th 2008

Message Gaffe


You’re a smart cookie; you’ll figure out what massive message gaffe Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) has made even before MSNBC reporter Dan Abrams points it out.

C’mon, Jack, this is Messaging for Dummies, here. If you’re going to say someone’s got bad breath, you’d better use Listerine before opening your yap.

But before we pile too much on Kingston, be sure not to miss Abrams’ great profession of patriotism when Kingston presses him on his own lapel flag-wearing habits:

I’ve worn one I think once in my life … for something.

Maybe for a few minutes after the 9/11 attacks, Dan, before America got safe again?

Hat-tip: TPM via the Token Dem

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February 28th 2008

From CNN To The Taliban

This just in from CNN breaking news email services:

– Britain’s Prince Harry has been serving on the front line in Afghanistan, CNN confirms.

Gee … I’ve heard that the Taliban and al-Qaeda monitor CNN. Did anyone at CNN headquarters think of that before rushing out this bit of news that in itself is not too newsworthy — but sure would be if our enemy successfully exploited it?

CNN’s idiocy notwithstanding, kudos to Prince Harry for being a real man in addition to a prince.

hat-tip: Jim

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February 28th 2008

This Is Change?

The powerhouse research team at C-SM has been working 24/7 to figure out what Barack Obama means when he says “change.” Our grant money is about to run out, so the research department has been a bit hang-dog lately.

But that’s all changed with this:

Obama staffer gave warning of NAFTA rhetoric

CTV.ca News Staff

Barack Obama has ratcheted up his attacks on NAFTA, but a senior member of his campaign team told a Canadian official not to take his criticisms seriously, CTV News has learned.

Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have been critical of the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement over the course of the Democratic primaries, saying that the deal has cost U.S. workers’ jobs.

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama’s campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

But Tuesday night in Ohio, where NAFTA is blamed for massive job losses, Obama said he would tell Canada and Mexico “that we will opt out unless we renegotiate the core labour and environmental standards.”

It’s suddenly clear — and it confirms what our research staff, heck, the entire staff here at C-SM has felt all along: That with Obama, “change” means “changing what you say you believe today in order to get elected tomorrow.”

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February 28th 2008

Another Day, Another $6 Billion

Clinging by her manicured nails to her life’s calling, Hillary Clinton has decided to woo those who who previously supported the other candidate with manicured nails — John Edwards. And she’s following the formula Dems always use:

Other people’s money = Your compassion

This time it’s $6 billion a year for child poverty, on top of the $137 billion a year and $110 billion one-time stimulus she’s already proposing in other programs.

Last time I checked, children in poverty were already covered by somewhere between 17 and 396 federal programs. But this new brainstorm from Hillary — she cares about children, you know — will give poor kids “greater access to healthy, fresh food.” Why haven’t we thought to put government in that business before?

There’s probably a huge demographic of poor parents who want the government to provide their children with fresh strawberries and parsnips. Hopefully they all live in Ohio and Texas, and will switch their primary votes from that stingy Barrack “Give ‘em canned food” Obama, thereby keeping the Dem’s anguish alive a bit longer.

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February 27th 2008

But I Ramble …

The Token Dem stopped by to lobby for a post about Hillary’s whining in last night’s debate …

SEN. CLINTON: Well, can I just point out that in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time. And I don’t mind. I — you know, I’ll be happy to field them [Any husband knows to duck and immediately start backpedaling upon hearing "I don't mind" or "I'd be happy to ...."], but I do find it curious, and if anybody saw “Saturday Night Live,” you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he’s comfortable and needs another pillow. (Laughter, boos.) I just find it kind of curious that I keep getting the first question on all of these issues. But I’m happy [ditto] to answer it. (RCP)

… and I could say that because this campaign is about words, she shouldn’t be using the words of Lorne Michaels and his writers. But I won’t, because I’m fanatically pro-Hillary, at least until after the GOP and independent voters finish voting for her in Texas and Ohio,hopefully prolonging the Dem’s excruciating pain and anguish.

I was more inclined to write about how Obamarama wiggled out of hard questions on what he’d do if we have to stay in Iraq should a deteriorating situation following the start of withdrawal demand it, but the guy is so polished that his wife probably doesn’t even know when he’s withdrawing and when he’s not.

Which brings up Steven Colbert’s limerick. After a lengthy pseudo-rant against the NYT for practicing “bad, bad journalism” as opposed to “good bad journalism” in its smear of McCain, he said the entire nine-page article could have been summed up “in a sonnet … or better yet a limerick.”

There once was a man named McCain
Who had the whole White House to gain
But he was quite a hobbyist
Of boning his lobbyist
So much for his oh-eight campaign

I believe the Senator issued a pretty darn firm denial regarding boning … and for that matter, poking, plowing, porking, riding, jazzing, rocking, rolling, zig-zagging, nugging, rogering, balling, banging, humping, pillowing or scoring his lobbyist acquaintance.

And people wonder why conservatives are mad at Mike Huckabee for offering Colbert a podium for GOP-bashing.

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February 27th 2008

Wednesday Reading

Just scan these headlines, baby, and you’ll know you’ve come to the right place! Normally, I couldn’t give any of these to you for less than a few thou each, but since you’re looking fine today, you can have all of ‘em for free!

Council links:

  1. Mrs. Obama’s ‘Proud’ Remark: It’s the GOP’s Fault
    The Colossus of Rhodey
  2. Packer on Iraq
    Done With Mirrors
  3. Unforced Errors
    The Glittering Eye
  4. Find the Adjectives
    Soccer Dad
  5. Obama (with links) & McCain’s Petard
    Wolf Howling
  6. Associated Press, Like Others, Retails Malicious Rumor as “Reporting”
    Big Lizards
  7. In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run?
    Cheat Seeking Missiles
  8. The Pursuit of Happiness
    Bookworm Room
  9. John Murtha: Porker of the Year!
    The Education Wonks
  10. “I’d rather be with God against man than with man against God…”
    Joshuapundit
  11. An Ethics Flap That Isn’t
    Rhymes With Right
  12. Still At Risk: The Shocking Ignorance of Our Young
    Right Wing Nut House

Non-council links:

  1. The Dumbing of America
    The Washington Post
  2. Bobby Kennedy and Why Obama Unnerves Me
    Roger L. Simon
  3. Greece and Rome in Iraq
    Kings of War
  4. To Die in Jerusalem, Part II
    My Shrapnel
  5. The Democrats’ Collective Cognitive Catatonia
    Dr. Sanity
  6. Clark Hoyt, Conscientious Objector
    Captain’s Quarters
  7. DoD News Briefing with Col. James from Iraq
    GlobalSecurity.org
  8. Obama Logic Versus Racial Preferences
    National Journal
  9. 15 Years: The World Trade Center Bombing
    Michelle Malkin
  10. Guns in the Desert
    Michael J. Totten
  11. Hillary Is Losing
    Hillbilly White Trash
  12. The Fierce Urgency of Lies
    American Thinker
  13. Validating AGW Skepticism
    The QandO Blog
  14. Fox News Headline — Video Gamers Leave Baby To Die
    Dodgeblogium

Members of the Watcher’s Council will vote Thursday afternoon, and you’ll see the winners here Friday morning.

Thanks, Watcher, for hanging the little plastic flags over the lot this morning!

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February 26th 2008

Protestants Soon "A Statistical Minority?"

America is and always has been dominantly a nation of Protestants. It was our faith that filled the Mayflower, Protestants who wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Throughout our history, the “mainly” of America in peace and war, business and government, has been Protestant.

That’s why so much is being made of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey of 33,000 Americans that found those claiming to be Protestant now make up just 51% of the population.

There are only two other affiliations that make up a significant amount of America’s religion (or lack of it): Catholics with 24% and “unaffiliated” with 16%. Add up mainline, evangelical, Black churches, and you get 51%.

Jews are 1.7%, equal to Mormons, and Muslims at 0.6%, on a par with Hindus and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The sensationalism of the survey is due in part to its breaking out of Protestants as separate from Christians. If you tally all the Christian faiths (yes, we’re counting the Mormons in there), you find that America is very much a nation of Christians — over two in three Americans, 78.4%, profess faith in Christ. Throw in the Jews, and you have 80.1% hewing to Judeo-Christian values.

Not surprising, given the aggressive promotion of secularism in schools, is the growth of the Church of Unaffiliated:

Overall, 7.3% of the adult population says they were unaffiliated with any particular religion as a child. Today, however, 16.1% of adults say they are unaffiliated, a net increase of 8.8 percentage points.

Stated another way, in a single generation, the amount of people who have no tie to church — or, presumably to the Judeo-Christian values upon which are society is founded — has more than doubled. If it doubles again in another generation, there will be as many unaffiliateds as Catholics.

(Catholics, by the way, are suffering large losses among those born in America, but are holding stead by a pretty good conversion rate and a huge influx of Latin American Catholics.)

All in all, the report is less sensational than the media coverage it’s generating, like this from US News:

The first American colonists were Protestant, and for roughly four centuries their descendents, along with successive waves of Protestant immigrants, have been the country’s dominant religious group.

But now Protestants are on the verge of becoming a statistical minority in the U.S., according a study released today.

We remain dramatically Christian, with many Christian churches enjoying healthy growth. It’s just those Unaffiliateds that are giving my heartburn. Even without churches and preachers, they seem to be converting millions, depriving them of the joy of faith, and potentially altering the moral fiber of the country.

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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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