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Saturday, June 25, 2005
 
Jest for Fun

Buckley F. Williams says if you've got these signs, you might just be a Gitmo internee.
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Medal of Honor Winner Passes

Say a little prayer for Gen. Louis H. Wilson Jr. tonight.

He received the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award for valor, while fighting Japanese forces at Fonte Hill, Guam, on July 25 and 26, 1944. At the time, he was a captain and the commanding officer of a rifle company.

Launching a daylight attack against massive machine gun resistance, he pushed his men 300 yards across open terrain and captured a portion of a hill that contained the enemy command post. That night, he took command of other disorganized units and motorized equipment and fortified defenses while risking exposure to enemy fire.

Wounded three times within five hours, he briefly sought treatment before volunteering to return to duty to defend against counterattacks that lasted through the night.

At one point, he dashed 50 yards through flying shrapnel and bullets to rescue a wounded Marine beyond the front lines. That was followed by hand-to-hand fighting over a 10-hour span, repelling Japanese troops that sought to overrun the Allied lines through 11 full-fledged attacks.

His Medal of Honor citation continued: ''Then organizing a 17-man patrol, he immediately advanced upon a strategic slope essential to the security of his position and, boldly defying intense mortar, machinegun, and rifle fire which struck down 13 of his men, drove relentlessly forward with the remnants of his patrol to seize the vital ground.''
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Marvel Versus DC

I've always been a DC guy, but I had a lot of interest in the Marvel Comics of the Silver Age, especially the Spider-Man saga of the first 150 issues or so, where seemingly every character introduced eventually became a super-villain. Here's a little column in the WaPo that discusses the extension of the DC versus Marvel argument to the silver screen.
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Friday, June 24, 2005
 
Batman Begins Review

Finally got some time to head to the theatre this afternoon. Capsule review: Slow beginning, wonderful second half, overall just a hair under classic.

Start with the understanding that I probably know more about Batman than all but maybe 20 people in the world. I've read almost all the comics, especially the core adventures appearing in Batman and Detective. I've seen all the movies, even the wretched serials. I have a copy of the Batman Encyclopedia from the 1970s (Michael Fleischer is probably one of the 20). So I came to this movie with a critical eye. I'm also something of a purist for the original Batman legend, as it was developed up until about 1980, so I don't like a lot of tinkering.

Hence I was annoyed at R'as Al Ghul training Bruce in hand-to-hand combat. The guy didn't even come along until 30 years into the saga, after Batman was plainly well-established in Gotham City. And the character of Rachel Dawes was somewhat baffling; is she supposed to be Talia? I don't recall her appearing in any of the comics, although it's possible that she showed up briefly.

However, the creation of the Batman--the suit, the car, the Batarangs--was spectacular, as was the whole climactic scene. I loved the bit with the Scarecrow; he first appeared in 1940 and although he wasn't Arkham Asylum's doctor in the books, it makes some sense. The master plan was sufficiently diabolical, and the method of salvation worked. Solid acting by Christian Bale, and obviously the guys around him (Oldman, Freeman, Neeson, Caine, etc.,) know their stuff.

I liked the way some of the more modern elements of Batman were worked in--Wayne Corporation and Lucius Fox, for example. Overall I liked the look of Gotham City--it certainly appeared big and progressive-looking in the early sequences, and gloomy and oppressive in the later ones (symptomatic of the rot that had set in).
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York: Move-On Opposed Afghanistan War

The Rove comments continue to reverberate:

Some officials at the internet activist group MoveOn are denying charges made by top White House aide Karl Rove, who said in a speech to a conservative group in New York Wednesday that "In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11 liberals believed it was time to submit a petition." Rove continued: "I am not joking. Submitting a petition is precisely what MoveOn.org did. It was a petition imploring the powers that be to 'use moderation and restraint in responding to the terrorist attacks against the United States.' "

After Rove's comments, MoveOn released a statement saying flatly, "MoveOn did not oppose the U.S. military action in Afghanistan." And in an interview with the Washington Post, reporter Dan Balz wrote that MoveOn political chief Eli Pariser "disputed Rove's characterization of the petition calling for moderation and restraint, saying that the petition was a personal project before he was affiliated with MoveOn and that it was not on the group's Web site at the time of the Afghanistan war."


This has become part of the left's effort to demonize the Iraq War. They pretend that they supported Afghanistan at the time, which is a bit puzzling. After all, if the left were behind the Afghanistan war, then who was warning us about the brutal Afghan winter? Who was calling it a quagmire? Who was it that told us that the British and the Soviet empires had both crumbled against the fierce resistance of the mighty Afghan warriors?
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Who is Fatina Abdrabboh?




To understand this one, first you've got to read this post of mine over at Lifelike about one of the silliest op-ed columns in the history of the New York Times.

But Ankle-Biting Pundits wasn't satisfied with just a chortle. They decided to poke a little deeper into Ms Abdrabboh's past. Turns out she's a professional victim of American bigotry against women wearing the hijab (scarf).

Terrific post by the Ankle-Biters, and a textbook example of how to blog. By checking Ms Abdrabboh a little further, they have provided a more well-rounded portrait of her and the reasoning behind her column.
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Why The South Rankles the Democrats

Conservative Grapevine linked to this post over at MyDD (one of the bigger liberal blogs) about the things that are wrong with the "Progressive Blogosphere". I agree with some of the points (like the rampant homophobia expressed by liberals casually), and disagree with some of the others, but this one caught my attention:

Most discussions about "the south" are not a favorite of mine, to say the least. Whether we are being told how we can win "it," or why "it" is so stupid, I for one would like to know what the fuck "the south" actually is. Even as an electoral concept, I don't think it stands out as a distinct region anymore. Even apart from all that, I really want to know why we are so ridiculously obsessed with it. In case people out there hadn't noticed, the New Deal coalition is dead, and as a result of wide ideological differences, Democratic Presidential nominees are not going to win very many (a couple, but not very many) states that were once in the confederacy anytime soon (maybe in a couple of decades, but not very soon), no matter what we do. End of story. Even the most rudimentary political analysis should make this obvious by now, which in no way means we should stop campaigning there. Can we move on please, or should we instead engage in detailed discussions about how to move Rhode Island out of the "Swing State" column and into "Solid Democratic?"

There's a lot of foolishness packed into that one paragraph. First, it absolutely does make sense to refer to refer to the South as a distinct region from an electoral concept. If we define the South as the states below the Mason Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi, it becomes pretty obvious that it does vote pretty much as a block; almost always has and almost always will. When the Democrats are able to win one or two of those states, as in 1992 (Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky) or 1996 (Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida) they can win. When they lose the entire region, as in 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2004, they go down to defeat. This isn't even remotely controversial.

So why do Democrats hate to talk about the South? Well, mainly because the focus on the South gives Southern Democrats more power, because inevitably the conclusion is that Democrats only win states in the South when Southern white men are at the top of the ticket. This bugs self-styled progressives like Chris Bowers for several reasons:

1. Southern Democrats are more conservative than Northern Democrats. Some of this may be protective coloration, but look at the voting records of, say, John Breaux and John Kerry and it will immediately become obvious that most of the moderates in the Democratic Party come from the South.

2. It elevates in importance an increasingly smaller sliver of the party. As Southern white men have declined as a percentage of all Democrats, they have surged as a percentage of all Democratic tickets. Defining the South a little more loosely, the last two Democratic tickets without a Southerner in one or both of the slots were 1972 and 1984; not years that Democrats are apt to remember fondly.

3. Liberals are conditioned to hate certain groups as oppressors in society, and if you work it out, Southern (check) white (check) men (check) happen to fit all the boxes rather neatly.

Yet there seems no escaping the predicament. With the South continuing to grow and the North continuing to decline, it is hard to see how the Democrats can overcome this disadvantage without making a strong effort to court white Southerners.
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Rove's Comments

Seem relatively non-controversial to me.

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove said at the annual dinner of the New York State Conservative Party.

Unless the liberals are objecting to the term "savagery" (they'd probably prefer something like "justifiable nature"), I don't see the controversy. Wanted to prepare indictments? Check. John Kerry last year was talking about terrorism as a legal problem. Offering therapy and understanding? Check. The libs were all claiming that terrorism was caused by poverty in the Middle East and asking "Why do they hate us?"

In reality what the libs are trying to do is get the attention away from Durbin's stupid comments.
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Thursday, June 23, 2005
 
The Problem with Live 8

Is that it is inevitably going to be associated with people like this.
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Big Bird Slips the Necktie Party

Check out the lede of this article:

Big Bird and National Public Radio won a reprieve Thursday as the House restored $100 million that had been proposed as a budget cut for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

I guess without that, Big Bird would have had his (long) neck on the chopping block, eh? And didn't NPR get a huge windfall a year or two back from Joan Kroc?

The bad news, for liberals at least, is that Republicans are in charge at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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The Right-Wing Democratic National Committee

Reports that while some folks had trouble voting in Ohio, there was no widespread electoral fraud that threw the election to President Bush.

The detailed report, released Wednesday, said that disproportionately high numbers of blacks and young people had complained about long lines, intimidation and malfunctioning machines. But Democratic officials said they could not conclude that Mr. Bush's Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, would have won in Ohio even if voting had gone smoothly.

Sounds to me like they just weren't used to voting.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005
 
Downing Street Memos Evoking Memories of the Cold War

Christopher Hitchens, who pursued the "October Surprise" like the Holy Grail back in the early 1980s isn't buying this conspiracy theory:

Over the past month, I have hardly been able to open my e-mail without a flood of similarly portentous tripe concerning the "Downing Street Memo(s)." This time, it is not the interior of a Templar Church but the style of a clerk in the British Foreign Office that furnishes "the key to all mythologies." A former CIA hand named Ray McGovern has challenged me to debate about the "smoking gun" contained in the Downing Street palimpsests, and I have agreed, in principle. Other correspondents have helpfully added other "smoking guns" as e-mail attachments. A man named Morgan Reynolds, a former chief economist at the Bush Labor Department and now an instructor at Texas A&M, has proof that the World Trade Center was laid low by a "controlled demolition" and not by the hijacked planes. This is a refreshing change from the Gore Vidal view that the Bush administration knowingly grounded all military aircraft in order to give the al-Qaida teams a clear shot. But perhaps both those theories are congruent: One wouldn't want to exclude any options if one were a Republican seeking to incinerate the downtown business HQ of capitalist globalization.

Teflon at Molten Thought links to another debunking of the memo's significance in the AmSpec and muses that for the left, this must be like the good old days of anti-anti-communism. I had similar thoughts yesterday when Anthony Lewis returned to the pages of the Times.
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Superhawk Defends Flag Burning?

And what's more, I agree with him. But... I also think that beating up flag burners should be allowed under a "fighting words" type exception to assault laws.

Captain Ed has more thoughts here.
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Post #1,000 at Lifelike

At little look at the past of the group blog where I post reviews of New York Times' Op-Ed columns. Lifelike's a terrific blog and we've gotten some compliments on it from some very famous people. Kudos to Aaron and my co-bloggers over there, who do a great job.
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Rating the Senate Vulnerables

National Journal has its picks up for the most likely turnovers. Interesting list, but Jon Kyl (shown as 12th most likely to lose) is safe. He's low-key and not as well known as the senior senator from Arizona, John McCain, but he's far better known locally than Jim Pederson, who's running for his first elective office. A better measure of Kyl's invulnerability is that nobody ran against him the last time around in 2000. Kyl will win easily, by 15-20 points at least.
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New To the Blogroll

Say hello to Combs Spouts Off. Spotted his blog in my trackbacks, and saw he had some nice things to say about this blog. Looks like he's similar to me, Republican with Libertarian influences (correction: In the comments he says "Libertarian with Republican influences). And when I saw he had a button on his site for Rick Rescorla, that clinched things.
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Operation Homecoming Update

Third Wave Dave has the links.
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I Hate It When That Happens

A Guinness Book of Records attempt goes south:

The 25-foot-tall, 17 1/2-ton treat of frozen Snapple juice melted faster than expected Tuesday, flooding Union Square in downtown Manhattan with kiwi-strawberry-flavored fluid that sent pedestrians scurrying for higher ground.
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Just for Laughs

Via Conservative Grapevine, we learn that prisoner abuse is going on not far from Mount Pilot.
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She Doesn't Look an Ounce Over 350 to Me

The AP slanders Hillary and John McCain:

"They're 800-pound gorillas," says Democratic consultant Jeff Link of Iowa.

A gross exaggeration as this photo reveals:




Michelle Malkin weighs in on McCain's supposed frontrunner status.

Captain Ed pounds the writer as well.

John Hawkins thinks the article was written by a lightweight.
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What's Wrong With Andrew Sullivan?

Gay Patriot West asks the question.

His fall is a sad one. He was the first gay writer/speaker (with a national platform) to challenge the left-wing orthodoxy that pervades the gay community. And now he seems to have become a spokesman for that orthodoxy.

The answer is a simple one. When it comes right down to it, the way we all analyze any news story has a lot more to do with trust than it does to the basic facts. When I see an article about the latest allegations of abuse at Gitmo, I tend to trust the soldiers. In my younger, more liberal days, I would probably have tended to trust the media, and distrusted the soldiers.

Andrew lost his way because he decided gay marriage was the single most important issue to him. He lost his trust in President Bush when the president endorsed the Federal Marriage Amendment allowing states to ignore gay marriages performed in other states. As a result he sees almost every issue in terms of his trust or lack thereof.

We all do this. I trust President Bush; ergo when I read stories that reflect negatively on him, I'm always looking for the mistaken assumption or the assertion that disproves the article. Andrew does just the reverse.
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Floriduh Democrats Fail to Make Payroll Tax Payments

In addition, $900,000 is missing.

Broke and without enough money in the bank to pay its bills after the end of the month, the Florida Democratic Party has now been slapped with a lien by the Internal Revenue Service for failing to pay payroll and Social Security taxes in 2003.

Meanwhile, the state party's budget and finance committee voted Tuesday to ask for a new audit to account for more than $900,000 it believes somehow disappeared from the books during the 2003-2004 calendar years when the party was led by Scott Maddox, who is now seeking its nomination for governor.


Sounds like he'd be the perfect nominee.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005
 
Suddenly Political Bias at PBS is an Issue?

Because it's not the right kind of political bias:

Sixteen Democratic senators called on President Bush to remove Kenneth Y. Tomlinson as head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting because of their concerns that he is injecting partisan politics into public radio and television.

And get this "error" discovered by the Times in their piece:

Mr. Mann, who was paid $14,170 for his work by the taxpayer-financed corporation, rated the guests on the show by such labels as "anti-Bush" or "anti-DeLay," a reference to Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader. He classified Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as a "liberal," even though Mr. Hagel is well-known as a mainstream conservative Republican.

I didn't know there were "mainstream" conservative Republicans; presumably the term means conservative Republicans who knock Bush.
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Meet Leigh Ann Hester, Hero




Check out this thrilling report of an action in Iraq where Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester showed heroism and skill in combating an ambush:

The sergeant runs low on ammo and runs back to a vehicle to reload. She moves to her squad leader's vehicle, and because this squad is led so well, she knows exactly where to reach her arm blindly into a different vehicle to find ammo-because each vehicle is packed exactly the same, with discipline.

As she turns to move back to the trenchline, Gunner in two sees an AIF***** jump from behind one of the cars and start firing on the Sergeant. He pulls his 9mm, because the .50 cal is pointed in the other direction, and shoots five rounds wounding him.****** The sergeant moves back to the trenchline under fire from the back of the field, with fresh mags, two more grenades, and three more M203 rounds. The Mk 19 gunner suppresses the rear of the field.

Now, rejoined with the squad leader, the two sergeants continue clearing the enemy from the trenchline, until they see no more movement. A lone man with an RPG launcher on his shoulder steps from behind a tree and prepares to fire on the three Hummers and is killed with a single aimed SAW shot thru the head by the previously knocked out gunner on platform two, who now has a SAW out to supplement the .50 cal in the mount.

The team leader sergeant--she claims four killed by aimed M4 shots.

The Squad Leader--he threw four grenades taking out at least two AIF, and attributes one other to her aimed M203 fire.


Wonderful story. Kudos to Bill Ardolino for pointing me to it. Washington Post coverage here. The media love this story because of the women in combat issue, and for once I agree heartily with them.
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Another Heh

Check out this post by a Christian screenwriter talking to a NY Timesman who's hot on the trail of the evil Christians in Hollywood. It's truly hilarious.

Hat Tip: CrosSwords, a terrific little blog that not enough of you are reading.
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Hugh Hewitt Debunks Gitmo Horror Stories

In an interview with a soldier from the NJ National Guard who served there.

Hugh: Any violence, in terms of physical brutality of the prisoners you observed?

Pete: Absolutely not. In fact, my men and I spent nine hours on a runway waiting to try and get a detainee to go back home who had refused to do so because he wanted to stay at Guantanamo because he was being treated so well.


Hmmmm, anybody know of any internees at Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen who didn't want to leave? Can you imagine Dith Pran wishing he could have spent another month or two in the Killing Fields, or Solzhenitsyn expressing homesickness for the Gulags?

Me neither. Of course, Andrew Sullivan will no doubt be issuing his apology at about the same time the Minneapolis Star Tribune does.
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Heh

Here's an amusing story about how to buy your way out of guilt for owning an SUV.

For $160 you can turn a Hummer H2 into a zero-emissions vehicle. No tools or mechanical ability are required.

Of course, I could turn your Hummer H2 into a zero-emissions vehicle as well; by taking the keys. ;)

Hilariously, though, they are not hitting their target market:

Not surprisingly, few SUV drivers have been buying them. Most have gone to owners of fuel-efficient cars that produce relatively few pollutants.

That initially surprised Arnold.

"We fully expected to target SUV drivers with SUV guilt," he said. "It just doesn't exist"


No fueling!
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Turban Durbin

Lucky Dawg has a video to remind Turban Dick Durbin what true Nazis do. Warning: This contains pretty graphic depictions of violence; not for the faint of heart.
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Mystery Solved

Kitty discovers why a sexually-oriented group linked to one of her short stories. I have to confess, the fetish described here (G-rated) is a new one on me.
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Klocek Case On O'Reilly

John Ruberry continues his relentless coverage.
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Blame It On Bush--Updated

Via Michelle Malkin, we find this incredible obituary:

Alas the stolen election of 2000 and living with right-winged Americans finally brought him to his early demise. Stress from living in this unjust country brought about several heart attacks rendering him disabled.

Just goes to show you that bitterness and bile will get you nowhere but six feet under.

Update: Looks like Dadahead is a good candidate for a heart attack. For the record, we are not mocking his death, we are mocking the ridiculous diagnosis of death by stolen election.

California Conservative has another report of Bush Derangement Syndrome, fortunately not fatal.

Bronx Pundit checks in here.
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Only Person to Survive Rabies Makes a Difficult Comeback

Here's the concluding chapter to this terrific story which I highlighted yesterday.

It wasn't long before the cries became words. Single words to start with: Hi. Bye. Mom. Dad. Her voice had little volume. Her vocal cords were healing from the breathing tube.

As a typical teenager, Jeanna had her moods. Some mornings, she didn't want to get out of bed; others, she awoke fully engaged, eager to pick out clothes to wear and videos to watch.


This is a three-handkerchief article, but you'll be glad you read it.
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Dean & Moore Tie For First in Poll On Who's Screwing Up America

John Hawkins polled a bunch of conservative-oriented blogs (including this one) and that was the conclusion. It's a solid list, pretty much in accordance with the ones I picked last week. Unfortunately I made my choices before Turban Durbin made his foolish remarks or I would have included him instead of David Brock, and as I commented over at Tinkerty Tonk, Noam Chomsky just slipped my mind.
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Power Line Posts Copies of Kerry's Forms 180

The front pages are here. Power Line notes that John O'Neill has commented that the forms don't tell us if documents were previously purged from the record.

There appears in my mind to be one big red flag that this is the case. Note the careful wording:

"A single, one time, copy of the complete military record...."

"To provide on a 1 time basis, a complete copy...."

Remember, when promising Tim Russert that he would sign the Form 180, Kerry made this interesting comment:

"I'm going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn't in the record and we'll put it out," he told "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert.

Sounds like Kerry got the Navy to remove some items in the record, then made absolutely sure that there would be no screwups, say three years from now, with somebody releasing the undeleted file by specifying that this was on a "1 time basis".

Ankle-Biting Pundits (where I will be guest-blogging in a couple weeks) notices something else missing.
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Monday, June 20, 2005
 
The Lumpy Workout

Gotta love a man who can laugh at himself.
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A Question for Andrew Sullivan

He has a question for Hugh Hewitt

I've now read and re-read Senator Dick Durbin's comments on interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. They are completely, perfectly respectable. The rank hysteria being perpetrated by some on the right is what is shameful. Hugh Hewitt should answer one single question: does he doubt the FBI interrogator who witnessed the appalling treatment of some detainees at Guantanamo?

Here's the question for Andrew, since he's sticking up for Dick Durbin: Do you believe that the treatment described by the FBI interrogator rises to the level of what was "done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others..."?

The good news for Sully is that he's getting some new friends.
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Saddam a Dorito-Holic?

Michelle Malkin must have some interesting Google and Yahoo news searches in her favorites list, as I can't imagine how she found this interesting article in the India Daily on Saddam's routine in prison otherwise.

I got a chuckle out of this anecdote:

Once, when Saddam fell down during his twice-a-week shower, the article says, "panic ensued. No one wanted him to be hurt while being guarded by Americans." One GI had to help Saddam back to his cell, another carried his underwear, it adds.

Hmmmm, carry a naked, dripping Saddam or his underwear... there is no good option between those two.

And it turns out that Saddam has similar tastes to mine in food:

For a time his favorite food was Cheetos, and when those ran out, Saddam would "get grumpy," the story says. One day the guards substituted Doritos corn chips, and Saddam forgot about Cheetos. "He''d eat a family size bag of Doritos in 10 minutes," Dawson says.

When I'm on a Dorito binge it's basically as fast as I can stuff them into my mouth. That said, I don't think I could get through a family-sized bag in one sitting.
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We Shall Overcome

Patrick Hynes reveals that he secretly likes the protest songs of the 1960s and later. Growing up in a liberal family, I'm the same way. I still enjoy Peter, Paul & Mary, Dylan, Pete Seeger, Barry McGuire, Phil Ochs, the Pogues, etc. I especially like the way Patrick ends this piece; we shall indeed overcome.
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Blogathon Coming

Our friends at Molten Thought are going to be holding a blogathon on July 2nd for a worthy cause: the Armed Forces Relief Trust, an umbrella group for collecting donations to the Air Force Aid Society, the Army Emergency Relief Fund, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

I'll put up a link again around July 1st. Teflon and Word Girl are to be commended for this effort.
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Moron Dick Durbin--Updated!

Third Wave Dave called around to the courageous members of the Illinois congressional delegation to find out if they think Durbin should apologize. In fairness, this may be a case of professional courtesy, like the way sharks don't attack lawyers.

Update: Chris at Lucky Dawg has an appropriate Photoshop.
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Terrific Article on Faith and Medicine

Discovered this one over at Lucianne. It's the story of Jeanna Giese, a teenaged girl who got rabies from a bat bite, and nearly died, before an experimental treatment and a lot of praying turned things around. One of those rare mainstream media articles that is respectful of religion, and a superb, dramatic story. The final article in the series has yet to be published, but I didn't want to forget to point you to this.
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Sheets Byrd Exposed

John Hawkins has a terrific post with more details on Robert Byrd's past in the Ku Klux Klan.
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Sunday, June 19, 2005
 
Cleveland Pix & Comments

I had some time on Friday while waiting for everybody else to arrive, so I did some walking around near the hotel. Here is Cleveland's old Terminal Building, now called Tower City.

(Note: On all these pics, you can get a larger view by clicking on the picture, and an even larger view by clicking on it a second time. Kudos to Hello, which really does a great job with putting free images up on your blogger blog. Also thanks to Kitty who did some lightening of the inside photos.)




I love old buildings; that's one real negative with living in Phoenix. Out here an "old" building is one that's been around since the 1950s. I should have taken some interior photos of the arcade area inside this building; it's really pretty.

Just across the way from the old Terminal Building is the War Memorial; two guesses as to which war it commemorates. Hint: 1861-1865. Inside we encountered a really nice and informative guide who had recently retired after 20 years as a Navy submariner. That's one thing I didn't mention before, was how helpful and friendly everybody in Cleveland was.




Here's a picture of some fat old geezer pretending he knows how to play guitar in front of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. My brother is the musician in the family; I used to practice my notes while reading a Hardy Boys' book.




Here's a picture of the five brothers on my dad's side of the family: The Old Man (Jean Shepard always called his dad The Old Man), and my uncles Kevin, Jack (father of the bride), Jim and Tommy. Great guys all. You can probably tell from this photo that I listen to the Kevis hair restoration commercials on the radio with more than an academic interest.




Here's a shot of my cousin just after the conclusion of the wedding. As you can see, her husband is a handsome guy; always glad to see those ones marry my relatives as it eliminates some of the competition without reducing the pool of women available for me. She's a pretty gal, and a doctor to boot.




My sister Carol is the blonde with the zombie eyes at the far left; next to her is my father.

For more on Cleveland, check out John Ruberry's terrific post on his experience running the Cleveland Marathon a couple weeks ago.
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Happy Father's Day, Dad!




Here's a pic of the Old Man motoring around in the desert. We love to take little hikes in Squaw Peak Park, which is about 2 miles south of my home.
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Update on Conservative Versus Liberal Blogs

Got a little reaction on this post that I'd like to elaborate on.

Both Paul and Lone Ranger commented that what we could be seeing is the effect of crossover readership; maybe conservatives read liberal blogs and liberals read conservative blogs. I'd suspect that argument has quite a bit of validity, although since I was looking at changes since the election, I don't know if it would really have a dramatic impact.

Scrapiron (who's a terrific commenter) smacked me upside the head for believing what I read on a left-wing blog. However, I didn't believe the left-winger at first; it was only after I looked at the numbers that I began to wonder if he had a point.

Coalition of the Chillin' member the Strata-Sphere put up a solid post on this, noting that how you define "community" may have a lot to do with the differences between the right side and the left side of the blogosphere. The right side links quite frequently to other blogs on the right side, while the left is a little more apt to say, "Come post your 'diary' pages on our blog." It's the rugged individualists versus the communitarian hive.

The Strata-Sphere also links to the always-interesting Patrick Ruffini, who has this to say:

Bowers disparages the proliferation of large numbers of mid-tier conservative blogs, but in what way is this unhealthy? In fact, most of the cooperative, traffic-sharing arrangements in the blogosphere have emerged on the right. These days, it's hard to keep track of all the various carnivals and link-fests, from the Cotillion to Carnival of the Capitalists to Classiness All Around Us to Conservative Grapevine. These link-fests are vital to mid-range blogs getting noticed, and probably in keeping with its more selfish, celebrity-seeking nature, such link-fests are much less prevalent in the left-blogosphere. Also, contrast the top liberal and "conservative" blogs. Glenn Reynolds is much more generous in linking to other blogs than Markos.

I don't think there's any denying that observation; in fact there was a study a number of months ago that found that conservative bloggers are much more interlinked than liberal blogs. This was what I was getting at with these observations:

Second, it certainly looks to me like Kos is absorbing the left-wing of the blogosphere. It's ironic that the poster at MyDD was making a big thing about them catching the righties because of their sense of community, when his community was suffering the biggest drop in traffic since the election of any of the blogs. It's quite possible that Kos' big jump since New Year's has come at the expense of many other liberal blogs.

Third, Instapundit may be losing his traffic to smaller right-wing bloggers. Certainly I suspect a lot more people go to Power Line and CQ directly these days rather than waiting to see the link from Glenn.
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Omigosh!

Just noticed who's now on Michelle Malkin's blogroll, right in between Brain Fertilizer and Broken Masterpieces! =^)

Thanks, Mrs. M!
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The Return of Fake But Accurate?

Via Captain's Quarters, we learn today the startling news that the infamous Downing Street Memos are not originals, but retyped "copies". The originals were supposedly burned by the reporter who did the retyping job.

The eight memos — all labeled "secret" or "confidential" — were first obtained by British reporter Michael Smith, who has written about them in The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times.

Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain paper and destroying the originals.


This is interesting because I noted some concern about the first memo way back on May 6th, when I initially looked into the case:

I suspect that the memo has received some degree of vetting; the London Times is not CBS News (DOH!). Unfortunately, the Times has only the transcript and not a copy so it can't be verified in any other way (e.g., initials, signatures, etc.). But I'd be very surprised if this is a completely original memorandum prepared shortly after a meeting on July 23, 2002 as it is purported to be.

Not bad, if I do say so myself. Now if I can just call the chiropractor to get me out of this contorted position caused by patting myself on the back.

Update: Mr Right has a terrific post on this with lots of links to different reactions to this news. In particular, check out Power Line's comments, which I generally agree with. However, if the real memo ever surfaces, I will bet you dollars to donuts that the line "There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action." turns out to be an addition to the original memo.
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Interview With Geldof, Bono and Curtis

Pretty interesting article in Time. The questions are a little on the boring side but the answers are quite good.

GELDOF And we didn't just pick this moment out of the sky. This G-8 is in the U.K., where the Prime Minister was once a young git with the worst haircut save mine. He attended Live Aid and was informed by it, so he's in tune with where we've come from. Then a lot of these G-8 guys are on their last political legs. Schroder's going to lose in Germany. Chirac won't stand because he will lose. Berlusconi? Might have a year left. [Canadian Prime Minister] Paul Martin is clinging on. George Bush can't stand again, and Tony Blair said he wouldn't. It gives us a chance to appeal to their sense of legacy. Bono is the rock god of the Establishment. Richard is the filmmaker of the Establishment.

And I'm just a paddy with a hat on. [Much laughter.]


As I commented before, Geldof seems to be a master at putting on the face that gets his message across--witty and self-deprecating with the press, serious and hardnosed with the conservative bloggers.
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Steyn on Gitmo

He makes a great point here, that to Democrats, it's always America the Horrible (unless of course the Democrats are running things):

So, until Guantanamo, America was "viewed as a leader in human rights"? Not in 2004, when Abu Ghraib was the atrocity du jour. Not in 2003, when every humanitarian organization on the planet was predicting the deaths of millions of Iraqis from cholera, dysentery and other diseases caused by America's "war for oil." Not in 2002, when the "human rights" lobby filled the streets of Vancouver and London and Rome and Sydney to protest the Bushitler's plans to end the benign reign of good King Saddam. Not the weekend before 9/11 when the human rights grandees of the U.N. "anti-racism" conference met in South Africa to demand America pay reparations for the Rwandan genocide and to cheer Robert Mugabe to the rafters for calling on Britain and America to "apologize unreservedly for their crimes against humanity." If you close Gitmo tomorrow, the world's anti-Americans will look around and within 48 hours alight on something else for Gulag of the Week.

Yes, and in fact, they will take to barking even louder at the moon, encouraged by their success.
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Cleveland Trip

The wedding went off without a hitch and an excellent time was had by all. Saw some cousins I hadn't seen in 20+ years.

My brother, sister, brother-in-law and two of their children went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday. Our reaction was pretty much uniform; after you've seen a couple stage costumes and guitars, you've seen them all. Some of the knicknacks were cool, but how much real interest is there in seeing Jim Morrison's third grade report card, or his handmade Mothers' Day cards.

There was really nothing to engage the kids; not much interactivity. We were encouraged to see the film showing all the inductees performing; it wasn't terrible, but 20 years of inductees adds up to a fair amount of time. Oddly, I don't recally any profanity in the film, but while we were waiting to enter the theatre there was a loop running of some induction ceremonies and there were several f-bombs lobbed in that could at least have been bleeped. Not that kids would enjoy the film anyway; there is a rule that nobody can be inducted until 25 years after their first recording, so most of the performers were largely unknown to my (bored to tears) 12-year-old nephew.

And there was a distinct aroma of Political Correctness in the selections; it seemed like every class had to have a black musician or group. While some of them were obviously legitimate either as rock performers (Jimi Hendrix, Temptations, Parliament/Funkadelic), inspirations (Leadbelly, Howlin' Wolf) or other contributions (Berry Gordy of Motown), it was also clear that the weakest selections were among these performers as well. I mean, the O'Jays? The Shirelles? Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers? "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" is a terrific song, but there are a lot of terrific songs out there.

Not that there weren't some ridiculous selections among the white folks as well. Ricky Nelson was inducted in the second class, in 1986, a pick that obviously had more to do with his untimely death the year before than to his body of work.

As for Cleveland itself, it was bigger than I expected, but kinda gritty. Walking a mile or so, you'd get approached by at least half a dozen panhandlers. And the bugs were not to be believed; fortunately it was mostly the non-biting kind. I got a couple pictures I'll put up in a bit.
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