Archive for March, 2007
31 Mar 2007

Also Cute

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John Edwards feels pretty.

2:01 video

31 Mar 2007

Excessively Cute Sea Otters

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Take your insulin before watching this is my advice.

1:40 video

31 Mar 2007

Fox News Special Report ‘Socks, Scissors, Paper: The Sandy Berger Caper’


Fox News:

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., is charging a cover-up by the Justice Department in connection with the 2003 theft and destruction of top secret documents by Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. Davis also told FOX News that he is not convinced that Berger was not acting under direction from the Clinton Administration.

“I’m not convinced that he was acting alone,” Davis said. “They could have well said, ‘Sandy, do you remember that document way back — that I wrote to you … We can’t get this into the record. This is gonna make us look terrible.’ ”

Davis’ comments came in a FOX News special, “Socks, Scissors, Paper: The Sandy Berger Caper,” to be broadcast on FOX News Channel on Saturday, March 31 at 9 p.m. EDT. The program is hosted by David Asman.

Read the whole thing.

Sounds “fair and balanced” to me.

31 Mar 2007

“Commemorating” Jamestown

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This year is the four hundredth anniversary of the first successful English-speaking settlement in North America: the Jamestown Colony in Virginia. Those Johnny-Come-Lately Puritans arrived at Plymouth in 1620.

But, as Mona Charen explains, the contemporary intelligentsia find nothing to celebrate.

… emblematic of our troubled understanding of our past and our present discomfort with our national identity, the powers that be in Virginia have decided not to refer to (the anniversary events) as “celebrations.” Instead, they will be called commemorations. “You can’t celebrate an invasion,” declared Mary Wade, a member of the Jamestown 2007 organizing committee. The native people were “pushed back off of their land, even killed. Whole tribes were annihilated. A lot of people carry that oral history with them, and that’s why they use the word ‘invasion’ . . .”

Virginia is expecting many visitors to the reconstructed Jamestown settlement — and it is worth the trip. We’ve taken the children a couple of times. But the timid, apologetic tone of some of the exhibitions detracts from the experience. As Edward Rothstein reported in The New York Times, “The Indians, we read, were ‘in harmony with the land that sustained them’ and formed an ‘advanced, complex society of families and tribes.’”

Rothstein continues: “English society — the society that gave us the King James Bible and Shakespeare . . . is described as offering ‘limited opportunity’ in which a ‘small elite’ were landowners.” England, they tell us, suffered from social dislocation, unemployment, difficult working conditions, and so forth. The exhibit goes on to suggest that Virginia’s history evolved out of the “interaction” of three different cultures: British, Native American and African.

This sort of hokum has become de rigueur…

Read the whole thing.

30 Mar 2007

Iran Predicted to Strike Back

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World Net Daily quotes a London Arab newspaper’s discussion of Iran’s well-funded, and long-in-the-preparation plans for a wave of retaliation against a Western strike on its nuclear weapons development program.

Tehran has recruited and funded eight Islamic fundamentalist organizations to undertake retaliatory strikes against U.S. and British military and economic interests across the Middle East – and perhaps in the U.S. and Europe – in the event Iran’s nuclear facilities are attacked, reports a London Arab daily, Asharq Al-Awsat.

The plan, which has been heavily funded and was created by a number of experts in guerilla warfare and terrorist operations, includes suicide attacks against U.S. and British targets in the region as well as their allies. According to information gleaned from a senior source in the Iranian armed forces’ joint chief of staff, logistical support for the groups that would participate in the plan comes from Brigadier General Qassim Suleimani of the of the Revolutionary Guards’ al Quds Brigades. …

The leader of one of the Iraq groups that is part of the “Judgment Day” plan told the Iranians his men would turn Iraq into hell for Americans in the event of an attack on Iran. The Revolutionary Guards’ military training camps have been made available to Moqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army. Al Sadr has received more than $20 million from the Iranians.

Street-fighting training has been given in Isfahan, Iran, to members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as large sums of money and large quantities of arms.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has recruited Imad Mugniyah, the Lebanese commander of Hezbollah’s overseas operations, to oversee retaliation against Western targets following any U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Officers sent to southern Lebanon last month are in command of more than 10 thousand rockets aimed at Israel’s cities. It is believed they’ve been given control of Hezbollah’s missiles to attack Israel if Iran’s nuclear sites are hit. U.S. officials and Israel intelligence sources believe Mugniyah is in charge of these operations.

“When and if the Iranians decide to hit the West in its soft belly, Imad will be the one to act,” a Western intelligence source said.

Approximately 80 members of Hezbollah received training last year in ultralight aircraft and undersea operations in order to carry out suicide attacks.

Implementation of the plan is set to begin immediately following a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and would progress in six stages:

U.S. bases in Iraq and the Persian Gulf region to be struck by Iranian missiles.

Suicide attacks in a number of Muslim countries against U.S. embassies, military bases, economic and oil-related facilities tied to U.S. and British firms, and targets in countries allied with the U.S.

Attacks by Revolutionary Guards and Iraqi insurgents loyal to Iran against U.S. and British forces in Iraq.

Hundreds of rockets launched by Hezbollah against pre-selected targets in Israel.

If U.S. military attacks continue, more than 50 Shehab-3 missiles will be launched against Israel and 50 terrorist cells in the U.S., Canada and Europe will be given approval to launch attacks against civil and industrial targets in those countries.

As the crisis produced by the Iranian fanatics draws nearer to open conflict, the increasingly hysterical bleatings of this classical example of chattering class coward provide the near perfect note of ironic humor.

It is essential now for both sides to back down. No solution is possible if either side continues to insist that the other is completely in the wrong and they are completely in the right. And the first step towards finding a peaceful way out, is to acknowledge the self-evident truth that maritime boundaries are disputed and problematic in this area.

Both sides can therefore accept that the other acted in good faith with regard to their view of where the boundary was. They can also accept that boats move about and all the coordinates given by either party were also in good faith. The captives should be immediately released and, to international acclamation, Iran and Iraq, which now are good neighbours, should appoint a joint panel of judges to arbitrate a maritime boundary and settle this boundary dispute.

That is the way out. For the British to insist on their little red border line, or the Iranians on their GPS coordinates, plainly indicates a greater desire to score propaganda points in the run up to a war in which a lot of people will die, than to resolve the dispute and free the captives. The international community needs to put heavy pressure on both Britain and Iran to stop this mad confrontation.

Who knows? Perhaps Mr. Murray may yet have the personal opportunity one of these days to offer some suicidal Islamic terrorist one of those face-saving compromise proposals he’s so fond of during his last pathetic moments of earthly existence.

30 Mar 2007

Jim Webb Lets Aide Rot in DC Jail

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Dana Milbank skewers a well-deserving Senator James Webb for preeningly displaying his gun-owning credentials at a news conference (for the benefit of Old Dominion constituents), while carefully dissociating himself from any responsibility for his aide Phillip Thompson’s arrest for entering the Capitol with a briefcase containing Webb’s loaded 9mm pistol.

I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” (Webb) announced, wearing the sort of baggy suit that made it hard to tell for sure if he was packing heat. “I have had a permit to carry a weapon in Virginia for a long time, and I believe that it’s important for me personally and for a lot of people in the situation that I am in — to be able to defend myself and my family.”

If Webb seemed to be enjoying the moment a bit too much, that’s probably because a Virginia politician has never lost an election for loving guns too much. But Phillip Thompson, who carried the weapon, derived rather less pleasure from the incident.

Thompson — a.k.a. “Lockup No. 1” — spent 28 hours in the slammer after walking into the Russell building Monday morning with a gun and two loaded magazines in his briefcase. Two hours after Webb’s performance in front of the cameras, Thompson — sandwiched between drug cases and domestic disputes — made his appearance in the foul-smelling arraignment room at D.C. Superior Court. He had a 5 o’clock shadow and a new pair of leg irons to accessorize his rumpled business suit. Ordered to stand in a box marked off with frayed duct tape, he must have been too stunned to answer when the judge asked if he understood the charges.

“You have to answer, sir,” the judge told the silent defendant. “Do you understand?”

“Yes,” he said quietly.

Could it have been any worse? Well, consider that Monday was Thompson’s 45th birthday.

A court employee handed out copies of the complaint as reporters rushed from the arraignment room to chase Thompson. His fancy Virginia lawyer, unfamiliar with the bowels of the courthouse, led the defendant out the wrong exit — forcing him to walk several blocks to a parking garage, surrounded all the way by TV cameras and reporters.

“Who gave you the gun?”

“Was it a big mistake?”

“What are you going to do now?”…

The lawyer, Richard Gardiner, answered for his client. “No comment. . . . He’s not gonna have any comment. . . . He’s not making any comment, on the advice of his attorney.” Thompson, Gardiner and an unidentified third man gave the cameras yet another shot when they emerged from the garage in a BMW with Virginia plates.

The complaint laid out Thompson’s version of events: “The defendant stated that he was in possession of a pistol and two magazines belonging to Senator Jim Webb. The defendant further stated that he inadvertently left the gun that he was safekeeping from the previous days.” Webb may be pleased to know that, according to the complaint, “the weapon was test fired and is operable.”

And how does Webb feel about the whole thing? Hard to say. Gardiner wouldn’t say who had retained him to represent Thompson. Webb himself, after calling the news conference to discuss the matter, then said he couldn’t talk about it. …

Webb, an expert marksman, was happy to discuss why he carries a concealed weapon. “Since 9/11, for people who are in government, I think in general there has been an agreement that it’s more — a more dangerous time,” he said. “If you look at people in the executive branch . . . there is not that kind of protection available to people in the legislative branch. We are required to defend ourselves, and I choose to do so.”

Webb even hinted that he ignores the District law requiring handguns to be registered. Asked if he considered himself above D.C. law, he said: “I’m not going to comment in any level in terms of how I provide for my own security,” he said.

The senator was less forthcoming in his defense of Thompson. “He is going to be arraigned today,” Webb said. “I do not in any way want to prejudice his case and the situation that he’s involved in.”

Prejudice the case? But wasn’t it Webb’s gun that his aide was carrying for him?

Webb wouldn’t even acknowledge it was his gun. “I have never carried a gun in the Capitol complex, and I did not give the weapon to Phillip Thompson,” he stipulated.

Webb had kind words for his aide — “a longtime friend” and “a fine individual” — but he seemed to be trying to cut Thompson loose as he spoke of the incident. “I find that what has happened with Phillip Thompson is enormously unfortunate,” Webb reported. “I was in New Orleans from last Friday until yesterday evening. I was not in town. I learned about this when I was in New Orleans.”

Upon reflection, Webb must have decided that he had been stinting in his defense of Thompson. An hour later, his office sent out an amended statement. “I can say with great confidence that this was an inadvertent mistake on his part,” the statement said. It was a little late for Lockup No. 1.

What a man!

My dad used to say there is a certain recognizable type of marine, who translates Semper Fidelis as “Pull the ladder up, Captain, I’m on board!”

30 Mar 2007

Pulling the Lion’s Tail

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Iran continues its shameless lies and the contemptible games typical of outlaw dictatorships, making propaganda videos featuring illegally captured British hostages, releasing extorted “confessions” echoing its own official dishonest statements, promising to release a female hostage and then reneging, and threatening the lives of the captives.

As Simon Heffer observes: at some stage, Iran’s lethal contempt for the rule of international law is going to mean war.

30 Mar 2007

Dumb Laws


If this link causes you to go past the actual web-site to an annoying smiley-face page, just hit back, and you return quickly to the desired location.

There are a lot of dumb laws out there.

30 Mar 2007

Special Olympics

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An extremely politically incorrect song from comedian Stephen Lynch. (Caution: Those offended by mocking the handicapped may wish to avoid this one.)

3:04 video

29 Mar 2007

Animated Graphic Sampler of Internet Emotions


We Feel Fine is

a data collection engine that automatically scours the Internet every ten minutes, harvesting human feelings from a large number of blogs. Blog data comes from a variety of online sources, including LiveJournal, MSN Spaces, MySpace, Blogger, Flickr, Technorati, Feedster, Ice Rocket, and Google.

We Feel Fine scans blog posts for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling”. This is an approach that was inspired by techniques used in Listening Post, a wonderful project by Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen.

Once a sentence containing “I feel” or “I am feeling” is found, the system looks backward to the beginning of the sentence, and forward to the end of the sentence, and then saves the full sentence in a database.

Once saved, the sentence is scanned to see if it includes one of about 5,000 pre-identified “feelings”. This list of valid feelings was constructed by hand, but basically consists of adjectives and some adverbs. The full list of valid feelings, along with the total count of each feeling, and the color assigned to each feeling is here.

29 Mar 2007

Another Great Bush Appointment at the Justice Department is Confirmed

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Rick Ballard, at YARGB, has some choice words concerning the reptile Paul McNulty, and President’s Bush’s continuing above-the-fray passivity. He’s perfectly right, too.

How does a man as profoundly perfidious as Paul McNulty get appointed Deputy Attorney General? Who vetted this snake to a post where his betrayal could do so much damage? If you don’t recognize the name, you need to read this exclusive account of perfidy, disloyalty and disobedience to understand what type of loathsome viper the President inadvertently invited into his Department of Justice.

McNulty is a product of the same Southern District of New York which produced Comey and Fitzgerald. He exhibits the same fawning servility to Chuck Schumer as do the other two and his allegiance to that snake of a politician is possibly even stronger. As you read the article you can sense the slightest bit of regret by McNulty for carried scorpion (Schumer) across the river. That regret is as phony as the balance of this non mea culpa. McNulty was and is a very willing betrayer angling for a future political plum.

The President is reaping what he himself has sown in this matter. …

The President’s ludicrous instruction to “fully cooperate” with FBI agents running a political operation in the Plame matter while at the same time insisting that a condition of employment by this White House means forfeiture of the Fifth Amendment right has finally reached what should have been its obvious conclusion. AG Gonzales’ counselor, Monica Goodling has appropriately taken a leave of absence and announced her intention to make full use of her right against self incrimination. Apparently she paid close attention to Fitzgerald’s conduct in the Libby matter and decided that allegiance to a President unwilling to stand beside those who stand beside him was of little value.

McNulty’s fawning obsequience to Schumer and his sideshow is another matter. Having never been loyal to anyone other than himself he cannot be characterized as other than a week reed who should never have been entrusted with his office.

The President’s decision to rid himself of the eight US Attorneys who were not carrying out his policies was correct and without need of any justification other than that they did not please him. After all, that’s what “at the pleasure of the President” means. Cobbling up the “poor performance” rationale was shabby cover for the exercise of a legitimate prerogative and the cover was torn aside by McNulty in an attempt to ingratiate himself with Schumer.

The Bush administration has been remarkably clean (especially in comparison to the Clinton administration). The Indian Affairs scandal (Abramoff affair) was largely due to the venality of Congressmen who thought themselves beyond the law. The Plame matter could easily have been a tempest in a teapot if it had not been handled so maladroitly and the current brouhaha about the exercise of legitimate executive power is an entirely self inflicted wound.

It would be nice if the President woke up tomorrow and remembered that he is still only a politician. He isn’t “above” the fray and he is going to be running the Executive by himself if he doesn’t drop the “turn the other cheek” pose and return open blow for open blow. He might start by taking a hard look at his communication staff and a harder look at those closest to him. They are not telling him what he needs to hear if he is to complete his term with any support whatsoever.

Read the whole thing.

29 Mar 2007

Global Warming Finally Proven

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Hat tip to Michael Lawler.

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