NY Times Watch (A Wall Runs Through It?)
Mediacrity relates the saga of one man's "fascinating correspondence with Times deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner and Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Erlanger," as he seeks corrections to a NY Times story.
Mediacrity relates the saga of one man's "fascinating correspondence with Times deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner and Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Erlanger," as he seeks corrections to a NY Times story.
What's worse than pork barrel spending itself is the refusal of most lawmakers to transfer money from unnecessary projects to programs that can help people in need.
Japanese gardens for the CDC bureaucrats in Atlanta. Slow, painful, unnecessary death for people with HIV. That's what we get with pork.
On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel "must be wiped out from the map of the world." Reaction to this comment has been swift.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in remarks issued Thursday by the Israeli government press office, said he believed any country that calls for the destruction of another cannot be a member of the United Nations.
One of the strongest reactions to Ahmadinejad's remarks came from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said they were "completely and totally unacceptable."
"I felt a real sense of revulsion at those remarks," said Blair, who spoke Thursday at a press briefing after a European Union summit near London.
"There has been a long time in which I've been answering questions on Iran with everyone saying to me 'tell us you're not going to do anything about Iran,'" he said.
"If they carry on like this, the question people are going to be asking us is, 'When are you going to do something about this,' because you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having a nuclear weapon."
[U.N. Secretary-General Kofi] Annan expressed "dismay" [ouch!] over the Iranian president's comments urging the destruction of Israel.
In a statement, Annan reminded "all member states that Israel is a long-standing member of the United Nations with the same rights and obligations as every other member."
"Under the United Nations Charter, all members have undertaken to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state," the statement said.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Ahmadinejad's views "underscores our concern and the international community's concerns about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons."
Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew: "We cannot tolerate comments of such hatred, such anti-Semitism, such intolerance. These comments are all the more troubling given that we know of Iran's nuclear ambitions."
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Thursday he condemned the Iranian statement "absolutely."What does the Arab world say?
"It is a completely unacceptable statement, of course. We should respect borders and respect the integrity of Israel, and we want Israel to live in peace with its neighbors," he told BBC radio.
Arab governments remained silent Thursday as international condemnation grew over a call by Iran's new president for Israel to be destroyed.Ahmadinejad's response to the world:
"My words are the Iranian nation's words," he told the official IRNA news agency, when asked if he had a message for the world.
"Westerners are free to comment, but their reactions are invalid."
Last year, I read reports of a study completed by Alan Ziobrowski, a professor at Georgia State.
Ziobrowski and his colleagues looked at six thousand stock transactions made by senators between 1993 and 1998. Over that time, senators beat the market, on average, by twelve per cent annually. Since a mutual-fund manager who beats the market by two or three per cent a year is considered a genius, the politicians’ ability to foresee the future seems practically divine. They did an especially good job of picking up stocks at just the right time; their buys were typically flat before they bought them, but beat the market by thirty per cent, on average, in the year after.The study's conclusion?
Are senators really that smart? The authors of the study suggest a more likely explanation: at least some senators must have been trading “based on information that is unavailable to the public”—in other words, they were engaged in some form of insider trading. It’s impossible to pin down exactly how it happened, but it’s easy to imagine senators getting occasional stock tips from corporate supplicants, and their own work in Congress often deals with confidential matters that have a direct impact on particular companies.Now, Bill Frist, the Senate Majority Leader, is under scrutiny due to his selling of stock in the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) just two weeks before the company reported earnings that fell short of Wall Street's expectations. The stock then fell by nine percent. Frist's brother is on HCA's board of directors. Hmm...
This AP article, is beyond vile. A terrorist blows up himself, and kills five innocent people, with many more injured. The AP begins their article with this:
A 20-year-old Palestinian blacksmith blew himself up at a falafel stand in an open-air market Wednesday, killing five Israelis and wounding more than 30 in the deadliest attack in the country in more than three months.By providing more details about the bomber rather than the victims, this humanizes the perpetrator, and dehumanizes the Israelis. The article, which covers four web pages, fails to comment at all on the victims, or their families.
Some people just have too much time on their hands.
Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization with a history of Iranian support, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a falafel stand at an open-air market in Hadera, Israel. Five Israelis were killed, and more than thirty were wounded.
The attack came hours after Iran's state-run media reported comments from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and saying a new wave of Palestinian attacks would destroy the Jewish state.All the while, Iran continues its quest for nuclear weapons.
Recalling Iran's history of support for Islamic Jihad, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev criticized both Ahmadinejad's statement and another from Mahmoud Zahar, a leader of the Hamas militant group in Gaza who threatened fresh violence against Israel.
"Today, Israelis heard two extremists speak openly about destroying the Jewish state. One was the new president of Iran, and the other was the leader of Hamas, Mahmoud Zahar. And it appears the problem with these extremists is that they followed through on their violent declarations with violent actions," Regev told The Associated Press.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan condemned the bombing and called on the Palestinian leadership to crack down on militants.
John Stossel on the Coburn Amendment:
Big spender Ted Stevens [R-Alaska] responded to Coburn's good suggestion to kill a "Bridge to Nowhere" with a tantrum on the Senate floor: He threatened to resign and "be taken out of here on a stretcher."
Good! Sen. Stevens, please go. I'll even help carry the stretcher.
Unfortunately, Congress has an unwritten code: "Don't threaten the other congressmen's loot." The Senate reprimanded Coburn by voting 82 to 15 to save the Bridge to Nowhere.
The Ketchikan, Alaska, bridge is particularly egregious because it's a bridge to a nearly uninhabited island. Yet it will be monstrous -- higher than the Brooklyn Bridge and almost as long as the Golden Gate. Even some in Ketchikan laugh about it. One told us, "Short view is, I don't see a need for it. The long view ... I still don't see a need for it."
Last week, Alaska's other senator, Lisa Murkowski, said it would be "offensive" not to spend your money on her bridge. When she first became a senator, I asked her if Republicans believed in smaller government. She was unusually candid: "We want smaller government. But, boy, I sure want more highways and more stuff, whatever the stuff is."
While most Iraqi women live in fear of terrorists and criminals, one small band of women has taken up arms and is prepared to fight back.
Employed by a private security company, the women ride in the front passenger seat posing as ordinary housewives when the company's drivers transport customers around the city in nondescript vehicles.
But their firearms are always close at hand, and they are trained to respond with force if they come under attack.
"Before I got into this, I was like a normal female; when I heard bullets, I would hide," said Muna, a stocky young woman in a black T-shirt and black pants.
"Now, I feel like a man. When I hear a bullet, I want to know where it came from," she said, sitting comfortably with an AK-47 assault rifle across her legs, red toenails poking out from a pair of stacked sandals. "Now I feel equal to my husband."
If the work provides personal fulfillment for Muna, her colleague Assal -- a divorced mother -- sees it as a cause. "I have seen a lot of innocent people die," she said, staring out with intense black eyes. "We are trying to defend ourselves and defend each other. I am doing this for my country."
As insurgent and terrorist groups become more proficient in the use of roadside bombs and ambushes, security companies increasingly are finding armored vehicles bristling with automatic weapons are less effective for protecting passengers than low-profile convoys disguised to blend into regular traffic.Progress?
That impression, the companies find, is enhanced by the presence of a modestly dressed woman in the front seat next to the driver, appearing to be a housewife out for a drive with her husband.
A book of children's poetry that will be distributed to schools in the United Kingdom, contains a poem that
is apparently written from the viewpoint of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.The editor of the poetry collection is defending the inclusion of this work.
It includes the lines "Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces."
Another part reads: "Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger… I'll be happy Jews have died."
Young Writers editor Steve Twelvetree, who also edited the book, said the poem was included as it illustrated how the writer was able to empathise with the infamous Nazi Fuehrer.Community groups are seeking a formal apology from the publisher, and the removal of the poem.
Bush has redefined conservatism into meaninglessness by legitimizing massive government spending for social policy. The left will take the 35 percent spending increase and up it. Then they'll raise taxes to pay for it. From their perspective, what's not to like? The left-liberal project and the Bush-conservative project are essentially the same: use the state to control and direct the actions of the citizenry, and wean them onto government aid. The only difference is that the constituencies that are the beneficiaries of other people's money are not identical; and the ideologies directing big government are not the same. I miss Clinton-Gingrich. It was, in retrospect, the high-water mark for conservatism as a governing philosophy.
This column, written by Jonathan Gurwitz, appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.
Brooklyn was quiet during the recently concluded Jewish High Holy Days. So were Jewish neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Cincinnati and the suburbs of Houston.(Via Donklephant).
Even in the venerable old City of David, the Jews did not riot, did not clash with police and did not burn Palestinian flags.
Unlike allegations that the American military flushed copies of the Koran down the toilet, the desecration of synagogues in the Gaza Strip actually happened. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups weren’t the least bit shy about displaying their incendiary handiwork at houses of worship abandoned by Israeli settlers last month.
Interestingly, Newsweek — and much of the international media that helped fan the flames of Islamic fanaticism with the faulty stories of Koran desecration — took a powder on synagogue desecration.
Days after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, the New York Sun reported, Hamas announced its intention to turn one synagogue in the former Gaza settlement of Netzarim into a museum of weapons used against Israeli civilians. “Qassam rockets and other locally made arms will be exposed,” read a Hamas statement.
How is it that as Jews gathered for the holiest days of their calendar — which this year coincided with the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — such provocations did not spark a conflagration of Zionist rage?
Publius Pundit has a roundup of news and pics from Lebanon.
It sure looks that way. The report implicates Syria in the killing of Rafik Hariri, a former Prime Minister of Lebanon.
The names of the brother of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, and other members of his inner circle, were dropped from the report that was sent to the Security Council.More here.
The confidential changes were revealed by an extraordinary computer gaffe because an electronic version distributed by UN officials on Thursday night allowed recipients to track editing changes.
The mistaken release of the unedited report added further support to the published conclusion that Syria was behind Mr Hariri’s assassination in a bomb blast on Valentine’s Day in Beirut. The murder of Mr Hariri touched off an international outcry and hastened Syria’s departure from Lebanon in April after a 29-year pervasive military presence.
One crucial change, apparently made after the report was submitted to the UN chief, removed the name of President al-Assad’s brother, Maher, his brother-in-law, Assef al-Shawkat, and other high-ranking Syrian officials. Mr Annan had pledged repeatedly through his chief spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, that he would not change a word of the report by Detlev Mehlis, a German prosecutor. But computer tracking showed that the final edit began at about 11.38am on Thursday — a minute after Herr Mehlis began a meeting with Mr Annan to present his report.
The Club for Growth has a number of posts about the Coburn amendments, which sought to reduce spending on pork projects.
The U.S. Senate tonight defeated an amendment by Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) by a vote of 15 to 82 that would have blocked funding for two extravagant projects in Alaska and directed $125 million from those projects to the repair of the Twin Spans Bridge over Lake Pontachartrain which was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The Coburn amendment was offered to H.R. 3058, the Transportation, Treasury, HUD, Judiciary and District of Columbia Appropriations Act.Keep scrolling for lots of information, including details of a rant by porkmeister Ted Stevens of Alaska.
“The American people expect their elected officials to make sacrifices in a time of war, rising deficits, and disaster recovery. Unfortunately, many members of Congress are more committed to protecting a system that allows them to fund extravagant projects at the expense of the common good. Our refusal to prioritize spending and exercise restraint has created a rumble among the American people. Tonight’s vote will only cause that rumble to grow,” Dr. Coburn said.
The Coburn amendment would have blocked funding for a $223 million bridge to a town in Alaska with a population of 50 people. At $4.46 million per person, the cost of the bridge alone would be enough to buy every island resident their own personal Lear jet. The Coburn amendment also would have blocked funding for a $229 million bridge that would connect Anchorage, Alaska to hundreds of square miles of unpopulated wetlands.
The Coburn amendment would have then diverted $125 million in savings from those projects to repair the Interstate 10 Twin Spans Bridge in Louisiana, a 5.4 mile stretch of I-10 over Lake Pontchartrain which connects New Orleans with the city of Slidell. The Twin Spans serve as a major route into New Orleans for interstate commerce and working commuters.
Dr. Coburn offered another amendment to block funding for three special projects; $200,000 for an animal facility in Westerly, Rhode Island; $500,000 for a sculpture park in Seattle; and $950,000 for a parking facility for a private museum in Omaha, Nebraska. The Senate voted to table, or kill, the amendment by a vote of 13 to 86.
The Senate did accept three Coburn amendments. One amendment required that all earmarks be included in the bill’s conference report. This amendment helps lift the veil of secrecy that conceals the process of inserting special projects into appropriations bills. Similar amendments have been attached to the Agriculture, Military Construction and Department of Defense Appropriations bills.
Another amendment limits the amount HUD can spend on conferences to $3 million. Last year the Department spent $13.9 million on conferences.
The other Coburn amendment that was accepted requires the Community Development Block Grant Program run by HUD to cease violating a law that requires them report on their rate of improper payments.
Simply unconscionable. Those who voted against these amendments have zero credibility on issues of fiscal responsibility. Zero.
Hamas has accused U.S. President George W. Bush of trying to bring war among Palestinians on Thursday for urging Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to confront and dismantle armed factions.From the Hamas dictionary: Resistance=the destruction of Israel.
Bush made the call after a meeting with Abbas at the White House to try to advance a long-stalled "Road map" for peace with Israel following last month's Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Bush was making a "New American attempt to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority in order to create internal Palestinian strife and weaken the factions of resistance."
From Iraq the Model:
We all sat in front of the TV; there were 8 of us hushing each other as we didn’t want to miss a single word of the conversations and we wanted to catch every small detail of the trial just like we suffered every small detail of the disasters brought upon us by the hateful tyrant.From CNN, on Christiane Amanpour's report from the courthouse:
“Does he deserve a fair trial?” this was the question that kept surfacing every five minutes…he wasn’t the least fair to his people and he literally reduced justice to verbal orders from his mouth to be carried out by his dogs.
Why do we have to listen to his anticipated rudeness and arrogant stupid defenses? We already knew he was going to try to twist things and claim that the trial lacks legitimacy or that it’s more a court of politics rather than a court of law, blah, blah, blah…
“Why do we have to listen to this bull****?” said one of my friends.
“I prefer the trial goes like this:
Q:Are you Saddam Hussein?
Then take this bullet in the head.”
Everyone could find a reason to immediately execute a criminal who never let his victims say a word to defend themselves “let’s execute him and get over this” sentiments like this were said while we watched the proceedings which were rather boring and sluggish for the first half of the session.
At the beginning we were displeased by the presentation of the prosecution which was more like a piece of poetry in the wrong time and place and this is what encouraged the defense to give us a worn out speech about objectivity and how the court must not go into sideways; the thing which both the prosecution and the defense were doing.
Anyhow, the prosecutor began reading the facts and figures about what happened in Dijail. The defendants went silent but Saddam objected on some details and then prosecutor said “Do you want me to show the film where you said and did that?” Saddam stopped talking and the prosecutor asked the court to allow showing the film, we don’t know if it was played there as transmission was paused for a while.
As the prosecution went deeper into details and facts, the way we viewed the trial began to change an d those among us who were demanding a bullet in Saddam’s head now seemed pleased with the proceedings “I don’t think I want to see that bullet now, I want to see justice take place as it should be”.
We were watching an example of justice in the new Iraq, a place where no one should be denied his rights, not even Saddam.
She described the visibly frail former Iraqi president's arrival in court as he attempted to launch into a defiant speech even before proceedings were under way.Justice vs. Sympathy for the devil.
"It transpired that Saddam Hussein was attempting to make some kind of speech or have some kind of discussion with the judge outside of what the judge had directly asked him," Amanpour said.
"We could hear the judge saying repeatedly: 'All we are asking ... tell us your name. We will hear the other things you have to say later.'
"Saddam Hussein kept trying to have his day in court, have his speech, but was eventually asked to sit down, which he did.
"He came into court walking, escorted by two guards who were in bulletproof vests. He was wearing a gray suit and a white shirt. His hair is black, as it's always been, his beard was black with significant gray.
"A good deal older and weaker and more frail than he did the last time I saw him come into court in the summer of 2004 when he came for his initial hearing.
While it's pretty clear that Harriet Miers is no legal scholar, one would hope that she at least has an understanding of the document. From the Washington Post:
...several constitutional law scholars said they were surprised and puzzled by Miers's response to the committee's request for information on cases she has handled dealing with constitutional issues. In describing one matter on the Dallas City Council, Miers referred to "the proportional representation requirement of the Equal Protection Clause" as it relates to the Voting Rights Act.(Via Patterico.)
"There is no proportional representation requirement in the Equal Protection Clause," said Cass R. Sunstein, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago. He and several other scholars said it appeared that Miers was confusing proportional representation -- which typically deals with ethnic groups having members on elected bodies -- with the one-man, one-vote Supreme Court ruling that requires, for example, legislative districts to have equal populations.
How far do you have to go to find a positive story about Iraq in the press? Try Thailand:
If Iraq of the future devolves into civil conflict, tomorrow's election makes it more likely that the battles will be on the political stumps, and not in the streets. In any case, the citizens of every country have the right to set the course of their nation, vote for their leaders and demand daily accountability from the representatives elected. A vote for the new constitution, a vote against it or a reasoned, thinking decision not to vote _ all of these move forward both democracy and freedom in Iraq.It is remarkable that a country so violently torn by daily bombs and battles can debate, write and then vote on a national constitution.While this editorial may be overly positive, it's refreshing to be exposed to a viewpoint that is rare in the American media.
Victor Davis Hanson takes on the defeatism of Zbigniew Brzezinski:
We have made plenty of mistakes since September 11, often failed to articulate our goals and values, and turned on each other in perpetual acrimony. Federal spending is out of control, and our present energy policy won’t wean us off Middle Eastern petroleum for years. But still lost in all this conundrum is that the old appeasement of the 1990s is over, the terrorists are losing both tactically and strategically, and, as Tony Blair said of the evolving Western mentality, “The rules of the game are changing.”
Finally, we need to be systematic in our appraisal of the course of this war, asking not just whether the United States is more popular and better liked, but rather whether Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, and Egypt are moving in the right or wrong direction. Is Europe more or less attuned to the dangers of radical Islam, and more or less likely to work with the United States? Is the Israeli-Palestinian dispute getting worse or stabilizing? Is our security at home getting better, and do we understand radical Islam more or less perfectly? Are Middle East neutrals like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan more or less helpful in the war against the terrorists? Are global powers like India and Japan more or less inclined to America? And are clear-cut enemies such as Iran and Syria becoming more or less emboldened or facing ostracism?
If we look at all these questions dispassionately, and tune out the angry rhetoric on the extreme Left and Right, then we can see things are becoming better rather than worse — even as the media and now the public itself believes that a successful strategy is failing.
I think I've got this story straight: Bloggledygook says that Ted Rall claims that everyone who voted for Bush is an idiot. Ted Rall responds by saying that everyone who voted for Bush is an idiot. The one-sided intellectual debate continues:
See, Ted, the idea is that it's very possible that I agree with you on some important points. But you're just too unhinged ever to take a breath and realize that your rabid hatred and your juvenile inability to look at complex problems without coming to the exact same conclusion every time limits both your audience and your message. That is, if you have a message other than that everyone who didn't vote for John Kerry last time around is... what was that? a Goddamned f***ing idiot? Man, I wish I could write like that.
Iowahawk has managed to obtain yet another guest commentary from Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.
Despite the occasional market-bombing morale booster, the situation has been going downhill for a while now. So I guess you could say that everybody was pretty jazzed last week when big bossman Zawahiri sent out a memo announcing casual Fridays and a special ‘R&R event.’Yes, it's time for terrorists to leave their cubicles, and head to a good old motivational conference.
Well yeah, okay, normally the Zarkman is cool with a little downtime. Chance to catch up on the email and paperwork and all that, especially since I’ve got like three months of travel expenses that Fatima (wife #3, the fat one) has been all over my ass to file. Anyway, I’m in the middle of Xeroxing some ammonia nitrate receipts Friday morning, thinking about what I needed to pack for the weekend family trip to Damascus, when I get another memo:
From: A. al-Zawahiri
To: All Associates
Subject: Mandatory Weekend Retreat
A letter from al-Qaida's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader in Iraq, is getting a lot of attention. The U.S. Central Command website has the most comprehensive analysis of this communique, which confirms al-Qaida's long term goals, and its views of current developments in Iraq and elsewhere.
Baron Bodissey takes a ride to rural Red House, Virginia, home to Jamaat ul-Fuqra, an Islamist group that endorses violence against the enemies of its vision of Islam.
What we do know is that an organization with a history of violence had set up shop locally, refused to let its girl children go to school, and had top members arrested and convicted by the FBI for firearms violations. In addition they have set up a remote and isolated "Training Camp for Young Muslim-American Men" - to train young men for what? Auto repair? The food service industry? I have my doubts.
For the right people, of course.
Anti-Semitism is an equal opportunity hatred. Whatever your ideology; whichever side of the political spectrum you find yourself, you always have the Jews as an all-purpose scapegoat.
Three explosive devices were found near dormitories this morning at Georgia Tech University.
One of the devices exploded, injuring the custodian who found them inside a plastic bag. Two others were detonated by a bomb squad.
The custodian suffered ringing to the ears and was treated at a local hospital. The events led to a temporary evacuation Monday morning.
"It is a terrorist act at this point and depending on the outcome of the investigation it potentially could become a federal violation as well," said Major C.W. Moss of the Atlanta Police Department.
The custodian found the three devices about 9 a.m. in a plastic-type garbage bag, Moss said. When he picked up the bag, one exploded, as it was designed to do when handled. The explosives were made up of chemicals placed inside plastic bottles and could have seriously injured someone, officials said. Numerous agencies were on the Georgia Tech campus to search for suspects.
From Veronique de Rugy:
According to Senator Mary Landrieu (D, LA), author of the Louisiana bill, "Louisiana will be rebuilt by Louisianans. New Orleans will be rebuilt by New Orleans. And the Southern Louisiana will be rebuilt under the leadership of the people who call it home."The problem is that the Senator expects the federal government to pick up 100 percent of the bill. Louisiana lawmakers are asking for $250 billion in federal aid, which amounts to more than $50,000 per resident of the state.
* $35,000,000 for the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing BoardUnbelievable.
* $8,000,000 for direct financial assistance to alligator farmers
* $12,000,000 for the restoration of wildlife management areas
* $25,490,073 to complete the Sugarcane Research Laboratory
* $120,000,000 for a laboratory, facilities and equipment at the Southern Regional Research Center
* $28,300,000 for the restoration and rehabilitation of forest lands
* $34,193,591 to support the research and education activities of the Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
* $19,000,000 for the acquisition of first-responder mobile communications, deployable cellular towers and for equipment necessary for public Internet access in a 100-block area of downtown New Orleans using wireless-fidelity technology.
* $250,000,000 for assistance to firefighters
* $100,000,000 for early intervention, prevention, and disorder treatment for children who are 0 to 5 years of age
* $100,000,000 for early intervention, prevention, and disorder treatment for school age children.
* $100,000,000 for substance abuse assessment, early intervention, prevention, and treatment.
* $600,000,000 for early childhood education
* $20 million for the establishment of development plans for development districts in the State of Louisiana
* $160 million to implement the 2005 recommendations of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission related to the Federal city development in Algiers, Louisiana
* $7 billion for rebuilding evacuation and energy supply routes on top of $5 billion for expansion of road and transit capacity.
* $150 million for a small business loans fund and tax breaks on top of $50 billion in block grants.
But Sen. Landrieu and her delegation also asked for lost sales revenues for many commercial entities. Never mind that all such loses could have been covered by private sector business continuity insurance if the owners had the discipline to think ahead. For instance:
* $27 million for lost timber sales revenues from the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area
* $250,000 for dairy cattle losses of dairy producers
* $11 million for livestock losses
* $1,000 per head of cattle without any limitation on the maximum amount of payments that a producer may receive
* $5 million for dairy spoilage losses
* $5 million for a livestock compensation program to make payments for livestock-related losses
Instapundit has a roundup with lots o' links.
William A. Galston and Elaine C. Kamarck, who worked in the Clinton White House, have released a report in which they urge Democrats to appeal to moderate voters, rather than attempting to energize their partisan base.
Their basic thesis is that the number of solidly conservative Republican voters is substantially larger that the reliably Democratic liberal voter base. To win, the argument goes, Democrats must make much larger inroads among moderates than the GOP.As a moderate, I agree with this approach. A Democratic presidential candidate who reaches out to swing voters can win an election, as did Clinton. A candidate who appeals to the MoveOn.org, Michael Moore, DailyKos crowd will alienate a lot of centrists. The Clinton model is the road to success.
It was heartening to see President Bush actually tell us who we are fighting, rather than using the ambiguous term, "War on Terror," in his speech at the National Endowment for Democracy:
Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom.
Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence -- the Israeli presence on the West Bank, or the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, or the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of the killers -- and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder.
On the contrary: They target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence. Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory.
Michael Totten makes a phone call in Beirut.
If you rely on the mainstream media for your news, then you know little or nothing about Joel Henry Hinrichs III, who blew himself up last Saturday outside a full football stadium at the University of Oklahoma.
Two teams of federal and university scientists announced today that they had resurrected the 1918 influenza virus, the cause of one of history's most deadly epidemics, and had found that unlike the viruses that caused more recent flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968, the 1918 virus was actually a bird flu that jumped directly to humans.
The findings, the scientists say, reveal a small number of genetic changes that may explain why the virus was so lethal. The work also confirms the legitimacy of worries about the bird flu viruses that are now emerging in Asia.
But Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, chief of molecular pathology department at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, notes that the bird flus have not yet spread from human to human. He hopes the 1918 virus will reveal what genetic changes can allow that to happen, helping scientists prevent a new pandemic before it starts.This research is not free of controversy, though. Some are questioning the wisdom of recreating and publishing the genetic sequence of the killer 1918 virus, considering the risk of an accidental or deliberate release.
Michelle Mitchell is the sheriff of Richmond, Virginia. Her time as sheriff has not been without controversy.
She was investigated by the feds for allegedly using profits from the City Jail to benefit herself, though no charges were filed. She has been ridiculed for putting her name on sheriff's department cars. More recently, an inmate at the jail was charged with escaping his cell, thanks to faulty locks, and killing another inmate.Now, she is in the news again. When Ms. Mitchell filed her campaign documents with the State Board of Elections, she apparently gave her personal e-mail address in a space that was designated for her campaign e-mail address.
The genocide in Darfur is nearly over, for the simple reason that the Sudanese government has achieved its goal of ridding the region of black people.
The National Islamic Front government has culled over 400,000 “Zurga” – a word which translates best as “niggers” – and driven two million more from their homes in its quest to make western Sudan “Zurga-free”. Their racist Janjaweed militias would love to carry on rampaging and raping, but the black villages have all been burned down and the women have all been raped with “Arab seed” to “destroy their race from within” – what’s a poor militiaman to do? The first genocide of the twenty-first century has proceeded without a hitch, and the genocidaires have won.Johann Hari's must-read post looks at a survivor's story, and examines the inaction of the rest of the world that allowed the genocide to continue:
The Darfur holocaust is a bleak demonstration of how little the most powerful institutions in the world are motivated by basic human morality. Confronted with a clear example of the most terrible crime of all, they have all conspired to carry on working with the killers as if the holocaust in Darfur is at best a minor inconvenience.
Imam Intikab Habib was to be sworn in as the new chaplain of the New York City Fire Department. However, last Thursday in an interview with Newsday, he
stated doubts about who was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, saying conflicting reports left him wondering if it was 19 hijackers or some larger conspiracy that brought the towers down.After his comments appeared in the newspaper, Habib stepped down; hours before the swearing in ceremony. There are some who do not think that these comments are inappropriate:
Habib's comments, unseemly as they may have been to some, should not be completely dismissed, said Ghazi Khankan, an Islamic affairs consultant from Westbury. "What happened to freedom of speech?" said Khankan, adding that Habib's comments should not have rendered him jobless. "If he has a political opinion, it should not effect his work or his position. Before we condemn, we must investigate ... question the Imam further as to why does he believe this to be so."Yes, opinions are good, but propaganda is not.
Khankan said there are many other people, in the Middle East and in America, who question the conclusions of 9/11.
"I hope this will create a movement to call for further investigation into the tragedy of 9/11 ... people can fume," Khankan said, "but opinions are good because they can bring solutions if they are aired and discussed."
President Bush nominated White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court on Monday, turning to a lawyer who has never been a judge to replace Sandra Day O'Connor and help reshape the nation's judiciary.Instapundit has a roundup of opinion about the nomination.
"She has devoted her life to the rule of law and the cause of justice," Bush said as his first Supreme Court pick, Chief Justice John Roberts, took the bench for the first time just a few blocks from the White House.