Saturday, March 04, 2006

"Media won't credit Bush for his diplomatic successes"

Rich Lowry reviews how the MSM treats Bush on FA. Excerpts:

[-]

Next on the itinerary was Pakistan, a longtime enemy of India and another newly minted U.S. ally. That the U.S. is friends with both India and Pakistan has a lot to do with circumstances (the end of the Cold War and the advent of the War on Terror), but it also speaks to a certain level of Bush-administration diplomatic finesse. The administration won't get any credit for it since it runs counter to the media's favored ''unilateralist behemoth alienates the world'' storyline.
India especially falls victim to the new liberal standard in international relations, which is that countries that genuinely like us are discounted as allies. It's the diplomatic corollary of Groucho Marx's refusal to belong to any club that would have him. India falls into the same category as Japan, Britain, Australia, the democratic countries of Eastern Europe and a few Gulf emirates. These nations lack the simmering resentment toward the U.S. of a France, so close and fruitful relationships with them don't earn Bush any multilateralist points.

In fact, Democrats are perfectly content to alienate these natural friends. The United Arab Emirates is getting a swift kick to the teeth in the uproar over the port deal, and no Democratic members of Congress complained when the press revealed the existence of secret U.S. prisons in Poland and Romania, thus making it less likely that those countries would be helpful to the U.S. in the future.

India has always been a U.S. ally waiting to happen, but its tilt toward the Soviet Union in the Cold War kept the world's two largest democracies apart. Now, the natural affinities are coming to the fore. India and the U.S. are both commercial democracies with large middle classes (India's is more than 200 million strong) and heavily invested in international trade." Read the rest here

"Democratic Leaders Question Whether Dean's Right on the Money"

Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza at the WaPo have the latest "inside the beltway."

Democratic congressional leaders aren't happy with the way Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is spending money. At a private meeting last month, they let him know.

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) challenged the former Vermont governor during a session in Pelosi's office, according to Democratic sources. The leaders complained about Dean's priorities -- funding organizers for state parties in strongly Republican states such as Mississippi -- rather than targeting states with crucial races this fall.

Neither side was willing to give ground, according to several accounts of the meeting. Dean argued that his strategy is designed to rebuild the party across the country, and that he had pledged to do so when he ran for party chairman. Reid and Pelosi countered that if Democrats squander their opportunities this year, longer-term organizing efforts will not matter much.

Democratic congressional leaders are particularly worried because the Republican National Committee holds a huge financial advantage over the DNC. One congressional Democrat complained that Dean has -- at an alarming rate -- burned through the money the DNC raised, and that Republicans may be able to swamp Democrats in close races with an infusion of RNC money.

In its most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, the DNC reported raising $50.1 million so far in the 2005-2006 cycle and had $5.8 million cash on hand at the end of last year. The RNC had raised $103 million and had $34 million cash on hand.

Dean has won friends among state party leaders for his efforts to underwrite the hiring of organizers in states where Republicans have been winning in presidential races. Dean campaigned for the DNC chairmanship by pledging to make Democrats competitive in all 50 states, not just in the 16 to 18 presidential battlegrounds. One congressional Democrat responded: "Nobody's suggesting they do 16 states, but not all states are equal."

Pelosi was particularly insistent in pressing Dean to keep focused on 2006, but Dean is reluctant to give congressional colleagues anything approaching a blank check, preferring to stay on the course he began a year ago." Read the rest here

"White House Trains Efforts on Media Leaks"

Dan Eggen at the Washington Post says Sources, Reporters Could Be Prosecuted

The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws.

In recent weeks, dozens of employees at the CIA, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies have been interviewed by agents from the FBI's Washington field office, who are investigating possible leaks that led to reports about secret CIA prisons and the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials familiar with the two cases.

Numerous employees at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department and other agencies also have received letters from Justice prohibiting them from discussing even unclassified issues related to the NSA program, according to sources familiar with the notices. Some GOP lawmakers are also considering whether to approve tougher penalties for leaking.

In a little-noticed case in California, FBI agents from Los Angeles have already contacted reporters at the Sacramento Bee about stories published in July that were based on sealed court documents related to a terrorism case in Lodi, according to the newspaper.

Some media watchers, lawyers and editors say that, taken together, the incidents represent perhaps the most extensive and overt campaign against leaks in a generation, and that they have worsened the already-tense relationship between mainstream news organizations and the White House." Read the rest here

Looking back (and ahead) with Edwards

George Will says about Edwards:

Edwards has a 1930s paradigm of poverty: Poor people are like everyone else, they just lack certain goods and services (housing, transportation, training, etc.) that government knows how to deliver. Hence he calls for a higher minimum wage and job-creation programs. And because no Democrat with national ambitions will dare to offend the teachers unions, he rejects school choice vouchers and says this: ``Give working parents who are poor housing vouchers so they have a chance to move into neighborhoods with better schools."

But the 1930s paradigm of poverty was alive in 1968 when the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, created in response to urban riots, thought this would be an imaginative cure: government creation of 2 million jobs. This, at a moment when the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent.

The 1930s paradigm has been refuted by four decades of experience. The new paradigm is of behavior-driven poverty that results from individuals' nonmaterial deficits. It results from a scarcity of certain habits and mores -- punctuality, hygiene, industriousness, deferral of gratification, etc. -- that are not developed in disorganized homes.

Edwards, who does not recognize the name James Q. Wilson, may have missed this paradigm shift. Many people in public life, and almost all those with presidential ambitions, are too busy for the study and reflection necessary for mastering any subject. Read it all

One Count of "Driving while Islamist"

That's what "Ace of Spades" calls it. Check out his update:

"Nine Attempted Murder Charges Filed Against UNC Homicide-Driver"

"How we duped the West, by Iran's nuclear negotiator"

Philip Sherwell in the "Telegraph UK" lays it out. [hat tip, Sweetness and light.]


The man who for two years led Iran's nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic programme.

In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.


He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot.

"From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.

Revelation of Mr Rowhani's remarks comes at an awkward moment for the Iranian government, ahead of a meeting tomorrow of the United Nations' atomic watchdog, which must make a fresh assessment of Iran's banned nuclear operations."
Read the rest here

"In Arabic, 'Internet' Means 'Freedom'"

Jonathan Rauch, at the "National Journal" has an essay on the effects of liberty on the societies in the gap. Austin Bay lead me to it with this comment.

"I addressed the upside and downside of technological compression — the planet “shrunk” in figurative terms by communications and transportation. I mentioned the demand for Internet connections I had encountered in rural East Africa. One Anglican priest in northwestern Uganda said the Internet would provide the library students in his town needed for a better education. I gave a number of other examples. Isolated communities in the Third World suddenly have intellectual and economic access– access to libraries, access to advertising their local wares, etc.

That’s one reason I’m linking to this Jonathan Rauch column."
Excerpts:
Odd though it may sound, somewhere in Baghdad a man is working in secrecy to edit new Arabic versions of Liberalism, by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, and In Defense of Global Capitalism, by the Swedish economist Johan Norberg. He is doing this at some risk of kidnap, beating, and death, because he hopes that a new Arabic-language Web site, called LampofLiberty.org -- MisbahAlHurriyya.org in Arabic -- can change the world by publishing liberal classics.

Odder still, he may be right.

[-]

"Intellectual isolation is a widespread Arab phenomenon, not just an Iraqi one. Some of the statistics are startling. According to the United Nations' 2003 "Arab Human Development Report," five times more books are translated annually into Greek, a language spoken by just 11 million people, than into Arabic. "No more than 10,000 books were translated into Arabic over the entire past millennium," says the U.N., "equivalent to the number translated into Spanish each year." Authors and publishers must cope with the whims of 22 Arab censors. "As a result," writes a contributor to the report, "books do not move easily through their natural markets." Newspapers are a fifth as common as in the non-Arab developed world; computers, a fourth as common. "Most media institutions in Arab countries remain state-owned," the report says.

No wonder the Arab world and Western-style modernity have collided with a shock. They are virtually strangers, 300 years after the Enlightenment and 200 years after the Industrial Revolution. Much as other regions may be cursed with disease or scarcity, in recent decades the Arab world has been singularly cursed with bad ideas. First came Marxism and its offshoots; then the fascistic nationalism of Nasserism and Baathism; now, radical Islamism. Diverse as those ideologies are, they have in common authoritarianism and the suppression of any true private sphere. Instead of withering as they have done in open competition with liberalism, they flourished in the Arab world's relative isolation."
Read the rest here


"Who's on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows"

Mark Kilmer at REDSTATE has the rundown.

"THE PAJAMA GAME"

I loved this show and the movie
John Podhoretz at NRO says...is the name of a 1954 Broadway musical with an unlikely setting: An Iowa clothing factory where the workers are on the verge of a strike. It has just been revived on Broadway in a production so sprightly and rousing that it could turn even the managing director of the National Right to Work Committee into a union man. A very good and faithful movie version was released in 1957 starring Doris Day and the great midcentury musical star John Raitt, but there's nothing like seeing a stage show as it was meant to be seen. The crooner-pianist Harry Connick Jr. makes a sensational stage debut as a tough and principled shop superintendent who falls in love with the head of the union grievance committee. Some unfortunate lines have been added to the 1954 script turning the factory owner into a McCarthyite thug, but that's only about a minute of nonsense in the course of nearly three hours of exhilaration. At the show's high point, Connick hits the ivories onstage as he plays a stride-piano version of the hilarious tango, "Hernando's Hideaway" -- a moment as sheerly joyous as any in my 35 years of theatergoing. The Pajama Game is a very tough ticket, because of its deservedly ecstatic notices and Connick's fame. But if you are planning a trip to New York at any time this year, I urge you to do anything and everything you can to secure seats to this production, which may be the best revival I've ever seen. Take a bow, Harry."

Cliff May at NRO

..."Democrats offer no credible alternative to the administration’s policies. Most Democrats, like most Europeans, are in denial over the very fact that we're in a serious war against a very dangerous enemy.

They want to fight Bush and Republicans -- because Bush and Republicans they can maybe beat.

They don't want to fight Islamic Fascism because they don't have a clue as to how they would go about taking on such a foe while simultaneously keeping everyone happy at the UN and Human Rights Watch and the NYT and the Daily Kos and CAIR and …"
Rest here

A fearless Arab American

The "Washington Times" has a great editorial Wafa Sultan.

To judge by her appearances on al Jazeera, Los Angeles psychologist Wafa Sultan is the very definition of fearlessness. Face-to-face with radical Islamists before millions of potentially hostile viewers around the Arab world, Ms. Sultan -- a secular Arab American fluent in Arabic -- does not flinch when called a heretic and a blasphemer. For all we know, she is endangering her life.

Her latest appearance took place Feb. 21, when Ms. Sultan engaged the Egyptian cleric Ibrahim Al-Khouli in a live debate about the "clash of civilizations" on the talk show "The Other Direction" on al Jazeera TV. The transcript and subtitled video are available in English (www.memri.org).

" Turning to her Egyptian interlocutor Mr. Al-Khouli, she asks, "What gives you the right to call [Christians] 'those who incur Allah's wrath,' or 'those who have gone astray,' and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?" Mr. Al-Khouli had previously compared Christians to apes and pigs. "I am not a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it."

"Are you a heretic?" Mr. Al-Khouli asks.
"You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural," she responds.
"If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the prophet and the Koran."

"These are personal matters that do not concern you," she says. "Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern ... Let people have their beliefs."

She then issues an even greater provocation. "We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church ... Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.""
Read it all here

"Memo to the Supreme Court"

Michael Barone says that "Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the Texas congressional redistricting case. Here's an account from USA Today, and here is one from Slate.com. There's a pretty strong consensus in press accounts that most justices were unswayed by the arguments of the lawyer for the Democrats challenging the plan engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and passed by Texas's Republican legislature.
Continue reading at "Memo to the Supreme Court"

"Canadian oil sloshes in"

Austin Bay points to this Houston Chronicle article:

Rather than moving north from the Gulf, crude is coming south from Alberta's sands

While oil flowing through an underground pipeline may seem mundane, the $190 million Spearhead project has special significance.

That's because Enbridge reversed the flow of the Spearhead pipeline, which is also something of a reversal of fortunes.

For years the pipe, which used to be owned by BP, carried Gulf of Mexico crude to northern markets that needed the oil. But as the Gulf slowly but surely plays out, and Canada's oil sands production picks up steam, the crude is flowing in a different direction.

It's a sign of the times. Canada, which is already the biggest exporter of oil to the U.S., outranking Mexico, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, will likely double its oil production in the next decade, thanks to production from the oil sands.

[-]

"With the exception of Saudi Arabia and the Russians — if they get their act together — we're the only one to grow when everyone else is flat or declining," he said."
Rest here

"MO THE MOWER"

Tim Blair says about our angry Muslim in NC who ran over the students:

“These days, whenever something goofy turns up on the news, chances are it involves a fellow called Mohammed.” So wrote Mark Steyn last year, and the trend continues: "
Read it all here

"Iraq: No Timetable"

Ed Morrissey says that

The president of Iraq stated that American forces will remain in Iraq as long as necessary to ensure stability, undercutting arguments that the Iraqis want the Americans out:
rest here

"The astonishing sculpture of Ron Mueck"


This is really impressive.

Tigerhawk says, "Being something of a Philistine, I rarely consider the art world, much less write about it. This morning, though, a friend sent me an email with pictures of the "hyper-realist" sculptures of the Australian sculptor Ron Mueck. Here are a couple of samples, and there is a link to an amazing slide show at the bottom of the post."

"Any port in a storm"

"Dubai & Dubya in dash for lifeboat

Bush team urges firm to get a U.S. partner

NY Daily News Exclusive

BY THOMAS T. DeFRANK and KENNETH R. BAZINET
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON - The White House is quietly pushing a Dubai company to "significantly restructure" and partner up with a U.S. outfit to keep the port deal from sinking, sources told the Daily News yesterday.

"It's in the hands of the company now. ... They're going to have to significantly restructure," said a Republican source familiar with White House expectations."
Rest here

"Gen. Casey: Sectarian Violence Over, "Exaggerated"

Powerline reports that Gen. George Casey, America's top military commander in Iraq, said yesterday that the wave of sectarian violence that followed the bombing of the Askariya mosque in Samarra has died out. He also said that news coverage of the violence was "exggereated":"
Read the rest here

"They are watching the Free Republic "

Mark in Mexico was sent this email by a Freeper.

My sociology professer was talking about the blogspere and how irresponsible it is and he kept saying this blog over and over aboout how it represents evil and stuff. I was curious and came hear. I don't really know if it is evil because mostly all I see is a lot of stupid boring stiff that doesn't make since and I don't fell like reading anymore. Thats all I really had to say. You should know people are watching you I guess.


I am trying to guess which university this student might be attending. Harvard? Parsons? Colorado?"

Good Question

Bizzyblog asks the "Weekends Unanswered Question 1: Why Did I (Probably) Have to Be the One to Tell You These Things?


“These things” are:

* “Economic activity grew in the manufacturing sector for the 33rd consecutive month.” — ISM Report on Business, March 2006 for February 2006 Business, Page 1 (PDF File). Referring back to and building on this BizzyBlog post from August 2005, the 33-month streak is now the highest in almost 17 years, since a three-year streak ended in April 1989.
* “Non-manufacturing business activity increased for the 35th consecutive month.” — Same report, same page, near the bottom. The non-manufacturing sector includes mining, construction, wholesale, retail, and all services.

For these two measurements to keep chugging along despite Katrina, despite the mediocre revised 4th quarter GDP growth of only 1.6%, and despite some of the horrid things happening in the automotive and airline sectors, is pretty remarkable."

"Bush Says Pakistan Cannot Expect Nuclear Deal Like One With India

This is why the "core/gap" approach is a good one.

NYT - ISLAMABAD, March 4 -- President Bush made clear today that Pakistan should not expect anytime soon a civilian nuclear agreement like the one the United States reached only days ago with India, and he bluntly said that the two archrivals on the subcontinent cannot be compared to each other.

Mr. Bush said that he and Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf, had discussed a civilian nuclear program for Pakistan during talks this morning.

“I explained that Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories," Mr. Bush said at a joint outdoor news conference with Mr. Musharraf on the grounds of the presidential palace, Aiwan-e-Sadr. “So as we proceed forward, our strategy will take in effect those well-known differences."

Mr. Bush had never been expected to endorse a nuclear agreement with Pakistan, the country of A.Q Khan, the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear program who has confessed to running the largest illegal nuclear proliferation network in history. But it was striking that the president spoke so directly as his host, Mr. Musharraf, stood at his side.

Critics of Mr. Bush’s nuclear agreement with India say that it will only encourage other nations to demand similar arrangements. Under the terms of the Indian pact, the United States would end a decades-long moratorium on sales of nuclear fuel and reactor components and India would separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, and open the civilian facilities to international inspections.

Before Mr. Bush’s remarks, administration officials had said that Mr. Musharraf had no chance of making such a deal because proliferation and terrorism remain concerns in Pakistan.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, struggled to answer local journalists who asked if Pakistan had not been left empty-handed after the visit. Speaking at a news briefing this afternoon to release the joint statement issued by both presidents, he said Mr. Musharraf had pressed the case for civil nuclear cooperation, since Pakistan had urgent energy needs. "These things take a long time," he said. President Bush had hinted at something, he said, but he declined to explain further."
Read the rest

A comment from Totten's "head of the snake"

"I heard the same refrain over and over again: “Persians are just like us.” In other words, they are liberal, secular, pro-Western, and fed up with tyrants. “Iranians love America,” the Kurds told me. “They have nothing to do with Ahmadinejad.”

Vanya" says, "I call this the fallacy of familiarity." This often happens when people travel to a new place - instinctively we seek out people like us, people who we can communicate with. There are a lot of secular, educated liberal pro-Western people in Iran, certainly far more than most Americans would guess. But that is far from the whole story. Ahmadinejad was elected in a relatively free election. Yes, he was elected more for his social program than his foreign policy. But there are a lot of poor uneducated Iranians who, while maybe not anti-American, are fiercely patriotic and will still listen to the mullahs. These people strongly resent the educated Westernized elites and to this day tend to side with the religious fanatics against the Westernizers. Ahmadinejad has been a genius at tapping into this resentment. As long as he can keep the Iranian working classes and professional classes at each others' throats the mullahs will be safe."

"“The Head of the Snake”

Another great travelogue post by Michael J Totten, with pictures, of his travels in Northern Iraq. Make sure you go to his blog to read and look at it.


SULEIMANIYA, IRAQ – Suleimaniya is the most liberal city in Iraqi Kurdistan, partly because of its long-standing and deep ties to nearby Iran, one of the most culturally liberal countries in the Middle East. The Iraqi Kurds I met who have been to Iran wanted me to know – and they want you to know, as well – that the distance between the Iranian people and their hideous regime is galactic. I heard the same refrain over and over again: “Persians are just like us.” In other words, they are liberal, secular, pro-Western, and fed up with tyrants. “Iranians love America,” the Kurds told me. “They have nothing to do with Ahmadinejad.”"
It's all here

Firefox is winning



This remarkable stat showed up in my site meter. It breaks down the people who visit my blog by browser share. 30% Firefox, 60% IE. Since we are all "early adaptors," the trend is obvious, and very frightening for Microsoft.

Goood Morning to the Mainland!




I get a kick out of this picture in this NYT style article of "Dita Von Teese" on a runway in Milan. The other picture shows the two of us at the at the Catalina Casino ballroom "Back in the day," when she was "Heather Sweet." I taught her to dance and took her on a tour of the LA nightspots as she started her climb to celebrity in '97. Now, as Marilyn Manson's wife she is the toast of both continents as the new "It" girl and poised to give Paris Hilton a run for her money.

Everybody leads with coverage of Bush's Pakistan Visit. The NYT continues to play it as all protests from a hostile population. A positive word must never pass their lips! The WaPo is about the same. Cunningham's eight year jail sentence is number two with both.

The Blackberry 612 million dollar settlement is big news at the WaPo and the NYT. The fact that the Real Estate market is holding steady is played as bad news at the NYT. The frustrations of the poor Palestinians is the subject of a sympathetic sob story in the NYT.

Alexander Dryer at Slate says that everyone stuffs reports on Hamas's Russia visit. Representatives of the radical Palestinian group faced a stern warning from Russia's foreign minister that they must embrace the political process or face irrelevance; the LAT files the best details on the encounter. The NYT does front a lengthy piece on the Gaza border crossings, which offers a good insight into the Palestinian frustration that Hamas so successfully tapped in the January elections. Meanwhile the Post fronts an admiring profile of a Lebanese politician, Ghassan Tueni, working to help his country resist the sort of extremist religious politics Hamas represents.Read the rest of it here

Friday, March 03, 2006

"President Bush, as the Indians Saw Him"

Powerline says,
Based on my review of Indian newspapers, President Bush's visit to that country was a success. Little of the coverage was devoted to the inevitable protests, and it lacked the snarky tone of virtually all mainstream American press coverage of anything the President does."
Read the rest at

The AP clarifies what the AP muddied

John at Powerline says, "I think it's reasonable to assume that the AP's "clarification" is the result of our dissection of their incredibly lame story. I think this highlights, though, how hard it is for truth to catch up to error. Hundreds of newspapers printed the AP's misinformation, and it was the basis for television news on all of the broadcast networks. The correction (or "clarification") will never catch up to most of the tens of millions of people who heard the original story. The news business is all about impressions, and corrections, days after the fact, never take away the impression that the original story falsely created."

Gallup Poll also shows Bush has sunk.

"Mystery Pollster" reviews the numbers. I agree with some that Bush blew it by now getting out on the south lawn and denouncing the Cartoon riots when they happened.

"# 38% now say they approve of the job George Bush is doing as president, while 56% disapprove. The approval rating is five percentage points lower than the 43% that Gallup measured throughout January.
# 66% say they oppose the "proposed sale [of cargo operations at several major U.S. seaports to a company from the United Arab Emirates]," and only 17% favor it.
# 47% now approve of Bush's handling of terrorism, while 49% disapprove. This rating is "by one point the lowest Gallup has measured," according to the Gallup summary."

"Long Term Policy, Short Term Data — A Poor Fit"

"The Commons" reports that today we were subjected to breathless news reports that — to quote the Washington Post’s page one headline — the “Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Melting Rapidly: New Study Warns Of Rising Sea Levels”. Its author, Juliet Eilperin, goes on to state that the ice sheet “is losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year in a trend that scientists link to global warming, according to a new paper ...”

So what is this "trend" based upon? The trend, reported in a paper in yesterday’s Sciencexpress [1], which offers previews of coming attractions in Science magazine, is based on data collected over a 34-month period!

Sorry, Juliet, 34 months does not a “trend” make, unless you are 3-year old, in which case you can be forgiven for thinking that’s a truly long time. like ... almost forever.

Juliet, however, does go on to restore some balance to her story by quoting Richard Alley, “One person's trend is another person's fluctuation.” Bravo!

Let’s now look at the second part of the two-punch headline, namely, the warning regarding rising sea levels. It turns out that the resulting ice melt would raise sea level by 0.4 millimeters per year. Well, that works out to 1.6 inches per century. I guess I better hurry and relocate to higher ground — I have heard you can drown in a thimble-full of water (and I don’t swim).

That also means 1.3 feet in a 1,000 years. Seems I have to live longer than Methuselah to enjoy that beachfront property. Damn!"
Read the rest at

You won't read this in the MSM

Imagine how it would have been played if a Christian had done the same thing to a group of Muslim students.

Authorities Search For Answers In UNC Hit-And-Run
Six Hurt As SUV Plows Into Student-Filled 'Pit'
March 3, 2006

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Authorities say 23-year-old Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, who drove a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee into The Pit at the UNC-Chapel Hill campus around noon Friday, may have acted to avenge American treatment of Muslims.

Police intend to charge Taheri-azar, who graduated from UNC in 2005, with nine counts of attempted murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, said Capt. George Hare of the UNC Department of Public Safety.

The FBI joined the case because Taheri-azar, a native of Iran, "allegedly made statements that he acted to avenge the American treatment of Muslims. The ongoing investigation will work to confirm this," said Special Agent Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman in Washington."

"Time for God to 'Call You Home,' Jimmy"

Carter Seeks Vote in U.N. Against U.S.
BY BENNY AVNI - Staff Reporter of the Sun
March 3, 2006

President Carter personally called Secretary of State Rice to try to convince her to reverse her U.N. ambassador's position on changes to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the former president recalled yesterday in a talk in which he also criticized President Bush's Christian bona fides and misstated past American policies on Israel.

Mr. Carter said he made a personal promise to ambassadors from Egypt, Pakistan, and Cuba on the U.N. change issue that was undermined by America's ambassador, John Bolton. "My hope is that when the vote is taken," he told the Council on Foreign Relations, "the other members will outvote the United States.""
Read the whole, sorry rest of it

"Old Soldiers Stick Around"

Strategy Page reports that the U.S. Department of Defense now believes that older is better, at least when it comes to NCOs and officers. The Pentagon wants to encourage more military personnel to stay in uniform for up to 40 years. To that end, the Department of Defense is asking Congress to approve extending pay rate tables from 30 to 40 years. Currently, once you pass 30 years of service, you no longer get raises based on length of service. There is another proposal in play, that would change the current "half pay at 20 years and 75 percent pay at 30 years" retirement plan to add " 25 percent at ten years" and " 100 percent at 40 years". This would encourage younger troops to stay for ten (and then maybe go for 20 or 30), and make it more attractive for the most experienced troops to go for 40 years. "
Read the rest

"The Swiss Guard of Baghdad"

Strategy Pages reports that private security personnel (some of whom are indistinguishable from troops) in Iraq reportedly number at least 15,000 and possible more than 20,000, making them the second largest contingent of foreign military personnel in the country, after Americans. As the American armed forces continue to withdraw from Iraq, these foreign security specialists will grow in importance. Iraqis will prefer the foreigners for critical security tasks, as the foreigners are harder to bribe or threaten (via vulnerable family members.) Using foreigners for key security tasks is an ancient custom in this part of the world. Chechens and Baluchis were particularly favored as bodyguards, because they were Moslem, effective and loyal to their employer. Chechens and Baluchis are into Islamic terrorism these days, and no longer seen as suitable for security duties.

But the force hired for private security in Iraq is another matter. Led by former commandos and security experts from Western nations, and staffed with carefully selected former policemen, soldiers and marines, these troops have proved reliable and effective. Many of these security personnel are Iraqis, usually Kurds, but carefully screened for reliability and capability. Operating largely in the background, the private security troops have constantly demonstrated their effectiveness. Many senior Iraqi officials have their personal security provided by non-Iraqis. When the Americans are gone, many of the private security personnel will remain. Like the pope's Swiss guard, these foreign security people will protect people who can't trust their own kind."
Steven Stehling at "Standards and Grudges" says

"And one thing is quite clear. This is an issue only because it is an Arab company. Not one politician or major media outlet said boo when the British company was awarded the port management contract. A message is being sent that we will allow some nations to do business, but others are not allowed. That's extremely unfair and terribly damaging to our creditability. It also risks a backlash against the United States from Arab nations. What if they started voiding contracts of US companies doing business in the Middle East?"

"WORST CASE REALITY"

Brian Maloney says, "Air America Appears To Lose Flagship Station"

Drone Doggie Wobbles, Doesn't Fall Down

Defense tech: When I first watched this, I thought for a moment it was two guys faking it. The movement after the kick is astounding for a robot. See video here

Oscar winners and losers

National Review reviews them. Mark Steyn says:

Best movie: Good Night And Good Luck ...because not only is the heartland not as hot for Brokeback as Frank Rich says but neither is Hollywood. I don't believe they're in the mood for a gay Best Picture (Philadelphia won as a disease-of-the-week movie — My Left Foot with stick-on lesions). So, in a weak field, the film that best exemplifies both the industry's sense of its own importance and what faint glamour can be found this season is Good Night And Good Luck.

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I don't find George Clooney annoying, so much as hilarious. I love it when Hollywood stars do the Serious Thinker routine: George has borrowed Barbra Streisand's reading specs and dunked his head in that vat of Anti-Grecian instant-graying formula Richard Gere bought after American Gigolo, when he decided he was the Dalai Lama-in-waiting. In their glory days in the Seventies, Oscar night politics at least had two sides: John Wayne and Bob Hope vs. Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine. These days the more stultifyingly homogeneous Hollywood's world view the more they're convinced they're part of a dangerous counter-culture, and that the definition of "courage" is restating the received wisdom of every single person you've ever had dinner with. In White Christmas, George's Aunt Rosie sings that lovely ballad "Count Your Blessings (instead of sheep)". On Oscar night, watching George and co on stage, we can count all the sheep we want, and doze off somewhere round the Best Sound Editing award."

"Best of the Web"

Jim Toronto's daily column at the WSJ.com is a must read every weekday.

"It would be tragic if the Cartoon War caused us to fail

Jack Kelly at "Irish Pennants":

"in Iraq. But that may be what happens, if Glenn Reynolds and Jim Geraghty are right, as I fear they are. Here's the Instapundit:

"I wonder if the Bush administration's weakness on this front [the cartoons] didn't come back to bite them on the ass in the response to the Dubai ports deal, that it's really undermined a lot of people's confidence in them in terms of standing up to this sort of thing… I think the cartoon wars gave the sense that there is this mass of angry Muslims out there who can't be trusted and who don't respect Western ideas and then you've got this country with the unfortunate name of the United Arab Emirates involved and I think the distrust had been heightened by the cartoon wars, and I think the Bush administration's sort of appeasing response on that front gave people a sense they're not strong on that."


Here's Geraghty on Reynolds:

"And more and more, I think Glenn Reynolds had it right; the entire Tipping Point phenomenon can be summed up as action and reaction. The Bush Administration's reaction to the cartoon riots was comparably milquetoast. The violence and threats committed over the cartoons shocked, frightened and really, really angered Americans. They want somebody to smack the Muslim world back onto its heels and set them straight: "It doesn't matter how offensive a cartoon is, you're not allowed to riot, burn down embassies and kill people over it."
Read the rest there

"Ginsburg Falls Asleep: Media Pretend Not to Notice"

Newsbusters asks, "If say, Thomas had fallen asleep, would the MSM have been all over it?

"Churchill speaks"

Powerline quotes Churchill on the Wahabbi:

At Carolina Journal the John Locke Foundation has posted the February 10 speech by Winston Churchill III at the Foundation's anniversary dinner: "Churchill on Islamic fundamentalism." The speech quotes the older Churchill's 1921 comments on Wahabbi Islam in Parliament:

A large number of [Saudi Arabia’s King] Bin Saud’s followers belong to the Wahabi sect, a form of Mohammedanism which bears, roughly speaking, the same relationship to orthodox Islam as the most militant form of Calvinism would have borne to Rome in the fiercest times of [Europe’s] religious wars.

The Wahabis profess a life of exceeding austerity, and what they practice themselves they rigorously enforce on others. They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahabi villages for simply appearing in the streets.

It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette and, as for the crime of alcohol, the most energetic supporter of the temperance cause in this country falls far behind them. Austere, intolerant, well-armed, and blood-thirsty, in their own regions the Wahabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina..."
Hewitt interviews Hitchens

"Mesopotamia…amid a political storm".

Iraq the Model is not very happy.

"Mesopotamia…amid a political storm.
As we predicted in our Wednesday post, Jafari's visit to Turkey did complicate the political process in a bad way.
It's not news that from the beginning, Kurds, Sunni and secular blocs weren't comfortable with the UIA's nomination of Jafari but the latter's latest suspicious step pushed them to declare their opposition and officially ask the UIA to nominate someone other than Jafari to head the cabinet.

Of course the UIA rejected this request, Jawad al-Maliki the Dawa party 2nd man said on TV today that the "UIA will not change their candidate and the other parties will have to accept our choice".

The Kurds, Sunni and seculars will still have a chance to force the UIA to replace Jafari because their votes are necessary for approving the cabinet.
What really worries me here is that the UIA knows this mechanism which is stated in the constitution yet they refuse to change their mind which makes one suspect they have no intention to compromise and they want to do some arm-twisting telling the others to 'either accept Jafari or face the danger of halting the entire political process' .
They're playing a very dangerous game that only those who don't care for the unity of the country would dare play."

Read the rest

"Hamas leaders visit Moscow"

Jihad Watch has this:

And maintain their hard line. What a stunning surprise! From the TimesOnline, with thanks to JE:

Russia's diplomatic overtures towards Hamas rhetoric fell at the first hurdle today when the militant group's leader dismissed calls from the Kremlin to soften his stance against Israel.

"The issue of recognition [of Israel] is a decided issue," said Khaled Mashal, the militant organisation's supreme leader, as he arrived in Moscow for the first of three days of talks. "We don’t intend to recognise Israel.""

"Iraq's "Civil War" -- Will the Networks Ever Get It Right?

Newsbusters has compiled a list of the MSM's calls for a civil war in Iraq the last couple of years. The question is, where is it? Excerpt:

"Wednesday’s Early Show on CBS carried a segment on Iraq emblazoned with the headline “Iraq Civil War.” The worry that Iraq is about to tip over into an all-out fight between the Sunnis and the Shiites has been thick in the media since terrorists bombed an important Shiite mosque a week ago. As CBS anchor Bob Schieffer announced that night (February 22): “One of the worst days ever in Iraq, and it’s Iraqis against Iraqis. A Middle East expert tells us the country has been plunged into civil war.”"

read the rest!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Goood Morning to the Mainland!

Eric Umansky at Slate says The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, and New York Times all lead with yesterday's unveiling of the big nuclear pact in which the U.S. will give India a helping hand with civilian technology and allow India to ramp up its nukes program. In return, India will give its abiding friendship and will allow international inspectors at civilian plants. Its military program is still off-limits.
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USA Today reefers the agreement and leads with the latest on the ports deal: The Republican chair of the House Armed Services Committee previewed legislation to not only block the ports sale but also require foreign companies to divest holdings of U.S. infrastructure that are, in USAT's words, "critical to national security." The story also touts an in-house poll with opposition to the ports deal running nearly 4-1. President Bush's approval rating fell to 38 percent and his approval on terrorism issues fell to 47 percent, a record low and a seven point drop from a month ago. The LAT fronts a poll with similar findings; the president's disapproval rating clocked in at 58 percent.
Rest at

The bill for electing a terrorist government is now coming due.

"Topped" vs "Breached"

Mickey Kaus says,

- Topping Out: A good deal of the gleeful Froomkinian outrage in the press and Democratic party over that pre-Katrina video seems to be based on what is at best is a semantic misunderstanding. After Katrina, Bush said "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." In the video, Patterico points out, Bush is warned by hurricane expert Max Mayfield that there's a chance the "levees will be topped." Topping is different than breaching, no? When a levee's "topped," or "overtopped," some water sloshes over it and into the city. Then the storm passes and that's it. When a levee's "breached," there's a hole in the levee and Lake Pontchartrain pours in the gap and keeps pouring in until the city is completely flooded. What Bush said after the storm seems quite consistent with what Mayfield told him before the storm--i.e., he thought the levees might be topped by the storm surge but not that they'd be breached, with the catastrophe that resulted. ...

P.S.: Is the despised, self-parodying MSM intentionally glossing over this important difference in order to exaggerate the anti-Bush shock value of the video? I don't know--but I do know that the actual "topped" quote was hard to find in print, lending some of the stories an eerie, undocumented quality. Do reporters not print the quote because then they couldn't justify the charge that Bush lied about the "breach"? You make the call. I'm too paranoid at this point. ... P.P.S.: Shouldn't Bush's press operation, rather than Powerline and Patterico, be forcefully pointing all this out? ... 5:14 P.M. link"

"The Howard Decade in Australia Has Been Reaganesque, with Similar Results

"Bizzyblog" points to The Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday (subscription required) lauding the Australia’s decade of accomplishment under Prime Minister John Howard. Excerpts:

ohn Howard will celebrate a decade in office as Australia’s prime minister tomorrow. Somewhere, Ronald Reagan is smiling.

Like the Gipper in the U.S., Mr. Howard has fundamentally reshaped Australian society through economic reform. When elected in March 1996, he pledged lower taxes, privatization initiatives and labor market change. His government wouldn’t “be a pale imitation” of the Labor leadership it replaced, the plain-talking Aussie vowed. What an understatement. To date, he’s followed through on every one of those promises.

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"what Australia has witnessed under Mr. Howard is an escape from its Vietnam-era hang-ups. Consider how Australia led the 1999 peacekeeping effort in East Timor, or its involvement in securing Afghanistan and Iraq. The 2002 Bali bombings, where 88 Australians perished, surely helped secure public support for Mr. Howard’s efforts, but so, too, did the Prime Minister’s resolve.

Countries can make their own luck, as the Lucky Country under John Howard’s stewardship has demonstrated."
Read it all there

"Lefty teachers meet the MP3"

"The American Thinker" discusses this story. Excerpts:

A very compelling story from Aurora, Colorado is still unfolding. A student named Sean Allen openly taped his geography teacher on a regular basis as a study aid. The teacher abused his post to indoctrinate his charges with left wing rants derived from the loony websites. On a regular basis. Kid takes tape to Dad to school and eventually to talk radio. Michelle Malkin is providing all the links you need to hear tape highlights, see local TV news coverage, and more. Michelle is updating the story.
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... I am certain sanctimonious arguments are made to respect the privacy and intimacy of he teacher-student bond. The learning process depends on trust. Laymen just don’t understand the complexities.

Spare me. These are public employees, union members more than independent professionals, and they are hired to teach geography not spew political hyperbole. We need to monitor them. They shouldn’t say anything in the classroom on our dime that they aren’t willing to see heard on the internet."
Rest here

Captain's Quarters thinks the deal with India may fly.

Ed Morrissey says:

"In an even more surprising development, IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei endorsed the deal despite India's refusal to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Some have speculated that Bush might have trouble getting this new treaty ratified because of the NPT issue, but ElBaradei told the press that the new program aimed at strengthening India's civilian nuclear-energy program will assist in containing proliferation. Any potential opposition in the Senate will find themselves undercut by that statement -- and the natural alliance that should exist between the two democracies will find too much sympathy for opposition on any other grounds.

This deal sends a strong message of solidarity to the Indians, who for too long got forgotten by the US after successive governments decided to play footsie with the Soviet Union and the Non-Aligned Movement rather than ally India with the democracies of the West. However, that's not the only message this deal sends, and at least one of the other recipients listened closely."

Rest Here

Media blog has it right

They say

"The NYT says its opposition isn't based on anti-Arab sentiments. This is true — it's based on anti-Bush sentiments. Notice the media's reaction when they found out P&O was controlling operations in the first place, or when it was discovered that Saudi Arabia's shipping company, NSCSA, was operating at terminals in nine U.S. ports: There was no reaction. While their livid opposition to this deal can easily be misinterpreted as anti-Arab, it is in fact purely anti-Bush."

read it all

The Wall Street Journal says

"Open the Iraq Files" The bureaucrats don't want to embarass anyone. Examples:

..Harmony documents describe in detail how Saddam trained thousands of Islamic radicals in the waning years of his regime. So much for the judgments of many in the intelligence community -- including Paul Pillar, the latest ex-spook to go public with his antiwar message -- that the secular Saddam would never consort with such religious types.
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...They show that al Qaeda functioned like a corporation in some ways, with fixed terms for employee benefits such as family leave, and seem to vindicate the once-controversial decision to move quickly to destroy al Qaeda's base of operations in Afghanistan.
Rest here
I wrote this in this post that Maxin Pei's article in Foreign Policy was a laundry list that takes us nowhere. In this post, Thomas Barnett says the same. some excerpts:

this article left me flat. It told me a lot of things I knew or suspected about China, but instead of telling a story, it comes off as a non-stop litany of scary facts.
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"I would need this account of the intransigence of Party hacks to be balanced against the stunning rise of the entrepreneurial class and civil and commercial law in China. Pei paints a "Deadwood"-like picture of rapacious capitalism and official corruption, but he seems to judge it from a historical standard that doesn't take into account that much of current Chinese capitalism comes closest to late 19th century America, which was amazingly corrupt and rapacious. The big questions are missing here on trajectory, pace, fluidity, correlation of forces, etc., so I am left dizzy with stats but not much understanding or expectation"

Rest here

Quote without comment

"Times Diversity Report: "A Newspaper at Risk"

After a 10-month study, the New York Times Diversity Council issued its confidential internal report yesterday. The 39-page document, made available to staffers, describes The Times as "a newspaper at risk" on diversity matters and says the paper is "losing ground in comparison to business that are among the leaders in diversity."

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The council defined diversity in terms of employees' race, gender and sexual orientation. Religious and political differences were not accounted for."

This is wrong

The AP reports in an article today that:

The agreement must be approved by Congress, and Bush acknowledged that might be difficult because India still refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

"I'm trying to think differently, not stay stuck in the past," said Bush, who has made improving relations with India a goal of his administration


Doing this deal this way REALLY makes us look bad. I find it perfectly acceptable to use the "core/gap" argument and say that we can accept India having nukes while saying Iran can't. But not when they won't sign the treaty.

"NY Times Expands Espionage Operations"

American Thinker reviews the NYT's new expose of our work with the Germans. I am sure
Al Qaeda is glad to know.

The NYT Editorial dept has to eat it's words.

Remember all the "Hoo-Ha" a couple of years ago about how all the good jobs were going overseas? Guess what. From todays NYT.

Computing Error

The outsourcing of computing work overseas may not be as bad as you think. In fact, it probably isn't bad at all. Consider one recent study that says the problem isn't so much the competition from high-tech workers in places as far-flung as India and Romania as it is the discouragement caused by the doomsayers themselves.

The Association for Computing Machinery, the professional organization that issued the report, says that there are more information technology jobs today than at the height of the dot-com boom. While 2 to 3 percent of American jobs in the field migrate to other nations each year, new jobs have thus far more than made up for the loss."
read the rest

Pro-military mom silenced by mainstream media

Powerline has been blasting this. Todd Manzi writes a column worth reading. Excerpts:

A grieving mother of a soldier killed in Iraq wants to voice her opinion. She has a message about the war in Iraq and feels the American people need to hear what she has to say.

Her name is Merrilee Carlson and her story is compelling and newsworthy. Unlike another mother of a fallen soldier, Carlson is not a household name. Her message is exactly opposite of the over-exposed message of the well-known protesting mom.
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Minnesota Families United teamed with Progress for America Voter Fund and produced two television spots. Minnesota was used as a test market for the spots and PFA made a rather large statewide television buy. The ABC affiliate in the Twin Cities market, KSTP, refused to air the spots.
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Obviously, the mainstream media is going to do everything they can to avoid Carlson. They are not interested in balancing her view against the anti-war view they have so heavily promoted. We already knew the media was liberally biased. Now it’s apparent they are also biased against ordinary people as well. The foaming-at-the-mouth fanatical fringe gets news coverage and the people who portray the best qualities of us are ignored.
Read it all

Blowing up the Golden Mosque

Harold C. Hutchison sums it up at "Strategy Page"

"While the American media was discussing the likelihood of a sectarian civil war in Iraq, and at least one major commentator declared that Iraq was a lost cause, the Iraqi people took a much different course and appear to be on the way to proving them wrong. In some areas, local Shiites guarded Sunni mosques from retaliatory attacks. A Sunni group teamed up with the national government to donate $2.8 million to restore the mosque. These events were not reported in the MSM, but did get coverage from Kuwaiti media, and were reported in the blogosphere.



Short version – what was supposed to cause a civil war has instead pretty much pushed the Iraqis together. In essence, the bombing of the mosque has turned into a major self-inflicted defeat for Zarqawi. As a result, Zarqawi's days are numbered, since he is now losing staff while in increasingly hostile territory. – "
Read it all

Another good "Jack Dunphy": column

Jack Dunphy is an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. "Jack Dunphy" is the author's nom de cyber.
Key graphs.

"On Tuesday here on NRO, LAPD Chief William Bratton and criminologist George Kelling presented a defense of the "broken windows" theory of law enforcement, which posits that when the police take action against relatively minor offenses like graffiti, panhandling, and prostitution, a community's sense of order is enhanced and the incidence of more serious crime is reduced. As Bratton and Kelling point out, this theory has come under attack, most recently in a February 19 story in the Boston Globe.

From the perspective of a cop who has spent more than 20 years on the streets of Los Angeles, it seems beyond question that the broken-windows theory holds water, and that those who question its validity do so, as Bratton and Kelling argue, for political and ideological reasons. But Bratton and Kelling ignore what is to the average street cop an important aspect of the broken-windows approach, which is the political climate in which police officers must operate.

Bratton and Kelling cite the 25-percent reduction in murders seen in Los Angeles since Bratton took over as chief of the LAPD in 2002. They attribute this reduction to the implementation of a number of strategies, all of which emphasized "order-restoration." This is true up to a point, but it is important to remember that Bratton took over a police department that had been demoralized to a point of near-ineffectiveness by its previous chief, Bernard Parks. Under Parks, officers were quitting more quickly than they could be replaced, and those who remained increasingly adopted a "drive-and-wave" attitude rather than risk the personnel complaint that often accompanied a confrontation with a criminal suspect."
Read it all!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dumb & Dumberer

The administration got itself into the ports mess, how will it get itself out?

Irwin M. Stelzer at "The Weekly Standard" says:

DUMB, DUMBER, DUMBEST. Dumb: Democrats who think voters will ignore all of their votes against tighter security if they oppose the transfer of the management of some operations in six ports to state-owned Dubai Ports World. Dumber: Republicans who immediately hopped on the anti-deal bandwagon for fear of being outflanked on the right by the Democrats. Dumbest: President Bush's staff, none of whom thought to mention to the president that a company owned by an Arab government was spending $6.8 billion to buy P&O, the venerable Peninsula & Oriental Steam Navigation Company, established in the year in which Queen Victoria acceded to the throne. The company manages 29 ports around the world, among them facilities in Miami, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New Orleans.

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MOST IMPORTANT, the trade-offs involved in this decision are now more complicated than they were before the public furor. Against any possible security problems created by Arab control of some port operations, and all disinterested experts say these are negligible, must be weighed the geopolitical consequences of telling a friendly Arab state that it is unwelcome in America after a widely publicized brawl about its suitability to replace another foreign investor (Britain's P&O) to which there were no objections.

That's not all. If America puts down an unwelcome mat for Dubai, it will also be sending a signal to foreign investors in China, Russia, and the Middle East that hostility to foreign investment is so great that they might wish to dump their hoard of dollars onto the currency markets, rather than invest them in U.S. assets. America might, indeed, properly decide after careful consideration that foreign investment by companies owned by states hostile to the United States is a bad thing. Such enterprises operate in the geopolitical interests of their countries, rather than solely in response to market forces. But such a policy should be adopted only after calm study of the effects of higher interest rates and other consequences of such a move towards autarky, not during a highly politicized debate between Democrats seeking to embarrass the president, and a White House that has elevated inarticulateness to new heights.

Rest at

Goood Morning to the Mainland!

Eric Umansky at SLATE says The Washington Post leads with the Bush administration announcing it will launch a full national security review of two planned purchases of companies that have contracts with the Pentagon, one by a Dubai-based firm and the other by an Israeli corporation. The Dubai company is different then the one in the ports brouhaha, but this time the administration decided to give Congress—and presumably the WP—a big heads-up. The Los Angeles Times leads with Saddam Hussein's trial, where he acknowledged he was responsible for the arrests of 148 men and boys who were later executed. As the LAT emphasizes, Saddam also asserted he and not his co-defendanants were responsible for the orders. "This is the very reason that any criminal defense lawyer doesn't want his client standing up and speaking on his own behalf," said one outside lawyer. The New York Times leads with the feds suing New York State, claiming the state hasn't complied with a federal mandate to toss out its creaky voting machines. The Justice Department—and election reform advocates—say New York ranks dead last in following a post-Florida 2000 voting modernization law. USA Today leads with an in-house analysis showing the runway at Chicago's Midway Airport was much slicker than the airport estimated before a plane skidded right off it in December. The paper suggests the problem is rooted in an FAA system for measuring runway conditions that isn't up to snuff."
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The LAT and Post front newly leaked video of top federal officials in the immediate hours before and after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The obviously selective excerpts show Hurricane Max and former FEMA man Mike Brown warning of a big disaster—including the possibility of overtopped levees—while the president tried to buck up spirits and declared "we are fully prepared."

Rest here

Another Example of Spin?

Chicago Boyz is highly sceptical of the new Zogby poll. To me, Zogby has always had a left slant, and they did this poll for a liberal organization.

Jim Rummel says:

"I’m deeply suspicious of this poll for a variety of reasons. The most compelling is that none of the troops I’ve come in contact with have expressed these views. It could very well be that all of the people serving in the military that have spoken to me have a minority opinion, but this seems to stretch probability a bit.

Murdoc Online has been talking about the poll, and he has the same reservations that I do. The money shot is the assertion from Zogby that four out of five of the troops oppose using internationally banned weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus. Murdoc isn’t shy about voicing his opinion on this little nugget, and I agree completely with him.

As a firearm instructor I’ve had many conversations with people serving in the military about weapons that have been banned due to political considerations. Unless there is some compelling reason presented that will change my mind, the statement that the troops agree with these bans looks like a complete fabrication.

Another compelling reason for caution is that this poll seems to align almost perfectly with the Democrat’s talking points in most areas. This looks too good to be true so far as the Dems are concerned, and you know what they say about things that are too good to be true."

The Clintons on Dubai

Robert Novak doesn't say it, but the facts he lays out about Bubba's dealings with Dubai look pretty scummy.

While Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was ripping President Bush's handling of American ports management, Bill Clinton was pushing for one of his favorite White House aides to be hired to defend the deal. The former president proposed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) his onetime press secretary, Joe Lockhart, as Washington spokesman for the UAE-owned company, Dubai Ports World.

The Lockhart deal was never consummated. But the spectacle of the two Clintons going in opposite directions on the UAE port-management question exposed a Democratic fault line. Widespread public reaction against outsourcing control of the ports was seen by Sen. Clinton and other prominent Democrats as a chance to outflank the Republicans on homeland security in this year's elections. Behind the scenes, however, Democrats aligned with the Clinton family were lobbying for the UAE.

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According to well-placed UAE sources, the former president made the suggestion at the very highest level of the oil-rich state. The relationship between him and the UAE is far from casual. The sheikdom has contributed to the Clinton Presidential Library, and brought Clinton to Dubai in 2002 and 2005 for highly paid speeches (reportedly at $300,000 apiece). He was there in 2003 to announce a scholarship program for American students traveling to Dubai.

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UAE sources, contending that Lockhart priced himself out of the market, asserted there was no question but that Clinton had intervened on his behalf and added it was not possible that Lockhart had not known about his former chief's intervention. When I sought comment from Clinton, his press spokesman, Jay Carson, said: "I don't know for sure, but I don't know him to generate employment even for someone he likes and admires as much as Joe Lockhart."

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"Does that put the Clintons on a collision course? Not exactly. Having failed privately to hook up Lockhart with DP World, the former president publicly turned on his old friends from the UAE last Friday in a speech at Auckland, New Zealand. DP World, he said, "is from UAE, where some of the money from 9/11 was laundered." If Democrats in general are divided publicly and privately on this issue, so is Bill Clinton as an individual."
Rest here

"Speaking Truth to Dead Horses: My Oscar Predictions

Don't miss Ann Coulter's Oscar predictions. Funny!

It really gets tiresome

"Scandal! CBS Spotlights How Alito Sent Thank You to a “Leading Opponent of Abortion”

That's how Newsbusters ledes their post about the fact that CBS singled out one form letter from many that Alito sent to the people who supported him. This one went to Dobson. You really start to wonder if the DNC calls them up every day to give them their ledes.

How bad is Putin? And where is he going in 2008?

Barnett quotes this from the [pay site] Financial Times:

"The new Russian elite of Mr. Putin’s conception is supposed to be dynamic and capable of competing in the free market, but also to be deeply patriotic: it should be committed to the interests of the state and deferential to the wishes of the state, especially in foreign affairs. The elite will move freely between the state and the market sectors, and in the process will be handsomely rewarded, but it will keep its money within Russia, not spend it on British football clubs or French chateaux. Its members will never lobby for foreign support against their own government. In society as a whole, there will be open public debate on a range of issues, but on others it will be strictly limited. Similarly, elements of democracy will remain but be heavily managed. This will not be a personal or dynastic dictatorship such as Azerbeijan but a collective regime of this elite, with leading members succeeding each other and rotating in power. If proved correct, the rumour that Mr. Putin, after stepping down as president in 2008, will take over Gazprom or another great corporation would be very significant in this regard.
And then says:

Fascinating, and it fits my expectations to a T.

You know, you read that description and you can’t help but see South Korea or Japan for decades in the past, or Singapore and China today. Hell, if Putin took over Halliburton you might see some uncomfortable similarities to the U.S.!

You check out Putin’s op-ed and you get the sense of such an evolution: the key sounds like Wolfowitz campaigning for the World Bank slot, which in his patriotic mindset would be Gazprom leading a G-8 effort on the future of energy.

Is Russia in the Core? I gotta admit, this op-ed really opened my eyes as to the argument that Putin will end up being exactly what Russia needed in this historical timeframe."
Rest here.

The real battle on markets in China is just beginning

Barnett has an excellent post on China. Excerpt

"Meanwhile, expect the 4th Generation Hu and Wen to do whatever it takes to keep feeding the beast of rapid development, because the train, while accommodating some caboose braking, can’t possibly slow down without derailing. So expect China to continue to scour the world for resources, especially energy.

Our job? We need to move China toward some larger stewardship of the global economy and the global security system, otherwise we’ll bumble into stupid races with them inside the Gap for resources logically rendered fungible by global markets."
Read it all

CAIR's Dubai Sugar Daddy

Paul Sperry delves into the Cair/Dubai connection. With some BG on Dubai's 911 activity.

"So with all the bonding that bin Laden did with Dubai royals before 9/11, it's little wonder that he deployed 13 of his 19 hijackers from Dubai to hit America. That's right, all 13 entered the U.S. from Dubai (and that's not even counting the original 20th hijacker Mohammed al-Katani, who also entered through Dubai before an alert INS inspector at Orlando airport sent him packing). Or little wonder that two were Emirates, and that one -- Marwan al-Shehhi -- in fact served under Sheik Maktoum in the UAE Army. He no doubt made the general proud by crashing his plane into the South Tower.

It's also not surprising, given Dubai's cozy ties to bin Laden and Taleb leaders, that the hijackers were able to use Dubai as their financial base in addition to their forward staging base. As they came through Dubai, they were outfitted by the nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with credit cards, cash, bank accounts and American-style clothing. More than $100,000 in al-Qaida funds were funneled through Dubai banks. One single transfer from Dubai into al-Shehhi's and his pal Mohamed Atta's Florida checking account totaled $70,000.

The day before crashing his hijacked United Airlines jet, al-Shehhi wired $5,400 in leftover al-Qaida funds back to Dubai. Other hijackers also wired residuals there. After the attacks, investigators traced al-Shehhi phone calls back to the UAE, where he is now celebrated as a hero in mosques and other local gathering places outside the gaze of Western investors, who are too intoxicated by glittering high-rises and other signs of modernity to understand that the desert oasis is still haunted by ancient demons."

Frontpage has all of it.

"There Are No Cracks in the Broken Windows"

Bill Bratton is one of my heroes. An excellent article by him in NRO today.

According to a recent Boston Globe article by Daniel Brook, for instance, "scholars are starting to question whether fixing broken windows really fixes much at all." In fact, the theory always had its critics. Some were anti-police groups seizing any opportunity to detract from police achievements. Others were liberals who deeply resented Giuliani and his policies.

An early charge of these critics was that the police had to be "cooking the books." They abandoned this argument, though, as the homicide rate in New York City plunged, from 2,262 murders in 1990 to 629 in 1998; it's hard to hide that many bodies.

Others argued that crime reductions came with an unacceptable level of police harassment and brutality. This charge was not sustainable, either. Police shootings, and complaints against police, actually declined in New York City during the Giuliani years. In 1998, police shootings reached their lowest level since the 1970s, when data on police shootings was first recorded.

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In Los Angeles, where Bratton has been chief since 2002, the LAPD has reduced crime by 26 percent overall, and homicides by 25 percent in three years, using many strategies, but always emphasizing order-restoration. These achievements in Los Angeles, like those in New York and in other cities, prove that broken windows is, in fact, thriving.

Fixing broken windows is not the panacea for all crime problems. But it's a proven base on which to build. Research suggests that citizens — especially minorities — appreciate it; it reduces fear; and it has an impact on serious crime.



Read it all here

"The End of Fukuyama"

Hitchens is always enjoyable to read


"The first requirement of anyone engaging in an intellectual or academic debate is that he or she be able to give a proper account of the opposing position(s), and Fukuyama simply fails this test. The term "root causes" was always employed ironically (as the term "political correctness" used to be) as a weapon against those whose naive opinions about the sources of discontent were summarized in that phrase. It wasn't that the Middle East "lacked democracy" so much that one of its keystone states was dominated by an unstable and destabilizing dictatorship led by a psychopath. And it wasn't any illusion about the speed and ease of a transition so much as the conviction that any change would be an improvement. The charge that used to be leveled against the neoconservatives was that they had wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein (pause for significant lowering of voice) even before Sept. 11, 2001. And that "accusation," as Fukuyama well knows, was essentially true—and to their credit.

The three questions that anyone developing second thoughts about the Iraq conflict must answer are these: Was the George H.W. Bush administration right to confirm Saddam Hussein in power after his eviction from Kuwait in 1991? Is it right to say that we had acquired a responsibility for Iraq, given past mistaken interventions and given the great moral question raised by the imposition of sanctions? And is it the case that another confrontation with Saddam was inevitable; those answering "yes" thus being implicitly right in saying that we, not he, should choose the timing of it? Fukuyama does not even mention these considerations. Instead, by his slack use of terms like "magnet," he concedes to the fanatics and beheaders the claim that they are a response to American blunders and excesses. " rest here

The NYT "PR's" for Hamas

Head High, Hamas Member Returns From Israeli Jail
By STEVEN ERLANGER

DEIR GHASSANA, West Bank, Feb. 26 — On Sunday, Mahmoud Youssef Barghouti came home to a different kind of reception.

His family and friends traveled to a rainy checkpoint to greet him, pale and bearded in new black jeans and silvery running shoes, which he tried to protect from the mud.

His daughter, Hanin, 12, was in tears, burying her face in his waist; he lifted his son Basel, 5, a serious boy in a crew cut who stared around him. He hugged his wife, Fadia, brushing his lips along the embroidered brown scarf that covered her hair.

Mr. Barghouti, 39, an active member of Hamas, was released at 5:30 a.m. from Ketziot prison, a collection of tents in the Negev, after 14 months of administrative detention by Israel, held without charges.
rest here

The whole article "sob sisters" for him.

"At War With Ourselves"

Victor Davis Hanson in the WSJ this morning

Last week the golden dome of the Askariya shrine in Samarra was blown apart. Sectarian riots followed, and reprisals and deaths ensued. Thugs and criminals came out of the woodwork to foment further violence. But instead of the apocalypse of an ensuing civil war, a curfew was enforced. Iraqi security forces stepped in with some success. Shaken Sunni and Shiite leaders appeared on television to urge restraint, and there appeared at least the semblance of reconciliation that may soon presage a viable coalition government.

But here at home you would have thought that our own capitol dome had exploded. Indeed, Americans more than the Iraqis needed such advice for calm to quiet our own frenzy. Almost before the golden shards of the mosque hit the pavement, pundits wrote off the war as lost--as we heard the tired metaphors of "final straw" and "camel's back" mindlessly repeated. The long-anticipated civil strife among Shiites and Sunnis, we were assured, was not merely imminent, but already well upon us. Then the great civil war sort of fizzled out; our own frenzy subsided; and now exhausted we await next week's new prescription of doom--apparently the hyped-up story of Arabs at our ports. That the Iraqi security forces are becoming bigger and better, that we have witnessed three successful elections, and that hundreds of brave American soldiers have died to get us to the brink of seeing an Iraqi government emerge was forgotten in a 24-hour news cycle.
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In sum, after talking to our soldiers in Iraq and our planners in Washington, what seems to me most inexplicable is the war over the war--not the purported absence of a plan, but that the more we are winning in the field, the more we are losing it at home."
read it all

"American Film Renaissance Picks for 2005"

Now here is an Oscar ceremony I would watch! Kevin Mahoney at "Brain Terminal" passes it along.

"American Film Renaissance Picks for 2005"
1 March 2006 @ 9:28AM
The American Film Renaissance festival has announced its list of best films for 2005:

Best Picture: Cinderella Man

Runners up:

The Chronicles of Narnia
Walk the Line
Crash
Downfall
Pride and Prejudice
Batman Begins
The World's Fastest Indian
Capote
King Kong

Best Documentary: March of the Penguins

Runners up:

Grizzly Man
Mad Hot Ballroom
Enron: Smartest Guys in the Room
Murderball"

"NO WAR IN THE STREETS"

Ralph Peters is in Iraq and tells it like it is:

THE reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest. There is no civil war in the streets. None. Period.

Terrorism, yes. Civil war, no. Clear enough?

Yesterday, I crisscrossed Baghdad, visiting communities on both banks of the Tigris and logging at least 25 miles on the streets. With the weekend curfew lifted, I saw traffic jams, booming business — and everyday life in abundance.

Yes, there were bombings yesterday. The terrorists won't give up on their dream of sectional strife, and know they can count on allies in the media as long as they keep the images of carnage coming. They'll keep on bombing. But Baghdad isn't London during the Blitz, and certainly not New York on 9/11.

It's more like a city suffering a minor, but deadly epidemic. As in an epidemic, no one knows who will be stricken. Rich or poor, soldier or civilian, Iraqi or foreigner. But life goes on. No one's fleeing the Black Death — or the plague of terror.

And the people here have been impressed that their government reacted effectively to last week's strife, that their soldiers and police brought order to the streets. The transition is working.

Most Iraqis want better government, better lives — and democracy. It is contagious, after all. Come on over. Talk to them. Watch them risk their lives every day to work with us or with their government to build their own future.

Oh, the attacks will continue. They're even predictable, if not always preventable. Driving through Baghdad's Kerada Peninsula District, my humvee passed long gas lines as people waited to fill their tanks in the wake of the curfew. I commented to the officer giving me a lift that the dense lines of cars and packed gas stations offered great targets to the terrorists. An hour later, one was hit with a car bomb.

The bombing made headlines (and a news photographer just happened to be on the scene). Here in Baghdad, it just made the average Iraqis hate the terrorists even more.

You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. Just give 'em the Bronx cheer."

"Why The USN Wants to Lose Two Carriers"

Strategy Page says:

The U.S. Navy would really like to drop from twelve to ten carriers, and save a lot of money, mainly on manpower. Each sailor costs over $100,000 a year to maintain, and a carrier task force contains over 6,000 sailors. The money saved from eliminating two carrier task forces would be used for investment in the new missions. For example, there is a need for smaller vessels for coastal and riverine operations, for naval infantry, for more civil affairs troops, for more special operations support, and so on. The navy believes that if it doesn't become more active in these other missions, it will become irrelevant in the public's mind. Most people, including members of Congress and even the President's inner circle, haven't a clue as to what the navy's been doing in the war on terror. There is also a general ignorance of the navy lack of appropriate equipment and capabilities to be more useful in the war on terror. Thus the need to cut two carriers, and invest in things are needed to be more useful in the war on terror.

Ten carriers would still be sufficient for a major contingency or two (like China and Iran). Unfortunately, the Navy's staunchest "friends" -- the veterans, the Navy League, the slovenly shipbuilders – all would like to keep building as if the Imperial Japanese Navy were still out there. This "carrier lobby" has been actively blocking navy attempts to restructure the fleet to better deal with new tasks. It's another case of the "Industrial-Congressional Complex" pushing its own agenda at the expense of the troops and the country."

rest here

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"Campaign Finance Cases Weighed"

Hopefully, these will be overturned.

Vermont's Limits Debated in Court
By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 1, 2006; A10

The Supreme Court returned to the battle over campaign finance yesterday, hearing oral argument on a Vermont law that sharply limits how much money state candidates can raise and spend.

It is the first political-money issue to come before the court since Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. replaced Sandra Day O'Connor, who had generally supported campaign finance laws against charges that they abridge free speech. Alito's views are less clear.

The three cases the court consolidated into yesterday's single argument are significant because part of the Vermont law, the limits on spending by candidates, were adopted to force the Supreme Court to revisit its 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo . That precedent says that contribution limits are constitutional but spending limits are not."
rest here

Goood Morning to the Mainland!

Eric Umansky at SLATE says The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with sectarian violence in Iraq picking up again as about 75 people were killed, mostly by about five insurgent bombings in Baghdad. The Washington Post leads with a Pentagon survey concluding that about a third of returning Iraq vets have sought mental health help. That's nearly twice the rate of those who've returned from Afghanistan. The New York Times plays down the study, putting in inside and saying it showed a mixed bag: "Most of the veterans who sought help did not receive diagnoses of mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress, and many consulted clinics just once." The NYT leads with Saddam Hussein's trial finally showing some meat with prosecutors offering what they said were papers signed by Saddam ordering the execution of 148 men and boys. USA Today leads with the housing market continuing to chill. Existing home sales in January were down for a fifth month in a row. The Los Angeles Times leads with the head of the L.A. archdiocese, Cardinal Roger Mahony, decrying what he dubbed "hysterical" anti-immigrant sentiment in Califonia and the nation as a whole. If Congress passes a pending bill to require socal welfare groups to ask immigrants for proof legal residency, Mahony said he'll order his priests to ignore it.
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The Post goes inside with the head of military intel telling senators things are going downhill in Afghanistan. Suicide attacks increased "almost fourfold" last year and the number of roadside bombs, long the insurgent weapon of choice in Iraq, "more than doubled."

Knight Ridder reports that U.S. intel agencies warned the White House in the fall of 2003 that the Iraq insurgency was taking off and was made up mostly of locals—both contrary to the administration's assertions at the time. "Frankly, senior officials simply weren't ready to pay attention to analysis that didn't conform to their own optimistic scenarios," said one official who was then chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Read the rest here

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