Wednesday, June 29, 2005

UN is investigating US detention torture allegations

Now before you read the story, think of something totally slapstick stupid and that's probably not as dumb as this:

VIENNA (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-U.N. human rights experts have started questioning former terror suspects released from U.S. detention, as they investigate prison conditions and allegations that some people are being held in secret locations, a top U.N. official said Wednesday.

"Sir, you were just released from prison for being a suspected terrorist how do you feel?" It's like asking the loser of the championship game, "How do you feel right now?" What kind of moron is going to ask that question. Oh wait. We are talking about the UN.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N.'s special expert on torture, said some undeclared holding areas could include U.S. ships cruising international waters. He said there were "serious" allegations to that effect from Amnesty International and other non-governmental human rights groups.

Oh good God. They have a special torture expert. And praytell what makes him an expert. I want to see his qualifications and unless there's mention of time spent being tortured, he should just shut up right now about these "serious" allegations we put women's underwear on their heads and made them stand naked for hours at a time. That sounds like your average weekend Frat party.

"I have heard these rumors, and we have to follow them up," Nowak told The Associated Press, urging the U.S. government to cooperate with the investigation.

Rumors. You just said serious two seconds before. Do we really have time to allow UN probes into every rumor that they some loony makes up because he's bitter he was forced to live in a tropical paradise for a few months and forced to eat three square meals a day simply because he held beliefs that allowed him to blow up innocent civilians? Is that really fair?

Nowak, a Vienna law professor, is one of several independent human rights experts appointed by the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission, the U.N.'s top rights watchdog.

More "experts." I still want to see their scars from the times they were tortured that makes them experts.

Nowak, who also reports to the U.N. General Assembly, has great autonomy in deciding what to investigate, and did not need to seek outside approval in launching the probe into U.S. detention practices and locations.

Oh, that's great. He can give us an anal probe on a whim because he answers to no one.

The U.S. has criticized the commission because its members include countries with poor human rights records. But the experts operate independently and sometimes reproach their own countries for violations.

Duh. Maybe it's because they have total autonomy to investigate any passing fancy on western countries while turning a blind eye to their own country.

A spokesman for U.N. human rights chief Louise Arbour, whose official title is U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Nowak had "great authority in investigating suspected abuses."

"Our long-standing position is that we encourage countries to cooperate with the special rapporteurs of the commission," the spokesman, Jose Diaz, said from Geneva. "Their dialogue with the U.S. should continue so that they can be allowed to carry out their work."

Sweet, they're throwing around hefty titles again. Unfortunately all it means is mid-level paper pusher. And all they can do is "encourage [us] to cooperate" because we all know nothing will happen if we say no. What will they do to us, coordinate us to death, because Lord knows they sure can't actually enforce their rules. That conversation would be: "Cooperate." "No." "OK."

Nowak said he and three fellow experts decided last week to launch the inquiry without waiting for U.S. cooperation after holding off for more than three years in the hope that Washington would give members access to the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other facilities holding terrorist suspects.

Just last week, the four cited "persistent and credible" reports of torture at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo in urging Washington to allow them to check conditions there.

Make up your minds. In the span of 2 minutes these "reports" have gone from "serious" to "rumors" to "persistent and credible." Are they getting these from the Weekly World News?

Nowak expressed disappointment at a lack of U.S. response. Still, he said, he was assured that after recent high-level meetings with U.S. officials, the request was "being given highest consideration at the top level of the State Department (and) the Pentagon."

I can see it now. "Mr. President we got another memo from the UN for top-level consideration" "Go put it in the fireplace with the others. At least we can use them to keep the fire going."

Diplomats with the U.S. Mission to the U.N. in Vienna said they weren't authorized to respond to Nowak's comments.

Nowak said the four-member team would also like to visit Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other U.S.-run sites, as well as to track down allegations of clandestine prisons - including reports of U.S. ships in extraterritorial waters in the Indian Ocean and elsewhere.

Team members have begun "seeking firsthand information" by interviewing former suspects held and subsequently released by U.S. authorities, Nowak said.

How long ago was abu Ghraib and they're just concerned about it now? And I'm interested in finding these clandestine prisons. When they find those maybe they can find those coandestine WMDs that have been eluding them and us for so long. Oh and I've heard Wonder Woman's invisible jet is lost. I'm sure she'd appreciate the help since they've obviously got nothing better to do.

U.S. officials so far have allowed only the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit detainees at Guantanamo, used as a detention center for suspects allegedly linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan and to al-Qaida. The ICRC keeps its findings confidential, reporting them solely to the detaining power, though some of the reports have been leaked by what the organization calls third parties.

The U.N. experts would be expected to make a public report.

Terror expert Magnus Ranstorp said Diego Garcia, a British-held island in the Indian Ocean that the U.S. uses as a strategic military base, has figured in reports as the location of a secret U.S. detention facility.

Ranstorp, director of the center for the study of terrorism and political violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, said most experts believe "possibly one or two ships, and not a mini-fleet," could be used as possible floating detention centers.

"Having them in extraterritorial waters don't have to deal with a host country" that might not want such detainees on its territory, he told the AP.

Yeah we'll allow the Red Cross because they actually put (some of) their money where their mouth by doing good work for the poor around the world.

I can't believe these guys. How much more useless can they get?

Not all Jews happy with the Road Map to Peace

JERUSALEM (AP)-[off the wire, no link, similar story here]-Extremist opponents of Israel's planned pullout from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank blocked the main entrance to Jerusalem on Wednesday, sitting in the road during evening rush hour. Police reacted by spraying them with a water cannon.

Several dozen protesters, all of them children and teenagers, dashed into the road and stopped traffic in both directions. Police dragged about 10 protesters into a van. The protesters resisted and several escaped.

A few minutes earlier, children under the age of 10 sat on the road, chanting "Jews do not evict Jews," the slogan of the pullout opponents, slowing traffic.

[...]Settlers and their backers oppose the removal of all 21 Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and four from the West Bank, claiming that Israel cannot give up parts of the biblically promised land of the Jews. However, the mainstream settlers' council and other bodies have come out strongly against violent tactics, including blocking roads.

Now if these protesters had been been Palestinians protesting the Gaza occupation, instead of "right wing extremists" the article would have read more along the lines of "Palestinians by the hundreds took to the streets yesterday to protest the Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip. Members of the group Hamas led the demonstration as the crowd chanted 'End the occupation.'" Think that's very far off?

Notice how the article infantilizes the protesters, dismissing them and their cause and labels a sit in even if it does block a roads as a "violent tactic." The Fox link above mentions the protesters scattered nails across the highway as further evidence of the violence to come. While a crap tactic that I don't condone, it's hardly violent. All of this is a result of the media dumbing down true violence like they did with torture at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo which should be more correctly referred to as embarrassment and humiliation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Driver's Licenses for Illegals

Californians overwhelmingly oppose the idea so naturally that means the state legislature will pass the bill.

LOS ANGELES, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -[off the wire, no link]- While a recent Field Poll indicates that Californians overwhelmingly oppose granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens, and representatives of the California Department of Motor Vehicles testified against the bill before the legislature, the Assembly Transportation Committee has endorsed a Senate bill that would do precisely that. S.B. 60, which passed the California Senate earlier this month, is now headed to the full Assembly where it is likely to be approved as well.

The version of S.B. 60 cleared by the Assembly Transportation Committee is a slightly altered version of the one vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year. As a concession to the REAL ID Act, signed by President Bush last month, the current version of S.B. creates a license that is valid for all purposes, except as a federally accepted identity document. The California illegal alien driver's license would allow people who are in the country illegally to use their licenses to do everything except board a commercial airliner, or enter a federal building.

"With illegal immigrants costing California an estimated $10.5 billion a year for education, health care and incarceration, most Californians are incredulous that the legislature continues to do everything in its power to encourage more illegal immigration," commented Dan Stein, president of FAIR.

Even the DMV thinks it's a bad idea, and that's incredible. But this is why we elected Ah-nold. He vetoed it once and he better do it again. His approval ratings have been in the tank since he tried to propose changes to the anchor to our budget, hefty state employee pension plans. This ought to help his numbers out a bit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Iraqi and US officials begin discussing pullout of foreign troops

BRUSSELS (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Tuesday a withdrawal of some foreign troops in the country early next year would be "understandable" as Iraq's own military become more able to defend the country.

"If there would be some withdrawal early 2006, I think that would be understandable," he told reporters after talks at North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters. "The capacity of our forces would be better on the ground, better trained, better equipped."

U.S. Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq, suggested in Washington Tuesday that there could be significant reductions in the force from around March.
06-21-05 1305EDT

Well there you go you crybaby liberals: the beginnings of a timetable for withdrawal. Now will you all please stop your whining and filibustering so we can get some work done in this country.

That seems like a fair starting time. And it doesn't even hint at a full withdrawal which won't happen for several years, possibly even decades. I wouldn't be surprised to see a permanent US base set up in Iraq because like I said earlier we're in this for the long haul.

Democrats still don't get it

I think Senator Biden's fighting Senator Durbin and DNC Chair Dean for the party's dimbulb award.

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)-[off the wire, no link]-A day after two key senators sharply criticized President George W. Bush's policies in Iraq, Bush defended those policies and asserted they will succeed in rebuilding Iraq into a functioning democracy.

"I think about Iraq every day, every single day, because I understand we have troops in harm's way, and I understand how dangerous it is there. And the reason it's dangerous is because there's cold-blooded killers that will kill Americans or kill innocent Iraqis in order to try to drive us out of Iraq," Bush said Monday.

"We're making progress toward the goal, which is, on the one hand, a political process moving forward in Iraq; on the other hand, the Iraqis (becoming) capable of defending themselves. And the report from the field is that while it's tough, more and more Iraqis are becoming battle-hardened and trained to defend themselves; and that's exactly the strategy that's going to work," he said.

On Sunday, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said the administration isn't leveling with the American people on how long U.S. troops will have to remain in Iraq. In particular, Biden took issue with a recent statement by Vice President Dick Cheney that the insurgency is in its last throes.

"It's nowhere near the last throes," Biden said on CBS's Face the Nation, on which he also disclosed he planned to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

"As a matter of fact, it's getting worse, not better" in Iraq, he said.

Biden said that a year ago insurgents were detonating about three car bombs a month. Now, he said, they are detonating 30 a month.

The senator also said the insurgency itself has changed in character. Previously, he said, it was largely dominated by former officials from Saddam Hussein's regime but now foreign jihadists are playing an increasing important role in the fighting.

I've been saying it since the beginning of the war. The whole point is that our liberation of Iraq as a part of the GWOT is that it would remove a dictator that harbored, funded, and armed terrorists and it once the terrorist eradication began it would draw terrorists out of the woodwork from countries all over the region. That is a good thing and I've called it before the flypaper theory. If they want a chance to kill Americans, let's go on the offensive and have them fighting our marines as opposed to being on the defensive and have them killing our civilians. A defensive war would be military searches at airports, national guard patrolling our landmarks, military checkpoints on our freeways, metal detectors at the entrance of all buildings, and bomb sniffing dogs patrolling our business's hallways. If we wage a defensive war, we resign to their superiority, determination, and ingenuity. We simply try to prevent their attacks once they've reached their target.

And in the end, we lose. America didn't become the most advanced & powerful, accepting & tolerant country in the world by letting outsiders dictate our lives, let alone terrorists.

Senator Biden thinks more terrorists entering Iraq means things are getting worse when it really means our plan is working. And Dubya told us about it upfront. He said it would simple military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is restarting Muslim culture and changing their point of view. It is showing them the possibilities offered by a free democratic society in the hope of lighting the fire of liberty and independence in their spirits. It is showing them they can have a passionate religious zeal and a peaceful relationship with other nations around the world.

That doesn't happen overnight or when a oppressive regime falls or when Osama bin Laden is captured. It is a truly ambitious goal and a probably the best way the destroy terrorism: from within.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Blogging is the latest, most efficient way to disseminate information

CINCINNATI--[off the wire, no link]--June 20, 2005-- Among the stocks featured in the June 20 edition of Schaeffer's Market Blog are Ford Motor (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), CarMax (NYSE:KMX), Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), and Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO). Schaeffer's Market Blog is just one of the many free market commentaries written everyday at - the home of Bernie Schaeffer and Schaeffer's Investment Research. The Market Blog is written throughout every trading day by Schaeffer's financial analysts and traders. They are quick insights to the day's most notable market activity from an options perspective.

That's how bloggers are taking over the world (just like Hugh said we would). The antithesis to that of course is that Urkel has a blog too (but it is the NBA letting fans start blogs. That is kind of cool even if it is Urkel). But who am I to judge. I already linked Wil Wheaton.

Oh well. It takes all kinds.

CIA says it has "good idea" where bin Laden is

Well then go get the little shit!

(CNN) -- CIA Director Porter Goss says he has an "excellent idea" where Osama bin Laden is hiding, but that the al Qaeda chief will not be caught until weak links in the war on terrorism are strengthened.

In an interview with TIME magazine published Sunday, Goss said part of the difficulty in capturing bin Laden was "sanctuaries in sovereign nations."

The magazine asked Goss when bin Laden would be captured.

"That is a question that goes far deeper than you know," he said. "In the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror, we have some weak links. And I find that until we strengthen all the links, we're probably not going to be able to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice.

"We are making very good progress on it. But when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.

"We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community.

See this is what happens when "international relations" gets involved. Some backward, terrorist harboring nation is being less than cooperative and we don't want to step on their toes. Bullshit. Just look at that last paragraph; "convential world," unconventional ways," "international obligation," and "international community." What a crock.

Just send in a seal team to nab his ass. He won't run too fast since hooked up to a dialysis machine and lugging around an O2 canister. And screw what the world thinks. He killed 3,000 innocent US citizens.

Friday, June 17, 2005

It's official... I'm a geek.

I hope this post really doesn't make any of you think less of me. Really.

So I was watching VH1's 100 Greatest Child Stars the other night with the fetching Mrs. Wookie when we got to Wil Wheaton. There was a blip on Stand by Me and then his role in Star Trek: TNG. Now Stand by Me is a great movie; one of my favorites. And I confess I did watch Star Trek: TNG fairly regularly.

I can hear you laughing. I was young and impressionable; it was a point in my life when I was starting to get into Sci-fi. I never watched any of the original series or any of the series since. I don't dress up in their uniforms or speak Klingon. I liked TNG's characters. And Patrick Stewart is a great actor.

Anyway, Wil was talking about his past and what he's doing now and he mentioned that he has a blog. I perked up and made a point to check it out. Unfortunately if you read his bio under the links and activism, he's a liberal.

I was going to say "progressive," but I figure if the word "liberal" sends you screaming, we aren't going to be able to converse anyway.

I often describe myself as a "left-leaning libertarian," but I've been very turned off by the majority of the Libertarians I've heard from. They scream at me more than the neo-conservatives do! I've come to the conclusion that most of them are just hardcore right-wingers who just don't want to pay taxes.

I believe strongly that all people should have the right to be left alone by government.

I believe very strongly that every amendment in the Bill of Rights should be respected, including the right to bear arms (though I'm not interested in owning a gun, and wish we didn't live in a world where they were necessary.)

I believe strongly that equal rights should apply to everyone, including homosexuals.

I believe srtongly that the Death Penalty is wrong in all cases, and that it's better to let a guilty man go free than let the state murder an innocent one. We are the only Western nation in the world that even has a death penalty.

I believe very strongly that we, as a society, should provide access to health care for all Americans. We are behind the curve with the rest of the Industrilaized world on this one, as well.

I have no desire to use drugs, but I believe strongly that the war on drugs is a complete failure, and addiction should be treated as a medical condition, not a moral problem.

Finally, I believe that abortion should be decided by a woman and her doctor, and nobody else. The government has aboslutely no right to tell a woman what to do with her body.

We can all have guns... good...
Death penalty bad?! HilaryCare?! Unlimited, anytime you want it abortion?!... Say it ain't so Wil.

Syria's withdrawing because the UN said so? Yeah... right

UNITED NATIONS (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-Syrian President Bashar Assad has pledged to work with the United Nations to ensure full implementation of a U.N. resolution demanding the withdrawal of Syrian troops and security forces from Lebanon, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday.

Annan sent a U.N. team to Lebanon last week to check reports that Syrian intelligence officials may still be operating in the country, in violation of Security Council resolution 1559.

In response to the reports, the secretary-general said he sent a letter to Assad through his envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, "urging him that we and the Syrian government and all the parties concerned work together for the full implementation of resolution 1559."

During a two-hour meeting with Assad in Damascus on Sunday, "Larsen did get the assurance that they are prepared to work with us to fully implement 1559, and we are going to maintain the engagement," Annan said.

The verification team is working, the secretary-general said, "and I hope that, at the end of their day, we will be able to give a report that will indicate what is happening or not happening."

While resolution 1559 was adopted in September, it was the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, and the massive anti-Syrian protests it sparked, that spurred the Syrians to leave.

Puh-lease. Do you think they complying because Kofi said so, or perhaps because there are US troops sitting on their border?

And notice that the UN ratified the resolution about nine months ago. We've only been barking at them for the past couple months and when you talk with a big stick in your hands, people have a tendency to listen. Would you listen to the demands of a "verification team" that would probably pee their collective pants if you looked at them menacingly?

Neither would I.

UPDATE: House of Wheels has more on Kofi and a wish that he'd just resign so we could start to respect the UN again. HoW is right, it won't happen, but we can hope, can't we?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Senator Durbin, you've been a bad boy

Now apologize to the country, then go to your room. No dinner for you tonight and no playstation for a week.

WASHINGTON, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has refused to apologize for comments he made on the Senate floor comparing the actions of American soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis and Soviet gulags.

Tony Perkins, a veteran of the Marine Corps and President of Family Research Council released the following statement: "Senator Durbin seems to be more concerned about the welfare and comfort of terrorists than the well being of our men and women in uniform and the citizens of this country.

"Senator Durbin owes America an apology. His comments do nothing to help the morale of our hard working and dedicated troops. These men and women are doing their best and many work every day in conditions that most Americans, including Senator Durbin would have a hard time understanding.

"My time in the United States Marine Corps has taught me that life is tough and often unfair but Durbin's comments are a harsh and over the top criticism of people he does not know and of a situation he has not personally experienced.

"Senator Durbin may not agree with the efforts our troops are putting forth in Guantanamo Bay but to demean them and their efforts in such a way to liken them to Nazis and Soviet gulags is a grossly unfair and hurtful remark."

I think we ought to put Durbin in a Gulag for 30 days (just like that new FX show by the guy who ate McDonald's for 30 days straight) then send him to Gitmo. Gitmo would be a country club compared to the Soviet Gulag.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Jacko verdict is in

The jury is reportedly ready to free OJ... I mean Michael. Verdict will be read shortly. Look for an update as soon as it's read.

UPDATE 1: This has got to be the slowest verdict reading ever. He only just got into the courthouse. Hurry it up already...

UPDATE 2: NOT GUILTY on all counts. Really, did the DA ever really have a shot?

$40 billion in African debts waived

LONDON, England -- Finance ministers from the world's wealthiest nations have agreed to a historic accord to cancel up to $55 billion worth of debt owed by the world's poorest nations.

The Group of Eight (G8) ministers -- meeting for a second day Saturday in London -- backed a deal that calls for an immediate scrapping of 100 percent of the debt owed by 18 countries.

Those countries -- many in sub-Saharan Africa -- owe about $40 billion to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank.

The G8 ministers also said 20 other countries could be eligible for debt relief if they meet targets for good governance and tackling corruption -- bringing the total package to more than $55 billion

My initial reaction is these are very poor nations, and the chances they'll repay us or the rest of the world are slim to none. So maybe they can use the $40-55 billion in freed up cash flow to help there own people improve their quality of life, improve their infrastructure, and help stimulate their own economies.

That's the hopeless romantic wookie talking.

The pragmatist says lets check further into these countries...

[...]The countries are Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

While there are a couple true fledgling democracies in the group, most are pseudo-republics with histories of voting irregularities or states subject to the whims of drug lords.

Now I watched "The Interview," as Primetime put it, last week with Brad Pitt about his Africa charity. I actually do respect him as an actor and even more so that he has generally (though not completely) kept his mouth shut when it comes to politics, unlike Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and all the other stars that made cameos in Team America. And he's putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to his African charity work.

A side note on that episode of Primetime. I was shocked... SHOCKED! I say... when they said TWICE! "[paraphrasing] this little boy is alive because of President Bush's African drug program." If I had been sitting in a chair watching and not lying in bed, I'd have probably fallen over and hurt myself.

Now I'm all for charity and helping those who need it, and much of Africa certainly needs the help, but is voiding out their bills the best solution? The governments in some of these countries are sketchy with warring clans and drugs being huge political forces to be reckoned with. This voided debt coupled with whatever other aid packages the G8 summit plans: Bush propsed $674 million, Blair wants $25 billion.

At what point do we stop giving other countries loans that we really never expect to be repaid? When does our financial well being outweigh our charitable nature?

Friday, June 10, 2005

Now Democrats don't like Dean...

We all know the Republicans can't stand Howard "Screamin' Idiot" Dean, but now Democrats are starting to get a little peeved at their DNC Chair (via Roger L. Simon)

WASHINGTON — When Howard Dean was chosen to head their party, Democrats looked forward to the benefits of his bristling energy and zest for political combat.

But at a private meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill, a number of worried Senate Democrats warned Dean that he had been going overboard and needed to choose his words more carefully.

The former Vermont governor and unsuccessful presidential candidate recently referred to the GOP as "pretty much a white, Christian party" and declared that a lot of Republicans have "never made an honest living in their lives."

Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) said that at the Capitol Hill meeting, "there couldn't be any doubt that there was some concern, even by Dean himself," about how his comments had been received.

The meeting had been scheduled to discuss party strategy before Dean's controversial comments.

Also Thursday, two Democrats seen as rising stars — Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee and Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner — made a point of distancing themselves from Dean's remarks.

Ford, who plans a Senate run next year, said on the Don Imus radio show that if Dean could not "temper his comments, it may get to the point where the party may need to look elsewhere for leadership, because he does not speak for me."

Ford later told The Times that Dean was "leading us in a direction that makes it difficult to win…. His leadership right now is not serving any of us very well."

I already think Dean's a moron, but now apparently some in his own party think so as well. You can't insult the people who elected Dubya to his second term and expect them to have a change of heart and vote Democrat in 2008.

New peepers

Sorry for no posting the past couple days, but I've been taking care of my favorite patient, the Fetching Mrs. Wookie. She had corrective LASIK done yesterday and needed some extra TLC. The procedure went fabulously; it was super cool to watch the doctor perform (although I was more nervous about it than she was I think). And now instead of being nearly blind as a bat she's got 20/20 vision, to which she said, "All the better to see you with my dear."


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Free Katie

For those of you as infatuated with Katie Holmes's love life as I am, then you are equally as disturbed as I at the turn of events with her current beau Tom Cruise. Tom seems to have absolutely lost his mind, and I fear for Katie's safety. She is currently being held emotionally hostage by this man, and we need to help her.

Go here to help free Katie!
(hat tip to Ryanne for the link)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

This is the greatest public service annoucement in the history of mankind

Someone finally started thinking about these stupid things before they went and shot it.
Go watch it (via Say Anything).

And make sure you check out some of the other PSA links Rob's got up. That's some good stuff.

Next thing you know, body parts will be falling from the sky...


NEW YORK — A body part apparently fell from the wheel well of a plane coming in for a landing on Tuesday at John F. Kennedy Airport (search) and landed in a suburban backyard, authorities said.

More remains were found on a South African Airways (search) flight after it landed at Kennedy, said Tony Ciavolella, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Police suspect the remains were that of a male stowaway, the spokesman said. He would not confirm that the incidents at the airport and Long Island were related, saying, "It's still under investigation."

Messages left with South African Airways were not immediately returned.

Police in Nassau County (search) received a call at 10:51 a.m. about a body part found in the backyard of a house. It apparently had hit the roof of a garage and bounced to the ground, said Officer Thomas Blanchard.

The South African Airways flight had originated in Johannesburg, but made one stop in Dakar, Senegal.

I know I shouldn't but...

Did he write a message on it like in Con Air? Something like "Help I'm stuck in the wheelwell of the plane. Send ambulance."

I wonder what kind of dent/splat that made where it landed. Some poor guy working in his yard trying to get a leg up... on... his... neighbors...

Ba-dum-cha. Heh.

"Terrorists" kill people

BAGHDAD (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-A suicide car bomber targeted a five-car convoy of civilian contractors, destroying two GMC Suburban vehicles, in Habaniyah, 80 kilometers west of Baghdad, Iraqi police Sgt. Khalid al-Duleimi said.

U.S. forces took several casualties away from the scene, he added. The U.S. military confirmed that "terrorists" attacked a convoy delivering supplies for coalition forces at 11:30 a.m. and U.S. forces cordoned off the attack scene.

More than 860 people have died during the less than six-week period since Iraq's new Shiite-led government was announced.

The atack comes in the wake of a coordinated string of four bomb attacks within seven minutes that killed at least 18 people and wounded 39 in northern Iraq, while a Baghdad car bomb injured 28, officials said. The attacks ended a relative lull in violence that had fallen over the country in recent days.

Must the AP continue to refer to terrorists in quotation marks. It is really starting to piss me off. I think that since they are using guerrilla tactics and targeting civilians that qualifies them as friggin' terrorists.

US Marine finds Nessie

PHOENIX, June 7 /PRNewswire/ -[off the wire, no link]- Forensics Investigator William McDonald has been researching the Loch Ness Monster for 12 years. The former U.S. Marine is now on the threshold of breaking new evidence that, for the first time, reveals what the creature is, proves its existence, and explains why the animal is only seen on blurry photos. McDonald is also prepared to reveal why the Scottish Highland Government is covering up information about the monster's true identity. With exclusive photos and video, McDonald is prepared to detail:

- Slide Tracks taken in December on the banks of Loch Ness of an animal reported to be 50 to 60 feet long.
- A half-devoured deer carcass found by two American students in March.
- A four inch barbed shed tooth found in the deer's remains, confiscated by Scottish Authorities, confirmed by biologists to be real.
- The actual species of the animal known as Nessie.
- Why it is not a plesiosaur, as the Highlanders claim it to be.
- How the animal entered Loch Ness prior to 1930 and why it is trapped.
- Why it only surfaces to feed on winter nights.
- Why the Scottish Government confiscated the tooth found by the American students' and how their footage came to appear at

Leave it to the Marines to find the Loch Ness Monster. Next of course are Bigfoot, El Chupacabra, and Osama bin Laden.

Monday, June 06, 2005

900 Islamic terrorists in jail... 900 Islamic terrorists...

Iraqis forces take another one down, toss him around...
900 and 1 Islamic terrorists in jail...

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraqi government announced Monday it detained nearly 900 suspected militants and set up more than 800 checkpoints in a two-week sweep that appears to have somewhat blunted attacks in the capital. Also, a list obtained Monday shows Saddam Hussein will be charged with a range of war crimes when he goes on trial, probably within the next two months.

Iraqi officials believe offensives like Operation Lightning, along with the deposed dictator's trial, could help deflate the insurgency being waged by Saddam loyalists and Islamic extremists.

The Iraqis are really on a roll now. And the "Terrorist in Jail" count is up from 700 just 5 days ago. My, they've been busy...

Iraqis want Democracy

This is the kind of courage and faith in freedom that Micahel Moore will never understand (via Jawa Report):

Tips from local residents helped Iraqi security forces rescue a kidnapping victim, seize weapons and uncover a weapons cache June 5, Multinational Force Iraq officials in Baghdad reported today.
Iraqi police from the Shaab Police Station responded to a tip and launched a raid on a local residence, where they found a kidnapping victim unharmed inside, officials said.

Four suspects were taken into custody for questioning, officials said.

In other anti-insurgent activity, an Iraqi citizen who witnessed two sacks of ammunition and weapons being dropped in a field turned the contents over to soldiers at Camp Justice.

Officials said the citizen saw a white Toyota pickup truck drop the sacks and investigated the contents. Inside the bags were 37 Iraqi hand grenades, 101 Bulgarian grenade fuses, two Spanish artillery fuses, two French 130 mm artillery proximity fuses and one heavy machine gun, officials said.

The resident transported the cache to Camp Justice and turned it over to soldiers at the gate, officials said.

Also in Iraq, soldiers with the 1st Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division, acted on a tip from a civilian and uncovered a weapons cache consisting of 20 122mm rockets.

No injuries or damages were reported during the incidents.

That takes guts and a selflessness that seems to evade liberals and their help-the-few-at-the-expense-of-the-many mentality. Speaking against the terrorists could cost that family their lives, but they are sacrificing for the sake of their fledgling Democracy, and God bless them for it.

And notice it's the Iraqi forces doing more and more of the grunt work. With every mission accomplished and successful arrest the Iraqi security forces gain the confidence and experience to eventually work without our military's presence.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Iran is still part of the "Axis of Evil"

...just in case you stopped paying attention. Fortunately the CIA hasn't.

WASHINGTON (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-U.S. intelligence and foreign allies have growing evidence that wanted terrorists have been residing in Iran despite repeated U.S. warnings to Tehran not to harbor them.

The evidence, which stretches over several years, includes communications by a fugitive mastermind of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing and the capture of a Saudi militant who appeared in a video in which Osama bin Laden confirmed he ordered the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because much of the evidence remains classified.

Saudi intelligence officers tracked and apprehended Khaled bin Ouda bin Mohammed al-Harbi last year in eastern Iran, officials said. The arrest came nearly three years after the cleric appeared with bin Laden and discussed details of the Sept. 11 planning during a dinner that was videotaped and aired across the world.

The capture was a coup for Saudi Arabia, which spent months tracking him and setting up the intelligence operation that led to his being taken into custody in exchange for eventual amnesty.

The officials said interrogations of al-Harbi, who is now in Saudi Arabia, have yielded confirmation of many al-Qaida tactics, including how members crossed into Iran after the U.S. began military operations to rout al-Qaida and the Taliban from Afghanistan.

[...]U.S. officials have not publicly discussed the Saudi capture of al-Harbi or their evidence on al-Mughassil's whereabouts, but have increasingly raised questions about Iran's efforts to turn over other suspected terrorists believed to be under some form of loose house arrest.

Nicholas Burns, State Department undersecretary for political affairs, told Congress last month that Iran has refused to identify al-Qaida members it has in custody.

"Iran continues to hold senior al-Qaida leaders who are wanted for murdering Americans and others in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings and for plotting to kill countless others," Burns said.

Top administration officials have repeatedly warned Iran against harboring or assisting suspected terrorists.

U.S. intelligence this week has been checking some reports, still uncorroborated as of Friday, that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader of the Iraqi insurgency, may have dipped into Iran, officials said.

Wednesday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned countries in the Middle East not to help al-Zarqawi.

"Were a neighboring country to take him in and provide medical assistance or haven for him, they, obviously, would be associating themselves with a major linkage in the al-Qaida network and a person who has a great deal of blood on his hands," Rumsfeld said.

The U.S. and foreign officials said evidence gathered by intelligence agencies indicates the following figures are somewhere in Iran:

Saad bin Laden, the son of the al-Qaida leader whom U.S. authorities have aggressively hunted since the Sept. 11 attacks:
Saif al-Adel, an al-Qaida security chief wanted in connection with the deadly 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.
Suleiman Abu Ghaith, the chief of information for al-Qaida and a frequently quoted spokesman for bin Laden.
U.S. and foreign intelligence officials say they believe those three are under some form of house arrest or surveillance by Iranian authorities.

Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East analyst at the Congressional Research Service, said the conditions under which some suspected terrorists are living are unclear. Katzman said it's possible they are being held in guarded villas and he doubts any detention is uncomfortable.

"I think that Iran sees these guys as something of an insurance policy," he said. "It's leverage."

Rasool Nafisi, a Middle East analyst who studies conservative groups in Iran and travels there frequently for research, said Iran has returned some lower-rank operatives to their home countries but probably is keeping higher-ranking operatives as a bartering chip.

"Remember, Islamic tradition is very much based on haggling," Nafisi said. "Everything is negotiable, and you haggle for everything. If I were the Iranian government, I'd be very happy to have them and to use them in future negotiations with the United States."

How many times do we have to tell them "Stop before we hurt you" before we start to take some verifiable action against them, and smack them like the proverbial red-headed step child. They can't use these terrorists as bargaining chips and expect us to cave to their demands (for nuclear weapons for instance). We will not negotiate with terrorists and sooner or later there's going to have to be some mission to go get whoever Iran is hiding, and do it Tom Clancy style.

That will be messy.

Howard Dean is a moron

I really don't think there is any other explanation for this (via Say Anything)

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean yesterday said many Republicans don’t make an “honest living” — the sharpest barb in a campaign-style speech to a conference of liberal activists.

Speaking to the Campaign for America’s Future, Mr. Dean called for easier rules for voting, saying it is difficult for working parents to make it to the polls on time and wait to vote.

“Well, Republicans, I guess, can do that, because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives,” Mr. Dean said. “But for ordinary working people, who have to work eight hours a day, they have kids, they got to get home to those kids, the idea of making them stand for eight hours to cast their ballot for democracy is wrong.”

I don't know about anyone else, but there's not a damn thing dishonest about how I or how the fetching Mrs. Wookie make a living. And after watching Team America last night, a line from the theme song comes to mind... Mr. Dean "can lick my butt and suck on my balls."

Poet/Prime Minister de Villepin

PARIS (Dow Jones)-[off the wire, no link]-Newly appointed French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's attitudes toward both business and arch rival Nicolas Sarkozy may rapidly surface depending on how he handles the proposed privatization of Gaz de France (4774.FR).

Labor unions want the government to ditch the plan and keep GdF, as well as sister company Electricite de France (EDF.YY), state-owned. Meanwhile the ruling UMP party said it wants de Villepin - who just this week reiterated his "deep attachment" to the country's welfare state - to swiftly push both companies in the private sector.

I personally don't want to live in a country where the government owns everything, but if you're French and all you want to do is sit in cafes, create art, and smoke, having the "Nanny" state take care of you is very appealing.

Plus a note on de Villepin; he's the PM, which, I'm told, is a fairly important role and he's never been elected to office. Ever. He was appointed poet laureate of France, a crucial post in the government I'm sure, but what else has he done? As far as I know he's never even led a book club, let alone a nation. Look for all bills henceforth to be penned in iambic pentameter by a man in tights.

[...]A month ago, the French government opted to postpone the controversial privatization of Gaz de France for fear it could lead more people to vote "no" in last Sunday's referendum on a new European Union constitution.

[...]Trade unions are opposed to the company's listing on the market, saying it may lead to lower-quality services and job losses.

But de Villepin will come under pressure to push through the privatization of the energy companies, a move initiated by his predecessor, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, three years ago, his own party said.

"We can't move backward," said Francois-Michel Gonnot, a lawmaker affiliated with the UMP ruling party. Gonnot said listing GdF and EdF on the stock market is a logical step after the government transformed the two former state natural gas and electricity monopolies into ordinary corporations and opened up the energy market to competition.

Opinion polls suggest part of the country voted "no" in the referendum on the grounds that the proposed constitution might have resulted in a dismantling of French public services, leading to a broad selloff of state companies.

That's a big "Oops" on the hope to avoid a "no" vote on the EU constitution, and go figure that the trade unions don't want free market competition. That make actually make things fair.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What kind of 60's person are you?

Pleasenotahippie, pleasenotahippie, pleasenotahippie...

You are a Playboy. You perv.

What kind of Sixties Person are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thank God I wasn't a hippie

(via Blogwork Orange)

Egypt detaining Muslim Brotherhood

CAIRO (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-Egypt's top prosecutor Thursday extended the detention of 90 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, including Mahmoud Ezzat, the group's No. 4 figure, for 15 days pending further investigation.

Another 200 members of the outlawed group had their detention extended for 15 days Wednesday. They include Essam el-Eriyan, one of the most prominent young leaders of the Brotherhood. All were jailed for belonging to a banned organization and organizing unauthorized protests.

About 725 members of the Brotherhood remain in detention across the country following a government crackdown on the group last month. More than 800 Brotherhood associates were arrested during a wave of pro-reform protests.

Under emergency laws in effect since 1981, suspects can be detained up to six months without trial.

About 150 members and supporters of the group have been released since the crackdown, including six Thursday.

All that sounds great (except for releasing the some of the suspects. Get on the ball and start prosecuting people). To me this is more evidence that Dubya's foreign policy is working when nations like Egypt abandon their evil ways for the good of the world... ok maybe not, but at least it's a start. The world knows we mean business, that we're in this for the long haul, and that we won't be deterred so they may as well get on board or get out of the way.

700 "terrorist" arrests

BAGHDAD (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-At least 700 "terrorists" have been captured and 28 killed in the first four days of a major counterinsurgency operation being carried out by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in Baghdad, the Interior Minister said Thursday.

Bayan Jabr said an additional 118 criminal suspects were rounded in Operation Lighting, al-Barq in Arabic, which involves 40,000 Iraqi troops.

The presence of security forces on the streets of Baghdad, a city of about six million people, has increased dramatically since the operation began Sunday, with snap checkpoints, round-the-clock patrols by police commandos in pickup trucks, and raids on suspect houses.

Jabr, a member of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq - the country's largest Shiite party that's also known as SCIRI - told The Associated Press in an interview that he was determined to end any torture of suspected insurgents held in police custody.

He added that he has already fired a police major-general and a brigadier for their alleged torture of detainees and abuse of authority.

"It's a clear message to everyone that they will loose their jobs if torture continues," said Jabr, formerly a senior official of the Badr Brigade, a militia that belongs to SCIRI.

"I am a victim of torture myself, he said, adding that out of 16 family members killed under the regime of Saddam Hussein "10 died of torture."

OK, what the hell is with putting the word terrorist in quotation marks? Is that like saying OJ was a "murderer"?

Also I like the attitude of Jabr. He's experienced true suffering, torture, and personal loss under Saddam, not that namby-pamby Abu Ghraib sheet-on-your-head-while-in-your-underwear torture. College fraternities make their pledges do worse than that to join the house. Anyway sounds like Jabr's got a good head on his shoulders, and fortunately he kept it there during the long, abysmal, horrifying reign of Saddam Hussein.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Mormon President in '08?

Hugh raised an interesting question on his show tonight based on Terry Eastland's article in the Weekly Standard. Here's a snippet:

YOU REMEMBER, OR PERHAPS you don't, Sen. Orrin Hatch's 2000 presidential campaign. The senator talks about it in soft inflections, recalling this event and that debate. But especially he talks about what motivated him to run. Hatch, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, cites polling data from 1999 suggesting that 17 percent of Americans wouldn't vote for a Mormon for president under any circumstances. "One reason I ran was to knock down the prejudicial wall that exists" against Mormons, he says. "I wanted to make it easier for the next candidate of my faith."

That next candidate just might be Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts.

It may seem too early to be talking about 2008. But George W. Bush can't run again, and, in a break from the usual pattern, the vice president, Richard Cheney, probably won't be a candidate. So the field looks wide open. And Romney is among those being mentioned in the press and GOP circles for 2008. He'd be a legitimate candidate, regardless of who else might run.

But would his religion hurt him? Would he run into a prejudicial wall? Maybe, though there are reasons to think otherwise. The country could be looking at its first Mormon president--or, as Romney would prefer to put it, a president who happens to be a Mormon.

Well, to quote the patron saint of this blog, "The Mormons are from Mars, Dad. We've had it checked out." But in all seriousness, do I believe 17% of Americans would vote against him simply because of his religion? Of course. What percentage of Americans believe Elvis is still alive?

His religion certainly wouldn't stop me from voting for him, but the ultimate decision will be issue based not religious. For me there are two reasons behind my thinking

One is I'm Catholic and I know the battles JFK had to unfairly face because of his faith. People thought the Pope would be dictating his actions or that he might govern based on his *gasp* religious principles and convictions, so I have a very, very vague concept of discrimination based on religion. Second, I've recently come to respect Mormons as a kind, misunderstood religious group. I have a rather large and distant portion of my family that's Mormon and until I sat down an visited with several of them about 9 months ago after having not seen any of them in many years, I appreciate their steadfast determination, structured lifestyle, and the depth of their beliefs. Sure I might disagree with some of their religious beliefs, but they're good people who act as good Christians toward other people. What more can you ask of a person? There are several young men who live in the area on their missions and I always stop and talk with them, and if they stop by my home I always offer them some water at the very least as they continue on their way.

Mitt deserves our utmost respect. I don't know much about his political career or positions, but if he's a Republican and religiously principled that goes along way in my book.

CNN's 25th Anniversary

I just happened to catch a little of CNN's 25th anniversary special while I was at the gym tonight and Anderson Cooper played tape of an interview with Ted Turner and he was asked what the inspiration was to take CNN international. Ted said something to the effect of it was really Fidel Castro's idea. He was picking up CNN's signal from Florida and during a lunch or something they had Fidel suggested Ted broadcast in other countries because it had become indespensible to him.

I knew Ted loved the UN (I mean if he wanted to waste a billion dollars I could have been very helpful in that regard) but meetings with Castro? His wife a former Vietcong cheerleader?

Let's have a show of hands. Who still thinks the media doesn't have a liberal bias?

World News from Asian WSJ

Here's a snapshot of what's news in Asia. Sure it's boring, but liberals are so damned concerned with how we're viewed by the rest of the world. Got it off the newswire, so no link guys, sorry.

  • Authorities said militant attacks last month killed at least 670 Iraqis, almost 200 more than in April. A suicide car bombing yesterday wounded 15 at the main checkpoint to Baghdad's International Airport, while the U.S. said American soldiers had captured a former Hussein-regime spy Monday. Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari said U.S.-led forces must remain in Iraq until its own forces can secure the nation. Separately, Annan fired staffer Joseph Stephanides over his role in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.
    Wolfowitz took over as president of the World Bank and suggested insurgent violence is a barrier to expanding the bank's role in the reconstruction of Iraq.
  • Jakarta sealed off its embassy in Australia and quarantined staff after a package containing a "biological agent" was delivered there. Officials linked the incident to outrage over the conviction in Bali of an Australian on drug charges.
    Indonesia said 13 people have been arrested over last weekend's twin bombings in a Christian town on Sulawesi Island that killed 20.
  • The Dutch appeared poised to reject the EU constitution, with polls suggesting up to 58% set to vote "no," likely dealing a fatal blow to the beleaguered charter after the French defeat.
  • A suicide bomb tore through a mosque in southern Afghanistan during a Muslim cleric's funeral, killing 20, including a police chief.
  • Muslim youths set fire to shops in Karachi as sectarian unrest continued despite a shutdown of Pakistan's largest city called by a hard-line Islamic alliance.
  • Japanese patrol ships were locked in a sea standoff with South Korean vessels over an alleged fishing violation by a Korean boat.
  • Beijing suspects a Hong Kong-based Straits Times reporter detained in China was spying for Taiwan, his wife said.
  • China called a resolution to expand the Security Council "dangerous" and hinted it might use its veto power to block final approval.
  • The Washington Post confirmed a report that former FBI official W. Mark Felt was the Watergate source "Deep Throat."
  • Tsang won the backing of Hong Kong's leading pro-Beijing party for the city's top job, showing his success in easing loyalty concerns.
  • Protesters stormed into the Kyrgyz Supreme Court, evicting several dozen activists who seized the building a month ago.
  • A Thai court cleared four Muslims of belonging to al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah and plotting to bomb embassies and tourist spots.
  • South Korea may open a world stem cell bank, as cloning pioneer Hwang said he plans to unveil such a facility by year's end.

My take:

We're winning the GFOMEAGNPWAMWOSOPWGAE if the world is noticing the number of Iraqis dying to protect their country from the insurgents terrorists rather than the number of Americans.

Kofi Annan fired someone? No. You don't say. I bet he thinks that solves the whole Oil for Food fiasco...

Plus why do we care what anyone in Europe thinks? They can't agree on anything. First the French and now the Dutch flush the EU constitution down the toilet, Newsweek/Koran style.

How do you say "Deep Throat" in Chinese, or any Asian language for that matter?

Why do the Japanese care about fishing violations when they still have ships whaling for scientific/school children feeding purposes?

I'm a "Villainous Blogger"

Let's all give a warm welcome to the newest link Naked Villainy. I'm not sure how I qualified as a Villainous Blogger in the kingdom, but how do I get a promotion to "Cabal of Villains"?

And for those of you on the dimbulb side like myself, a cabal is "the artifices and intrigues of a group of persons secretly united to bring about an overturn or usurpation, especially in public affairs." Yeah, I really had to go look that one up.