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Saturday, February 10, 2007
 
Maybe They Should Call It Death Insurance?

Here's an interesting story about attempts to sue a bank that is providing "life insurance" for suicide bombers.

The Arab Bank is one of the largest and most important financial institutions in the Arab world. The Jordan-based private bank, of which 40 percent is still held by the founding Schuman family, is active in 28 countries. The Jordanian monarchy even awarded Abd al Hamid Schuman a medal for his achievements and services to the country.

But the bank has long been suspected of directing money used to finance terrorism in the Palestinian Territories. And accounts at its Palestinian branches are also supposedly used to pay a type of life insurance to the families of youthful suicide bombers, who blow themselves up with the aim of killing as many Israelis as possible. The blood money paid for a son turned murder is 20,000 Saudi riyal -- roughly €4,000 or $5,000. The funds take a circuitous route to the accounts of those families that prove the death of their son by showing a death certificate at the Arab Bank branch in the Palestinian Territories. Then monthly deposits are made just like in Takruri's case.

Suicide bombers with foresight can take care of all the necessary paperwork before they blow themselves to smithereens. A so-called Martyr Kit includes everything from a death certificate from the Palestinian Authority to an account card at the Arab Bank.


How convenient!

Seriously, though, it highlights what a dysfunctional society the Palestinians inhabit. Everything is slightly distorted and backwards, like the Bizarro world of Superman comics.
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Friday, February 09, 2007
 
Unstoppable Global Warming?

Unstoppable because it's coming from the sun. John Hawkins interviews the author of a new book on this topic.

If this is such a good explanation -- and it does seem to make sense -- why do you think there are so many scientists out there who say that man is responsible for global warming?

Well John, if people believe me, there wouldn't be 2 billion dollars a year in federal research grants to set-up computerized climate models, Greenpeace wouldn't be selling memberships to people terrified of warming, and Al Gore would have to get a real job.

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Edward Decides to Take His Punishment Later

Looks like he won't be firing his foul-mouthed bloggers:

Mr. Edwards announced on Thursday, after 36 hours of deliberation, that he would keep on his campaign staff two liberal feminist bloggers with long cybertrails of incendiary comments on sex, religion and politics.

Deliberations over the fate of the two bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, created a crisis in Mr. Edwards’s nascent campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 and illuminated the treacherous road ahead as candidates of both parties try to harness the growing power of the online world. The case of the two women had left Mr. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, with difficult choices.

Mr. Edwards could keep the women on his staff and have to answer for the sometimes vulgar and intemperate writings posted on their personal blogs before he hired them late last month. He could dismiss them and face a revolt in the liberal blogosphere, which is playing an increasingly influential role in Democratic politics and could be especially important to his populist campaign. Some bloggers saw the controversy as manufactured by conservative groups.

Or, as Mr. Edwards did Thursday, he could keep the two bloggers on staff, but distance himself from their views.


Edwards had two basic options here; fire the bloggers and deal with the fallout on the left, or retain them and deal with the fallout on the right. Since the latter will only come if he actually gets the nomination (a dicey proposition), he decided to do the smart thing politically, but the wrong thing morally.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007
 
The Spitting On Returning Vietnam Soldiers Proven

It's been awhile since this story hit the press. An academic named Jerry Lembcke claimed to have examined newspaper accounts of the time and found no mentions of antiwar protesters spitting on Vietnam veterans; in fact, he claimed, the reports started after 1980, apparently in an attempt to discredit the antiwar movement.

Jim Lindgren of the Volokh Conspiracy smelled BS and did his own digging.

Indeed, according to an August 27, 1967 New York Times article by Neil Sheehan, as part of military training in the national guard, soldiers were actually being drilled by being spat on, abuse to which they were instructed not to respond.

One of the more amazing stories of protester abuse of veterans (and one veteran’s violent response) were the attacks on Congressional Medal of Honor winners. In a March 14, 1968 column in the Bucks County Courier Times (and elsewhere), the head of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, WWII Medalist Thomas J. Kelly, reveals that even Medal of Honor winners have been abused and “spat upon as ‘monsters.’”


Great job by Lingren!

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
 
More False Equivalency from Sockboy Greenwald

Sheesh, this is a stupid post.

Glenn Greenwald, observing that John Edwards' blogstress is under attack for her profane and anti-Catholic screeds tries to draw an equivalency with Patrick Hynes' work for John McCain. Of course, he can't find any profanity or anti-Catholicism, so he tries other smears:

Miner: Is it fair to call America a “Christian nation”?

Hynes: Yes. America is a Christian nation. As I write in my book, “Is America a Christian nation? Of course it is. Don’t be ridiculous. What a stupid question.

Does McCain agree with that view, or think it is acceptable to label as "stupid" objections to the notion that "America is a Christian nation." Is that not as divisive and offensive, at least, as anything Marcotte wrote?


The problem for Greenwald is that there's almost nobody on the planet outside of a few atheists who believe that America is not a Christian nation.

He also brings up a contest that Hynes had for coming up with a nickname for Henry Waxman. Kind of an oddball idea for a contest, but Greenwald waxes indignant at some of the names the ABP's commenters came up with. He's especially upset that Waxman's nose was compared to a pig's snout, but Hynes is hardly the first to make that comparison:



Greenwald also brings up Hynes' supposed Mormon-bashing. But in fact, the posts he points to are not Mormon-bashing but legitimate speculation as to whether a Mormon can win the presidency. Given that some polls have shown that over 40% of Americans say they would not vote for a Mormon, it seems a legitimate issue.

Greenwald does bring up one mildly fair issue, which Patrick has already acknowledged, that he should have disclosed his work for John McCain's PAC a little earlier than he did. But this was in July of 2006; McCain wasn't even a declared candidate for 2008 back then.
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Edwards' Bloggers Landing Him In Hot Water Again

This time he may decide it's not worth the controversy:

The Catholic League, a conservative religious group, is demanding that Mr. Edwards dismiss the two, Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog site and Melissa McEwan, who writes on her blog, Shakespeare’s Sister, for expressing anti-Catholic opinions.


The Times manages to make it about "bloggers" and not these specific moonbats:

Two bloggers hired by John Edwards to reach out to liberals in the online world have landed his presidential campaign in hot water for doing what bloggers do — expressing their opinions in provocative and often crude language.


Yeah, because all of us bloggers use crude language like Marcotte and McEwan.

Update: Michelle Malkin channels Marcotte. Funniest thing you will see all day:

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
 
Oddball Story of the Day

A Washington state group is trying to put a measure on the ballot to require married couples to have a child within three years.

Initiative 957 was filed last month by Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance. That group was formed last summer after the state supreme court upheld Washington's ban on same-sex marriage.

Under the measure, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children in order to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriage would be subject to annulment.

All other marriages would be defined as "unrecognized" and people in those marriages would be ineligible to receive any marriage benefits.


Now, that's not just silly, but it's something that even gay couples frustrated at not being able to marry should recognize is an offensive intrusion of the government into people's private lives.
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Teresa Richard, Tear Down That Flag!

Pam Meister has the story of a soldier in Aghanistan's mother who's being harrassed by her condominium association over the flying of an American flag in front of her condo.

I suspect there are some peaceniks on that condo association board. The first question I asked when I bought my house was "Is there a homeowners' association?" Only when I was assured that none existed was I willing to sign the offer.

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Monday, February 05, 2007
 
Global Warming Roundup

The first Canadian to earn a PhD in climatology says it's bunk:

Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?


Meanwhile, the Lefty bloggers are incensed that a new poll reveals that very few Republicans believe in their Global Warming revelations. David Roberts has a cow:

But we survey the Democrats and find a patchwork of apathy and equivocation. We find endless hearings and tepid cap-and-trade proposals. Only two bills -- Waxman's Safe Climate Act in the House, Sanders' Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act in the Senate -- even pretend to target the 80% emissions reductions by 2050 scientists say will be needed to avoid irreparable damage. Suffice to say, those bills -- the closest thing on offer to alarmism -- are not supported by 87% of Congressional Democrats.


Of course he uses this to bash Republicans.
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McCain to Dems (and Hagel): Stop Demoralizing the Troops!

John stands up for what's right:

On the eve before a possible congressional showdown on Iraq strategy, Senator McCain of Arizona contended that the bipartisan proposal amounted to a demoralizing "vote of no confidence" in the American military. The measure, he said, criticizes Mr. Bush's plan to add 21,500 troops in Iraq yet offers no concrete alternatives.

"I don't think it's appropriate to say that you disapprove of a mission and you don't want to fund it and you don't want it to go, but yet you don't take the action necessary to prevent it," Mr. McCain, who is a 2008 presidential candidate, said.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007
 
Sometimes An Ad Is Just An Ad

The New York Times's Advertising Columnist gets his 15 minutes of fame with a piece that has to be read to be believed.

No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.

More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.


I don't remember all the ads but there were a lot of ones that made me laugh. About the only one that seemed questionable was the one with the cat and the mouse, but it turned out okay.

It was as if Madison Avenue were channeling Doc in “West Side Story,” the gentle owner of the candy store in the neighborhood that the two street gangs, the Jets and Sharks, fight over. “Why do you kids live like there’s a war on?” Doc asks plaintively. (Well, Doc, this time, there is.)


Look, humor depends on surprise. Cartoon-like violence generally comes as a surprise and works as humor. Every year there are commercials at the Super Bowl with sudden, cartoonish violence. The difference is that this year, Stuart Eliot felt like writing about the war and not about the Super Bowl ads.

If he'd chosen to write about, oh, say, religion, he could write about the silly commercial with the crabs stealing a cooler full of Bud Light. If he wanted to talk about homosexuality, there was the ad where the two guys chomp on opposite ends of a Slim Jim (or something) and meet in the middle by kissing.

Blue Crab Boulevard was also not amused, but he is amusing:

Let's cut to the chase, shall we? There was an ad that mentioned the Prudential Insurance company and its long standing symbol, the rock of Gibraltar. An icon that it has used as a symbol since before your reporter was even a gleam in his father's eye. But if you say the words, "The rock" repeatedly after drinking three bottles of cheap wine while standing on your head in your bathtub, it sounds a lot like "Iraq". Or possibly like "Scooter Libby" which would be almost as good.


Sensible Mom notes that the obsession with the war came from the writer, not the ads

My choice for best commercial was this one:

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