Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Senator Collins and the Coast Guard

It seems that Senator Collins didn't read the entire Coast Guard review of the port deal yesterday.

Here's the blurb from yesterday...

Sen. Susan Collins, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee, released an unclassified version of the document at a briefing Monday. With the deal under intense bipartisan criticism in Congress, the Bush administration agreed Sunday to DP World's request for a second review of the potential security risks related to its deal.

and here's the Coast Guard Today...

STATEMENT BY COAST GUARD SPOKESMAN CMDR. JEFF CARTER ON COAST GUARD PORT TRANSACTION ANALYSIS

WASHINGTON - "What is being quoted is an excerpt of a broader Coast Guard intelligence analysis that was performed early on as part of its due diligence process. The excerpts made public earlier today, when taken out of context, do not reflect the full, classified analysis performed by the Coast Guard. That analysis concludes ‘that DP World's acquisition of P&O, in and of itself, does not pose a significant threat to U.S. assets in [continental United States] ports.’ Upon subsequent and further review, the Coast Guard and the entire CFIUS panel believed that this transaction, when taking into account strong security assurances by DP World, does not compromise U.S. security."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Port security

just another random thought on the Dubai port deal, wouldn't it be easier for a terrorist to infiltrate a state owned airline from the Middle East and use the now hijacked airplane in a 9/11 type attack?

or have we forgotten that this has already happened?

Information on Egypt Air flight 900 here.

Ave Maria, FL

confessions in 30 minutes or less...The founder of Domino's Pizza is building his own town...

A FORMER marine who was raised by nuns and made a fortune selling pizza has embarked on a £230m plan to build the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles.

Abortions, pornography and contraceptives will be banned in the new Florida town of Ave Maria, which has begun to take shape on former vegetable farms 90 miles northwest of Miami.

Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain, has stirred protests from civil rights activists by declaring that Ave Maria’s pharmacies will not be allowed to sell condoms or birth control pills. The town’s cable television network will carry no X-rated channels.


The town will be centred around a 100ft tall oratory and the first Catholic university to be built in America for 40 years. The university’s president, Nicholas J Healy, has said future students should “help rebuild the city of God” in a country suffering from “catastrophic cultural collapse”.

Anit-Semitism in France

it would be nice if the MSM would perhaps cover what could be the worst case of Anti-Semitism in France since Hitler.

From Saturday's WSJ...

Barbarians Inside the Gate

By MATTHEW KAMINSKIFebruary 25, 2006; Page A10
PARIS -- In life, Ilan Halimi sold cellular phones on a boulevard named after Voltaire, off a square dedicated to la République. He was an ordinary young Frenchman, except for one thing; he was Jewish, which got him killed. So in death, after 25 days of torture, Ilan Halimi became a symbol of this Continent's failures in dealing with its poor and maladjusted Muslims.
His story is shaking France in a deeper, possibly more lasting, way than the recent riots or the ongoing fracas over the Muhammad cartoons. Last week, on a Monday morning, Ilan was found naked, handcuffed, with burns and bruises over 80% of his body, stumbling on train tracks in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, south of Paris. He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Each detail of his kidnapping and ordeal that emerged in the past week fed widespread popular outrage.
On Jan. 20, the 23-year-old Ilan, depicted here, went for a rendezvous with a young woman he met at his store and fell right into the hands of his kidnappers. In the previous month, this group tried to entrap six other men, four of them Jewish, using women as bait. Ilan was whisked to the cité de la Pierre-plate, a large housing project in Bagneux, a Paris suburb (or banlieue) that's home to immigrant and French lower-middle-class families. In an empty third-floor apartment and later a basement utility room, he was tortured to death. Several times, as Nidra Poller this week reported in the Journal's European editorial pages, the kidnappers called Ilan's family and read them verses from the Quran while their son screamed in agony in the background. Their demands for ransom from Ilan's modest parents never turned out to be serious.
Once unmasked, the identity of these barbarians came as no surprise. The police believe that up to 15 young men and women from the banlieue, maybe more, took part. These "youths," a French euphemism, grew up together in Bagneux. The gang is a mixed lot. Most, but not all, are Muslims born in France to Arab or African parents of limited means. In their raids, police found Islamist literature and documents supporting a Palestinian aid group. But last year's bonfires of cars set by similar "youths" showed that the bonds formed among the delinquents of the projects often transcend religion or ethnicity. That doesn't make the "gangrene" in French society, in the acid words of the left-leaning Libération yesterday, any less difficult to live with.
As it happens, the gang that murdered Ilan Halimi calls itself the "Barbarians." The crime was orchestrated by their leader Youssouf Fofana, a 26-year-old Muslim with a criminal past who refers to himself as the "brains of the Barbarians." On the run for a week, he was arrested late Wednesday in the Ivory Coast, the birthplace of his parents. Fofana told the Ivorian police that Ilan Halimi was kidnapped because Jews "have money"; he denies that he or his accomplices were motivated by hatred for Jews, specifically. By all accounts, Fofana is a vicious thief, and now admitted killer, who could never keep a job and, according to one acquaintance quoted in the French press, "spent all his time with kids of 16-17, around whom he could feel superior."
This murder dredges up the ghosts of French anti-Semitism past (Dreyfus, Vichy), but that's more than a trifle unfair. The police and media early on downplayed the racial motive, fearing as is their habit these days a backlash from Muslims, yet soon changed their tune. Now the whole establishment is united in condemning what the government calls an "anti-Semitic hate crime." The French president, prime minister, head of the biggest mainstream Muslim organization, the archbishop of Paris and the leader of the Socialist opposition stood together at a Thursday night memorial ceremony for Ilan at a synagogue in Paris. Hundreds marched in Bagneux, in the words of a banner, "against barbarism, anti-Semitism and racism." Home to 600,000 Jews, the most of any European country, France has succeeded in reducing anti-Semitic violence, which peaked in 2004.
Yet France's bigger worry is its Muslim population of five million, also Europe's largest. So it's not the anti-Semitism but the crime itself and the profile of the perpetrators that best explain the national revulsion. To put it bluntly, Ilan Halimi, many people here figure, could just as easily have been a Christian.
Since the riots petered out in early November, the country, contrary to impressions, hasn't been calm. On New Year's Day, a gang of some 40 young, mostly Arab men terrorized a Nice-Lyon train, sexually assaulting and robbing passengers, car by car. A female applied arts teacher in a Paris banlieue was repeatedly stabbed this December by one of her male students during class; in the schools dominated by kids of immigrants, teachers often report being intimidated or attacked by their pupils. And cars continue to burn nightly, if in fewer numbers.
With each incident a gulf widens between a political elite whose first instinct is to appease and tolerate the rot in its midst and the hardening of popular views about crime, immigration and Islam. The clever politician, like Nicolas Sarkozy or, out on the extremes, populists like Jean-Marie Le Pen, makes sure to be on the side of the voters. This split is apparent too in the war over the cartoons. Europe's establishment prostrated itself before the Islamic radicals, while its press and people were on the whole appalled by the assault on freedom of expression. Knowing which way the wind blows, Mr. Sarkozy pointed out that he for one preferred "an excess of caricature to an excess of censorship."
Will Ilan Halimi be the wakeup call for France that the riots failed to be? An editorial in Le Monde, the voice of the French establishment, called his murder "a crime of an era, a sort of looking glass onto the true state of our society." No one here will as a result rush to aid America's global war on terror in Iraq or elsewhere. But the Europeans are in many ways in a bigger pickle than the U.S. The gravest threat to their safety and way of life comes not from across an ocean but just down the street.

the Bolivian election

How in the world did a cocaine farmer become President of Bolivia?

This explains it...James Carville was the other guy's campaign consultant.

http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hv&cf=info&id=1808668804

An adventure following James Carville and a team of U.S. political consultants as they travel to South America to help Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (a.k.a. 'Goni') become President of Bolivia. Goni, is seen by his American strategists as a progressive idealist trying to liberalize business practices and strengthen democracy. However to many Bolivians, he is a Clintonesque neo-liberal allied too closely with the U.S. Starting with a country in upheaval, we see bloody riots break out in the streets of La Paz, with people throwing stones at the presidential palace as they call for the government's downfall. Flashing back a year, we begin to see the events that led to the bloody tragedy. Goni is on the campaign trail, promising to solve Bolivia's devastating economic crisis if he is elected. Behind the scenes are Jeremy Rosner, Tad Devine, and others from the Greenberg Carville Shrum firm, the American advertising experts hired to sell Goni to the people. With unprecedented access to situations that occur all the time in the United States, but which we're never allowed to see, the chronicle follows detailed media coaching with the candidate, secret focus groups, and emergency ad-making sessions that alter the message to fit the moment. Following the journey to its surprising finish, it is a story for our time about Americans trying to spread democracy overseas.

Rocky VI preview

actually, might be an ok movie...

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=22576

Bode Miller

Bode Miller is what's wrong with amatuer sports in America.

and, now what's right about amateur sports in America...

GREECE, N.Y. (AP) - Jason McElwain had done everything he was asked to do for the Greece Athena High School basketball team - keep the stats, run the clock, hand out water bottles.
That all changed last week for the team manager in the final home game of the season. The 17-year-old senior, who is autistic and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, put on a uniform and entered the game with his team way ahead.
McElwain proceeded to hit six 3-point shots, finished with 20 points and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.
"I ended my career on the right note," he told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. "I was really hotter than a pistol!"

Ask a Mexican

it's a real column out in California...
ps. Gabacho defined here.

Dear Mexican,
Where does a Mexican’s “sense” of color scheme come from? I have seen trucks that are teal, maroon and yellow—all on one truck! Is this something ustedes do on purpose, and do ustedes know it looks like crap?
-Blinded by the Blight


Dear Gabacho,
Alan Burner doesn’t think that the Mexican love of vibrant colors is crap. Burner is a professor at the Art Institute of California—Orange County and one of the country’s premier color theorists; his textbook, The Dynasty of Light, is required reading in art schools nationwide. “Color is very spiritual and symbolic of one’s inner nature,” the bueno professor told the Mexican. “Worldwide, if you view ethnic people with a rich heritage, you’ll find vibrant colors, because they’re energized. You look at Mexicans, they’re passionate at what they do. When they work, they work hard. When they play, they play hard.” That translates into the retina-searing trucks, houses and hair that offend you so, Blinded. Burner adds that gabacho criticism of bright colors is “just singing sour grapes because we don’t have the guts to do what Mexicans do. [Bright colors] are a very brave approach to life—it shows you’re not afraid of emotions. Americans, we’re lazy and lethargic. We’re stuffy. We’re colorless. We’re too busy building façades and not being genuine. We’ll say, ‘Bright pink is not a sophisticated way to paint your house,’ but that’s only because we want everyone to be as phony and plastic as we are.” Translation, Blinded: you’re as cowardly as a Guatemalan.

The new Mike Brown?

from the Times Pic. website down in New Orleans...

Unlike some of the people above him in the chain of command, indications are that Brown took the threat of catastrophe seriously in the run-up to the storm. According to transcripts of a video teleconference the day before landfall, Brown told his disaster corps: "This is a bad one and a big one." Sounding more like Gen. George Patton than the bumbling Sgt. Schultz that has become his image, Brown told his teams not to wait for local and state officials to ask for help, but to do what was necessary and let him worry about the consequences.

Two Weeks left...

...that's how much longer the Palestinian Authority can run with the funds it has left in the bank...

Wolfensohn warns of PA collapse

Quartet envoy to the Middle East, James Wolfensohn, said Monday "the Palestinian Authority was on the verge of economic collapse within two weeks time."
The reason, he said, was the cessation of tax funds to the PA from Israel.

In a letter he wrote to the US government, Wolfensohn warned that even if the PA were to exist on emergency funds, the economic situation could lead to violence.
Voices have been raised in the Quartet (the US, EU, Russia and the UN) arguing that the cutoff date by which Hamas must accept certain preconditions or face international isolation is "malleable" and not necessarily the day a Hamas government is formed, The Jerusalem Post learned.
One Western diplomatic official said that among the questions the Quartet principals were dealing with now was what would happen if Hamas were to make some move toward recognizing Israel and continue to abide by a cease-fire, but would not go all the way toward full-throated recognition of Israel or committing itself to nonviolence.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday denied that Hamas was prepared to make peace with Israel, saying he had been misquoted by The Washington Post.

Hussein ends hunger strike

Maybe Hussein should be on the next Celebrity Fit Club???

(CNN) -- Citing health concerns, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has ended his hunger strike after 11 days, his attorney said Monday from Amman, Jordan.
Khalil Dulaimi told CNN he met with his client for seven hours in Baghdad on Sunday and the defense team had convinced him it was time for him to start eating again.
Dulaimi also said the defense team has submitted a request to postpone the trial because of the security situation in Baghdad and across Iraq, following last week's bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra. Sectarian violence rocked the country for days afterward.

Iraqi Civil War

well...that was a quick civil war in Iraq.

One thing missing from the coverage over the weekend was any sort of discussion in regard to what a civil war in Iraq would look like. I'm not going to speculate on the day to day horrors of what would have transpired, but the outcome of this civil war was certain...the Sunnis would have been killed by the thousands and would probably be in refugee camps in Western Iraq and Eastern Jordan. Just do the numbers...70% of the country is Shia, 30% Sunni.

It seems this fact has finally sunk in...

Iraqi Sunni Bloc to Rejoin Talks on Government

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 26 — Leaders of the main Sunni Arab political bloc have decided to return to suspended talks over the formation of a new government, the top Sunni negotiator said Sunday. The step could help defuse the sectarian tensions that threatened to spiral into open civil war last week after the bombing of a Shiite shrine and the killings of Sunnis in reprisal.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Free Speech

This is what America is about. What some find most offensive, put on display for all to see. Ted Rall is a scumbag. That's my free speech...here's his...


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Iraq and Vietnam

Is Iraq the same as Vietnam? In a lot of ways, yes...

Take what's happened over the last few days. Terrorists blew up the holy mosque in Samarra in the hopes of starting a civil war. There's been an increase in violence, but we're no where near a civil war.

And let's look at what happened in Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda terrorists tried to blow up a refinery. Not just any refinery, a refinery that produces 2/3rds of the Kingdom's gasoline. The terrorists were stopped at the first of three gates around the facility.

These were victories for our side, yet they are being portrayed in the media as failures. A civil war DID NOT start in Iraq. The largest oil facility in Saudi Arabia DID NOT blow up.

This quote from Al Queda is priceless from the link above...

Al-Qaeda's apparent claim of responsibility was made on a website often used by militants, but could not be verified.
Its operatives had succeeded in entering the plant with two car bombs, the statement said.
The attack was "part of the project to rid the Arabian Peninsula of the infidels" and was intended to stop the "pillage of oil wealth" from Muslims.


It's operative had succeeded in getting blown up into a thousand itty bitty pieces. What's the entire plan they're working off of? This was their shot...and they missed. Saudi security forces were waiting for them. What makes Al Qaeda think their next attack will be more successful?

Yes...Iraq is like Vietnam. And this week was the terrorist's Tet Offensive. Back home, the US press was lamenting the defeat of America's forces. In Vietnam, it was a devastating loss for the Vietnamese.

What's it going to be in Iraq?

The NY Times editorial board

The NY Times editorial board today...(on job centers for illegal immigrants)

Immigration measures that rely only on punishment and deterrence are unenforceable, in no small part because the public rejects their cruelty. They are also almost inevitably counterproductive. Laws that make it a crime to help illegal immigrants find work will make outlaws out of local leaders whose only crime is to want to live in orderly, humane communities.
Setting up a hiring site with bare-bones amenities like benches and bathrooms is not an indulgence of lawlessness. It is a common-sense tactic to help prevent the exploitation of workers, to rein in unscrupulous contractors and to impose some order on the chaos. It is smarter and more humane than the cruelty of harassing legislation that hopes, somehow, to make all those men and women disappear.


The NY Times editorial board on 2/22...(on the Dubai port deal)

It is not irrational for the United States to resist putting port operations, perhaps the most vulnerable part of the security infrastructure, under that country's control. And there is nothing in the Homeland Security Department's record to make doubters feel confident in its assurances that all proper precautions will be taken.

RWD: Hmmm. I guess having open borders with Mexico isn't a security threat. I mean, it's much easier to first go to college, get a degree in operations managment, attend business school, work for 10 years in lower management jobs with Dubai Port World, finally get promoted to a senior position with the ability to "hide" cago data, meet up with your Al Queda partners, and secretly ship a cargo container filled with shoulder fired missiles into Port Newark rather than fly to Mexico City, buy the shoulder fired missiles out of some guy's trunk and have them smuggled into the US by some of the million or more immigrants who come into the United States each year.

Ricin found in Texas

disturbing, to say the least...

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A substance discovered by a student in a University of Texas dormitory has tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, officials said.
The chunky powder was found at the Moore-Hill dormitory Thursday and reported to university police, officials said. Tests for ricin came back positive Friday. Officials don't know where it came from, said campus police spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon.

Friday, February 24, 2006

the next CIFUS controversy

One reason the Dubai deal came as such a shock, at least to me, was that I had no idea our ports were being managed by foreign companies. It took days of digging for not just me, but reporters in the MSM, to get up to speed on exactly how the ports of our country are run. The ignorance level on this was just way too high. Even the "experts" had few insights on what the real ramifications of the Dubai takeover were. That's why Republican opposition has softened somewhat over the past few days as everyone has become educated on the issue...the position has moved from "Hell, NO!" to a more, "let's take another 45 days and see what this really means. Dubai has wisely backed away to let cooler heads prevail. I'm assuming the final deal will go through in some fashion. Anyway, there is another CIFUS crisis on the horizon and let me be the first to break it...Let's go NUCLEAR, shall we???

Westinghouse is a major operator of our country's nuclear power plants. As such, the plans, the weaknesses, the security arrangements, the work schedules, etc. of these nuclear power plants are known to Westinghouse management. Imagine if a terrorist were to get this information?

Here's the good part...Westinghouse isn't a US company. It's owned by the British Government. Yes, there is a difference between the British Government and say the Government of Dubai, but it's important. The secrets to the US nuclear industry are not held on US soil. We have no control over who in Britain has access to this information. As we all know, England does have a slight issue with homegrown terrorists.

The British Government doesn't want to own Westinghouse anymore. So, they're selling it...to Toshiba.

Toshiba would like to become the world's leader on nuclear technology. You see, there's this little tiny country to Japan's west that is flush with cash and hungry for electricity. Toshiba is "betting China's nuclear power market will balloon. Toshiba has not built a nuclear plant yet in China but runs operations in 63 locations there, including sales outlets, distribution centers and production plants, employing 20,000 people."

So, now, the US technology of building nuclear power plants is going to end up in China. Engineers from Toshiba will know what we've done wrong and will likely improve on our designs...which I'm fine with. But again, who in China will end up with this information? Do all terrorists have to speak Arabic? How about North Korean spies in Japan? That's a real possibility.

Here's another threat...from the article above, "It plans to maintain at least a 51 percent stake in Monroeville, Penn.-based Westinghouse, and is in talks with several companies for minority stakes." UMMMM...don't you think we should have a clue on who these other companies are?

For the record, I'm for Dubai taking over our ports. I don't think it's as big a deal as everyone else does. But, let's take a closer look at Westinghouse. As of now, I say, "Hell, NO!"

UPDATE: Thanks to my many readers, my opinion of the Westinghouse debate has moved from "Hell, NO!" to "great news...more information from professionals is starting to find its way into the media...let's have much more of this discussion. The worst thing that could happen is for the Nuke deal to turn into another Dubai Port media frenzy...to all who've posted, thanks for adding to the discussion.
And for a much better perspective than I might add, please visit: http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com

Freedomland Movie Review

"Freedomland" starring Sam Jackson and Julianne Moore.  The story is about a mother, Moore, who claims to Jackson, a cop, that black people took her son, white, out of the back seat of her car.
 
SPOILER ALERT BELOW
 
The bitch killed her own son by accident while she was getting busy with a guy in the projects.
 
So, there you have it...now you don't have to waste your money.
 
 

Bird Flu

Bird flu is spread through migratory birds.  The migratory birds then spread the disease to farm birds like chickens.  We then kill hundreds of millions of chickens in the hope that the chickens won't give the bird flu to people...
 
There are estimates that a bird flu outbreak would cost 4.4 trillion dollars and kill almost 150 million people...
 
So...why don't we just kill all the migratory birds?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Joseph Kony

why this guy, Joseph Kony, is allowed to live is beyond me. what's the point of having a CIA if you can't send it to kill people like this?

Those who are kidnapped by Kony's army live a life of horror. While reporting this story, we met Alice, a 19-year-old girl who recently managed to escape after eight years in captivity. She told me blood chilling stories of events no child deserves to witness. She spoke of how the group she was in was made to kill a child who tried to escape by biting him to death, of how she was made to cut up and cook the body of a village chief killed by the rebels and forced to eat the meat from his body, and of how she was raped and eventually had a child from the man who defiled her. She showed us the physical scars of her time as a child soldier -- bullet holes on her leg and shrapnel wounds on her chest.

I am Nostradamus!!!

earlier this month, I predicted that some loser found in Penn Station would turn out to be a fraud. From today's NY Post...

February 23, 2006 -- A mute mystery man who indicated he had been abducted, tortured and left in Times Square is wanted by cops in his upstate hometown, sources said.
Investigators determined that he is Bryan McClellan, 48, of Waterloo, and his bruises and burns were not inflicted by kidnappers, as he claimed.
McClellan, who appeared unable to speak when he was discovered last week, indicated through drawings that he had been held by Arabs who tortured him because of the Danish newspaper cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed.
But investigators believe he got that idea, as well as his claim to amnesia, from news stories.
He's suspected of robbing a truck in Seneca County and of burglary and larceny in Wayne County.

Germans in the news...

...all speech is not created equal.

A German court on Thursday convicted a businessman of insulting Islam by printing the word "Koran" on toilet paper and offering it to mosques.
The 61-year-old man, identified only as Manfred van H., was given a one-year jail sentence, suspended for five years, and ordered to complete 300 hours of community service, a district court in the western German town of Luedinghausen ruled.
The conviction comes after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad -- sparking violent protests around the world from Muslims who saw the images as sacrilegious and an attack on their beliefs.
Manfred van H. printed out sheets of toilet paper bearing the word "Koran" shortly after a group of Muslims carried out a series of bomb attacks in London in July 2005. He sent the paper to German television stations, magazines and some 15 mosques.
Prosecutors said that in an accompanying letter Manfred van H. called Islam's holy book a "cookbook for terrorists."
He also offered his toilet paper for sale on the Internet at a price of 4 euros ($4.76) per roll, saying the proceeds would go toward a "memorial to all the victims of Islamic terrorism."
The maximum sentence for insulting religious beliefs under the German criminal code is three years in prison.

Why Dubai isn't a threat...

...from today's WSJ. If terrorists wanted to hit the US and they have invaded managment of this Dubai Port company, why not attack our troops or materials RIGHT IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

The UAE also has leaned in America's direction. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the UAE rallied to Kuwait's side, opening up its facilities for the giant American-led military force that routed Saddam Hussein's troops. That led to military cooperation that continues.

In fact, U.S. ties to the country now run deep across nearly every major U.S. agency, from the Pentagon and the Treasury Department to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

"Across the board, the UAE is one of the region's strongest supporters of U.S. policy," said William Rugh, U.S. ambassador to the UAE in the early 1990s.
For the Pentagon, the UAE offers the region's only deep-water port and the only dry-dock facility large enough to take in aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines. U.S. officials also pointed out that two of its ports, including the DP World-administered Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, host more U.S. naval visits than any other port outside of the U.S. The country also hosts major air bases for U.S. refueling and surveillance flights.

The ties that began building after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait deepened all the more after the Emirates in early 2000 agreed to a $6.4 billion purchase of 80 F-16 Desert Falcons, one of the most sophisticated fighter jets available at the time.
"That sale was a symbol that the United States trusted the UAE and took the UAE seriously," said Theodore Kattouf, U.S. ambassador to Abu Dhabi from 1998 to August 2001. "There was a lot that flowed from that, and it put us in good stead for everything that has come since 9/11."

George Bush destroys the winter Olympics...

...so says Laurie David...

Turin, Italy spent years preparing for the 2006 Olympics -- but all that preparation couldn't offset global warming and its impact on the Winter Games. It's been unseasonably warm in Turin, something that is readily apparent in all those sweeping shots of no-covered Alps the TV cameras keep showing us. Indeed, artificial snow-making canons have been working overtime in an effort to make up for the lack of the real thing.

The only problem with her argument, the historical average high temp. in Turin for February is 47 degrees.

Quote of the day...

Why in the world do we let pro players into the Olympics? No NHL players, from any country, should be allowed. Same with the NBA. They are a joke. Put in our college kids who WANT to be there. Put in kids who'll live in the Olympic village and not in expensive hotel housing far away from the "common" athletes. The idea is that we needed to play our pro players because we're not competitive against the European teams...the problem with that argurment is that the Euro (and in basetball, the entire world), has players in the NHL. If we're going to lose, let's lose with amatuers who want the experience.

Mike Modano took no shots in the loss that bounced the U.S. men's hockey team from the Olympics. He saved his best one for afterward. The three-time Olympian was benched for most of the third period in the Americans' 4-3 loss Wednesday night to Finland in the quarterfinals. Then he took aim at the people who put the disappointing squad together.

"You'd think USA Hockey would be a well-oiled machine, but it's not," he said. "Basically we were on our own for hotels, tickets, flights, stuff like that.
"Normally we wouldn't have to worry about stuff like that."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bill Clinton

surprise, surprise...Bill Clinton allowed the sale of important US assets to state owned foreign companies. The satellite deal was a reversal of Bush 41's decision prevent China from working with the US firm.

Bill Clinton approved the sale of a US internet service provider to a partially state owned Japanese company. The FBI was worried this would give a foreign country the ability to find out 1. how we wiretap our phones and 2. eavesdrop on Americans.

Here Bill Clinton approves the sale of satellite tech. to China, after a CFIUS review.

CIFUS approval process

when a foreign company takes control of a US assest, there is a review process...as we all know now thanks to Dubai...carried out by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CIFUS.

CIFUS is no rubber stamp. Here's a list of transactions that they've reviewed and questioned.

a sample...

CNOOC LTD. - UNOCAL CORP.
China's state-controlled CNOOC Ltd. (0883.HK:
Quote, Profile, Research) proposed in 2005 acquiring American oil and gas firm Unocal Corp. for $18.5 billion, outbidding the $17.3 billion offer from U.S.-based Chevron Corp. (CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research)
CNOOC, which failed to get CFIUS to review its bid early, abandoned the offer as U.S. lawmakers threatened to block the takeover attempt amid concerns about the Chinese government controlling a U.S. oil company amid rising fuel prices.


LENOVO GROUP LTD. - IBM CORP.
China's Lenovo Group Ltd. (0992.HK:
Quote, Profile, Research) in early 2005 received approval from CFIUS to acquire IBM's (IBM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) personal computer business for $1.25 billion after agreeing to undisclosed security-related conditions.
These were designed to address concerns among lawmakers that a Chinese company owning a U.S. computer firm could potentially use Chinese nationals to engage in industrial espionage. CFIUS extended its review into the deal beyond the initial 30 days.

Bush's biggest defenders are

John McCain and Joe Lieberman.

Here's McCain on Dubai, “We all need to take a moment and not rush to judgment on this matter without knowing all the facts. The President’s leadership has earned our trust in the war on terror, and surely his administration deserves the presumption that they would not sell our security short. Dubai has cooperated with us in the war and deserves to be treated respectfully. By all means, let’s do due diligence, get briefings, seek answers to all relevant questions and assurances that defense officials and the intelligence community were involved in the examination and approval of this transaction. In other words, let’s make a judgment when we possess all the pertinent facts. Until then, all we can offer is heat and little light to the discussion.”

Here's Lieberman on Dubai, "He told ABC News that he was "not yet" prepared to try to block the sale. He noted that many port terminals in the United States are foreign-owned."

McCain/Lieberman '08? Would Republicans/Conservatives be ok with that?

Pre nups

this has to be the craziest pre nup ever...

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0217062contract1.html

Port Security explained

Let's spend a little time talking about port security. If you listen to the yelling on the left and the right on this issue, you'd think we're letting every kook with a bomb ship it to the US in a giant container...

Well, that's far from the truth.

To begin with, there are 317 official points of entry into the United States. The list is here. Now, port security is NOT handled by the operator of the port. If the operator of the port is the city, the state, a company in the UK or the UAE government...security is handled by the Coast Guard and Customs service.

Here is a list of the "Special Agents in Charge" (from Customs) of each jurisdiction.

Now, on TV, we've been hearing a lot about the % of containers actually inspected. This is somewhat misleading. Port security happens long before a container gets to the United States. The explanation of the "Container Security Iniative" is here. The list of ports that comply with our CSI is here. Dubai is the only port in the Middle East that is on the list.

Basically, when a port follows CSI, we have US people on the ground in these ports making sure things are done correctly. For example, a container filled with DVD players from a know manufacturer in China, like Sony, shipped through Hong Kong will not be inspected once it hits the Port of Long Beach. Sony, the factory in China and the port in Hong Kong have put in place procedures that make it unnecessary to inspect the container. So, before a container gets to the United States, there is a pretty good idea from where it's from, what's in it, etc. The containers that are inspected are the ones that, during this process, still have questions.

So, before we go postal over the Dubai deal, let's at least have the facts.

--RWD

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dutch people...

...are stupid.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) -- A wave of international victories for Dutch darts players has prompted an increase in the number of injuries as people take up the game at home, according to the Dutch consumer safety association.
Over-eagerness caused most of the injuries, said a spokeswoman for the group, with players hurling their darts before opponents had finished retrieving their own. Poorly hung dartboards also posed problems.
"Often the board falls down on someone's foot or worse on someone's head," she added.
About 120 people are admitted to hospitals each year with injuries sustained during darts, with pierced fingers and wrists most common. Eye injuries were rare, the association said.


Based on the size of the Netherlands, this would be like 2250 people in the US needing hospital visits for dart injuries.

Madame Tussaud's wax museum


Madame Tussaud's in owned by the UAE. I now see why Hillary is so opposed to the port deal. Look how ugly those crazy Arabs made her statue. That picture of her statue on the left is horrific. It lacks all the warmth and charm of the real Hillary, pictured on the right. And the choice of outfits? Hillary would never wear aqua! Hillary is too style conscious for that. Note the powder blue choice that the real Hillary made on the right. Isn't it nicer? And look what those nasty old Arabs did to her teeth on the left! All yellow and gross. Look how great the real Hillary's teeth look on the right? All white and perfect! I see why Hillary wants to boycott the UAE. You go girl!

Dubai, cont.

Drudge is reporting that Bush is getting angry over opposition to the Dubai port deal...Good. I think the Right is being drawn into the fray by the left. Usually it is us that paints the opposition into a corner. Did Karl Rove change sides?

Anyway...Tony Blair backs the takeover. The money paragraph:

"It's immaterial who owns anything here as long as the ports themselves meet the security requirements. And if they don't meet them, then we have power to do something about it," the TRANSEC spokesman said.

And here's a list of recent acquisitions by Middle Eastern countries...note to Congress...don't by Chryslers...they're a front for Arab terrorists!

But, back to politics. To the Arab American community, this smells of hypocrisy. Just last week, Al Gore blasted the US for its treatment of Arabs post 9/11. It was the Democrats who led the charge against the UAE on this port issue. Why Republicans are playing along is beyond me. Bush slapped them all down today, and we'll see if that gets them in line.

Let's watch this as it plays out. The two biggest states for Arab American voters are New Jersey and Michigan...let's see if this affects the coming Senate races.

Firewall starring Harrison Ford

here's a new feature on RWD...the crappy movie spoiler. Save money and time!

Today's movie is Firewall starring Harrison Ford.

Harrison Ford's character kills the kidnappers and saves his family. The kidnappers take his dog, who has one of those GPS chips under his skin, thus allowing Ford to track down the bad guys! Brilliant!

Dubai port deal

I'm betting that the Dubai port deal is actually a front for the CIA. John Snow was Chairman of CSX right before it sold its port operations to the UAE. And David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations was just nominated by President Bush to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Thanks Congress...we spend years establishing contacts in ports around the world in an effort to fight terrorism all to be undone by Democrats pushing for National Security credentials. Republicans seem to be caving in to the demands of Congressional oversight.

Pataki health update

not looking to make the same mistakes with the press as Vice President Cheney, it's good to know that Pataki's press people are keeping the media up to date with minute by minute coverage of the Governor's health condition...

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--patakisurgery0221feb21,0,3451760.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork
"ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. George Pataki was transferred Tuesday to a Manhattan hospital after failing to have a bowel movement five days after surgery to remove a ruptured appendix."

I'm sure when the governor does finally poop, he'll make sure the news is through a sanctioned press release and not some nurse phoning the story in to her local paper.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Quote of the year

The quote of the year so far is from Evan Bayh on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace...

BAYH: Well, we're about to reauthorize the Patriot Act. There was an attempt to filibuster it this week. It was defeated. I think only three votes supported that. So the vast majority of Democrats, Chris, are in favor of protecting this country.

RWD: vast majority? shouldn't it be 100%? Mr. Bayh, are you saying that those Democratic Senators who voted against the Patriot Act are actually in favor of NOT protecting the country?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting...

Palestinian policemen perform an exercise during their graduation ceremony at the town of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip Sunday Feb. 19 2006.
Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing
They were funky China men from funky Chinatown
They were chopping them up and they were chopping them down
It's an ancient Chineese art and everybody knew their part
From a feint into a slip, and kicking from the hip
Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing
There was funky Billy Chin and little Sammy Chung
He said here comes the big boss, lets get it on
We took a bow and made a stand, started swinging with the hand
The sudden motion made me skip now we're into a brand knew trip
Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they did it with expert timing(repeat)...
make sure you have expert timing
Kung-fu fighting, had to be fast as lightning

Laurie David needs a coat

hilarious...just a few days ago, Laurie David said this:

After the warmest January on record, maple syrup producers in Ohio were surprised to have recently discovered premature maple tree buds. Budding of maples at this early date is unprecedented and means that, for the first time in living memory, there will be little or no maple syrup from the trees of Northeastern Ohio this year....A budding maple tree in early February is bad news for the farmer -- and for anyone who enjoys delicious "made in America" maple syrup on their pancakes. Imminent change is upon us -- not just in Ohio and Alaska, but at breakfast tables all across the United States.

And today we have this...today's high in Cleveland is 25F. And not a night above freezing for the next 10 days! The trees are saved! We met Global Warming on the field of battle and were victorious!

email: rightwingdad@gmail.com

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Penthouse to start cable channel

one thing that Blogs have doen to transform media and entertainment is the interactive nature of the medium. Everyone yells at the tv, but blogs give the tv the opportunity to yell back.

Now Penthouse is taking this to the world of porn...

Movie plots will be based on sex tales submitted by readers to the magazine's Forum and Letters columns.
"The films are couple-friendly and encourage couples to re-create the stories in their own bedrooms. Of course, we want them to use our sex toys and lingerie line. Sixty percent of the stories in the columns are submitted by women," Bell said.


For purely informational purposes, I'll subscribe to this new channel and report back on the success or failure of this new interacitve pornographic medium.

Prediction...

...this is a hoax.

February 18, 2006 -- An elite team of NYPD detectives has taken over investigating the apparent abduction and torture of a mute mystery man found in Times Square Wednesday.
Kidnap- and extortion-plot experts from the NYPD Major Case Squad have been interviewing the man who was found bruised, burned and bound by wire at the Eighth Avenue/42nd Street subway station and say that 48 hours later the man still hasn't said a word.
"He understands English, but he can only draw answers to questions," a police source said.
Cops don't know if the victim is unable to speak or is just terrified. He has been able to tell investigators, through a series of drawings, that he was grabbed off a street, possibly in Brooklyn, and tossed into the rear of a black Lincoln Town Car.
The drawings showed that he found a lever and a hatch and was able to escape as the car came to a stop in Times Square.
The man is believed to be Eastern European and was found wearing a Carhartt jacket, blue jeans and hiking boots.

Child dies while choking on a vitamin

what a tragic story. A 4 year old who wouldn't eat his veggies was told by his doctor to take vitamins manufactured by Garden of Life. The vitamin was 7/8ths of an inch long. Now, I have a three year old...he takes vitamins. He either has the gummi bear chewable kind of the tiny Flintstones chewable kind. There is NO REASON whatsoever that a 4 year old should be taking this pill.

Now, why this pill over a traditonal vitamin? From the Company's website...

Whole foods provide vitamins and minerals as nature intended, with all of the naturally occurring co-factors and synergistic compounds in tact. They contain hundreds, and possibly thousands, of yet to be discovered nutrients, that cannot be isolated and put into a vitamin / mineral supplement.

Wow...thousands of yet to be discovered nutrients...and for that, a young boy is dead.

Bush vs. Hillary

Last week, Al Gore criticized Bush and the US for cutting back on visas for Saudis in the wake of 9/11.

Where's Al Gore's criticism of Hillary and her move to stop the United Arab Emirates from buying the British company that is currently operating ports in many US cities?

Friday, February 17, 2006

the perfect belated Valentine's day gift...

McCain and Machiavelli

There are a couple of things about McCain that I find interesting. Take his support for the Gang of 14. Many on the Right thought McCain had sold out. Fast forward to today and we have John Roberts and Sam Alito on the Supreme Court. The idea of a filibuster of a Supreme Court justice is dead, and the Gang of 14 killed it.

Now let's move to campaign finance reform. There's really no doubt that it puts the Democratic party at a disadvantage. McCain forced the current finance system upon the country and is its biggest proponent. Again, fast forward to today and this article from the LA Times...

In seeking to reach his goal, Schwarzenegger is offering large donors personal access. Invitations to a March 20 dinner in Beverly Hills offer "head table seating with the governor" for two and six photos of couples with the governor for those who contribute at least $100,000 to his reelection campaign and the state GOP. The dinner's star speaker is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a champion of campaign finance reform.

...Was McCain's drive for campaign finance reform a move to make the Democrat's fundraising gap permanent? Could he be this devious?

The "Gang of 14" and "Campaign finance reform" are two of McCain's big negatives with the Right. Additionally, many Conservatives don't like McCain's rumblings on global warming or the enivroment....hmmm...

I say, stay tuned...If McCain does to the Democrats on global warming and the environment what he did to them on judges and $, the Republicans will have a landslide win in '08.

Olympic watch



4 out of our 10 medals are in fake sports.

and there's this story of genius...

Jacobellis celebrates early -- and loses gold in fall

and this great news, which is bumming out the athletes.

Games plagued by poor attendance

"You don't feel it's the Olympic Games because there are not a lot of people," said silver medalist and World Cup leader Marit Bjorgen of Norway. "You want to feel a lot of people on the last climb to help you. It's a little disappointing there aren't a lot of people here."

There is a third way

This is the lead op-ed by Shibley Telhami in today's Washington Post,

The reality shown by Hamas's victory in the Palestinian elections is this: If fully free elections were held today in the rest of the Arab world, Islamist parties would win in most states. Even with intensive international efforts to support "civil society" and nongovernmental organizations, elections in five years would probably yield the same results. The notion, popular in Washington over the past few years, that American programs and efforts can help build a third alternative to both current governments and Islamists is simply a delusion.

this, my friends, is simply wrong. There's a reason why Islamic parties do have more power than other parties within Palestine, and it has little to do with the message of Islam...Here's part of a must read article by Amir Taheri...read the entire piece here:

The results of the Palestinian election should be seen as a freak produced by a combination of peculiar electoral rules and political uncertainties.

The elections took place at two levels: district and national. Hamas ended up with 74 out of 132 seats in the Palestinian National Assembly. It bagged 45 seats at the district level, 29 at the national level.


Hamas' strong showing at the district level was largely due to its well-entrenched presence in Gaza, where voter turnout was 81 percent. As Hamas' base, Gaza has always been inhospitable territory to secular parties, including President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah. Thanks to Gaza, Hamas won almost 44 percent of the district-level votes.

At the national level, however, Hamas collected just over 36 percent of the votes. Taking the two levels together, Hamas won only 40 percent of the popular vote — which means that 60 percent of the Palestinians voted against it.
Hamas' secular opponents had entered the race with 11 rival lists, fragmenting their electorate and allowing the Islamist group to win many more seats than its support base would warrant.


Thus, although Hamas has won a statistical majority in the Palestinian parliament, it does not represent the majority on the ground.

The whole situation becomes more complicated when one examines the results more closely. Pre- and post-election polls show that at least a quarter of those who voted for Hamas did so in protest against the corrupt and inefficient administration of the late Yasser Arafat and his "Tunisian" cohorts, exiles brought back from Tunisia in the'90s to run the Palestinian territories.

Democracy is not supposed to be easy. Democracy is complicated. And when authors like Shibley Telhami don't investigate the complexities of what they're writing about, a disservice is done to his readers.

It's ok to be anti Bush. It's ok to be anti Bush Doctrine. It's never ok to be anti facts.

But, luckily, Shibley Telhami is smart enough to fix the Middle East problem...

The focus on democracy, and the United States as a key agent in driving it, has been a distraction from other central challenges. The single most significant demographic variable correlated with anti-Americanism in the Arab world is income.

ahh...that's it...why spend money on an Army at all? Simply used the billions that we waste on defense and give it to poor Arabs.

And here's the best part of Telhami's argument...

Concerted efforts in those areas of economic, educational and judicial development, coupled with a strong human rights policy, have a far greater chance to make a difference.

...I really wish Telhami would write a follow up piece to let us know how the Arab world can make the great strides he talks about in the areas of economic, educational and judicial development WITHOUT democracy???






Not so bad

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- As many as 142 million people around the world could die if bird flu turns into a "worst case" influenza pandemic, according to a sobering new study of its possible consequences.
And global economic losses could run to $4.4 trillion -- the equivalent of wiping out the Japanese economy's annual output.


142 Million really isn't that big a number. And remember, this is the absolute worst case scenario, which will never happen. Remember all those worst case scenarios on Mad Cow disease?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Chuck Shumer is a clown

Chuck never met a camera he didn't like, but this is too much. Here he bragging how he helped a Syracuse business, DestiNY, receive over a billion dollars in bonds from the government...

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that Destiny USA formally accepted from the U.S. Department of Treasury a $1.03 billion allocation of “Green Bonds” for the environmental development planned in Upstate New York...“Today is a big step in the right direction,” Schumer said. “This was a federal commitment we made last year that we can now close the book on. I always said I would do my best for DestiNY and this federal share was an important component of moving forward.”

This is great news for upstate NY. Only one problem...DestiNY shut down operations on January 11th and fired its entire workforce.

"Idiots"

Scalia could have the judicial quote of the year...

PONCE, Puerto Rico (Feb. 14) - People who believe the Constitution would break if it didn't change with society are "idiots," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says.
In a speech Monday sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society, Scalia defended his long-held belief in sticking to the plain text of the Constitution "as it was originally written and intended."
"Scalia does have a philosophy, it's called originalism," he said. "That's what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do," he told more than 100 politicians and lawyers from this U.S. island territory.
According to his judicial philosophy, he said, there can be no room for personal, political or religious beliefs.
Scalia criticized those who believe in what he called the "living Constitution."
"That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break."
"But you would have to be an idiot to believe that," Scalia said. "The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things."
Proponents of the living constitution want matters to be decided "not by the people, but by the justices of the Supreme Court."
"They are not looking for legal flexibility, they are looking for rigidity, whether it's the right to abortion or the right to homosexual activity, they want that right to be embedded from coast to coast and to be unchangeable," he said.
Scalia was invited to Puerto Rico by the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. The organization was founded in 1982 as a debating society by students who believed professors at the top law schools were too liberal. Conservatives and libertarians mainly make up the 35,000 members.

Al Gore vs Dick Cheney

this is great. Al Gore calls the media and asks them to hold an embarassing story. Dick Cheney tells his friend to call the media to relate his embarassing story.

from: http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/mediain.htm

In August 2000, the then-Harvard bound high school senior was nabbed for speeding on a North Carolina highway; news the media held for days so as not to embarrass his father, who was in the midst of being nominated for president at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles at the time.

At the family's request, the press also declined to report young Gore's 1996 suspension from the tony Washington, D.C. prep school St. Albans after he was discovered smoking marijuana in the cafeteria.

"[Vice President] Gore called leading news organizations around Washington and asked them not to run the story, and all complied," reported Newsweek's Bill Turque in his book "Inventing Al Gore."

Comments from the DNC blog

the Comments section on Howard Dean's post regarding Paul Hackett gets better and better...here's a sample...

Does the DNC have any concept of what this kind of thing does to our grassroots organizing efforts?
I am furious this morning, just furious!!! I sent Schumer a blistering email and if I find out who else was involved, they're getting a piece of my mind, too.
I'm ashamed of every Democrat who had a hand in this.
Posted by KatyMunger on February 15, 2006 at 08:56 AM


and

Good morning, dears. Some of you may remember me; I hadn't been on the blog in months, but the disgraceful treatment-- swift-boating even-- of Paul Hacket was enough to draw me back in last night. My residence is in Texas, but my heart is breaking for my native once-beautiful Ohio. I've been doing some serious thinking about this, and here's what I'm going to do:
1. Write to Schumer et.al., and demand an explanation for this action, which on the face of it seems outrageous, insulting, and demeaning both to Candidate Hackett and the people.
2. Withhold donations from DLC, DSCC and other organizations supporting politics-as-usual in the party.
3. Donate money and time to DFA and to local candidates, bypassing party machinery altogether till these people remember that they work for the people-- not the other way around.
4. Increase my support for Sojourners, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Amnesty International, my local church, and other nonpartisan peace-and-justice organizations.
5. Consider the option of withdrawing my affiliation from the Democratic Party and exploring the third-party option.
Somebody above posted that an explanation from the party hacks had better be forthcoming, and SOON-- and it had better be a damn good one. I second that. I'll give them a day or two, and if something doesn't come through I'll be getting myself off the DLC and DSCC email lists. Yes, we're fighting Democrats, alright-- fragging and cannibalizing the very people who can help us turn this mess around. F*** this shit!
Posted by MommaG on February 15, 2006 at 08:23 AM


and

I just spent a sleepless night, after reading about the treatment of Paul Hackett. I have talked to several other veterans/progressives here in NE Ohio and to say the least we are all outraged. I have not given money to the national party for 2 years because of the treatment of Dr. Dean by these same individuals who call themselves party leaders. This is my message, The party must change or there must be a different party. While I will not give up my progressive valvues and will work for indiividual canidates, election reform, and goverment reform, I will not support the machine that gives the Mr Brown as a Candiate for Senator. No Money, I will vote for either a Green party candiate or I will vote for Mike Dewine. This so called leadership has just disenfranchised 1000's, of Democrats.In Ohio you can win an election with out you base and you have just lost alot of us....
Posted by Doc on February 15, 2006 at 06:26 AM

Caller-Times editorial today

the Caller-Times ran this editorial today on Cheney. Summing it up, Cheney should have done a better job informing the media. However, I was struck by the humor in the closing paragraph...

On future visits to South Texas, Cheney can count on the same kind of cordial reception he's received before. But he might want to bear in mind that the Caller-Times takes phone calls on Saturday evenings as well as Sunday mornings.

...I get it. "Mr. Vice President, when you come to Corpus Christi on your next visit and shoot somebody, please call us right away."

what else is going on in the world?

with the White House Press Corps smelling blood over Cheney, there is other news in the world...

from the Washington Post:

Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday.

hmm...when did that happen? So much for that...

and this from the Columbus Dispatch:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mike DeWine is crafting a bill that would allow the Bush administration to continue monitoring communications between U.S. citizens and suspected terrorists abroad without obtaining a warrant from a federal judge.

So much for the illegality of the NSA business...

But with the press corps doing such a great job covering Cheney, I could see how they might miss some major stories.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cheney's state of mind right now

Once, when I was in little league, I cracked a kid's head open with a baseball bat by accident. I was in the on-deck circle and he walked into me. Totally his fault...but, it took years for this little kid to get over it.

Now...cut to Cheney, who just gunned down a good friend. Having never shot anyone (other than a bird or two with my Coleman (update...not Coleman...Crossman. Model 760), but having experienced tremendous guilt from the little things I've done like hitting a bird with my car or running over that chipmunk a couple years ago, I wonder what kind of place the VP is in right now?

A good friend of mine and avid hunter thinks Cheney is in a real bad way. The right is asking Cheney to defend himself, but there's a good chance that he just can't do it. This friend told me about a few near misses he's had in the field...near misses that affect him to this day. My hunter friend's statement, "if this were me, I'd have to take a leave of absence from work".

anyway, here's hoping everyone gets out of this ok.

Dean 2008

This post is from the DNC site and is penned by the good Doctor himself...

http://www.democrats.org/a/2006/02/about_paul_hack.php

Read the comments section...there are some great ones. The net roots left is, to say the least, furious at the establishment Democrats for pushing Hackett out of the race.

My prediction stands...Democrats gain no ground in 2006. Dean gets bounced and instantly uses the network he's created, at the expnese of the DNC, to run for President.

The Dean Machine rolls on...

this is great... CNN is now reporting that Net Roots golden boy Paul Hackett has declared his political career over. Many on the left had hoped he'd run again against Schmidt (Schmidt's the freshwoman Congressperson that called Murtha a coward). That's a Senate seat and a House seat that are looking a lot safer today. This CNN article says Schumer cut off Hackett's fundraising ability.

And in other news, Katherine Harris is gaing ground in Florida...even if she doesn't win, a strong showing by her would force Chuck to spend money to re-elect Nelson.

Oh...and remember a few years ago the movement to change the Constitution so Canadians like Granholm could run for President? Her double digit lead in MI is gone. Hmmm. Do you think Gov. Granholm could use some of the $7MM Dean spent to support Kaine and Corzine?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Falklands War II

I love a sequel...

In his latest attack on Mr Blair today, Mr Chavez said Britain had violated the sovereignty of various nations - citing the case of the Falklands.

"We have to remember the Falklands, how they were taken away from the Argentinians," he said.

Speaking in the western Venezuelan city of Maracaibo, he added: "Those islands are Argentina's. Return them, Mr Blair. Those islands are Argentina's."

Blame Blanco

an interesting poll from www.nola.com. It seems that the good people of Lousiana see things a little differently than the Blame Bush crowd.

Q. Who is most responsible for the lack of communication immediately after Katrina?
Mike Brown of FEMA
12.8%
President George Bush
17.9%
Governor Kathleen Blanco
61.2%
Mayor Ray Nagin
8.1%

Jay Leno on the cartoon riots

"There's a boycott now of Danish products in the Muslim world. Luckily not too many mosques are made out of Legos."---Jay Leno

Whale Meat

I'm no enviro, but I do think it's wrong to hunt whales for food. A deer? YES! A cow? YES! I even read yesterday where guinea pigs could solve the world's hunger crisis. But whales? No way.

That's why I found this story so funny. The Japanese, who consider whaling a national institution, don't like the stuff. Demand has plummeted. Good.

"To put it simply, whale meat tastes horrible," said 30-year-old Kosuke Nakamura, one of the diners at a Hana No Mai restaurant in Tokyo who turned their noses up at whale meat.
Young people are put off by the tough, pungent meat, Nakamura said, while older Japanese are reminded of the lean years after the country's defeat in World War II.
And while few Japanese voice environmental concerns over hunting whales, some younger people say it has brought the country unfavorable publicity.
"Whaling's so bad for Japan's image. I don't know why we still hunt," Nakamura said.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

King Funeral yesterday

Teddy K. said this yesterday:

I remember my brother, President Kennedy, calling her to say he would do whatever was necessary to help. Robert Kennedy called the judge, the next day, and miraculously Martin was released. In that difficult time and in countless similar times, in the years that followed, Coretta was a constant pillar of strength.

Jimmy Carter talked about King being spied on by the FBI:

Former President Jimmy Carter, in an apparent allusion to the current President Bush's eavesdropping program, mentioned the difficulties that Mrs. King and her husband, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., endured as they became the target of secret government wiretapping.

Funny that nobody thougt it was relevant that Robert Kennedy was the one who ordered the wiretaps on King.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

NY Times and the juvenile cartoons

The NY Times has an editorial up today that calls the Danish paper that published the cartoons juvenile...

The pictures, one of which showed the prophet with a bomb on top of his head in place of a turban, violate a common belief among Muslims that any depiction of Muhammad is sacrilege. The paper that first published them did so as an experiment to see whether political satirists were capable of being as harsh to Islam as they are to other organized religions. If that sounds juvenile, Americans still recognize it as within the speech protected by our First Amendment.

of course, the NY Times had a different take when it was Rudy going after the painter who specialized in elephant dung, as written in this old National Review piece:

Giuliani didn't object to the exhibit's being seen, just to the fact that it was being paid for with tax money. "You don't have a right to government subsidy for desecrating somebody else's religion," he said. Other Republicans only talk about fighting the culture war; Giuliani is actually in the trenches. Later, he said he would disband the museum's board of directors, and the city filed a lawsuit contending that the museum had violated its lease.
Now that was provocative. The New York Times editorial board objected that Giuliani's action "promises to begin a new Ice Age in New York's cultural affairs." In the space of one Times op-ed piece, playwright Jon Robin Baitz managed a trifecta-raising the specter of the Inquisition, Stalinist Russia, and Nazi Germany.


So, the Danes are juvenile, but Rudy's behavior will cause the next ice age? Nah...no hypocrisy here...nothing to see...move it along...

Monday, February 06, 2006

MAD and Iran

MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction. Would it work for Iran? That's what Arnaud de Borchgrave of the Washington Times asks:

It might behoove the United States to sit down with "axis of evil" Iran to find out if the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) doctrine that kept the Soviet Union and the U.S. at peace for a half-century could still be made to work. In any event, one would have to be irredeemably myopic not to see that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. The only question is how far this secret program is from delivering a usable weapon and fitting it in the nose cone of a Shahab-3 missile with the range to reach Israel. The Israeli Air Force will be "overhead" Iran long before.

The way I look at this, Iran already has nuclear weapons. They might not go "boom" like a Soviet or US designed nuke, but, can't Iran grind up its Uranium into little bitty pieces and put that on a missile aimed at Israel? The fallout of this super dirty bomb would kill thousands, if not millions.

There's got to be something else here....something keeping Iran from announcing this interim step to its nuclear arsenal. This seems to indicate that MAD is working on the Arabian peninsula.
It seem logical that Israel would have told Iran exactly what would happen if it were attacked, and this is not palatable to Iran. How many cities will Iran lose? Will a nuke be detonated over Mecca? Other targets?

There are probably two factors keeping Iran in check. One is Israel's retaliation. They know it would be devastating. Another factor, not really mentioned, is geographical. Israel has made great strides with their anti missile defenses. Israel would have plenty of advanced notice of an impending missile attack. There's a great chance that Israel shoots down the missile before if ever gets close to Israel. This means radioactive fallout over Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, etc. It wouldn't be too neighborly to kill a few thousands Muslims by accident. Let's say a missile gets launched and Israel fails to intercept it? The margin for error is pretty small. Hitting Tel Aviv, for example, and not Gaza City or Damascus, is no easy task. Again, even if Tel Aviv is hit, the winds blow the fallout east...directly over Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and back to Iran and points east.

Either way, Iran with the bomb is a scary thought...problem is...they already have it...what's keeping them from using it is the question....

the cartoon riots

There has to be more to these cartoon riots than meets the eye. From what I can tell, the only countries with the protests are Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a small demonstration yesterday in Tehran. Hmmm.

The protest in Tehran was directed at Austria's embassy, as Austria currently is the head of the EU. That sounds like a grass roots protest to me. 200 angry Iranians decided to attack the Austrian embassy all on their own. Iran's crack police force wasn't able to stop the protest until after the attack. No arrests were made.

My gut tells me that Iran is behind the violence in each country. These riots certainly make Europe uneasy and give Iran the upper hand now that they've been referred to the Security Council.

Here's an editorial by Ramzy Baroud, the editor and chief of the Palestine chronicle that asks a good question:

While one must commend such a unified Arab and Muslim stance -- hoping that it would remain confined to legitimate forms of protest -- one cannot help but wonder where was such collectiveness when it was needed the most? This is not to suggest that transgression on a people's beliefs -- any people and any belief -- should be taken lightly. However, if Arabs can be so efficient in organizing such popular (and effective) campaigns that utilize economic, political and diplomatic leverage to extract concessions, then why the utter failure to carry out such campaigns protesting against the US war on Iraq, its unconditional support of Israel and its condescending foreign policy and grand democracy charades it wishes to impose on everyone?

Baroud goes on to say...

It's rather ironic that many in the Arabic media discovered by total chance that 530 Danish soldiers are taking part in the illegitimate US war on Iraq, by way of the Danish newspaper controversy. Thus, it cannot even be claimed that popular response to the insulting comics was the culmination of years of resentment harbored towards Danish foreign policy, whether in Iraq or towards any other Arab or Muslim related issue.

But, this is exactly what these riots are trying to be spun into...the tipping point caused by years of Western humiliation and agression on Muslim lands. From another article on the Palestine Chronicle, there's this:

The street was mobilized on such a wide scale, because of the fact that governments of some Islamic countries, for the very first time, have taken position against a media phenomenon that has become as ordinary as the daily weather report, namely the depiction of Muslims in Western media as a backward people, constituting a threat to world peace, and to the fundamental values of Western civilization. The role of diplomatic action in the magnitude of the row, is illustrated by the fact, that the massive reactions did not occur until actions were undertaken by the governments of Libya and Saudi Arabia.

These riots cannot happen without the approval of the states in which they are occurring. The question remains, why now? I think the recent riots in France have exposed Europe's Achilles heel and the Iranian puppet states (or Iranian puppet parties in the states) are taking advantage of the opening. Stay tuned...

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