Archive for February, 2008
29 Feb 2008

Proud to be…

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After Goldwater and Reagan, even liberal Republicans describe themselves “Proud Conservative Republicans,” but sometimes liberals slip up and reveal the truth: They are Proud Conservative Liberal Republicans.

1:21 video

29 Feb 2008

Antepenultimate Ending

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Andrew Sullivan thinks the democrats have arrived at the moment in the horror film when the evil monster has been killed and the audience breathes a sigh of relief, but…

We’re at that moment in the campaign that reminds me of a horror movie. There’s a kind of relief that the worst cannot happen, that the Clintons are politically dead, that our long national nightmare is over. The screen falls silent. We look at pleasant images: green grass, or a kitchen table scene, or a calm lovers’ embrace. But you know they have something left. They could come suddenly screaming back, like that hand out of the grave in Carrie or Glenn Close in the bathtub in Fatal Attraction. An Edwards endorsement? A March surprise?

Like Freddy or Jason, they still lurk, ready to pounce again. And the credits are yet to roll. Gulp.

29 Feb 2008

Link of the Day

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Here is a democrat web-site focused on a goal I can support.

29 Feb 2008

“No Such Thing as al-Qaeda in Iraq Until George Bush Decided to Invade”

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Newsbusters notes the discrepancies between the current version of the facts as defined by the establishment media and some previous reporting.

While it is currently conventional wisdom in the media that there was no Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, as evidenced by the media’s failure to correct Barack Obama’s recent claim that “there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq,” for several years dating back before the Iraq invasion, there have been media reports of former Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s connections to Osama bin Laden, and his use of Iraq as a base to plot terror attacks against other countries before the war. In fact, four years ago, the NBC Nightly News claimed not only that there was an Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the invasion, busy plotting attacks against Europe, but that the Bush administration intentionally “passed up several opportunities” to attack terrorist bases in Iraq “long before the war” in 2002 because of fear it would “undercut its case” for overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

On the March 2, 2004 NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw introduced the report: “[Abu Musab al-Zarqawi] is widely believed to have ties to Al-Qaeda, and the Bush administration apparently passed up several opportunities to take him out well before the Iraq war began.”

And on the January 27, 2003 NBC Nightly News, after revelations of a plot to attack targets in Europe with the poison ricin, which was believed to have been hatched by Zarqawi in Iraq, correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported that “U.S. Special Forces had plans to launch a covert raid against the Kirmadara complex [in northern Iraq], but Pentagon officials say it was called off because the Bush administration feared it would interfere with upcoming UN weapon inspections.”

Although some have tried to argue that Zarqawi did not declare allegiance to bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda organization until after the Iraq invasion, as far back as April 4 and May 16, 2001, AP’s Jamal Halaby reported that Jordanian authorities suspected Zarqawi, also known as Ahmad Fadeel Al-Khalayleh, of plotting attacks in Jordan, and relayed that Zarqawi was “believed to be in Afghanistan.”

On November 9, 2002, a London Times article by Roger Boyes and Daniel McGrory, citing Hans-Josef Beth of the German secret service BND, claimed that Zarqawi “used London as his base until Osama bin Laden ordered him to move to Afghanistan in 2000 to run one of al-Qaeda’s training camps.”

On December 18, 2002, after the arrests of several terror suspects in France amid fears of a chemical weapon attack, Sebastian Rotella of the Los Angeles Times reported that “A top Al Qaeda suspect said to be commanding a campaign targeting Europe is Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian reputedly knowledgeable about chemical warfare, according to German and Italian intelligence officials.”

On December 19, 2002, Knight Ridder’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported, citing Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu al Ragheb, that Zarqawi was behind the murder of American diplomat Lawrence Foley, and was believed to be “an ally of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.” Ragheb further contended that Zarqawi “was probably in northern Iraq working with Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish Muslim extremist group.” Jordanian officials were also cited as claiming that the men suspected of carrying out Foley’s murder met Zarqawi “in Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.”

29 Feb 2008

Dutch Store’s Web-Site

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Karen will enjoy this one. HEMA link.

28 Feb 2008

Barack Hussein Obama

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The pious and politically correct are throwing a hissy fit this morning over (a conservative radio talk show host I’m not familiar with, named) Bill Cunningham referring to someone currently active in politics named Barack Hussein Obama:

6:37 video

Juan Cole gets out his portable soap box, and starts rhetoricizing:

(Barack) is a name to be proud of. It is an American name. It is a blessed name. It is a heroic name, as heroic and American in its own way as the name of General Omar Nelson Bradley or the name of Benjamin Franklin. And denigrating that name is a form of racial and religious bigotry of the most vile and debased sort. It is a prejudice against names deriving from Semitic languages!

Well, not really. If Jewish and Arabic identities were both Semitic and just the same, why, Israelis and Palestinians would doubtless be living happily in peace.

It’s true that many Biblical names, like Benjamin, are popular personal names used by Christian Europeans and Americans for centuries, and some Biblical names are used in cognate forms by Muslims as well as Christians, but both Barack and Hussein are not Biblical and therefore have no real resemblance to Benjamin.

Both are Arabic names. The press has been confusing Barack (barraaq) “flashing, bright, shining, glittering” with Barakat (barakaat) “”blessings, good fortunes, prosperities.” Hussein (diminutive of Hasan) means “beautiful.” *

General Bradley was doubtless named for Omar Khayyam, the Persian author of the Rubiyat, which was extremely popular in the Edward Fitzgerald translation in the Victorian era. A one-shot use of the name of a Persian poet does not demonstrate a vital and indigenous American tradition of the use of Islamic Arabic personal names.

America is, it’s true, a nation of immigrants, but we do not have any established, familiar naturalized population of Luos from Kenya. People have been elected president whose ancestors did not arrive on the Mayflower, but, in fact, Americans have not actually elected any representatives of most well-known immigrant groups to the presidency at all. American presidents have all been of English or Scots Irish descent, with three Dutch, two German, and one single Irish Catholic exception.

No Swedes, Poles, Italians, Finns, Danes, Czechs, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Norwegians, Belgians, Lithuanians, or Jews have ever occupied the White House.

The contributions to America in war and peace of Jews and Roman Catholics have not been small, and yet there has been a single Catholic president and not one Jewish one.

Mitt Romney’s Mormonism proved a serious obstacle to his securing support in many parts of the United States, and his background is clearly considerably more conventional and familiar than Obama’s.

The left has a natural interest in drawing a line forbidding raising the question of Obama’s background, or poking fun at it, as Eric Zorn tries to do, and wants to arrange that anyone violates their taboo at peril of being ostracized and designated a bigot. But Barack Hussein Obama is alarmingly unknown, has campaigned in deliberately vague and obfuscatory style, and has successfully gotten a lot farther than normally happens by slick marketing and superficial glamor. He can hardly expect to claim an affirmative action presidency as a massive national gesture of racial compensation, while evading all scrutiny and discussion, and forbidding derisive mockery, of his alien names and exotic personal and political background.

Romney’s Mormonism was evaluated, for good or ill, by the public freely, and people made up their own minds how they felt about that. The same thing is going to happen with respect to Obama’s Islamic personal names and his Islamic childhood and education in Indonesia, and it should. Attempts to erect a protective barrier of political correctness to preclude discussion, or joking, about Obama’s exoticism will fail.

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*Salahuddin Ahmed, A Dictionary of Muslim Names, New York: New York University Press, 1999.

28 Feb 2008

Only 91 Million Jihadists

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AFP reports a major study over six years including 50,000 interviews on three continents of Muslim attitudes by the Gallup organization establishes that 93% of Muslims are moderates who disapprove of the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001 and other subsequent terrorist attacks. “Only seven percent of the billion Muslims surveyed — the radicals — condoned the attacks on the United States in 2001, the poll showed.”

Robert, at Jihad Watch, notes that 7% of 1.3 billion Muslims means that there are only 91 million Jihadists for us to worry about.

27 Feb 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr., 1925-2008

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At a moment in history when things look black for Conservatism, the sad news arrives that the last of the giants who created the post-WWII Conservative Movement and fundamentally changed the direction of American politics, William F. Buckley, Jr. was found dead in his Stamford, Connecticut home today.

AP

Reading the numerous tributes to William F. Buckley this morning, I found the following by Mona Charen in the Washington Post.

Woody Allen is reputed to have said that it was better not to meet people you revere — the disappointment was always so crushing. But no one fortunate enough to meet or know William F. Buckley Jr., who passed away yesterday at the age of 82, could say that. A man of coruscating wit (he’d approve of that word), he was also, by universal acclamation, the most gracious man on the planet. Legend he was, but in a small group, it was always Bill who rushed to get a chair for the person left standing. It was always Bill who reached to fill your glass. It was always Bill who volunteered to give you a lift wherever you were going, insisting it was on his way.

I first met William Buckley as a freshman at college.

Only a few years earlier, Buckley had established a new visibility for conservative ideas, making himself into a national celebrity in the process, appearing regularly on television news programs and late night talk shows to deliver heretical viewpoints and analyses that sailed out far over the heads of his media interlocutors. I remember with fondness his first appearance on the Jack Paar program. Paar was reduced to playing the smiley, faux-modest Everyman, telling Buckley that he couldn’t understand Buckley’s political and philosophical concepts, but felt that Mr. Buckley must have no heart.

By my freshman year, Buckley had become a national celebrity and a major political figure. That year at the Yale Political Union, William F. Buckley returned to Yale to debate Yale University’s leftist chaplain William Sloane Coffin on the proposition: “Resolved: Government has an obligation to promote equality as well as preserve liberty.” Visiting Political Union speakers were normally dined at Mory’s by Political Union officials and table space was limited. Buckley was that year’s top YPU draw, and there was not the slightest possibility that a mere freshman could obtain seating at that highly-coveted table.

Nonetheless, I was very interested in seeing William F. Buckley perform at close range, and I was by no means lacking in initiative and determination as a young man. I simply proceeded to Mory’s without an invitation, and took up a standing position by the entrance to the private dining room where I could conveniently listen to the conversation and look on.

At age 17, it was not much of a burden to stand up to listen in on this particular dinner for an hour or two, but before very long Buckley looked up, noticed me standing there, and immediately rose from the table, summoned a waiter and demanded that an extra chair be provided. He took the chair out of the waiter’s hand, made room, and positioned it near the table himself. It was the kind of expansively generous display of courtesy, not terribly commonly encountered, but recognizably characteristic of native citizens of Olympian levels of the old-fashioned American boarding school/Ivy League aristocracy.

Buckley’s kindly gesture was even noticed by reporters, and a month later a feature on the debate gleefully described Buckley as personally seating at his dinner someone Esquire magazine described as looking like “a teen-age banker.”

27 Feb 2008

Global Cooling

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Before Obama starts working on plans for those new federally-required carbon credits, he’d better read this DailyTech article.

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile — the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year’s time. For all four sources, it’s the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.

Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn’t itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it.

27 Feb 2008

Orange Ribbons (and the Clone Look) Big in Hollywood

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Alex Gibney (William Sloane Coffin’s stepson) sporting orange ribbon

The Washington Post reports on Tinseltown’s latest de rigeur fashion accessory seen everywhere at the recent Academy Awards celebration.

There was a dollop of politics. When Alex Gibney won for his documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side,” about the use of torture in the war on terror, the director said he made it to honor his father, a former Navy interrogator, who was outraged at abuses revealed at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. “Let’s hope we can turn this country around and move from the dark side to the light,” Gibney said.

Out on the red carpet, Paul Haggis (the director whose “Crash” won Best Picture in 2006) said he didn’t know what accounts for all these deeply dark, brooding, troubled films. But isn’t it obvious, he asked, flashing an orange ribbon on his lapel. Orange, why orange? “It’s Guantanamo,” his Max Azria-clad wife, Deborah, said, showing off her orange bracelet, which read: “Silence + torture = complicity.” Suddenly, we noticed — orange ribbons and bracelets everywhere.


Paul Haggis & Deborah Rennard

27 Feb 2008

Where Are the Economy’s Problems Coming From?

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Real Estate Investor Sam Zell identifies the source.

The US economy will avoid recession as the housing market begins to recover this spring, according to billionaire investor Sam Zell.

Speaking on “Squawk Box” this morning, Zell attributed much of the current economic troubles to fear-mongering and politicking by Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

“Obviously what we have going on is an attempt to create a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Zell, chairman of Equity Investments Group and owner of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other companies. “We have two Democratic candidates who are vying with each other to describe the economic situation worse.

Zell should have added the stock market’s turmoil wouldn’t be occurring if there was a real Republican candidate who appeared to be likely to win. Current market pessimism is principally based on fears of the economic impact of the democrat demagogues promised higher taxes and attacks on corporations.

26 Feb 2008

Criticizing Obama is a Smear

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The great advantage of a candidate being a member of a minority is that it, in the eyes of the politically correct, it makes him untouchable. Any attack on Obama by an opponent, any rival’s drawing attention to an electoral liability of his is “smearing” a victim.

Matt Drudge’s publication yesterday of Barack Obama dressed in Muslim Somali garb during a 2006 visit to Kenya is still producing a media tsunami of outrage and indignation, even in such comparatively conservative papers as the New York Post.

And today, a Washington Times article by Rowan Scarborough indicating that though many members of the military view the possibility of Obama’s election with alarm, he actually has some defenders in that quarter is producing the same cries of “smear” from the left.

Personally I enjoyed Clinton-supporter Stephanie Tubbs-Jones’ spirited defense of Obama’s right to wear “his native clothing,” “the clothing of his country.”

1:15 video (chuckle)

26 Feb 2008

Encyclopedia of Life

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The New York Times reports that a group of scientists is starting an on-line biological encyclopedia of species, to be developed and completed over time by Wikipedia-style volunteer contributors.

Imagine the Book of All Species: a single volume made up of one-page descriptions of every species known to science. On one page is the blue-footed booby. On another, the Douglas fir. Another, the oyster mushroom. If you owned the Book of All Species, you would need quite a bookshelf to hold it. Just to cover the 1.8 million known species, the book would have to be more than 300 feet long. And you’d have to be ready to expand the bookshelf strikingly, because scientists estimate there are 10 times more species waiting to be discovered.

An Online Catalog of Biodiversity It sounds surreal, and yet scientists are writing the Book of All Species. Or to be more precise, they are building a Web site called the Encyclopedia of Life (www.eol.org). On Thursday its authors, an international team of scientists, will introduce the first 30,000 pages, and within a decade, they predict, they will have the other 1.77 million.

While many of those pages may be sparse at first, the authors hope that the world’s scientific community will pool all of its knowledge on the pages.

26 Feb 2008

Obama is Jimmy Carter, Not Reagan

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Barack Obama aspires to be a transformative national leader like Ronald Reagan was, but Steve Kornacki thinks the O-man has a much greater resemblance to the little peanut farmer from Georgia.

Once again, the Democrats seem ready to nominate a candidate whose appeal is rooted more in the emotions that he stirs than in the details of his 12-point plans. For Jimmy Carter in 1976, the operative word was trust. For Barack Obama in 2008, it is hope.

Actually, the similarities between Carter and Obama are considerable. Like Obama, Carter’s resume included service in a state Legislature (rare for a president), and only a very brief stint in high-profile office, his single term as Georgia’s governor from 1970 to 1974. Obama, of course, has only been in the U.S. Senate since 2005, after an eight-year run in the Illinois state Senate.

Both also outsmarted their intra-party foes when it came to primary strategy. In ‘76, Carter was the lone Democrat to comprehend the opportunities that attended the proliferation of state primaries and caucuses, entering the race early and targeting every state, a tactic that produced weekly victories, hordes of delegates, and a gathering sense of momentum that left his late-starting rivals in the dust. Similarly, the wisdom of Obama’s decision to contest small caucus states and all of the mid-size contests between Super Tuesday and March 4—and the lack of wisdom in Hillary Clinton’s decision not to do so—is only now becoming clear.

Most significantly, both men came along at exactly the right time. Carter’s peanut-farmer-from-Plains simplicity and his oft-repeated promise that he “will never lie to you” were powerful political weapons after Nixon and his wiretapping, his plumbers and his pardon from Ford. And Obama’s message of hope—and his own life story—resonates with an electorate that, after these past eight years, feels utterly disconnected from its government and simply wants to believe in someone again.

In the ’76 primaries, Carter’s Democratic foes at first ignored his trust theme and then—when it was too late—brayed against it, warning that he’d been maddeningly vague about what he’d actually do as president. Hillary Clinton’s warnings about Obama, it appears, have been just as tardy and futile.

But the ’76 example tells us that criticisms that don’t stick during the primary season can still work in the general election. Day after day in fall campaign, the Ford forces pounded away at the experience question and painted Carter as a political illusion, an affable-seeming politician who was terrified of expressing his opinion on any controversial topic.

“It is not enough to say, ‘Trust me,’” Ford said at one rally. “Trust must be earned. Trust is not having to guess what a candidate means. Trust is leveling with people before the election about what you’re going to do after the election. Trust is not being all things to all people, but being the same thing to all people.”

The media eventually caught on too, scrutinizing Carter with a daily intensity that was absent in the primary season, and Carter’s lead steadily eroded.

McCain is readying the same kind of attack against Obama.

“I’m not the youngest candidate,” he said last week. “But I’m the most experienced.” And at a different event, he charged that Obama is offering “an eloquent but empty call for change.”

Obama may prove a more durable fall candidate that Carter. He’s been more specific in his proposals than Carter was (see: health care and diplomacy with hostile nations), and his personal bond with the electorate may prove deeper and more intense than Carter’s ever was.

But if you’re tempted to think Obama has too much working in his favor to lose in November, just remember what very nearly happened in 1976.

Even if Obama should succeed, which I personally think is somewhat unlikely, in defeating John McCain, I suspect that, like Carter, he’ll function as transformative candidate in reverse, as a democrat whose disastrous policies, domestically and internationally, teach Americans exactly why they don’t want to elect leftist democrats.

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