Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Star Wars gets 3 stars

I actually enjoyed it despite the fact that we all knew what was going to happen. In general I'm not a fan of the super fast editing that only a kid with ADHD could follow but the action and cg animation made for an enjoyable experience.

One other weird scene was at the end when Darth Vader was coming off of the table after being mechanized to save his life. That was way to Frankenstein.... "Rrrr.... Noooooooooooo.... Rrrrrr!"

Friday, May 27, 2005

Pajamas Media Question #1 - What Is "Fair and Balanced"?

With a new media empire at his finger tips Roger is asking the question to his faithful readers, whether they agree or disagree with his point of view, what does "fair and balanced" mean and how does that pertain to the newly formed Pajama Media consortium of blogs?

Since Pajama Media is brand spanking new, I think we have to look at it's predecessors to judge. Were they fair and balanced? If not, why and which would have been better?

A lot of us in the blogosphere have devoted ample hours to the criticism of the media for their blatant bias (see Dan Rather and Newsweek), but why are we so upset about that bias? Because they continue to deny there is one. Fox News always claims to be fair and balanced by trying to provide both sides to an issue (eg Hannity and Colmes) or have some self-proclaimed centrist shouting his opinion (eg Bill O'Reilly). For the most part that has worked well for them and garnered them thousands of viewers at the expense of the MSM. But I don't think it's the way they report the news that makes them successful, it's that they are open about their biases. The liberals say they're liberal, the conservatives are proud and open conservatives. They don't hide behind their "journalistic integrity" and claim impartiality or objectivity; they lay it all on the table and let the viewers decide. Here's what I believe and here's who I voted for, now take my word and opinion for what you will. And the viewers have.

So Pajama Media should do the same: state what your angle/slant/bias is then report whatever news and opinions you like. I recently have tried to do the same. I try to take what I hope to be "impartial" news right of the Dow Jones newswire, post most of, if not all of the article in question and then give my humble opinion. I could probably make it clearer my general political point of view, but it should be easily deciphered based on the sites I link and the opinions I present (that big Blogs for Bush logo ought to hint at it as well). But I think the readers get the point as would Roger's, and that's the key. That's fair at least and then if they're going for balanced try to bring in lefty bloggers as well so you can get the whole spectrum if you'd like, but I think it's the fair that's more important.

Iraqi terrorists are puppy killers too

The terrorists have really pissed the Rottweiler off now by blowing up his canine brethren. Check out his post for a good fisking.

Terrorists tie bomb belt to dog in Iraq

Insurgents in Iraq attached explosives to a dog and tried to blow up a military convoy near the northern oil centre of Kirkuk.

The canine bomb went off but the only casualty was the unfortunate animal, said police. The militants wrapped an explosive belt around the dog and detonated it as the convoy passed through Dakuk, 25 miles south of Kirkuk, said the town's police chief, Col Mohammed Barzaji.

I never thought I'd say this... but where the hell is PETA when you need them? Are they too busy protesting fur coats, leather jackets, and barbequed chicken to stand up for the true victims: terrorist attack dogs? Do these dogs volunteer? I doubt it. Are they imprisoned, beaten, forced into their bomb belts, and sent to blow up the lowly people who inhabit the country via some unholy game of fetch?

"Go fetch the grenade, Fido. Allah Akbar!!"

UN is impotent... again

We continue to see more and more examples of the UN's incapacity to function on any level that would actually initiate forward progress.

UNITED NATIONS (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-A global conference to tighten controls on the spread of nuclear arms preliminarily adopted a final report Friday offering no new action plan at a time of mounting nuclear tension in the world.

The 188-nation meeting produced weeks of divisive debate over issues ranging from Iran's uranium centrifuges, to Israel's nuclear capabilities, to U.S. weapons plans. But it yielded no consensus recommendations for concrete steps to rein in atomic arms.

The disagreements even kept the conference president, Brazil's Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, from issuing a summary statement endorsing nonproliferation principles.

"We have witnessed intransigence from more than one state on pressing issues of the day," said Canada's Ambassador Paul Meyer.

The conference approved the key sections of the final report Friday morning, but deferred final adoption until later in the day, when all U.N. translations of documents would be available.

Can anyone see this as anything other than sad and pathetic?

Hooter's Air: The happiest passengers ever

Honestly, this is one of the best ideas ever. I guess this really changes those searches I've been doing for cheap flights on hooters...

Now if only they would fly to the west coast.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Watch for flying poo... Democrats are talking about right and wrong

And it's too bad that Bolton continues to get caught in the middle.

WASHINGTON (AP)-[off the wire, no link]- The White House is stiff-arming Democrats over classified information about President George W. Bush's pick to be United Nations ambassador, and the Senate should put off a vote on the embattled nominee until next month, a Democratic opponent argued Thursday.

"We should delay this until we see that information; it's a matter of right and wrong," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., maintained at the start of a second day of Senate debate over John R. Bolton's fitness and qualifications. "It is right for us to get that information, it is wrong for the administration to withhold it."

Democrats set up a procedural vote over the documents Thursday, ahead of a planned up-or-down vote on the man Bush says would reform the United Nations.

The material, which Democrats have sought for weeks, involves Bolton's use of government intelligence on Syria and instances in which he asked for names of fellow U.S. officials whose communications were secretly picked up by a spy agency.

I really can't help but snicker when Democrats start talking about right and wrong. They're opposed to religion, but for special privileges for minorities at the expense of the majority, against good organizations like the Boy Scouts, and they think they know enough to tell you what to do with your own life (eg their fascist campaign against smoking). And Barbara "Big-Fat-Liar" Boxer thinks she's got the corner on right and wrong? Maybe partisanship...

And hello, classified information... the White House doens't want to give it to you because when they do stuff like that the classified information usually ends up in a newspaper somewhere. They're probably just pissed because whatever was recorded caught some Senator doing something stupid (insert naughty sex joke here).

UPDATE: Heard on Hugh's show that the documents were released with the names blacked out to protect the innocent in true Dragnet style. What the hell else do the firggin' Democrats want? Weren't they the ones all pissed off about whoever outed Valerie Plame. Give me a break.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

How green is this Bush?

Sure Dubya wants to drill in ANWR (which is a good thing), but he's still "greener" than most give him credit for.

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)-[no link, off the wire]-The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a measure Wednesday requiring U.S. refiners to add significantly more ethanol to the country's fuel supply than envisaged in previous legislation.

The committee by voice vote approved adding to the Senate energy bill a requirement that U.S. refiners blend 8 billion gallons a year of ethanol into the country's fuel by 2012.

The so-called ethanol mandate, 60% higher than that envisioned in the energy bill that failed in the previous Congress, is in line with the wishes of the fast-growing ethanol industry, which is already producing nearly 4 billion gallons a year.

"This bill is not going through the Senate without an ethanol provision," said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., the panel's chairman.

The panel presented the mandate as a step to ease dependence foreign sources of oil by ramping up use of domestic fuels.

The value of adding ethanol to the fuel mix is hotly debated, however, and many critics see the measure as a sop to farm states. The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, for example, strongly opposes the mandate.

The measure passed Wednesday requires that by 2013, 250 million gallons a year of ethanol be sourced from "cellulosic biomass" - that is, agricultural and timber-industry residues and plant waste aside from corn, the primary source.

Now sure the people complaining are the "Big Oil" executives, but if what I've read about it is true, ethanol is a viable additive to fuel. Hell it's a viable fuel in its own right. Adding it to fuel which would in the long run decrease the amount of oil we need to fuel our economy, decrease our dependence on the Iron Fist ruling class of OPEC, decrease harmful emissions, and make the world a generally better place.

Once Dubya signs it (hopefully)... put that in your pipes and smoke it you hippie tree huggers.

UPDATE: Looks like the Aussies are getting into ethanol as well, recommending a 10% ethanol blend. Australian Ford beleives that any car made after 1998 will work fine on 10% ethanol. I don't see why it would be too different for American cars.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Intelligence pays off... again

ISLAMABAD (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-Security forces arrested a foreigner for suspected al-Qaida links in a raid in northwestern Pakistan, a government minister said Tuesday.

The man was arrested in a village in the North West Frontier Province Monday, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said.

The suspect's name or nationality wasn't given and Ahmed said that he didn't appear to be a senior figure in the terror network.

Intelligence officials said Monday that two men of Middle Eastern origin were captured in the raid on a home in the farming district of Charsadda, about 130 kilometers northwest of the capital Islamabad

Information is the key. All of those insurgents terroists we've been capturing and pumping for information lead to more arrests, which lead to more arrests, which lead to Osama bin Laden's head on a stake in front of the new World Trade Center.

And who says we don't have any allies in the GWOT (or GFOMEAGNPWAMWOSOPWGAE depending on how PC you want to be)? Not all of them are fighting with us in the Iraqi deserts. Pakistan has been a important ally, helping our agents in the field, gathering intelligence, and making important arrests on their own.

French Security Chief: Term "War On Terror" Raises Risks

Only the French could possibly think that the term "War on Terror" is going to hurt the feelings of the terrorists. What would he have us call it, a "Globally Frowned on Military Engagement against Generally Nice People Who Are Misunderstood Who Ocassionally Scare Other People with Guns and Explosives" or the fun acronymn GFOMEAGNPWAMWOSOPWGAE.

PARIS (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-The head of France's counterterrorism agency, in an interview published Tuesday, said that comparing the struggle against what he called terror to a war raises the risks.

"It gives terrorists added recognition and an echo," just as an overly forceful response feeds resentment toward democracies, Pierre de Bousquet told the daily Le Monde.

In this regard, the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, where hundreds of suspected Islamic radicals are held, "has without doubt been counterproductive" by rallying people to the radical cause "who identify with their Muslim brothers apparently chained and deported beyond any legal framework," de Bousquet was quoted as saying.

Oh yeah let's not arrest terrorists anymore. In fact let's find some small island in the middle of the ocean, we'll drop them all there and send in Mark Burnett to make a new hit reality show, "Terrorist Survivor." Every few days they vote another terrorist off the island and then we send them back to their home country all expenses paid with a pat on the head and a sincere apology for wasting so much of their time. Time they could have spent blowing up innocent civilians.

THAT, Pierre you silly French nitwit, would be counterproductive

The DST chief was among those attending a conference here of police chiefs from 32 countries focusing on what they view as terrorism. He said new threats keep emerging, forcing French investigators to expand their focus. While previously they tracked Afghan, Chechen and Bosnian networks, they now must trace new threats including from Iraqi networks and the Moroccan Islamist Combatant Group, suspected in the 2003 Casablanca bombings that killed 45 people and the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191.

"In terrorism," he said, "perils don't succeed each other. They add up."

Asked for a portrait of today's French Jihadist, de Bousquet described him as "more frustrated, younger, but more radicalized and committed."

De Bousquet said five French were known to have died fighting with insurgents in Iraq, the whereabouts of some 10 others were unknown and four or five were imprisoned between Iraq and Syria.

I like the "Portrait of a French Jihadist." It sounds like something James Joyce would write. Actually it sounds like just about any teenager worldwide; young, frustrated, radical...

Did you know 5 Frogs had died fighting insurgents in Iraq? I didn't. But I suspect it was more along the lines of 5 Frogs died while protesting the war or while running away from the people with the guns.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Mexico thinks they have us over the barrel

Sure our our borders are as porous as seive and we don't enforce our own laws with regards to illegal immigration and we are letting Vincente Fox dictate the terms of our relationship with Mexico, but finally a small amount of sanity in the whole mess...

WASHINGTON (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-The U.S. Supreme Court Monday turned aside an appeal by a Mexican citizen on death row in Texas, who contended he and 51 other Mexicans should have their death sentences overturned because they were improperly denied legal help from their consulates in violation of international law.

In an unsigned decision, justices dismissed the case of Jose Medellin, who argued he was entitled to a federal court hearing on whether his rights were violated when a Texas court tried and sentenced him to death in 1994 on rape and murder charges without consular access.

Yeah, right... diplomatic immunity for illegal aliens. At least we're not giving the entire country away.

Just most of it.

UPDATE: Speaking of which, while it sucks that anyone died, what is almost as sad is that our border patrol has been reduced to a search and rescue squad for endangered illegal immigrants

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-The sudden onset of temperatures over 100 degrees led to a rash of deaths among illegal immigrants over the weekend in the Arizona desert, with 12 people reported dead between Friday and Monday.

Scores more were saved in nearly 50 rescue operations, said U.S. Border Patrol spokesmen.

I really wonder... did they take the injured to US hospitals and then deport them?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Budweiser, JibJab, and those damn frogs

JibJab is taking it's fame from This Land, Good to Be in DC, and Second Term and cashing in with one of the country's biggest advertisers, Budweiser. Just imagine the frogs, chameleons, and ferrets dancing so joyfully across your screen...

... then being run over by clydesdales.



The incredible mind that is Bill Whittle is at it again. I haven't even read it yet (thanks to Jawa for the link) but I know it's going to good. Look for the update after I've read it...

UPDATE: Oooooh, it's good! Here's just one of many favorite quotes:

And it doesn’t hurt to point out – repeatedly – that the people they are putting at infinitely greater risk are supposedly the very people these so-called Muslim Warriors claim be trying to protect: their own women and children. Michael Moore has called these ruthless cowards the moral equivalent of our revolutionary Minutemen. I would point out to Mr. Moore that when confronted by an overwhelming enemy force, our Minutemen grabbed their guns, put their elderly, their women and their children behind them, and went out to face their adversary as far away from the weak and vulnerable as possible. These people do precisely the opposite. Our Minutemen fought for Freedom and Liberty; these fight for repression, state torture, and the right to force everyone to behave as they see fit. Am I surprised that Michael Moore cannot see this difference? I am not. The man has not seen his own toes for two decades, and they are a good deal closer to him than the streets of Fallujah.

Go read the whole thing.

Italians still tough on terrorism

...despite stupid reporters faking their capture and staging high speed pursuits through US checkpoints to create bad press for America.

Italian Police Arrest 3 Algerians Over Al-Qaida Links

NAPLES (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-Italian police arrested at least three Algerians on Friday after they were convicted of providing logistical support to a terrorist group linked to al-Qaida, officials said.

Authorities issued the arrest warrants after Italy's highest court upheld the conviction Thursday.
According to Naples police, the three were convicted for helping the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, an extremist organization that aims to overthrow the Algerian government and is believed to have links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

The three were identified as Djamel Lounici, Ali El-Heit and Moustapha Abbes. Lounici is believed to be a key member of the group.

The men were originally arrested following a three-year probe that ended in 1997. They were later released, in line with Italian law, which limits the amount of time suspects can be kept in jail before definitive sentence is issued.

Authorities have issued warrants for nine more Algerians, who are still at large.

The 12 Algerians were convicted of supplying arms and false documents to the extremist group in 2002, police said, and given sentences of between three and eight years.

The Italian cell was linked to similar groups in Belgium, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Holland and Switzerland, which help providing the arms, police said.

The Salafist group was added in 2002 to the U.S. State Department's list of known international terrorist organizations, and Italian police have made several arrests of suspects believed to be linked to the group.

Glad to see the rest of the world still hasn't given up pursuing terrorists and their cohorts, no matter how much they complain about profiling and civil rights.

Iraqi Shiite majority wants more Sunni participation

These Iraris are catching on to that whole democracy thing that no one thought muslims could do:

Iraqi Speaker: Sunnis Must Take Full Part In Constitution

SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-Iraq's parliament speaker warned Friday that having little Sunni participation in a committee drafting his country's constitution could undermine the draft or lead to its veto, while Iraq's foreign minister said officials were looking into ways to increase Sunni involvement.

If not enough Sunnis are involved in writing the draft, "there will be, I think, a problem to pass that constitution," Hajim al-Hassani cautioned during a World Economic Forum panel discussion on Iraq. "This is a constitution that is being written for everyone and not just for the winners."

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said officials were considering proposals to boost Sunni involvement.

He said that meant "adding members to the committee to make it more representative," or creating subcommittees to deal with different aspects of the constitution.

He said he preferred increasing the number of Sunni members.

Every vote counts, equal representation, and all that jazz. Will they all agree on the constitution? Probably not, but that they are all involved is the key to drafting a document that will mean freedom and independence for all Iraqis; Sunnis, Shiities, and Kurds.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

PETA accuses scientists of spanking the monkey

You really can't make this stuff up.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A leading animal rights group has accused a northern Virginia laboratory of animal cruelty -- including charges of punching and choking lab monkeys -- and has produced a videotape to prove it.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released its findings after an 11-month undercover investigation at an animal-testing lab owned by Covance, a Princeton, New Jersey-based company.

Oh lord... they've got a video tape (a hybrid of One Night in Paris and Gorillas in the Mist?) surveillance for 11 months?!?. Please PETA, what lab rats do in their bedrooms, I really don't want to know even if they're doing it to their monkey (hat tip to Ryanne for the link).

And also from the animal kingdom...

Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight:
Spectators cheered as entire Cambodian Midget Fighting League squared off against African Lion.

Tickets had been sold-out three weeks before the much anticipated fight, which took place in the city of Kâmpóng Chhnãng.

[...]The Cambodian Government allowed the fight to take place, under the condition that they receive a 50% commission on each ticket sold, and that no cameras would be allowed in the arena.

The fight was called in only 12 minutes, after which 28 fighters were declared dead, while the other 14 suffered severe injuries including broken bones and lost limbs, rendering them unable to fight back.

Sure I feel bad that all those midgets died, but can you even imagine what was going through the mind of the lion... "WTF? I'm being attacked by the lollipop guild?"

I wonder what PETA will make of this.
(Protein Wisdom via Froggy Ruminations)

Is Syria hiding Zarqawi?

Ever since Dubya re-organized his Axis of Evil to include Syria due to it's possible collusion with terrorists, it's been pretty easy to see Syria's unwillingness to cooperate with the GWOT and the democracy movement sweeping the middle east.

BAGHDAD (AP)-[no link, off the wire]-Iraq's top al-Qaida terrorist, angered by a postelection lull in violence, ordered insurgents a month ago to intensify attacks and his lieutenants began plotting their deadly mission during a secret meeting in Syria, a top U.S. military official said Wednesday.

The Syrian meeting, possibly attended by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi himself, has led to one of the bloodiest periods since the U.S.-led invasion two years ago. Nearly 500 people have been killed - including an Iraqi general mowed down in a driveby shooting Wednesday - since the country's new Shiite-dominated government was announced April 28.

[...] Syrian political analyst Imad Fawzi al-Shueibi, who is close to the Damascus government, dismissed the report as "part of an organized campaign against Syria."

"Syria has no interest in (helping) al-Zarqawi," al-Shueibi said. "If al-Zarqawi and his group win in Iraq, they will turn the region into a fundamentalist nightmare."

The U.S., at the highest leadership levels, repeatedly has demanded that Syria do more to stop foreign fighters from entering Iraq across their porous 380-mile-long border.

"He (al-Zarqawi) allegedly was not happy with how the insurgency was going, the government was getting stronger and coalition forces not being defeated," the official said. "Some intelligence reports from captives showed that al-Zarqawi directed people to start using more vehicle-borne devices and (to) use them in everyday operations."

In response to al-Zarqawi's call, there had been 21 car bombings, mostly suicide attacks, in Baghdad during May, compared with 25 such attacks in all of 2004, the official said. Nearly 130 car bombs have exploded or been defused since late February, he said.

In one of the latest bombings, all that was found of the attacker was his foot taped to the car's accelerator, the official said, indicating he'd been forced to carry out the suicide mission.

In Washington, Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said he couldn't confirm or deny reports that the meeting had occurred but noted that "insurgent-inspired" activities are "clearly" taking place in Syria - though without Syrian government collusion.

"It's very important that the Syrian government do everything within its power to keep violence from migrating or being planned in Syria into Iraq," Abizaid said on Capitol Hill. Asked if he thought Damascus was doing enough, he replied: "No, I do not think the Syrian government is doing enough."

During a recent weeklong offensive near the Syrian border, more than 1,000 U.S. forces killed 125 al-Zarqawi-linked insurgents, the military said. Nine U.S. Marines died in the campaign that targeted ancient smuggling routes crossing the Syrian-Iraqi border, believed to be now used for slipping foreign fighters and weapons into the country.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice blamed Syria on Monday for complicating efforts by Iraq's new government to quell violence and appealed to Syria's Arab neighbors to force Damascus to close its borders.

Sounds like the Syrians need to get on board and fast. I do like the bit about the homicide bomber who had to have his foot taped to the accelerator. I does lead one to believe that maybe their hearts just aren't in this anymore....

Esprit de Corpse

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dubya's recipe for democracy

From the Transcript of Dubya's speech yesterday at the International Republican Institute Dinner (off newswire, no link yet):

First, all successful democracies need freedom of speech, with a vibrant free press that informs the public, ensures transparency, and prevents authoritarian backsliding.

Second, all successful democracies need freedom of assembly, so citizens can gather and organize in free associations to press for reform, and so that a peaceful, loyal opposition can provide citizens with real choices.

Third, all successful democracies need a free economy to unleash the creativity of its citizens and create prosperity and opportunity and economic independence from the state.

Fourth, all democracies need an independent judiciary to guarantee rule of law and assure impartial justice for all citizens.

And fifth, all democracies need freedom of worship, because respect for the beliefs of others is the only way to build a society where compassion and tolerance prevail.

Sounds pretty good to me...

Yeah beer.

BOULDER, Colo.--(Business Wire)-[off wire, no link]-May 18, 2005-- The Brewers Association today announced its "Tiger List" for 2005: the top 10 craft brewers ranked by a combination of size and 2004 growth percentage. [...]

  1. Widmer Brothers Brewing Co (OR)
  2. Pyramid Breweries (WA)
  3. New Belgium Brewing Co (CO)
  4. Boulevard Brewing Co (MO)
  5. Deschutes Brewery (OR)
  6. Kalamazoo Brewing Co (MI)
  7. Magic Hat Brewing Co (VT)
  8. Harpoon Brewery (MA)
  9. Rogue Ales (OR)
  10. Kona Brewery LLC (HI)

Who's up for a beer tasting weekend? I've had number's 1, 2, 5, and 8, but there's no reason not to try them out again.

UK Terrorist thinks his civil rights were violated

Now I'm all for a fair trial, making sure they get they're representation and all, but he's lucky to be in prison and not subject to the whims of society because there'd be a lynch mob after this guy faster than he could say "Allah akbar."

LONDON (AP)-[off the wire, no link yet]-A man facing terrorist charges in the U.K. Wednesday won a court hearing for his challenge against strip searches and other security measures imposed while he awaits trial.

Mohammed Bhatti is one of eight men charged in August with conspiring to commit murder and cause chaos with radioactive materials, toxic gases, chemicals or explosives.

Another of the eight, Dhiran Barot, is accused of possessing reconnaissance plans for the New York Stock Exchange, the International Monetary Fund in Washington, the Citigroup building in New York and the Prudential building in New Jersey.

Bhatti, who denies the charges against him, claims his human rights are being breached by an excessive number of strip searches. A medical report presented in court said Bhatti is suffering from depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms because of the frequent searches.
Justice John Mitting, who heard the application, said the case raised important questions:

  • Whether it was legitimate to hold unconvicted "high risk" prisoners for long periods without the same procedural safeguards granted to convicts
  • Whether regular strip searching amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment, contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.

"There is a clear conflict between the need of the state on behalf of its citizens to protect them from grave harm and Mr. Bhatti's own right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment," Mitting said.

Sure a strip/body cavity search can be... ahem... invasive, but if he had radioactive material in his ass, that's something I think the authorities ought to know, don't you? Besides he's probably being kept in solitary, away from the main prison population because I imagine them extracting some measure of justice from the suspected terrorist. So if he keeps somplaining toss him into the general population, then if he's still alive, see how obsessive-compulsive he is then and if he complains about a couple strip searches.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Irresponsible reporting kills 15

Honestly, what the hell was Newsweek thinking?

Newsweek magazine has apologised for an inaccurate report on the treatment of terror suspects that triggered several days of rioting in Afghanistan and other countries in which at least 15 people died.

The report claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, while questioning detainees, had desecrated the Koran and in one alleged incident, an interrogator had flushed a copy of Islam's holy book down a toilet. In the most recent edition, Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker said that staff were "re-examining the incident".

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the US soldiers caught in the midst," he wrote.

Mr Whitaker said that the Government official, quoted anonymously about the Koran being flushed down a toilet in order to humiliate the detainees being interrogated, had since told Newsweek that he was "unsure" about the origin of the claim.

Are our news agencies really this dumb? Dan Rather and CBS, Eason Jordan and CNN, and now Newsweek. When did the journalists decide that it's their duty to create news stories instead of just reporting actual events? And this time the resulting anger in the Middle East lead to at least 15 people dying.

Nothing else has forced the media to take a good long hard look at itself, maybe that a written, false report actually killed people this time will catalyze some changes in journalism.

UPDATE: The apology they posted was pretty pathetic. Four paragraghs of excuses and the apology is the last sentence.

UPDATE 2: Cox & Forkum has this great piece:


UPDATE 3: Chrenkoff, who's been watching the Middle East so closely for so long is particularly saddened to see one lousy frigging article possibly ruin years worth of work:

We all make mistakes - including myself - fortunately none of my lapses have managed to plunge a whole country into riots, resulting in many deaths and numerous injuries, send every country between Tunisia to Indonesia into a frenzy of pronouncements and demonstrations, embarrass the government of the United States and set back good relations and diplomatic efforts with the Islamic world. I guess blogs still have a long way to go.

Personally, having been documenting "Good news from Afghanistan" for a year now, it pains me to see that a lot of good-will patiently built up on the ground by the Coalition forces over the past three years has been arguably undone by a few sentences in a news magazine.

UPDATE 4: Froggy is spitting mad too. This type of reporting is putting our soldiers into a bigger shitstorm than they were already in. One thing I wonder though, I saw a hard copy of the Newsweek magazine in question, and the article with the Koran bit is fairly small sideshow piece, not a main article. I don't get how such a small and insignificant piece upset so many Muslims worldwide. Is al-Jazeera scouring our media looking for stuff like this to blow out of proportion in order to destroy the fragile democracies that we just help get started? Granted it should never have been printed without confirmation of some sort, but why so much focus by the Arab world on this? As pissed off as the Arab world is you'd think that Dubya penned that himself.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

What separates the US from the rest of the world

... the blogosphere is trying to revive American Romanticism's idea of the noble savage as the noble warrior.

Noble Warrior

(Michelle Malkin via Got Design)

Friday, May 13, 2005

UN, Kofi Annan have an epiphany

UNITED NATIONS (AP) [off the wire, no direct link yet] - Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that recent nuclear developments in North Korea and Iran underscore the urgent need to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

No shit. Did they just figure this out? Maybe it's a bad idea for bad people to have WMDs, especially nuclear weapons.

He expressed concern that delegates from 188 nations meeting at U.N. headquarters to review the treaty took nearly two weeks just to adopt an agenda and urged them to accelerate their work and start focusing on the important substantive issues.

But delegates attending the month-long review conference were still wrangling Friday over the other key procedural issue - allocating items on the agenda to three main committees and determining how the committees will organize their work.

Again, no shit. Me saying "Maybe it's a bad idea for bad people to have WMDs, especially nuclear weapons." took all of 30 seconds, and they needed 2 weeks to figure out just an agenda and a month to have a conference to determine some stupid committees? Where's the Diplomad when you need him to slam the UN and their insatiable coordinating the head coordinator while coordinating which five star hotel to stay at and whether to have lobster, crab, steak, or all three for lunch like they did during tsunami relief? And people still don't think Bolton is a good idea for our UN ambassodor after ridiculous idiocy like this? Give the UN another year or two and maybe they'll actually have a policy that coordinates with the countries involved, but that also lines Annan and his family's pockets at the same time.

"I am concerned like everybody else that it took two weeks to agree on an agenda," Annan told reporters. "The issues are known, and I hope they'll be able to accelerate their work and make some progress."

Brazilian diplomat Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, the conference president, said Thursday there was still time to reach an agreement that would reinforce the treaty "in all its aspects" if delegates help. He noted that at the last NPT review conference in 2000 an agreement wasn't reached until the final hours.

Duarte said he wouldn't have taken the presidency "if I were not optimistic" that results could be achieved that "push disarmament forward."

But others are pessimistic, pointing to the lengthy dispute over the agenda language as a reflection of the deep divisions on the treaty itself.

They're arguing over language on a frigging agenda!! UN-believable! If the UN were a business (instead of a leech sucking money out of the US Treasury) they'd have gone bankrupt ages ago.

[...]Iran announced Sunday it would resume some conversion activities, but after Europe increased pressure on Tehran to maintain its suspension, the head of the country's nuclear program said Thursday it may postpone uranium reprocessing.

"I think the Europeans are trying very hard to keep the talks going and I don't think it's completely out of question yet," Annan said, "and I hope they will succeed to keep them at the table to continue their discussions."

As for North Korea, the secretary-general called for renewed efforts to resume six-party talks on its nuclear program which have been stalled since last June. Japan said Friday it would consider five-party talks if Pyongyang continues its boycott of negotiations.

"I think all the parties engaged in the six-party talks should bring their influence to bear to get the parties back to the table," Annan said. "I hope it will be successful because that is the only game in town."

Iran looks to be just a little bit of North Korean diplomtic history repeating. At what point does the US step in and say "Hell no, you can't have any nukes." Man those UN weenies really piss me off.

Byrd goes batty

You really have to hear this one to believe it. Hugh's listeners got an hour or so's worth of laughs at Sen. Robert Byrd's expense yesterday. Radioblogger has a humorous 5 minute snippet of an 45 minute endless, rambling string of non sequitors. I was hoping he'd have a transcript of Byrd's entire blabber-fest, but I'll settle for a clip.

For those of you who haven't heard Byrd speak before, picture Foghorn Leghorn, but old and drunk.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Huffington Post hits the web near you

Arianna Huffington, of former-California-gubenatorial-candidate and ex-republican fame, has started her own blog community, The Huffington Post, a blog mostly for the rich and the dumb with a few token Rrepublicans thrown in to "disturb a cosy worldview" as David Frum puts it. There are posts from the brilliant minds like Meathead (aka Rob Reiner who gets himself thoroughly fisked by Lou Minatti) and Larry David (very politely mocked by FroggyRuminations) right next to editorials by the likes of Dennis Prager and David Frum.

So I guess it's got a little of everything... a comics section for those of among us (*cough-liberals, ahem) who still live in fantasy land and then the rest of the paper that deals with the real world.

At least it won't be boring. Who knows what Ellen Degeneres will say next?

UPDATE: Infinite Monkeys disagree with my "not boring" angle.

Filibuster scoop

Anything and everything you wanted to know about the filibuster is here at ConfirmThem.com (thanks to Hugh for finding the coolest stuff). They link a couple great articles in the Washington Times, one on Bush's confirmation percentages (17/32: 53.1 percent of circuit judges) and the second talks of the current PR battle being waged and how the Republicans are pulling even in the shouting match.

And like High says, don't forget to contact all the waffling RINOs in the Senate (McCain, Hague, Snow, et al). This could be the make or break vote of the year for these Republicans, so make sure you let them know it's so important if they vote against Dubya on this one, you'll back a Democrat if necessary to see they're not reelected.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

The fetching Mrs. Wookie and I, like Chrenkoff, saw Kingdom of Heaven over the weekend and I couldn't resist this little Chrekoff snippet:

Until quite recently, Kingdom of Heaven would have become known as merely the most anti-religious (or more precisely anti-Christian, since criticizing Islam seems to be a lot dicier proposition for "courageous" film-makers) Hollywood blockbuster in a very long time. But in the post-September 11 world, it's primarily Ridley Scott's apparent political message which comes to the fore, and it is quite simple: all Muslims and many Westerners want to lead a peaceful coexistence, but a bigoted, bloodthirsty and rapacious group of Christians spoils it for everyone.

The real history, both that of the twelfth century as well as contemporary one, if of course far more "nuanced". Crusaders certainly had a far share of appalling behavior to their discredit (including the massacre of Jerusalem's residents upon taking the city during the First Crusade, or the rape and pillage of Byzantium on the way to another), but the Saracens were hardly angels either. It was a bitter - albeit very intermittent - conflict fuelled on both sides by religious fervor as well as more earthly desires of land, wealth and glory.

I cannot but the sympathize with Ridley Scott's vision of a society where Christians and Muslims can live with each other in peace and respect, but wishful thinking is not a substitute for history, even in a movie. "Osama bin Laden's version of history" is how one British historian has described the film, and while I wouldn't go as far as calling Kingdom of Heaven a recruiting tool for jihad, a cool and objective look at the Crusades it ain't either, as many other historians have pointed out. Scott's response has been typically modest: "There's been a lot of criticism from historians... But they haven't seen anything. They haven't read anything."

Yeah, those totally intolerant Christians. We created the most accepting country & society in histroy. We treat women and minorities as equals, not slaves. We are open to all religions, not just the religion of the majority.

As Chrenkoff points out the Crusaders weren't necessarily pure as the driven snow, but neither were the Muslims they were fighting. And they certainly weren't the saints from the movie.

Don't get me wrong I liked the movie, despite the historical innaccuracies. Orlando Bloom was great and some of his scenes reflected the true selfless nature of Christians. Just ignore the history part of the movie.

Double take

I thought this story was a joke at first:

NEW YORK (AP) - Singer Seal and supermodel Heidi Klum were married Tuesday on a beach in Mexico, Klum's representative confirmed to The Associated Press. There were no details Wednesday.

In January, Klum said on her Web site that she and Seal were engaged. Two months later, the couple announced that Klum was pregnant. "There is nothing that gives us greater happiness than the realization of our dream," the statement said.

Seal and Heidi... what was she thinking? Supermodels usually go for the rockstars and athletes, not Seal. I don't get it...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Behind the Iraq headlines

The headline reads "U.S. offensive near Syria kills 75." A good headline from CNN's point of view; the US killed 75 people, possibly even innocents as far as they've told you so far. It's the type of talking point the left loves to spout... "just yesterday our troops killed 75 Iraqis, never would have happened under Clinton..." But read the rest of the article:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. forces have launched an offensive against "insurgents and foreign fighters" near Iraq's border with Syria, killing at least 75 of them in the first 24 hours of the operation, the U.S. military said Monday.

Well at least they clear up who got killed, but I like how they bury some of the good news in the article at the very end:

Another al-Zarqawi associate -- captured April 26 -- helped U.S. and Iraqi forces kill six insurgents Sunday and capture another 54 in western Iraq near the Syrian border, the U.S. military said.

The anti-insurgent operation took place near the Rawa region in the Anbar province north of Qaim, the military said. The region is a base for rebel attacks in Baghdad and Falluja.

Information provided by al-Zarqawi associate Ghassan Muhammad Amin Husayn al-Rawi helped the operation, according to the military.

During the mission, U.S. and Iraqi "forces also destroyed car bombs, bomb-making material and two buildings that contained large weapons caches," the military said.

Before his capture, al-Rawi "facilitated movement and meetings for al-Zarqawi in the Rawa region, facilitated movement of foreign fighters, and was responsible for terrorist activity resulting in the murder of innocent Iraqis," according to Saturday's announcement of his capture by the military.

Word of the raid came a day after U.S. soldiers captured 33 suspected terrorists, including two men described as "high value targets" in the Baghdad area, the U.S. military said.

I would think a headline like "US intelligence from captured rebel leads to weapons cache" sounds pretty good, and might sell more papers than the negativity at CNN or the LA Times.

Friday, May 06, 2005

And the award for dumbest new legislation goes to...

...the Texas state legislature.

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) -- Texas lawmakers sent a message to the state's high school cheerleaders Wednesday: no more booty-shaking at the game.

The state's House of Representatives voted 85-55 to approve a bill that would forbid sexy cheers and give the Texas Education Agency authority to punish schools that allow "overtly sexually suggestive" routines at football games and other events.

Now that is a shame. Cheerleaders and football games are what's great about high school, now we're making "booty-shaking" illegal? I can't believe there were politicians actually talking about "booty-shaking" while in session. And who decided "booty-shaking" needs a hyphen?

"People are calling and telling me how disgusting it is to see sexually suggestive routines on the part of marching units or cheerleaders," said State Rep. Al Edwards, a Houston Democrat who sponsored the bill.

Yeah, stupid people...

He complained of cheerleaders "shaking their behinds, breaking it down," but the proposal does not define what constitutes suggestive cheering.

That's too funny. Some old wrinkly white politician saying "breaking it down."

Fo shizzle.

UPDATE: I think I see a job opportunity here...

Yes sir, I would approach this assignment with the utmost of respect, dilligence, some high powered binoculars, and professional video equipment. Cheerleaders would be my life. I would be honored if I were given the duty to closely observe the cheerleaders so as to prevent any nefarious "booty shaking" and rest assured I would get up close and personal to make sure they weren't "breaking it down" more than absolutely necessary.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Al Qaeda's No. 3 man caught

KABUL (AP)-(found it on the wire, no link yet)-The rebel death toll from a fierce battle against militants by U.S. and Afghan forces in southeastern Afghanistan more than doubled to 44 on Thursday after troops found more bodies at the scene of clash, one of the deadliest since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government said nine of its soldiers died in an ambush, the worst loss yet for the country's new U.S.-trained army.

US trained Afghans fighting for their own country... That's a beautiful thing.

[...]"Important documents" found on the dead militants showed two were Chechens and one was Pakistani, said Ali Khail, spokesman for Zabul province's governor. He wouldn't give more details about the documents.

That whole "flypaper theory" that I love about the GWOT, taking the war to the terrorists, has drawn some crazies from the rest of the world to the fray. And that's the point. We want them to fight our trained, armed, and determined men and women of the military instead of focusing on attacking us here at home, attacking civilians. And with the impressive freedom we're helping the Afghanis and Iraqis achieve, they have become staunch allies in the GWOT and in fighting for their own freedom.

[...][U.S. spokesman Col. James] Yonts also welcomed the capture announced Wednesday in Pakistan of Abu Farraj al-Libbi, described as al-Qaida's No. 3 leader, but had no information on whether the Libyan was involved in organizing attacks in Afghanistan.

Well another al Qaeda leader off the list, and captured to boot. Hopefully our intelligence agents don't have to use some of those horrific Abu Ghraib style diaper-on-the-head-while-people-laugh-at-you (shudder) torture to get information out of him. That could really damage his self-esteem.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


... sort of. At least it would be if Eason Jordan ran the website.

(via House of Wheels)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Brain damaged man recovers, Terry Schiavo still dead

Sorry to be so blunt, but these are the kind of miracle families pray for....

ORCHARD PARK, New York (AP) -- Ten years after a firefighter was left brain-damaged and mostly mute during a 1995 roof collapse, he did something that shocked his family and doctors: He perked up.

"I want to talk to my wife," Donald Herbert said out of the blue Saturday. Staff members of the nursing home where he has lived for more than seven years raced to get Linda Herbert on the telephone.

It was the first of many conversations the 44-year-old patient had with his wife, four sons and other family and friends during a 14-hour stretch, Herbert's uncle, Simon Manka said.

"How long have I been away?" Herbert asked.

"We told him almost 10 years," the uncle said. "He thought it was only three months."
Herbert was fighting a house fire December 29, 1995, when the roof collapsed, burying him under debris. After going without air for several minutes, Herbert was comatose for 2 1/2 months and has undergone therapy ever since.

[...] Dr. Rose Lynn Sherr of New York University Medical Center said when patients recover from brain injuries, they usually do so within two or three years.

"It's almost unheard of after 10 years," she said, "but sometimes things do happen and people suddenly improve and we don't understand why."

And if he lived in Florida, or in Europe, he'd have either been starved to death or euthanized because the judges didn't think he had a great quality of life.

Read the story and tell me what his quality of life is now.

(Hat tip to Ryanne for the link)