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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Terrorist Strike in Israel

The murderous attack on Israeli Arabs by an Israeli Defense Force defector was rightly condemened by Ariel Sharon and the vast majority of Israelis. Sharon immediately pledged that the victims and their families would receive the same "benefits" as the victims and families of Arab terrorism receive under Isreali law. If the Arabs, their governments and the Palestinian Authority were reacting the same way to all terrorist acts against Jews, the Arab-Israeli conflict would be well on the way to a true solution.

The striking thing about the attack, of course, is that Jewish terrorism against Arab civilians is so rare. The attack has stirred fears in the Arab population in Israel, as reported by the al-Reuters "news" agency in this article:
"But Israeli Arabs say the killings have heightened fears that they will bear the brunt of ultra-rightist Israeli anger over Israel's upcoming pullout from the Gaza Strip even though Arab citizens have generally avoided armed conflict with Israel. 'We are targeted by racists, by fundamentalists. We are worried especially if they withdraw from Gaza that these people might take revenge on us Arabs,' said Kamal Kaderiya, a Muslim in a white skullcap who attended Friday's funerals.
One can certainly understand this fear. However, considering how strongly the actions of a single extremist were condemned by all segments of Israeli society, the risk seems quite low. In a way the Israeli Arabs are getting a sense of what things are like for the rest of their countrymen:
'We live in Israel but are originally Palestinians. We have Israeli nationality. So they must provide security and take away weapons from people who would do this kind of barbaric act.' Arabs make up about a fifth of Israel's population and sympathize with a Palestinian revolt in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza. They also complain of rampant discrimination and say Israel is not doing enough to protect them. 'I think there is a majority of Arabs who thought wrongly that we were secure here,' said Khaled Daghash, director of the Haifa-based Center Against Racism, who protested in Shfaram. 'We think this terrorist is not alone. There are so many people who support him. Racism is the cause of these attacks and we are afraid this one will not be the last.'
They certainly have the right to expect protection from the Israeli authorities. Now imagine a Jewish community in the West Bank or Gaza areas under the "protection" of the PA. Where would you and your family feel safer? To ask the question is to answer it.
A palpable sense of rage permeated Shfaram after the shootings, although police refrained from entering the town during the funerals to minimize the risk of violence. Israeli-Arab activist Abed Anabtawy, quoted by Israel's Ynet news Web Site, said: 'A public that feels its security has been abandoned will do everything to defend itself and therefore all possibilities are open to us including an Intifada.'"
Yeah, that'll work.

Democrats Marxists?

The entire program, to the extent there is one, of today's Democratic Party is based on the ideas of Marx. No, we don't mean Karl and Das Kapital, but rather Groucho and Horsefeathers:
"I don't know what they have to say,
it makes no difference anyway -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I'm against it!

Your proposition may be good,
but let's have one thing understood -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
And even when you've changed it or condensed it,
I'm against it!"
Just listen to this audio clip from Democrat response to Pres. Bush's latest press conference. It's uncanny. And don't get me started on their Lennonist foreign policy...

Some links to others who beat me to this gag:
Groucho Marx Said It Best -- Carol Devine-Molin -- GOPUSA
The Flying Monkey-Right Blog: The Democratic Party National Anthem.

Religious Tests

Leftist organizations and the MSM (but I repeat myself) have expressed great concern that Judge John Roberts's Catholic faith might make him unsuitable for the Supreme Court. The chief concern is that Roberts, unlike John Kerry, may actually believe all that stuff. Thus there would be a risk that Roberts could undermine key constitutional protections such as the eleventy-fifth amendment, Roe v Wade.

Consequently, the New York Times branch of, when they could pry themselves away from his adoption records, has been keenly interested in the details of Judge Roberts' religious views. In the rush to protect the Rule of Law from Religious Extremism the Lefties have run afoul of an obscure federal law, the US Constitution. Manuel Miranda reports in the Wall Street Journal article, Judging While Catholic:
"Earlier this week, in a span of minutes, three journalists asked me to respond to liberals, like Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), raising Judge Roberts's religion as a confirmation issue. As if there were a Republican talking point in my hand, they each asked in similar words: 'What's the line on that?' Minutes before penning this column, a fourth prominent political reporter startled me further by asking: 'What religion test clause? Where does that appear?'"
Miranda, a knowledgeable attorney, helpfully provides the reference:
U.S. CONSTITUTION: "Article. VI. Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." [emphasis added]
Sen. Dickie "Pol Pot" Durbin (Moonbat, IL) evidently thinks that while a "religious test" is prohibited, this is just a "religious quiz," which would be OK. After all the Holy Principle of Separation of Church and State demands that something be done.

The "Separation of Church and State" is the "Four legs good. Two legs bad," version of the Constitution's view of religion, designed for those animals without the mental capacity to comprehend the whole picture. As previously noted here, the Constitution and Amendments do not actually mention the phrase. The real language is, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

It's hard to twist that and the prohibition of religious tests to mean what the Looney Left wants it to mean.

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Current TV is the name of the new "youth channel" formed by the former VP, but we prefer to call it al-Gore-zeera. To the extent that the channel's debut has made any splash, we think it's only an indication of how fast it will sink. First of all, the target audience is not exactly underserved by current TV offerings. However, the big problem, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that the channel offers all the excitement you'd expect from an entertainment company that has Algore himself directly involved in chosing content.
OpinionJournal - Taste: "Any adults who were worried that Mr. Gore and his Democratic partners might use their investment to indoctrinate and arm a generation can probably rest easy for now. Newsless, often clueless and usually dull, the new channel is a limp noodle.
The idea is that viewers will create content, called "pods," and send it in. The flaw is to think this will be interesting.
The content pods, also repeated ad nauseam like CNN items on a foreign hotel-room TV, are thin stuff. Many offer little more than brief action shots of guys doing guy things like base jumping and skateboarding. Some simply showcase 'hotties' like the L.A. model who crows: 'Apparently, I have the perfect black butt.' And then there's visiting 'Mentor' Deepak Chopra, dispensing such gems as: 'The best way to find out who you are is to ask yourself, 'Who am I?''

Other pods look suspiciously like infomercials. In one, a guy does little but obsess about Nike Air Jordan sneakers. Another features a company seeking egg donors. If you're a broke college student, a host quips, 'Why sling latte when you can score $5,000 giving an egg to a childless couple in need?'"
Well, you can't have your eggs and apples, too.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rather Good News

Who better to handle damage control at Err America than Dangerous Dan Rather after the exemplary job he did with the Fake But Accurate TANG memos? Just what the doctor ordered. Is it real or is it ScrappleFace:
"Air America Hires Dan Rather as Scandal Spokesman
by Scott Ott

(2005-08-03) -- Air America, the unabashedly liberal radio network plagued by allegations of high-level fraud and embezzlement of money meant to benefit children and Alzheimer's patients, today hired former CBS news anchor Dan Rather as the public relations 'point man' to serve as a spokesman for the network.

Al Franken, the former comedian who has become the voice of Air America, said the veteran CBS newsman brings 'the appearance of credibility to an organization still struggling to establish its own facade of integrity with the American public.'"
As Ott notes, it's not like the Alzheimer's patients are going to miss that money anyway, so what's the big deal.

MySpace Cadets

Tycho spotted this AP story in the dead tree edition of the Lincoln Journal Star. It's an article with practically no news in it. The only real news is that Rupert Murdock has purchased MySpace and that makes some of the LL denizens of MySpace nervous:
Some MySpace Users Skittish Sharing Site: "By MARY PAPENFUSS
Associated Press Writer
(AP) - SAN FRANCISCO-There's a Fox in MySpace, and bloggers are squawking. Nervous members of the wildly popular online social networking spot are blasting its purchase by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., expressing dark fears in MySpace bulletins about the powerful billionaire's alleged motives and the possibility of privacy breaches, monitoring, censorship - and access fees.

'It's something we're very concerned about,' said Scott Swiecki, 34, of Tempe Ariz., who's a member of the MySpace group 'Faux News' as well as another group that combines the Murdoch name with an expletive. 'There are a lot of counterculture people on MySpace. My concern is Fox will add fees and censor content.' News Corp. purchased Intermix Media Inc., the owner of MySpace, for $580 million earlier this month, mainly so that Fox Interactive Media can reach the site's 22 million registered users."
There's more of the same, but you get the idea.

Here's a hint boys and girls: Rupert Murdock did not get to be a billionaire by spending $580 million dollars on a business and then driving away its customers. Chances are he doesn't even know you Fox-haters exist, and if he does he certainly doesn't care. Don't overestimate your significance.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

JFK the Neocon

Pedro at The Quietist picks up on an article in the LATimes by David Gelernter that describes JFK as "the first neoconservative president." It's a very interesting view, which Pedro elaborates nicely:
"Thus, Gelernter sneakily points out what is embarrassingly obvious but universally, you know, sort of ignored -- that is, JFK, with his tax cuts, his Peace Corps, his anticommunism, and his belief in the humanitarian uses of American power (as well as the post-WWII moral responsibility of a great power to not turn a blind eye to oppression and atrocity in the world) would today be scorned as a 'neocon.' [...]" [emphasis in original]
We were never a great fan of JFK, but we may be forced to reconsider that view.

Religion, Politics, and the Real Purpose of a Church

Glen Dean of Nashville Truth has an excellent post on the mixing of religion and politics. Glen is a libertarian Christian:
"I believe that as a church we should stop focusing on others and begin focusing on ourselves. We talk about the sanctity of marriage, but instead of focusing on infidelity and divorce within traditional marriage, we are consumed with the idea of banning same sex marriage. We spend all of this time focusing on the things of this world, like the judicial branch, but we seem to have forgotten that the hope of this world does not rest in the Federal Judiciary, the Presidency, or the Congress. Since we know that the hope of this nation rests in Jesus Christ and his teachings, what are we so afraid of? Dr. Sutton is an extremely talented evangelist. I wonder though, how many people could have been led to God, if Dr. Sutton simply preached about the Lord Jesus Christ, as opposed to politics."

Politics Heating Up in The Philippines

There is a real possiblity that the president of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo, could be impeached. An audio recording has been circulating, allegedly of a phone conversation of Mrs. Arroyo and the election commissioner, and it suggests a conspiracy to commit electoral fraud. In addition charges of corruption and illegal gambling ("jueteng") bribes are being leveled against Mrs. Arroyo's immediate family. Roy Chocco has a nice rundown on the situation on his blog:
Random Thoughts: Count the ERs: "For the past several weeks, the Philippine Congress has been conducting hearings to determine whether the 'Hello Garci' aka 'Gloriagate' recordings are authentic. Yesterday, the Congress issued an arrest warrant for former COMELEC Commissioner Garcilliano after he 'ignored it's summons to appear' (quoted fromt the PDI).

Meanwhile, the Senate for the past several months has been conducting hearings on jueteng (in aid of legislation). In the Senate hearings allegations that Mike Arroyo, the husband of the President, Mikey Arroyo, the son of the President and Iggy Arroyo, the brother-in-law of the President are involved in this illegal endeavor. Yesterday, they had as witness/resource person, Michaelangelo Zuce who testified that the President knew that jueteng money was used to bribe Philippine election officials so the would have helped he in her campaign. In addition, he also testified that 'all the conversations (in the 'Hello Garci' tapes) really took place because Commissioner Garcilliano told me about them'"
Mrs. Arroyo has been a staunch ally of the US in the GWoT, and she is playing this up in her struggle to hold onto power.

Read the rest.

World Trade Center Memorial

The American people want a suitable memorial at the former site of the Twin Towers, one that will commemorate the heroism of the firefighters and police, and the tireless efforts of the many rescue workers. We want a memorial that will honor the victims. Unfortunately, the memoral has been hijacked by those who think we need to understand the terrrorists point of view. Back in June Debra Burlingame wrote this article for the Wall Street Journal about the betrayal that is planned:
OpinionJournal - Extra: "Instead, they will get a memorial that stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the yearning to return to that day. Rather than a respectful tribute to our individual and collective loss, they will get a slanted history lesson, a didactic lecture on the meaning of liberty in a post-9/11 world. They will be served up a heaping foreign policy discussion over the greater meaning of Abu Ghraib and what it portends for the country and the rest of the world."
If you haven't yet done so, you can sign the online petition to prevent this. It's not too late to stop it.

David Letterman Rescues Zombies

Well, better late than never. We wouldn't expect much gratitude, though. Zombies are notoriously ungrateful creatures. - David Letterman Rescues Zombies: "The Zombies were stranded in Canada yesterday after their plane from Winnipeg to New York was grounded, thanks first to bad weather and then what could have been a terrible Air France crash in Toronto."

Paraphrasing Jimmy

Some people/things become so absurd that it's almost impossible to satirize them. The reality is so whacky, you just can't top it. Howard Dean springs to mind, for example. Protein Wisdom takes on a very tough nut in ex-Pres. and Fiskie Award Winner, James Earl "Jimmy" Carter:
"Jimmy Carter: Guantanamo 'is a disgrace to the USA'": "As to whether or not Carter's comments provide rhetorical cover for the terrorists--of course not! Carter is simply voicing his dissent, and if a former US president can't openly criticize his government--publicly, overseas, during wartime, and on the basis of a narrative of events that an investigative panel has already concluded simply does not represent the facts on the ground--well, then the terrorists have already won. After all, aiding the enemy in their propaganda war IS the highest form of patriotism, [...]"

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Kansas Rethinking Marriage Law

The national attention this week on the Falls City child bride and the arrest of her husband for statutory rape certainly didn't help Nebraska's reputation. We would have to say, however, that Kansas came off looking even worse for allowing the marriage in the first place. Apparently the Falls City fallout has stirred the Kansas legislature into revisiting the state's absurd, obscene law that allows 12 yr old girls to marry. If so, some good may come of this sorry situation:
Lincoln Journal Star Online: "It's a line not likely to land in the state's promotional brochure: Come to Kansas, girls, where you can get hitched at age 12. Thanks to a Falls City love affair that has raised the ire of Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, however, the marriage age could land on that state's legislative to-do list.

'We probably ought to discuss it,' said one Kansas lawmaker, Rep. John Faber. He represents five counties in northwest Kansas that border Nebraska. 'Some laws just don't make any sense.'

The one in question came to light last week when Bruning announced he filed a rape charge against a 22-year-old Falls City man who married his pregnant, 14-year-old girlfriend. They didn't tie the knot in their home state, because the law wouldn't allow it. The minimum marriage age in Nebraska, with parental consent, is 17.

Not so in Kansas, where the couple married in May. In the sunflower state, the bar is set at 12 years old, with parental consent; boys have to wait until they're 14."
"We probably ought to discuss it," says Faber. We have to admire his gift for understatement.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Short Takes from Thomas Sowell

Economist Thomas Sowell has a column on composed entirely of short, but insightful comments. Here are a few of them:
Thomas Sowell: Random Thoughts: "I never cease to be amazed at how often people throw around the lofty phrase 'social justice' without the slightest effort to define it. It cannot be defined because it is an attitude masquerading as a principle.

Someone once said that a fool can put on his coat better than a wise man can put it on for him. The implications of that undermine most of the agenda of the political left.

People who say that the war in Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror are unaffected by the fact that the terrorists themselves obviously think otherwise, as they converge on Iraq from other countries. [...]

One of the few encouraging signs to come out of France has been the ban on head scarves in schools there, despite protests that these are traditional among Islamic girls. No one has a right to come into someone else's society and insist on playing by the rules of some other society. We in America need to understand that as regards language, among other things.

Some ideas seem so plausible that they can fail nine times in a row and still be believed the tenth time. Other ideas seem so implausible that they can succeed nine times in a row and still not be believed the tenth time. Government controls in the economy are among the first kinds of ideas and the operation of a free market is among the second kinds of ideas."

Plame Blame Game Over

The house of cards that was the "case" against Karl Rove in the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame Kerfuffle has now collapsed completely. Robert Novak has spoken. For a good rundown of the implications see Tran Sient's Watch.

Once again Karl Rove, The Evil Genius, has pulled the football away just when the Charlie Brown's of the Left were sure they were going to kick it this time. He suckered them in by telling the truth to a reporter: fiendishly clever.

Profiles Encourage

Ryne sums up the sensible, British policy for screening people: Look For Those Who Might Want To Kill Us. In contrast we have the American policy: Pretend We Have No Idea What Terrorists Look Like.

This is the kind of issue that makes me wonder how anyone can possibly be on the other side. It is so obviously a waste of everyone's time and energy to search my 80 yr old mom when she is boarding an airplane, yet it happens regularly to her. Is it just that opponents imagine that "profiling" would mean all Muslims (or those who look like they might be Muslims) would be strip searched everywhere they went?

To do less than the best we can do in screening suspects is not only wasteful; it's dangerous. People are trying to kill us. Profiling just means using all that we see and all that we know in evaluating the potential risk posed by a particular person. That includes physical appearance, clothing, behavior, mannerisms, age, gender, and speech.

Timothy McVeigh, who doesn't fit the Muslim profile, is sometimes cited as "proof" that profiling will not "work." A more serious argument is that terrorists may employ Chechens or other Islamofascists who don't look Middle Eastern. While these are good arguments for not ignoring people who don't look Middle Eastern, they are not arguments for ignoring those who do.

As the saying goes, "The victory may not always go to the strongest nor the race to the swiftest, but that's the way to bet."

One surefire bet is that the same, politically correct people who oppose any profiling of terror suspects will sing a different tune if/when the next attack occurs. Then they will be howling that the administration didn't do "enough" to prevent the attack. They'll even be right, in a sense, if the current, foolish policy they insist upon is maintained.

Bottom Falling Out Of Thong Market

This article may have set some kind of record for double entendres in a news story:
Sky News : Bottom Falling Out Of Thong Market: "A THONG OF THE PAST?
Cracks are appearing in the UK thong market with sales down nearly 20% in the past year.Ever since the buttock-baring item of women's underwear was worn by a catwalk model in 1997, G-strings have been all the rage.

Today sales of thongs remain firm among women aged 25 and under.But demand from older women has started to sag, new figures show.Between May 2004 and May this year G-string/thong sales dropped 17% nationally, according market researchers TNS Fashion Trak.Their figures show that more discreet, 'shorts-style' knickers are becoming more popular.But despite its recent dip in form, the thong, which remains a must-have 'chav' fashion accessory, is far from a thing of the past.

They still account for UKP 38m of the UKP 165m women's underwear industry.Rachel Argyle, from TNS, said: 'The bottom has not completely dropped out of the thong market, not yet.'There is still a future for the thong. There is just a wider range of more comfortable alternatives out there.'"
There is also a figure caption: "Sales slipping behind."

The North Korean Headache

Kira Zalan has a humorous post on her blog on the situation with North Korea's Dear Leader:
"Yesterday, N. Korea officially rejected the 2004 U.S. proposal, offering aid and security guarantees in exchange for dismantlement of N. Korea's nuclear program. All this during the 6-party talks, which are looking a lot like that awful scene in a supermarket -- where the incompetent parents are powerless in the face of a child's temper tantrum. The child knows full well that if he continues to scream long enough, he'll get that ice cream he's not supposed to have. He knows, because it worked last week."

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Harry Potter

We just finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince last night, or, more accurately, at 3:00 this morning. We are a big fan of the whole series, having read several of the books multiple times. We're not sure the three most recent books are really for small kids, but they are great reading for adults and older kids.

Without revealing any spoiler info, we'll just say that we did not find the ending of Prince very satisfying for a number of reasons. If you have read it and are feeling the same, we suggest this site for some theories (and spoilers) about the book. Wait until you are done with the book before reading this article, as there are serious spoilers within.

Pinball Wizard

His name isn't Tommy and the game isn't pinball, but Nebraska has it's own blind, 17 yr old video game wizard:
"Blind since birth due to Leber's Disease, Brice Mellen of Lincoln, Neb., demonstrates Friday, July 22, 2005, at DogTags Gaming Center in Lincoln, his mastery of video games. Mellen, who will be a senior in high school this fall, wants to go to college to study video game design. (AP Photo/Bill Wolf)"
So how do you think he does it? What makes him so good?
"And as he easily dispatched foes who took him on recently at a Lincoln gaming center, the affable and smiling Mellen remained humble.

'I can't say that I'm a superpro,' he said, working the controller like an extension of his body. 'I can be beat.'

Those bold enough to challenge him weren't so lucky. One by one, while playing 'Soul Caliber 2,' their video characters were decapitated, eviscerated and gutted without mercy by Mellen's on-screen alter ego.

'I'm getting bored,' Mellen said in jest as he won game after game.

Blind since birth when his optic nerve didn't connect because of Leber's disease, Mellen honed his video game skills over the years through patient and not-so-patient playing, memorizing key joystick operations and moves in certain games, asking lots of questions and paying particular attention to audio cues. He worked his way up from games such as 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroid,' onto the modern combat games.

'I guess I don't know how I do it, really,' Mellen said, as he continued playing while facing away from the screen. 'It's beyond me.'
Audio cues are critical, of course. Unlike Tommy, Mellen can hear. It's still no less amazing, though.