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Saturday, April 01, 2006
 
Duke Lacrosse Rape Case III

Jeralyn Merritt makes the case that it's a scam.

I think there's something very fishy about the two women's stories. I won't be surprised if it turns out the rape allegation was fabricated to get back at the players for demeaning them, probably with racial epithets.

Racial, and/or not pretty enough, maybe?
0 comments links to this post
 
I, For One, Welcome Our New Ant Overlords

The army looks at bug soldiers:

DARPA's current big idea is to implant tiny microsystems into insects at the pupa stage of their development, when they can be "integrated" into their internal organs.

A step or three later, they could be turned into miniature unmanned vehicles for use on military missions "requiring unobtrusive entry into areas inaccessible or hostile to humans." Osama Bin Laden's cave, say.


Cool story. I definitely feel that the scientists of today are ahead of where most science fiction writers of the 1950s had us. Not as far advanced at space exploration as expected, but the computer seems to have come out of left field and surprised most of those prognosticators.
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Personally, I Prefer the "Run Out In Traffic Game"--Updated

Student dies playing the "choking game".

Hansen, of Elkview, was a junior majoring in chemical engineering and a 4.0 student, Lofstead said.

Update: Okay, I used this for a quick joke, but it is a serious situation. My heart goes out to commenter Lori who lost a son this way. She's right, let's use this as a teaching moment. If you have kids warn them that this is about as much a game as running out in traffic. As the story says:

The object of the "choking game" is to deprive the brain of oxygen so one can feel a brief rush when the blood flow returns. The game _ also known as space monkey, flat-liner, fainting game and black out _ was responsible for more than 50 deaths last year and eight this year, according to the Stop The Choking Game Web site. It can also cause brain damage, strokes, seizures and retinal damage.
0 comments links to this post
 
John Amato: Crook Or Liar?

John Amato is the creator of Crooks and Liars, which has always struck me as a rather short-sighted name for a blog (like you've got a lot of room to criticize on that score--Ed.) Crooks and Liars is a huge blog; it's ranked #23 in the TTLB ecosystem, which puts it right up there with Scrappleface (#21), La Shawn Barber (#22) and Right Wing News (#23). It ranks #9 in traffic, with 132,000 visitors a day, more than Instapundit or Michelle Malkin. So I'd say it's an influential, major league blog.

Now get this post by Amato at the Huffington Post:

Then I read Michelle Malkin's very frightening post about a Florida condo community that had the audacity to fly the Mexican flag:

The Stars and Stripes have been replaced by the Mexican flag at Chasewood North, and residents of the condominium community off Central Boulevard are puzzled as to who made the switch. "I woke up Sunday morning and looked up from my patio and then realized that the American flag wasn't on the flagpole," said Sue Miller a Chasewood North board member. "What captured my attention were the colors -- at first I thought it was an Italian flag, but one of our residents said it was the Mexican flag.


Now there are a couple of interesting things about this post. First, Amato does not actually link to a Michelle Malkin post; he links instead to a post by another liberal blogger talking about Malkin's post. And second, he's blatantly lying about the circumstances when he says that the condo community "had the audacity to fly the Mexican flag". In fact, the condo community was vandalized:

"I went to the flagpole, to see if the American flag was maybe on the ground, but they took it, and they cut the rope to get the American flag down and the Mexican flag up as well."

"We tried to get the flag down but couldn't, so we need to hire a company with a boom truck to get up there and replace the rope and put up the American flag," she said. "I would guesstimate that this would cost $500 or more to do."


So we have the answer: John Amato is one of the liars over at Crooks and Liars. Question: who are the crooks?
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John Aravosis is Right

Those are four words you won't see together on this blog often, but he nails it with regard to Cynthia McKinney's assault on a Capitol Hill police officer:

You may have already heard about this ridiculous brouhaha. McKinney waltzes into the Congress the other day, bypasses the security checkpoint (which members of Congress are permitted to do), but she doesn't identify herself as a member of Congress and isn't wearing her ID pin that ALL members of Congress are required to wear when at work (for the very reason that there are 535 of them, and it's not always clear who's a member). It's that pin that tells the cops at the metal detector that she's a member of Congress and not a walking human bomb.

Anyway, the cop, not recognizing her and she's not wearing her pin, yells after her "ma'am, ma'am" - McKinney just keeps on going. So he runs up to her and grabs her with his arm (not an unreasonable thing to do, considering). She turns around and slugs him in the chest. And now she's crying racism and sexism, he attacked her - oh, I'm sorry, the phrase she's using is that he "touched her inappropriately" - gee, let's make it sound like he raped her or something - anyway, yes, the brutal police man attacked her simply because she's black, a woman and he hates her politics, and now she's going to file charges against him, maybe.

Give me a frigging break. The cop ought to file charges against her.


Hat Tip: Memeorandum
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The Hawk On Rush!

Longtime blogger buddy John Hawkins had the surreal experience of hearing his blog mentioned by El Rushbo himself. Rush commented in detail on John's terrific post on 13 questions about illegal aliens, linked here earlier in the week.

I've never been mentioned by Maha Rushie, but I did have the experience of being cited quite a few times by Hugh Hewitt on his show back in the Kerry Haters days, and you can't imagine what a thrill it is, especially when it comes from out of the blue. Congrats to John!
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Friday, March 31, 2006
 
Typical Nonsense at HuffPo

Tony Hendra writes an absurd post about illegal aliens:

You call them 'illegals'? Uh-uh. Not very many generations ago -- a mere squirrel-blink in the 50,000+ years' life of the human race -- this was their country. You can see it in their Mayan cheekbones and stolid Olmec physiques and almond Aztec eyes. All those red states trumpeting their Americanness along the southern border -- Arizona, New Mexico et al., above all Texas -- are populated not just by immigrants but by very recent immigrants, and lest we forget, murdering, thieving, land-grabbing and land-devastating immigrants who practiced early but highly effective forms of biological warfare, ethnic cleansing and good old genocide. The spectacle of Republican -- and Democrat -- lawmakers with German, Irish, Italian, English, Polish and a dozen other kinds of Indo-European names standing up in Congress and sanctimoniously bloviating about the moral fiber, alien lifestyles, work ethic and financial reliability of real Americans, the Americans whose homeland this has been, for oh, 20-30,000 years, is hilarious to behold. Somewhere Texans, Arizonans et al seem to have gotten the impression that they actually have a right to live on the lands their grandfathers stole at the point of a gun. This is even more hilarious when the bloviator in question belongs to the party nominally led by the cretin from Crawford who is not just an immigrant like the rest of us, but -- despite his faux-cracker accent -- the son of a carpetbagger.

This land is their land is a foolish argument. I grew up in New Jersey; am entitled to that land? I'm Irish by descent; should Ireland have to allow me in without any background check/visa? As some of the commenters on that post note, the Aztecs and the Olmecs did not live in Arizona.

And the sins of the grandfathers argument is a slippery slope indeed. Don't forget, it was often used to justify persecution of the Jews. Interestingly, Hendra is a Brit who lives in Southern California. Let us know when he opens up his home to a family of illegals who have the right to live on his land.
0 comments links to this post
 
Netkooks Attack Obama



This bit of apostasy hasn't gone unnoticed:

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama rallied Connecticut Democrats at their annual dinner Thursday night, throwing his support behind mentor and Senate colleague Joe Lieberman.

Obama wasted little time getting to that point, calling it the "elephant in the room" but praising Lieberman's intellect, character and qualifications.

"The fact of the matter is, I know some in the party have differences with Joe. I'm going to go ahead and say it," Obama told the 1,700-plus party members who gathered in a ballroom at the Connecticut Convention Center for the $175-per-head fundraiser. "I am absolutely certain Connecticut is going to have the good sense to send Joe Lieberman back to the U.S. Senate so he can continue to serve on our behalf."


MyDD:

So I take Daniel's point, but bringing people together is not the same thing as making people feel good. And Senator Obama is saying different things to different people rather than being real about what he believes. Sometimes bringing people together involves blunt honesty. Beyond that, it is simply politically unwise to endorse the status quo instead of change in 2006. And the consequence of insider's disease is that you begin to believe that no matter what, the American people don't want an opposition, they want happy non-ideological talk about competence. I heard one consultant tell me yesterday that Bush's personal favorability ratings were and are always far higher than Clinton's.

Atrios:

Even an Obama appearance can't help this guy.

The Agonist:

Barack Obama is quickly becoming a serious disappointment to progressives across the country. At a dinner where it was rumored Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman was booed upon his introduction, Illinois Senator Barack Obama later that same evening threw his support behind what the Stamford Advocate is calling his "mentor."

He didn't throw his support anywhere. He just threw away a great deal of good-will, if you ask me.

Nedraline! Support Ned Lamont. Rid us of Lieberman.
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Duke Lacrosse Rape Story Getting Murkier

This makes me a little suspicious:

Meanwhile, the district attorney began downplaying a link between the results of DNA tests that are expected as early as next week and any possible charges. He also said the DNA test results might not be made public when they return from the state forensics lab.

The lacrosse players and their attorneys have said the test results would prove the rape allegations are false. Police, applying for a court order compelling the DNA samples from 46 players, said the tests would "show conclusive evidence as to who the suspect(s) are in the alleged violent attack upon this victim."


They're backing away from the DNA, which the lawyers and lacross players claim will exonerate them. The article also raises questions about the reported timeline of the event; police reported that the house seemed empty only minutes before the alleged victim called 911.

Hat Tip: Steven Donahue
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When HuffPoers Go Nuts

(Welcome fellow Right Wing News readers!)

It's not a pretty sight. Check out the second comment on this post:



Not much in the way of Google results on Soymda, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Airiheadda will be furnishing his/her registration information to the feds before long.

It's tempting to excuse this as just some individual nut, but the fact is that sites like Arianna's and the other liberal blogs effectively encourate this sort of nonsense with their shrill comparisons of Bush to Hitler. Think about it for a second; if it were really true, wouldn't one have almost an obligation to consider assassination?

More on this topic from Severe Writer's Block.
0 comments links to this post
 
Mujahedeen Jill Carroll?



A lot of people are expressing skepticism about her captivity and release, and not just bloggers. ABC notes:

ABC News has found a video on an insurgent Web site showing U.S. reporter Jill Carroll before she was released by her captors in Iraq. The circumstances surrounding the video are unclear and it is equally unclear whether Carroll was under duress during the taping.

The tape appears to have been made earlier today, before Carroll's captors released her, but the time of the taping has not yet been confirmed by ABC News.

Carroll, 28, had been held for three months by an Islamic jihadist group that refers to itself as the Revenge Brigade. The group had demanded that the United States release all Iraqi women from its prisons in exchange for Carroll's release.

In the video uncovered by ABC News, Carroll is shown being interviewed by an unknown person and refers to her imminent release.


Howard Kurtz:

I must say, though, that I found her first interview yesterday rather odd. Carroll seemed bent on giving her captors a positive review, going on about how well they treated her, how they gave her food and let her go to the bathroom. And they never threatened to hit her. Of course, as we all saw in those chilling videos, they did threaten to kill her. And they shot her Iraqi translator to death.

Why make a terrorist group who put her family and friends through a terrible three-month ordeal sound like they were running a low-budget motel chain?

Now perhaps this is unfair, for there is much we do not know. We don't know why Carroll was kidnapped and why she was abruptly released. She says she doesn't either, but surely she must have gotten some clues about her abductors' outlook and tactics during her 82-day captivity. Maybe she was just shell-shocked right after being let go. Maybe she won't feel comfortable speaking out until she's back on American soil. But this is what people are buzzing about.


It could also be the Stockholm Syndrome. But it certainly raises some questions.
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Nailing Jello To A Tree

Congress takes on the 527s in a fruitless quest to take the money out of politics.

"Our 527 is dormant," said Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org. He said his group would predominantly operate as a conventional political action committee, allowing it to more freely mix explicit political support and issue advocacy in a way that Mr. Pariser described as "squeaky clean."

MoveOn.org might be moving on from its 527, but Congress is not. Two years after 527's burst onto the political scene, gaining notoriety by raising unlimited amounts from private donors, Congressional Republicans are moving to rein in the groups — just in time for the November midterm elections. Leading Democrats are threatening a fight.


Money is like water; it will find a way in.
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Swann Leads by 6 In Pennsylvania

It's early, but it's a good sign.
0 comments links to this post
Thursday, March 30, 2006
 
UN Resolves to Speak Sternly to Iran

Well, that's about all that's left:

[British Foreign Minister] Jack Straw held out the prospect that Iran could eventually face sanctions if it declines to co-operation, but Russia and China ruled out using sanctions or force.
0 comments links to this post
 
Here's to Phyllis Schlafly!



A terrific profile in the New York Times of all places! Some tidbits:

That Mrs. Schlafly has so passionately endorsed domestic life as the greatest achievement to which a woman might aspire while aspiring to so much more herself, has, of course, infuriated her feminist adversaries for decades.

"In the scale of liberal sins, hypocrisy is the greatest, and they have always considered me a hypocrite," Mrs. Schlafly said. She has never told women, she said, that they shouldn't or couldn't work. "I simply didn't believe we needed a constitutional amendment to protect women's rights," she said. "I knew of only one law that was discriminatory toward women, a law in North Dakota stipulating that a wife had to have her husband's permission to make wine."


And:

If women's lives have vastly improved in the last third of a century, she would credit neither Ms. Friedan's efforts nor her own, but instead the work of consumer product engineers who have created labor-saving devices. "When I got married, all I wanted was a dryer so I didn't have to hang my diapers on a clothesline," she wrote in an e-mail message. "Now, mothers have paper diapers. Et cetera, et cetera."
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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Illegal Immigration...

John Hawkins answers 13 questions about illegal aliens.
0 comments links to this post
 
25 Years Ago Today



Ronald Reagan was shot by loser John Hinckley. Third Wave Dave has more. As I have commented in the past, one of the things that really changed my mind about Reagan was his sense of humor in those frightening moments:

As he was moved from the stretcher to the operating table, he looked around and said, "Please tell me you're all Republicans." Giordano, a liberal Democrat, said, "We're all Republicans today."

John Ruberry has an excerpt from Reagan's autobiography on that day.
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Is Lew Rockwell Crazy?

Sorry, rhetorical question there; of course Lew Rockwell's crazy. The only question is how crazy. Discussing the central argument of most conservative books, Rockwell writes:

Here is the argument, in reduced form:

On domestic policy, the government is the enemy. We need to scale back government spending and regulations that tie up business in red tape. The public schools are failing and need an injection of competition. Too many welfare programs are out of control. Taxes are too high and too complex. Politicians and bureaucrats shouldn't run our lives, lest liberty be lost. Let's return to our founding principles and return government to the people.

On foreign policy, we are surrounded on all sides by enemies. Dangers lurk everywhere. We need to strike them before they strike us. We must not shirk our responsibilities to ourselves and the world. We need not fear the use of power, even war, even relentless global war. We cannot cut our defenses. Our allies need us. We need not listen to the cowards who would recoil from this struggle against evil because freedom isn't free. If anything, we need to beef up military spending.

Do you see the contradiction? Apparently it is not obvious to thousands of writers, activists, and thinkers, and not just today but dating back for decades. The problem is this: in the first paragraph, the government is rightly presumed to be the coercive enemy that takes from the people and saps their productivity. It cannot perform tasks as efficiently as property owners. It hurts rather than helps. Government does not know best. Our choice is government or liberty.

All that is fine as far as it goes. But when it comes to foreign policy, the analysis is entirely reversed. The presumption that the American people and the government are unified is integral to the analysis, as summed up in the plural pronouns "our" and "we," as if the people have direct control over the foreign-policy decisions of the political leadership.

Whereas the government is considered to be bubble-headed and ham-handed in domestic policy, in matters of foreign policy the government is suddenly imbued with virtuous traits such as courage. Taxes, in this case, are not a burden but the price we pay for civilization. The largest and most violent government program of all – namely war – is not an imposition with unintended consequences but an essential and praiseworthy effort at protection.


Of course, what Rockwell fails to see here (as do most libertarians) is that while there are alternatives to using government to handle domestic tasks, there are no real alternatives to government in the foreign policy and defense sphere. We can allow private companies to build toll roads; we cannot contract out the defense of the nation.
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Science on the Move

This sounds like fun:

Is there a biological basis to Hulk’s transformation? How can knowledge of simple mechanics help us command the strength of Iron Man? Find the answers to these questions and more.

Although I gotta admit, Marvel science always struck me as similar to Dr Who science; the answer was always to reverse the polarity.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006
 
Moron Duke Lacrosse Rapists

Here's a blog that's covering the story seriously, including the police report.

The site does have photos of many of the players and even their parents' names; I'm a little concerned about that. There are two arguments here; one is that there is apparently a code of silence among the lacrosse players about what happened, so pressure brought on them could result in the arrest of some lowlifes who committed a serious crime. The other, of course, is that we don't know who's clamming up and who doesn't have evidence--players who weren't at the party, etc. Yellow light.
0 comments links to this post
 
The Only Way This Story Could Be Better....



Is if the cop had been Jewish.

According to sources on Capitol Hill, U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) punched a Capitol police officer on Wednesday afternoon after he mistakenly pursued her for failing to pass through a metal detector.

Note the byline on this story? It's our old buddy, Michael King from Rambling's Journal (unfortunately defunct), one of the very first major bloggers to blogroll Brainster's and Kerry Haters! Good to see Michael doing well for himself. :)

Update: Here's a liberal blogger who thinks McKinney will turn this to her advantage. Moron McKinney from the Ankle-Biters.
0 comments links to this post
 
Oh By The Way, Which One's Pink?

I had vaguely heard of this singer before, but didn't realize that she was on the fourteenth minute of fame.
0 comments links to this post
 
Getcha Red Hot Clueless!

Rick Moran's got this week's instalment of my favorite carnival. Be sure to read to the end, for the Cluebat Hall of Fame.
0 comments links to this post
 
Racist Duke Lacrosse Team Gang-Rapes Woman?



Not a good week for Duke athletics.

For the second time in 14 hours, a crowd of protesters gathered Sunday morning in front of a house where a woman allegedly was gang-raped by Duke University lacrosse players.

The 9 a.m. rally was billed as an early morning "wake-up call" to the Duke students who live in the house and in other student party houses across Buchanan Boulevard from East Campus.


I guess Duke's academics aren't as good as advertised, if 9:00 AM is considered an early morning wake-up call.

Now some might think that this will mitigate against the woman:

The victim, reportedly an N.C. Central University student who worked as an escort and exotic dancer, told police the players took her into a bathroom and sexually assaulted, strangled, beat and kicked her.

But before we spend too much time on the woman's um, career choices, consider this:

The woman, who says she was told she'd be dancing for a few men at a bachelor party, told police she fought fiercely against her attackers, losing four fingernails in the process.

Initially, the lacrosse team denied it all. It was all overblown, they said, although they did admit hiring a dancer and doing some drinking. The drinking was certainly no surprise. The Winston-Salem Journal reported this week that 15 of the 47 players on the team had previous misdemeanor chargers "stemming from drunken and disruptive behavior.'' In fact, police have reportedly been called to the house four times since September.

And then the police found four red, polished, broken fingernails at the house.


So it certainly sounds like this was really rape; not just a case of "theft of services".
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Splat!

Planting IEDs in Iraq's roadways just moved up a notch on the dangerous professions list.

An MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle engaged three anti-Iraqi forces in the process of placing an improvised explosive device along a road near Balad Air Base yesterday evening. The Predator launched an AGM-114 Hellfire missile against the group.

The Predator monitored the three individuals for about half an hour while they used a pick ax to dig a hole in the road, placed an explosive round in the hole and strung wires from the hole to a ditch on the side of the road. When it was clear the individuals were placing an IED, the Predator launched the 100-pound Hellfire missile, resulting in the deaths of all three insurgents.


Here's a model of the Predator:



Hat Tip: The Commissar, who points out that the Democrats' pledge to "eliminate Osama" amounts to a plan to invade Pakistan (or Iran).
0 comments links to this post
 
Moonbat Berg to Run for Congress--On Green Ticket!



More evidence of our good fortune in enemies (Correction: opponents. Paul points out quite rightly in the comments that Mr Berg is not the enemy).

"I'm in this race to win," said Mr. Berg, wearing his standard outfit — jeans and an antiwar T-shirt — while seated in the cafe in downtown Wilmington that he uses for interviews, since his wife forbids members of the news media in their home. "But the larger point is to get more people talking about the war."

In a state where only 621 of 545,000 registered voters are signed up with the Green Party, Mr. Berg said he had raised a little over $5,000 of the $250,000 that his campaign director says he needs to be competitive.

As he bicycles across the state giving speeches at schools and churches and holding fund-raising house parties, he says he has found a receptive audience, not just to his call for an immediate withdrawal of all American forces from Iraq but also to the rest of his platform: universal health care, a livable wage and increased spending on education.


The incumbent, Republican Michael N. Castle, won reelection in 2004 with 69% of the vote, so obviously he'll coast to victory again. Berg just insures that the moonbats will split.
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Keith Olbermann So Popular HuffPo Almost Spells His Name Right!

Yep, you know you've hit the big time:



In the first quarter of 2006, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann beat CNN's Paula Zahn Now in the 25-54 demographic. "This marks MSNBC's first quarterly primetime victory over CNN in the demo in almost five years (2Q01 MSNBC Investigates beat CNN at 8 p.m. ET)," MSNBC's press release said today.

Countdown averaged 164,000 total viewers in the quarter, up 41% from Q1 2005. Zahn averaged 158,000 demo viewers (down 33 percent), according to MSNBC. Bill O'Reilly averaged 450,000 in the demo (down 24 percent).


Bob Ceska gives high fives:

With a tremendous and well-deserved upswing in his ratings, Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" has surpassed CNN and is inching closer and closer to defeating the self-satirical Bill O'Reilly. Clearly, this is a significant milestone towards television news making a comeback.

Let me make a prediction here. Olbermann's not going to catch up to O'Reilly.

And if Olbermann is the professional I think he is, he keeps his personal politics on the sidelines as much as possible and simply reports on the news that we truly need to know.

Uh, Bob, Olbermann is not the professional you think he is.
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Beware of Democrats Bearing Tax Cuts

The likely cut will be in your take-home pay.

Mr. Corzine won the Trenton statehouse last year by running as a tax cutter who'd raise property tax rebates by 40% over four years. "I'm not considering raising taxes. It's not on my agenda. We have a very high-rate tax structure. I'm not considering it," the then-U.S. Senator had vowed in October.

Well, last week Governor Corzine removed the Steve Forbes mask and submitted a record $30.9 billion budget that increases state spending by 9% and includes $1.5 billion in new levies. He wants to raise the already high state sales tax by 16% and extend it to services; hike taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and expensive cars; and create a new state water tax. And just so Garden State entrepreneurs don't feel left out, his budget would impose a corporate tax surcharge and a commercial property transfer tax. "There are no immediate plans," joked one local paper, "to tax the air we breathe--not this year, at least."


The WSJ reminds people that Jim McGreevey, the prior governor, also ran on a campaign of tax cuts that turned into tax increases. Of course, McGreevey was a piker compared to the king of "delivering on all the promises we intended to keep": Bill Clinton.
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Dems to Run on Dirty Harry Platform--Updated!



This would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic:

Congressional Democrats promise to "eliminate" Osama bin Laden and ensure a "responsible redeployment of U.S. forces" from Iraq in 2006 in an election-year national security policy statement.

First, how are they going to do anything in 2006? And responsible redeployment my Aunt Petunia. They're going to cut and run.

Second, how are they going to "eliminate" Osama? The article talks bravely of doubling the number of special forces and adding more spies, but in the end it's just rhetoric. Does anybody believe that the party of John Murtha and Howard Dean is going to deliver? Let's remember that their standard bearer in 2004 talked about law enforcement, not military solutions.

Update: Our buddy James (whose excellent blog the Chief Brief you should be reading regularly), points out in the comments that the only way to double the size of our special forces is to lower the standards a bit, so that more qualify.

Also, check out Don Surber for a hilarious photo from the past!
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006
 
The Amazing Race, My Pal Ermo

The first players to leave are the Frat Boys, at 2:15 AM. The next leg is to Palermo, Sicily and an opera house. The Hippies and Lake & Michelle depart next around 3:04-3:05 or so. We get some scenes of the Hippies & the Frat Boys clowning around in wheelchairs, while Lake & Michelle diligently check out the internet. Unfortunately the Hippies prove much more adept at surfing, dudes, and so they get the last ticket on an early flight and will arrive in Palermo at like 9:30. Lake & Michelle settle for a later flight getting in at 2:00 (!). The Frat Boys manage to get on standbye for the first leg of the Hippie's trip, but they are left behind in Rome. Meanwhile, the other couples get an earlier flight into Palermo arriving at 1:30. Amazingly, Lake & Michelle are now in last place despite starting out over four hours ahead of Team Pink.

The Hippies arrive easily at the Opera House. They visit Castellammare, where they find a detour. They must choose between Foundry or Laundry. In Foundry they must carry a heavy bell to a golf-cart-type vehicle, then deliver it to a church. In Laundry they must search through 2400 pieces of laundry for one of 16 different items with a special clue-box like label sewn into them. Here's a pic of Castellammare:



The Hippies and most of the others choose Laundry. The two teams that choose Foundry seem to benefit from the choice as the men manage to muscle the bells without much help from the female partner. Still the Hippies are well ahead by this point, and we never see the other teams while they are performing their task. The next goal is the ancient town of Segesta, which features an amphitheater:



Caution, Yield Ahead! Okay, this puts the game into overdrive as now everybody must consider whether to yield another team. The Hippies appear to be thinking of yielding the Frat Boys, but they decide the better of it. The next task is a roadblock. One of the players must assemble a statue. What they don't know at the time is that there are two extra pieces to throw the players off.

The Hippies breeze through and as the Frat Boys are arriving they reach the mat, which is at this Parthenon-like structure:



The Frat Boys decline to yield as well, and at this point I begin to see the strategies involved. Last season the yield was used spitefully against the Weavers by the first teams to arrive. This season they are holding back, which does seem smarter. After all, the yield is only really effective near the back of the pack since there is always something like an airport or a train or an opening time that serves to bunch the teams up regularly. Thus the Hippies gaining an hour on the Frat Boys now probably doesn't mean a thing.

Most of the teams have no trouble with the two extra pieces but Team Ordinary Couple freak out. Lake & Michelle arrive at the route to the Teatro, but mistakenly run towards the Parthenon, only to realize they must turn around. They are now barely ahead of Team Pink, and undoubtedly think they are facing elimination. They don't realize that the black couple have gotten lost and are way behind.

As a result, Lake & Michelle choose to yield Team Pink. Amazingly, the gals, manage to overcome the hour penalty and are still ahead of Ray & Yolanda. But the Pink gal turns out to be mediocre at the puzzle, getting the thighs wrong, while Ray breezes through it. There is some supposed drama at the end, but in the end Team Pink is Phil-Liminated. Kind of a classless comment from Phil about how quickly they'd "hooked up" with the Frat Boys, I thought.

I hadn't realized the gals were New Yawkers but it came out in their speeches at the end.

As always, Viking Pundit is the place to go for the details that I missed.
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Here's An Observation I Agree With

By a reviewer who gave Kos and Armstrong's Crashing the Gates five stars, no less:

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Its our turn now. , March 27, 2006
Reviewer: M. Perloe "mperloe" (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Democratic Party professionals have honed their skills at losing elections.


I think he's got that right; the pros among the Democrats have honed their skills at losing elections; it's time to give the lefty bloggers a chance to lose elections too!
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Kevin Phillips Has An Idea

A stupid idea.

Which bring me to the remedy sought a few years back when Californians got tired of their governor, Gray Davis. Under state law, they were able to mount a recall effort that took away his job. To set up a simular federal mechanism, a constitutional amendment would seem necessary, and that could not happen overnight. Still, with impeachment losing credibility as a constitutiional remedy, the possibilility of having an "incompetent" president with a 35% job approval rating in office for almost three more years represents enough of a threat to an unhappy and beleaguered United States that a wide-ranging debate is in order.

Yes, of course, impeachment's tough, so let's just pass a quick amendment to the constitution? I got news for you, Kevin. Impeachment requires a 50% vote of the House and conviction requires a 67% vote of the Senate. An amendment to the constitution requires a 67% vote of the House, a 67% vote of the Senate, AND a 75% vote of the states.
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Quick Hits

I haven't paid much attention to the Andy Card resignation today, but Pat Hynes speculates that it's all about Mitt Romney.

Wonder why we haven't heard anything about Bush's poll numbers in a week or so?

Here's a good post by a New Mexico blogger on how Patricia Madrid's ignoring the major scandals in the Land of Enchantment.

Add Robert Fisk to the nutbar world of Charlie Sheen.

Rick Moran has a superb and personal post on immigration reform that makes for gripping reading. As I've commented in the past there are people in the blogosphere whose rise puzzles me. Not Rick.
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Mesopotamia McDermott A Little Lighter In the Wallet



After a $700,000 judgment against him in the famed Gingrich cell-phone taping case.

McDermott leaked a tape of a 1996 cell phone call involving former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to The New York Times and other news organizations.

The call included discussion by Gingrich, R-Ga., and other House GOP leaders about a House ethics committee investigation of Gingrich. Boehner, R-Ohio, was a Gingrich lieutenant at the time and is now House majority leader.

A lawyer for McDermott had argued that his actions were allowed under the First Amendment, and said a ruling against him would have "a huge chilling effect" on reporters and newsmakers alike.

Lawyers for 18 news organizations — including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post — filed a brief backing McDermott.
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Book Nook

Patrick Hynes, our longtime buddy at Ankle-Biting Pundits has a book coming out in a few months called In Defense of the Religious Right. Reserve your copy now!

In the meantime, Hugh Hewitt's producer Duane has a terrific photoshop contest going for those with the appropriate skills. Three lucky winners will get a Crosley radio and a case of Hugh's new book. Chris, this looks right up your alley, and here's a suggestion:

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Cap Weinberger Dies

at age 88. Who will be the first on the left to smear him? Tick, tick, tick....
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A Nag Rams

Mystery Kit tagged me with the anagram meme. My results are here. My favorites? Two sports ones came out: Berra Isn't, and Starr Bien. You could also argue that Ban Triers amounts to "First we kill all the lawyers". Chris points out that one of my results was Bra Insert, which gives me the opportunity to post this:



I think she's going to have back problems before long!

I'll tag Pam and Rachel.
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Live By McCain....

EJ Dionne is disappointed in his Maverickness:

In April 2004 I put in a call to John McCain's office to see if he would respond to a group of House Republicans who had attacked his fellow Vietnam veteran John Kerry.

In a preview of coming assaults, the Republicans accused Kerry of, among other things, "aiding and abetting the enemy" by coming to oppose the war in Vietnam, where Kerry had earned so many medals.

McCain's spokesman at the time said he doubted his boss would want to get into the controversy. But within an hour or so, McCain called back to denounce the attacks on Kerry. "He's my friend. He'll continue to be my friend," McCain said. "I know his service was honorable. If that hurts me politically or with my party, that's a very small price to pay."

That was McCain the Maverick, who has won much affection outside the ranks of his own party. McCain the Maverick fought for campaign finance reform, took global warming seriously, opposed Bush's tax cuts and spoke out against torture.


And, not coincidentally, was the Republican that E.J. Dionne could go to for a quote knocking other Republicans. Now, with two years to go to the next presidential election and McCain the apparent front-runner, E.J. can't rely on McCain anymore.

Captain Ed looks at the same story and comes to the same conclusion. This article does back up John Hawkins' argument that McCain's glowing press is about to get a great deal more negative.
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Monday, March 27, 2006
 
Dumb Alec Bails Out--Updated!



This got some attention earlier today, but I didn't have time to listen to it until tonight. Alec Baldwin was on the radio with WABC's Brian Whitman, promoting his new movie--just kidding--and Sean Hannity and Marc Levin tag-teamed him as callers to the show. It's pretty amusing. I do think some of the comments from both sides were out of hand, but it makes for fun radio. Note that Hannity quite correctly says that Baldwin can't answer him.

Update: Dumb Alec responds on the HuffPo.

Hannity, a McCarthy-esque figure in American media, but without McCarthy's influence or audience, spent most of his on-air day gloating that he had put me in my place and indicating that I had slurred construction workers with my call for him to return to that (his former) profession.

I have no problem with anything Hannity might say. Hannity, who lacks practically every skill that O'Reilly conveys so effortlessly, will always be doomed to do what he can with what little he has. But to suggest that I have any disrespect for any laborers of any kind in this country is plain wrong.


That's an attempt to take back what Baldwin said, which is:

BALDWIN: Why would I want to come on the show with a no-talent, former construction worker hack like you?
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Here's to George Mason!

It's funny because my picks turned out horrendously this year, but my one little bit of pride is that I had George Mason beating Michigan State in the first round.

Betsy Newmark explains to the kids at the school why we should all remember George Mason.
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Air America Phoenix Update

Well, it looks like "Power to the People" is going to be heard over the airwaves in the Valley of the Sun again, even though their pixel drive came up quite a bit short, raising about $50,000 of the $500,000 they were looking for.

I'm surprised at the news, but it should be noted that KPHX 1480 is not exactly a powerhouse.
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Chuckle From a Chucklehead

Jane Hamsher is back at the Huffpo with a post on the vilest accusation leveled at Ben Domenech last week:

But as the denoument arrived I was greatly concerned with the assertions made by both Ben and his defenders that some on the left had accused him of having sexual relations with his mother. No matter how creepy and "Flowers in the Attic" the whole home-schooling thing may seem to those of us who spent our teen years knocking elbows at large urban public high schools, this kind of character assassination and personal smear job is the purview of the right.

Well, I was initially impressed. It appeared for a moment that Hamsher actually had some integrity, and was going to call out somebody on her own side for unacceptable behavior.

I should have known better. In fact, it was just a setup for a "joke" suggestion that the Washington Post hire the blogger in question, a nitwit who goes by the pseudonym "Jesus' General".

I've decided we should take a page out of the GOP playbook on this one, and I hope you'll all support me. If Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet and Paul Bremer deserve the Medal of Freedom for the Iraq war, the General ought to get his own column in the Washington Post online.
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Was MLK A Communist?

Obviously nobody really knows. Before they discovered the plagiarism, the biggest item the loopy Left had discovered in Ben Domenech's writing was a negative comment about President Bush attending Coretta Scott King's funeral, where he described Mrs King as a communist.

Now the odd thing about this is that the hardcore Left often implies that King was hardcore Left-winger himself; if not a communist, at least a socialist. Here's a column from far leftists Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon from 1995 where they certainly imply that King was way out on the fringe:

But after passage of civil rights acts in 1964 and 1965, King began challenging the nation's fundamental priorities. He maintained that civil rights laws were empty without "human rights" — including economic rights. For people too poor to eat at a restaurant or afford a decent home, King said, anti-discrimination laws were hollow.

Noting that a majority of Americans below the poverty line were white, King developed a class perspective. He decried the huge income gaps between rich and poor, and called for "radical changes in the structure of our society" to redistribute wealth and power.

"True compassion," King declared, "is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."


But of course, pointing out King's comments is only appropriate when the far Left wants to buy some credibility for their redistributionist agenda. When folks use the redistributionist agenda to tarnish King, it's considered racist.

Hat Tip: Wizbang, which points out the irony of Steve Gilliard calling anybody a racist.
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Europe's Problems Are Ours Too

John Hawkins interviews Claire Berlinski:

John Hawkins: In the book, you said that anti-Americanism seemed to be at least in part, a religion substitute for many Europeans. Can you elaborate on that idea?

Claire Berlinski: Certainly. The phenomena to be explained are the irrationality and the ardor of European anti-Americanism. Irrational, because entirely disproportionate to any real faults in American society. Of course America has flaws, and no, it is not lunacy to point them out. But in poll after poll, you see substantial numbers of Europeans, non-trivial numbers, who believe the September 11 attacks were staged, yes, staged, by an oil-hungry American military-industrial complex to justify its imperialist adventures in Iraq. In Germany, 20 percent of the population believes this. In France, a book arguing this case was a galloping bestseller. Now that is bughouse nuts. Totally bats in the belfry.


Speaking of which, a moonbat of the MIHOP brigade showed up in Chris' comments on Charlie Sheen's embrace of that exact sort of nuttiness.
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Bush Wouldn't Have Given Saddam Benefit of Doubt

The New York Times appears shocked:

But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

As Captain Ed points out this is hardly staggering news. There was only a month or so before the ultimatum expired, and Saddam was not cooperating.
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Sunday, March 26, 2006
 
Some Red Staters Still Don't Get It--Updated

Loyalty to a friend is one thing. Drinking the Kool-Aid is another.

This Open Letter to Michelle Malkin is shown as a recommended diary on the Red State homepage. I'm reasonably sure the recommendation comes from the Red State community, not the overlords:

First, let me begin by saying I've never liked you, so I'm biased.

Believe it or not, it's not for all the reasons you claim people don't like you. I think you are beautiful, so it's not jealousy. If I'm going to be jealous, trust me, it's going to be over someone like Angelina Jolie.

It's not because of your heritage/culture/etc. I could care less. I couldn't tell you what mine is and I'm a mutt so I can get away with it.

Frankly, it's because you bore me. Truth be told, for someone that is so smart, I expect you to say more and pad less. And to be wittier about it.

Perhaps what bothers me the most is that, of all the attributes I thought you might have, the one I had the highest expectation of was that of loyalty.


Now is that silly or what? "I think you are beautiful, so it's not jealousy." People are seldom jealous of people who are ugly, so the fact that she thinks Mrs M is beautiful hardly rules out jealousy. And she complains about padding, but in the short five paragraphs contained here, she pads with the two about how "it's not your looks and it's not your heritage".

And in fact, Michelle showed loyalty when the unhinged moonbats attacked Domenech with unfounded and disgusting smears. It was only when credible evidence that he'd plagiarized began to emerge that she called for him to resign his job at the Post.

My entire life has been one large high expectation. I expect a lot out of people because I think that if you want to portray yourself as something special, then you'd better "put out" so to speak. Well, my dear, what I've read from you just isn't that. What you have managed to do, in the words of the infamous Beatles is to "get by with a little help from your friends." Oh, sweetie, bless your heart, because that is coming to an end. In the south, they'd say you've shown your behind. Well, they'd use another word for it, but I'm enough of a lady not to say it. What you've done is sold out a friend for one article.

It's not to say that I don't see your motivation, love, because I do. I see that Ben helped you with one of your books, and, in all honesty, probably wrote all the funny parts because you and I both know it's not your strong suit isn't it, sweetpea? However, your little notes came out before you made it a point to talk to a FRIEND about what happened before you flapped the carefully sucked in jowls and screwed him over.

With friends like you, who needs Bill & Hill, eh? Mark my words, little one, and by little I mean what heart you must possess to sell out someone as true as Ben. Elephants have long memories, darling, and I plan on remembering.

So will they. Make sure you've carefully had someone go through all of your papers. Once they have finished with Ben and all of the rest of us, you're next. And, like I offered to someone else, I'll head up the team that goes through your work if someone wants to fund the program.

Sincerely,

Jill Nachos.


Disappointing, and the comments are more of the same. I am sure that Mrs M will welcome this woman going through her writing for evidence of plagiarism. I'd prefer that Mrs Nachos would go on to research Jane Hamsher and some of the people who scorched Ben unfairly before the plagiarism charges surfaced.

Update: More from John Hawkins.

Our buddy TC the Leather Penguin is outraged by one of Domenech's plagiarisms. It certainly seems like he was begging to be caught if he was copying the G File, one of the most popular conservative columns of the late 1990s.
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Another Reminder Of Our Good Fortune

Never underestimate the willingness of the liberals to shoot themselves in the foot. Steve Cobble writes in the HuffPo about the Christine Cegelis/Tammy Duckworth primary that I covered earlier in the week.

Despite Cegelis' role in helping Hyde-the-impeachment-man decide to give up, Hillary Clinton did a quarter-million-dollar fundraiser for Cegelis' opponent. John Kerry, who had so much trouble deciding whether he was for or against the Iraq War, was so sure he knew what was best for IL-6 that he did 2 mass email fundraising solicitations for her opponent, raising a couple hundred thousand. Obama did TV ads. Rahm conducted the orchestra. 11 very attractive mailings were sent out to regular primary voters. A couple Daleys chipped in a few dollars more. I could go on, and on, because essentially the entire Democratic Establishment--and even quite a few progressive groups that should have known better--helped stomp on Cegelis.

But when it comes to lessons, Cobble provides some amusement:

If some more progressive groups will join them, we can win the next election like this one--which, imho, is Marcy Winograd's antiwar, anti-spying, pro-Wellstone -wing-of-the-Democratic-Party challenge to Blue Dog Jane Harman out in California (June primary).

Marcy's web site leads off with this line: "I will vote to end the war in Iraq and to bring our troops home. Harman will not." Q.E.D.


As I have said before, the netroots seem to relish beating insufficiently liberal Democrats more than conservative Republicans.
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Will Sherrod Brown Lose The Support of the Kooks?

The netkooks reluctantly went along with the party elders when Sherrod Brown wanted to run for the Senate, and removed their support from their former darling, Paul Hackett. Now Brown has repaid them by trashing their favorite plaything of recent weeks, the censure resolution of Russ Feingold.

"It just takes us off discussions we ought to be having in this country on issues that really matter in people's lives," said Rep. Sherrod Brown, a liberal Democrat from Ohio who is running for Senate.
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