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Saturday, April 29, 2006
 
Last Word On Loose Change

Check out this review in the New Times, Phoenix's "alternative" news weekly.

Of course, when one of the few skeptical people in attendance at 3 Roots pressed the kids about their claims, they rapidly spewed a bunch of nonsense before resorting to the age-old chestnut, "Hey, we're just asking questions. We're not saying it happened this way. We're asking questions."

And that leads The Bird to ask a question, too. Namely: How is it possible that someone stupid enough to fall for this sh*t is teaching at Scottsdale Community College?

Like the young documentarians, The Bird's got evidence to spare. The film was introduced by a woman named Carrie Jones, who the college's Web site confirms is a faculty member in SCC's motion picture/television department.

And Jones isn't exactly bashful about her views. "I had two weeks of depression after seeing this film," she told the crowd at 3 Roots. "And I've never been depressed in my life."

Not because the film was so bad, mind you. But because Carrie Jones believes it!

"I can say with 100 percent confidence," she continued, "that this was an inside job by our government."

Like we said before: How is someone this f*cking stupid entrusted with the impressionable minds of Scottsdale youth? Now, don't blame this pissy parakeet for raising the issue. It's just asking questions.
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Leinart Goes to the Cards

Surprised to see him drop that low. I remain steady in my view that the draft is not the place to pick up a quarterback.

Leinart, who almost surely would have been the No. 1 overall pick last year after winning the Heisman in 2004, dropped all the way to No. 10, where he was taken by Arizona.

"There could be worse things in life, you know?" Leinart said, cracking a smile.


Yeah like getting drafted by the Montreal Expos. Oh, wait a minute, they're not around anymore. Okay, Matt, I'll bite--what's worse than being drafted by the Cards?
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Top Flight



I just got back from watching United 93. I cannot recommend this movie strongly enough. I'm not a movie reviewer by trade or training, so I'll concentrate on my impressions.

Accuracy: Very accurate as far as we know. It does have the passengers getting into the cockpit, which apparently did not happen; but this was only announced a few weeks ago (at the Massaoui trial). The only other major bug that I noticed was that they didn't have the pilot announce that there was a bomb on board the plane, which was transmitted to the air traffic controllers by mistake. This was the confirmation that the plane had been hijacked.

Acting: Those were actors? Great job by all involved, particularly the guy at the air traffic control center (who apparently is the actual man who had that job on 9-11).

Cinematography: Occasionally jerky camera, but that just adds to the realism.

Positives: The first half the film is unemotional. This part of the film mostly takes place in various air traffic control centers, and while the controllers are upset and angry we are able to keep some distance. This is important because the emotions once the plane is hijacked are overpowering. You feel as though you are there, on the jet as the terrorists herd the passengers to the back.

There is confusion on the ground, which is realistic. For almost an hour after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, the controllers are still convinced that American Airlines Flight 11 was still airborne and a threat. A Delta flight is much talked about as a possible terrorist target, and at times this is confirmed. There's even a little something for the moonbats: At one point the military is trying to contact the President and they're told that he's airborne and nobody can reach him.

Oddly, they don't specifically indentify anybody other than the hijackers, although there are clues throughout for those in the know--Jeremy Glick is the one who wants to talk to Liz, Todd Beamer is the one who asks the operator to call his family. Mark Bingham is the guy with the rugby shirt who's the last to board the plane.

Negatives: For some reason they have Beamer reciting the Lord's Prayer with the supervisor, when actually he recited the 23rd Psalm, which includes this famous (and relevant) passage:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;


As the passengers subdue the first hijacker, there is a brief shot of a bloody hand, which is a cliched way of telling us that they did indeed kill him.

Overall, though, the movie is terrific and I highly recommend it. If you go, I suggest taking a moment or two afterwards to decompress before hitting the road, and drive carefully. You will feel emotionally drained, which is not always conducive to good driving.

Hot Air is collecting reviews here. I particularly recommend Rick Moran's take.

Mr Ugly American answers the question of why this film is not being heavily advertised on left-wing blogs. I should note that the Huffington Post has had quite a few ads on this film.
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Eleanor Clift Interviews Al Gore

I had to roll my eyes a bit at this intro:

Al Gore has launched his new campaign—this one to battle the effects of global warming. At its center is a new film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which stars Gore and has been winning surprisingly positive press.

Holy smoke, the media giving Al Gore good press? Who woulda thunk it?

Just for fun I thought I'd paste Eleanor's questions and my snappy (and far more honest) answers:

NEWSWEEK: They say timing is everything. Has the moment arrived for this issue?

Absolutely. There could not be a better time to talk about raising taxes on gasoline than when it's at $3 a gallon.

Where did you get your initial interest in this?

I was looking around at the different grievance groups that make up the Democrats and the enviro-kooks were the only folks I could get out in front and pretend to be leading. The feminists sensed I was a beta male, the blacks said I was the son of a senator who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

How did this become a movie?

You can always find somebody to bankroll a lefty project.

And you inject some humor into your presentation.

Is there a question there?

I was surprised to hear that as vice president you went to China and gave the slide show. Why didn’t we hear about it until now?

We thought it might hurt my campaign to admit that I was drinking a toast to the butchers of Tiannanmen Square.

What do you hope to accomplish with this film?

Mostly to keep my face out in front of the people for another year while I get ready to run for president in 2008.

What do you say to President Bush and others who still suggest we need more study?

I say he betrayed us and preyed on our fears, so now I'm preying on our fears.

Because it would cut into their profits?

In a Gore economy there would be no profits.

Do you see anything positive in President Bush’s leadership—anything you admire about him?

Yes, but if I tell you the moonbats won't like me anymore.

Looking at what you’re doing and how you’re getting this issue out there and yourself out there, I’m wondering if you’re running the first campaign of the 21st century by framing global warming as a moral challenge to a country that’s really eager for leadership.

Uh, Eleanor, wasn't there another campaign in 2004? Wasn't that sort of the first campaign of the 21st century?

In 2000 and in 1988 when you ran, you really didn’t talk about the environment that much. I think you were counseled that it was not a good issue. Any regrets about that?

Not really. It's a fine balancing act between satisfying all the tree huggers and yet keeping the auto workers on board. And we need those guys for muscle.

The mainstream media still ruled during your campaign in 2000. It’s a very different world today with the Internet. How do you see the new media changing upcoming campaigns?

The liberal blogs do a great job of fund-raising, but they're an annoyance. You have to dance their tune which turns off the center. Of course, I don't have any choice, because I'm not going to get to the right of Hillary. So I say the required nasty things about Rove and Bush.

People don’t get up.

I recommend viagra.

Do you think the Democrats have a chance of recapturing control of Congress?

Not really. All this talk about the opposition party winning off year elections is based on the party in power sweeping a lot of weak candidates into office with the president. The Republicans didn't do that in 2004.

You use the phrase “connect the dots” quite often. You delivered a speech on Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, that was critical of Bush for acting unlawfully in eavesdropping on Americans. Connect the dots from that speech to what you’re doing now.

It's all part of keeping the moonbats happy.
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Who's Threatening Susan Saranwrap?



This is rather bizarre:

Sarandon, a long-time political activist, said the way in which she and her family had been targeted by newspapers, radio phone-ins, teachers and people on the street because of her views was “horrifying”.

Teachers?
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Moonbats Over Minnesota

A bunch of particularly dumb students (both high school and college) vandalize a military recruitment center.

Riva Garcia, 15, a freshman at Minneapolis South High School, told the crowd that she believes the war is racist and that the military is using dirty tactics to get minorities to enlist.

"We, as working class, minority and immigrant youth, deserve equal access to education," she said. "We don't deserve to die for our country just because someone told us to. We deserve to be heard, and to be recognized as the future of this country."


Well, you know, Riva, you could have had equal access to education if you'd been in school yesterday instead of splashing red paint on a recruiter's office.

Michelle Malkin has more.

Here's a post by Anonymous claiming that the Black Bloc was doing wonderful stuff:

As the bloc assembled and encougared the crowd to resist the arrests, people rushed towards the unprotected officers dragging students away. A few horses were rushed into the crowd, and a few of the "official" organizers of the protest demanded that the protesters sit down.

While the main body of the protesters sat, the bloc was isolated and alone in their efforts to free the few who had been grabbed. Only one was rescued. The organizers demanded that the protesters remain seated while the police scoped out the isolated bloc. While the "official" organizers debated about what course of action to take, the arrested students were put in cars and removed from the event.

The event ended when the organizers directed the protesters back to Coffman Memorial Union. After attempts at an empowering speech, the organizers ran off of the protester's sense of empowerment that was created by the bloc's actions. All while demanding that the protest reamin a "peaceful protest." Several more demands were made of the protesters through a game of repeat to organize a bigger and stonger movement, but no mention of bigger, more powerful actions. The protest was then disassembled by the "official" organizers.


Note particularly the comments on that post:

I'm in the kind of awkward position of being one the the main people who organized this walkout, but also being very sympathetic to the black bloc, which has gotten me some heat with the other protest organizers.

I was asked a few times today to join the black bloc in Minneapolis, and thought about it, but a variety of reasons had me turn it down (they are legitimate reasons, and not merely a "pussing out" on my part, or at the very least a pussing out that most people would understand.)

However, I did try to stay close to the black bloc in case there was any legitimate need for action. What happened at the protest today was bullsh*t, and I think everybody recognizes it as that. As if "throwing paint" was a "high crime" in the first place, the police didn't even attempt to locate the person who threw the paint, but simply took away innocent people who did nothing as a way to intimidate the crowd. A "see, you don't have to do anything to get arrested" type of thing. The UMPD has a f*cking John Wayne complex, and this is not the first time I have seen them show their ugliness.


Here's a look at the Black Bloc:



The sign at the front of the march is rather ironic:



If you want college, not combat, how come you took off from college to combat military recruitment?

But the protest babes were in evidence:



See also Nathan Bradfield.

Blue Crab Boulevard has some thoughts about the losers and the winners in this particular incident that I second.
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Kerry's First Wife Dies

Our sympathies to the family, especially the two daughters.
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Friday, April 28, 2006
 
United 93 Getting Great Reviews--Updated!

Over at Rotten Tomatoes, they compile all the reviews they can find of a movie. United 93 is currently rated at 93%. When you consider that most film reviewers are extremely liberal, that's a startling degree of agreement.

Not that all the reviews are positive. Check out the "users" section of the reviews, currently at 50%. The tinfoil hatters are out in force, urging everybody to watch Loose Change instead.

Our buddy James at the Chief Brief recommends it.

Update: The user reviews are coming in positive now that the folks who've actually seen the film (and not the tinfoil hat crowd) are checking in. The User rating is up to 77% as I write this and the last 12 reviews are all positive.
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Have You Seen Me?

Kitty's quest for the elusive Mary McCarthy continues.

Where are the miles of film footage showing reporters
1) following her
2) crowding her car
3) looking in her windows
4) camped out on her front lawn
5) interviewing her neighbors
6) and speculating endlessly on her guilt on TV?


Indeed!
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The Latest Sign the Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Pamela Anderson has a column in the Wall Street Journal today.

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How the Democrats Can Win It

Let's hope that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid aren't checking out Pat Hynes' prescription for victory.

Specifically, the Democrats should fold on two issues on which there are likely to be both procedural and up-or-down voters between now and the election: 1) Making President Bush’s tax cuts permanent; and 2) the Federal Marriage Amendment.
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The Dangers of Drafting a Quarterback in the First Round--Updated!



Almost every year there is a quarterback who is touted as a "can't miss" Hall of Famer. Sometimes the draft experts are right (Troy Aikman, John Elway), sometimes they are wrong (Todd Marinovich, Ryan Leaf). I thought I'd take a quick look at ten years of quarterbacks drafted in the first round. I looked at 1983-1992, because those quarterbacks have either completed their careers or are nearing the end.

1983. The most famous quarterback draft of all time. QBs drafted in the first round and an assessment of their careers:

John Elway. A fine pick, a no questions unanswered Hall of Famer.
Todd Blackledge. A major league bust.
Jim Kelly. Fine pick. Hall of Famer.
Tony Eason. I've never quite understood what happened to Eason. In his third season he led his team to three consecutive playoff victories on the road, but was benched after throwing only 6 passes in the Super Bowl. After that his career was basically over. Obviously must be considered a bust.
Ken O'Brien. About midway through the 1986 season, the New York Jets looked like they had gotten the best player in this draft. O'Brien had won the NFL passing title in 1985, and was on his way to a possible MVP season in 1986 when his arm suddenly went dead. Not a bust, certainly, but not a jackpot either.
Dan Marino. A great pick, another Hall of Famer.

1984: Believe it or not, no quarterbacks were drafted in the first round of 1984.

1985: Ditto.

1986: There were two quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 1986 draft:

Jim Everett. Not a bust but not a great pick either. Career went downhill after he sacked himself (memorably) in the 1989 NFC Championship.

Chuck Long. Bust.

1987: There were four quarterbacks drafted:

Vinny Testaverde. Looked like a bust his first few years, but had a long career (and was still playing last season).

Kelly Stouffer. Bust.

Chris Miller. Bust.

Jim Harbaugh. Bust. Update: John Ruberry makes a good point in the comments, that Harbaugh is underrated here. Even though I was never a fan, Harbaugh was an okay player with 23,000 yards (exactly) passing and over 110 TD passes, so calling him a bust is wrong, as would be calling him a near bust.

1988:

None.

1989:

Troy Aikman was the first pick in the draft. Jackpot for the Cowboys with three championships led by this Hall of Famer.

1990:

Jeff George. Woulda shoulda coulda. The original million dollar arm and a ten cent head to go with it. Not quite a bust, but pretty close to it.

Andre Ware. Bust.

1991:

Dan McGwire. Brother of Mark, famed baseball player. Bust.

Todd Marinovich. Famous bust.

1992:

David Klingler. Famous bust.

Tommy Maddox. Near bust who came back to have a modest career before Ben Roethlisberger came along.

So there you have it. Ten years of drafting quarterbacks. Nineteen quarterbacks drafted. Four great players, four good players (O'Brien, Testaverde, Harbaugh and Everett), two near busts (George & Maddox), and nine complete washouts. A cautionary tale for the fans of whatever team gets Matt Leinart and Vince Young tomorrow.
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NM Attorney General (And Congressional Candidate) Patricia Madrid Investigating Herself?



Kudos to our fellow Blogs for Heather blogger Mario Burgos for his excellent investigative work.

Is that a creative way of saying we are not going to be able to complete this investigation until after the November elections? Is the Attorney General trying to minimize the damage this could do to her Congressional campaign? Is she trying to keep from getting indicted?
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I'm Enlisting!

Here's my new unit:



Kudos to Freedom Dogs for creating the badge!
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Moron Wilentz

Here's a more serious dissection of the Sean Wilentz piece in Rolling Stone concluding that Bush is the worst president ever.

In Wilentz's case, he has all of this data about Bush, but he never sets up what we should expect to find in the data if Bush is indeed the worst president. Thus, the fact that Wilentz has concluded that Bush is the worst really only indicates that Wilentz does not like him. His data is little more than an exhaustive, unconnected laundry list of grievances.

The theme of the piece is that Rolling Stone has brought Wilentz down to its level. That's being charitable to "history will track you down" Sean. Wilentz may be a fine historian when he's writing about the 18th and 19th centuries, but he clearly lacks the ability to detach his political beliefs from his "scholarship" when it come to the modern era.
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Thursday, April 27, 2006
 
High School Classmate of Mine Running for Congress!

Unfortunately she's a Democrat so we won't be pushing her candidacy. I happened to see an ad for Camille Abate on a liberal blog and thought, gee, that name sure sounds familiar. Sure enough:

Camille grew up in Bergen County. She attended St. Catherine’s in Glen Rock, Mount Carmel, Somerville School and Benjamin Franklin Junior High in Ridgewood, and then attended Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale.

I was in the drama club at Northern Highlands, starting with my sophomore year. Camille and I were in a school play together, called George Washington Slept Here. The 1940s-set play was supposedly the inspiration for Green Acres, with the husband searching for a rustic atmosphere and the wife yearning for the city.

Camille was not the female lead, but she was a solid actress and had a much bigger part in the play than I (I popped in for one scene in the third act). But I do remember she screwed up royally one night. In the play there's a rich old uncle whom everybody patronizes. In the first act he complains about a draft, and the Eddie Albert character jumps up to shut the window. In the third act, the uncle has been exposed as a pauper, and when he complains of feeling a draft, his nephew is supposed to say, "Go right on feeling it."

Well, one of the last nights of the play the guy doing the Eddie Albert part makes a mistake--he jumps up to fix the draft in the third act. Now that's bad enough, but Camille then blows the scene by saying "You should have let him go on feeling it!" It's an obvious reaction, but actors are used to following specific cues and when she said that, nobody knew whose line it was and the stage was silent for a few seconds before somebody picked up the dialogue about a page later.

Of course, that has nothing to do with Camille today. She's running against an incumbent who got 58%. It's my former home district, which was country-club Republican when I grew up there. Marge Roukema represented the district for many years; a very liberal Republican.

NJ-5's not listed in Sabato's "Dirty Thirty" races, so we'll have to wait a bit longer for one my high school classmates to make it to Congress unless things really fall apart for the GOP this year. But we certainly wish her well otherwise--break a leg, Cammi!
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The Pandescenderer

That was one of the nicknames for John Kerry during the 2004 election season; IIRC Mickey Kaus or Mark Steyn made it up.

Chris has a couple videos tying in with the current gas price pandering from the Democrats that should provide some amusement.
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Duke Lacrosse Accuser Made Prior Rape Claim?

Well, this is certainly interesting:

According to the Creedmoor police report in August 1996, when the woman was 18, she told officers she was raped and beaten by three men "for a continual time" in 1993, when she was 14. She told police she was attacked at an "unspecified location" on a street in Creedmoor, a town 15 miles northeast of Durham.

Not proof of anything, of course. She could have been raped back then and not this time, or vice versa. She could be lying about both incidents, or she could be telling the truth about both.
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Corzine: The New Jim Florio?

Beware of liberals promising tax cuts; they like talking about them in October, but after the election is over they are generally shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that there's no room in the budget for the reductions.

Among other things, he promised a big increase in the property tax rebates that New Jersey homeowners receive each year. Property owners in New Jersey pay about $6,000 a year on average.

But after inheriting a $4.5 billion budget deficit, Corzine called for $1.9 billion in tax increases — including an increase in the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent — and announced that the property tax relief he promised would cost too much at $550 million. He offered $100 million instead.


Jim Florio was elected governor of NJ back in 1990 and immediately raised taxes substantially; friends of mine who were apolitical 99% of the time had bumper stickers calling for his head.
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Goodman Blasts Kerry

She sees the evidence that Kerry is going to run for President in 2008 and wails.

But let's go to the 2004 videotape. In the primaries, Kerry was Everydemocrat's second choice. After Super Tuesday, the common wisdom was that Kerry won because he could win. An Ohio voter even told a reporter, "This guy just looks presidential. And in this country I think it's all about the image." It wasn't a presidential primary, it was a presidential casting call.

Democrats are cute when they get pragmatic, but not necessarily successful. This time, the stalwarts were convinced they'd found a moderate who couldn't be polarized. But he was. They thought they found a decorated veteran - three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star -who couldn't be trashed. But he was.


She mentions the other Kerry Haters blog (Kerry Haters for Kerry), which I always thought was an effort to beat our blog in the Google Rankings (it didn't work).
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Where Glenn Greenwald Went Wrong--Updated

Trusting Kos. Glenn gets on his high horse about Drudge's report yesterday which indicated that Crashing The Gates, the book by Kos and Jerome Armstrong, had sold about 3600 copies.

Glenn says:

The uselessness of the Drudge item is self-evident. The most glaring and gaping hole is that the figures do not include online sales. Markos and Jerome are known almost exclusively for their work online. People who know them -- and who would therefore buy their book -- are almost certainly people who spend a lot of time online, and who therefore likely buy their books online. Given that their most noteworthy accomplishments are as bloggers, I would guess that the vast, vast bulk of people who buy Markos and Jerome's book order it online, not in brick-and-mortar bookstores. To try to analyze the success of their book by excluding online sales is blatantly and staggeringly dumb. It would be like trying to determine the success of the next Ann Coulter book by only looking at sales in Berkeley and Madison, Wisconsin.

How does Glenn know that Bookscan doesn't include online sales? He links to this item over at Kos, which claims:

Bookscan just surveys a sampling of big box retailers, so it's not a complete market analysis. Merely a snapshot of major retailers (and not even all of them). And it absolutely fails to capture online sales.

So I thought, why not go to the source? I sent an email to Jim King at Bookscan, and he sent me back this handy-dandy listing of who's included:



Gee, sure looks to me like Amazon.com's online sales are included! Note particularly that there are separate listings for Barnes & Noble and Barnes & Noble.com, which indicates to me that they are getting both sides of that business.

Now I could get mean here and try to tie this into "The Anatomy of the 'Thought' Process of Bush Attackers", and say how this just shows how Greenwald and the others like him are "characterized by an increasingly absolutist refusal to recognize any facts which conflict with their political desires, and conversely, by a borderline-religious embrace of any assertions which bolster those desires."

Or I could just say that he got duped by Kos. Which is, of course, the same thing.

Update: Glenn links back. I appended a comment over there:

I think what's happened here is that both Kos and Instapundit have access to different numbers that tell them their sales are higher than the Bookscan figures, so both think they are outselling the other. And of course, Glenn trusts Kos and Roger and Hinderaker trust Reynolds.

Update II: K Ashford asks in the comments:

Interesting that he would send that information (from 2005, I see) to you in a graphic. Does this appear on a website somewhere?

It did not come to me in a graphic, it was in a Word document that lays out as above. Since I can't post a Word document other than as plain text, I did a screen cap, pasted it to my photo editor and then posted the JPEG.

Tell you what? Why don't you post your email and his response?

I'll save K Ashford some time. Why don't you just email him yourself and see what you get? Do you think that Glenn Greenwald didn't before he acknowledged that I was right?
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Duke Lacrosse Players: Argument Over Money Central to Case



Looks like my take was the right one:

Several Duke lacrosse players who say they were at a team party the night of the alleged rape of a 27-year-old woman have told ESPN's George Smith that an argument over money and the amount of time two exotic dancers were expected to perform was at the center of a dispute that night.

The players, who agreed to speak with ESPN on the condition their names not be used, also admitted that slurs and bad language were used by some players and the dancers during the argument.


Meanwhile, the father appears on Rita Cosby and makes new claims:

The father of the accuser in the rape case involving Duke University lacrosse players said his daughter was raped with a broomstick during a party last month, and that explains defense lawyers' claims that no DNA from players was found on her.

The woman's father, appearing Tuesday night on MSNBC's "Rita Cosby Live & Direct," said his daughter told him that when three team members raped and sodomized her, they also used a broom.

The father said he learned about the broom from others, "and then she told me afterwards because she didn't want me to know that part," he said.


But:

In papers filed with the court, police who searched the Buchanan Boulevard house where the party occurred made no mention of seizing a broomstick. And a broomstick was not among the items that police said they wanted to seize when they applied for the search warrant.
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Milbank On the Hypocrisy of Congress

Here's one we can all--Republican or Democrat--enjoy.

"Since George Bush and Dick Cheney took over as president and vice president, gas prices have doubled!" charged Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), standing at an Exxon station on Capitol Hill where regular unleaded hit $3.10. "They are too cozy with the oil industry."

She then hopped in a waiting Chrysler LHS (18 mpg) -- even though her Senate office was only a block away.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) used a Hyundai Elantra to take the one-block journey to and from the gas-station news conference. He posed in front of the fuel prices and gave them a thumbs-down. "Get tough on big oil!" he demanded of the Bush administration.


And:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) made a plea for conservation. "We have to move quickly to increase our fuel efficiency," she urged.

But not too quickly. After lunchtime votes, senators emerged from the Capitol for the drive across the street to their offices.

Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) hopped in a GMC Yukon (14 mpg). Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) climbed aboard a Nissan Pathfinder (15). Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) stepped into an eight-cylinder Ford Explorer (14). Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) disappeared into a Lincoln Town Car (17). Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) met up with an idling Chrysler minivan (18).

Next came Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), greeted by a Ford Explorer XLT. On the Senate floor Tuesday, Menendez had complained that Bush "remains opposed to higher fuel-efficiency standards."

Also waiting: three Suburbans, a Nissan Armada V8, two Cadillacs and a Lexus. The greenest senator was Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who was picked up by his hybrid Toyota Prius (60 mpg), at quadruple the fuel efficiency of his Indiana counterpart Evan Bayh (D), who was met by a Dodge Durango V8 (14).


You know how it is: Don't do as we do, do as we say. I try not to use my car for short trips on the weekend; instead I hop on my mountain bike. Here's a suggestion for Congress: If you pass a law mandating higher fuel efficiency, how about mandating that all members use vehicles that meet that standard for their official business?
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The Democrats' Totalitarian Attitude



Dick Meyer talks about the Democrats' main problem:

My hunch is that Democrats will capture House and Senate seats but not the House or Senate. And if they do, the victory will be fleeting and they will do poorly in 2008.

That's a hunch, no more, and I admit it. But I felt it as a certainty when I read a column by The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne this week. Dionne was arguing with a fellow liberal who wrote what the Democrats need to do is destroy today's "radical individualism" and replace it with "a politics of a "common good." That's fine, Dionne said, but we need to hear "more about self-interest, rightly understood."

That phrase made me cringe. It still does.

"Self-interest, rightly understood" is a fancy-pants way of saying, "I know what is in your interest better than you do." It is, in my view, a politically stupid and morally diseased position. Democrats, by temperament, are slightly more susceptible to it than Republicans.

I do not mean to condemn Dionne for a phrase. But I will. It reminded me of something written on the very first page of a book that lots of Democrats think is absolutely brilliant, "What's the Matter with Kansas" by Thomas Frank.

In the third paragraph of his book, Frank writes: "People getting their fundamental interests wrong is what American political life is all about." That, too, is a fancy-pants way of saying: "I know what is in your interest better than you do."


Exactly. The Democrats want to make an offer the people can't refuse, but the people keep refusing it. Frank's book (which I reviewed here) basically assumes that the Democrats lost the blue collar vote when they abandoned economic populism. Never mind that economic populism doesn't work, that it leads to a stagnant economy like that of France or Germany. It's what "the people" need, and if you don't vote for it, we're going to cram it down your throats.

That impulse, in history and in personality, is elitist and, at its worst, totalitarian. It is the impulse that allows Marxists, Communists, theocrats and nationalists to curtail negative liberties and slaughter people – all in the name of their own best interests.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006
 
The Amazing Race Goes to Oz

First destination is Perth, Australia. Fran and Barry depart with a 19-minute lead on Joe & Monica. The older couple kindly donate $20 to the hippies, while the younger couple pretend to leave something. The Frat boys leave an IOU for $100, while Ray and Yolanda drop off a sawbuck. The Frat Boys make some sort of comment about how they quickly they get into women's pants. Overcompensating, guys?

On the way to the airport, the traffic picks up. The King is passing! Finally the traffic eases, and everybody but the hippies arrive in plenty of time. The latter group have noticed that there are a lot of hitchhikers in Oman, and they decide to pick one up--a Bedouin, no less. This works out well for them, as their rider buys them Snickers bars, mango juice and gas. But does Tyler kiss the guy, or is it just some nose-rubbing as it appears when BJ steps forward to get some hot Bedouin loving?

There's some drama as to whether they will get on the same plane as everybody else, and the Frat Boys and Team Mojo are starting to celebrate, when the Hippies saunter up the stairs. They use the time on the flight to beg money and manage to scare up $300, which is actually more than the other teams had to start the leg. Getting off the plane, Fran and Barry somehow slip behind everybody. The next task is to find King's Park, where there is a flame. This is a World War II Memorial:



From there, they have to take a ferry to Rottnest Island and cycle to this lighthouse:



Fran and Barry remark on what great cyclists they are, but they do not seem to excel at the climb to the lighthouse and only beat one other team, Ray and Yolanda, and that by the slimmest of margins. The teams travel next to a beach where we hit the evening's Detour.

In Sand, teams have to drag a bunch of scrub brush through a beach area to help prevent it from eroding. In Sea, they must dive underwater to retrieve crayfish caught in traps. Sea looks to be obviously easier, although of course that is not accounting for the difficulty in searching around in the water for the right trap. On the way to the detour, though, Team Mojo gets lost and Joseph unloads on Monica.

At any rate, teams leave in the same order they arrived: Frat Boys, Hippies, Mojo, Fran and Barry and Ray and Yolanda. The Frat Boys are their usual obnoxious gay selves, commenting on how their speedos make them look hot, or some such nonsense.

Next objective: Freemantle prison.

The Frat Boys catch an earlier ferry back to the mainland. The Hippies decide to take a different ferry and cab it to the prison. Fran and Barry call for a cab to pick them up at the ferry, as do Joseph and Monica. Joe admits he'd steal the older couple's cab if it came down to that, but it doesn't as their cab is waiting and the older couple got stood up.

The Roadblock awaits at the prison. Teams must find an EveryReady Flashlight and batteries in Division 4, then make their way to the tunnels, where they will find the next clue. Finding the flashlights doesn't look too tough but everybody curses while searching for the tunnels. It certainly appears as if Tyler helps Yolanda in that regard, while Fran is still hunting for the flashlight. Final task for the evening is to find the Yacht Club and run out onto the breakwater.

The Frat Boys still have the lead coming out of the prison, but they make the mistake of agreeing to hoof it when Joseph and Monica's taxi driver says it's not very far. Phil said something like 1.75 miles. Joseph and Monica take the cab and barely beat them to the location, but are apparently overtaken during the run to the mat. The Frat Boys win again, with the Hippies finishing third. There's some of the usual BS about how the next to the last team (Ray & Yolanda) are lost, and maybe Fran and Barry will catch them. But in the end, the older couple are Phil-liminated.

Comments: I am really sick of the top two teams after tonight. I sure hope neither of them win it, although it certainly seems the most likely outcome. The Frat Boys are annoying with all the sexual banter (which seems inappropriate for the hour as well), and Mojo are starting to remind me of Lake and Michelle.

Upcoming: Hippies threaten to use the Yield on Mojo?

Eric's terrific summary is here.
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Moron Loose Change

Here's a particularly insipid blog post at the normally reputable Men's News Daily that recommends Loose Change.

Could it be the Twin Towers were wired to crumble? Could it be the planes we saw only told us half the story?

Again, I’m not saying you should believe that’s the case. Nor am I saying you should believe 9/11 was an inside job. But there are reasonable questions that haven’t been answered yet. And at this point, you shouldn’t really know what to believe.


No, of course he's not saying that we should believe it. He just wants us to watch Loose Change:

America was built upon being skeptical of the government. If you’re interested in preserving this country, you should be stubborn, spiteful, and skeptical, too. I would suggest that every American head over to Google Video and look up a 9/11 documentary called Loose Change. At times, the narrator treats the conspiracy theories as a given. You’re permitted to ignore this. But just keep watching for factual purposes, and then decide if enough questions have been answered on this issue.

Awfully big of him to allow us to ignore the fact that the filmmakers are nutbars, don't you think?

I did a little more digging on the author of this post, and it appears that he's a token liberal at MND. Here's a post entitled "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Gore".

Dean Esmay looks at the five symptoms of conspiracy theories and concludes that all of them fit this film.

As I commented over there, the film suffers from "kitchen sink" syndrome. It's like these guys found a list of all the conspiracy theories about 9-11 and tried to make them all fit together, never mind that some of them are mutually contradictory. For example, consider the supposed missile that the second plane supposedly fires just before striking the second tower. This is kind of an interesting bit and it fits the "pod" under the fuselage. But what is the point of the missile if (as they later claim) it was controlled demolition that brought down the towers?

They're also highly suspicious of the phone calls made from Flight 93, and claim that the voices could be simulated with only 10 minutes of voice recordings of the individuals. But if the government had faked the phone calls, why would Todd Beamer have called a Verizon supervisor instead of his wife? In fact, Beamer had a tough time using the Airphone on the seat back in front of him, which was how he got the woman at Verizon.
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Impeachment Watch XIII

The nutbars just keep providing comedy:

The Illinois General Assembly is about to rock the nation. Members of state legislatures are normally not considered as having the ability to decide issues with a massive impact to the nation as a whole. Representative Karen A. Yarbrough of Illinois' 7th District is about to shatter that perception forever. Representative Yarbrough stumbled on a little known and never utlitized rule of the US House of Representatives, Section 603 of Jefferson's Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives, which allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature. From there, Illinois House Joint Resolution 125 (hereafter to be referred to as HJR0125) was born.

This is all reasonably true:

In the <> House there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion: by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a Member or Delegate (II, 1303; III, 2342, 2400, 2469; VI, 525, 526, 528, 535, 536); by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination (III, 2364, 2491, 2494, 2496, 2499, 2515; VI, 543); by a resolution dropped in the hopper by a Member and referred to a committee (Apr. 15, 1970, p. 11941; Oct. 23, 1973, p. 34873); by a message from the President (III, 2294, 2319; VI, 498); by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State (III, 2469) or territory (III, 2487) or from a grand jury (III, 2488); or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House (III, 2399, 2444).

But of course:

On several occasions the Committee on the Judiciary, having been referred a question of impeachment, reported a recommendation that impeachment was not warranted and, thereafter, called up the report as a question of privilege (Deschler, ch. 14, Sec. 1.3).

This resolution is going nowhere.

Update: John Ruberry has been covering this story since Monday.
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Culture of Corruption?

Michelle Malkin vents on the Democrats' latest scandal involving none other than the senior Democrat on the House Ethics Committee.

I like the lighthearted tone of this piece.
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CENTCOM Translates Zarqawi Video

The US Central Command (which is in charge of operations in Iraq) has a translation of the Zarqawi video and analysis. Their conclusions:

Zarqawi resurfaces now because the real political progress occurring in Iraq marginalizes him and other terrorists.

His poisonous and violent message is being rejected by the overwhelming majority of people in Iraq and in the region.

"The answer to the Zarqawi video is not anything that the United States can say; it's what the Iraqis are saying in having formed this government of national unity despite all the threats and all of the violence."(Secretary Rice)
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Duke Lacrosse Case: Finnerty to Face Charges in DC

Apparently the charges would have been dropped if Finnerty had stayed out of trouble, but his arrest in the rape case means he will be prosecuted.

Finnerty and two friends are accused of punching a man after he told them to "stop calling him gay and other derogatory names," according to court documents.

I'm not going to defend Finnerty's conduct in that incident.
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The Democrats' Tire Slashers Get Jail Terms


Remember this case when the libs start talking about how the Republicans are the party of dirty tricks.

Among those sentenced Wednesday were Sowande A. Omokunde, the son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wisconsin, and Michael Pratt, the son of former acting Milwaukee Mayor Marvin Pratt.

"I love my son very much. I'm very proud of him," Moore said. "He's accepted responsibility."

Omokunde was sentenced to four months in jail; Pratt and Lewis Caldwell of Milwaukee were sentenced to six months; and Lavelle Mohammad of Milwaukee was sentenced to five months. All were granted work-release privileges.


Michelle Malkin has more, and notes that the DA in the case requested probation with no jail time. Good for the judge in declining that recommendation.
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Ross Gelbspan's Kind of Scientist

And his kind of headline writer:

Experts: Global warming behind 2005 hurricanes

Of course, you read the article, and that hardly seems a unanimous conclusion:

His conclusion will be debated throughout the week-long conference, as other researchers present opposing papers that say changing wind and temperature conditions in the tropics are due to natural events, not the accumulation of carbon dioxide emissions clouding the Earth.

Many of the experts gathered in the coastal city of Monterey, California, are federal employees. The Bush administration contends global warming is an unproven theory.

While many of the conference's 500 scientists seem to agree that a warming trend in the tropics is causing more and stronger hurricanes than usual, not all agree that global warming is to blame.

Some, like William Gray, a veteran hurricane researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, attributed the warming to natural cycles.

Gray said he believes salinity buildups and movements with ocean currents cause warming and cooling cycles. He predicted the Caribbean water will continue to warm for another five to 10 years, then start cooling.
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Loser Lib Reacts to Tony Snow Hiring

Over at Airiheadda's, somebody named Steve Young (not the SF quarterback) comes up with the classy response we've come to expect from the idiot brigade:

Was the fact that Tony has his colon removed make him the only Republican candidate who wasn't a complete ass-hole?

Unlike Steve, I suppose.

Will that keep him from being able to to dump on the press?

I mean, does this guy sound like somebody who makes his living telling jokes to third-graders?
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Mary McCarthy's Web

The Commissar puts it all together in a handy chart.
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006
 
Poor Gun Control

Dad fires at computer monitor:

A father fed up with his son for spending too much time on the computer, allegedly fired shots at the monitor, authorities said.

Those monitors usually only take one shot.
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Baseball Trivia

Can anybody name the player whose name contained four body parts?

RodgerL in the comments came up with the correct answer: Tony Armas.
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Rick Monday's Big Moment

I have blogged about this a few times in the past; this is the 30th anniversary of Monday's famed dash to save the flag.

There's a terrific account of the incident here, with extensive first person memories by Monday. Monday was an ASU graduate, and was the very first player drafted in the very first major league draft. He was not a Hall of Famer, or even a star, but he was a good, solid ballplayer with speed and power. Baseball Reference says the most similar player in baseball history was Johnny Callison (a 1960s Phillie), but after that they mention Kirk Gibson.
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United 93--The Nutbars Come Out

Check out the comments on these two posts regarding the new movie about United Flight 93.

Watch "Loose Change" and it will certainly change how you view this propaganda film about 911.
This film was produced to lie again to the American people about what 911 was.
911 was an inside job.
I'm sure the movie was suspensful and the "story" was emotional. Unfortunately, it is fiction. I prefer to have the truth, thank you. Watch "Loose Change" and you will be "Changed".

By: bluedogs on April 25, 2006 at 02:44pm


I agree with bluedogs. At least a half dozen citizens of Shanksville claim they saw flight 93 being shot down by a white unmarked jet. Even Rumsfeld at one point claimed "terrorists" shot down flight 93! This was brushed off by the Bush administration as Rumsfeld's confusion, but it's clear he forgot the lie and accidentally blurted out the truth.

It's also been proven that cell phones can't function at the altitude at which the plane was flying. The movie "Flight 93" is fiction, and I will not pay good money to see Hollywood propaganda that supports the neo-con agenda!

By: Purym on April 25, 2006 at 04:18pm


About the cellphones issue:

He and a colleague are the first to have actually measured the level of radio waves on 37 flights. Their findings were surprising. On average, one to four passengers use a cellphone on each flight, despite regulations forbidding it. And the signals emitted did cross over into the spectrum used by the Global Positioning Satellite systems that many planes use. While the interference was "random, sometimes hit or miss," says Professor Morgan, it was significant enough to cause problems when landing.

More moonbattery:

The MYTH of flight 93 is a lie.

It was shot down by US forces. No plane crash EVER caused a debris field over 8 sq. miles.

There was no recognizable wreckage of a jet liner at the crash site. NOTHING but a hole in the ground. Even Greek Aircraft crashing into a mountain in '05 left massive sized and recognizable wreckage, as in all other plane crashes - but not on 9/11.

The government is lying about this, and more about 9/11, oh, like the controlled demolition of WTC-7, a 47-story building that spontaneously collapsed at 5:20pm with only minimal fires - and yes, the owner, Larry Silverstein said in the documentary America Rebuilds that they ordered the building "pulled." Pulled being construction and demolition lingo for explosive demolition with planted charges.

9/11 was thus an inside job, orchestrated by elements of the government, military, and probably some logistical support from foreign "allied" governments who would benefit from the US attack the Middle East.

By: rebelpatriot on April 25, 2006 at 02:47pm


The Loose Change movie referenced in one of the comments can be viewed here. Warning: This movie plays fast and loose with the truth. If you watch it, be sure to check out the Popular Mechanics debunking of some of the myths highlighted in the film.

Let me put this as bluntly as possible. If you believe the vast conspiracy theory of Loose Change, you are a nut. Ignoring for the moment the debunking provided by Popular Mechanics, consider that you would have to believe in a conspiracy involving hundreds of people concerning the biggest news event of this century so far, and that none of these people have come forward.
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Dems Propose to Prop Up Bush's Poll Numbers?

Given that even the pollsters are admitting that President Bush's poll numbers appear to be inversely related to gas prices, this seems helpful:

Democrats are set to introduce a measure that would create a "federal gas tax holiday" by eliminating the federal tax on gas and diesel for sixty days...

As usual, the devil is in the details.

Democrats say the money will be made up by cutting six billion dollars in tax breaks to oil firms. Currently, the money from the federal gas tax goes to the Highway Trust fund.

Let me guess, the tax break reduction won't be limited to 60 days?

Hat Tip: Memeorandum.
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Crusader Gore

This is a rather adoring and moronic look at Al Gore, but this part cracked me up:

After the souped-up climatology lecture, a smaller crowd dined at the Schwab Center on campus. There, at tables topped with earth-shaped ice sculptures melting symbolically in the warmth of surrounding votive candles, guests mingled with Gore and his wife, Tipper, along with experts from Stanford's Woods Center for the Environment and the business-friendly Environmental Entrepreneurs.

Great theatre and all, but what do candles do? They create carbon dioxide!
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Mary McCarthy Story To Date

Allah has a post to get you up to speed painlessly.
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DA Turns Up the Pressure in Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

By threatening to press charges against a couple of unindicted players for failing to come forward with evidence to assist in the prosecution.

Misdemeanor charges. Like:

According to court records, 16 players were charged in the past three years with misdemeanor charges in Durham including noise violations, public urination and alcohol violations. The deals placed the men on probation for either six months or a year. They were to complete community service and in some cases were required to abide by the rules and regulations of the university. The deals required the men to pay fees and in some cases remain in school.

Jeez, noise, public urination and alcohol? That sure doesn't jibe with my college days. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you. Sounds like a bunch a potential rapists to me (sarcasm).

I'm really close to thinking this is a travesty of justice if it even goes to a trial. And I fully expect it to; these cases develop momentum and cannot be stopped short of a recanting by the "victim".

I will be very interested in the hospital reports about the dancer's drug and alcohol concentrations that evening. The fact that we haven't heard yet that the dancer had "date-rape" drugs in her body must be considered significant.
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Tomorrow's Big Story

Ten generals claim that CIA reveals stem-cell research would have prevented AIDS, 9-11 and Iraq War, but Bush Administration needed money for draconian tax cuts for massive gas-guzzling SUVs.

Subhead: Is the media too conservative?

Subsubhead: Okay, are the media too conservative?
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Monday, April 24, 2006
 
Kudos to Operation Soldier!

I was out tonight and heard a wonderful segment on the Hugh Hewitt show with Jed Babbin, featuring the favorite charity of Brainster's Blog, Operation Soldier! Congrats to our longtime buddy John Bush and Detective Mike Harris (hope I remembered the second name as he was the spokesman for the group tonight). These are great people who deserve your support.
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Moron Mary McCarthy

Check out this very informative and intriguing post over at Mac's Mind.

I have told you from the beginning that the Plame Game wasn't about anything else except to shut down and discredit the Bush Administration - from Day One. An elaborate apparatus of politicians, staffers, and MSM reporters, have conspired for the last five years to attack President Bush.

Mary is only the beginning - the four from the NSC - only a small group of a total cabal of others still in operation. Mary's discovery is a real setback and could spell doom not only for the careers of many still working in the NSC, FBI, CIA, but also in the Senate, House.

The tenacles of treason that were attached to Mary are still being discovered and I'm hear to tell you that even I am surprised. Yet those who have followed the Plame Game story know the characters of which I speak of.


Mac's obviously not the greatest prose stylist in the world, but he sounds like he knows what he's talking about.
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The Big Story on 60 Minutes Last Night

I know, I know, 60 Minutes is still on the air? Apparently so, although it's news to me. But last night they had a major story on... Niger.

Aw, jeez, here we go again with the boys who cried wolf. Let's start with Brainiac 5 himself, Josh Marshall.

First, Drumheller says that most folks in the intelligence community didn't think there was anything to the Niger-uranium story. We knew that in general terms; but we hadn't heard it yet from someone so closely involved in the case itself. Remember, the CIA Station Chief in Rome, the guy who first saw the documents when they were dropped off at the US Embassy in October 2002, worked for Drumheller.

Okay, let's go to the Drumheller interview:

The road to war in Iraq took some strange turns — none stranger than a detour to the West African country of Niger. In late 2001, a month after 9/11, the United States got a report from the Italian intelligence service that Saddam Hussein had bought 500 tons of so-called yellowcake uranium in order to build a nuclear bomb.

Stop the tape! Had bought 500 tons, or was trying to buy some uranium? Now of course, the forged documents were widely discredited--after Bush's speech. But let's go back to the now-famous 16 words from the 2003 State of the Union message:

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

Sought, not bought. So why is Drumheller spending so much time talking about the 500 tons that the phony invoice purported to represent? Bush did not use that as information supporting the war.

Back to Drumheller:

However, Vice President Dick Cheney thought the story was worth investigating, and asked the CIA not to discount the story without first taking a closer look. So, in February 2002, the agency sent former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate.

"If Saddam Hussein had acquired 500 tons of yellowcake uranium in violation of U.N. sanctions, that would be pretty serious, wouldn’t it?" Bradley asked Wilson.

"Absolutely. Certainly. And the fact that there was an allegation out there that he was even attempting to purchase 500 tons of uranium was very serious, because it essentially meant that they were restarting their nuclear programs," Wilson replied.

Wilson spent eight days in Niger looking for signs of a secret deal to send yellowcake to Iraq. He spoke to government officials who would have known about such a transaction. No one did. There had been a meeting between Iraqis and Nigerians in 1999, but Wilson was told uranium had never been discussed. He also found no evidence that Iraq had even been interested in buying uranium.


Sigh. Once again the lie is repeated. The Senate Intelligence Committee reported the following:

The reports officer... said he judged that the most important fact in the report was that the Nigerien officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999 and that the Nigerien Prime Minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium, because this provided some confirmation of foreign government service reporting.


So now how does 60 Minutes manage to conclude that there was no evidence? By saying it. This is one of those myths, like the supposedly discredited Swift Boat Vets, that will not die.

By the way, here's a very interesting article by Seymour Hirsh speculating that perhaps the CIA had intentionally not caught the obvious forgery of the supposed invoice for uranium, in an effort to sting the administration!

It took Baute’s team only a few hours to determine that the documents were fake. The agency had been given about a half-dozen letters and other communications between officials in Niger and Iraq, many of them written on letterheads of the Niger government. The problems were glaring. One letter, dated October 10, 2000, was signed with the name of Allele Habibou, a Niger Minister of Foreign Affairs and Coöperation, who had been out of office since 1989. Another letter, allegedly from Tandja Mamadou, the President of Niger, had a signature that had obviously been faked and a text with inaccuracies so egregious, the senior I.A.E.A. official said, that “they could be spotted by someone using Google on the Internet.”

“Somebody deliberately let something false get in there,” the former high-level intelligence official added. “It could not have gotten into the system without the agency being involved. Therefore it was an internal intention. Someone set someone up.”

Yes, remember when everybody brings up the CIA in this that somebody needs to ask why, if the information was considered so bad, did the agency brief the president on it? There are surely dozens of leads that don't pan out every day; presumably they are not all presented to the Oval Office?

So it's the boys who cried wolf, yet again.

John Hawkins takes the cluebat to Drumheller as well.
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Help Save Andrea Clarke

Here's another about-to-be-kicked-off-life-support case, but with a difference:

Andrea, when she is not medicated into unconsciousness (and even when she is, and the medication has worn off to some degree) is aware and cognizant. She has suffered no brain damage to the parts of her brain responsible for thought and reason, or speech. She has only suffered loss of some motor control.

At this point we don't have any marching orders from Karl Rove, but you should be aware that this story is starting to percolate through the blogosphere.

Lone Star Times has more coverage of this story.
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Something About Mary



Kitty's been blogging up a storm on the Mary O. McCarthy story.

As an aside here, there was an interesting Final Jeopardy! answer yesterday afternoon in the category 20th Century Novelists that went something like this:

She wrote her book Venice Observed in 1955; that same year her brother starred in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The answer: Mary McCarthy. None of the contestants got it right (but I did).
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Quote of the Day

"The enemy doesn't have surrender in their vocabulary. We can't have retreat in ours."

Who said it? The father of the man who came up with the most famous two-word sentence in the last five years.
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Laurie David's Virtual March Virtually Empty

Ankle-Biting Pundit's got the details. I've always found this virtual march thing rather amusing. If your people are too lazy to actually march, might they not also be too lazy to bother to sign the petition?
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In Defense of Preventive War

Arthur Schlessinger, historian and Kennedy speechwriter, checks in with a column opposing the concept of preventive war. Never one to miss an opportunity to plug one of his books, he entitles it Bush's Thousand Days, although his original book on Kennedy was about the approximately 1000 days that Kennedy served as president before his assassination; this is about the final thousand days of the Bush administration.

The issue of preventive war as a presidential prerogative is hardly new. In February 1848 Rep. Abraham Lincoln explained his opposition to the Mexican War: "Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure [emphasis added]. . . . If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.' "

Lincoln gets used a lot this way by both sides. But like us all, Lincoln said many stupid things, like this:

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Bringing in quotes from historical figures and expecting them to illuminate the current debate is always a risky business.

Back to Schlesinger:

Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, veterans of the First World War, explicitly ruled out preventive war against Joseph Stalin's attempt to dominate Europe. And in the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, President Kennedy, himself a hero of the Second World War, rejected the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a preventive strike against the Soviet Union in Cuba.

Truman and Eisenhower were realists; they knew that the country was not going to accept immediately going from fighting the Germans to fighting the Russians. On the subject of Cuba, what would one call the Bay of Pigs if not a poorly planned and executed attempt at preventive war.

The problem that all historians face is the applicability of the past to the problems of today. Schlesinger does not even address this question. Is it really appropriate to compare preventive war against Iraq and Iran to a potential preventive war against the Soviet Union back in the 1960s? Clearly the differences are greater than the similarities.
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Hot Air Rises

Well, the mysterious new venture that Michelle Malkin mentioned yesterday is now up. Looks like a central site for video and audio blogging. I enjoyed the brief news roundup with Michelle (called Vent). This definitely looks like an interesting concept; we'll see if they can maintain the quality level.
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Sunday, April 23, 2006
 
Duke Lacrosse Photo ID Questioned

This could be a very big deal.

According to the police report, the alleged victim was shown a police lineup of 46 photos individually depicting all the Duke lacrosse team members except for freshman goalie Devon Sherwood, the only black member of the team. He was excluded because the alleged victim told police her attackers were white.

After being shown the pictures in a sequence of PowerPoint slides, the document adds, the woman said she could identify the two players indicted April 17 with 100 percent certainty. She picked out Reade Seligmann as the attacker who forced her to perform oral sex and Collin Finnerty as the second man to rape and sodomize her.


Gary Wells, president of the American Psychology-Law Society, described it as "a multiple-choice test without any wrong answers."

By including "fillers," or non-suspects, in a police lineup, an accuser has to pick past the filler to choose people who actually might have committed the crime.

"Without fillers as a control, the process has no internal credibility check," Wells said.


How many times have you seen in a police drama a witness identify one of the cops, who clearly wasn't involved in the crime?
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Blog Humbug?

Johnathon V. Last pops up with a very negative article on blogs and bloggers. And I think he makes some excellent points.

But the biggest evil of blogs is that first flaw, blogging's original sin: the discounting of news-gathering in favor of news analysis. Bloggers are forever telling us how easy journalism is, yet very few of them have ever really practiced it. Sure, they may have written opinion pieces that compare favorably to the work of Molly Ivins or Ann Coulter, but opinion writing is a tiny - and let's be honest, inconsequential - corner of the journalism world. Real journalism - the practice of adding to the store of public knowledge by reporting news - is a difficult, thankless, and often unpleasant task. Bloggers want no part of it. Everyone wants E.J. Dionne's job; no one wants to be Michael Dobbs.

That's mostly true. I do see some occasional bloggers doing investigative work, but it's hard. The posts I did on the Abramoff story took hours and hours of research and spreadsheet analysis. Yeah, it was worth it to get a correction out of the American Prospect and Paul Krugman.

This part I disagree with:

Another worry is that, as a medium, the blog does not value well-crafted writing. Except for Mark Steyn and James Lileks, it's hard to pick out even three beautiful writers from the millions of bloggers.

There are lots and lots of fine writers out there; maybe not at the Steyn/Lileks level (that is setting the bar rather high). Yes, we all do quick hits and tend not to agonize over le mot juste, as Flaubert would put it, but we also do a lot of writing, which eventually makes us all better writers.
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Reuters Covering for Sheen?

Here's an article with Sheen denying his wife's allegations. But it focuses on the physical abuse issue, and the summing up of the other charges leaves out some detail:

Richards also alleged Sheen, son of actor Martin Sheen, abused prescription drugs, gambled compulsively, frequented prostitutes and liked to look at pornography on the Internet.

Gee, he liked to look at pr0n on the internet? Isn't there some detail missing that would give some context? You know, like this:

Richards's declaration, filed in support of her request for a restraining order against Sheen, contends that Sheen "belonged" to "disturbing" sites "which promoted very young girls, who looked underage to me with pigtails, braces, and no pubic hair performing oral sex with each other." Other sites visited by Sheen, Richards alleges, involved "gay pornography also involving very young men who also did not look like adults."

Just another reminder of why it's called "Rooters".
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Some of Cynthia McKinney's Best Friends Are White Cops

Well, one of them, anyway.

But he's a moonbat:

Through two decades of 12-step work, intense spiritual effort and personal therapy, I have seen my errors, felt genuine remorse and made my amends. One of those amends came in 1996 when, in a face-to-face confrontation with a CIA director, I challenged the same government I had once protected for smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States - where much of it was intentionally routed to the inner cities.

And

And then came 9/11.

There are millions of Americans who still have major unanswered questions about the attacks of Sept. 11. Some are wives, husbands and children of the victims. Some, like me, are investigative journalists. Many are just average people who could never swallow the galactic inconsistencies of the government account and who have refused to succumb to pressure for conformity.

Cynthia McKinney was the one to ask, "What did the Bush administration know and when did it know it?" about the scores of detailed warnings received by the administration in the months before the attacks. Contrary to one account from a Black commentator recently, she has never retracted that question.
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