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Saturday, October 07, 2006
 
But They Support the Troops II

Nah, just kidding. In England:

MUSLIM yobs who wrecked a house to stop four brave soldiers moving in after returning from Afghanistan sparked outrage last night.

The house in a village near riot-torn Windsor had BRICKS thrown through windows and was DAUBED with messages of hate.


Actually, reading the article there's no clear indication it was Muslims who did it.
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Are the Republicans Doomed?

Stuart Rothenberg says the stage could be set for a landslide against the GOP next month.

After looking at the news for the past 10 days or so, I have to wonder how Democrats can possibly fail in their efforts to take both the House and the Senate.

The national atmospherics don’t merely favor Democrats; they set the stage for a blowout of cosmic proportions next month.

No, that’s not a prediction, since Republicans still have a month to “localize” enough races to hold onto one or both chambers of Congress. But you don’t have to be Teddy White or V.O. Key to know that the GOP is now flirting with disaster.


I think that might be true if the election were today. But that's mostly Foley fallout, and for evidence we turn to a race featuring two Democrats. For months Ned Lamont has pounded Joe Lieberman for being too close to the Republicans. And Lamont is now ten points behind Lieberman in the polls.

In a record week, futures in Ned Lamont continued to plummet in the political market. Big board polls put the Connecticut Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate falling sharply behind incumbent independent Joseph Lieberman. Most legit polls that insiders and serious observers look to find Lamont stuck at no better than 10 points behind the three term incumbent.

Democrats around Connecticut and in DC are concluding that Lamont has gone in two months since his primary victory from triumphant insurgent to stymied novice. His campaign was largely somnolent for the five weeks after the August 8th primary. Lamont ignored whatever opportunities they were for a bounce after he shook Connecticut and the nation’s political class with his 4 point victory on a record turnout.

Lamont’s busiest activity since August has been writing fat checks to his campaign. He’s chugging toward $7 million. National Democrats, who were expected to close ranks around Lamont and send him some dough, have gone AWOL. Senator Chris Dodd, crucial in breathing some life into Lieberman’s campaign late in the primary battle, has not been much in evidence.

John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, and Wesley Clark are the best Lamont has mustered onto to the trail for him so far. People are wondering where the Clintons are. Their absence is a sure sign that Lamont is not seen as a winner. Hillary Clinton appeared in Fairfield County on Friday, October 6th, but there’s no word on returning for Lamont.


So there seems to be little evidence that being associated with the Republicans, or even with President Bush, is hurting Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, a very liberal state.

I do think that conservative bloggers and radio talk show hosts have to be a little careful of expressing their disgust with Republicans right now (aside, of course from Foley, who got his the old-fashioned way: he earned it). This is an important election. If you want the last two years of President Bush's term to be spent on investigations of the first six years, sit on your hands because your pet issue hasn't been addressed to your satisfaction. The time to hold Republicans accountable was in the primary, not the general election.

As my friend Mark Vance points out, the scariest words in the English language are, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi".
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Friday, October 06, 2006
 
Tigers, Tigers, Burning Bright

And one game away from eliminating the Yankees.

I should mention here that I've been a fan of Detroit ever since 1963, the first year I followed baseball. My primary loyalty back then was to the New York Mets.

My dad was a Mets' fan, and in the very first game I ever attended, the Mets were losing 2-0 going to the bottom of the ninth. They got two runners on and the chant went up from the crowd at the old Polo Grounds. "Let's Go Mets! Let's Go Mets!" Duke Snider, playing his last season in front of the old fans in New York, cracked a three-run homer to right. Needless to say, I was hooked.

I picked up my fandom for the Detroit Tigers like a typical kid. I decided that even though the Mets were my #1 team, I could also pick an AL club to root for, since they wouldn't be playing them in the regular season. And I liked tigers; thought they were by far the most interesting animals.

Being a Tiger fan in the early-mid 1960s was not too bad; certainly it was more fun than rooting for the Mets. The Bengals had some quality ballplayers in Al Kaline, Bill Freehan, Norm Cash and Denny McClain. However, while they were always in the first division, they always seemed to fall short, finishing second, fourth, fifth, fourth, fourth, third and second between 1961 and 1967. The last season was especially bitter as the Tigers lost in the final game and Boston won, putting the Red Sox in the World Series.

In 1968 things improved quite a bit. The Tigers broke quickly from the gate and by June 1, they were 3.5 games in front. By July 1, they held a 7.5 game lead and Denny McLain was flirting with immortality. He had a sparkling 18-2 record at the All-Star Break. The Tigers were not seriously threatened for the rest of the season; I remember particularly Jim Norththrup achieved a bit of baseball immortality as he hit two grand slams. Denny McClain managed to win an incredible 31 games. Nobody in the American League has won more games in a season since 1913; nobody in the majors since 1916.

But in the World Series that year, it was Mickey Lolich who came through for the Bengals, winning three games including Game 7 against Bob Gibson, while McLain was 0-2. But the Tigers had won the World Series!

As some of you may have heard, the NY Mets then shocked the baseball world by winning the World Series the following year. So my two favorite teams had won the big one two years running. But I was also growing older and discovering that knowing the entire lineup of the 1962 Mets was somewhat less fascinating than knowing the name of that cute girl in my English class.

Fortunately my teams cooperated to an extent, both of them slipping quite a bit from their lofty perches. Detroit slipped to second and then fourth (in the new six-team divisions), while the Mets finished third three years in a row. The Tigers got back into the playoffs in 1972, while the Mets managed to squeak in with a horrific 82-79 record in 1973. Both ended up giving the eventual World Champion Oakland A's a tussle before losing the final game.

And both promptly headed to pretty poor stretches. They went to third, then sixth, sixth, and fourth in 1977. But in that final year, some seeds were sewn as Detroit called four young men up to the senior club in September: Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Lance Parrish. That, my friends, must be the September callup of all time; four young men who would all become star players of near Hall of Fame caliber. When you consider that they joined a 22-year old first baseman who hit 32 homers with 105 RBI and a 22-year-old outfielder who hit 18 dingers with 88 runners plated and a 20-year-old pitcher who won 15 games, it's not hard to see that the Tigers' future looked bright, especially when midway through 1979 they picked up Sparky Anderson.

But again, as in the 1960s, the Tigers seem to always be in sniffing distance of the flag, but never quite able to close the deal. They were over .500 every year from 1978 on, but they finished fifth, fifth and fifth from 1978-80. After the strike year of 1981, they pulled up to fourth, and then second in 1983. In 1984, as in 1968, the Tigers pounced out of the box, quickly taking the AL East lead. They jumped to an incredible 35-5 start, then cruised home. In the postseason they easily handled the Kansas City Royals and then the San Diego Padres, losing only one game in the process.

Coincidentally, again the Mets followed suit, although this time there was a year in between. The Tigers did not fall apart this time, finishing third and third with winning records before making a stunning comeback in the final week of 1987 to catch and pass the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East title. They were helped by the performance of Doyle Alexander, who was traded to the Tigers in mid-season and went 11-1 down the stretch. Unfortunately, what few realized at the time was what the Tigers had given up to get Alexander; it was John Smoltz, who went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Atlanta Braves. The Tigers were easily handled by the Minnesota Twins in the playoffs.

Detroit dropped to second in 1988, and then the bottom fell out of the bucket as the team crashed to 59-103, only the third time in their history that the team had lost 100 games in a season. The Tigers managed to get back near .500 for a few years after that, but from 1994-2005 they never had a winning season. In 2003, they had one of the worst seasons of all time, finishing 43-119 and almost matching the New York Mets' record of 120 losses. Indeed, as I blogged back then, the only reason the team did not lose more than 120 was that they finished with a roar, winning five of their last six games, including one incredible comeback from eight runs behind.

They moved up to the 70-win area for the last two years, but nothing prepared me for this season, when the Tigers suddenly became one of the elite teams in baseball. You have to give Jim Leyland a lot of credit for that; he's been competitive everywhere he's managed.

So that takes us to the present. The Tigers still have to close out the Yankees, never an easy prospect. But a 2-1 advantage is huge; the announcers tonight mentioned that in the 33 five-game series where the teams were tied 1-1 after two games, the team that won the third game had gone on to win the series 25 times.
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But They Support The Troops

When they're getting shot:

Many of the videos, showing sniper attacks against Americans and roadside bombs exploding under American military vehicles, have been posted not by insurgents or their official supporters but apparently by Internet users in the United States and other countries, who have passed along videos found elsewhere.

Among the scenes being viewed daily by thousands of users of the sites are sniper attacks in which Americans are felled by snipers as a camera records the action and of armored Humvees or other military vehicles being hit by roadside bombs.
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Heroes Come In All Shapes and Sizes

I'm staggered by this story coming out of the Amish schoolgirl shooting case:

One of the girls who died in Pennsylvania's Amish schoolhouse massacre asked the killer to shoot her first in an apparent bid to save younger girls, a woman who spoke to the victim's family said on Friday.

Rita Rhoads, a nurse-midwife who delivered 13-year-old Marian Fisher as well as another victim, said Fisher appealed to Charles Carl Roberts to shoot her first because she thought it might allow younger girls to survive.

Rhoads said she did not know whether Fisher in fact was shot first. Roberts shot 10 girls aged 6 to 13, killing five of them and then himself in Monday's rampage.

Fisher's 11-year-old sister, Barbie, appealed to Roberts to shoot her next, Rhoads said. Barbie survived and was in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia recovering from shoulder, hand and leg injuries.


Now that is heroism!

Hat Tip: Andrea Shea-King and Mark Vance on the radio.
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Dumbest Sign from Yesterday

Found this one over at LGF:



Uh, what are those little hearts doing inside the "O"s in Napoleon?
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Moron Air Scamerica

The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club turns out to have been quite an operation:

Managers of the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in The Bronx looted the charity and used $1.2 million in taxpayer money for luxury cars, home renovations and start-up cash for lefty radio network Air America, a two-year investigation has found.

The club's former director, Charles Rosen, tapped Gloria Wise for $21,000 to pay for renovations and furnishings for his beachfront apartment in the Rockaways. He made it appear that $3,200 of it was used to pay a contractor for a "gang-prevention workshop," the report said.

Rosen also billed Gloria Wise for $6,178 worth of bathroom fixtures for the apartment. He earned $249,000 as the club's director and owns a home in Co-op City.

And he turned to Gloria Wise's coffers when he bought a new Volvo convertible in 2002, writing a $34,500 check from the club's accounts.


Is it any wonder that without good folks like these bankrolling Air America that it's about to go belly up, probably immediately after the election?
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Thursday, October 05, 2006
 
World Can't Wait Clowns Hit the Streets

Sounds like some of the 9-11 Deniers were there as well:

Organized by the group World Can't Wait, the march started at the United Nations headquarters in midtown Manhattan. The throng of people, stretching for about five city blocks, closed down a lane of traffic on Second Avenue as it made its way south to Union Square for a late afternoon protest.

Some people lay down in the middle of the street while others carried signs saying ``Expose 9/11'' and ``This war should be over.'' They also handed out fliers reading, ``Drive out the Bush regime.''




More here:

Nearby, Kirsten Anderson, a 60-year-old semi-retired caregiver from Aberdeen, carried her grandson’s socks with her.

Of particularly concern to Anderson is a proposed bill that spells out the treatment of suspected terrorists doesn’t give them the right to “habeus corpus,” that ensures detainees aren’t held in custody indefinitely and without cause.

“I’m doing this for my grandchildren,” said Anderson. “I’m a little old to have it be for me and it’s the ones coming up that I care about. It’s their country, too, especially now.”


If your grandson isn't a terrorist, he doesn't have anything to worry about Kirsten!

The Seattle demonstration started in the right location:

About 150 demonstrators against the Iraq War gathered Thursday morning on the University of Washington campus in Seattle in Red Square.

They then marched to a rally Thursday afternoon in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, before planning to march to an all-night sit-in outside the Federal Building in downtown Seattle.


Sean Penn contributed his "thoughts":

In fascism, one serves the State. Let’s show the world that with democracy, we can make the State do our bidding, and that such bids would not be the blind ones, given exclusively to the friends of power. But rather, the domain of the people of freedom everywhere. This is an administration that advocates torture, deceives the public, spends billions of dollars on a failed war. This is an administration where in the year of Katrina, Exxon Mobil claimed the highest profit margin in the history of world business. It is an administration that belittles, demeans, deceives, and indeed kills our brothers, our sisters, our sons, and our daughters.

Keep bailing, Sean!

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A Postcard from Ned Lamont!

Our buddy The Man at GOP & the City is on Neddy's mailing list and apparently Ned asked him to send some "personalized" postcards to Connecticut voters. The Man done personalized his response up real good!
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Our Schizophrenic Attitude Towards the Sexualization of Young Adults

This seems to be one of the few aspects of the Foleygate story that is being ignored. On the liberal side of the blogosphere, it's because it undercuts their theme of Foley as a pedophile; on the conservative side, it's because we are uncomfortable with the sexualization of "children".

But at some point we need to discuss the real issue, which is that legally, Foley could have had sex with as many 16-year-old pages as he desired (provided of course that they did not resist his advances), because 16 years old is the age of consent in Washington DC. It is also the age of consent in Maryland, but in Virginia it's 18, so if Foley's residence was in Arlington, he could have broken the law.

Now we can all agree that what Foley did was unconscionable for other reasons; because Foley was in a position of power which he was effectively abusing, because legal or not, it's creepy as hell for a man in his 50s to be having sex with high schoolers, because Congressmen should be held to a higher ethical (if not legal) standard. And there is the apparent issue of Foley offering drinks to the page which is certainly illegal in any of those areas.

But if we agree that the age of consent in Washington DC is and should be 16, then it is hard to argue, as Michelle Malkin does, that "The young man was the prey, not the predator."

Don't get me wrong here; I'm not saying that the young man was the predator, as Drudge apparently has. But I am saying that laws are there for a reason; to tell us the bounds of legal (if not moral) behavior. In DC, 15-year-olds and younger are fenced off from adults; 16-year-olds are legal, because they are considered old enough to make their own decisions about sex.

We can argue whether that's appropriate, but I don't see anybody calling for the age of consent to be raised. Certainly exceptions can be crafted to deal with the "Romeo and Juliet problem", where, say, a 16-year-old young man has sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, but in fact, DC's laws already contain such an exception. So it seems plain to me that the intent of the law is to simply say that 16-year-olds are old enough to consent. And if they're old enough to consent, then they are not prey; they are adults for the purposes of sex.

Anybody know where Foley kept his residence?

Update: Think Progress chastises Instapundit and Pajamas Media for linking to Wild Bill's story, supposedly because Wild Bill doesn't have a lot of traffic and therefore the "damage" to the "victim" would have been minimal. However, this ignores that mainstream media sources also picked up on the story.

Again, if the law is that 16 is the age of consent, then there is no victim. If we want to prohibit adults from having sex with 16-year-olds (and there is quite a bit of indication that the young man in question was 18 when the most disgusting instant messages were sent), then let's make it illegal.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006
 
Foley's Page Revealed

Here's a terrific piece of investigative blogging by our longtime buddy, Wild Bill of Passionate America.
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Glenn Greenwald's Latest Opus

I've kind of ignored Greenwald for awhile now after the sock-puppet incident, but the Real Ugly American looks at how a recent post by would look if it were about homosexuals instead of Republicans.
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The World Can't Whine

Pam has a great post on the World Can't Wait's big walkout scheduled for tomorrow.

Frankly, this group strikes me as a bunch of crybabies who didn't get their way in 2004, and they're going to throw a tantrum and skip school and/or work. Gee, that'll show 'em! Really stick it to "the man."

Hat Tip: Andrea Shea-King and Mark Vance on the radio.
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Foley Claims He Was Molested As A Teen?

This sad story just got a little sadder.

Disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley said through his lawyer Tuesday that he was abused by a clergyman as a teenager, but accepts full responsibility for sending salacious computer messages to teenage male pages.

Attorney David Roth said Foley was molested between ages 13 and 15 by a clergyman. He declined to identify the clergyman or the church, but Foley is Roman Catholic.


You know, the irony here is that the messages he sent were probably not illegal, nor would having sex with one of the teenage pages, provided the pages were at least 16 years old. That is the age of consent in DC. Indeed, it is arguable that the real crime here is that Foley offered the page a drink.

Granted, it's slimy and unethical for other reasons. But most of the media outlets covering the story seem to be highlighting the "minor" aspect of the pages, and ignoring the fact that by law, they were adults as far as sex goes.

Update: Wild Bill promises a scoop later this afternoon.
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006
 
Is This Getting Contagious?

As I mentioned, Lucky Dawg News has closed its doors; now our buddy John Bush at My Take on Things is also calling it quits. He does leave open the door to returning if he can work out Movable Type.

John's been a great blogger, and more than that, a great person with his Operation Soldier efforts. You will be missed in the blogosphere, John!
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Playoff Question: Do Teams With More Recent Experience Win?

I thought I'd take a quick look at this question since it's the best argument against the Tigers going deeper.

In the 2005 World Series, the matchup was between the Chicago White Sox, who had not been to the playoffs since 2000 (corrected), and the Houston Astros, who had taken the Cardinals to Game Seven in the NLCS the year before. But the White Sox, the team with less recent playoff history, swept. In the 2005 ALCS, the White Sox defeated the Angels, who had won the World Series in 2002 and who made the playoffs in 2004. In the 2005 NLCS, the Astros managed to defeat the Cardinals, who had beaten them the year before. In the 2005 ALDS, the White Sox knocked off the defending champs, the Red Sox. In the other ALDS, the Yankees were kayoed by the Angels, despite having gone deeper into the playoffs in 2004 than the Anaheim team. In the NLDS, the teams with more recent playoff success did actually win (St. Louis and Houston).

So at least in 2005 there is little evidence that having been to the playoffs, or even having beaten your playoff opponent, gives one a leg up on this season's playoffs.
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Monday, October 02, 2006
 
Dawg Down?

Just got an email from our buddy Chris at Lucky Dawg News; he's taking down the website after being hacked for the third time this month. Chris has persevered through more adversity than any blogger out there, but I can understand his frustration. I hope he'll reconsider at some point in the future.
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Why You Need to Pay Attention to the Foley Affair

Clarice Feldman lays it all out for you. From what I can see, it's not Foley they're after, but the Republican leadership, by tarring them with the claim that "they knew". As Feldman explains, they knew Foley was a little overly friendly with the pages, but the explicit text messages were not known about, and those text messages may have been sent to adults, not underaged pages.

Update: Yep, that's what it's all about. That noted deep thinker of the left, Alec Baldwin gives us the spin:

Focus on Hastert. That do-nothing, lap dog Speaker of the House, who knew Foley was compromised and knew it quite a long time ago and did nothing, purely to maintain political power.
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Sunday, October 01, 2006
 
The Amazing Race: A Comedy of Errors

I can't remember an episode with so many mistakes before.

To start, the teams are to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam. In an oddity, there is no money to start this leg of the race; the first time I can recall that happening. Moreover, teams are forbidden from begging or selling objects to make money.

The teams get to the Genghis Khan hotel, where the travel agency making the arrangements is located. Despite some drama when the beauty queens jump ahead of the, um, queens, there really seems to be nothing to this trip as all teams arrive on the same pair of planes. We learn that Team Ashamed of My Gay Daughter has less money than the others. But they have a plan; they will use a local Vietnamese woman as a tour guide. However, this nearly becomes a disaster as she has apparently checked baggage, so they must wait for her. Then it turns out she wants them to drop her off at her brother's before heading to the next checkpoint: The Hanoi Hilton. As in the POW prison. But they get a break; the prison will not be open until the next morning, and the taxi driver accepts their $11 as payment in full.

Astoundingly, the Vietnamese have kept this as a tourist destination. The task is to locate John McCain's flight suit, which apparently requires quite a bit of searching through the grim prison. Kudos to Bruckheimer and Company for not sugar coating the experience, and to Team Gay and Team Cho for taking a moment to reflect on the solemnity of the location. Unfortunately nobody mentions Bud Day or Admiral Stockdale or Paul Galanti; if I'd been there it would have happened.

Next assignment is a roadblock; sell flowers from a bicycle until you have 80,000 units of Vietnamese money. Everybody hops into a cab except Team Ashamed; they have no money left and must hoof the mile or so to the flower stall.

As you'd probably guess, the beauty queens have no problem with this task, nor does the guy who makes prothstetic limbs. But they all make it through the task eventually, and it appears that Team Ashamed has caught up with the others due to Dad's skill at marketing to Vietnamese women. Better still, they can keep the money they earn.

Now they must take a bus to a town called Voc; here Team Triathlon, in the lead, make the mistake of taking the wrong bus and must transfer to the #22 bus. Unfortunately for them, this seems to take forever, and they are the last to arrive.

The next task is a detour; teams must choose between creating bricks of coal or a birdcage. Not surprisingly, everybody chooses to lay the bricks. But the problem appears to be locating the brick factory. The bricks are made by hand using primitive metal presses and the activity looks highly strenous. What's more, the bricks are discarded if they are not of sufficient quality.

At some point in here, Team Cho are offered a ride on a scooter, but for liability reasons, they are forbidden by the rules of the game to do so. Not long afterwards we see Team Gay agree to take a ride.

Lots and lots of sweating and grunting. Several of the teams get lost on the way to the brick factory, and Team Ashamed stumbles across the birdcage task and decide to try it; it's hard to tell which was the faster task, but certainly the birdcage is physically less demanding.

Team Cho finishes first and dashes to the mat, where they learn they have won a home entertainment system. Team Coal Miner accidentally leave a backpack behind, and the husband must double back while the wife, who has sprained an ankle, waits. BTW, did anybody else notice that not all teams had to deal with the backpacks? What's the story with that?

Team Gay arrive in second place, but Phil has bad news; they are assessed a thirty-minute penalty for taking the ride on the motorbikes. They must watch grimly as the other teams arrive and pass them. We learn that there is an informal alliance of Team Gump, Team Coal Miner, Team Gay and Team Cho.

As it works out, Team Ashamed does not get to the mat on time, and Team Gay finishes in penultimate position, still in the race, while Team Ashamed have to hear that they have been Phil-iminated. But we learn that Dad has become more accepting of his daughter's (lesbian) sexuality, so aren't they the real winners of the episode anyway?

As always, check out the Viking Pundit's excellent recap.
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The Horror of Gitmo

Mark Steyn reports on his visit. Apparently the interrogators believe in the horror of "the comfy chair!"

If they've got anything like that going on at the real Gitmo, they must be doing it behind the confectioner's sugar at the back of the pastry chef's cupboard. If you're hoping to hear about the old wooden chair under a bare lightbulb swinging on its cord, here's the reality: The detaineeare interrogated on either a La-Z-Boy recliner or a luxuriously upholstered sofa -- blue plush with gold piping.

As for being emaciated, it's the only death camp in history where the soi-disant torture victims put on weight. In contrast to the undernourished thesp in the movie version, the average gain at Gitmo is 18 pounds. The Afghan detainees were the chunkiest Afghans I've ever seen. If they ever make it home, their old comrades -- the lean wiry warriors of the Hindu Kush -- will wonder why a party of Florida retirees has suddenly shown up. These Pushtuns are pushing a ton.
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