Saturday, March 31, 2007

But did anyone riot?

Or did anyone die for this piece of crap?

Chocolate Jesus Melts in the Blast of Public Opposition!

What is it about art that has to challenge the sacred and in such as declasse manner?
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Manhattan art gallery canceled on Friday its Easter-season exhibit of a life-size chocolate sculpture depicting a naked Jesus, after an outcry by Roman Catholics.

The sculpture "My Sweet Lord" by Cosimo Cavallaro was to have been exhibited for two hours each day next week in a street-level window of the Roger Smith Lab Gallery in Midtown Manhattan.

The display had been scheduled to open on Monday, days ahead of Good Friday when Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus. But protests including a call to boycott the affiliated Roger Smith Hotel forced the gallery to scrap the showing.
Public opinion is a fickle thing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

For the madmen among us

Foucault tried to undo the Enlightenment with postmodern crap. He was always a fraud and an overblown intellectual too easily accepted by American academia. Here's a stinging review of the Frenchman's "HISTORY OF MADNESS."

The back cover of History of Madness contains a series of hyperbolic hymns of praise to its virtues. Paul Rabinow calls the book “one of the major works of the twentieth century”; Ronnie Laing hails it as “intellectually rigorous”; and Nikolas Rose rejoices that “Now, at last, English-speaking readers can have access to the depth of scholarship that underpins Foucault’s analysis”. Indeed they can, and one hopes that they will read the text attentively and intelligently, and will learn some salutary lessons. One of those lessons might be amusing, if it had no effect on people’s lives: the ease with which history can be distorted, facts ignored, the claims of human reason disparaged and dismissed, by someone sufficiently cynical and shameless, and willing to trust in the ignorance and the credulity of his customers.
Touche.

Here's one of many of Camille Paglia's darts at the no-so-great late Foucault.

I base the rhetoric of my anti-Foucault campaign on Cicero's speeches in the Roman Senate against the slick operator and conspirator Catiline ("How long, O Catiline, will you continue to abuse our patience?"). Greek and Roman political history -- about which Foucault knew embarrassingly little -- remains my constant guide.
Now which scholar would you trust? An fiesty Italian American lesbian iconoclast and pedogogical conservative or a bumbling French blowhard? I go with the one smart enough to quote my forebear, Cicero.

Blinder-sided! The Free Trade Debate Heats Up!

Economist Alan Blinder made the front page of the Wall Street Journal today. His comments on the pains rather than the gains from free trade are likely to cause a stir in economics. Blinder is reconsidering his pro-free trade stance which to economists is akin to Richard Dawkins believing in God.

Former student Greg Mankiw, a very bright Harvard economist and former Bush advisor, is not taking this sitting down. He's rooting for the Jedi; I guess that means team: the free traders.
I love Alan Blinder, both as a person and as an economist. I took courses from him as an undergraduate at Princeton, wrote my undergraduate thesis under his supervision, coauthored one of my first published articles with him, and have been friends with him for more than a quarter of a century. I am therefore surprised to see him lured by the dark side of the force.
The WSJ article is here.

A cutting comment from Professor Mankiw's blog is here:

Blinder's conversion seems to be driven by extremely weak evidence. E.g., on his visit to the Davos summit (his first mistake) he heard how excited businessmen were re the propects of savings from outsourcing; anecdotes from Tom Friedman's book; a dinner where a financial exec told him how good the quality of financial analysis done by overseas analysts, etc.

I mean, the man took a life of rigorous empirical research and replaced it with Lou Dobbs like horror stories as the driving force for policies that would be truly destructive (tax breaks for firms that only hire US workers (destroy the WTO framework), a school system that trains kids to participate in jobs that can't go overseas (whatever that means).

His solutions, in short, range from the banal (better education and training) to the bizarre.

My guess is that he knows his message of alarmism is popular among those who run Congress and may soon run the White House, and he's becoming their favorite economist.
More from Tyler Cowan at Marginal Revolution.

Flashback to the glimpse of the Clinton attack machine

The 1992 campaign reminds us that the Clintons are more than willing to throw the first stone. Their smear job on Paul Tsongas (St. Paul) as the insiders contemptuously derided him was key to Clinton's capture of the Democratic nomination. John Edwards better look out. Compassion has its limits.

The purity of Tsongas’ message was heightened by the contrast between his personality and that of Mr. Clinton, the smooth-talking Southerner who bounced from one scandal to the next, all the while promising sweeping middle-class tax cuts as some pain-free, focus-group-friendly cure-all for the nation’s economic woes. Tsongas, a Peace Corps veteran who never outgrew Lowell, Mass., the hard-luck mill town of his birth, exuded dignity and humility, favoring a low-key public style that was heavy on self-deprecation and hard policy truths. Some asked where his middle-class tax-cut plan was, and he simply replied, “I’m not Santa Claus.” Voters, at least initially, loved it.

Similarly, there is reason to believe that Mr. Edwards—now firmly ensconced in the top tier of Democratic contenders but chasing, as Tsongas did, a candidate named Clinton—will find his position enhanced, at least in the short run.

Mr. Edwards, who this week explicitly rejected the idea of seeking votes based on compassion, is in many ways Tsongas’ ideological and stylistic opposite. But his wife’s diagnosis figures similarly to elevate his moral standing, and to reinforce the idea of his ’08 bid as more of a cause than a candidacy. There is now a new authenticity—and urgency—to his provocative rhetoric on the Iraq War, poverty, and economic and social justice. As Mrs. Edwards told The New York Times this weekend: “My feeling is, if we gave up what we have committed to as our life’s work, wouldn’t I be getting ready to die? That’s what I’d be doing. This cause is not just John’s cause, it’s my cause.”

And just as his rivals were at first hesitant to attack Tsongas—“St. Paul,” some rival campaigns privately sneered—Mr. Edwards’ foes will likely hold their fire for some time, not wanting to chance a public backlash.

But, as Tsongas learned and as Mr. Edwards almost certainly will, there is a limit to that sort of patience.

Indeed, Hillary Clinton was among the most persistent voices in February 1992 urging her husband to go after the ascendant former Senator. And Mr. Clinton did—in a lavish, ugly and utterly dishonest series of public attacks and negative ads that absurdly portrayed Tsongas, who still resided on Mansur Street in Lowell, as a tool of Wall Street interests and a foe of Social Security, Medicare and Israel.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The wailing of a pusbag

Where do some people find the time to come up with vile stuff like this?
CNN has decided this week to be the Cancer News Network. Just as it was wrapping up its wall-to-wall coverage of Elizabeth Edwards and the return of her cancer, the ethics of staying in the campaign and then every pundit in the free world weighing in on the issue they have now moved on to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and the return of his cancer.

I admit my bias shows with these stories. I hear about Tony Snow and say to myself, well, stand up every day, lie to the American people at the behest of your dictator-esque boss and well, how could a cancer NOT grow in you. Work for Fox News, spinning the truth in to a billion knots and how can your gut not rot? I know, it's terrible. I admit it. I don't wish anyone harm, even Tony Snow. And I do hope he recovers or at least does what he feels is best and surrounds himself with friends and family for his journey. But in the back of my head there's Justin Timberlake's "What goes around, goes around, comes around, comes all the way back around, ya.."

So how do I explain Elizabeth? See, there's my bias. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And no, I am NOT going to weigh in on their family decisions in regards to his campaign. My late husband, Andrew Howard, had AIDS. Neither he, nor I, sat around each day doting on his illness. When things got bad, we dealt, and then got back to life. We lived, we worked, did major market radio, all while he had AIDS. Working through these things, keeping life as normal as possible, is often the best path. I know from experience. And yes, he died. Not of AIDS, of malpractice, but I was on radio seven days later, on TV eight days later and haven't stopped since. You go on. John Edwards will. And hopefully, so will Elizabeth.

Now, I've been brutally honest above, and may have offended some, and for that I'm sorry. Again, I don't want Tony Snow to suffer and die of cancer. But like many this morning, I had the thought. Cancer is an insidious bastard, starting small, growing, turning your body against itself.
This is from one Charles Karel Bouley one moral midget. His lover dies of AIDS so I guess he's justified in making moral judgments of the kind he wouldn't want people to make of his "ilk."

No class whatsoever.

More required reading

Theodore Dalrymple reviews Mark Steyn.
With Steyn's analysis of the decline of cultural confidence in the West, particularly in Europe, I am in agreement. The welfare state has sapped all will to what is often mocked as la gloire; but without a notion of glory, without a notion that there is something in human life more worth striving for than universal central heating and television, no great thing is ever achieved. That is one of the reasons why the public architecture in Europe is now so awful: once you have lost the habits of taste, taste itself disappears even when money is available for its exercise.

This is a very urgent book, but I am unsure whether I want to be around to see whether Steyn's pessimism is entirely justified.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Women in war

This evening's edition of Radio Open Source introduces us to role model, Captain Toby Johnson, Apache pilot.

This vital hour of radio programming featured an open-minded discussion about women in combat -- or near combat roles in Iraq. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what women had to say about the professionalism of the men serving alongside them.

The world is moving fast

Slip sledding away. My first video blog entry.


The Barack Boomlet is over

For the starry-eyed idealists supporting Barack Obama, the end is near. The nomination is Hillary's for the taking. Zogby's latest seems to bear that out.
Clinton holds a double–digit 32% to 22% lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, with former senator John Edwards a distant third in a national test of Democratic likely voters. The survey was the first national poll to be fielded following Friday’s announcement by Edwards that he would continue his campaign despite a new cancer diagnosis facing his wife, Elizabeth. Twenty–four percent of Democrats said they were as yet undecided.
Let's drop all the pretenses about the future as long as we are so out in front of ourselves with the movement for earlier primaries. What the MediaCrat party (before it tears apart the Republican nominee by midsummer 2008) wants is a Rudi-Hillary DeathMatch.

Obama should have never been taken seriously as a contender compared to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her machine. Besides the Clinton Act still reaps dividends in Hollywood.

Where was daddy?

I'm no Deval fan, but he walks away with my respect after this profile of his father by Sally Jacobs. Like them or not, Deval's traits were developed by the absence of his father, an eclectic musician. Deval's journey to the Corner Office is clearly motivated by that asbence and how the governor dealt with a broken family speaks volumes to character.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sean Penn, the yelling man without a plan

Sean Penn talks a good game but he hasn't the slightest idea of how to "get out of Iraq."

Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn was the star attraction at a town hall meeting today in Oakland, where hundreds of people gathered to denounce the war in Iraq and call for an immediate withdrawal of American troops.

Neither Penn nor Rep. Barbara Lee, the Oakland Democrat who has opposed the war since before it began four years ago, offered much in the way of specifics for ending the conflict, and they were largely preaching to the choir. The enthusiastic and occasionally boisterous crowd of 800 or so crammed into the Grand Lake Theatre wildly cheered as Penn excoriated President Bush.

"You and your smarmy pundits -- and the smarmy pundits you have in your pocket -- can take your war and shove it," Penn said. "Let's unite not only in stopping this war, but in holding this administration accountable."

The town hall meeting came six days after peace marches were held nationwide to mark the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and one day after the House of Representatives voted 218-212 to withdraw combat troops by Sept. 1, 2008.

Penn reiterated a point often made by opponents of the war when he said he supports the troops but opposes the war.

"Let's make this crystal clear: We do support our troops, but not the exploitation of them and their families," he said. "The money that's spent on this war would be better spent on building levees in New Orleans and health care in Africa and care for our veterans. Iraq is not our toilet. It's a country of human beings whose lives that were once oppressed by Saddam are now in Dante's Inferno."

Remember what they said about Reagan?

The liberal media is recalling the easier times of Ronald Reagan who, in their distrust of Bush 43, is spinning in his grave at Republican aimlessness. The fact is that TIME's tearful Reagan was reviled by the press if not appropriated as a likeable idiot. They even thought the Carter years would go down stupendeously compared the reign of the Gipper. They were wrong then; they're probably wrong now.

Noemie Emery offers a useful flashback of the way they (the press) were in the 1980s.

Indeed, Will they recall a newfounded wisdom in George W. 15 years from now?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dead on diatribe

"In Israel, as in the rest of the free world, we are witnessing the death by a thousand cuts of free thought."

It is clear that George Soros is part of the problem, intellectually and politically.

One of the central players in this concerted attack has been the billionaire George Soros. Soros is an anti-Zionist Jew with a troubling past. Specifically, by his own admission in interviews with 60 Minutes in 1998 and PBS in 1993, Soros collaborated with the Nazis in seizing Jewish property in Budapest in 1944.

Author Serge Trifkovic, who is currently researching a biography of Soros, tells of a Holocaust survivor in Hungary who claims that the reason Soros was allowed to remain free was "the boy's special knowledge of the Jewish community and its attempts to protect its property from confiscation."

Since 2003, Soros has donated more than $100 million to radical left-wing groups and to the political campaigns of far-left anti-war Democratic candidates in the US. His money has made him one of the most influential forces in the Democratic Party.

After Hamas won the Palestinian election last
January, Soros turned his guns against Israel. Last October he announced his intention to work with left-wing American Jewish groups such as Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, American Friends of Peace Now and the Israel Policy Forum to form an effectively anti-Israel lobbying group that will compete with the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Soros accuses AIPAC of making common cause with the war hawks and so harming US and Israeli national security.

This week Soros laid out his anti-Israel views in the New York Review of Books. In a longwinded screed entitled, "On Israel, America and AIPAC," Soros presents an incoherent hodgepodge of sloppy logic and contradictory statements. On the one hand, he acknowledges that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza radicalized the Palestinians and brought Hamas to power. On the other hand, he insists that further Israeli withdrawals will cause the Palestinians to moderate. While he acknowledges that Hamas is a terror group, he insists that the US must recognize it and force Israel to recognize it and that AIPAC is responsible for neither recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political force in the region.

Soros claims to want peace for Israel. Yet he demands that the US and Israel embrace the Saudi plan which calls for Israel's effective destruction through a forced Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria and the Golan Heights and the demographic destruction of the Jewish state through unimpeded immigration of 4-5 million foreign-born Arabs.

In effect, Soros's arguments make clear that protestations aside, the advancement of human rights and peace cannot possibly be his true goals. Rather, what seems to interest him most is the erosion of the US-Israel alliance. A US abandonment of Israel is seen as a necessary component of an overall strategy for causing the US to cease its fight against the global jihad.
Read the whole article.

If you don't succeed, try, try and try again.

Ben LeGuer is an intellectual, a cause celebre among the literati in Boston and Cambridge. LeGuer's most famous patron is Governor Deval Patrick who intervened on his behalf before campaigning for high office. Of course Patrick was not alone, the likes of John Silber, Noam Chomsky and Elie Weisel have told us LeGuer did not receive a fair trial. They believe he is innocent and moreover his claim that he didn't receive a fair trial. Yet again another legal setback. . This week, the Supreme Judicial Court knocked down another appeal by Slick Ben. What will the intellectuals do now?

Ben LeGuer, rapist, shouldn't be composing letters that are termed eloquent and convincing. He should be in prison out of sight and out of the public mind rather than the beneficiary of liberal sentiments labored generously on criminals.

BOSTON --A convicted rapist whose support from Gov. Deval Patrick became an election flash point last fall lost his eighth bid for a new trial Friday.

The state Supreme Judicial Court rejected Benjamin LaGuer's claim that a state police fingerprint report that was not disclosed to the defense could have helped prove his innocence. The court said the fingerprint evidence would have had no bearing on the outcome.

LaGuer was sentenced to life in prison in 1984 after being convicted in the aggravated rape of a 59-year-old neighbor. She identified him at the trial, and DNA tests in 2002 linked him to the crime scene.

Before the DNA tests, LaGuer's claims of innocence and repeated efforts to win a new trial attracted many supporters, including former Boston University President John Silber and historian Elie Wiesel.

Patrick, before he became governor, corresponded with LaGuer in the 1990s and wrote letters to the parole board in 1998 and 2000, supporting his early release.

During the gubernatorial campaign last year, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey used the LaGuer case in TV ads depicting Patrick, a former prosecutor, as soft on crime. She attacked him for his parole board pleas on LaGuer's behalf, running a frightening ad of a woman being stalked that ended: "Deval Patrick, he should be ashamed -- not governor."

Patrick won with 56 percent of the vote.

Patrick has said he believed when he wrote the letters that there were credible allegations of racism among the jurors. He says he now believes LaGuer is guilty, based on the DNA evidence, which Patrick helped pay for.

"The governor's perspective is that justice has been served," Patrick spokesman Kyle Sullivan said Friday.
It is a travesty that LeGuer gets so many bites at the apple. Even the governor has decided to move on.

Will the gliterati now defend this monster?

Friday, March 23, 2007

What could have been...for all of Iraq

That the Kurds deserve their own nation goes without saying. Their success is an underreported story. Thankfully Christopher Hitchens is on the case.

In Kurdistan, to take a few salient examples, there is a memorial of gratitude being built for fallen American soldiers. "We are planning," said the region's prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, in his smart new office in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, "to invite their relatives to the unveiling." Speaking of unveiling, you see women with headscarfs on the streets and in offices (and on the judicial bench and in Parliament, which reserves a quarter of the seats for women by law), but you never see a face or body enveloped in a burka. The majority of Kurds are Sunni, and the minority are Shiite, with large groups belonging to other sects and confessions, but there is no intercommunal mayhem. Liquor stores and bars are easy to find, sometimes operated by members of the large and unmolested Christian community. On the university campuses, you may easily meet Arab Iraqis who have gladly fled Baghdad and Basra for this safe haven. I know of more than one intrepid Western reporter who has done the same. The approaches from the south are patrolled by very effective and battle-hardened Kurdish militiamen, who still carry the proud title of their guerrilla days: the peshmerga, or, translated from the Kurdish language, "those who face death." These men have a very brusque way with al-Qaeda and its local supporters, and have not just kept them at a distance but subjected them to very hot pursuit. (It was Kurdish intelligence that first exposed the direct link between the psychopathic Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden.) Of the few divisions of the Iraqi Army that are considered even remotely reliable, the bulk are made up of tough Kurdish volunteers.

Pause over that latter point for a second. Within recent memory, the Kurdish population of Iraq was being subjected to genocidal cleansing. Given the chance to leave the failed state altogether, why would they not take it? Yet today, the president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, is a Kurd: a former guerrilla leader so genial and humane that he personally opposed the execution of Saddam Hussein. Of the very few successful or effective ministries in Baghdad, such as the Foreign Ministry, it is usually true that a Kurd, such as Hoshyar Zebari, is at the head of it. The much-respected deputy prime minister (and moving spirit of the American University in Sulaimaniya), Dr. Barham Salih, is a Kurd. He put it to me very movingly when I flew down to Baghdad to talk to him: "We are willing to fight and sacrifice for a democratic Iraq. And we were the ones to suffer the most from the opposite case. If Iraq fails, it will not be our fault."

Liberal left democrats onced believed in self-determination and democracy from the ground up. Today their hatred of Bush and their obnoxiouis self-delusions about Israel are blinding them to the importance of sustaining the independence and democracy the Kurds hold dear.

As for the Turks and their wariness of Kurdish ambition within and without their borders, the hell with them. They have not be a reliable ally despite the president's help in trying to get the largely Muslin nation membership in the European Union.

Interesting quandry for liberals

Another example of "free speech for me but not for thee."

The Gay Left's allies in academia are out to censor free speech in public schools all under the guise of "tolerance." The Dean has no balls to do the right thing.

A Neuqua Valley High senior has gone to federal court seeking the right to wear an anti-gay T-shirt to school next month on the day after a national event in support of gays is scheduled in schools.

Heidi Zamecnik, 17, is asking the court to order her school and Indian Prairie District 204 to allow her to express her anti-gay beliefs on April 19, the day after the 11th annual "Day of Silence'' is scheduled to protest harassment of gays in schools.

According to the Web site www.dayofsilence.org,students and teachers across the country plan to observe the day in silence "to echo'' the silence that gay students face all the time.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of Heidi and an NVHS freshman did not state what written message they planned to wear on T-shirts.

'Day of Silence'
Heidi's father, Carl Zamecnik, declined to comment Wednesday night on behalf of his family, and he referred calls to an attorney.

Because of her family's "sincerely held religious beliefs" against homosexuality, "they wish to share their conviction that true happiness cannot be found through homosexual behavior," the suit says.

During her first two years of high school, the Naperville resident did not outwardly object to the "Day of Silence," in which students wear pro-gay messages on T-shirts. But in her junior year, Heidi wore a T-shirt the day after a "Day of Silence." It read in part, "BE HAPPY, NOT GAY."

That day, April 26, 2006, Dean of Students Bryan Wells told Heidi to remove the shirt or leave because her message offended others, according to the suit. When she refused, her mother was called.
If this were a student performance of the Vagina Monologues under fire you'd hear about it from the American Civil Liberties Union. Where are they?

Liberals blink

The liberals prove that the Democrats don't have the guts to cut off funding which is the end game they really seek. Whatever happened to the courage of their convictions? Didn't they have a mandate to end the Iraq War? Isn't Bush so unpopular? Why do they need to stuff the bill with pork to get wavering centrists?

Liberal opposition to a $124 billion war spending bill broke last night, when leaders of the antiwar Out of Iraq Caucus pledged to Democratic leaders that they will not block the measure, which sets timelines for bringing U.S. troops home.


This sums it the anguish of the far left in America.

To many in the movement against the Iraq war, the liberal opposition to the bill was as maddening as it was mystifying.

"You really have two options here: One is that you can vote for a change of course here and say we're going to find a way out of Iraq, or, two, you can vote against it and hand George Bush a victory," said Jon Soltz, a veteran of the Iraq war and co-founder of VoteVets.org, a group that opposes the war. "It doesn't make sense to me. George Bush got us into the war. They have challenged him on everything. Why would they give him this victory now?" he asked, referring to the liberals.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Time to call the Bush-Lied Crowd by their true name: Liars

The great prevaricators of the Left keep telling us that Bush lied to get us into war. They conveniently overlook the evidence. Debra Saunders of the SF Chronicle sets the record straight.

So let us review the Bush-lied argument that Anderson and other war critics espouse. They say Bush lied about WMD, when, in fact, America's best intelligence presented no doubt about Iraq having chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. And according to the NIE, most intelligence agencies also believed Iraq had been working on nukes for four years.

Here's another point that the Bush-lied misinformation campaign has forgotten. While war critics point to Bush's inclusion of this sentence -- "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" -- in his 2003 State of the Union Address as proof that Bush misled the country into war, Bush uttered those words three months after Congress voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

Bush Lied is the Big Lie. It takes the controversy over one aspect of U.S. intelligence on Iraq's WMD -- the nuclear program question -- to argue that the whole WMD argument was bogus. That is, the president's accusers are guilty of the very sort of dishonest selectivity that they accuse Bush of using.

Now the Bush-lied lie is boomeranging on those Democratic presidential hopefuls -- Sens. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd and former Sen. John Edwards -- who voted in favor of the Iraq war resolution.

By going along with the Bush-lied spin, by refusing to acknowledge that the intelligence community presented strong reasons to vote for war, these Democrats have boxed themselves into a corner. They now have only one rationale for their vote that they can use -- they were duped by the nincompoop Bush -- or one rationale that they cannot use -- they sent U.S. troops to Iraq against their better judgment but out of naked ambition.
How does Ms. Saunders survive in Pelosi-Land anyway?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A victory for free speech on campus

It took some doing to inject some rationality into the feckless administration at San Francisco State University. In the end free speech wins out. For those who believe in "free speech for me but not for thee," this was a welcome setback.

That SFSU even thought of bringing charges is a crime against free thought.

Welcome to the world of politics

Politics definitely suck. And you thought the Democrats would reform Republican largess?

Democratic leaders say the domestic spending in the bill reflects the pent-up demand from lawmakers who last year could not win funding for programs that had bipartisan support such as disaster assistance.

But in a formal veto statement last night, the White House denounced what it called "excessive and extraneous non-emergency spending." With unusually caustic and combative language, the statement dismissed provisions of the bill as "unconscionable," and said it "would place freedom and democracy in Iraq at grave risk" and "embolden our enemies."

As the opposition heats up, the Democrats have had some successes in their furious search for support. Yesterday, MoveOn.org announced that with 85 percent of its members backing the bill, the liberal activist group will begin working for its passage. That could prove to be a major boost for Democratic leaders struggling to keep in line the most liberal wing of the party, which wants to cut off funds for the war by the end of this year.

A few Republicans are at least considering a vote for the bill, including Reps. Wayne T. Gilchrest and Roscoe G. Bartlett of Maryland. Some conservative Democrats who had been expected to vote no on Thursday are wavering.

To get them off the fence and on the bill, Democrats have a key weapon at their disposal: cold, hard cash. The bill contains billions for agriculture and drought relief, children's health care and Gulf Coast hurricane recovery.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Frippertronic? The making of the VISTA splash

The making of the VISTA splash with Robert Fripp at Microsoft's campus captured on video. Extremely interesting if you have an hour to spare. The "creative" environment at Microsoft is on display with Fripp as a guest.

Acknowledging the ubiquity of Microsoft, Fripp calls VISTA impressive, "a quantum leap forward." He infers that the 89% of the world using Windows will be happy to learn that VISTA once again narrows the gap many believe held by MAC OSX.

(By the way, if you choose check out the video, I suggest you download the video to your hard drive rather than viewing it in native, embedded HTML.)

Fripp and the development team's goal was to come up with a pithy and catchy splash no longer than five seconds.

This is what the software giant settled on.

Absolutely essential score keeping

To give a fair and balance report on what's going on in the GWOT.

This table shows the number of dead terrorists, as identified by Allied forces, since January 1, 2006. It is a work in progress as time will be required to located the press releases and code them into the various tables. The source will be cited by a link and it will generally be a United States military one. Because the locals in both nations tend to be excitable, I won’t be relying on them for a count. I believe counts provided by our military will be the most conservative.
Bookmark it.

Is this in the New York Times?

Has the Boston Globe covered this story? The New York Times? The LA Times?

I'll check on this, back to you later.

MOST Iraqis believe life is better for them now than it was under Saddam Hussein, according to a British opinion poll published today.

The survey of more than 5,000 Iraqis found the majority optimistic despite their suffering in sectarian violence since the American-led invasion four years ago this week.

One in four Iraqis has had a family member murdered, says the poll by Opinion Research Business. In Baghdad, the capital, one in four has had a relative kidnapped and one in three said members of their family had fled abroad. But when asked whether they preferred life under Saddam, the dictator who was executed last December, or under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, most replied that things were better for them today.

Only 27% think there is a civil war in Iraq, compared with 61% who do not, according to the survey carried out last month

Random Reference

Sometimes the reviews are more memorable than the albums. Vincent Gallo reviewing King Crimson sticks in my mind.
I bought with my own money, well money I stole, my first Beatle album in 1967. The Beatles were the perfect band for a seven-year-old to get interested in music, rock music. By the way, I never liked hippies, I hate hippies, especially pot smoking hippies. Marijuana and socialism were the evils of the twentieth century.
Read the whole review. It says more about the artist Gallo than the band at hand. And that's not a bad thing.

Why Multiculturalism sucks

I oppose efforts by devout Christian pharmacists who refuse to dispense the so-called Morning After Pill. But I notice the double standard when it comes to faith-based restrictions on the handling of pork by Muslim employees.
Many Muslims believe the pig is an unclean animal and consider it a sin to eat pork. The Qur'an has multiple passages in which Allah instructs believers to avoid eating pig flesh. It is so core to their beliefs that some consider it sinful to sell the meat, because that encourages others to participate in a sinful act.

In the Muslim world, there is even a stronger taboo against pork than alcohol, said Owais Bayunus, an imam at the Abu Khudra Mosque in Columbia Heights. Wearing gloves will not solve the issue, he said. "There is a school of thought within the Muslim community that if you sell pork or alcohol to someone, then you are contributing to the propagation of a sinful activity," he said. "Many Muslims do not want to see non-Muslims involved in a sinful product."

At Target stores, some Muslim cashiers opposed to selling pork had grown accustomed to waving over other employees whenever they came across bacon, ham or other pork products, even pepperoni pizza. In many cases, they simply switched on a little light above their registers and another cashier would rush to their side and swipe the product for them.

The practice seemed to work well for Robla. She said she needed help scanning pork products only "about two or three times a day." In other cases, customers would volunteer to swipe the items themselves.

Occasionally, however, Robla said, people would get annoyed when she told them it was because of her religion. "Some people would say, 'If you won't scan it, then I don't want this thing,' " she said. "I don't understand it. Some people don't even want to wait a few seconds."


This is the end game of multiculturalism, folks. Sharia law is next. Europe and Canada are already bending over backwards. When will Western socialists learn?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Eric Alterman call your office

All along we're told that Zogby's a premier pollsters. Is there any reason to doubt him on this one?

While 97% of Republicans surveyed said the media are liberal, two-thirds of political independents feel the same, but fewer than one in four independents (23%) said they saw a conservative bias. Democrats, while much more likely to perceive a conservative bias than other groups, were not nearly as sure the media was against them as were the Republicans. While Republicans were unified in their perception of a left-wing media, just two-thirds of Democrats were certain the media skewed right – and 17% said the bias favored the left.

Wake up America, one of Michael Moore's minuteman was serious

This fecal piece of matter says he's sorry for killing children.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed to that attack and a chilling string of other terror plots during a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a transcript released Wednesday by the Pentagon.
"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said in a statement read during the session, which was held last Saturday.

The transcripts also refer to a claim by Mohammed that he was tortured by the CIA, although he said he was not under duress at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo when he confessed to his role in the attacks.

In a section of the statement that was blacked out, he confessed to the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, The Associated Press has learned. Pearl was abducted in January 2002 in Pakistan while researching a story on Islamic militancy. Mohammed has long been a suspect in the killing.

Using his own words, the extraordinary transcript connects Mohammed to dozens of the worst terror plots attempted or carried out in the last 15 years—and to others that have not occurred. All told, thousands have died in operations he directed.

His words draw al-Qaida closer to plots of the early 1990s than the group has previously been connected to, including the 1993 World Trade Center truck bombing. Six people with links to global terror networks were convicted in federal court and sentenced to life in prison.

It also makes clear that al-Qaida wanted to down a second trans- Atlantic aircraft during would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid's operation.

Mohammed said he was involved in planning the 2002 bombing of a Kenya beach resort frequented by Israelis and the failed missile attack on an Israeli passenger jet after it took off from Mombasa, Kenya. He also said he was responsible for the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia. In 2002, 202 were killed when two Bali nightclubs were bombed.

Other plots he said he was responsible for included planned attacks against the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Empire State Building and New York Stock Exchange, the Panama Canal and Big Ben and Heathrow Airport in London—none of which happened.

He said he was involved in planning assassination attempts against former Presidents Carter and Clinton, attacks on U.S. nuclear power plants and suspension bridges in New York, the destruction of American and Israeli embassies in Asia and Australia, attacks on American naval vessels and oil tankers around the world, and an attempt to "destroy" an oil company he said was owned by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Sumatra, Indonesia.

He also claimed he shared responsibility for assassination attempts against Pope John Paul II and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

In all, Mohammed said he was responsible for planning 28 attacks and assisting in three others. The comments were included in a 26-page transcript released by the Pentagon, which blacked out some of his remarks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mugabe the fascist, the silence from the left

It's not enough to starve your people with insane agricultural policies and fake land reform. If you're Robert Mugabe you've got to crack a head or two.

Two harrowing days in police custody have left Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai with serious physical injuries but also renewed standing as head of an anti-government movement that is showing more energy than it has in years....

"If they ever wanted to boost Morgan Tsvangirai's popularity, they've done it," said David Coltart, an opposition lawmaker who is not aligned with Tsvangirai, speaking from Helsinki, where he was observing an election. "Whether Morgan intended this or not, this thing has been thrust upon him, and probably emboldened him."

At the gathering Sunday, police shot dead one anti-government activist, rounded up 50 others and beat many of them severely, opposition officials said. Those arrested appeared in court together Tuesday, wearing casts, bandages and bloodied, dirty clothing, and won both access to their attorneys and the right to medical care at a Harare clinic, news reports said....

Monday, March 12, 2007

Viva Patti Smith; The sea of possibilities

I think her album Easter is one of the greatest rock records ever. Others stick with Horses, her debut.

Here she is writing about her induction into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. I probably disagree with a lot of her politics and even some of her aesthetic sensibility (see the near idiotic failure of Radio Ethopia). But undeniably she's always been a sincere innovator bringing raw poetry to rock.

Her modesty in crediting her late husband the legendary Fred Sonic Smith is heartfelt.
My late husband, Fred Sonic Smith, then of Detroit’s MC5, was a part of the brotherhood instrumental in forging a revolution: seeking to save the world with love and the electric guitar. He created aural autonomy yet did not have the constitution to survive all the complexities of existence.

Before he died, in the winter of 1994, he counseled me to continue working. He believed that one day I would be recognized for my efforts and though I protested, he quietly asked me to accept what was bestowed — gracefully — in his name.

Today I will join R.E.M., the Ronettes, Van Halen and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On the eve of this event I asked myself many questions. Should an artist working within the revolutionary landscape of rock accept laurels from an institution? Should laurels be offered? Am I a worthy recipient?

I have wrestled with these questions and my conscience leads me back to Fred and those like him — the maverick souls who may never be afforded such honors. Thus in his name I will accept with gratitude. Fred Sonic Smith was of the people, and I am none but him: one who has loved rock ’n’ roll and crawled from the ranks to the stage, to salute history and plant seeds for the erratic magic landscape of the new guard.

Because its members will be the guardians of our cultural voice. The Internet is their CBGB. Their territory is global. They will dictate how they want to create and disseminate their work. They will, in time, make breathless changes in our political process. They have the technology to unite and create a new party, to be vigilant in their choice of candidates, unfettered by corporate pressure. Their potential power to form and reform is unprecedented.

Does democracy promote economic growth?

The WSJ's ECONOBLOG asks the following:

But what exactly do we know about the relationship between democracy and economic growth? Economies of less-than-democratic nations such as China have surged in recent years. Does a country's brightening economic picture boost the chance democracy may eventually blossom? Or is it the other way around? Are democratic institutions a key component of long-term economic growth? And what's the role of education?
Two very sharp economists, Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ed Glaeser of Harvard University, attempt to answer these questions.

This may be a gated (subscription only).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

It's the gumbit stupid

The people who are complaining about the conditions at Walter Reed are the same people who support turning over everything to government despite lame attempts to blame "privatization."

The partisans who are scoring political points by gnashing their teeth over the outpatient failures at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are missing the point: The government did it.

It is especially aggravating because many of these same partisans want to turn the nation's health care system over to...the government.

Or have they somehow missed the fact that the care of veterans is the responsibility of the government? Do they somehow believe that a single-payer health care system, or universal health care, or whatever else they want to call it will be immune to the kind of bureaucratic insensitivity, apathy and bungling that is integral to government?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"The open society is coming undone"

Viva Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Why don't you hear howls of support for Hirsi Ali from Western leftists? I suspect for most on the American left Islamism has emerged as the counterveiling force (replacing Marxist theology) against "American hegemony." This, I contend, is an exercise in self-hate and ultimately a broadside against the Enlightenment.

And yet contemporary democracies, she says, accommodate the incitement of such behavior: "The multiculturalism theology, like all theologies, is cruel, is wrongheaded, and is unarguable because it is an utter dogmatism. . . . Minorities are exempted from the obligations of the rest of society, so they don't improve. . . . With this theory you limit them, you freeze their culture, you keep them in place."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The worst opening act of any Governor in Massachusetts

"No ordinary leader."

"Together we can."

"Get off that high horse."

"Get engaged."

That was Deval talking last fall. It was all for show. Liberals and their mediacrat allies ascribed to the blank slate that was fresh-face Deval anything they pleased. Thye are now disappointed. (It's becoming more difficult each day for Jim Braude, the ultimate Deval suck-up to have the Governor's baby.)

For those of us on the other side of the isle, the Deval Patrick Show is growing old fast.

At this rate, he could go down as one of the worst governors in modern history. Massachusetts can't afford an amatuer act. Enough with the baby talk.

BOSTON --As a candidate for governor, Deval Patrick took Massachusetts by storm, a one-man political phenomenon who wooed voters with a promise of hope and a call to "check back in."

Now, just eight weeks into his term and beset by a slew of self-inflicted gaffes, Patrick, the state's first black governor, is already pleading with voters "don't give up on me."

The troubles started early and multiplied rapidly.

First, the 50-year-old former chief of the Justice Department's civil rights division under the Clinton administration was criticized for using a state helicopter to zip from one end of the state to the other. Then he found himself defending his decision to upgrade his state car to a $1,166-a.m.onth Cadillac.

Soon came news of pricey new drapes for the governor's office, a $72,000 appointments secretary for his wife and a call to Citigroup on behalf of a struggling lending company on whose board he once served -- a move that prompted a call for an ethics investigation by the Republicans.

Patrick loyalists have portrayed the incidents as the kind of missteps made by someone who has never before held elective office. But they also fear that, taken together, the blunders could hurt the Democrat's populist appeal and erode his authority.

When he took office, "the canvas was blank. What we saw was a first portrait of a governor who was stumbling, rather than a governor moving forward," said Jeffrey Berry, a Tufts University political science professor. "There's a tone-deafness that continues to hamper the governor."

How the Clintons view a military victory

Hillary Clinton thinks the NATO operation in Kosovo was a success. A little skepticism is in order particularly when she favors "smart self-defense."


Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner in national polls for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, has said openly what many Democrats think: Democrats go to war for the right reasons and prosecute war more successfully. Prior to the 2000 presidential election, Senator Clinton cited the American military campaigns in Bosnia and Kosovo as models of foreign engagements that she favored on moral and strategic grounds.

“I am a strong proponent of a national defense that is smart,” she told CNN in August 2004. “What we need to be focused on is which president is more likely to make decisions that will achieve our objectives with putting the least amount of lives at risk,” she said, adding, “You know, we were successful in Kosovo—and we didn’t lose a single American military person.”

That view has been echoed by many other Democrats and some Republicans, too. Praising the Kosovo operations, former president Bill Clinton has even suggested that, under a Democrat administration, more such operations may be on the way.

So, what are these “objectives” that Senator Clinton alluded to? What would future war-fighting look like according to the Clinton doctrine? One has only to look at Kosovo to see the blueprint and the organizing principles behind what could become the long-term future of U.S. foreign policy under the Democrats.


Read the whole article by Sherrie Gossett -- it is rather compelling.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The rise of the Blue Dogs?

The big test will be not the budget but immigration and the social issues. If the Blue Dogs turn right on the social issues.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced scorn from fellow Democrats during a recent closed-door meeting for not moving more aggressively on Iraq, it was conservative Blue Dogs _ her ideological opposites _ who rose to defend her.

The unlikely support reflected an emerging dynamic in the House, where the 43 right-of-center fiscal hawks are increasingly asserting their power, working to moderate the policies and image of a party with a liberal base and leaders to match.

The coalition's name is a play on yellow dog Democrats, an epithet that came into being in the 1920s to describe party loyalists in the South who, it was said, would vote for a yellow dog if it ran on the Democratic ticket. Democrats who said their moderate to conservative views had been "choked blue" by the party's liberal flank started referring to themselves as blue dogs and formed their group after Republicans swept control of the House in 1994.

With Democrats in charge again, the Blue Dogs have played a key role in halting an emerging plan to place strict conditions on war funding. Their revolt helped beat back that proposal, by Pelosi ally John Murtha, D-Pa. Leaders are now considering a watered-down version.

They started the year with a major victory, when Democrats adopted strict "pay-as-you-go" budget rules that Blue Dogs have advocated for years to block measures that would deepen the deficit.

Soon after, their insistence that a catchall spending measure stay within strict budget limits helped Democrats pass the bill along with boosts for veterans, health research and education _ handing the party its only substantive win so far this year.

The group's next major test is likely to come when Democrats look to pass a budget. Many in the party are pushing for tax increases to fund education, health and other priorities.

A good life lived by Ernest Gallo, an American success story

Another Italian-American success story. Only in America!

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Ernest Gallo, who parlayed $5,900 and a wine recipe from a public library into the world's largest winemaking empire, has died at his home in Modesto at the age of 97.

"He passed away peacefully this afternoon surrounded by his family," Susan Hensley, vice president of public relations for E.&J. Gallo Winery, said Tuesday.

Gallo, who would have been 98 on March 18, was born near Modesto, a then-sleepy San Joaquin Valley town about 80 miles east of San Francisco. He and his late brother and business partner, Julio, grew up working in the vineyard owned by their immigrant father who came to America from Italy's famed winemaking region of Piedmont.

They founded the E.&J. Gallo Winery in 1933, at the end of Prohibition, when they were still mourning the murder-suicide deaths of their parents.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Justice Clarence Speaks His Mind!

The Silent One Speaks Up. You can thank Father Brooks for that. Clarence Thomas is loyal to Holy Cross. And he still carries a grudge against the mainstream media

Thank you for meeting with me.

Father Brooks asked me to do it. One of the reasons I don't do media interviews is, in the past, the media often has its own script. One reason these stories are never told is that they are contrary to the script that people play by. The media, unfortunately, have been universally untrustworthy because they have their own notions of what I should think or I should do.

Read the whole interview. It will be a classic.

Obama green behind those ears

Obama is weak on foriegn policy and it shows.

Then the Senator took a step forward by recognizing that previous steps Israel had taken on behalf of peace had been met by acts of violence. When Israel withdrew from Lebanon (it had come to occupy parts of Lebanon to protect itself from attacks from PLO terrorists) it became a base for the Iranian-supported Hezb'allah terror group.

Until now, I don't believe that the Senator has ever made this explicit connection; that acts of peace have often brought more war to Israel.

The positive impact of these remarks was diminished somewhat later in his remarks when he spoke well of Rabin's outreach to Israel's enemies (allowing Arafat to establish a terror empire in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) and Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza (that has since become a launching pad for thousands of rockets fired into Israel). These steps were also taken on the road to peace, yet, they have also led to more terror. I found myself wondering: Were these not worthy of being mentioned as being steps towards peace that were not reciprocated by the Palestinians?

Senator Obama then took a detour to the east. He brought up Iraq. This has long been a strong point of his that has elevated his appeal to Democrats, particularly those on the left wing of the party. He has gained a great deal of traction for being the only Presidential contender to have opposed the war from its start (made easier by the fact that he was not a Senator when the vote was taken to empower the Administration to invade Iraq).

Unfortunately, he took up a large part of his speech with partisan attacks on George W. Bush and his policies in Iraq. AIPAC is a non-partisan group and speechmakers only rarely, if at all, use it as a venue for political point making.

The Senator may well be testing a new tactic for his campaign, one that may well resonate with supporters of Israel: that the Iraq war has endangered Israel by empowering its major foe, Iran (and Iran's allies-Syria and Hezb'allah).

But he failed to mention that Iran's nuclear program has been going on for many years, and that it has been a supporter of Hezb'allah for years as well. All before George Bush became President.

Senator Obama also neglected to mention that Saddam Hussein had attacked Israel in the past with rockets, threatened to incinerate it, and handsomely paid for suicide attacks on Israel. He failed to note that Sunni powers, alarmed by the rise of Iran, welcomed Israel's actions against Hezb'allah, and that overtures have reportedly been made by Saudi Arabia to Israel.

These were astounding developments and should not be cast aside as inconvenient facts.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Therapeutic State Incompetence

Who was the psychologist protecting? What more evidence did he need?

A Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School sophomore who is accused of stabbing a classmate to death in January brought a pocketknife and fake handgun to school on separate occasions last fall and did not face disciplinary action, despite showing the items to a psychologist at the school, the Sudbury police chief said yesterday

Friday, March 02, 2007

Inequality isn't bad for New York City

Ed Glaeser on the benefits of inequality in New York City.

Billionaires are a sign of success. Billionaires living near poor people is an asset.

"We are all day traders now"

Did Matt Drudge tank the market on Tuesday?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More than State

The ever talented Condi Rice knows her sports.

Read the whole interview.