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Saturday, July 30, 2005
Guest of the State

That's what Third Wave Dave's attacker is starting today.
Useful If Your Boat Is Attacked By a Rabbit

Otherwise Jimmy Carter's about valuable as nipples on men.

Former President Carter said Saturday the detention of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval base was an embarrassment and had given extremists an excuse to attack the United States.

Carter also criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq as "unnecessary and unjust."

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England. "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

What's your justification, Peanut Farmer?
Be All That You Can Be

Kitty has some advice for job-seekers.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Standing Up for An Unpopular Issue Among Republicans

It's not Bill Frist, it's John Hawkins!

Hugh Hewitt Gets Legal on Air America

Nice to have a lawyer around to turn to:

Form 990s are filed by all not-for-profits. They are public documents. Here's the one for the Gloria Wise Community Center for the period ending June 30, 2003. Still looking for a more recent filing.

BTW: 18 USC Section 1001 is The False Statements Act. That's why such forms as this one (and all of Air America's filings) had better accurately reflect the realities of the organizationn's finances.

Yeah, he still can't spell, but how long has he been claiming to know how to use a spell-checker? Still cool links that I didn't think to look for earlier.
Daley Scandal in Cook County?

Interesting stuff going on in Illinois. A Republican county chair offered a reward of $10,000 from non-existent funds for the scoop on Mayor Richard Daley. Now the guy's lost his (private sector) job. Check out the Marathon Pundit for the details. I guess the obvious question is why he hasn't lost his Republican Party job.
Not Hopeful Here

One of the most famous names in Arizona politics returns:

Republican Party activist Don Goldwater, a nephew of the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, confirmed Friday he will seek his party's nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano.

Goldwater declined to elaborate in advance of news conferences planned for Tuesday in Sun City West, Phoenix and Tucson. Goldwater's candidacy was reported first by the Arizona Capitol Times.

Barry Goldwater, who died in 1998, helped found the modern Republican Party in Arizona and served five terms as U.S. senator before retiring in 1987. A leading conservative nationally, he was the Republican Party's nominee in 1964, a race he lost to Lyndon Johnson.

His was the crusty conservatism of the West, the "leave me alone" conservatism that finally found its flower in Ronald Reagan.

But his nephew is a zero in local politics:

Don Goldwater, 50, serves as Republican Party chairman for a legislative district that includes his residence in Laveen, an unincorporated community on Phoenix's southwestern outskirts. He is a former board member of the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix think tank with libertarian leanings.

If the Republicans are going to beat Janet (which I doubt to start with) they are going to need somebody who's got real chops. She's as tough a sitting governor as can be imagined at this point. She can point to a booming economy and skyrocketing housing values. Yes, the Republican base despises her, but she's run some very smart and nimble campaigns. The conservatism out here is of the "If it ain't broke don't fix it," variety, and this works against the Republican nominee.

Hat Tip: Alexander McClure at Polipundit
The IRA Announcement

I've avoided posting on this until now because my natural tendency is to be suspicious of the IRA. But I'm beginning to soften. I commented last night that the IRA was under tremendous pressure because of the London bombings. But it didn't hit me then that the pressure might not be as much from the law and political figures like Tony Blair as from their support on the other side. The absolute revulsion of the world at the death of 52 innocents (and four killers) on July 7 must have convinced many Republicans among the general population that indiscriminate violence had to be disavowed.

This report stresses the positive.

THE IRA will destroy its arsenal within two months, after its historic announcement of an end to its 35-year campaign of violence.

In a move followed by choreographed welcomes in Belfast, London, Dublin and Washington, the IRA's "armed campaign" officially came to an end at 4pm on Thursday (1am yesterday AEST).

The IRA told its units to dump their weapons and instructed volunteers to pursue objectives through democratic and peaceful means and engage in "no other activities whatever". The IRA prepared a DVD with the statement read out by one of its "hard men" veterans, Seanna Walsh.

The IRA order, insisted on by the British and Irish governments, was taken by British Prime Minister Tony Blair as renouncing all criminal and paramilitary behaviour.

The weapons' surrender will be crucial. This has usually been where the IRA suddenly get cold feet. But I'll let myself get cautiously optimistic. Things have improved economically since the Good Friday accords; in Ireland, both North and Republic of, people are scrambling to get rich rather than fighting over an ever-decreasing pie as was the case in the 1970s.

That's the difference, I think, between the US and many other countries (but not Ireland). Here we look at it as, "How can I get a nice big slice out of all this business that is going on?" But in most of Europe and among the Left in this country the question is "How can I get some of this other guy's wealth?"

Similar thoughts here.
They Also Serve

Terrific post by Rick Moran.
Palestinian at Work

This is rather amusing in a grim way:

One Palestinian was seriously injured in an explosion in the city of Tulkarm, Judea and Samaria police reported Thursday afternoon.

The explosion appeared to have been caused by a "work accident" when a bomb being manufactured or transported exploded prematurely, police assessed.
Best of Best of the Web

Terrific retrospective column; I especially enjoyed the reminiscences on Dean and Kerry.
Another One Caught

Story here. Great job by the Brits and Italians!
Krugman Takes a Beating

I chortled about his latest column at Lifelike, while Bulldog Pundit of the Ankle-Biters gnawed on it as well.
How to Quit Blogging

This is hilarious.

Hat Tip: The Commissar
Two 7/21 Bombers Arrested

Good news from London:

Mukhtar Said-Ibrahim, suspected of trying to blow up a number 26 bus in Hackney, East London, was arrested at an address near Tavistock Crescent, Notting Hill, after armed police and a bomb disposal unit surrounded the house, police sources told The Times. It is understood that he did not put up a struggle.

Two hours later, a man suspected of trying to bomb a Tube train at Oval station was seized after a siege at a flat in Dalgarno Gardens, North Kensington.

However, this part appears to be wrong:

The only one of the failed July 21 bombing suspects still at large is the man suspected of trying to blow up a Tube train at Shepherd's Bush, West London.

There's also the person who abandoned his bomb near Wormwood Scrubs.
Moron Air America

Sounds like they're starting to get some blowback on their looting of a charity:

The current owners of Air America Radio have no obligation to Progress Media's business activities. We are very disturbed that Air America Radio's good name could be associated with a reduction in services for young people, which is why we agreed months ago to fully compensate the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club as a result of this transaction.

The part I find most interesting, however, is this:

The funding for Camp Air America was raised and collected entirely by the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, and Air America promoted the camp on air and urged support for it. A link on our web site sent those interested in contributing to the camp to the Gloria Wise web site.

Here's some info on Camp Air America. No mention of it being shut down.

One wonders if the camp's bunkhouses were named after Joe Hill and Che Guevara?

Captain Ed has more here.

Hat Tip: Mrs Malkin
The Reality-Based Community?

Hey, I finally found some leftists who are actually moving to Canada!
Siege In London

Sounds like they've trapped another one of the failed 7/21 bombers.

Police hunting the three missing London bombers have laid siege to a flat in West London after a series of small explosions.

There are unconfirmed reports that a man inside is one of the failed suicide attackers who tried to detonate bombs on July 21.

Less than a mile away dozens of officers, some wearing gas masks, swooped on Notting Hill, clearing an area and cordoning off streets. Police have made a number of arrests in today’s operations, Scotland Yard sources told the Press Association.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
This is Funny

How to answer the "Does this make me look fat?" question.

Hat tip: Grendel's Dragon. Good luck on the bar exam, Mike!
Giving In to Terrorism in the UK

A magazine has agreed to stop running advertisements for a pharmaceutical company after being attacked by animal rights activists.

One website for a group calling itself The Covance Campaign read: “The Big Issue have recently printed an article regarding the relevance of animal testing and the fraudulent results gained. So after this, as strange as it seems, The Big Issue are willing to advertise for the vivisection company Covance.”

Richard Brown, managing director of The Big Issue in the North, said that the magazine had no option but to withdraw the advertisements because they could not put the safety of vendors at risk.

Give in to the terrorists and you'll just get more demands.
Wish I Could Say This Was a Surprise

A NY City Council member (and former Black Panther) refers to military recruiters "preying on our young people. Guess which party he belongs to?
Run, Dick, Run!


Veteran wire reporter Helen Thomas is vowing to 'kill herself' if Dick Cheney announces he is running for president.
Drama At Third Wave Dave's

Wow, don't check your favorite blogs for a couple days and you miss all the excitement. Glad to hear Dave's okay, looking forward to hearing more details.
Airhead America Sinking

(Welcome Right Wing News, Viking Pundit and In The Right Place readers)

According to this article:

Here [in Philadelphia], it doesn't even register a pulse. The flagship show, hosted by author and former Saturday Night Live comic Al Franken, airs from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays on WHAT (1340 AM).

Both WHAT and the show have fallen off the charts, according to radio-rating service Arbitron, meaning there were too few listeners to measure during the second quarter of this year - the so-called spring book. Franken's show didn't start on the station until Aug. 30.

Franken named his show The O'Franken Factor to tweak his archrival, populist pundit Bill O'Reilly, whose TV show The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel outdraws all other talk shows on cable, and whose nationally syndicated The Radio Factor, with more than three million listeners nationally, is tied for ninth place.

Measured season-to-season - the most accurate way to assess audience preferences, because listening patterns vary throughout the year - Air America has lost audience in major markets, including New York and Boston, since April, May and June of 2004.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Howard Kurtz Doesn't Get It

Usually I find him perceptive, but he comes off completely clueless on the first part of this column, where he talks about conservative reactions to Jane Fonda's vegetable oil tour.

Kurtz links some teeny-tiny blogs to prove his point about the Right-Wing blogosphere:

It took only a few nanoseconds for the right side of the blogosphere to get fired up.

It took, in fact, only two words: Jane Fonda.

News that the actress and activist is planning an antiwar bus tour was greeted by calmly reasoned analysis.

The Conservative Zone sounds impressive, but it's had about 5600 hits on sitemeter. Looks like a serious blogger though, and I certainly am not going to fault him for some anger on the Fonda thing; she got her reputation the old fashioned way.

"Hanoi Jane is at it again. . . . In 1972, she committed Treason when she collaborated with the enemy and urged that US soldiers quit fighting. Today, she is calling for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, leaving them in the lurch and unable to withstand the terrorist forces.

"This B-I-T-C-H is a traitor twice now in my eyes. She has the right to voice her opinions, but her past actions have branded her a traitor and she deserves to be treated like one."

The Simi Valley Sophist, who's been posting for about 2 months and does not appear to have a sitemeter.

"No matter how you slice and dice it, a traitor is still a traitor. Jane Fonda is back in the anti-war game, and this time it is the war in Iraq."

Pirate's Cove is a serious blog with an established readership, but of course by now Kurtz has the supposedly inflammatory stuff, so the quoted passage is as follows:

"Jane, You Ignorant Slut"

"So she is going to revisit her Vietnam days, and all the atrocities against American troops that she herself caused, to promote her book?"

The odd thing is that Kurtz could have hit any of the larger conservative blogs and found much the same sentiment perhaps with a tiny bit less vitriol, so it's not fair to say that he mischaracterizes completely our side of the aisle. And I'm glad to see smaller conservative blogs getting linked. So I guess my point is that on this story it doesn't matter but on others it might.

The larger problem is that Kurtz just doesn't get the reaction on our side to Jane Fonda. I can't think of a Republican blogger who has a good thing to say about her. She's ironically in many ways the caricature that libs present of Republicans: born into incredible wealth and fame, given her own wealth largely on the basis of her name (and looks), not her talent, then later used her celebrity to hawk products on TV and eventually hooked a billionnaire. And of course somewhere in there managed to find time to laugh and pretend to be shooting down US flyers with an anti-aircraft gun.

And that's what most of us hate her for. We heard during Vietnam and we've heard during Iraq that the anti-war folks support the troops. For one brief moment Jane Fonda showed that she didn't. It's not going to be forgiven with endless apology/book tours which demonstrate that what she's sorry for is that she has to pay for mistakes she made in the past, not that she made them, and heaven forfend, not that she was wrong about the war.
Pat Hynes at TCS

Our buddy from the Ankle-Biters has a column at TCS on why the President doesn't get any respect on the economy despite ample evidence that it's chugging along quite well.

President Bush needs to learn a lesson his father never did. Unless a president -- especially a Republican president -- talks constantly with the American people about the economy, he will be seen by the public as doing nothing about it. This is especially true when the news is filtered through a hostile press corps. And while doing nothing about the economy may at times be the best way to strengthen it, this view is not shared by the majority of Americans.

Pat's right on the money here. Yeah, we can rail about the media which never report the good news for fear it will help the Republicans. But guess what? That's not going to change, so it does us very little good to gripe about it. When the President has a chance to talk to the American people without the filter of the networks, he does terrifically.
Subway Searches Redux

The civil libertarians are all pointing to this site on protecting your rights by refusing to cooperate with police searches.

Turns out that one of the rights you're losing is the right to be assaulted and have your purse or wallet snatched:

Through Sunday, there were 171 felonies in the subways this month, a decrease of 50 from the corresponding period last year, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said.

There were 43 fewer grand larcenies -- the picking of pockets and purses -- which is the most prevalent crime in the system, officials said.
Speaking of Air America...

Check out this hilarious and poorly-timed paean to Airhead America's virtues and denunciation of the evil Neocons.

Let's get the Nazi references out of the way:

Where I am going with this is my apparently genetic predisposition to fervently and passionately work and fight against all those who would sully, weaken, demean or otherwise defile our sacred Constitution. This goes cubed for insane Theocracy despots and demagogues, who would claw their way to power cynically brandishing a did Adolph Hitler. We are Germany in the 30's, friends. Read your history.

Loyalty to a One-Party NeoCon State has eclipsed true American Patriotism and Christianity as we have known it has mutated into a Corporate Christianist Political Cult that has not only discarded the Sermon on the Mount, but is completely in denial of His true message and teachings. Remember, Hitler claimed a "Christian" nation based on "Family Values."

Okay, now that we've got that covered, let's hear a little about the Airheads:

Air America Radio represents the best idea our founders ever cherished, dissent. We were born of dissent and we have prevailed with dissent. Dissent has made us strong and protected us from despots and dictators. How can any Democracy survive without it, as how else can new ideas and solutions creatively develop and prevail? Lacking it, we are ruled by incompetent ideologues and yes-men that prefer self-perpetuating autocracy over any semblance of Democracy. Know this and be warned, as it is under your very nose.

You get the feeling that this was written while under the influence of strong drink?

We have never needed Air America Radio as we do now, and I heartily welcome them to Chattanooga. Democracy, liberty and freedom are actually verbs, as we have to protect and maintain them every day.

No, they're actually nouns. And anyway, do we have to protect and maintain verbs?

And note this typical little fascistic bit:

As for myself, I will happily turn to those with non-reptilian brain-stems who broadcast truth, not Svengali Karl Rove's Neo-Fascist NeoCon hate-filled NewsSpeak.

Denying the humanity of your opposition is the first step down the road to the concentration camps.
Airhead America Stealing from Kids?--Updated

Say it ain't so!

Air America is being investigated in New York for diverting federal/local funds--possibly "hundreds of thousands of dollars"--meant for inner-city kids and seniors into the station's coffers.

Update: Obviously I should have checked in with the Leather Penguin, who blogs Air Idiot frequently.

Hat Tip: Conservative Grapevine
NY Subway Riders Smarter than the NY Times

According to the Letters Page today:

You say the New York City Police Department should not simply pick people of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent for bag searches at subway entrances. But given the events of 9/11 and the recent attacks in London, aren't they the people most likely to commit a terrorist attack? I say this as someone of Indian descent.

Anyone is certainly capable of committing such an act, but a certain degree of profiling is necessary. Is it worse for the police to be skewed somewhat in that direction, or to be politically correct and do what they can to avoid hurting someone's feelings?


Since most of these terrorist attacks have been linked to people of Middle Eastern backgrounds, it is inevitable that people who appear to be of Middle Eastern background will be watched more closely and that there will be racial profiling to some extent in order to protect the security of the people.

If I am not doing anything wrong, does it really matter if police officers check my bag just because I look Middle Eastern? After all, they are only trying to protect my safety.

Of course, they managed to get someone to denounce it:

The New York City police have said that anyone can refuse a search and leave the subway without being arrested. But the longer the practice goes on, the greater the temptation for the police to follow or arrest someone who doesn't agree to be searched.

Yes, let's not "tempt" the cops to do their job!

This next writer appears not to be aware of the problem of racist dogs:

The best way to make random searches while preserving civil liberties seems obvious to me: dogs. Trained dogs are reportedly better than most machines at detecting explosives, and they are indifferent to ethnic background or any other grounds for discrimination.

At any rate, few of the NYC subway riders seem willing to die for the sake of political correctness.
Maybe The Plans Got Stuffed Down Your Pants?

This is rich:

An independent panel headed by two former U.S. national security advisers said Wednesday that chaos in Iraq was due in part to inadequate postwar planning.

Planning for reconstruction should match the serious planning that goes into making war, said the panel headed by Samuel Berger and Brent Scowcroft. Berger was national security adviser to Democratic President Clinton. Scowcroft held the same post under Republican Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush but has been critical of the current president's Iraq and Mideast policies.

Samuel Berger? Isn't that Sandy Burglar?
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Green Bay to Host Medal of Honor Winners

In 2007. :)

Don't say I didn't give you Cheeseheads plenty of warning!

Some activities planned for the September 2007 convention include a concert at the Resch Center, a trip to Door County, a tour of the EAA museum, and a Green Bay Packers game.
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness Step Down As Provo IRA Leaders?

So says the man who outed them.

[Republic of Ireland Justice Minister] Mr McDowell, who broke with the London-Dublin protocol of recent years by “outing” both men as IRA leaders after the Northern Bank raid in December, said that Martin Ferris, a Sinn Fein TD, or member of the Irish Parliament, had also left the army council. He spoke as Tony Blair said that the IRA could not be compared to al-Qaeda terrorists because he did not think “the IRA would ever have set about trying to kill 3,000 people”. In 30 years about 3,600 people died in Ulster, nearly half of them killed by the Provisional IRA.

I'd disagree on two counts. The IRA showed little compunction about mass murder; it's just that their methods did not include suicide bombers/hijackers. Yes, the Birmingham Six were innocent, but somebody from the IRA blew up those pubs and killed 21 people. OTOH, blaming the IRA for half the people who died in Ulster is laying it on a little thick. Certainly some of those were killed in the pitched battles where Protestants tried to burn out the Catholic ghettos, and others were summarily executed for crimes that were handled within the Catholic community, which had (and to a certain degree still has) an instinctive distrust of the Northern Ireland police force.

Adams and McGuiness are still terrorists in my book, not fit to associate with decent people. But Tony Blair may have to deal with them as a political matter. Severe pressure of course has been on the IRA, Sinn Fein and its leaders following the tube bombings in London. Keep your eye on Slugger and Richard Delevan for the straight poop. Slugger has a post here on the speculation that this announcement was coming (although he was assuming it would come from the IRA itself.
NYC Subway Plot Foiled?

Let's hope this was the only group:

Five Egyptian men with maps of the New York City subway system and video of New York landmarks have been arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, N.J., ABC News has learned.

FBI and law enforcement officials told ABC News the five men — four illegal immigrants and one law enforcement fugitive — were arrested Sunday night following a tip to the Newark Police Department. In addition to the subway maps and video, the men had train schedules and $8,000 in $20 and $50 bills.

Hat Tip: Wizbang
Speaking of Idiots--Updated!

Howard's back in the news:

President Bush "only likes to hear from people who agree with him," Dean told the College Democrats of America, and Republicans, he said, "are all about voter suppression."

After asking the students to donate money to the Democratic National Committee, Dean said "one of the biggest problems in this culture of corruption that the Republicans brought to Washington, is they sold our government to the highest bidder.

"If we want it back, we'll have to buy it back," Dean said.

Update: And I'm an idiot for not catching this bit:

He also said the president was partly responsible for a recent Supreme Court decision involving eminent domain.

"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is," Dean said, not mentioning that until he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court this week, Bush had not appointed anyone to the high court.

Of course, as the article goes on to note, it was the liberal wing of the Supreme Court that endorsed Kelo, over the bitter objections of Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist and O'Connor.
Everybody in This Story is an Idiot

A 22-year-old Nebraskan faces 50 years in prison. His crime? Having sex with his 13-year-old wife. Yes, wife.

After the girl became pregnant, her mother gave permission in May for Koso to take the young woman to Kansas, which allows minors to get married with parental consent. The girl is now 14 and seven months pregnant.

"The idea ... is repugnant to me," said Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning. "These people made the decision to send their ... 14-year-old daughter to Kansas to marry a pedophile."

He said the marriage is valid, thanks to the "ridiculous" Kansas law, "but it doesn't matter. I'm not going to stand by while a grown man ... has a relationship with a 13-year-old — now 14-year-old — girl."

The prosecutor's an idiot. The 22-year-old guy's an idiot. Perhaps not a pedophile, but certainly something's wrong with him. The mom who decided to let her 13-year-old daughter marry him is an idiot. The girl's probably an idiot too, but I'm inclined to cut her a little slack due to her age.
Straw Man?

Patrick Ruffini's straw poll of potential Republican candidates is attracting quite a bit of attention from the right side of the blogosphere. More interesting than the overall results (which are, after all, unscientific) is the breakdown by the different referring blogs.

People coming over from Hugh Hewitt's blog broke 44% for Allen, 29% for Rudy, and 15% for Romney. Frist (6%) and McCain (3.8%) did pretty poorly.

From Instapundit the numbers were quite different: 44% for Giuliani, 23% for Allen, 15% for McCain. Romney (12%) and Frist (5%) brought up the rear.

This is not all that surprising; Hugh's crowd is much more likely to be movement conservatives, while Instapundit represents more the libertarian strain of the party.

Polipundit readers had almost twice as much support for Allen (53%) as Rudy (27%). Right Wing News readers broke virtually the same way, with Allen getting 47% of the votes while Giuliani got 25.5%.

You know how it is with these polls though; they represent only the tiniest slice of the most informed political readers on the right side of the blogosphere. Let's remember that Moo-On's straw poll in 2003 had Dean first, closely followed by Dennis Kucinich.

While we're on the subject of Kucinich...
Fisking the Apology

Teflon gets a little medieval on the Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor's buttocks. Great post from a great blog.
Why The Brazilian Was Shot?

This story contains a clue:

"Three of the men we wish to trace all entered Stockwell underground station just before 12.25pm, last Thursday, 21st July 2005."

Of course, Stockwell station is where the Brazilian was gunned down the following day. So in addition to the heavy coat and the jumping the turnstile, we have proximity to the location from which last Thursday's attempted attacks took place.

Mark Steyn is not impressed with rationalizations for the police's behavior. He does raise one point that bothered me, but may be explained by the Stockwell connection. Why did the police allow the Brazilian to board a bus to Stockwell if they were concerned about him carrying a suicide bomb?

Captain Ed has more on the Steyn column.
Getcha Popcorn, Getcha Peanuts, Getcha Cotton Candy

The Carnival of the Clueless is up. Thanks to Rick for the link!
Like We Needed Another Reason to Avoid Coke?

Michelle Malkin points to this article in the NY Post about a Bin Laden plot to "poison" cocaine coming into this country. Fortunately, the drug lords in Columbia realized this might cut into their profits a tad. Bin Laden should have realized that the current system, where users kill themselves slowly over time, works better.

Anybody remember the Newsweek cover story from about 1982 where cocaine was proclaimed America's harmless (indeed, beneficial) recreational drug? One of the more obvious cases where the MSM completely undermined the national interest.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder

This is the new hot comic, featuring a story by Frank Miller, writer of one of the finest Batman books ever, the Dark Knight Returns, and art by Jim Lee, who drew the Batman Hush series a few years ago, which briefly put Batman at the top of the sales charts again.

(Some moderate spoilers present in the below review)

The Good: An entertaining beginning to the story with excitement and thrills. Terrific art by Lee and inker Scott Williams.

The Bad: Despite the focus on the "Boy Wonder" this is not a comic for children. Gratuitous T&A early in the story featuring Vicki Vale in a bra and panties. She's been upgraded from mere photographer to snarky columnist who mingles pop culture and sexual innuendo. Mo Dowd with Pam Anderson's body? That part isn't really bad, but typically, she's got such a fantabulous penthouse apartment that you expect a Robin Leech to start raving about it. I doubt very strongly that Mo's place is anywhere near that swank. And ridiculously, Vicki tries to take photographs at night through a car's windshield--like she'd get anything other than the flash on the glass.

Batman purists (like me) will be annoyed at the wholesale changes to the Batman legend. Dick Grayson's parents are gunned down while receiving the applause of the crowd, rather than dying when the sabotaged ropes holding up the trapeze breaks.
This makes the following sequence, where two cops try to convince Dick that his parents weren't murdered, completely ridiculous. Hundreds of people including Bruce and Vicki saw the Graysons gunned down.

Bruce also engages in sexual innuendo, disturbingly aimed at Dick Grayson (who is portrayed here as about 10-11 years old). When Vicki exclaims at his trapeze artistry, Bruce says, "Yeah, I've had my eye on him for awhile. He's something."

Vicki, looking a little peeved, asks, "So why've you had your eye on him?"

"I've got an eye for talent."

Yeeesh. Okay, it's something of an inside joke, and once again, this is no comic for kids. But I don't think we need sexual innuendo about underage boys.

And, uh, the "sonics" attracting the bats is just plain weird. Since when did Batman need help to smack around a quartet of crooked cops?
Jane's Vegetable Oil Tour--Updated

(Welcome Carnival of the Clueless readers!)

There's a terrific joke about this story, but I've been chewing on it all day and can't come up with one.

Actress and activist Jane Fonda says she intends to take a cross-country bus tour to call for an end to U.S. military operations in Iraq.

"I can't go into any detail except to say that it's going to be pretty exciting," she said.

Fonda said her anti-war tour in March will use a bus that runs on "vegetable oil." She will be joined by families of Iraq war veterans and her daughter.

All the ingredients are there--goofball lefty, wacko cause, and the vegetable oil, and about all I can come up with is "They Make Fuel Out of Vegetables, Don't They?", "On Golden Oil" or takeoffs on Hanoi Jane, like Euphrates Fonda. Incredibly lame, I know, which is why I haven't posted on it yet.

Update: Hmmm, a couple months ago I came up with "Baghdad Barbarella" which seems to be catching on. Already getting hits from Google searches on that term.
La Diva Loca?

(Welcome to my fellow Conservative Grapevine fans)

Ricky Martin hopes to end negative stereotypes about Arab youth:

"I promise I will become a spokesperson, if you allow me to, a spokesperson on your behalf. I will defend you and try to get rid of any stereotypes," the 33-year-old singer told youngsters from 16 mainly Arab countries at a youth conference on Monday.

The children, ages 14 to 16, expressed concern about being labeled as "terrorists" by the West.

Well, it might help if you didn't wear hate clothing:

Martin, whose hits include "She Bangs," "Shake Your Bon-Bon" and "Livin' La Vida Loca," posed for photos with fans, at one point draping over his shoulders a traditional Arab kaffiyeh headscarf with the slogan "Jerusalem Is Ours" written in Arabic on it.

I've slammed Tom Tancredo for his comments on bombing Mecca, but I suspect these folks are after him for different reasons:

The group, led by political activists Manolo Gonzalez-Estay and Leroy Lemos, will gather on the west steps of the Capitol building at noon today for what it is calling an "Enough is Enough" rally.
Why Do They Bomb Us?

Superb article by Joshua Livestro.

An endless rotating of justifications means it becomes almost impossible to predict where they will strike next. The third reason has to do with long-term strategic objectives. Previous terror campaigns that served an equally unrealistic, absolutist cause - the Red Brigades in Italy, or the RAF in Germany - died a quiet death because they didn't manage to recruit a second or third generation of bombers.

Yep. This is why closing Gitmo or pulling out of Iraq or siding less often with Israel will not reduce our risk from terror attacks; because there is always another reason that Al Qaeda can put forward.
Some Excellent Blogging

I'll admit that I've not been paying much attention to the Rove/Plame affair, but it continues to provide grist for others' mills. Rick Moran (fka Superhawk) has a superb post up about a letter three former CIA agents have signed asking Congress not to "play politics" with the outing of CIA assets. Rick decided to poke a little deeper into the history of the three, and discovered that they are playing politics themselves.

Curiously, Goodman also seems to have joined the tin foil hat brigade on 9/11. Appearing at Rep. Cynthia McKinney’s hearing on Friday that featured panelists who posited theories on 9/11 ranging from the Twin Towers coming down as a result of a “controlled demolition” to the Pentagon being blown up deliberately and not partially destroyed by a hijacked aircraft, Goodman was quoted as saying about McKinney that… “I hope someday her views will be considered conventional wisdom.”

Note this bit about Larry Johnson, one of the signers:

Claiming to be a “registered Republican who voted for Bush in 2000,” Johnson has emerged as Valerie Wilson’s #1 defender.

That's a formulation that we've seen before. Wasn't it Richard Clarke who claimed to have voted in the Republican primary in 2000 as evidence of him not being a partisan Democrat? Which sounded pretty good until somebody looked back and noticed that Virginia, where Clarke lived at the time, didn't have a Democratic primary in 2000?

Update: Johnson was chosen to make the Democrat's response to the President's weekly radio address.

Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson used the Democratic Party's weekly radio address Saturday to reiterate comments he made Friday to a panel of House and Senate Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Daily Ablution, which broke the story about a member of a terrorist organization writing for the Guardian, gets a raspberry from that rag in return. But when the Guardian hands him raspberries, Scott Burgess makes raspberry tea.

Actually, I should thank the Guardian for being so impressed with my investigative skills. In their view, I went from never having heard of Mr. Aslam to my discovery, two days later, of exactly which trainee position he was occupying. Perhaps the Guardian has room for a reporter of such ability - I understand they have a slot open.
How Dumb Is the HuffPo?

So dumb that Arianna features this foolish little post on the front page this morning. Harry Shearer watched Meet the Cuomo Aide yesterday and has a scoop for us:

MR. RUSSERT: The interesting thing in all this is that when you have John Roberts arguing on behalf of his client, he's saying it should be overturned; then in seeking to be on the Court of Appeals, he said, "Well, it's settled law, it's precedent." But once you're on the Supreme Court, anything can be unsettled. Brown vs. Board of Education was settled law, separate but equal.

MR. THOMPSON: Plessy vs. Ferguson.

MR. RUSSERT: And he could, as Supreme Court judge, decide that it was not properly decided and should be returned to the states, but we'll never know that until he becomes a justice.

It's entirely possible, indeed likely, that Thompson actually did mean Plessy. But wouldn't a "tough" questioner at least make sure he wasn't dropping a hint about the future of Brown? Not in this country.

Apparently Shearer didn't realize that what Thompson was doing was correcting Russert, who clearly meant to say Plessy vs. Ferguson had been settled law, enshrining separate but equal, until it was overturned by Brown vs. Board of Education. But Shearer, obviously a constitutional scholar, detects a hidden menace to Brown.
Iwo Jima Memories

Great article on some of the few surviving veterans.

Barely more than a year later, a week after his 19th birthday, Matheney was on a Higgins boat circling the beaches of Iwo, looking for a place to put in. It was so congested with soldiers, equipment and corpses they couldn't get in until the third day. American dead were stacked on beaches like cordwood.

Something to remember when people claim that we didn't need to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Handling the Monsters of An Earlier Age

This whole story is terrific, but this is obviously the highlight of the article:

"I guess what got me was the complete absence of humanity. To him, Auschwitz had just been a job. The fact that more than a million people were killed there didn't seem to faze him in the least bit. He didn't see Jews as people."

Weiss thought of his father, his friends at the orphanage, his grandmother. The SS man had worked at the same two camps where she had been sent. He was only a lowly cog in the killing machine, and that meant he was of little value to intelligence headquarters in Frankfurt. Unlike Zander, he didn't have to be kicked up the intelligence food chain. In that sense, the man had been right about not needing to go into hiding. No one at Allied Command was particularly interested in someone of his status. But if he believed that his low rank would somehow spare him from justice, he was dead wrong.

"How did you do it?" I ask Weiss. "The kapos," he explains, "that's where we got the idea. We had seen what the DPs did to the kapos, and we realized they could do us a favor."

DPs, or displaced persons, were the survivors of death and POW camps -- Jews, Poles, Russians, Hungarians, refugees of virtually every nationality who either could not return home or no longer had any homes to return to. They numbered in the hundreds of thousands in Europe, and they were housed in huge temporary DP camps. Several such refugee camps, converted German Army barracks, were near Munich.

"We studied up a little on military law, and there was nothing on the books preventing us from delivering suspects for additional debriefing to the DPs," Weiss recalls. He says he's not sure where the idea originated, who first put it into motion, or how widespread it was. "Whoever first came up with this, I honestly don't know. I don't think they'd own up to it anyway."

While it was perfectly legal under military law to hand over suspects for further questioning to DPs, says Benjamin Ferencz, who was a lead U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals in 1945 and 1947, knowingly delivering suspects for execution was not. And of course the DPs were not interested in extracting information.
Moron Tancredo

He doubles down in the Denver Post today.

It's striking that he doesn't really want to debate the issue of bombing Mecca. Instead he portrays himself as fighting valiantly against the forces of political correctness:

Until "mainstream" Islam can bring itself to stop rationalizing terrorist attacks and start repudiating and purging people like Ali and Hajjar from its ranks who do, this war will continue. As long as this war goes on, being "offended" should be the least of anyone's worries.

Here's his real argument:

But should we take any option or target off the table, regardless of the circumstances? Absolutely not, particularly if the mere discussion of an option or target may dissuade a fundamentalist Muslim extremist from strapping on a bomb-filled backpack, or if it might encourage "moderate" Muslims to do a better job cracking down on extremism in their ranks.

If the mere discussion of bombing Mecca will dissuade a suicide bomber, then maybe it ought to be on the table. But what if it encourages a suicide bomber? What if the jihadists decide that the sacrifice of Mecca suits their ends by rallying all of Islam to the battle against the West?

Hugh Hewitt has a more substantive debunking of Tancredo's column.

The other side of this issue is argued by Legal XXX, Baldilocks and Protein Wisdom.

Legal XXX has some questions for Hewitt, which includes this floater:

5. Distinguish the potential targeting of Mecca in the War on Terror from the burning of Atlanta during the Civil War.

I don't think the burning of Atlanta was a terrific idea, but we were at war with the Confederacy and it was an enemy city; one of the largest enemy cities in fact, whose production was geared to assisting the Confederacy in the war effort. We are not at war with Saudi Arabia, and Mecca is not an enemy city. There certainly are enemies of the US in that city, but for that matter there are enemies of the US in Paris.

And Atlanta is not the focal point of a religion with a billion adherents. The only people we angered with the sacking of Atlanta were the folks already fighting against us.
Moron the Grenade-Thrower

He was definitely hoping to get the President:

“I threw the grenade, not directly at where there was bulletproof glass, but toward the heads ... so that the shrapnel would fly behind the bulletproof glass,” Vladimir Arutyunian said in the video broadcast by Georgia’s Rustavi-2 television.

Arutyunian was arrested Wednesday after a shootout in which he was injured and a policeman was killed. He has been charged with murder in the policeman’s death, but no charges have been filed in the May grenade incident.

Given that he's admitted to the attempt on TV, the "confesses" part I highlighted last week makes still less sense on Rooters part.
But They Support the Troops


American flags, lining the lawn of the mother- and father-in-law of fallen U.S. Army Pfc. Timothy Hines Jr., were heaped in a pile early Saturday and burned under a car parked in front of the home - less than 24 hours after Hines was buried in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery.


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Brainster in the Media

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