Memory Lane, a little stroll
In honor of former President Carter's Nobel Peace Prize, NRO re-printed a very detailed piece written by Jay Nordlinger on Jimmy Carter's finer qualities, including his love for the baby-wipe bandit, his buddy Yas-Man, and his loathing of Israel; his warm embrace of numerous other pond scum sucking dictators from Romania's Ceausescu to North Korea's Kim Il Sung, Syria's Assad to Nicaragua's own Danny O; with a garnish of his fervent support for things such as the Kyoto protocols. All without mentioning the 'killer rabbit' even once. This piece serves as a good reminder that the powder blue polyester leisure suit wasn't the worst thing about the 70's, it was Carter's Presidency. And he's only gotten 'better' since. Warning - you may wish to steel yourselves before reading the final paragraph - you will probably find it very deeply disturbing, possibly the most disconcerting paragraph in a piece containing many disconcerting paragraphs. Go now. Read. Prepare to ride a roller coaster of disgust.
NEWS FLASH - THE PENTAGON HAS CONTINGENCY PLANS! Apparently those crafty boys at the Pentagon whose job it is to plan for contingencies have been...well...doing just that! It seems there's a plan for a military occupation of Iraq! Oh my god! How terrible! It's right next to the plan for using the 82nd Airborne if Denmark invades Upper Volta, the scheme to send a navy carrier group to re-stabilise Uruguay in the event of a Tamil Tiger uprising, and the finely tuned Air Force response to an alien saucer landing on the south lawn of the White House. (Use Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to upload a virus into the alien mothership's central computer, while Bill Pullam makes a patriotic speech. Hey, it might work.)

The US is planning to establish an American-led military administration in Iraq, similar to the postwar occupation of Germany and Japan, which could last for several years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, it emerged on Friday. The plans, which surfaced after President George Bush won a resounding congressional mandate to use force in Iraq, envisage the biggest "nation-building" effort the US has undertaken since the end of the Second World War. The occupation of the country would need an estimated 75,000 troops and would almost certainly include allied soldiers. It would be run by a senior American officer, perhaps General Tommy Franks, who would lead the assault on Iraq, and whose role would be modelled on that of General Douglas MacArthur in postwar Japan.

Of course there's a goddamn plan to occupy Iraq! There's a plan for everything! It's their bloody job to plan these things, it's what they're paid for! It's a whole department, called the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Readiness! They're supposed to plan for this sort of thing! Are they supposed to just sit around twiddling their thumbs all day? What is wrong with you people? If it turned out there wasn't such a plan, the headlines would scream "US HAS NO IDEA WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER VICTORY" and "BUSH CLUELESS ON IRAQ FUTURE". Gimme a break...
BALI BOMBING - THE SPORTS ANGLE I live in Australia, where sports isn't the national religion - it's much more important than that. The Melbourne Age gets the right angle on the terrorist attack on Bali...

A number of Australians are missing feared dead or injured in the explosions, which ripped through packed bars at Kuta last night, including clubs where Australian footballers were gathered. Officials said at least 40 Australians were in hospital, while among those missing are members of Perth's Kingsley Football Club, who were on an end-of-season trip. Club member Damon Brinson said he and his team-mates were partying when the Sari nightclub went up in flames. "The whole Sari Club came down and we were all trapped inside, and some of us got out and some of us didn't," Mr Brinson told ABC radio. "One minute we were partying - the next, the whole lot went up. We ran for our lives." The wife of the team's coach, Narelle Quayle, said her husband Luke sent her a text message, expressing surprise he was not killed in the blasts. "He said 'at the Sari Club, two huge explosions, I can't believe I'm alive, eight of our boys are missing'," Mrs Quayle said. [ ... ] Meanwhile two members of the AFL Melbourne Football Club who went missing after the blasts have been found safe and well. The men, who were holidaying with about 28 other Demons players, returned to their hotel about four hours after going missing. The general manager of football operations at Melbourne Football Club, Danny Corcoran, said all players were now accounted for and most were on the first flight back to Australia today.

ANYONE ELSE DETECT A PATTERN HERE? We're coming down to the wire now folks, and Saddam is getting busy with his weapons of mass distraction. Watch for the Left to start talking about "taking care of problems closer to home first" in an attempt to head off a war against Iraq. People who talk about "solving the Palestinian problem first" are ignorant or naive. These are all fronts in the same war. The South-East Asian front:

At least twelve people have been killed and some 100 hurt, including American and Australian tourists, in a series of explosions on Indonesia's popular resort island of Bali, local media and hospital officials said. The explosions came at Kuta Beach and Ubud on Saturday night. Bali is a popular holiday destination and particularly popular with Australians.

The European front:

Police announce bombing suspect is 20-year-old Finnish student, numbered among victims A police press briefing held at 16.00 on Saturday revealed that the seventh victim had been identified as a Finnish student from the Greater Helsinki area, apparently around 20 years of age. Preliminary evidence would appear to suggest that the chemistry student, who died instantly, was responsible for the explosion. The man has no criminal record, and no motive has as yet been put forward for his actions, nor would police be drawn on the likelihood that he acted alone. The possibility that others might be involved was not ruled out. In all respects the police were reluctant to comment or give details at this relatively early stage of an investigation, save to confirm previous press speculation that the explosive device had also contained buckshot or other pellets.

The Middle East front:

Kuwaiti security officials have arrested 26 suspects who formed a local al-Qaida-style “cell” for allegedly plotting to attack key Kuwaiti and American targets in the oil-rich state, sources said Saturday.

The economic/oil front:

Yemen said Saturday that Dutch divers were searching the waters around a gutted French supertanker after Paris said the discovery of traces of TNT on the ship showed that it had been attacked.

The Israel/Palestine front:

Security staff at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv remained on high alert Saturday, a day after soldiers there overpowered a would-be suicide bomber running away from a nearby cafe, an official said.

I won't characterise the Washington sniper attacks as terrorism, as there's no evidence this is anything other than a particularly vicious domestic murderer. But I would suggest that terrorists may be taking careful note of how relatively easy it appears to be to instill fear and panic in a community with relatively little effort. Imagine the effect of many two-man active service units doing this sort of thing in major US cities. Don't think the same thought hasn't occured to Saddam Hussein. Are we allowed to unplug our politicians' heads from their bums and get them to admit we're in the middle of World War IV (This Time It's Personal)?
Home Improvements
Are a lot more fun when its someone else's home, and you get to leave after the creative part, but before the cleanup session! The attic wasn't too hot, as it was a cloudy day today, and the blown in fiberglass didn't get too stirred up, which is always a plus. There is nothing much better than the look on your friend's wife's face when you announce, immediately after cutting the huge hole in the ceiling opening a clear passage from her pristine house to the less than pristine attic : "Ohmigosh, is it that time already, hey gotta run, can we finish this up tomorrow?" Rather smooth project. No major 'uh-oh' surprises, no extra trips to the hardware store, no smashed/cut/mangled appendages, not even the usual requisite cursing to make two incompatible parts fit together according to skimpy directions with really bad illustrations. The only disappointment of the whole adventure was that my friend was unable to parlay the project into a good excuse to get a saws-all. I was all for it, he was all for it, the kids thought it was a great idea, heck even the dog pointed out that every serious home-improver should have one, with a generous selection of blades. But, in the end, the vote was 5 to 1. So of course, we lost. Nothing more rewarding than buying something that needs to be installed, throwing away the directions, making it up as you go along, and having it turn out just great. And some people just sit back and say, "so what, its just a set of attic stairs from a kit, any pair of middle aged idiots could do that!" But a fine set of stairs they are.


Another Tidewater blogger
Followed a cryptic VodkaPundit link, and found a blog with a guy talkin about F-18s at Oceana. Welcome, neighbor Hmmm. Maybe I should call Stephen a 'poopyhead' to shamelessly fish for a link. Worked for Bill...
Does this help?
Some folks have seen me refer to fisking idiotarians as 'taking no more effort than, say, clubbing baby seals' and given me some grief about it. Does it make it any better if they're considered part of the food chain? Maybe? (Link found at The Safety Valve)
Way to go Condi!
As reported by MEMRI, Dr. Condoleezza Rice continues to score the big popularity points with the Arab media. They seem to have made a startling discovery...She's African American, and she ain't named Cynthia. And the spittle is a FLYIN! Bwahahahahaha! Go Condi, Go Condi, Go Condi....
Bad News, Good News, Confusing News
Another article from Ha'aretz. While I am completely in favor of the President and his policies towards Iraq, and have nothing but praise for the artful manner in which he has brought us to the current state of things, I have to admit to a great deal of confusion over the administrations apparent positions on Israel. The move to completely discount Arafat from the equation, as stated in the Rose Garden speech, was absolutely brilliant. However, the statements of disdain for Israeli activities in battling the onslaught of murderers into their very midst is, confusing, to say the least. While I've sometimes found myself wincing at the descriptions of some of the more aggressive activities (using an Apache to rocket a car with a suspect in the middle of a street setting), I absolutely do not fault the IDF nor the Israeli government one bit for pursuing these blood stained vermin with absolute ruthlessness. I would point out to those that call such attacks barbaric, that although they may lack a certain finesse, they probably save more lives than they take, on both sides. What kind of casualty figures would there be if the IDF relied solely on ground incursions, against active resistance? And what would their success rate be, considering it would telegraph their intention in plenty of time for the hunted to flee.
If it is a given that the administration understands these facets of the conflict, it seems confusing that they now routinely chastise Israel for their anti-terror tactics. The only sense I can make of the approach ties into the apparent lack of any seemingly substantive pressure on the Israelis to actually 'do' anything else, in other words, no actions backing the statements. Considering that, it seems a good bet that what we are actually seeing is pro-forma noisemaking to throw a bone to some of the countries whose help will be useful in the coming activities in Iraq. That seems to be working, in that, as the article points out, several countries are falling in line with the 'plan' put forth for 'settling' the conflict. A plan which will have a somewhat different set of dynamics in a post Iraq takedown environment. I would certainly hope that I'm not falling victim to the President's strongest asset - that of having people underestimate his abilities, or think his vision nearsighted.
Iraq, Germany, and Anti-Semitism
Victor David Hanson has an excellent analysis of the import of the current rhetoric out of Germany. Worth the time to read it. Over in the Corner, Jonah Goldberg points out this article from Ha'aretz - an interview by Micha Odenheimer of a German national, Thomas von der Osten-Sacken. I'll point out that Osten-Sacken is identified in the article as an avowed Marxist, and in a way, that makes his observations and comments somewhat more intriguing. As for the rest of his background, he's been involved for many years with NGOs in Iraq. A lot of what he puts forward many people will look at with a definite rise of the eyebrow, but nonetheless some interesting claims and observations -
  • The Iraqis made people lie down in the streets and then buried them alive under asphalt."
  • "It's really indescribable. Syria is a dictatorship, but the fear and control in Iraq reaches into your living room. If there is no picture of Saddam Hussein in your living room, you might be arrested.."
  • "One day, he was watching television and the Iraqi army was being praised for having won the second part of the Gulf War [after the initial U.S. attack aimed at driving Iraq out of Kuwait]. The doctor just said, `Well, it is a strange victory if daily children are dying of hunger.' That was enough. Someone heard him. He was taken, tortured for three weeks and brought back a broken person."
  • "The estimate of one million killed only includes civilians. A million Iraqi soldiers were killed in the Iran-Iraq war. A half-million Iraqis died of hunger or disease because of sanctions on Iraq, and more were killed in the Gulf War. Some 1.5 to two million people have been internally displaced, and 4.5 million Iraqi refugees are scattered across the globe."
  • "That is the essence of his regime. It is not an accident. It is systematic."
  • "...it was a huge mistake not to let the Iraqi people topple Saddam in '91."

 Herr Osten-Sacken sees a direct link between Iraq and the trouble in Israel, courtesy of the PLO -

  • "Really toppling Saddam Hussein means uprooting the Ba'ath regime, with the help of the Iraqi people. This would give the final blow to pan-Arabism in the Middle East. Syria and a lot of very radical factions in Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and the Gulf states would be affected."
  • "Part of the Palestinian establishment has very close ties to Iraq since 1991 when the Palestinians decided to support Saddam, which was a huge mistake. This includes some quite influential figures within the security apparatus of Yasser Arafat and the PLO"

He continues with some surprising predictions about the post conflict atmosphere - with an indication that the "Its all the Jews fault" rhetoric is not really sinking in with the populace - and that they are cognizant that the source for a majority of their troubles is home grown

  • "Seventy percent of the Iraqi people are allies of the Americans. If the war is waged correctly, it will focus on the regime, on the leaders, on the security apparatus and on this horrible Ba'ath Party, but not on the Iraqi people. So if Israel is attacked, it should consider this point: This is a war against the regime, and the Iraqi people are allies in fighting Saddam Hussein."
  • "In regard to Israel, it's astonishing: The Kurds were all taught in Iraqi schools that the Jews and Israel are the main enemy, blood-suckers, part of a huge conspiracy, but I did not find any real anti-Israel sentiments. Critics of the occupation, of the settlements, yes, there are some, and I think that is legitimate, but no anti-Semitic conspiracy theory."
  • "If the Kurds are strong in Baghdad, the Jews will not face this irrational anti-Jewish sentiment."
That, most certainly would be a refreshing change. Mr. Osten-Sacken's remaining observations, on Europe in general, and Germany in particular, are somewhat unsettling, to put it mildly
  • Q. So both the left and the right in Germany have strong anti-American feeling?
    A. "Anti-American and anti-Israeli-anti-Semitic. At the moment, you can hardly distinguish between the very far right wing and the very far left wing. The far right openly supports Saddam Hussein, saying that he is fighting the Jews and the Americans and thus supporting the German battle. And certain left-wingers from an orthodox left-wing tradition think that Saddam Hussein is anti-imperialist, anti-globalization, that he is fighting for the rights of the Arabs to self-determination. Others on the left say that Saddam may be horrible, but another American war will not solve any problems. The war will just help Israel's interest, so we should oppose it. This is also the governmental policy at the moment."
  • "So you have more or less the same idea that you had since the '20s: There is a global struggle pitting the `good' people who are fighting against colonialization against a conspiracy between the huge American trusts, banks and the Jews, which wants to force the world to adapt a universal capitalism. The Jews were also accused then of being the purveyors of the global communist principle, but since 1989, that has been forgotten."
He closes with this observation -
"Ten years ago, everyone thought Germany was a close ally of the U.S., supporting its policy. But no. In this conflict, Germany is signaling that it is standing on the other side. Everywhere in the Middle East, in the Syrian press, in the Hezbollah press, in the Baghdadi press, Germany is being praised for taking the same side they did 50 years ago. So people understand what the Germans are doing. And I think that that is quite interesting - and quite horrifying."
Quite disturbing, indeed. If accurate, it portends the rise of spectres thought vanquished over 50 years past. This perspective offered from one who has traveled and worked extensively inside Iraq, and his remarks on the views of the common folk offers us a rare insight, particularly his remarks about the views of the Kurds. Possibly a very positive sign, let us hope he is correct.
The world, she's a fucked up place, my friends. My high school population was pretty large, about 3,200 students. I was by no means a popular kid in school, but I wasn't "dorky" either. I was just kinda there, in my own little clique, much like everyone else. The cool group didn't shun me or anything like the Amish do with those who use electric toasters, but they weren't calling me up to go out with them and hit on chicks either. Since I was in a "medium-cool" clique, I pretty much talked to and got along with everybody. One of the not-so-cool kids I got along with really well with was Clinton Ley. I always felt very badly for Clint because he and his little brother, Nathan, got picked on by other kids. It was almost on a daily basis. This is not to say that Clint didn't bring some of the teasing on himself. He most certainly did. Especially during our Sophmore year when he began insisting that everyone refer to him as "Viper." (Don't ask me why, he just did.) Even though Clint and Nate had their quirks about them, they were really nice guys. Especially Nate. He was one of those rare kids that'd do anything for anybody - just because he was that nice of a guy. Anyway, Clint joined the US Army after high school, and Nathan went to work on his life-long dream of being a police officer. Nathan attended the University of Missouri at St. Louis majoring in criminal justice. During this time, I was attending the same university going for a degree in civil engineering. As fate would have it, Nate and I also ended up working at the same place during college. We worked in a warehouse as forklift operators. (I know, no rationally-thinking human being should trust college kids to get out of bed on time, much less drive heavy equipment around.) Eventually, I got a job working at a civil engineering firm and Nathan graduated with plans to attend the Police Academy, so we went our seperate ways. We still ran into each other every so often, though, and updated each other on our lives. The last I heard, Nate had been a US Border Patrol Agent for a little while, and returned to St. Louis this past August to ask his girlfriend to marry him (she said "yes!") and settle down. Good for him. Couldn't have happened to a better guy. In the mean time, he was working as a bank security guard and saving up money for an engagement ring. This past Monday was a crappy day. Work sucked, I had a headache, and all I wanted to do was go home, pop a beer and sack out on the couch. It was about to get a whole lot crappier. After sprawling my crabby self on the couch, I flipped on the news. The first thing I saw on the screen was Nathan's face. There had been an attempted robbery. Nathan liked to hang out outside the bank lobby, greeting each customer with his trademark grin and polite word. (If you knew Nate at all, this would not surprise you.) At 3 o'clock that afternoon, a man was walking across the parking lot toward Nathan and the bank entrance. Reports are still very sketchy as to exactly what transpired, but Nate and this would-be robber began scuffling. Nathan was armed, but was not able to unholster his weapon. His attacker, however, was able. A round discharged from the bastard's pistol and struck Nathan full in the face. Stumbling backwards and covering his bleeding face with his hands, Nathan took another bullet to the face. Ya know, just in case the first shot wasn't enough to kill him. Nathan died this past Monday afternoon on a sidewalk in St. Louis, doing what he always wanted to do; protecting the innocent. And if there is any justice at all in this fucked up world, his killer will die, too.
NORWAY TO AMERICA: DROP DEAD! Just got the disturbing news from the incomparable Sasha Castel. This is the only possible message those whacky, fun-loving pranksters at the Nobel Peace Prize Committee can be sending with their selection of J....of Jimmy Ca....please don't make me say it. Okay, I'll hold my nose and see if I can get it out. Jimmy Carter has won the Nobel Peace Prize. The world has officially gone nuts, and I'd like to get off now please before someone does anything even loopier (if such a thing is imaginable). I mean, they could give it to Yasser Arafat! No wait, they already did that. I feel like Tom Lehrer, who retired from show-biz, declaring that satire was redundant, after Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, this act is simple vengance by otherwise powerless Europeans on the United States.This is petty, mean-spirited European hatred of a strong country with a strong President - they're doing this to show that Carter is the sort of US President they like! You know, weak, vaccilating, dependent on the opinions of others, has his tounge so far up Castro's arse it's tickling his tonsils, that sort of thing. They're not even bothering to hide the political message.

Asked if the selection of the former president was a criticism of Bush, Gunnar Berge, head of the Nobel committee, said: "With the position Carter has taken on this, it can and must also be seen as criticism of the line the current U.S. administration has taken on Iraq. "In a situation currently marked by threats of the use of power, Carter has stood by the principles that conflicts must as far as possible be resolved through mediation and international cooperation based on international law, respect for human rights and economic development," Berge said.

Well, I'll tell you one reaction I'll be watching for with interest - P J O'Rourke. Assuming he doesn't just drop dead on the spot when he hears the news of course.
Senate passes Resolution on Iraq
77-23. Here's the tally of the roll call. Next stop, Security Council. Hope they've been taking notes. There will be a pop-quiz.


Far be it from us to say 'told you so"
Most people interpret our insistence for 'no tree hugging' as a knee jerk response to the NZ Green lunacy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is actually, more importantly, a SAFETY ISSUE! (Link found at Amish Tech Support! - before you denounce us for being heartless, check Laurence first)
Ok, so it wasn't the Buzzcocks after all...
Larry Miller has published an update to his article of the band getting booed on stage after trashing the Prez, featured here a while back. In This Just In . . . Larry indicates that 'blink-182' was the band making the remarks (and taking the pierced and tattooed heat for it). Larry cites an independant verification of the circumstance in the October issue of Rolling Stone... Not a subscriber. Anyone out there got the Mag? Is it in there? Hey, just taking Meryl's advice to be careful who ya cite....thanks Meryl.
93 MPH/149KPH?
And somewhat nicely styled (The Honda, anyway, the Mercedes is a bit disappointing). And aside from all the arguments made about environmental concerns, the brightest point about this is that it gets us closer to the point where we can comfortably say - Keep yer frikkin oil, bub. Although its still several years away (infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure), a good first step. The biggest challenge is no longer the technology, but the economics of it. Now keep your fingers crossed that we begin to see items about the 'energy companies' taking strides to develop the production and distribution necessary to create the econnomy of scale to bring the overall costs down to reasonable levels. Whats reasonable? The market will determine that. Lets hope we think it is.
Mowbray takes down State Dept BS
Not unlike a Pro Wrestler coming down on his opponent after leaping off the top of the corner turnbuckle, Joel Mowbray comes down hard on the boobs at the State Department on the 9/11 hijacker Visas. Seems like all the hijacker's visa applications that Mowbray was able to obtain should have been denied flat out - which would have blocked 11 of the 15 from getting into the country. Makes you wonder what the other 4 looked like. Of course, the mouthpieces over at State are still peddling the same old 'remain calm, all is well, nothing to see here, move along' ass covering crap as always. Excellent series of articles. Well worth it to spend some time over there, but be ready to get pissed off, all over again. (links from National Review Online)
WOULD YOU PLEASE REFRAIN FROM SHOOTING AT COALITION FORCES...? ...as being reduced to your component atoms within seconds of opening fire can be injurious to your health. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Now raise both hands and repeat after me the Iraqi Army motto: "I surrender". Cold Fury has received an informative e-mail from a correspondent identified only as PaveLow John (but with accompanying photos indicating that this is the real deal). Read it and weep...with helpless laughter!

By the way, a dark but funny story from the other night. Up north in the main area of operation, an Army helicopter was making a routine Special Forces drop-off in a mountain landing zone. As they were flying out, a single guy with an AK opened up and nailed the tail gunner in the foot. However, the AC-130 gunship flying overhead rolled in and turned the fucker into a greasy spot on the sand. They had gun film of the whole thing and I guess it looked like someone dropping an anvil on a cockroach. I'm reminded of that old Daffy Duck cartoon where he blows a duck call and 50 hunters jump up and blast him with shotguns. That must be what the Al Quaida/Taliban feel like whenever they take potshots at U.S. aircraft.

Can we see the footage one of these days? That'd be worth seeing.


GENUINE ANTI-MUSLIM BIAS I've been rather sceptical about claims from Muslim organisations about an alleged anti-Muslim backlash since September 11th. The impression I have is that the non-Muslim populations in western nations have gone out of their way to be accomodating and understanding. No state-sponsored or encouraged or even winked-at persecution of Muslims has taken place, and it is unbelieveable that it ever will. Having said that, you'll always have your yobbo element. If you doubt it, ask you local neighbourhood Jew. There's always a few dickheads ready to have a go at anyone perceived as different. Such problems are best handled by the police. Or a fist in the guts if no one else is watching (bullies tend to crumple in the face of actual resistance). But now we have an example of what can only be described as genuine workplace harrasment of a Muslim, because of his Muslim faith. If the facts in this story from Australia's Channel Nine are correct, then this is something which needs to be squashed hard.

A Muslim IT worker claims he was discriminated against and threatened with the sack for taking a prayer break at work. The Australian Services Union (ASU) has taken up the case of TPG computer assembler Kamal El-Masri, whose religion requires him to pray five times a day. In a case to go before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) today, the union alleges TPG management last month issued written warnings to Mr El-Masri for taking unauthorised breaks. The union's claim said Mr El-Masri, who has worked at TPG on the assembly line for 18 months, had been given access to a prayer room at work. Two of Mr El-Masri's daily prayers fall within work time, one at lunch and one in the afternoon. But in its claim, the ASU said TPG management had taken away access to the prayer room and enforced a strict lunch break between noon and 1pm. Mr El-Masri had offered to shorten his lunch break to allow him to observe his religion and perform a five-minute afternoon prayer but management instead threatened him with the sack, the union claim said.

This guy has shown a degree of flexibility in his attempts to be a good worker and a good Muslim, which the company, on the face of it, has not reciprocated. Does the company feel that a five-minute prayer break (made up for with a shorter lunch break) will ruin productivity? So far we have not heard the company's side of the story, but I think it's important that people who take religion seriously not be discriminated against. Strictly Orthodox Jews, for example, have to pray three times a day, but there are fairly flexible schedules for this, and Mincha can usually be davened in a lunch break. But in winter, especially in higher latitudes, Friday afternoons need to be cut short so they can get home before Shabbat, and that might be a legitimate concern for an employer. Usually these things can be worked out with a little give and take. For example, I get Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur off, but I work Christmas Day and Easter. Swings and roundabouts. My father, when he was a recruiting officer for the Royal New Zealand Navy, once had a particularly good applicant who was a Sikh. He met all the requirements and was as keen as mustard, except for one thing. The Navy has a pretty strict uniform code, and sailors must display at all times a cap ribbon showing their ship (or shore base). But this applicant was adamant that his religious belief required him to wear a turban, rather than the regulation cap. Being a creative chap, Dad had a word with the legal people, and it was determined that it was the identifying ribbon that was the real requirement, rather than the style of headgear, and so they were able to sew the ribbon, saying "HMNZS Tamaki", onto the cloth in such a way that when the Sikh recruit wound it correctly, it was clearly visible, albeit at a rakish angle. He actually looked rather dashing, and went on to have a successful naval career. Mr El-Masri deserves our support for his stand, as his fight is for a goal we can all share in - a civilisation that accepts everyone as equal citizens.
You'll never look at VodkaPundit's tagline the same way again...
Take a look at this story from the observant scientists of Australia, then tell me if Stephen's title banner doesn't seem somewhat...err, suggestive?
American Honor - The Contract Stephen DenBeste was fortunate enough to be the recipient of one of the most moving letters I've read in quite a long time. It was written by Bill Whittle, and describes a small measure of the deep respect, honor and pride that America feels for the young men willing to defend her. Here is an exerpt -
The chaplain said, looking my stepmom in the eyes like this was the first time he'd ever said the words, that the men and women buried here had agreed to lay down their lives for their country and each other, and that THIS, not rank, or social status, or length in service, is what entitled them to be buried in America's most sacred ground. Before the ceremony, I was looking at the headstones, and it's sad how each area of Arlington is like a forlorn vintage: here are buried the veterans who died around 1995, here is the 1982 vintage, the mid-fifties crop over on yonder hill. And standing between a major and a Lt. Colonel, I saw a headstone for a PFC who was born in 1979, the year I entered college, and who had died in 1998. This young man, not even twenty, couldn't have been in the service for more than a few months, and yet there he lay, with the same headstone as colonels and majors and the many, many sergeants that cover those fields. THAT is American honor, and no where else in the world does it exist in such a naked, magnificent form. Each of these men and women, this band of brothers, receiving the same heartfelt RESPECT. For my father, who died at age 77, it was the honoring of a contract he had signed more than half a century before, defending Europe and helping bring those criminal bastards to justice. It was a contract paid in full, one that has given my family and me an indescribable sense of comfort and pride.
My heartfelt thanks and deepest respects to 2LT William Joseph Whittle, United States Army. Thank you Bill, may G-d bless you Bill, and may G-d bless your father.
My Work Here is Done I'm not a blogger and I set up Silent Running to fill the space left by War Now, that has been achieved and I am no longer needed to keep it going. I've managed to put together a team of writers who are much better equipped to do that job than I am. It is also clear that a couple of the other members of the team are uncomfortable with my declining to express unqualified and unconditional support to Israel so now would be a good time for me to withdraw before I'm accused of anti-Semitism as well as poor spelling.
THIS IS TOO COOL! I couldn't resist the teptation. I simply HAD to go to the Prior-Art-O-Matic and type in "Robert Fisk". Oh. My. God!

robert fisk is a chocolate bar that believes itself to be self-aware! It is smaller than a matchbox and plays the American national anthem.

Well...it will if you apply enough electric current!
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN KHAN YUNIS As reported at USAJewish. Not quite the ruthless machinegunning of a crowd of civillians headed for peaceful prayers at the mosque the media is feeding us. It's another Jenin lie. But tell enough of them and something will stick...

KHAN YUNIS, Gaza Strip, Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan Oct. 7,02 9 AM -- Dear Abba and Ima (Mom and Dad), I am back at the base after an all nighter in Gaza here. We received our orders yesterday after dinner that our groups will be going into the Khan Yunis area and the specific terrorist camp of El Amar. The Hamas and Fatah have been teaming up from this camp of El Amar for weeks to shoot the Kassam missiles and the mortars at Neve Dekalim and Kfar Darom. We were told to rest a few hours and then prepare for our movements during the night. Eli and I organized a late Maariv for Rosh Chodesh and both secular and of course the observant soldiers gathered for Maariv (evening prayers). We were already dressed in our battle fatigues with most of our faces painted out. I had never seen such an enthusiastic Maariv,rushed,but we were ready to go. We began to run along side our tanks,jeeps,and half tracks. Overhead we knew that we had helicopter cover for our mission. We had been told that IDF had not gone into this El Amar area in the past two years. Since last night's direct hit by a Kassam missile onto a house,we were told by our commander that we were going into search and destroy,both terrorists and their weapons,missiles,and rockets. At about 2 AM, we surrounded this camp which was empty of people. We began to go room to room and house to house. We encountered small arms fire and hand grenades as we began to fire in response. We found the first area of missiles and Kassam rockets already in position to be fired towards the neighboring areas of Neve Dekalim and Kfar Darom. I fired my gun at the terrorist who was 'handling' the rocket launcher. He smiled as he dropped and went to hell. Our comrades from the other units had been chasing armed terrorists who were running towards the mosque in El Amar. At 3 AM we knew that prayer time was over for now. Eli called me on the two way radio to tell me that there were a dozen or so terrorists running towards our area. We called for air cover and as the helicopters hovered above us as we continued to destroy the rockets and capture terrorists, the helicopters of the IAF let loose three missiles,to say goodbye to the dozen or so terrorists who received the direct 3 AM missiles. We began to regroup and we knew that we had destroyed lots of equipment and weapons. Suddenly another 40-50 terrorists started to run from the mosque towards Eli's division of Sayeret and Duvdevan units. We began to fire and the helicopters began more missile releases. We knew that we had hit hard and damaged much of the weapons and missiles. There were lots of injuries as we began to head towards our base. We of the IDF were proud as all of us returned safely and without injuries. Well, Ima and Abba, I am back, our units killed 11 or so terrorists,wounded lots more of terrorists, and Neve Dekalim is quiet this morning. I am late for tefilah, but I know I can still catch a "Hallel" and thank G-d for last night's protection over me and all the soldiers as we do avodat Hashem (God's work) to protect Jews here. Love, Segev


Makes the Case...
Alan Dershowitz rips the Anti Semetic Petition at Harvard to declare Israel a 'pariah' state, and divest from it. Like Charles at LGF says...
[He] has a history of being either spectacularly wrong (cough OJ cough) or spectacularly right
This falls into the spectacularly right category, folks. I may stop telling lawyer jokes. For a few hours.
Denial Springs Eternal
EJ Dionne takes up the left's soiled banner once again, insisting that theirs are Voices That Must Be Heard (washingtonpost.com). Ok, yes, they must be heard...but heard, and heard, and heard, and heard, and oh yes, heard some more? Almost makes you look forward to the next long car trip and a rousing rendition of "100 bottles of beer on the wall". This pretty much sums up how deep in denial he is about the whole thing
The public's ambivalence is obvious from the polls. Most Americans share Bush's view of Saddam Hussein as a dangerous tyrant, think the world would be better off without him and fear what would happen if Hussein ever got his hands on nuclear weapons.
Even though it isn't what he means, he is right, most Americans are ambivalent about the whiny doubts from those without realistic alternatives, just more whiny doubts. Doubts which of couse he visits all over again like a stray dog wandering the neighborhood, stopping just long enough to give each one a fresh squirt and freshen up the scent. He does break up the monotony by gushing out the realization that maybe the Dems are being led around by the nose. Ya think?
The principled hawks, the moderate doubters and the consultants were all ripe for Bush's picking, so it's not surprising that Bush will win a strong war resolution. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle -- pity him his job of having to hold this mess of views together -- essentially threw in the towel on Sunday when he said that he, too, was inclined to vote with Bush.
Poor Tommy, having to throw in the towel like that. Something he could actually use for his next spittle flinging rant on the Senate floor about an out of context quote. But still, deep in the thrall of denial, there's this
The party of ambivalence has just one advantage: It speaks for a large section of the nation, perhaps a majority.
To quote the man in the plaid shirt - "I don't think so, Tim"
Is this for real?
A friend of mine sent me this today - Can't verify its origin and can't tell if its is a doctored shot, but it doesn't look it. Unintentional Left bias slip?

If anyone can confirm or deny..... UPDATE:Thanks to astute reader Budd White for spotting that this one is a fake! Well, damn, but at least I can still go for that $23 Million dollar Nigerian deal, and...
Police Sonar?
Tim Blair has pointed out an amusement for those of us with way too much time on our hands. Just enter a name, and a description of the finer points of whatever is entered is returned. Fun toy, but it raises some interesting questions - LGF is recycleable? Meryl has helped with the self-confidence, but what's the deal on the Police Sonar? Does Laurence's site generate a huge electric bill? Of note for Silent Running - 'takes high-quality digital photos' (you bet we do, from any source we can...) UPDATE:Misha's is well, cryptic, but somehow prescient; Rottweiller gets this. Heat? I'll say!
Pictures, everybody wants to see 'em
Here's the candid photos the Pres mentioned last night (From The Corner)
"SWEET ENOLA GAY SON...!" There's just something about R Lee Emery that makes you automatically snap to attention and start sweating about what he's going to make you and the rest of your squad do if you don't do exactly what he says, when he says. When they were casting "Full Metal Jacket", they brought him on board to show them how a Marine Corps drill instructor does his job, and so terrifying and intimidating was he that they offered him the part.

Former US Marines Drill Instructor R. Lee Ermey was hired as a consultant on how to drill USMC style. He performed a demonstration on videotape in which he yelled obscene insults and abuse non-stop for fifteen minutes without stopping, repeating himself, or even flinching - despite being continuously pelted with tennis balls and oranges. Director Stanley Kubrick was so impressed that he cast Ermey as Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann.

Maybe they had to, or he'd have told Stanley Kubrick to "drop and give me twenty boy, and if you can't do it I will personally rip your guts out, tear your head off, gouge your eyes out of their sockets and personally skull-fuck you!" Anyhow, he takes a political position somewhat apart from that of the current intellectual leader of Holloywood, Ms Streisand, and isn't ashamed to make that perfectly plain.

R Lee Ermey, who made his name as the fearsome drill sergeant in the film Full Metal Jacket, told The Telegraph that Streisand's views were far from representative of Hollywood as a whole. "Once again, Barbra Streisand has opened her alligator-sized mouth wide before her humming-bird brain has had a chance to catch up," said Ermey. "Of course, she has the right to her opinion, but what she does is use the 'bully pulpit', helped by her fame, and people think she's talking for Hollywood." Ermey, an ex-marine and outspoken supporter of Mr Bush and the war on terror, continued: "We need to do something about the situation before it turns round and bites us in the ass. Democrats are criticising President Bush for not spotting signs that 9/11 was coming. But they don't want him to act to stop the next disaster. Ms Streisand does not speak for me or many other folks in this business."

Or in other words...

Who said that? Who the fuck said that? Who's the slimy little communist shit, tinkle-toed cocksucker down here who just signed her own death warrant? Nobody, huh?! The fairy fucking godmother said it! Out-fucking-standing! I will PT you until you fucking die! I'll PT you until your asshole is sucking buttermilk. "Prince of Tides" was a goddamn disgrace. Do you call that acting? DO YOU? Jesus Christ on a crutch, my six year old neice can act better than that. My wife took me to see "Funny Lady" TWICE and I didn't laugh ONCE! Six laps of the studio perimeter in fifteen minutes or you'll be doing cameo appearences in Adam Sandler movies for the rest of your life! You had best un-fuck yourself or I will unscrew your head and shit down your neck!

A READER WRITES Don't get mad - get even. That's what one alert Silent Running reader has done after reading a particularly egregious leader in today's Observer. Here's what the editorial had to say.

President Bush once again places the electoral interests of his party first. [ ... ] Last night was Mr Bush's chance to show doubters at home as well as abroad that he is not deliberately setting the UN inspection bar so high as to make it unacceptable, and thus render war inevitable. But he also has to dispel an impression – which in these last weeks has only grown – of a President playing politics with war, and using a faraway tyrant to split his Democratic opponents and obscure the issues that really matter to ordinary Americans. Such clever politics may pay dividends in the short term. But if the going gets rough over Iraq, that cynicism may come back to haunt him.

Oh super. And here's the letter our correspondent sent off in response.

I have just finished reading your penetrating and incisive editorial on President Bush’s speech, which you wrote several hours before he actually gave the speech. Now I guess I must admit that I am probably one of the quintessentially uninformed, ignorant, knuckle-dragging, unsophisticated, simplistic, war-mongering Americans that I regularly read about in your paper, so please bear with me. I do regularly read your paper, and although I find most of your positions delusional, I will credit you with an occasional glimmer of intelligence and common sense. With this latest editorial you have excelled in describing what you wish for rather than providing an accurate and truthful assessment. To invoke Rudyard Kipling, you have excelled at playing the knave by twisting words to make a trap for fools. I cannot begin to adequately express how profoundly you misunderstand and misinterpret Americans. I can only conclude that the only people you talk to over here are the looney left or the smug, arrogant chattering classes – idiotarians is the new, eminently accurate colloquial term. To address a few of your points (although to dignify them as points gives far too much credit to your brand of yellow journalism): 1. No, we don’t want to fight a war. Nor do we really want to have anything to do with Iraq. However, we recognize the unpleasant necessity of fighting if Iraq fails to disarm. And we have no illusions whatsoever that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, will ever voluntarily disarm. So we will fight and we will win. 2. No, we don’t want to fight alone. We would prefer to have reliable, sensible, determined allies who see clearly what is at stake, understand the risks and uncertainties, and have the courage to stand with us. Admittedly, allies with those qualifications appear few and far between right now. But make absolutely no mistake: we will fight utterly and totally alone, if necessary. Not by choice, but as a result of failure of will by good people deluded by newspapers like yours. 3. Yes, we are very worried about the economy. As you should be. But we recognize that to a great extent terrorism, Iraq, and the economy are now inextricably linked together. There is no going back to the way it was before September 11, 2001. We also recognize that abject appeasement, suffocating eurosocialism, and hand-wringing timidity are not the solution. We sort of like what President Bush said: “We will not live in fear.” That attitude is also a start to fixing the economy. 4. Yes, we are tired of hearing about Iraq. We should have finished the job after the First Gulf War, but we were too nice. We will finish the job this time, and until Saddam Hussein and his murderous goons are gone, there will be no nice about it. 5. No we are not playing politics with war. Neither is President Bush. We are going to fight a war, if we have to. And you would do well not to get in our way. Because we are not playing. We are serious, determined, and ruthless to a degree you do not even begin to comprehend. After it is over and Iraq can join the community of free nations, then we will go home, drink beer, watch TV, and leave you more nuanced, ever-so-sophisticated Europeans free to dither around as you please. Until some other group of maniacs again manages to get us as deeply and ruthlessly angry as we are now. 6. No, we don’t want any of this. But some crazed, delusional religious fanatics and some utterly disgusting dictators have made it matter. So there it is. We have it, and we are not going to sit around over here wringing our hands about it. We are going to go over and do something about it. So to summarize, much of what you say in your editorial is superficially accurate. But you fail miserably to see below the surface. The truth is there for you to see, but your preconceptions, smug ideology, pseudo-sophistication, and arrogance blind you to the deeper truths. Now I would not want to leave you with the impression that I do not like England. The UK is a great country, a great and noble ally. In spite of the delusional and ill-informed screeds that papers like yours pump out, your Prime Minister has had the courage to stand up and be counted. I do not for a moment believe your paper comes anywhere close to representing anything but a small deluded fraction of the British people. Maybe I am as ill-informed about the British as you are about Americans, but I don’t think so. Get on a plane. Come over here. Visit with people other than fellow travelers of your ilk. Come and get a breath of fresh air. Come and taste freedom, common sense, determination, and optimism. But whatever you do, don’t live in fear and delude others to live in fear by twisting our words to make a trap for fools. Just another dumb American.

Obviously not that dumb. At least he doesn't condemn speeches that haven't been delivered yet. I hope the Observer can explain this phenomenon, and without recourse to "rips in the fabric of the space-time continum". That excuse has already been used to explain Strom Thurmond's presence in the Senate, and not very convincingly at that.
1943 JEWISH AGGRESSION AGAINST NAZI FORCES IN WARSAW TO BE PROBED Here we go with the moral equivalency, and the reasoned arguments and the calls for balance and the riots and the hitting people and the 100% chance of horrifying PAIN! Oh god.... Okay, you know how it's open season on Jews at universities across North America? You've all heard about what happened at SFSU and how the university is still attempting to blame "both sides" for the anti-semitic attack. And whathappened at Cocordia and so on and so forth. Well, fear not, O Children of Israel! Action is finally at hand! Or at least coming soon. pending discussions. After a few revisions. When the time is right. Er...

More than 300 university and college presidents have signed a petition calling for "intimidation-free" campuses so pro-Israeli students will not be hassled for their beliefs, a Jewish advocacy group said Friday. The petition calls for debates on the Middle East conflict to be "conducted without threats, taunts, or intimidation.".

Excellent, Good move. Step in the right direction. Attend university and maybe you might come through the experience alive, and with all your teeth. Reasonable. Go on...

Muslim advocates and some educators are concerned the petition, which will be released Monday by the American Jewish Committee with a full-page ad in The New York Times, only mentions Jewish students as subjects of such harassment.

Because you KNOW about the reign of terror being waged by Hillel chapters, all those Muslim students being ambushed and killed and their blood drained to make pesach matzos. Oh yes, those aggressive Jews and their thuggish assaults against the poor defenceless put-upon Muslims, it's a well known fact. Well, actually it isn't, but give CAIR a few weeks and they'll damn well MAKE it a well-known fact. And speak of the devil...

Hodan Hassan, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, argued that it was Arab and Muslim students who were being intimidated on campus, not pro-Israeli groups, especially since Sept. 11. Students are growing more aware of Palestinian suffering and Israel supporters have confused that change with discrimination, Hassan said. "If we're going to address the situation on campuses with regard to intimidation it needs to be fair and balanced," she said. [ ... ] As many as a dozen college presidents and academics declined to sign the statement because it didn't include a condemnation of discrimination against other minority and ethnic groups. One of the original signers, William M. Chace, the president of Emory University, told The Times he withdrew his signature because he felt the petition needed to be "more symmetrical."

A sphere is symmterical. A square is symmetrical. A human body is an example of radial symmetry. Having Jewish students virtually being hunted for sport by leftists and Muslims on college campuses across America with apparent legal impunity is NOT symmetrical. Frankly this whole thing is blatantly anti-symmetric!


Fans to band: BUZZ THIS! This is a little bit of alright - as reported by Larry Miller in the Weekly Standard - And Now, Some Good News Apparently , the band 'Buzzcocks' lead singer, between songs, yells out to the punk rock audience in L.A. -
To which the audience reacted thusly -
There was a long pause, complete silence. And then they started. The boos. One here, one there. Then everyone. Everyone. Louder and louder.
I think Larry sums it up pretty well with this
But that was a heck of a nice surprise from these kids, wasn't it? Black boots and nose rings and tattoos, but they knew, to a person, what was right. They might not be able to point out the no-fly zones on a map, but they knew what was right.
Cool beans. Larry does note that the media coverage seems to have missed that part of the event
By the way, the punk festival was reviewed by Robert Hilburn in the Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, September 17, front page of the Calendar Arts and Entertainment section. I'm looking at it now. No mention of any of this. Of course not. Not newsworthy.
All in all, maybe there is some hope yet. (Link found at Occam's Toothbrush)
Well, I guess the 'holding my family hostage' excuse is out the window
In a move that will probably leave casual observers confused as to the ultimate goal of his re-election campaign (is it for Congress or to be Poster Boy for the local chapter of the Tin Foil Hat Brigade?), US Representative Jim 'Bahgdad' McDermott revealed that he has determined that President Bush is actually trying to become Emperor Bush the First. I guess no one told him that Misha already claimed the title. The story, as reported in The Seattle Times: has the following quotes -
"This president is trying to bring to himself all the power to become an emperor — to create Empire America," he said And he warned his supporters, "If you go along like sheep that is what will happen."
"Oil is certainly a part of it but I don't think it's the underlying issue." The underlying issue, he said repeatedly, is a fight over the Constitutional power to declare war. "People that I trust say if we don't derail this coup that is going on, we are going to wind up with a government run by the president of the United States and all the rest of us will be standing around just watching it happen."
I wonder if those people he trusts include Bonior and Saddam. I am glad he brought this up though, I wasn't aware there was a question of who actually gets to declare war (hint: a legislative body, two seperate chambers, one called the Senate, the other called the House...sometimes meet in a large white domed building, and get lots of CSPAN coverage). And it is a rather radical idea, what, a government actually run by the President of the United States. Naaaah, never catch on. To their credit, some folks in the great Northwest have noted that their esteemed representative is about as loony as a toon.
State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said McDermott's comments about a coup "were the most irresponsible thing I've ever heard an American politician say."
He must have missed Jim's sound bites from last week...
"The president is not trying to bypass Congress," Vance said. "He's taking his case to Congress." "If President Bush is engaged in a coup then his co-conspirators are Richard Gephardt and Joseph Lieberman," he said, referring to Democratic leaders.
Some folks did show up with signs to express their opinions of Mr. McDermott -
"Saddam Good — Bush Bad. This is Baghdad Jim's Mind On Drugs," said a sign carried by Brandon Swalley of Lakewood. "I think he should be thrown out," she said.
Pretty much sums it up. But, Jim apparently does have followers, and apparently not sheerly out of morbid curiosity as to what idiotic thing he'll get up to next...
Inside the crowd was heavily in favor of McDermott's view. When opponents took a microphone to talk, they were shouted at and told to get to their question. Supporters, though, were able to talk uninterrupted and give anti-war speeches.
And the fine toleration by the left to calm, rational discussion continues unabated...
We Refuse to live in Fear
President Bush has just finished making his address from Cincinatti. Although I was absolutely convinced of the case beforehand, he did an outstanding job of connecting the dots, and answering the 'what if' crowd. He hit all the points, and answered them well. The heat on congress just got bumped up a notch, and its now going to start getting warm for the Security Council. The left is currently scrambling in a half hearted attempt to come up with new "But what about..." lines. Yep, just a half witted cowboy, as far as they know. (heh heh)
Is somebody starting to finally get it? A little bit maybe?
(Link found at LGF)
A Palestinian father wrote the following letter to Al-Hayat - his son had followed the call to turn himself into a human bomb in an attempt to murder as many Israelis as possible. Here is his letter, as quoted by MEMRI:
"I can find no better words with which to begin my letter than the words of Allah, in his precious book [the Koran]: 'Act for the sake of Allah, and do not throw yourselves to destruction with your own hands.'(2) I write this letter with a languishing heart and with eyes that have not ceased weeping. We must, today more than at any other time, obey this Koranic verse, act for the sake of Allah, and refrain from carrying out acts that will throw us to destruction." 'Friends Persuaded My Son to Blow Himself Up; Now They Are After His Brother' "Four months ago, I lost my eldest son when his friends tempted him, praising the path of death. They persuaded him to blow himself up in one of Israel's cities. When the pure body of my son was scattered all over, my last signs of life also dispersed, along with hope and my will to exist. Since that day, I am like [an] apparition walking the earth, not to mention that I, my wife, and my other sons and daughters have become displaced since the razing of the home in which we lived." "But the last straw was when I was informed that the friends of my eldest son the martyr were starting to wrap themselves like snakes around my other son, not yet 17, to direct him to the same path towards which they had guided his brother, so that he would blow himself up too to avenge his brother, claiming 'he had nothing to lose.'" "From the blood of the wounded heart of a father who has lost what is most precious to him in the world, I turn to the leaders of the Palestinian factions, and at their head the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their sheikhs, who use religious rulings and statements to urge more and more of the sons of Palestine to their deaths – knowing full well that sending young people to blow themselves up in the heart of Israel deters no enemy and liberates no land. On the contrary, [it] intensifies the aggression, and after every such operation, civilians are killed, homes are razed, and Palestinian cities and villages are reoccupied." 'Who Gave Them the Legitimacy to Send Our Children to Their Deaths?' "Then these leaders and spokesmen appear [in the media] to threaten the enemy with even graver acts of vengeance for their barbaric deeds. They push more young people to their deaths." "I ask, on my behalf and on behalf of every father and mother informed that their son has blown himself up: 'By what right do these leaders send the young people, even young boys in the flower of their youth, to their deaths?' Who gave them religious or any other legitimacy to tempt our children and urge them to their deaths?" 'Death, Not Martyrdom' "Yes, I say 'death,' not 'martyrdom.' Changing and beautifying the term, or paying a few thousand dollars to the family of the young man who has gone and will never return, does not ease the shock or alter the irrevocable end. The sums of money [paid] to the martyrs' families cause pain more than they heal; they make the families feel that they are being rewarded for the lives of their children." "Do the children's lives have a price? Has death become the only way to restore the rights and liberate the land? And if this be the case, why doesn't a single one of all the sheikhs who compete amongst themselves in issuing fiery religious rulings, send his son? Why doesn't a single one of the leaders who cannot restrain himself in expressing his joy and ecstasy on the satellite channels every time a young Palestinian man or woman sets out to blow himself or herself up send his son?" "Why, until this very moment, haven't we seen one of the sons, or daughters, of any of these people don an explosive belt and go out to carry out in deed, not in words, what their fathers preach day and night?" "Are Jihad, martyrdom, and pointless death restricted to a single sector [of the people], without concerning another sector? Doesn't what applies to the sons and daughters of the general public apply [also] to the [leaders'] own sons and daughters? How long will this steadfast people continue to pay the price for the idiotic policy that has proved a colossal failure at obtaining even a tiny part of the usurped Palestinian rights?" 'With the Outbreak of the Intifada, the Leaders Sent Their Sons Abroad' "But what tears at the soul, pains the heart, and brings tears to the eyes more than anything else is the sight of these sheikhs and leaders evading sending their sons into the fray – such as Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Isma'il Abu Shanab, and Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Rantisi. The moment the Intifada broke out, Al-Zahar sent his son Khaled to America; Abu Shanab sent his son Hassan to Britain; and [as she stated to the press], Rantisi's wife has refrained from sending her son Muhammad to blow himself up. Instead, she sent him to Iraq, to complete his studies there." Endnotes: (1) Al-Hayat (London), October 1, 2002. (2) Koran 2:195.
The price of this man's pain, and the lesson it has taught him are high. But that his fellow Palestinians could learn the lesson in an easier fashion.
NEW MAP! Observe on the left our new guest map has gone in as part of our over-haul and general colour adding. Go on click on it and stick a pin in the map, you know you want to. (Saftey tip: This is done electronicly, do not use thumb tacks on the monitor.)
Supremes Duck and Weave, Dems Chicanery Unreversed
As described in this article from CBS News, the US Supreme Court declined to get into the mess going on in New Jersey's Senate Race. I guess this means that the constituency in New Jersey is now officially very, very small, consisting only of the members of the State Supreme Court. The State Legislature may as well spend more time at home with their families, or go out shopping, or take in a few movies. No need to show up and go through all the hassle of arguing over the wording of this bill or that law - the NJ Supremes are just going to do what their buds want them too, regardless. Them stinkin rats whats in the legislature? Fuhggedaboudit! Lautenberg retired two years ago. Lets hope the people of New Jersy re-elect him into that role. Not that I'm a partisan supporter of Mr. Forrester - but the way this has shaken out raises the spectre of political parties 'candidate shopping' up until the very last minute. And anyone that doesn't have the impression that 'the fix was in' well before Mr. Torricelli ascended the podium to announce his withdrawl probably does ok, so long as no one trips over the power cord to their ventilator. I believe the most fitting phrase in Spanish would be - Jodido.
Fourteen fundamental points on the Middle East
David G. Littman details these very important, documented points on the Middle East. Very handy information. Very clarifying information. Essential information. Go. Read it. (Link from National Review Online)
It is too early to tell for sure what has caused the explosion of the French oil tanker. If, as the owners suspect, it was indeed a terrorist attack, it will be interesting to see how it plays out in French politics. Given the fact that there were no casualties, I am afraid it is not very likely to change the French attitudes towards the war. Such change can only come as a result of a massive political pressure from the French people.That, in turn, can only be caused by an event with a tremendous shock value, such as a terrorist attack with a large number of French casualties. I am wondering how likely is anything like that to happen? Steve Denbeste has repeatedly stressed the short term self-interests behind the European opposition to the war on Iraq, such as oil prices, and their troublesome muslim populations. I am wondering if they have ever considered how long can they appease the Genie that they helped let out of the bottle. This post by Instapundit is also relevant to the subject.
More on the 'Universal Translators'
Mentioned it before, and to follow up, here's an article on the devices actually being sent for field use. Neat concept. Parents worldwide are awaiting availability of the version that speaks 'teenager'.
YOU MEAN IT ISN'T CAUSED BY CIA MIND-CONTROL SATELLITES? Richard Poe asks the question - why is the blogosphere conservative? And comes up with some interesting observations.

The leftists are whining again again. In the ‘80s, they sniveled, "Why is talk radio right-wing?" In the ‘90s, they wept, "Why do conservatives rule the Internet?" Now a new version of the same old complaint has arisen: "Why are all the blog sites conservative?" The answer to all three questions is the same. Talk radio, webzines, list servers, message boards and now blog sites have one thing in common. They are interactive. They let people talk back. Consequently, it is physically impossible for new media to do what old media did – that is, to shove unpopular ideas down peoples’ throats and pretend that the audience likes it. Such tactics simply don’t work in the blogosphere. When people get a chance to speak without censorship, they say things you would never hear on CNN or NBC. They vent their contempt for the Left, and express their resentment of Big Media for pushing leftist ideas. No gatekeeper or force field excludes leftists from the blogosphere. It’s just that their feeble little voices get drowned out by the crowd.

It might be better if I ask the question, why am I conservative? Gee. maybe it's got something to do with that whole being under attack by medieval fanatics who won't rest until I and my entire people have been slaughtered thing, maybe that's a factor. Then there's the always useful "I'd prefer to remain alive thanks very much, and if that means I have to kill you, then I guess that's a price you'll just have to pay"


Silent Running Wins Award!!! Emperor Misha I at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler (HQ of the Rottweiler Empire, an affiliate of the VRWC) has awarded us the "Imperial Order of the Template" which we are told we should wear with pride... gosh. Apparently it doesn’t come with a cash grant so it's still BYO at the weekly meetings team. Suddenly my civil war uniform looks a hell of a lot less eccentric doesn't it.
Truth in Advertising Laws bite a chunk out of Alan Jones' ass. Visit Hot Buttered Death to view. WARNING swallow your milo before linking!
Spaghetti Eating Surrender Monkey’s I see the anti war protests in Italy actually attracted a few people. Looks like it’s a race between them and the French over who gets to surrender first. The Italians had Rome, the French had Napoleon, since then it seems to have been a competition over who gets to be the most fucking spineless. Fine just try to stay the hell out of the way while someone else covers your ass for a change will you?
Anti-War Blogburst?
Glenn Reynolds points out a challenge to the logically impaired to launch a letter writing and e-mail campaign to their Congressional Representatives opposing an affirmative vote on the resolution on Iraq, then turn it into a blogburst. The example that Glenn found of an over eager beaver for the effort contains all the same tired old leftist whines - and they don't get better with age. Emphasis mine -
After waging an undeclared (and unconstitutional) war on the Iraqi people for the past decade via bombings and embargoes...
But, aren't those UN sanctioned? Oh, I'm jumping ahead...continue, please
So Iraq agreed to let in our weapons inspectors. And now we're going to invade anyway??
Actually not everywhere, and the invasion thing isn't as foregone a conclusion as all that...Saddam could drop all conditions and turn over everything, and maybe get out of this by the skin of his teeth. Oh sorry to interrupt Despite the fact that Iraq has met our demands?
ah, no, he hasn't
Despite the fact that no credible link has been established between Iraq and the September 11th attacks?
Might want to check with the Czechs on that one, but, go on...
Despite the fact that Iraq is no worse than dozens of other tinpot oppressive dictatorships around the globe (many of which actually possess weapons of mass destruction right now, rather than in some imagined future)?
Ok, there may be more naughty kids that need a good spanking, but most of them don't shoot at our airplanes, and harbor terrorists, or try to assassinate our former Presidents. And like you said, some of the other bastards already have nukes. You want one more?
And despite the fact that whatever weapons of mass destruction Hussein may have, he (not being suicidal) is unlikely to use except in the event of an invasion, when he has nothing left to lose?
You know for a fact he isn't suicidal? You been talking to his shrink? He has some nasty toys now...let this fester and he gets more, and scarier nasty toys, when he could truly live up to his aspirations of nuisance making
To invade Iraq on such shaky pretexts would be to declare to the world that when it comes to the Middle East, our favoured[sic] policy is one of force unrestrained by law.
Ah, the moot 'international law' argument. Wonder what they'll decide that means -next- week
No move could be better calculated to destroy our international credibility. And no move could be better calculated to win more angry recruits for our terrorist enemies.
By credibility is he referring to the credibility that we lost over the years, the credibility that we'd actually stand up for ourselves, and dish some payback to those that threaten or attacked us? Deciding 'bastante' of Saddam will get some of that back, and give all those potential recruits something to chew on besides a pliant target. How does he think that it came to be that a buncha loons living in caves thought they could mess with us and prevail?
America cannot afford to tarnish its honour by engaging in such an act of naked aggression.
So I guess he figures we should just roll over and die, so our untarnished honour can be preserved unscathed.
America cannot afford to spread its already overextended military resources and personnel still further.
Dude, we got guys in line waiting to take a number to get in on this one...
And finally, given the shaky state of the economy, America just plain cannot afford the massive tax increases and/or deficit spending with which a full-scale war would burden your constituents
Minor point, but who is talking tax increases? Deficit spending, maybe, in the short term, but this isn't going to take long, and will probably ultimately cost a lot less than the willy nilly upwardly moving scare mongering numbers some liberals keep tossing out
The Constitution does not authorise[sic] the United States to act as the world's policeman. And our attempts to do so, spilling much blood and treasure in the process, have only made the world more, not less, dangerous.
Wrong war pal, Korea was the 'police action', this is more the garden variety 'enemies, foreign and domestic' action. Guess they really like that 'blood and treasure' line - catchier than references to body bags or body counts I guess. Another scare mongering overestimation that will most likely not come close to panning out. The only significant increase in danger comes if your last name is Hussein, and you're listed under various addresses in Baghdad
And so the world turns. Chicken Littles versus Chicken Hawks (and pure Hawks, too) The situation is one that requires action. The potential outcomes of delay are much worse to contemplate, and the time of whistling and hoping for sunny skies will have to be put on hold for a bit. While it is not yet a forgone conclusion that there will be total war (which, if I'm not mistaken, can be turned off all the way up until the weapons release for the first time on target of the campaign), the pot is too rich to fold because of what we know to be bluff. And we cannot waiver from the position that Saddam's continued attempts to obtain horrific weapons, which he has a track record of using, is completely and totally unacceptable, and we are willing to (finally) do something about it.
So, here's a counter letter to cut paste and send to DC - ----------------------------------------------------------- Dear Senator (-----)/Congressman/woman (------), I fully support the resolution to allow the President of the United States to use force, should it be necessary, in Iraq. Please vote to provide the President with such authorization. Thank you for your consideration, and continued service to our Nation. Your constituent, (Name goes here) ------------------------------------------------------- Short, to the point, unequivocal, and easy to count. House addresses via this page and Senate Addresses via This one Have fun out there!
Joseph Alexander Norland is working on a project: he is putting together "talking points" on why we should oppose a creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. We have been corresponding about the issue, and while writing a response to his last e-mail, I thought I'd post it instead, to show our faithful readers that we do consider serious issues here, well, seriously once in a while: Joseph, I read the points. You are right, they are not new, but organizing them is very useful. That is actually the reason I wanted to read it. What I have found so far is that when people argue about this issue, the opponents [of an arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza] - such as you and I - mostly talk about the present and the past, while the proponents mostly talk about the present and the future. We say that historically Jews have more rights to that land than Arabs do, and the Arab past and present violence demonstrates that any future state they form will be violent as well. Proponents either slightly disagree with the interpretation of history, or deliberately ignore it all together, instead focusing on the future.. They see the creation of a Palestinian state as the only way to defuse the current violence (present), and argue that it is also the only possible future scenario, if Israelis and Palestinian Arabs are not to kill each other off entirely. I like the latter direction for a debate better than the former. It does not mean that we should ignore history. It also does not mean that I agree with the arguments the proponents make about the present and the future. But I do agree that we have to look to the future, while not forgetting the lessons of the past and the present. This is the only way to a constructive debate, which in turn is the only way to a viable solution. This is also the more difficult way, because most people (unlike some in the media) are unable to predict the future. But there some things we do know and can work with. The most obvious one to me is the future war in Iraq and the subsequent destabilization of the entire region. Depending which side of the debate you are on, it is either a bug or a feature, but there will be such a destabilization, and it will have some profound consequences on the Conflict, although it is difficult to say what exactly. Another thing we know becomes quite obvious by simply looking at a map: no sovereign state can be viable within the proposed borders, that is to say squeezed between the 67 borders and Jordan, while Gaza strip is entirely disconnected. There is also the water issue, on which I personally don't know much, and on which would like to hear from others who are more knowledgeable. And two last points: it is a given to the proponents that the Palestinian Arabs have to have a sovereign state, and that such a state has to be located next to Israel. I do not think these two things are necessarily a given for a viable solution. I think there is much room here for a creative, "out-of-the-box" thinking, and I have not seen much of it so far. So, which one of you, ladies and gents, is willing to take a shot? Hey, if Kissinger could not do it, does not mean you can't!
Hey, go be social!
Stop by and wish Israeli Guy Gil Shterzer a belated happy birthday. He turned an ancient 24 on Saturday. Neat Tank picture, too.
Now who says that Amir Butler doesn't enjoy a totally sick bit of humor now and again Why else would he have put this on his blog?

I guess Amir likes it, he posted it without comment, and that could be taken I suppose as a tacit endorsement. He must've enjoyed it for humor value, as the site it comes from is way too over the top to be taken seriously. Maybe Amir is a closet warmonger and he just hasn't worked himself up to coming out? Hmmmm.
Cyber-Jihadis launch D.O.S. assault Guess this is as close to strapping on a bomb and running into a pizza joint as you can get in cyberspace. May not really blow anything up, but hopefully it could get the ClearGuidance crowd killed off the net if they piss off enough ISPs. Charles has an example of them planning the assault, although by the looks of it its a wonder they could pull it off. How will Yasser and Saddam PayPal them if they get kicked off the net? How big is the payoff for a 'suicide TCP packet'? Boneheads.
Sunday Afternoon Ruminations
Looking around for things to blog this morning, came across the aptly named Yellow.org. A 'target rich environment' to be sure, filled with lots of things portrayed in very, very scary manners, hence the suitability of the name - either they're appealing to such a streak or hoping to invoke a condition wherein that is the color of the pool at your feet after reading the thing. Actually, it comes up short on both accounts, mainly because of the shrill, radical nature of most of the content, which relies on assumptions of diabolical intent from anybody but the truly diabolical.

Lots of material, so where to begin? How about a shrill squeal about Oil for Blood? by Bridget Gibson, describing the left's alternate reality vis-à-vis the new National Security Strategy, Sure, why not.
Last week an unprecedented thing happened to our country. After two hundred and twenty-six years, our national policy was altered in a manner that should make every citizen of this country question their heart and determine exactly what they envision for their future.
Nice appealing emotional lead off, however statement of a strong and solid national policy is not quite unprecedented particularly when it comes to the protection of our national interests. A relevant passage from such a document -
It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments; and to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.
Yes, this quotation is extracted from the Monroe doctrine, a response to growing external threat to the United States. The most widely accepted interpretation of this doctrine holds that Monroe only intended it apply in the Western Hemisphere, however, it is equally clear this is in response to foreign shenanigans. This passage on that point speaks very clearly to us in the present, 179 years later.
This Administration has unveiled a doctrine of unbridled greed and lust for the death and destruction of other nations, void of conscience and compassion. The Bush Doctrine, if implemented, will take us from a country of justice and order and place the United States into the position of global despot.
Greed and lust? I must have missed the passage that ended with something like 'just like bubba Timujin'. Must have been a tremendous waste of time and printing effort to include the sections on Championing Human Dignity; Working with Others to Diffuse Regional Conflict; Ignite a New Era of Global Economic Growth through Free Markets and Free Trade; and Expanding the Circle of Development by Opening Societies and Building the Infrastructure of Democracy. Quite despotic, indeed. Makes you wonder if she actually read the document, or just reflexively flew off into this tizzy.
I will not now, or ever, defend Saddam Hussein as a kind and just man.
It is an encouraging sign that at least she concedes the minor points, at any rate, unlike some of our legislators. She's dangerously close to losing that self-righteous bubble, and lapsing into making sense.
But I will say that millions of civilian Iraqis have lives and value just as the civilians of our nation. If they are not allowed to live their lives without the fear of our country bombing and terrorizing them through words and actions of aggression, it is because we, the people of the United States, refuse to shoulder our responsibilities to live honest and decent lives and to hold our government accountable for its actions.
Nice save! They're scared because we refuse to live as Ostriches with our heads firmly buried in the sand...doesn't have a thing to do with the lecherous, power hungry megalomaniac running their country. Absolutely not. This is part of the larger point, in that Iraqi citizens have lives and value - which is actually appreciated more by the United States than their own leader. He's demonstrated his value for their lives by choosing to upgrade the gold fixtures in the guest bathrooms for visiting apologists and low lifes such as Farrakhan, Bonior, and MacDermott over using the funds to improve the average Iraqi's daily lot in life with frivolities such as clean water, adequate foodstuffs, and medical facilities.
After the deaths of 3,000 people and the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, George Bush said that your civic responsibility was to shop and spend and travel to Disney World; he suggested we buy stocks in the companies that represent America. He did not call upon us to sacrifice anything. He encouraged us to become even more irresponsible and feckless.
Or the alternate view, that he was just beginning to call us back from the waking dream state of irresponsibility and fecklessness - I guess its just a matter of perspective. So give the President some points off for not being as succinct as FDR with his 'we have nothing to fear but fear itself' line, but the point here was the same - in a consumer driven economy, allow fear to divert folks from the activities that feed the economic cycle, and guess what...it slows down. Not that anyone on the left really gets this, and that it is much more convenient to hop up and down ranting about increased unemployment, since it adds fuel to their 'defenders of the victimized' illusion.
He and his Administration have stonewalled and attempted to keep the facts of the occurrences of that crystal clear September morning hidden from view. He has called for a 'limited' investigation and now wants a 'focused' committee that doesn't ask questions about what our security agencies or his Administration knew before September 11.
Could it be that maybe he realizes the absolute waste of finger pointing and grandstanding for its own sake? To produce yet another voluminous study, the recommendations of which will likely be ignored, detailing the widely acknowledged shortcomings of the system created by those that would lead such examinations? We have the reports. We have the recommendations. Do we really need another self-licking ice cream cone to rehash it all over again, with a tremendous amount of self aggrandizement and faux self-righteous shock and surprise doled out in 20 second sound bites? Thank you, no.
Condoleezza Rice lied when she said that there were no warnings about using airplanes as weapons against civilian populations. The FBI lied when it said that it had no warnings. The CIA lied when it said there were no signs.

They all lied to us then and they are lying to us now.
This is otherwise known in astute pre-school circles as the famous 'liar, liar, pants on fire' critique. If you really check what was said, by whom, you quickly find that the upper management said they were unaware of the information, not that it absolutely did not exist. Big difference. There were many, many threads that are easily recognizable in hindsight, however, before the fact, they unfortunately were not distinguished from any of the hundreds if not thousands of 'indicators' available by being helpfully illuminated in glaring, blinking, neon lights. I guess its only PC sensibility that restrains her from castigating them for being genetically handicapped by the lack of the all seeing third eye in the middle of their foreheads, not an acknowledgement of a systemic problem resulting from ruthless imposition of those PC values and institutionalization of a cover-your-ass-by-blaming-someone-else mindset that severely stifles initiative and judgmental (eeek!) decision making. But all this spittle flinging leads up to the climactic point, which would be -
The reason that George W. Bush wants this war on Iraq is that this has been the plan for years. The oil companies that financed this Administration are becoming insistent that they obtain the oil reserves that lie beneath the land of Iraq.
I'd include the dramatic background musical burst, but the .wav file would be too large. Oh my goodness, save us all from the clutches of the evil one. About the only thing that she gets right here is that the elimination of the threat posed by Saddam is something the the President has probably thought about for quite a long time. Is the dander up about this because it he's been consistent on the point of eliminating that threat, and that his course hasn't wavered as a consequence of shrill whining from the left, and that increased volume and apparent agitation isn't having the effect it enjoyed for the previous eight years? I guess she's also indirectly correct in that the energy companies would like to be able to source their oil purchases from the Iraqi oilfields, just as they source them from a variety of others. It must be that special 'flubber' component to Iraqi crude that makes it so much more desirable than Russian crude, for example. Could the administration's pre-occupation with the issue, from purely an 'oil' perspective have anything to do with scenarios of nuclear blackmail which would cut us off from all the reserves of the entire region, or of nuclear aggression against the oilfields of the region? Could they possibly just be really uncomfortable with the image of Americans blithely filling their SUVs at the gas station and needing a radiation suit to do it? Also, as nefarious a spin as she'd like to impart here, Its quite possible that the business transactions envisioned by the energy companies in this case will probably result in fewer mysterious dead bodies than were left in the business wake of a famous first couple of our recent acquaintance. But then, in general, 'business' is an inherently dirty word for the left, anyway.
Collateral damage is not measured in buildings. It is measured in the loss of civilian life. Can you live with yourselves and your consciences if you do not speak up and speak out against this defilement of our country and all that it has represented for the past two hundred and twenty-six years?
I guess this is tossed in to keep analytical thought from breaking out all over this piece. Fairly straightforward 'everybody agrees' boilerplate. Applies equally well, in itself being subject non-specific, as a rallier for her rant, as it would be cut and pasted into a motivational article to go after Al Queda. But fasten your seatbelts, she's got to snap it back into the roller coaster she's building here -
How many barrels of oil are equal to even one human life? That's not a trade that I am willing to make.
Lots, if your talking about Saddam's life. Since its a trade she isn't willing to make, I guess she won't mind handing over the keys to her shiny new SUV. I need to go to the store to pick up a few things.
[Bridget Gibson witnessed the destruction of real estate, banking and independent oil producers through policies of former president George H.W. Bush. She can no longer sit by idly as the Bush family dynasty continues to wreak havoc upon the United States. She currently lives in Oklahoma.]
Guess she's a bit peeved that the first President Bush made it tougher for shady land deals, cleaned the spiders out of the S & L woodpile, and made it all that much tougher for wildcat speculations in oil, even if it didn't help his son's business any.