Thursday, June 30, 2005

Abuse at Guantanamo

It's not what you think. From Gordon Cucullu:
After speaking with soldiers, sailors, and civilians who collectively staff the Joint Task Force - Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on my recent visit to that base, I left convinced that abuse definitely exists at the detention facilities. But not the slander and hyperbole about alleged mistreatment of the unlawful combatants confined there that we've all heard. There is far more serious abuse: the relentless, merciless attacks on American servicemen and women by these same terrorist thugs.

Stockholm Syndrome? Think Again.

Ulf Hjertström was kidnapped by "insurgents" in Iraq on March 25, and was released on May 30. The Swede hired bounty hunters to track down and eliminate his former captors.
"I have now put some people to work to find these bastards," he told the Ten Network today. "I invested about $50,000 so far and we will get them one by one."
According to Hjertström, two of the kidnappers have already been found. From the Stockholm Spectator Blog:
When asked to elaborate on the fate of the purportedly captured men, the Swede says he “hasn’t inquired” but has his “suspicions.”

Media Watch

Reuters has a human interest story about the world's oldest person. She is a Dutch woman who just celebrated her 115th birthday. Of course, Reuters can't help itself from throwing in a gratuitous anti-American comment:
Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, a former needlework teacher, was born in 1890, the year Sioux Indians were massacred by the U.S. military at the Battle of Wounded Knee.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Kofi, You're Fired

I have been following the oil-for-food scandal, mostly via the excellent work of Roger L. Simon. Well, you can't have too many scandals at the United Nations, and since they've been doing such a great job, don't they deserve a great big (i.e. expensive) renovation project? There are plans to do a little work on U.N. headquarters, with a price tag of $1.2 billion.

The Daily Standard does the math, and concludes that anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion in expenses is unaccounted for. Donald Trump, who knows a little something about real estate, and who has built larger buildings for much less money, believes that the expenses projected by the U.N. can only be the result of graft or incompetence.

Ya think?

Timetable?

Senator Russ Feingold:
I have introduced a resolution calling for the President to provide a public report clarifying the mission that the U.S. military is being asked to accomplish in Iraq and laying out a plan and timeframe for accomplishing that mission.
Roger L. Simon:
Earth-to-Feingold, Bush does not want to state WHEN (sorry for the caps but they are necessary in this rare case) our troops will come home because, as he has repeated again and again, that would put them and their Iraqi colleagues in harm's way and also tell the Baathists and Islamofacists (remember them?) what we are up to and allow them to wait and take over Iraq. Also, anyone with the slightest intelligence realizes that it is impossible to tell at this juncture when the Iraqi government forces will be prepared to defend themselves against the fascists. When they are, we will go.
Can I hear a real plan from a Democrat?

The Speech

As I listened to Bush giving his speech last night, every time I heard a reference to 9/11, I knew what the President's critics would say. Even though Bush never explicitly blames Saddam for 9/11, does invoking 9/11 in such a way, and doing so repeatedly, mislead the public?

The NY Times, LA Times, and Washington Post are (no surprise here) critical of the speech. Captain's Quarters presents a worthy commentary.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Media Watch 3

Good news-run it on A15:
Senators from both sides of the aisle competed on Monday to extol the humane treatment of detainees whom they said they saw on a weekend trip to the military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. All said they opposed closing the center.
Don't like that? How about this: If you have to report some good news, don't forget to throw in something negative at the end of the story.

Reaping What You Sow Dept.

It smells like a publicity stunt, but you gotta love it:
Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Media Watch 2

Is the media biased? Sometimes, you only have to look at the headline.

Bravo

The New York Jets have never had much to show in the way of tradition beyond some guy known as Broadway Joe. The Jets organization, in a classy move, have re-signed Marvin Jones and Mo Lewis, so that they can retire as Jets. Both veterans had been released after the 2003 season, as the team sought younger players for a defense that was showing its age.

Jones and Lewis are expected to officially retire today. They will be honored at a Jets home game sometime during the upcoming season. More here.

Media Watch

Following yesterday's release of a survey that revealed the public's growing skepticism of the veracity of the media, comes this:
A newspaper investigation of a former columnist for The Sacramento Bee could not verify 43 sources she used in a sampling of 12 years of her work.
Regarding the mainstream media and their tendency towards criticism of the blogosphere: Glass houses. Stones. Don't.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Iraqi Insurgency

The mainstream media and certain members of Congress will have you believe that the insurgents in Iraq are the second coming of the Viet Cong. Today's Opinion Journal takes on the pessimists.
Insurgencies that have prevailed in history--Algeria, China, Cuba--have all had a large base of popular support. That more of the bombers seem to be coming from outside Iraq is cause for worry, since it means there will be a continuing supply of suicide bombers. But it also means that the insurgency is becoming an invasion force against Iraq itself, which means it lacks the native roots to sustain it.
As they say, read it all.

You can also read what Iraqis have to say here.

Today's Satire

Presented by ScrappleFace. It is satire, isn't it?

Near Sweep

How sweet would it be for the Mets to complete a sweep of a three game series at Yankee Stadium? Well, we almost found that out last night. The Mets took a one-run lead into the ninth innning. Braden Looper walked the leadoff hitter, and it was downhill from there.

Looper: "Basically, we had a one-run lead and should have won the game and I didn't get the job done. I stunk." Exactly. A team that is going places doesn't lose games like this. Yes, it's only one game, but over a season, losses like these add up.

A Parade in Jerusalem

A Jerusalem District court judge has overruled a ban on a gay pride parade. The parade, which is to take place in the city streets of Jerusalem, had been banned by the ultra-Orthodox mayor. The ban was supported by the ultra-Orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities, in a rare show of cooperation.

The reason for this post: where else in the Middle East would a judge perform an action like this? Where else is tolerance practiced in the region?

Good News From Iraq

If you rely on the mainstream media for your news, you have a pretty bleak picture of events in Iraq. Arthur Chrenkoff has been providing a valuable service by reporting the stories that you wouldn't otherwise hear, and here is part 30 of his series.

Survey on the Media

A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that while Americans have a generally favorable view of media outlets, it also reveals growing doubts concerning the credibility of the media.

How are the media covering this story? The headlines range from: "Survey on News Media Finds Wide Displeasure", to "Media Well-Received, Not Believed", to "Poll: Most Americans Back Media".

Is this just an example of the spin that is causing the media's credibility problem?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Dressed in Black

Burning Squirrel Report photoblogs an anarchists' march in Palo Alto. (Via Instapundit). Have you mocked an anarchist today?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Karl Rove, Evil Genius?

Here is a good post at JustOneMinute about Karl Rove, with a piece of advice for Democrats:
...whining about partisanship and divisiveness is beside the point; explaining that Martial Dems support smart wars, but not the war in Iraq, is the more promising road.
Instead of circling the wagons, it would be nice to see moderate Democrats see this controversy as an opportunity to move away from the "Michael Moore wing" of the party.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Google This

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has been highly critical of the nature of news sources utilized by Google News. Now, Confederate Yankee discovers that Google News is featuring an article from a known pro-terrorist propaganda website: It's Al-Qaedariffic!

VDH Friday

Whether or not you agree with him, Victor Davis Hanson is an excellent writer, and his new column, "The Politics of American Wars," is out today. A must read.

NY Times Watch, Part 2

In Tampa, alleged jihadists are being tried in an American court, but the NY Times doesn't think this merits extensive coverage. From The Jewish Week:
There have been other remarkable trials this month. The Times ran Michael Jackson’s acquittal in a multi-column banner across the front page, and provided daily coverage to the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, the former Klansman convicted of manslaughter in the deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi 41 years ago.

Clearly the Mississippi trial warranted that coverage, but one can make the case that Islamic Jihad is to the 21st century what the Klan was to the 20th and that the trial of Al-Arian is every bit analogous to Killen’s.

The Times, however, after three stories covering the opening of the Al-Arian trial has decided to take it off the daily beat.

NY Times Watch, Part 1

Yesterday's NY Times contained a piece of fluff op-ed. Does this belong in the "paper of record?" (Well, not if they don't have an agenda). Today, I discovered an early draft. I think I like it better than the final version.

The Kelo Decision

This is the hot topic of the moment, and it doesn't even involve a young, attractive white woman. Professor Bainbridge speaks out at Tech Central Station, and he reveals that his family lost land through eminent domain so that I could receive a college education. There's also much more at The Truth Laid Bear.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Left

Once upon a time, I saw the Left as a place for idealists who wanted a peaceful, tolerant world. I think that many of those people, and those who believed as I did, became more pragmatic with time. Some moved closer to the center, and others, to the right. Is much of the liberal left of yesterday the libertarian center-right of today? Many of the remnants of the far left are not for anything, they are anti-: anti-capitalist, anti-American, anti-Israel. Of course, this puts them in league with fascists, who would deny the freedom that the left should embrace.

USNews.com reports on where Eurolefties are sending money.

The Supremes

In a blow to private property rights, the Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that people's homes and businesses may be seized for private, profit-making development. The Court argues that this constitutes "public use."

I guess that if you're growing medical marijuana, the government can confiscate it, and your land, too.

Update: Eugene Volokh has thoughts on the ruling, and there is an interesting discussion in the comments to his post. My fear echoes one of the commenters: What is to prevent a business from lobbying the government to seize private land for the use of the business if the government can merely justify its action by claiming that it results in a public benefit?

Ironic Headline of the Day

From the print edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Palestinian Gunmen Disrupt Peace Lecture."

Okay, considering who they're talking about, maybe it's not so ironic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

On Saddam

The mainstream media has been reporting on Saddam Hussein's life in custody. Does this tyrant deserve any sympathy?
Saddam is evil personified: a thug, a mass murderer, a rapist, a torturer. He is not a poor old man stuck in isolation, nor does he deserve any sympathy for his current condition. We must never forget what this man and others of his ilk have done to humanity, unless we wish it to happen again and again.
And how could anybody not like Froot Loops?

Burn, Baby, Burn

I guess when I wasn't paying attention, Congress fixed Social Security, balanced the budget, and tackled many other critical issues. They must have, since the House had the time to approve a flag-burning amendment. From Michael Totten:
You know what, guys? A vote on an anti-flag-burning amendment is not a poll asking whether or not you approve of people who burn the American flag. Some of us use it as a test to gauge how much respect and understanding you have for the First Amendment – not to mention the Constitution. Conservatives like to point out – correctly, I might add – that the U.S. Constitution is great in part because it limits the power of the state rather than the freedom of the people who live in this country. Is it really too much to ask that we keep it that way?

All Politics is Genetic?

The NY Times reports on a study that looked at the nature vs. nurture argument in terms of political orientation. The study concluded that political views may be partly influenced by genetics, although party affiliation tends to be more closely related to upbringing and life experience.

Ken Schram, a commentator from Seattle, has this to say:
I've long wondered how an otherwise seemingly rational person could adhere so strictly to stilted ideologies; how they could be so consistently willing to smother a sense of social well-being. It's merely a matter of having been dumped in the shallow end of the gene pool.
Mr. Schram is talking about political conservatives, in a column that would not be out of place in The Onion. This explains those poor conservatives who are not as enlightened as Mr. Schram. Of course; it's a genetic defect. What should we do with them? Maybe we can do more research, and find the gene that shapes politcal views. From there, we can discover a therapy to cure this conservative disease, so we can live in a more perfect world. In the meantime, how do we handle those genetic freaks who are already here? Hmmm...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

On Criticizing Mistakes

From Norman Geras:
I have never seen, in all the voluminous discussion since the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein's rule, anything from the anti-war camp (perhaps I just haven't read widely enough) that made a distinction between mistakes and avoidable mistakes, or mistakes and culpable mistakes. Plainly what happened at Abu Ghraib was culpable and was worse than a mistake. But on the sundry other matters, unless you have a distinction between avoidable and culpable mistakes and other kinds of mistake, including for example mistakes understandable in the circumstances, unless you allow that some of the mistakes may have been due to the scope and nature of the undertaking itself, it suggests one of two things: either that the undertaking could have been carried out altogether smoothly and unproblematically; or that the criticism of mistakes is motivated more by an impulse to oppose than by a desire for the undertaking to succeed.

This is a Cease Fire?

Meryl Yourish has a round-up of the latest in Israel. Today's print version of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the story of the female would-be suicide bomber who was apprehended by the IDF before she could carry out her mission. The brief item fails to mention that the intended target was a hospital.

"There's a six a.m., too?"

My brother once said that to me, and neither one of us would ever be described as a morning person. We both managed to do well in high school, despite staying up late and never eating breakfast. If kids who eat breakfast do better in school, is it due to the nutritional boost, or is there something else to it?

Quote of the Day

"I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisors to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad."

Ed Driscoll identifies the speaker.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Take Back the Memorial Rally

The Nautical File was there, and so was Jeff Jarvis. There's more information, and a petition here.

In My Rearview Mirror

The American Thinker looks at the sad direction in which the Democratic Party is heading: The Democrats sign up with the anti-Semites.

In the Center

When I was a Democrat, and especially during the Reagan era, I came to be very wary of the far right. Over the past few years, I've become equally wary of the far left. What these opposite ends of the political spectrum don't realize is how similar they can be at times. Michael Totten sees the irony here.

What's It All About?

Welcome. As a regular reader of a number of blogs, I've decided to attempt to write one. I will probably write some original material, although I plan on having an emphasis on providing links to things that I find interesting, important, or just funny. My focus will be on current events and politics, although I'd like to throw in some sports as well. I also have an interest in media bias.

I was born at the end of the baby boom, and I'm sure that my perspectives have been shaped by the times that I have experienced. I was a Democrat until a few years ago, and I now consider myself to be an Independent. If I fit into a category, it's most likely "Eagle, " which I've seen mentioned most often by Andrew Sullivan. He describes an Eagle as someone who is socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and strong on defense. Many Eagles are former Liberals who had their world views changed by 9/11. I was already heading in that direction, and the attacks against this nation merely helped to push me along.

I had lived in New York until I relocated to Virginia in 1997. I am enjoying life at a slower speed than is possible in NY, although I would prefer if I did not have to resort to making my own bagels.

The look of my blog may change over time as I become more comfortable with the format, and discover what I can do with it. For now, please excuse the lack of polish.