Archive for April, 2006
30 Apr 2006

Marveling at George W. Bush’s Poll Numbers

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Jack Kelly observes:

You’ve got to hand it to President Bush

For a pretty decent, straightforward guy, he sure has a knack for making enemies. His job approval rating is in the mid-30s, Nixon-during-Watergate levels. This is remarkable, considering that:

(1) The economy is in better shape than in all but a few months of the Clinton presidency, still fondly described by the news media as a time of milk and honey.

(2) There has been no successful terrorist attack on the United States since 9/11, contrary to the prediction of most terrorism “experts,” including yours truly.

(3) Iraq’s insurgency has pretty much been defeated. Al Qaida operatives there are being ratted out or hunted down by their erstwhile allies, and are looking to relocate.

(4) The president has appointed to the Supreme Court to justices who more than 60 percent of the American people believe to be superbly qualified.

Despite all this (at least apparent) success, President Bush is less popular than was Jimmy Carter, who presided over stagflation and gas lines at home and humiliation abroad.

Much of this is due to the utterly mendacious coverage by the news media of the war in Iraq. Most Americans think we’re losing a war we’re clearly winning.

I think Mr. Kelly is basically right, but overlooks the September miracle last year of the MSM’s turning public opinion fatally against this administration on the basis of a series of false reports revolving around Hurricane Katrina.

We in the Blogosphere took the success of blog reporting in exploding the fabricated CBS National Guard story as signalling a new era, in which MSM propaganda could readily be dissipated by the conservative blogosphere. Hurricane Katrina and Iraq War coverage both prove that incessant MSM broadcasting of a barrage of negative stories is still quite effective at molding public perception and opinion in a fashion immune to factual correction.

A day-after-day avalanche of mendacious Goliaths has been proven to be able to shout down Mr. Reynold’s “Army of Davids.”

30 Apr 2006

A Gustatory Tour of Iceland

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Wolfram Siebeck visits the infrequent tourist destination of Iceland, and experiments with the local cuisine.

Part 1 -arrival at Reykjavik.

Part 2 – whale steak, cod tongue, ‘black bird,” sheep’s head.

Maybe he should have stuck to Paris.

30 Apr 2006

Jean-François Revel Dead at 82

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AP reports that Jean-François Revel died today at the age of 82.

Revel, who also was a member of the noted Academie Francaise, died at Kremlin-Bicetre Hospital, just south of Paris, said his wife Claude Sarraute, a former journalist herself. The cause of death was not immediately revealed.

Revel, author of about 30 books whose subjects ranged from poetry to gastronomy to politics, became known in later years for his conservative position and pro-American stance as editor-in-chief of the newsweekly L’Express and commentator at that magazine and later at rival Le Point.

One of his latest books, published in 2002, was entitled L’Obsession anti-americaine. Son fonctionnement, ses causes, ses inconsequences (The Anti-American Obsession. Its Functioning, Its Causes, Its Inconsequentialness).

Among other books in his assorted collection of works is Le moine et le philosophe (The Monk and The Philosopher), published in 1997, in collaboration with his son Matthieu Ricard, himself a Buddhist monk who is close to the Dalai Lama.

Revel, known as a bon vivant with gourmet tastes, was appointed one of the 40 so-called immortals of the Academie Francaise, a watchdog of the French language, in 1997.

Revel “was a free spirit (whose) works trace a singular, fertile, indispensable path,” Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said.

In his statement, Villepin said Revel “was one of the first to relentlessly denounce Soviet totalitarianism.”

Jean d’Ormesson, a fellow “immortal” at the Academie Francaise, called Revel “one of the great intellectuals of our time” and his death “a great loss for the Academie Francaise and for the country.”

30 Apr 2006

John McCain on the First Amendment

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John McCain tells Don Imus:

I would rather have a clean government than one where First Amendment rights were being respected which has become corrupt.

video

Some of us don’t share Senator McCain’s point of view that any particular problem justifies the abrogation of major provisions of the Bill of Rights.

29 Apr 2006

Conservatives Take Better Mugshots

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MacRanger observes that Conservatives produce good looking mugshots. I feel obliged to agree.


Tom Delay indicted by partisan County Prosecutor


Rush Limbaugh indicted by partisan County Prosecutor


David Zincavage, then COO of a Manhattan real estate company, responded to a tenant’s report of a woman’s cry for help, found an individual assaulting a woman, made a citizen’s arrest, and when the criminal tried to escape, shot him in the left calf.

I might have smiled, too, but I didn’t get booked until 4 A.M., and I was getting cranky. The Grand Jury dismissed the charges, which is why I have the mugshots.

29 Apr 2006

Dana Priest on the Law

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Dana Priest, Washington Post reporter and favorite confidante of Mary O. McCarthy and other Pouting Spooks, participated in an on-line discussion Thursday on the topic of National Security. Ms. Priest was asked:

Indianapolis, Ind.: Bill Bennett told Wolf Blitzer the other day that you should be arrested for your story about secret prisons. Wolf asked Howard Kurtz to respond. Howie looked a little stunned at first and then came strongly to your defense. How do you respond to people that are saying you should be arrested?

Dana Priest: Well, first, Bennett either doesn’t understand the law or is purposefully distorting it. He keeps saying that it is illegal to publish secrets. It is not. There is a category of secrets that is illegal to publish–names of covert operatives, certain signal intelligence and nuclear secrets–but even with these, prosecution is possible only under certain circumstances. Beyond that though, he seems to be of the camp that the government and only the government should decide what the public should know in the area of national security. In this sense, his views run contrary to the framers of the Constitution who believed a free press was essential to maintaining not just a democracy, but a strong, vibrant democracy in which major policy is questions are debated in the open.

There you have it.

There are dogmatists, like Bill Bennett, who think only the elected government should decided what is classified information, and which disclosures could be harmful to National Security. And there are more latitudinarian thinkers, like Ms. Priest, who believe disclosing Intelligence secrets in America is kind of like going to Communion in the Anglican Church: none must, some should, all may.

29 Apr 2006

Connecticut Bans Soda in State Schools

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Connecticut, once the land of steady habits and Yankee common sense, has become another state inhabited by suburban numbskulls ready to react to every news meme with coercive action at the state level. The Connecticut legislature on Thursday responded to the progressing peril of portly pubescents by banning carbonated soft drinks, including diet sodas (!), from all elementary, middle, and high schools, starting in July.

Reuters:

Connecticut’s state legislature voted on Thursday to ban sales of sodas and other sugary beverages in state elementary, middle and high schools as part of an effort to stem teen obesity.

Gov. Jodi Rell has pledged to sign the bill, which would make Connecticut the fourth U.S. state with a strong law in schools to trim the growing American teenage waistline.

The ban includes all regular and diet sodas, along with “electrolyte replacement beverages” such as Gatorade. The only drinks allowed to go on sale in schools would be bottled water, milk or 100-percent fruit and vegetable drinks.

“The bill clearly won’t solve all food and beverage questions that lead to the increase in excess weight and obesity that we are seeing among children and adults in our society, but it’s a good start,” said state Rep. Andrew Fleischmann.

The House approved the bill on Thursday by a slim 76-to-71 vote margin largely on party lines in the Democrat-controlled state Legislature. Last week it passed the Senate 24-to-8.

Republicans proposed multiple amendments that were all voted down and said the issue should be left to local communities and not decided by the state.

It’s becoming just as bad as California back there.

29 Apr 2006

Florida Fly Fisherman Attacked by Alligator

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The Okeechobee News reports that a wading fisherman was bitten last Monday by a ten foot alligator.

Sixty-six-year-old Sam Crutchfield of Fort Pierce was attacked by an alligator while fly fishing on Lake Istokpoga Monday afternoon. The alligator, which is believed to be at least 10 feet long, grabbed Mr. Crutchfield by the hip as he stood in 41-inch deep water.

“I had been wade fishing off the south end of Big Island for over three-and-one-half hours without a bite. Around noon I moved into the deeper water. Suddenly, I was knocked sideways,” said Mr. Crutchfield. “Something locked onto me by the right hip and wouldn’t let go. I started punching him as hard as I could. He finally released me and I took off toward our flats boat. I called to my partner that I had been bitten and he wouldn’t believe me.

“He still wouldn’t believe me until I dropped my shorts and you could see the imprint of its teeth around my hip. My leg is so bruised that it looks like I’ve been hit by a car going 80 miles an hour,” added Mr. Crutchfield, a fifth-generation Floridian.

29 Apr 2006

Mexico Decriminalizes Drugs

Reuters reports that bot houses of Mexico’s Congress have passed legislation decriminalizing possession of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

Possessing marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if the drugs are carried in small amounts for personal use, under legislation passed by Congress.

The measure given final passage by senators in a late night session on Thursday allows police to focus on their battle against major drug dealers, the government says, and President Vicente Fox is expected to sign it into law.

“This law provides more judicial tools for authorities to fight crime,” presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar said on Friday. The measure was approved earlier by the lower house.

Under the legislation, police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine.

Settlement in Mexico by Baby Boomer retirees is likely to increase dramatically, significantly benefiting the Mexican economy.

28 Apr 2006

Limbaugh Prosecutors Cop a Plea

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The partisan, politically-motivated prosecution of Rush Limbaugh reached an ignominious conclusion today, when the amiable conservative talk radio personality’s prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges against Limbaugh in 18 months, if he underwent a face-saving recovery program, and coughed up $30,000 (pocket change for the celebrity) to cover the state’s costs for the unprecedented three year prosecutorial fishing expedition.

Limbaugh was charged with “fraud to conceal information to obtain a prescription,” pled not guilty, and was released on a derisory $3000 bail.

AP

The left, with characteristic intellectual dishonesty, is blowing smoke, running headlines saying “Rush Limbaugh Arrested” or “Rush Limbaugh Turns Himself In.” Tomorrow, Rush Limbaugh will be free, with no more charges hanging over him, richer and more successful than his liberal persecutors, and still in possession of the largest AM Radio audience of them all. How’s Air America making out, lefties?

28 Apr 2006

Saudi Hackers Attack Blogs

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Hackers operating from Saudi Arabia aiming at shutting down Aaron’s CC blog today successfully knocked out one of the servers at Hostings Matters shutting down temporarily a number of prominent blogs, including:

Instapundit
Power Line
Captain’s Quarters
SondraK
Pundit Guy
Chuck Simmins
Small Dead Animals
Radioblogger
Hugh Hewitt
IMAO
Mountaineer Musings
Say Uncle
Counterterrorism Blog
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Castle Arggh!
She Who Will Be Obeyed
Michael Totten
Ticklish Ears
Samizdata
Theodore’s World
Something……And Half of Something
Big Lizards

What provoked all this was a posting on Aaron’s CC cached on Google) responding to some earlier Islamic hacking attacks, derogating the civilization of the Islamic Golden Age, and asserting:

the Muslim world’s contributions to civilization, were entirely derivative, bereft of originality, applying principles derived by Westerners. While script kiddies might have taken down my site earlier this month, they’re no match in the long run against motivation, resources and creativity. Hell, let’s face it, by any quantitative measure, Israel invents more in a month to benefit mankind than Arabs do in a century. OK, that was too generous… in half a milennium.

Stories:

LGF

Michelle Malkin

UPDATE

Also temporarily disabled were:

Big Lizards
Lone Star Times
The Strata-Sphere
Blogs For Bush

I had no idea that so many blogs, some with large readerships, some with small, all used the same hosting service. There is a real vulnerability here.

28 Apr 2006

Chainletter Spoof

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This is going around today as an email titled “One of the best emails you will receive.”

It’s clearly a fake picture, cooked up by some wag in Photoshop, but it’s amusing enough to pass on.

——————————————————-

This picture is not doctored. Most Syrians struggle to even read Arabic, much less have a clue about English.

So, how do a group of Syrian protest leaders create the most impact with their signs by having the standard “Death To Americans”(etc.) slogans printed in English?

Answer: They simply hire an English-speaking civilian to translate and write their statements into English. Unfortunately, in this case, they were unaware that the “civilian” insurance company employee hired for the job was a retired US Army sergeant!

Obviously, pictures of this protest rally never made their way through the Arab TV networks, but the results were “Priceless.”

27 Apr 2006

Atlas Shrugged To Be Filmed

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Pamela McClintock reports in Variety

Ayn Rand’s most ambitious novel may finally be brought to the bigscreen after years of false starts.

Lionsgate has picked up worldwide distribution rights to “Atlas Shrugged” from Howard and Karen Baldwin (Ray), who will produce with John Aglialoro.

As for stars, book provides an ideal role for an actress in lead character Dagny Taggart, so it’s not a stretch to assume Rand enthusiast Angelina Jolie’s name has been brought up. Brad Pitt, also a fan, is rumored to be among the names suggested for lead male character John Galt.

“Atlas Shrugged,” which runs more than 1,100 pages, has faced a lengthy and circuitous journey to a film adaptation.

The Russian-born author’s seminal tome, published in 1957, revolves around the economic collapse of the U.S. sometime in the future and espouses her individualistic philosophy of objectivism. The violent, apocalyptic ending has always posed a challenge but could prove especially so in the post-9/11 climate.

Howard Baldwin said some people have pigeonholed “Atlas” as better suited for a miniseries. That’s why he sometimes pondered turning “Atlas” into two movies. In fact, a two-part script penned by James V. Hart (Contact) for the Baldwins envisions “Atlas” as two pics, although it’s likely to be reworked.

For years, producer Al Ruddy tried to make Rand’s definitive book into a movie, attracting the interest of Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway at one point.

But while Rand was still alive, she had script approval, complicating the process. After the author’s death in 1982, Ruddy continued his efforts and, in 1999, he inked a pactpact to produce “Atlas” as a miniseries for TNT. Ultimately, the deal faltered.

In 2003, the Baldwins acquired the film rights to the novel from Aglialoro, a New York businessman, after launching Crusader Entertainment with Philip Anschutz. Hart was hired at that time to adapt.

Anschutz, however, ultimately decided not to make the movie.

The Baldwins then took the project with them when they left Crusader and formed the Baldwin Entertainment Group.

“What we’ve always needed was a studio that had the same passion for this project that we and John have,” said Baldwin,

Generally speaking, Lionsgate keeps production budgets below $25 million. “Atlas” is likely to cost north of $30 million, but the studio will reduce its exposure through international pre-sales and co-financing partners. Actors would likely take less money upfrontupfront — a common practice for the indie.

Rand’s individualistic and character-driven stories have captured the imagination of Hollywood before. Warner Bros. made “The Fountainhead,” starring Gary Cooper as the maverick architect Howard Roark, in 1949.

Oliver Stone was attached to direct a remake of “Fountainhead” for Warner Bros. and Paramount, but the project has languished in development. Along the way, Pitt expressed interest in playing Roark.

Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart? We can all look forward to the love scene with Francisco on the railroad tracks.

27 Apr 2006

The Coming Impeachment of George W. Bush

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Christopher Caldwell in The Spectator is predicting that the impending Republican loss of the House will bring Impeachment from a gesture by the democrat party’s activist extreme to actual application by a newly empowered House majority.

Until recently, the move to impeach Bush was confined to the Democratic party’s cranky fringe. The city council of Santa Cruz, California, the country’s marijuana Mecca, has urged the President’s impeachment since his first term. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has recommended an impeachment inquiry, as have Democratic parties in Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin. So have the retired Manhattanites who style themselves the Vermont State Legislature, and the village of Nederland, Colorado, a member in good standing of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns. Neil Young has released a song called ‘Impeach the President’. Being able to express one’s views on such matters is ‘what this country’s all about’, says Mr Young, a Canadian. Ramsey Clark, a veteran of both Lyndon Johnson’s cabinet and Saddam Hussein’s legal defence team, has his own impeachment website.

Ordinarily, you need a crime to remove a president from office. But the question of what one should impeach Bush for has not preoccupied his opponents unduly. Most often the charges levelled involve Iraq and the war on terror. Bush lied to get the country into war, say his detractors. He countenances torture. His plan for warrantless wiretaps of al-Qa’eda has compromised the privacy of countless ordinary Americans who receive calls in Arabic via portable satellite phone from tribal areas of the Hindu Kush.

But since last winter the movement to be rid of Bush by extra-democratic means has won converts among intellectuals — including former Harper’s magazine editor Lewis Lapham and the Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe — and in the Democratic party’s mainstream. Al Gore now seldom gives a speech in which he does not allude to the wiretaps. At a Christmas party in Finn McCool’s, a bar near the US Senate, John Kerry told several veterans of his 2004 campaign, ‘If we win back the House, I think we have a pretty solid case to bring articles of impeachment against this President.’

Get ready for an ugly 2007.

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