Monday, May 31, 2004

Memorial Day

The Monkette2B and I went to the closest National Cemetary today to honor the servicemen and -women who did so much for so many and asked for so little.

It is a humbling experience. The men and women buried in our National Cemetaries (there are 119 maintained by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the list is available online) gave of themselves more than has ever been asked of me or the vast majority of my generation. True heroes don't seek heroism, but instead perform their duty to the best of their ability with courage, integrity and determination. It is our duty to remember them, and honor them as their service honored this country and the generations that live in freedom that they provided and defended.

Conventional wisdom, and more

The first two months of the 2004 baseball season are history and here's the question, who's right, my dad or the baseball geeks? Back in the day, my pa always used to say "don't bother me until August" about standings. The baseball geeks have routinely noted that about 75% of the teams that have made the playoffs in the six-division era have been within 4 games of first place on June 1.

One thing has not changed. From 1998-2003, the AL East has finished in the same order: Yanks, RedSax, Jays, O's, D-Rays. From 1999-2002, the RedSux had at least a share of first place on June 1; last year, they were 1/2 game out. This year, more of the same: the Yanks and Redstiffs are tied for first going into June 1 games.

So let the race begin. Good signs for the Yankees = an 18-8 May with a 12-6 road record, including 6-3 in the West Coast locales that have usually been a black hole for the Yanks, and now the hitters are starting to stink less (the Yanks were the highest scoring team in the league before the Memorial Day games). Next step, consistent pitching. The Yanks have about 4 weeks to get that together before they face the RedSux again.

Say what?

Reuters has finally lost its sanity.

What relevance does this statement ("the gun [ ] is kept in a small study off the Oval Office where Bush displays memorabilia. It is the same room where former President Bill Clinton had some of his encounters with former intern Monica Lewinsky") have to an article about how Pres. Bush keeps the gun Saddam had on him when US troops captured him in his rat nest?

Should Clinton have kept a bronze impression of Lewinsky's lips in his memorabilia cabinet?

The gun was mounted and presented as a gift by the soldiers to their Commander-in-Chief and the President displays it with other memorabilia. The spin put on this by Time and Reuters seems to be that this is either indicative of Pres. Bush's trophy hunting or is somehow abnormal. Honestly, if FDR or Churchill had put Hitler's head on a pike, I'd have had no problem with that. I'm thinking that the Knesset could have done that with Eichmann after the Mossad nabbed him in Buenos Aires in the early 60s. Talk about the press being out of touch . . .

Memorial Day

This is the day most associated with the beginning of summer, days at the beach, and a nice 3-day weekend after 3-4 straight months of full work-weeks. But it is REALLY the day to reflect upon the sacrifices of our war dead, what they accomplished and the bravery, strength and determination they showed on behalf of themselves, their loved ones and this nation.

Today, there is a loss of perspective regarding war, sacrifice, duty, honor and patriotism. Mark Steyn puts some of this into perspective:

All wars are messy, and many of them seem small and unworthy even at the moment of triumph. The unkempt lice-infested Saddam Hussein yanked from his spider hole last December is not so very different from the Jefferson Davis captured in May 1865 while skulking away in women's clothing, and thereafter depicted by gleeful Northern cartoonists in hoop skirts, petticoats and crinolines.

Conquered and captured, an enemy shrivels, and you question what he ever had that necessitated such a sacrifice. The piercing clarity of war shades into the murky grays of postwar reconstruction. You think Iraq's a quagmire? Lincoln's ''new birth of freedom'' bogged down into a centurylong quagmire of segregation, denial of civil rights, lynchings. Does that mean the Civil War wasn't worth fighting? That, as Al Gore and other excitable types would say, Abe W. Lincoln lied to us?

* * *

But that's the difference between then and now: the loss of proportion. They had victims galore back in 1863, but they weren't a victim culture. They had a lot of crummy decisions and bureaucratic screwups worth re-examining, but they weren't a nation that prioritized retroactive pseudo-legalistic self-flagellating vaudeville over all else. They had hellish setbacks but they didn't lose sight of the forest in order to obsess week after week on one tiny twig of one weedy little tree.

There is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites -- from the deranged former vice president down -- want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.

Read his whole editorial here.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Just remember this . . .

. . . the next time you hear about the depradations in Abu Ghraib. It's the Sudanese government's policy to use the Janjaweed Arab "militia" as its front in its ongoing unofficial war against the black Sudanese animists and Christians. The Sudan is controlled by an Arab and Muslim fundamentalist government. Read about the situation here. At least the British papers cover this.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Growing up with Auntie

A nice op-ed about how the BBC (aka "Auntie" in some British circles) and its cultural outlook on America has shaped British opinion on the US for decades, and why that's dangerous today. From the Daily Telegraph.

Geneva Conventions redux

More on the Geneva Conventions and how they do not apply to Gitmo Bay detainees or al-Qaedans in Iraq. This is from Professor John Yoo, who was the subject of 200 students protesting his publishing a law review article on which this editorial is based. Why? Those students are from UC-Berkeley, bastion of liberal anti-war sentiment and a University whose protest roots have wandered far from the Free Speech protests of the early 1960s. Here is the editorial.

Friday, May 28, 2004

NY cop helps break terrorist ring

Check it out here

Quote du jour 2

Courtesy Lileks' screed, this Google-cached quote from Graham Danton:

A while ago I was asked to visit North Devon to speak about ‘DEMOCRACY AND THE EU’ for 10 minutes. Had I been free to attend I told them one minute would have been ample time. EU Commission: unelected. EU Court of Justice: unelected. EU Court of Auditors: unelected. EU Investment Bank: unelected. EU Economic Committee: unelected. EU Committee of the Regions: unelected. European Bank: unelected. EU Council of Ministers: we have 10 votes out of 87. EU Parliament: we have just 13.9% of the votes. Democracy? My mistake - it took only 26 seconds. Out of those 1189 people we can DE-ELECT just 88 Britons - one Minister and 87 MEPs. Just how many of the other 1101 does the Leader of the Conservative Party think have the “interests and values of the British people” on their agendas?


His screed of the week is too long to post, but its a good one. Go here for fisking of our "allies" and the UN, France, Russia and the EU.

Quote of the day

This is short enough to post in full. It's from the Boston Herald and available here. If you actually like the Redsux, I hear the Herald follows them.

How dare Al Gore disgrace this nation
By Boston Herald editorial staff
Friday, May 28, 2004

He never mentioned Nicholas Berg. Or Daniel Pearl. Or a single person killed in the World Trade Center. Nor did former Vice President Al Gore talk of any soldier by name who has given his life in Iraq. And he has the audacity to condemn the Bush administration for having ``twisted values?''

Gore spent the bulk of a speech before the liberal group Wednesday bemoaning Abu Ghraib and denouncing President Bush's departure from the ``long successful strategy of containment.''

Yes, the very same strategy that, under Gore's leadership, allowed al-Qaeda operatives to plan the horror of Sept. 11 for years, while moving freely within our borders.

Gore even had the audacity to defend the perpetrators of the prison abuse - by name - while denouncing President Bush [related, bio] for ``humiliating'' our nation.

How dare he. How dare a former vice president of the United States go beyond disagreeing with the current president's policies - a right of anyone in this free country - and denounce Bush as ``incompetent.''

How dare Gore say that Americans have an ``innate vulnerability to temptation... to use power to abuse others.'' And that our own ``internal system of checks and balances cannot be relied upon'' to curb such abuse.

And this man - who apparently has so much disdain for the nature of the American people - wanted to be elected to lead it?

It is Gore who has brought dishonor to his party and to his party's nominee. The real disgrace is that this repugnant human being once held the second highest office in this great land.


The Geneva Convention is now a shibboleth for the Left. Its terms and requirements are not examined; its application and exemptions are irrelevant. All that matters to Al Gore, Ramsey Clarke, International ANSWER, the Euro-left is that there is a Geneva Convention that mandates humane treatment. But the Geneva Convention (actually, there are two that may apply right now) does not apply to terrorists, who can be shot on sight, or any other unlawful combatants. Instead, the Bush Administration has gone above and beyond the Convention requirements by granting humane treatment to the Gitmo Bay detainees and by granting the same to Iraqi terrorists. Once such treatment is established, however, humane treatment must be continual, not episodic or terminated -- thus, the Abu Ghraib scandal.

The Wall Street Journal discussed the Conventions earlier this month (the Monk linked to it earlier but saves you the effort of digging through Monk Archives; Monk lives to serve).

Today, Rich Lowry explains and expands on Al Gore and Geneva's requirements, in this piece.

That's what we expected

The Yankees' whomping of the Orioles this week, 11-3, 12-9, 18-5, is more in line with what pundits, fans, enemies, etc. expected from the Yanks this season -- lots of hits. Next step, better pitching, especially that lefty relief. Gabe White is thisclose to being designated for assignment -- his 90 mph belt-high fastballs are the pro ballplayer's equivalent of Tee-ball.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Why bother?

There's no reason for me to perform a Fisking of Al Gore's insane rant from yesterday. Gore jumped the shark when he wrote Earth in the Balance and exalted saving the environment by taking the world into a socialistic green dark ages over the technological and economic development that have done more to help people throughout the world than his neo-Luddite streak ever did (see here at its FAQ for explanation of jumping the shark).

For others, it happened in the 2000 Presidential Campaign (see here) and for still others, it was when he declared that Clinton would be remembered among the best presidents in history.

Ultimately, Andy McCarthy said it best (scroll down to 2:12 pm, 5-26-04):

Even if he believes half of what he says, this has to be one of the basest tirades from a former VP ever. For all his talk about dignity, he has no sense of it -- no sense of how inappropriate it is for someone of his rank to stoop to this sort of thing, no sense that, in caves someplace, bin Laden and Zarqawi are smiling ear-to-ear.

. . . I know they say politics ain't beanbag, but this is really low-brow stuff. It's especially sad for what it says about the Dems: only 20 years ago, a speech like this would have embarrassed them; now, Gore probably gets a prime-time convention slot.

And your must-read of the day is . . .

This WSJ article proving, yet again (just check out some of the work the Weekly Standard has done on this), the ties between Saddam, his minions, al-Qaeda and the WTC bombing.

Line of the day

Courtesy Neal Boortz's site, regarding John Kerry's suggestion that he not accept the Democratic nomination until after the Boston convention, then reversing course:

As a Bush spokesman said, "Only John Kerry could be for the nominating convention, but against the nomination - before he was for the nomination."

Middle East primer

A guide to perception, reality, idiocy and anti-Israel insanity from a Jerusalem Post columnist.

About bloody time

The UK arrested radical rabble-rousing cleric Abu Hamza, imam of the infamous Finnsbury Mosque in northwest London and a supporter of Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizb'Allah and their ilk. He's been living semi-legally in the UK for years, sucking on the government teat and peddling his anti-UK, anti-US, anti-Jew rubbish. Here's a profile and report on his arrest.

Yankees update

They're 45 games into the season, their #1 pitcher has a 5.00 ERA, their leader is hitting barely over .200, Bernie Williams is in the .230 range, Gary Sheffield is on a 15-homer pace, Contreras has an ERA over 7 and who knows how Giambi will be when he's off the DL. Moreover, they've played nearly 1/2 their games against the best division in baseball, the AL West.

The Yanks are 27-18, a 97-win pace. How good will they be if they ever start playing well consistently?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Nice interview

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for this interview between some Canadian dope music critic from Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles (a heavy metal magazine) and the front man of Iced Earth, a metal band. The Iced Earth singer is John Schaffer (no relation to the old Penn State QB). The full interview is available here.

Schaffer's obviously a good interviewee because he listens to the interviewers bias and is not afraid to call him on it. He's being interviewed about Iced Earth's new CD, which is inspired in large part by Schaffer's interest in history.

Excerpt #1:

BW&BK: "This next question is controversial so I'm letting you know before we proceed. Some political analysts have articulated the view that what happened on September 11 was justified due to America's presence in the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia. Some political analysts view it as retaliation for what the US has done in the Middle East in the past. As a Canadian, I'm interested in hearing what you have to say about this view that's been put forth by analysts."

JS: "No, it wasn't justified. Not at all. And anybody who says so needs to have their f[***]in' head examined."

BW&BK: "Do you think 9/11 will be viewed as the first event in the US empire's decline and fall?"

JS: "No. This is not an empire, first of all. If the United States was an empire, your country would be our 51st state."

And where's our friend John coming from? Read the end of this exchange:

BW&BK: "Well, sometimes Americans believe they're very free, when they're sometimes not. There are a lot of authors, especially a guy like Noam Chomsky, who believes a lot of consent in the US is manufactured by politicians and corporations --"

JS: "Talk about one of the f[***]in' ultra leftist spin doctors of the world, Noam Chomsky. You buy into that crap?"

BW&BK: "Well, I read a lot of his stuff."

JS: "But do you believe it all?"

BW&BK: "I have a degree in political science, so I believe some of it."

JS: "Hmm. Yeah. Well. And how old are you?"

BW&BK: "I'm 22."

JS: "22 years old? That's a lot of wisdom there! Come on, man. You know where I live? In the real world. When I was 16 years old I was living in abandoned houses and making my way into a career. Building things up from nothing without any kind of... well... socialist system to help me. That made me a very strong, independent person. I'm an independent thinker. Just because I get certain things shoved down my throat, I don't follow. I lead. Y'know what I'm saying? I look at the facts, and I base my opinions on the facts. Not the political rantings of someone like Noam Chomsky. I've got some of his books in my library. I think they're unbelievably over-the-top, like dangerously so. But that's you've got out there."

Big crime in Big D

The latest FBI report lists Dallas as the most crime-ridden large city in the US. Details are here. Biggest problem, enormous numbers of burglaries. Why? In Texas, car burglary is merely a misdemeanor (see here and scroll to section 30.04) and Dallas is the car burglary capital of Texas.

Another reason: incompetence. The horrible and disgraceful Terrell Bolton FINALLY was sacked last year as police chief. But he never should have been hired in the first place. Hopefully the "proven crime fighter" (see FBI report article above) Kunkle will reverse Dallas' terrible trend.

Just negotiating price

Jessica Cutler is a prostitute. She was a staffer for Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who fired her when he found out she is the author of the Washingtonienne blog -- a diary chronicling her trysts with several Federal officials, who paid her for sex acts.

Her admission is here. An excerpt:

One diary entry described a "married man who pays me for sex" as "chief of staff at one of the gov agencies, appointed by Bush." That man, she claimed, paid her $400 on Tuesday for sex, but she declined to provide his name to The Post, saying, "I'm not trying to ruin his life." (On her blog she identified all the men by initials.)

In the interview, she described the $400 payment as "more like a gift than it was paying for a service" and wouldn't say how much money she has made for sex. "I don't want the IRS banging down my door."

The WaPo article says "She's setting her sights on the book publishing industry: 'They'll totally hire me if I say I got fired from my job on the Hill because of a sex scandal.'" The really sick thing? She's probably right.

A real critical take is here from married and ostensibly moral Michelle Malkin, who did not use her good looks to be published.

Will Jennings carry this?

News from the front: one of Moqtada al-Sadr's top lackeys captured in the latest arse-whipping applied by US forces.

The Closing of the European Mind

Unfortunately, British (and European) conservatives have learned nothing from the lessons of Churchill and Thatcher. Today, British Conservatives are pseudo-aristocratic, statist, pan-European, anti-American and more likely to agree with Michael Moore than George Bush. Details in this interesting article. It's a sign of the conservative apocalypse when the Tory leader in the UK pens an op-ed critical of Tony Blair for the rabidly anti-American fishwrap, The Independent.

Who to trust, pt. 2

Here's the Wall Street Journal analysis of the Chalabi mess. The Journal's insight: "We think Mr. Chalabi is a pawn in a much larger battle that is strategic, ideological and personal." Most disturbing is this observation:

The ideological battle concerns Iraq's future governance. As a secular Shiite, Mr. Chalabi has sought to make an alliance with Grand Ayatollah Sistani and other moderate Shiite leaders. This puts him at odds with Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. special envoy to Iraq, as well as with the neighboring Arab leaders who are wary of control by the Shiite majority.

Jordan's King Abdullah, a longtime Chalabi enemy who is close to Mr. Brahimi, has already called for another Sunni strongman to run Iraq. Mr. Bremer and the Bush Administration have handed control over the June 30 transition to Iraqi sovereignty to Mr. Brahimi, and one of his demands is that Mr. Chalabi be frozen out.

The Bush Administration is doing entirely too much kowtowing to the UN and other Arab states. If it did not have reelection considerations, my hope is that the administration would have less UN and Jordanian input (King Abdullah has previously said that Iraq needs a Saddamesque strong man and Jordan was on the wrong side of Gulf War I). The UN is NOT fundamentally pro-democracy and no Arab or Muslim state other than Turkey has a functioning democratic government. Nonetheless, I think Pres. Bush is STILL trying to appease Arab rulers, Europeans and UN-philes -- a completely hopeless task.

Off the rails

The latest ACLU nuttiness -- change the seal of Los Angeles. See Volokh for link and commentary.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Sports bias

There's media bias in sports journalism, and lots of it. Just watch ESPN or read Sports Illustrated regularly and it becomes pretty obvious. Most recently, the huge attention given to the ruling by Judge Shira Scheindlin that Maurice Clarett could enter the NFL Draft and the NFL eligibility rules violated antitrust. ESPN loved it -- the corporate moneybags getting challenged and defeated by a black kid from a rust-belt town.

Problem was, Scheindlin's ruling lacked both legal grounding and common sense. Thus, the Second Circuit initially stayed her decision and prevented Clarett from entering the draft, then reversed her decision on Monday. The decision is theoretically available on the Second Circuit's website here but I could not pull it up when I tried earlier.

Did the reversal lead the news stories like Scheindlin's decision? No, it barely rated a mention and ESPN did not have wall-to-wall commentary, just this wire service article on its website.

Class act

I knew I liked Tony Clark as a person when he was quoted in the NY Post or Daily News saying that he arrives early for batting and fielding practice because he is a backup and therefore has to work extra hard to ensure that he's ready to play. Today, the Daily News has this profile of Clark, which only reinforces my impressions of the man.

Presidential qualities

Charles Johnson, of Little Green Footballs, says what I, and any semi-honest American, thought about Bush and Kerry and their respective athletic mishaps:

John Kerry made a snarky comment about “training wheels,” after taking a fall himself a couple of weeks ago. George Bush said nothing about Kerry’s fall.

Which reaction seems more presidential to you?

UN rapists

In the Congo, female victims of the civil war living in UN refugee camps can only get food by sleeping with UN troops. This is the organization that we would allow to administer Iraq?

The newest trick

How to enshrine obviously illegal racial preferences -- localities are enacting legislation incorporating the 1965 United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which has this dicey language: "special measures taken for the sole purpose of adequate advancement of certain racial or ethnic groups or individuals requiring such protection as may be necessary in order to ensure such groups or individuals equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms shall not be deemed racial discrimination." This language clearly violates the Fourteenth Amendment, but the Senate enacted the treaty anyway. Now a judge in California has used it to uphold Berkeley's race-based admissions programs for public schools. This is the product of mixing two horribles: race-conscious decisionmaking and the new judiciary's love of UN conventions to subvert US law with which the judges disagree. Read about it here.

[Note: I originally stated that the challenged program was for UC-Berkeley, that statement is corrected above].

disturbing trend

Here's Safire's column on the strategy in Iraq and the competing factions within the US government. Very disturbing. The biggest problem Bush has is that he STILL has not de-Clintonized the State Department or the CIA 3.5 years into his presidency. Thus, his plans and directions are stalled and curtailed by the same bureaucracy that is supposed to effectuate his orders.

Coming attractions

All you ever wanted to know about movie trailers is here. I didn't know that the studios and/or directors did not cut them themselves.

Go Dutchmen

E.L. Doctorow was booed at Hofstra's commencement for peddling a crock of Michael Moore theories in a commencement speech. Peggy Noonan shows why the Hofstra grads are right to protest some self-important ninny using their graduation ceremony to aggrandize himself.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Gonzo goes bonkers again

Hunter S. Thompson is always described as a gonzo journalist. What that essentially means is that he's an acid-dropping hippie-era retread who made his money and fame while under the influence of synthetically enhanced substances. For some unknown reason, ESPN hired him as a "sports" columnist -- probably because the idiots at ESPN are so drunk off their own sense of ESPN as a cultural phenomenon that they believe sports now needs the deranged rantings from a man perpetually suffering LSD flashbacks.

How else do you explain this statement that initially passed muster before Drudge picked up on it:

Hunter S. Thompson's ESPN column was scrubbed of controversy late Monday afternoon when online editors worried the famed gonzo journalist had gone too far.

In a column entitled, "Let's Go to the Olympics," Thompson went off on the Abu Ghraib prison picture scandal, exclaiming: "Not even the foulest atrocities of Adolf Hitler ever shocked me so badly as these [Abu Ghraib] photographs did."

But after being linked to the DRUDGE REPORT, a top editor demanded the sentence be immediately edited --without Thompson's okay, according to an staffer.

Thompson, Susan Sontag, Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Walker, E.L. Doctorow, Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Ted Rall and Robert Scheer (to name but a few) are so far gone that it is amazing that (1) people think the way that they do; (2) they are not publicly derided for their views; (3) they are not viewed as evil. But all these folks are objectively evil, because if you exalt abuse of tens of prisoners as more horrible than the Nazi regime, if you excuse the depradations of Ho Chi Minh (Sontag/Chomsky), Pol Pot (Chomsky), Stalin, Saddam (Pilger, Scheer, Rall, Kingsolver), Osama (Chomsky, Sontag, Kingsolver, Walker, Doctorow) and if you believe that Israel's treatment of Palestinians is equivalent on any scale and in any manner to the treatment of Jews under the Nazi regime, you are objectively evil.

Robbed and jobbed?

The Ballpark in Arlington (now Ameriquest Field) opened in 1994. Going into the 1996 AL Divisional Series, the Yanks were 3-15 at the Ballpark and had never won a series there; thus, the Rangers liked going home tied 1-1 with three games in the Ballpark to decide the series. The Yanks won the next two and everything changed.

From 1997-2003, the Yanks NEVER lost a series at the Ballpark. There were some ties, a couple of Yanks' sweeps and lots of 2-1 Yankees wins. Total tally = Yankees 24 wins (including game 3 of both the '98 and '99 ALDS), Rangers 11; series totals = 7-0-3 for the Yanks. (Thanks to Shrp Sports for the historical info).

This weekend, the Rangers finally won a home series from the Yanks, with more than a little help from the umps, and the Yanks: Rangers 9-7, 4-3 and Yanks won yesterday 8-3. The Yanks helped the Rangers Friday as Sheffield's fielding hiccup in the fourth turned the game around; on Saturday both the Yanks and umps helped the Rangers.

First, blame where blame is due: the Yanks led 3-1 Saturday in the bottom of the eighth. Does Torre go with what's worked all year -- bring in Gordon to start the inning? No. He gets cute, brings in lefty Heredia to get lefty Blalock -- one pitch, one hit. Why go lefty-lefty when this team has relied on its righty relievers ALL YEAR to get ANYONE out, and they have? Dumb move. Torre's at his best when he DOESN'T go by "the book". He went by "the book" here and it cost him.

Next, more blame: Gordon comes in and Soriano hits a grounder to Arod. Arod bobbles, throws, ball beats Sori to first, ump calls Sori safe. This was a clear blown call and it was a missed call in real time, not just slo-mo replay time. Instead of one out, man on second, it's first and second no one out. Umps are also trained to listen for pop/puff (out) or puff/pop (safe) on close plays at first -- the pop is the ball in the firstbaseman's mitt, the puff is the runner's foot on first. Whichever comes first decides the call.

Then, Gordon throws the game away, literally: a comebacker (easy double-play ball) -- he throws it into centerfield, run scores. First and third, no out, 3-2 game.

Next, bloop hit, 3-3. Thereafter, Gordon gets out of it but loses in the ninth on a dinger.

What if no blown call? One out, runner on second. The comebacker is not hurried -- Gordon doesn't need to hustle the DP throw so he just looks the man back to second, tosses to first for out #2. Then the bloop hit makes it 3-2 and Gordon gets out of the inning. Rivera in the ninth and . . . likely Yankees win.

The Yanks are 3-3 halfway through a 12-game roadie, but two blown calls led directly to two Yankees losses. Not good on the umps.

Other quick thoughts: (1) Laynce (silent y) Nix may be the best of the young Rangers -- solid CF who looks fluid in the field and a good hitter; (2) Derek Jeter is clueless at the plate, cannot control the inner half of the plate and swinging under everything; (3) Bernie Williams is the WORST hitter in the league at advancing runners from second or third with none or one out -- yesterday he fouled out after Matsui's leadoff double in the fourth; (4) Javy Vasquez is 4-4, 3.67; why just 4-4 with a low (for the AL) ERA? The Yanks have scored all of 32 runs in his 10 starts.

What liberal media?

This is all over National Review and Instapundit -- a Pew Research Poll shows liberals out number conservatives 5-1 in national media, according to the journalists' own self-categorization. Results: 34% self-describe as liberals, 59% as moderate, 7% as conservative. In 1995, the last time Pew did this poll, there were 22% liberal, 73% moderate, 5% conservative. The full breakdown by national, local, etc. journos is here. The notion that "no one would ever expect this to impact the way news is covered" (stated sarcastically here) is just fanciful.

End result? Michael Barone hits it on the head:

Franklin Roosevelt did that [periodically updating the nation] during World War II with his fireside chats. The news was not always welcome: In one early speech, he explained why we would be driven out of the Philippines. And his address to the nation on D-Day was in a form that would arouse shrieking criticism if it came from Bush today: It was a prayer. But for the most part, Roosevelt did not have to deal with one problem Bush faces today. And that is that today's press works to put the worst possible face on the war.

Friday, May 21, 2004


The Democrats in Congress have no decency. Even isolationist nutter Republicans jumped in line and shut up when FDR led during WWII. Today we get the following:

-- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi disgracing herself in personally attacking President Bush.

-- Senator Ted Kennedy disgracing himself in equating isolated US prisoner abuse with Saddam's death-and-dismemberment factories.

-- Former Senator to be Fritz Hollings disgracing himself with a Nazi article blaming the Iraq war on the Jews in the Administration.

Some sense

From Neal Boortz (link to his cite at right):

Question: How do you think America would have fared in World War II if the media had obsessed over stories of wrongdoing by American troops? Wouldn't the Nazis have loved to have seen coverage in American newspapers detailing civilian deaths in the bombing raids on German industrial and military targets? Couldn't you see the German high command grinning broadly as they read of demonstrations in the United States demanding an end to the bombings? How many more American deaths would it have taken to finish the job if today's media had been covering yesterday's war?

Will Senator Kennedy decry this?

Reports of more Arab prisoners being abused -- Palestinians by the Palestinian Authority. See here for details.

[thanks -- Instapundit].


Here's the question of the day: whom to believe about Ahmed Chalabi.

Chalabi is an Iraqi ex-pat who has always been a democrat, anti-Saddam, secular politician whom the US had touted as an Iraqi nationalist leader for the post-Saddam era. Chalabi led one of two major anti-Saddam factions after Gulf War I and the US basically abandoned him after it abandoned the rest of the Iraqi resistance in 1991. The State Department hates him because (1) it is basically Pan-Arabist in outlook; (2) it is averse to regime change; (3) Chalabi is Iraqicentric and sought to KO Saddam; (4) Chalabi blew the whistle against France's and Russia's weapons and food dealings with Saddam. The UN hates him for the same reason.

The Wall Street Journal and some in the Defense Department have championed Chalabi as an imperfect Iraqi De Gaulle. But last night CBS News reported that US officials said they have "rock solid" evidence that Chalabi passed US secrets to Iranian intelligence. The officials are unidentified and they leaked the information to Leslie Stahl -- a notably anti-war and anti-Bush reporter.

The Wall Street Journal and National Review are apoplectic (click the links to the right). The question is who is right. The Journal correctly notes that US State Dept. officials have hidden behind secrecy to deride Chalabi for years. More worrisome is the failure of the US to root out Iranian and Jordanian (King Abdullah wants another strongman in Iraq) influence in Iraq and the US's deference to Sunni pan-Arabist stooge Lakhdar Brahimi.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Mind vitamin

The history of the hijab, the headscarf Muslim women are allegedly required to wear. It seems that the myth of the hijab as much of a modern concept as the faux holiday Kwanzaa. Details here from Amir Taheri, who knows more about this than the administrators, lawmakers and social scientists in the West.

Honor among liars?

Check out who's promoting Michael Moore's latest lunacyonfilm, Fahrenheit 9/11:

Parachuting into France for the documentary's Cannes Film Festival launch, a Miramax rep told us, were Howard Wolfson, ex-campaign press secretary for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Michael Feldman, a top adviser on Al Gore's 2000 presidential race. (Feldman founded the Glover Park Group, a D.C. communications outfit, with ex-Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart.) Also providing PR expertise on the anti-Bush movie: former Clinton White House advisers Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane.

D'ya think Miramax has an agenda?

Journalistic ethics

I'm not a big Ann Coulter fan but sometimes she's just dead-on. This is one of those times -- her column on the LA Times and its "ethics."

Good article alert

Ron Bailey is one of the best environmental writers out there (yes, better than Gregg Easterbrook). Today (Thursday) he has a piece online at Opinion Journal (link at right). Check it out, he's usually spot on.

Righty John?

Tommy John is famous for two things, the elbow surgery that saved his career and which is now named for him (Tommy John Surgery) and being a soft-toss control-minded groundball pitcher.

Jon Lieber is now 3-1 for the Yankees and has two wins over the Angels. Tonight he induced 14 groundball outs (including the key DP in the fifth) and struck out only two. Lieber is a control, groundball pitcher who sat out last season recovering from Tommy John Surgery. The Yanks signed him to a two-year contract before last season with full knowledge he'd miss all of 2003 because he'd be insurance for 2004. He's been even better than that so far.

Four notes, all bad: Arod is 0-20 with two outs and runners in scoring position; Jeter is 0-17 after an earlier 0-32 streak; Bernie Williams AGAIN honked with a runner on third and less than two out in a key situation; and despite their 4-2 win, the Yanks had only 7 hits and left 14 men on base thanks to 10 BB and their usual weak hitting (the Yanks are dead last in MLB in hitting with runners in scoring position and 2 outs).

But they won and had their third straight GOOD start from the starting pitcher, something that has not happened in three weeks or so.

Absent Monk

The Monk had a busy day at work today and the computer went schizoid on him last night, so I'll try to catch up all at once.

First, read Safire on the detonation of the Sarin shell in Iraq and the press' willful ignorance.

Second, read Mark Steyn on the Abu Ghraib kerfuffle and the attendant feeding frenzy.

Note these points for all you UN-phile multilateralists out there, courtesy Steyn's edit:

In Eritrea, the government recently accused the UN mission of, among other offences, pedophilia. In Cambodia, UN troops fueled an explosion of child prostitutes and AIDS. Amnesty International reports that the UN mission in Kosovo has presided over a massive expansion of the sex trade, with girls as young as 11 being lured from Moldova and Bulgaria to service international peacekeepers.

In Bosnia, where the sex-slave trade barely existed before the UN showed up in 1995, there are now hundreds of brothels with underage girls living as captives. The 2002 Save the Children report on the UN's cover-up of the sex-for-food scandal in West Africa provides grim details of peacekeepers' demanding sexual favors from children as young as four in exchange for biscuits and cake powder. "What is particularly shocking and appalling is that those people who ought to be there protecting the local population have actually become perpetrators," said Steve Crawshaw, the director of Human Rights Watch.

Yeah, the UN would handle Iraq better than the US. Did I tell you that my hobby is selling bridges?

Third, check out Claudia Rosett's latest expose of the UN Oil-for-Saddam-money scam. After that, read chess champ and Russian democrat Garry Kasparov on the fight against terrorists.

After all that, get back to work.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Third generation, still not right

Hunter Wendelstadt is a third-generation major league umpire. His dad is Harvey, his Gramps is Ed, both were major league umps too. So Hunter should know better than to watch a play at the plate from behind the catcher's haunch where the view of the plate and the tag are blocked. Yet Hunter did just that last night -- ruled on a play at the plate when he was blocked from seeing Jorge Posada's foot hit the dish before Jesse Molina's tag (you need to tag with the ball, not some other part of the body) and ruled Posada out. Two innings later, the Angels scored the only official run of the game.

Last night's game was great -- good defensive plays, tough pitching ('tho I cannot understand why the Yanks suddenly can't hit uber-retread Aaron Sele), drama and some dopey mistakes by the Yanks -- but the outcome was skewed by the blown call at the plate. Then again, you have to wonder why Torre let Posada run from second with two outs in the ninth instead of pinch-running the faster Homer Bush . . .

One other note, I like Javier Vazquez. He's tough and seems smart b/c he makes adjustments on hitters. He noted in the NY Post that he has a better feel for a team after he's pitched against them once. Sure enough, he's pitched well in second starts against Boston and Anaheim under difficult conditions (three days' rest, roadie after losing to the Angels at home). If only the Yanks could score in those games . . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Media bias, pt. 2

John O'Sullivan in the Chicago Sun-Times notes four trends in the media: Inferentialism, selective agonizing (Abu Ghraib, not Oil-for-Food that starved Iraqis), useful idiocy (taking Berg's beheaders at their word that his death was retaliation for Abu Ghraib even though his abduction occurred before the photos came to light) and willing gullibility (the BoGlo and Daily Mirror printing fake abuse photos). Here's the crux:

Neither the media's vaunted "skepticism" nor simple fact-checking on the Internet were employed by the papers. The fakes were, in the old Fleet Street joke, "too good to check." As Mark Steyn argued Sunday, the journalists wanted to believe they were real. Indeed, it is worse than that -- since the fraud was discovered and the Mirror editor fired, he has become a heroic figure in British circles hostile to Blair and the war.

Admittedly, reporters and editors make mistakes. But when all the mistakes are on the side of opposing the liberation of Iraq, and none of the mistakes favor the United States or Britain or Bush or Blair, it tells you something.

Namely, which side they're on.

Read it all, here.

hat-tip, instapundit.

More readable goodness

A.M. Rosenthal, a former NY Times writer who strayed from the paper's uniform left-wing (except Safire) view has this to say about his fellow journalists and the Iraq reporting.

Then there is this excellent piece from David Gelertner, a professor who knows more than a little something about terrorists because he was a Unabomber victim. Gelertner really lets the Europeans have it:

The moment we saw those pictures we knew (every last American knew) that the punch in the gut is on the way. People who never cared a damn what Saddam did to his prisoners would be choking back tears of outrage. Americans hold themselves to a higher moral standard, of course. But most Americans suspected that the world's reaction had as much to do with America Hatred as it did with moral standards. We knew that people would forget what we have achieved in Iraq, and what it has cost us in arms and legs and eyes and blood. We knew our enemies would light into America and do their best to turn the world against us and against our troops--whom we had seen risking their lives to liberate Iraq and make it safe--not to mention the
civilians who hazarded life and limb to get clean water flowing, oil pumping, power on, schools open, streets policed, the economy inching forward, and democracy coming steadily closer. We could all anticipate headlines like the one that appeared in the May 8 Irish Times: "The shaming of America. George Bush's boast of shutting down Saddam Hussein's torture chambers in Iraq rings hollow now." We knew our enemies would use those photos to smear our whole Army, our whole Iraq campaign, our whole nation. Much of the world (after all) operates on America Hate the way a car runs on gas or a tick on blood.

"The shaming of America. George Bush's boast of shutting down Saddam Hussein's torture chambers in Iraq rings hollow now." The hell it does. Anyone who equates Saddam's bloody decades of torture and mass murder to the crimes at Abu Ghraib is the same kind of fool who once preached the moral equivalence of America and Soviet Russia, or of America in Vietnam and Hitlerism. Imbecility is eternal, perpetually reincarnated.

(emphases in original).

Gelertner also wisely counsels all Americans to do the one thing that has NOT been an immediate response to the Europeans and Arabs (and idiotic Time magazine covers)condemning us for Abu Ghraib:

We need to hear from America's political leaders, loud and clear: "Yes, we abominate the Abu Ghraib crimes but will not accept your forgetting what America has paid to liberate Iraq, will not allow foreign nations to slander the United States, will not permit you to forget what we and the British have accomplished: a world without Saddam Hussein; a vastly safer, profoundly better world. And no one will be allowed to dishonor American soldiers and this nation by telling us 'you're just as bad as Saddam'; that lie will never go unchallenged."

Going going Gandhi

After all the rubbish about the Sonia Gandhi victory on Fox News yesterday, it seems she has declined to accept the spoils. Gandhi said she would not accept the post of Prime Minister, which means the most likely candidate to be the PM is Mahmotan Singh -- the man who helped restructure and modernize the Indian economy.

Why did she decline? First, the Hindu nationalists are up in arms about the possibility of a foreign-born India PM. Second, her kids reportedly asked her not to be PM because they feared for her life -- and this has some history because Gandhi's husband Rajiv was the PM in 1991 and was killed by a suicide bomber who stood near him while he gave a speech and his mother (Sonia's mother in law) PM Indira Gandhi was shot dead by her bodyguards in 1984.

Here's another reason: she would not have been able to govern. Sonia Gandhi is foreign born and dependent upon the Communists for support in India's Parliament but the emerging commercial interests in India had already signalled that she is unacceptable because the India stock market nosedived in the wake of her victory. All these factors = unstable leader ripe for an overthrow. In India, that could be violent just as easily as it could be electoral.

Stupidity alert

Now come the parallels between India and the US after Indian Vajpayee lost the election to the fourth entry from the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. In India, the economy is booming (that'll stop now that the socialistic Sonia Gandhi aided by the 40+ Communists in India's Parliament put the brakes on the economy) at a rate of more than 8% per year. In the US, the economy is growing at more than 4% (much better rate than in the Clinton years). The worst, Dagen McDowell's awful report on FOX News and noting that "some in the US think the same [result] will happen here" because the two countries are having rapid growth with "many" who claim they don't feel it.

Now Dagen McDowell is absolutely awful in general -- she provides no information, she has some sort of Ozarks-with-vocal-touch-ups accent, she's simply not smart -- but her report takes the prize for journalistic idiocy.

The differences between India and the US are so enormous that any economic parallel is inherently invalid. India is a "developing nation", the US is the MOST developed in the world. India has a fecund population that is largely impoverished and agrarian. The average person in poverty in the US has a color TV, VCR, microwave, car and can make rent/mortgage payments. The Indian economy is agricultural with some commerce and industry; the US economy has been post-agricultural for two generations. And the US does not have an enormous undereducated, underemployed and underfed underclass like India.

So stop the stupid parallels.

BONUS UPDATE: I thought it and I got it virtually right. From FOX News' bio of Dagen McDowell: "McDowell began her career as a financial journalist at the Institutional Investor's Newsletter Division. A native of Virginia, McDowell graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Art History."

That would be southwest Virginia from her accent, right smack near the mountain folk . . .

Monday, May 17, 2004

The next attempt to discredit Bush

This will be based on a memo written by White House Counsel Al Gonzales regarding the Geneva Convention strictures. Gonzales wrote the memo just after the 9-11-01 attacks and said "this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions" according to this report. The hullabaloo will be pure rubbish: the Geneva Convention on interrogating prisoners of war does not apply to al-Qaeda and does not even apply to most of the Abu Ghraib prisoners because they are not prisoners of war. Instead, the al-Qaedans fighting for the Taliban and the riffraff fighting for al-Sadr in Iraq are illegal combatants under the laws of war and can be summarily executed.

For some Geneva Convention information, including how the anti-war fringe will mislead the public, see this article on Opinion Journal.


Umm, how to say this . . .

When it comes to looks, John Kerry's daughter ain't exactly in the Gore-daughter league. Evidently, the Kerryette (Alexandra, the elder daughter) believes that because she hangs with the Hollywood crowd at the Cannes film festival, she should dress like them (link to it through Drudge if you want). Her dress turned transparent under the flashes and the results indicate that she's not the next Halle Berry. When Cameron Diaz and Angelina Jolie are dressed more conservatively than you, that means you've gone a step too far.

As for other considerations: she's the daughter of the Democrats' nominee-to-be for president of the US, put some f'ing clothes on!

Media bias, pt. 1

Check out this excerpt from the Media Research Center report on the coverage of the Abu Ghraib abuse story:

To illustrate a fraction of the bias problem, we counted the number of prisoner-abuse stories on NBC’s evening and morning news programs (NBC Nightly News and Today) from April 29, when the story emerged, through May 11. There were 58 morning and evening stories. Using the Nexis news-data retrieval system, we counted the number of stories on mass graves found in Iraq from the reign of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and 2004. The number of evening and morning news stories on those grim discoveries? Five.

More proof

We had plenty of proof that Iraq had WMDs, now some of the hidden agents are surfacing in insurgent's improvised explosives, according to this report. Most notable in the article, Gazi George (an Iraqi scientist) said other such WMDs were buried or transported to Syria. Here's more of his take:

"Saddam is the type who will not store those materials in a military warehouse. He's gonna store them either underground, or, as I said, lots of them have gone west to Syria and are being brought back with the insurgencies," George told Fox News. "It is difficult to look in areas that are not obvious to the military's eyes.

"I'm sure they're going to find more once time passes," he continued, saying one year is not enough for the survey group or the military to find the weapons.

Simple concept here: the WMD agents Saddam had could kill millions but could fit in an average two-car garage. Think about stuffing your garage with standard-sized bags of popcorn, then hiding those bags throughout the state of Texas. How long would it take someone to find the bags? That's what Saddam essentially did.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Sports dope

OK, it's official, John Kruk is an idiot. Today he said Jarrod Washburn is his pick to date for the Cy Young Award in the AL because he has seven wins.

Washburn is 7-1, his ERA is 4.68, he has 3 quality starts (6+ IP and no more than 3 ER) and failed to even go six innings in each of his first three wins. Washburn won his last start and pitched well, but a Cy Young candidate? No.

More nonsense

According to Drudge, Sy Hersh is now claiming that Rumsfeld initiated a policy that resulted in, and approved of, the conditions that led to the Abu Ghraib abuse. This whole notion is pure rubbish but it is getting traction in the press because (1) the press hates Pres. Bush; (2) the press hates the military; (3) the Democrats would rather have a victory over Pres. Bush than a victory in Iraq or a victory against the Islamofascists. Evidence of the first point: Sy Hersh himself and vast majority of the US media reports that have failed to discuss the Nick Berg murder but have incessantly played the Abu Ghraib story; see here for more. Evidence of the second point: the [UK] Daily Mirror's pictures of British military prisoner abuse were proven false but the editor still insisted they were accurate; he had to be forcibly removed from Daily Mirror offices. Evidence of the third point = just listen to the Democrats, they are ridiculousness on stilts.

Hat-tips to Andrew Sullivan.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Someone gets it

Joe Lieberman, good man and one of the few Democrats who has not gone over to the McGovern-Carter-TedKennedy side of the foreign policy debate, has penned an editorial on why Rumsfeld must stay. Key points:

We cannot allow the prison scandal in Iraq to diminish our own American sense of national honor and purpose, or further erode support for our just and necessary cause in Iraq. American opponents of the war may try to do the latter, while foreign critics and enemies of the United States will try to do the former. The misdeeds of a few do not alter the character of our nation or the honor of the many who serve in our defense--and the world's--every day. Winning the war we are now fighting in Iraq against Saddam loyalists and jihadist terrorists remains critical to the security of the American people, the freedom of the Iraqi people, and the hopes of all the Middle East for stability and peace.

* * *

Unless there is clear evidence connecting him to the wrongdoing, it is neither sensible nor fair to force the resignation of the secretary of defense, who clearly retains the confidence of the commander in chief, in the midst of a war. I have yet to see such evidence. Secretary Rumsfeld's removal would delight foreign and domestic opponents of America's presence in Iraq.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Just not right

There's something that stinks about the Nicholas Berg case. Berg is the poor bugger who was beheaded by Al-Zarqawi, an al-Qaeda leader who is directing attacks against US and coalition forces. But some things don't add up.

First, check this out from an AP article:

Berg's body was found Saturday in Baghdad. Two e-mails he sent to his family and friends show he traveled widely and unguarded throughout Iraq, an unsafe practice rarely done by Westerners.

Shortly before Berg's disappearance, he was warned by the FBI that Iraq was too volatile a place for unprotected American civilians and that he could be harmed, a senior FBI official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday.

On April 10, four days after Berg was released from an Iraqi prison, an American diplomat offered to put him on a flight to Jordan, State Department spokeswoman Kelly Shannon said.

But Berg told the diplomat he "planned to travel overland to Kuwait and would call (his) family from there," Shannon said.

Now, this statement from Berg's father in the same article:

Berg's father, Michael Berg, said that although his son wanted to leave Iraq, he refused the flight offer because he thought the travel to the airport would be too dangerous. Attacks had taken place in the areas his son would need to drive through, Michael Berg said.

Now add that up: Berg traveled all over Iraq -- a dangerous thing for anyone to do -- but would not accept a ride to the airport to get out.

Plus, there's this:

Nicholas Berg, the American businessman executed by Islamic extremists in Iraq, may have had contact with accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

Now that story continues to say that the FBI believes that the Moussaoui-Berg connection is coincidental, but that does not smell right either. Coincidences of Moussaoui connected with Berg in Norman, Oklahoma (using the same email address) and Berg wandering Iraq just do not add up properly.

Add to that the unrelenting misinformation campaign that Berg's parents have run in the press and their screechy blame of Pres. Bush and Rumsfeld and the whole situation stinks.

Berg is currently a tragic figure and I hope that is all there is to his story. But there are too many hints of something nefarious behind the whole situation and that is extremely disturbing.

Sports shorts

Two quick hits.

First, the NBA rule allowing a team to call timeout in the last few minutes and advance the ball across halfcourt is stupid. Now, instead of having to craft a play that covers the whole court in the final seconds, the trailing team only needs to run a set out-of-bounds play. This penalizes the team with the lead, especially if the team with the lead just hit a late shot to go ahead. This rule bit the Spurs in the rear tonight and led directly to the Lakers' miracle win. Time for a rule change.

Second, the Yankees are actually in first place (for now). That's the Jeter/Williams/Sheffield/Vazquez/Mussina/Arod haven't hit their strides Yankees.

In the yard

Javier Vazquez is the Yankees' NEXT pitching cornerstone. A direct replacement for Andy Pettitte, Vazquez will be 28 in July and is a hard-throwing righty who eats up innings. But, he gives up homers and lots of them. So far, nine in 48+ innings. Vazquez usually hits the 230 inning mark so his pace is 43-45 homers. Then again, throw out his first game (8 IP, 0 HR), and he's coughed up 9 HR in 40+ innings -- a 51-53 HR pace for 230-235 IP.

The record for homers allowed is 50 by Bert Blyleven in 1986; second-highest is Blyleven and Robin Roberts' 46 in 1987 and 1956, respectively. Curt Schilling gave up 37 HR in 2001 and went 22-6, 2.93 ERA. That's not bad company considering that Roberts is in the Hall of Fame, Blyleven should be and Schilling would be if not for his numerous injuries.

But Roberts pitched almost 300 innings in '56, the Phils played in hitter-friendly Shive Park and Blyleven pitched in the Homerdome in Minneapolis and threw 271 and 267 innings (totals that will not be reached in 2004). No matter how you slice it, the Stadium is actually NOT hitter-friendly (check out the stats at Baseball Reference [link on right column]). Yankees pitchers have routinely been among the stingiest in the league in giving up homers since Torre took over in 1996. Whatever magic Torre and Stottlemyre have, they need it to work on Vazquez.

No problem

I have no problem with "harsh methods" of interrogating Al-Qaeda members. So the NY Times story does not faze me in the least. There's a difference between routinized abuse of Iraqi prisoners and intensive interrogation of terrorists. Prisoners likely have rights under the Geneva Convention (although this is potentially questionable); Al-Qaeda detainees are terrorists and, even under the Geneva Convention, can be shot on sight.

Here's Article 4 of the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War (full convention at this link):

Article 4

A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) That of carrying arms openly;

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

4. Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

5. Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

6. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention:

1. Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to them with a view to internment.

2. The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular usage and treaties.

C. This Article shall in no way affect the status of medical personnel and chaplains as provided for in Article 33 of the present Convention.

Some background on the Geneva Convention issues from Peter Robinson, former aide to Pres. Reagan, from The Corner on National Review. Robinson posted this late Monday, May 10.

Regarding POWs and the Geneva Convention, I received a couple of emails today accusing me of quoting the Convention, in my posting, below, in an intentionally misleading manner.

. . . let me post a reply by John Yoo, one of the nation’s leading scholars on the law of war. Now a professor at Boalt Hall, the law school at U.C. Berkeley, John spent the first couple years of the Bush administration in the Department of Justice. John writes:

There is a lot of commentary that makes clear that to be a member of an "armed force" under 4(a)(1) or 4(a)(3), you must still meet the four criteria in 4(a)(2). The idea of 4(a)(2) was to give irregular forces, such as militias, POW treatment if they conducted themselves according to the standards of normal armed forces, hence the listing of the four criteria. This has been the historical understanding from before even the Geneva Conventions.

Also, an alternate reading makes no sense, because it would allow units of an armed force to systematically engage in the most outrageous, brutal war crimes, to fight by hiding among civilians, to not wear uniforms, etc., etc., and still retain their POW status while militias and volunteer corp had to fight according to a higher standard. Makes no sense because the Geneva Conventions were trying to encourage these irregular forces to operate according to the higher, "armed force" standard by promising POW treatment in exchange..

Anyone who would like to pursue John’s thinking at greater length (and savor the pleasures of truly lucid legal writing) can take a look at John’s comprehensive treatment of POWs and the Geneva Convention in the Virginia Journal of International Law.

Kerry problems?

If this polling is accurate, Kerry is in trouble. Remember, Gore didn't HAVE to spend a nickel in California to get its 50+ electoral votes, but SurveyUSA says Kerry is only up 1 percentage point over Pres. Bush.

Reading assignment #2

This entry on the IraqtheModel blog. The blog is written by Iraqis living in Iraq, not ex-pats. Very interesting and actual GOOD NEWS that the networks really do not show. Ali is the pseudonymous poster on this entry and Ali's uncle now has disposable income ($400/month, up from $7/month under Saddam) and can afford to buy things for his kids, like clothes, food, and luxury items and is saving up to buy his eldest son a car.

The best part: the conclusion by "Ali":

Please, all those who care about the poor Iraqis and want to save them from the brutality of the American invaders and who want to prevent the Americans from stealing our fortune; meaning Bin laden, Zagrawi and their followers, Arab and Muslim tyrants, our good friend monsieur Dominique de Villepin, all the pacifists of the world, the major media, and in short, all those who hate America and obviously love Iraq: Get your s**t together and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT or else one or two years from now Iraq will be…a prosperous country, and then we will never forgive you for letting us down when we needed you!
Besides, how would you face us if my cousin got a car and had an accident?!

Reading assignment #1

Start off your day with Andrew McCarthy. Here he discusses the politically correct labeling of the war the US is fighting.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Big Stein, big heart

George Steinbrenner supports the military and gives freely to those who serve. Read about a recent gesture here.


Neal Boortz hits the nail on the head in comparing and contrasting the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib with the cold-blooded beheading of Nick Berg ON TAPE:

Suddenly the pictures of what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison don't seem to be quite so horrific, do they? The victims of abuse at the hands of U.S. soldiers will be compensated by United States taxpayers. Nick Berg will be buried ... in two pieces.

Compare the two cultures. While America is investigating the abuse of Iraqi prisoners ... while America is preparing to punish those responsible ... while America is apologizing to the families of the prisoners and their countrymen for the actions of a few soldiers, and preparing to pay these families large sums of money .. while America is trying to do the right thing, Arab Muslims are slaughtering an innocent American civilian who's [sic] only crime was he was looking for a job trying to improve the Iraqi communications infrastructure.

This was a terrorist attack. It was an attack by Islamic terrorists, only this time it took five men to kill one American. One American civilian, or 3000 ... it's terrorism all the same.

Will this finally convince you that we are in the midst of a war? It's a World War. A war being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, on Manhattan Island and the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. It's a war being fought in former Soviet republics; a war is being fought on the island of Bali and in the Philippines. This is World War IV -- a war against fundamentalist Islamic Jihadists and terrorists. These are the people we are fighting. They are vicious relentless [ ] animals who will not stop killing innocent Americans and who will not abandon their dream of a world dominated by Islam until they are utterly and completely destroyed. These are people without a conscious [sic] who believe that the way to redeem their honor is to brutally slaughter innocent human beings, and this they do in the name of their god.

Boortz is harsh in his tone and language, but the sentiment is right. The Berg murder is disgusting. Remember, the US self-flagellates when confronted by isolated acts of wrongdoing; the Islamist fundamentalists celebrate when they do worse.

When you're right, you're wrong

Welcome to the everyone's-a-victim and we-love-multicultural-rot society. My two cents: don't apologize, Gov. Ehrlich, for saying that multiculturalism is crap and bunk. Here's the article in the WaPo regarding the firestorm surrounding the Maryland Governor's remarks.

Here's Ehrlich's defense:

"The words stand on their own," Ehrlich (R) replied. "It's a common culture, and the last message we want to send out is for people to separate themselves. We should celebrate the common American culture, the common American values and the common American language. I think that's common sense."

hat-tip: John Miller at National Review Online.

First things first

Sports allows and enables fans to experience moment-to-moment excitement that other pursuits and hobbies do not. Baseball allows that on an almost daily basis.

Case in point: yesterday's Yankees-Angels game at the Stadium. Two of the best bullpens in baseball, the best players not named Bonds (Arod and Vlady) and two very good managers. Result? After long rain delays, we get action and lots of it: the Yanks come back against the Angels pen, the Angels take a lead into the eighth and turn it over to Frankie (K-Rod) Rodriguez. Result? K-Rod blows the save and the Yanks score two to take a 6-5 lead. Top ninth = Rivera gives up his first lead and first dinger of the year (to Bengie Molina, of all folks), Angels lead 7-6. Bottom ninth = Sierra whacks a game-tying single against Percival. Bottom 10 = Sheffield smacks a two-out double to score Arod and Yanks win 8-7.

Key notes: three blown saves by the two 'pens; first by Rivera; first earned run against K-Rod; first Angels loss when leading after 6; five run-scoring hits with runners in scoring position by the Yanks; Sierra started the rally off K-Rod and tied the game off Percival; Vlady ends up a triple short of the cycle. Serious stuff for early in the season.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Trying to set an agenda

Robert Novak is a conservative columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and nationally syndicated. He often has the absolute best inside information in Washington. He is not uniformly friendly with the Bush administration and he is openly anti-Israel. He also opposed the invasion of Iraq. Today his column noted that Rumsfeld had few friends in the Department of Defense or among the Republican powerbrokers in DC.

Of course, if Rumsfeld has few friends in the DoD, there are certainly a lot of folks who appreciate him, as the standing ovation he received today at a DoD meeting indicates.

If my real name was Fortney, I'd be perpetually grumpy too

Liberal congressman Fortney ("Pete") Stark of California is combative and confrontational. Check out this column on Stark's phone message to a returning veteran, and Stark constituent, who wrote Stark a letter decrying one of Stark's recent votes. Details, with links to both Stark's phone call and the letter that sparked it, are in the article.

The real comparison

With all the self-flagellation that the press is inflicting upon American society, and which it wishes the Bush Administration would inflict upon itself, it is imperative to remember that the US Army investigated the Abu Ghraib prison conditions and that it performed a thorough investigation (including some rolling heads) BEFORE the press even took a look at the situation (after all, the photos were leaked to CBS and the Taguba report was leaked to anti-war journalist Sy Hersh of the New Yorker).

And just so everyone keeps things in perspective, remember that any state from Morocco to China that considers criticizing the US is full of it, as Ralph Peters demonstrates. Here's the key 'graf:

As an American, I want my country to be held to higher standards - we can live up to them. Proudly. But we don't need any more hypocritical charges from states with no standards at all.

Well said.

Debate losing

Andrew Sullivan is going wobbly. Yesterday he said that after the Abu Ghraib fiasco and in consideration of the problems the US is having with Iraqi reconstruction, the invasion of Iraq is "just barely" worthwhile. This late-inning defeatism is disgusting. Sullivan used to be a strong supporter of the invasion and with good reason: (1) everyone knew that Saddam had WMDs before the war = France, Germany, Britain, the US (under Clinton and Bush), Saddam himself (and the Israeli information that Iraq trucked biohazardous material to Syria just before the US attacks supports what "everyone knew"; (2) 300,000 buried in mass graves; (3) rape rooms; (4) mass slaughters of Kurds and Shi'ites; (5) sponsoring terrorism (unquestioned is the Saddam bounty to Palestinian suicide bombers; Stephen Hayes covered the Saddam-Al Qaeda connections in the Weekly Standard [click link at right]).

Well, Sullivan's readers called him on going wobbly so now he's spinning and weaving and dodging and thinking on his computer.

Here's a thought: some stupid MPs with an awful general presided over a shoddily run prison and were discovered and outed by an honest unit member whose revelations triggered a massive internal investigation that thoroughly revealed the wrongdoing and the President of the United States has vowed they will be brought to justice. Think that would happen ANYWHERE else other than Britain?

Monday, May 10, 2004

Unified in a bad way

My fiancee and I went to Budapest and Prague about a year ago. In our trip, we saw evidence of and talked to folks about the horrors of essentially being subjects of the USSR. The lessons we learned then prompted the fiancee to recently ask, why would any country want to be part of the EU after being freed from communism?

The ideologies underlying the USSR and the EU are completely opposed. Nonetheless, the practical implementation and effects of both systems will be shockingly (although nowhere near completely) similar. How? First, corruption -- it was rampant in the USSR and is rampant in the EU. Second, orthodoxy -- in the USSR, citizens had to adhere to the policies of the Communist Party and there would be no dissent; in the EU, only Europhiles are acceptable, those who question the EU Parliament, structure or policies are heretics. Read this piece from a British member of the European Parliament for details. Next up, a command-and-control economy.

Our enemies

This is disgusting, but it's what our enemies, the Islamic fundamentalists who wish to impose a new fascism through theology, are about. Read this article about Islamic extremists poisoning schoolgirls in Afghanistan. Why? They dared to GO TO SCHOOL.

Rummy should stay

He should, and Bill Safire explains why.

This is sick

A major Oregon politico, Neil Goldschmitt, is an admitted pedophile. In the mid-1970s, he was in his 30s and had a sexual relationship with a 13-14 year old girl. Her life has been a train wreck. Goldschmitt was later the Transportation Secretary under Jimmy Carter and the governor of Oregon.

Must reads

Opinion Journal, the Wall Street Journal's free opinion page, has a bevy of good pieces today. First, Michael Mukasky's column on the Patriot Act.

Second, Victor Davis Hanson's essay on the straight line from Jimmy Carter's appeasement policy to the September 11 attacks.

Third, John Fund on how Teddy Kennedy may be an albatross around John Kerry's neck.

All Yankees, all the time

Quick hits on this past week -- something I can do every Monday until July because the Yankees don't have a Monday game until then (not even on Memorial Day).

The Yanks went 4-2 in Oakland and Seattle. By any measure, that's good. What makes it better: twice the Yanks won after being down by 6 runs (yesterday and last Tuesday), once the Yanks won against the other team's closer (last Wednesday); Arod whacked three homers; Giambi looks sharper than he did last year; Moooooooose pitched 8 scoreless against the Mariners; Rivera and Gordon have done quite nicely, thanks very much. Concerns? Consistency of starting pitching and the weak hitting (still) of Jeter and Williams.

No, I'm not employed by the YES Network.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Must Read of the Day

One of my favorite stories involves Stalinologist Robert Conquest. In 1968, Conquest wrote a detailed history (The Great Terror) of the Stalin purges of the 1930s demonstrating the mass murders and terror state that Stalin created based on the sources available. Conquest was pilloried by academia. In the early 1990s, Russia made available KGB/OGPU/NKVD documents from the Soviet era and other government information -- more than 2,000,000 pages of stuff. Conquest used it to update The Great Terror, and the information not only confirmed the thesis of his book, but showed that he understated the death count and the situation. When asked by his publisher what he would use for a new title, Conquest said, "how about I Told You So, You F*cking Fools?"

[N.B. -- I edited Conquest's quote, he didn't self-censor]

Left-wing academics and apologia for Communism go hand in hand, even today after the USSR files have been accessible for more than a decade. A great analysis and take-down is in the book, In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage, by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, which is discussed here in a great article.

Karpinski = See No Evil

Next time you see Gen. Janis Karpinski spinning like an out of control gyroscope on some morning news show, remember this recommendation and the basis for it from the Taguba Report:

That BG Janis L. Karpinski, Commander, 800th MP Brigade be Relieved from Command and given a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand for the following acts which have been previously referred to in the aforementioned findings:

--Failing to ensure that MP Soldiers at theater-level detention facilities throughout Iraq had appropriate SOPs for dealing with detainees and that Commanders and Soldiers had read, understood, and would adhere to these SOPs.

--Failing to ensure that MP Soldiers in the 800th MP Brigade knew, understood, and adhered to the protections afforded to detainees in the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

--Making material misrepresentations to the Investigation Team as to the frequency of her visits to her subordinate commands.
Failing to obey an order from the CFLCC Commander, LTG McKiernan, regarding the withholding of disciplinary authority for Officer and Senior Noncommissioned Officer misconduct.

--Failing to take appropriate action regarding the ineffectiveness of a subordinate Commander, LTC (P) Jerry Phillabaum.

--Failing to take appropriate action regarding the ineffectiveness of numerous members of her Brigade Staff including her XO, S-1, S-3, and S-4.

--Failing to properly ensure the results and recommendations of the AARs and numerous 15-6 Investigation reports on escapes and shootings (over a period of several months) were properly disseminated to, and understood by, subordinate commanders.

--Failing to ensure and enforce basic Soldier standards throughout her command.

--Failing to establish a Brigade METL.

--Failing to establish basic proficiency in assigned tasks for Soldiers throughout the 800th MP Brigade.

--Failing to ensure that numerous and reported accountability lapses at detention facilities throughout Iraq were corrected.


Maj. General (that's the 2-star variety) Taguba's full investigative report of the Abu Ghraib prison operations is available on MSNBC. He's been investigating the prison since JANUARY, therefore any notion that CBS uncovered abuses in their late APRIL 60 Minutes report is pure hooey. Note that Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of the unit running Abu Ghraib and who has been relieved, comes out very badly (see Findings and Recommendations, part 3, excerpts below). Here are some of Maj. Gen. Taguba's findings:

[From Findings and Recommendations, pt. 1] 1. (U) The US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), led by COL Jerry Mocello, and a team of highly trained professional agents have done a superb job of investigating several complex and extremely disturbing incidents of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib Prison. They conducted over 50 interviews of witnesses, potential criminal suspects, and detainees. They also uncovered numerous photos and videos portraying in graphic detail detainee abuse by Military Police personnel on numerous occasions from October to December 2003 . . .

5. (S) That between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force (372nd Military Police Company, 320thMilitary Police Battalion, 800th MP Brigade), in Tier (section) 1-A of the Abu Ghraib Prison (BCCF). The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements . . . and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence . . .

12. (U) I find that prior to its deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 320th MP Battalion and the 372nd MP Company had received no training in detention/internee operations. I also find that very little instruction or training was provided to MP personnel on the applicable rules of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, FM 27-10, AR 190-8, or FM 3-19.40. Moreover, I find that few, if any, copies of the Geneva Conventions were ever made available to MP personnel or detainees.

13.(U) Another obvious example of the Brigade Leadership not communicating with its Soldiers or ensuring their tactical proficiency concerns the incident of detainee abuse that occurred at Camp Bucca, Iraq, on May 12, 2003 . . .

14. (U) . . . Despite this documented abuse, there is no evidence that BG Karpinski ever attempted to remind 800th MP Soldiers of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions regarding detainee treatment or took any steps to ensure that such abuse was not repeated.

[From Findings and Recommendations, pt. 2]: 12. (U) There was a severe lapse in the accountability of detainees at the Abu Ghraib Prison Complex. The 320th MP Battalion used a self-created “change sheet” to document the transfer of a detainee from one location to another. For proper accountability, it is imperative that these change sheets be processed and the detainee manifest be updated within 24 hours of movement. At Abu Ghraib, this process would often take as long as 4 days to complete . . .

13. (U) The 320th Battalion TACSOP requires detainee accountability at least 4 times daily at Abu Ghraib. However, a detailed review of their operational journals revealed that these accounts were often not done or not documented by the unit . . .

15. (U) FM 3-19.40 outlines the need for 2 roll calls (100% ISN band checks) per day. The 320th MP Battalion did this check only 2 times per week . . .

17. (U) Operational journals at the various compounds and the 320th Battalion TOC contained numerous unprofessional entries and flippant comments, which highlighted the lack of discipline within the unit. There was no indication that the journals were ever reviewed by anyone in their chain of command . . .

25. (U) After Action Reviews (AARs) are not routinely being conducted after an escape or other serious incident. No lessons learned seem to have been disseminated to subordinate units to enable corrective action at the lowest level.

26. (U) Lessons learned (i.e. Findings and Recommendations from various 15-6 Investigations concerning escapes and accountability lapses) were rubber stamped as approved and ordered implemented by BG Karpinski. There is no evidence that the majority of her orders directing the implementation of substantive changes were ever acted upon. Additionally, there was no follow-up by the command to verify the corrective actions were taken. Had the findings and recommendations contained within their own investigations been analyzed and actually implemented by BG Karpinski, many of the subsequent escapes, accountability lapses, and cases of abuse may have been prevented.

[From Findings part 3]: 14. (U) During the course of this investigation I conducted a lengthy interview with BG Karpinski that lasted over four hours, and is included verbatim in the investigation Annexes. BG Karpinski was extremely emotional during much of her testimony. What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers.

15. (U) BG Karpinski alleged that she received no help from the Civil Affairs Command, specifically, no assistance from either BG John Kern or COL Tim Regan. She blames much of the abuse that occurred in Abu Ghraib (BCCF) on MI personnel and stated that MI personnel had given the MPs “ideas” that led to detainee abuse. In addition, she blamed the 372nd Company Platoon Sergeant, SFC Snider, the Company Commander, CPT Reese, and the First Sergeant, MSG Lipinski, for the abuse. She argued that problems in Abu Ghraib were the fault of COL Pappas and LTC Jordan because COL Pappas was in charge of FOB Abu Ghraib. (ANNEX 45)

16. (U) BG Karpinski also implied during her testimony that the criminal abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib (BCCF) might have been caused by the ultimate disposition of the detainee abuse cases that originally occurred at Camp Bucca in May 2003. She stated that “about the same time those incidents were taking place out of Baghdad Central, the decisions were made to give the guilty people at Bucca plea bargains. So, the system communicated to the soldiers, the worst that’s gonna happen is, you’re gonna go home.” I think it important to point out that almost every witness testified that the serious criminal abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib (BCCF) occurred in late October and early November 2003. The photographs and statements clearly support that the abuses occurred during this time period. The Bucca cases were set for trial in January 2004 and were not finally disposed of until 29 December 2003. There is entirely no evidence that the decision of numerous MP personnel to intentionally abuse detainees at Abu Ghrabid (BCCF) was influenced in any respect by the Camp Bucca cases.

21. As I have documented in other parts of this investigation, I find that there was no clear emphasis by BG Karpinski to ensure that the 800th MP Brigade Staff, Commanders, and Soldiers were trained to standard in detainee operations and proficiency or that serious accountability lapses that occurred over a significant period of time, particularly at Abu Ghraib (BCCF), were corrected. AR 15-6 Investigations regarding detainee escapes were not acted upon, followed up with corrective action, or disseminated to subordinate commanders or Soldiers. Brigade and unit SOPs for dealing with detainees if they existed at all, were not read or understood by MP Soldiers assigned the difficult mission of detainee operations. Following the abuse of several detainees at Camp Bucca in May 2003, I could find no evidence that BG Karpinski ever directed corrective training for her soldiers or ensured that MP Soldiers throughout Iraq clearly understood the requirements of the Geneva Conventions relating to the treatment of detainees.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Reliable votes?

For some unidentifiable reason, Jews tend to vote Democrat. This is as true today as it was 55 years ago when Truman recognized Israel against the advice of his State Department. This is also true despite the unrelenting hostility of Carter toward Israel, the bailout Nixon delivered in the Yom Kippur War, 8 years of Reagan (although four years of Bush I tempered that relationship), and 8 years of Clinton when the most frequent foreign guest to the White House was Arafat.

Now Jewish voters are presented with a choice between a president who has been one of the best friends Israel has ever had and John Kerry, who believes anti-Israel figures like Carter and James Baker III are good choices to negotiate peace in the Middle East. The New Republic calls this Kerry's Jewish Problem. Then again, as that TNR piece shows, Kerry claims he only suggested Carter as an envoy because his speechwriters put that in his speech and never took it out. Huh?

Here's Mickey Kaus, a liberal who's no fan of Kerry for many reasons, including the ones here:

[I]s that how the Kerry presidency will work? I always thought speechwriters had power!... But wait a minute: If Kerry instructed his aides to remove Carter's name as a possible envoy from the speech, then why did he go ahead and meet with Carter just because the to-be-corrected draft of the speech said he'd met with him? ... That's where his story falls completely to the ground!

Read the whole Kausfile on this.

Civilization and its enemies

Meryl Yourish is a blogger (blogress?) and penned this entry in response to the Palestinian slaughter of a Jewish family in Gaza. She says it all.

Meirav was two

This is Rebecca [Yourish's daughter, photo on her site]. She is two years old. I see her frequently, usually every Thursday. Sarah and the twins and I run errands in the morning and have lunch in the afternoon. This picture was taken at one of our favorite spots in the West End of Richmond. There are a few more pictures of Rebecca sprinkled throughout this weblog.

Meirav was two. She and Rebecca have something in common. They're both Jewish. Meirav lived in a town in the Gaza Strip with her three sisters. Rebecca lives here in central Virginia with her three brothers. Rebecca giggles a lot, and dances a lot. I'll bet that Meirav giggled and danced, too.

Meirav was two. She was killed by palestinian terrorists while strapped in her carseat in the back of her mother's car. Meirav's body was riddled with bullets. The terrorists shot Meirav, her nine-months-pregnant mother, and her three sisters at close range. Then they ran up to the car and shot each of them in the head—to make certain they were dead.

Meirav was two. She is dead because she was a Jew who dared to live in "palestinian land." Amnesty International has condemned the murders. The United Nations has not. This lukewarm statement by the president of the EU sounds like it was written by Yasser Arafat's speechwriter.

"The killing of children does not serve any legitimate cause and degrades any purpose which it purports to advance," said Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, speaking for the 25-nation bloc.

Meirav was two. Her father has lost his wife, four daughters, and the son he and his wife were going to welcome this month.

When Hatuel heard of the attack, he left the school and headed for home. When he arrived at the Yad Mordechai junction, his father-in-law, Shlomo Malka, stopped him and told him the horrible news. Hatuel was unable to speak since he heard of the attack, and the grandfather kept crying, "Tehila, Hadar, Roni, Meirav, where are you?”

Meirav was two. PA radio hailed her murderers as "heroic martyrs."

Meirav was two. The palestinians celebrated throughout Gaza and the West Bank. Worse still, the murderers brought a video camera and recorded the deaths of the mother and children.

This is why I loathe them. This is why I don't believe they want peace. This is why I have slowly but surely lost any sympathy I once had for the palestinians.

Rebecca is two. She is Jewish. If she were living in Gaza or the West Bank, she would be considered a legitimate target by the palestinians.

Meirav was two.

I have no sympathy for the palestinians and never did. In 1947 the UN partitioned the Palestine Mandate to provide for a Jewish state and a Palestinian state (Transjordan). The Jews were expelled by the Arabs from the palestinian side, just as they were later (and had been, depending on the country) expelled from the Arab countries; the palestinian Arabs were allowed to live in peace in the Jewish area. In 1948, Israel became a state and on the date of its statehood was attacked by Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Transjordan. The Arab countries told the palestinian Arabs they could leave their homes, let the Arab armies rout the Jews and the palestinians would then return to rule all of the Palestine Mandate. Israel won the war. The Arab countries now had hundreds of thousands of refugees that they REFUSED to settle and repatriate as Egyptians, Iraqis, etc. Instead, the palestinian refugees are bargaining chips in the ongoing state of war between Araby and Israel and Jordan has refused to repatriate palestinians in the state that was ORIGINALLY SET ASIDE as the nation of palestinian Arabs (Jordan's population is > 60% palestinian but the country is ruled by the Hashemite dynasty). For more information, see the Palestine Facts website.