Archive for October, 2007
27 Oct 2007

Tom Lantos Tells Off Dutch Pinkos

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79-year-old Bay Area Congressman Tom Lantos is unfortunately a moderate liberal and a democrat, but he is also a Holocaust survivor and a refugee from Hungarian Communism.

AP reports that some visiting leftwing Dutch legislators recently tried telling him that the US should close its Guantanamo Bay internment facility, and Tom Lantos put them in their place.

Dutch lawmakers who visited the Guantanamo Bay military prison this week said they were offended by a testy exchange in Washington with a senior congressional Democrat.

The lawmakers said that Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told them that “Europe was not as outraged by Auschwitz as by Guantanamo Bay.”

Lantos, a Holocaust survivor, was responding to arguments that the United States should shut down the prison, located on a U.S. naval base in Cuba, the lawmakers said. Mariko Peter, a member of the Dutch Green Party, who began the exchange with Lantos, said she took notes of the remarks. …

Before the Guantanamo exchange, the lawmakers had discussed a debate in the Netherlands about whether the country should maintain its 1,600 troops serving in NATO’s Afghanistan operations.

“You have to help us, because if it was not for us you would now be a province of Nazi Germany,” Lantos said, according to the Dutch lawmakers.

“The comments killed the debate,” said Harry van Bommel, a member of the Socialist Party. “It was insulting and counterproductive.”

There are times one really wishes Tom Lantos was a Republican.

27 Oct 2007

Yemen Frees USS Cole Bomber

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Jamal al-Badawi, angry Muslim


In 2004, Yemen appeased the United States by sentencing the most senior conspirator in USS Cole bombing Jamal al-Badawi to death. His family appealed the sentence, which was promptly reduced to 15 years. In 2006, Badawi escaped from prison. He has now successfully negotiated a new deal. He turned himself in, and swore allegiance to Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, the current president, and received a further commutation of his sentence to house arrest.

The US has been offering a $5 million reward for Badawi’s capture.

It is shameful that Third World fly speck countries like Yemen feel free to harbor terrorists and murderers of Americans. In a more sensible era, a president like Theodore Roosevelt would have responded to an insult of this kind by sending a US battleship to bombard Yemen’s ports, or by landing a regiment of Marines. George W. Bush ought, at the very least, to bomb the safe house where the murderer is enjoying his retirement into oblivion.

27 Oct 2007

African Lion Sighted in West Virginia


Charleston Daily Mail:

Greenbrier County officials are scouring the woods near Cold Knob after receiving multiple reports that a lion — an African lion, not the mountain variety — is on the loose.

“We’re treating this pretty seriously,” said Robert McClung, the county’s senior animal-control officer. “Right now, we’re trying to confirm the initial report. Once we do that, we’ll figure out what we’re going to do about it.”

A local hunter, 72-year-old Jim Shortridge of Frankfort, was bowhunting for deer Oct. 17 when the lion reportedly approached him.

“I watched it for more than 40 minutes,” said Shortridge, who owns the parcel of land he was hunting on. “I watched it from my vehicle and from my hunting blind.”

Shortridge first saw the creature as he carried a cooler and his lunch from a vehicle to the 6-by-8 foot wooden blind.

“When I first saw [the lion], I thought it was a deer,” Shortridge said. “Then it growled at me.”

The cat ran away after Shortridge yelled at it. Convinced that the potential threat had disappeared, the slightly shaken hunter returned to his vehicle and retrieved his bow. Shortly after he began hunting, the creature came back.

“It paced back and forth, in front of the blind, about 10 yards away,” Shortridge recalled. “I sat and watched him. I kept shining my light into his eyes. The more I put the light on him, the louder he growled.”

Shortridge remains convinced that the animal was a male African lion. He estimated its weight at 250 to 350 pounds.

“It had a mane, so I could tell it was a male. And I’m sure it wasn’t a bear. Bears are all over Cold Knob. I see six to eight of them every time I go hunting, and I can tell the difference. Bears don’t shake me up at all. This lion made me pretty nervous,” he said.

27 Oct 2007

Buchanan: A Giuliani Victory Would Come at a Price

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Pat Buchanan on Giuliani.

A McGovernite in 1972, he boasted in the campaign of 1993 that he would “rekindle the Rockefeller, Javits, Lefkowitz tradition” of New York’s GOP and “produce the kind of change New York City saw with … John Lindsay.” He ran on the Liberal Party line and supported Mario Cuomo in 1994.

Pro-abortion, anti-gun, again and again he strutted up Fifth Avenue in the June Gay Pride parade and turned the Big Apple into a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. While Ward Connerly goes state to state to end reverse discrimination, Rudy is an affirmative-action man.

Gravitating now to Rudy’s camp are those inveterate opportunists, the neocons, who see in Giuliani their last hope of redemption for their cakewalk war and their best hope for a “Long War” against “Islamo-fascism.”

I will, Rudy promises, nominate Scalias. Only one more may be needed to overturn Roe. And I will keep Hillary out of the White House.

A Giuliani presidency would represent the return and final triumph of the Republicanism that conservatives went into politics to purge from power. A Giuliani presidency would represent repudiation by the party of the moral, social and cultural content that, with anti-communism, once separated it from liberal Democrats and defined it as an institution.

Rudy offers the right the ultimate Faustian bargain: retention of power at the price of one’s soul.

26 Oct 2007

“We Did Not Kill Bin Laden”

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Col. David Hunt on Fox News reveals some startling information

We did not kill Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan just two short months ago.

We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it. Nice job again guys — now, pull the damn trigger.

Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.

You cannot make this crap up; truth is always stranger and more telling than fiction. Our government, the current administration and yes, our military leaders included, failed to kill bin Laden for no other reason than incompetence.

The current “boneheads” in charge will tell you all day long that we are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan to stop terrorists there so they do not come here. Nice talk, how about — just for a moment — acting like you mean what you say? You know walk the walk. These incidents, where we displayed a total lack of guts, like the one in August, are just too prevalent. The United States of America’s political and military leadership has, on at least three separate occasions, chosen not capture or kill bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahri. We have allowed Pakistan to become a safe haven for Al Qaeda. We have allowed Al Qaeda to reconstitute, partially because of money they (Al Qaeda in Iraq) have been sending to Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

We are in a war with terrorists. We are in a war with countries that support terrorists. We are in a war with people that fly planes into buildings and who never, ever hesitate to pull the trigger when given the chance to kill us. We cannot win and, I will tell you this now, we are losing this war every damn time we fail to take every single opportunity to kill murderers like Usama bin Laden. Less than two months ago, we lost again.

Our men and women are being blown up and killed every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every family who is separated from a loved one during this war is being insulted by our government when they fail to kill those who have already killed us and will not hesitate to do so again and again. Damn it guys, PULL THE DAMN TRIGGER.

A bit more information on his sources would be nice.

26 Oct 2007

Nobel Peace Prize Co-Recipient on Gore

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The Wall Street Journal quotes an interview of the co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, John Christy of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, by Miles O’Brien:

O’BRIEN: I assume you’re not happy about sharing this award with Al Gore. You going to renounce it in some way?

CHRISTY: Well, as a scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, I always thought that — I may sound like the Grinch who stole Christmas here — that prizes were given for performance, and not for promotional activities.

And, when I look at the world, I see that the carbon dioxide rate is increasing, and energy demand, of course, is increasing. And that’s because, without energy, life is brutal and short. So, I don’t see very much effect in trying to scare people into not using energy, when it is the very basis of how we can live in our society.

O’BRIEN: So, what about the movie [“An Inconvenient Truth”]; do you take issue with, then, Dr. Christy?

CHRISTY: Well, there’s any number of things.

I suppose, fundamentally, it’s the fact that someone is speaking about a science that I have been very heavily involved with and have labored so hard in, and been humiliated by, in the sense that the climate is so difficult to understand, Mother Nature is so complex, and so the uncertainties are great, and then to hear someone speak with such certainty and such confidence about what the climate is going to do is — well, I suppose I could be kind and say, it’s annoying to me.

O’BRIEN: But you just got through saying that the carbon dioxide levels are up. Temperatures are going up. There is a certain degree of certainty that goes along with that, right?

CHRISTY: Well, the carbon dioxide is going up. And remember that carbon dioxide is plant food in the fundamental sense. All of life depends on the fact carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere. So, we’re fortunate it’s not a toxic gas. But, on the other hand, what is the climate doing. And when we build — and I’m one of the few people in the world that actually builds these climate data sets — we don’t see the catastrophic changes that are being promoted all over the place.

For example, I suppose CNN did not announce two weeks ago when the Antarctic sea ice extent reached its all-time maximum, even though, in the Arctic in the North Pole, it reached its all-time minimum.

26 Oct 2007


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(MMORG = Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game)

4 Guys From Viewpoint:

*Hitler[AoE] has joined the game.*
*Eisenhower has joined the game.*
*paTTon has joined the game.*
*Churchill has joined the game.*
*benny-tow has joined the game.*
*T0J0 has joined the game.*
*Roosevelt has joined the game.*
*Stalin has joined the game.*
*deGaulle has joined the game.*
Roosevelt: hey sup
T0J0: y0
Stalin: hi
Churchill: hi
Hitler[AoE]: cool, i start with panzer tanks!


26 Oct 2007

Pumpkin Croc

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AP Photo/Winfried Rothermel
Photo:Winfried Rothermel, AP

A seasonal display by a farmer at Hartheim-Feldkirch in southwestern Germany.


Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 Oct 2007



A collaborative art project using flash animation (also downloadable as a screensaver).

25 Oct 2007

The Sandbottle Art of Andrew Clemens

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Sand Picture in a Bottle, Paddle Wheeler Gray Eagle
Andrew Clemens, McGregor, Iowa, c. 1885

Skinner was kind enough to send me the catalogue for their upcoming November 3 & 4 sale of American Furniture & Decorative Arts.

Glancing through it last night, I was simply astonished at the sight of Lot 590.

These unique artworks were apparently created in the late 19th century by a deaf-mute, Andrew Clemens (1852-1894), who sold them as his sole means of support. The colored sands were naturally-occurring, and were collected by the artist in the Pictured Rocks, a mile south of McGregor, Iowa.

Richard J. Langel of the Iowa Geological Survey writes:

To create his sand paintings, Clemens used only a few tools: brushes made from hickory sticks, a curved fish hook stick, and a tiny tin scoop to hold sand. His sand paintings ranged from original designs to reproductions of images from photographs.

Because the majority of the bottles that Clemens used were round-top drug jars, he painted his designs upside down. Clemens inserted the sand using the fish hook stick. The brushes were used to keep the picture straight. No glue was used in the process; the sand was only held in place by pressure from other sand grains. Once a design was completed and the bottle was full, the bottle was sealed with a stopper.

Clemens originally sold his sand paintings in the McGregor grocery store. A small bottle sold for $1; a larger personalized bottle sold for $6-$8. The popularity of his sand paintings increased as travelers and steamboat agents purchased the bottles as souvenirs. Eventually, orders for his bottles became worldwide.

Clemens’ sandbottles are avidly collected as folk art, and now sell for thousands of dollars.

McGregor Sand Artist by Marian Carroll Rischmueller


The Sandbottles of Andrew Clemens

Andrew “Andreas” Clemens

Cowan’s – Painter Without a Brush

25 Oct 2007

Abolishing the Ivies

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The New York Society for Ethical Culture, as part of the New Yorker Festival, earlier this month held a somewhat tongue-in-cheek debate, moderated by Simon Schama, featuring two of the magazine’s staff writers, Malcolm Gladwell versus Adam Gopnik on the question: “Resolved: The Ivy League Should Be Abolished.”

NY Sun (10/5)

IvyGate (10/10)

Thomas Bartlett, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, describes the silliness.

It’s easy to hate the Ivy League. Also, it’s fun.

Yet rarely do hundreds of people cheer wildly as some crazy-haired guy calls for Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to be shut down. That’s right: closed entirely. Their campuses turned into luxury condos. Their students distributed evenly throughout the colleges of the Big Ten. Their endowments donated to charity, or used to purchase Canada.

But cheering is exactly what happened on a recent Saturday night during a somewhat tongue-in-cheek debate on the abolition of the Ivy League. The guy with the crazy hair was Malcolm Gladwell, author of two best-selling works of counterintuitive nonfiction, The Tipping Point and Blink. His opponent, the essayist Adam Gopnik, took the opposite view, arguing that — whatever their faults — we shouldn’t shutter those three prestigious institutions. Both men are staff writers for The New Yorker, and the event was part of the magazine’s annual literary festival.

Mr. Gladwell (University of Toronto, ’84) is a well-known Ivy hater. In a 2005 article, he argued that the admissions process for Ivy League colleges is odd, arbitrary, and more or less ridiculous. On this particular evening he pushed that view to its most extreme: that Harvard, Yale, and Princeton should be made extinct (the other five Ivies can, presumably, rest easy). The heart of his argument was that the Big Three do a lousy job of promoting social mobility. He also asserted that they have come to be valued as “consumption preferences” rather than places where people, you know, go to learn.

But more interesting than the debate itself was the audience reaction. Anti-Ivy proclamations were greeted with enthusiastic whoops. It was as if everyone had finally been given permission to voice their long-held antipathy toward the elite. It was a mob scene, or as close as you’re likely to get at a wine-and-cheese gathering on the Upper West Side.

It’s all part of a current Ivy backlash, according to Alexandra Robbins, author of The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids and Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power. Ms. Robbins thinks the mystique of the Ivy League is starting to wear thin — even though, as she acknowledges, it’s harder than ever to get into those colleges. “Other schools have caught up and surpassed the Ivy League,” she says.

An Ivy League degree can even be a hindrance. Ms. Robbins says she recently talked to the chief executive of a major company who has an unofficial policy against hiring Ivy grads. “There is an assumption that if you went to an Ivy League school, you have a sense of entitlement,” she says.

Ms. Robbins, a Yale graduate herself, is sometimes sheepish about her pedigree, preferring to avoid the topic.

Jim Newell knows the feeling. He writes for IvyGate, a snarky Ivy League gossip blog. Mr. Newell attended the University of Pennsylvania, “one of the lesser Ivies” (his words). His alma mater often gets confused with Penn State, and he’d rather not correct people: “God forbid I’d say, ‘That’s the one in the Ivy League.’ I’d rather run away than say that.”

He thinks a lot of the resentment toward the Ivy League is based on an outdated image. “There is some foundation for the hatred,” he says. “There are a lot of stereotypes about WASPs smoking cigars with stuffed moose heads by the fireplace.”

Of course, it also has a lot to do with admissions. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton reject a lot of applicants, and that can create some hard feelings.

It’s Michele Hernandez’s job to get kids into Ivy League colleges. Ms. Hernandez is one of the most prominent college consultants around. Plenty of people are willing to pay a gulp-inducing $40,000 for her five-year package, which begins in the eighth grade. Ms. Hernandez made about a million dollars last year helping to craft applications.

Still, she tries to dissuade clients — frequently without success — from the idea that it’s Ivy or nothing. “I don’t find anything special about Harvard, Yale, or Princeton,” she says.

But she would hardly celebrate their demise. “Other elite schools would spring up in their place, like a Hydra,” she says, demonstrating a knack for entrance-essay allusions.

There is a “perception issue” when it comes to Ivy League colleges, says Robert Franek, author of The Best 366 Colleges, published by Princeton Review. “I think students and parents may be fed up with the hierarchy,” he says. “They’re starting to take a harder look at other colleges, even if they might be in a position to go to an Ivy.”

But that doesn’t explain where the hate comes from. James Twitchell, a professor of English and advertising at the University of Florida, who writes about branding and popular culture, says it’s simple: “Because so much of what most of us have at the mass-supplier level is interchangeable, we resent those who have something more or better or different.”

Another word for that is envy. Sarah E. Hill, an assistant professor of psychology at California State University at Fullerton, who studies envy, says The New Yorker debate was an opportunity to revel in that feeling. “The audience obviously perceives that these people in the Ivy League receive some kind of unfair advantage,” she says. “The idea of removing them is exciting. It’s like, ‘Ha, ha, ha,’ we took away your label!'”

Representatives of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton would not comment for this article. But, really, what did you expect?


If you don’t happen to be part of the pitchfork-waving mob of anti-elitists and actually attended one of the Ivies, be informed that GoCrossCampus is conducting an Ivy League Championship Risk Tournament, which will be starting its very first combats today. Yale has a bit of an advantage right now, which is only right.


Hat tips to David Nix and AJ.

24 Oct 2007

Imaginary Symbolism of Nooses

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Press reports of the sinister appearance of nooses as threats or as a form of racial initimidation are suddenly everywhere.

7 Eyewitness News today offers a typical example:

Authorities are investigating the third apparent hate crime at New York City schools– in just the last two weeks. A noose was found hanging from a tree in a playground in Queens yesterday– one day after a principal in Brooklyn received a noose in the mail.


And politicians are responding with a rash of proposed laws, some making displaying a noose a hate crime and a felony.


The problem is that, until this September, when leftwing coverage of the so-called Jena Six having spread to Black talk radio finally reached the mainstream media, no one thought of nooses as a racial symbol at all.

But, in the customary media avalanche fashion, a false statement was published by the first paper, and was repeated by the second, and before very long, a considerable body of public record exists attesting to validity and universal acceptance of another piece of arrant nonsense.

But the indefatigable Michelle Malkin is on the case, thank goodness, using her bully pulpit to republish a Christian Science Monitor article by Craig Franklin, which notes that just about the entire Jena Six story is a myth from top to bottom.

By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they’ve all heard the story of the “Jena 6.” White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests – the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There’s just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice. …

Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree. There has never been a “whites-only” tree at Jena High School. Students of all races sat underneath this tree. When a student asked during an assembly at the start of school last year if anyone could sit under the tree, it evoked laughter from everyone present – blacks and whites. As reported by students in the assembly, the question was asked to make a joke and to drag out the assembly and avoid class.

Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of “Lonesome Dove.”) The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history. When informed of this history by school officials, they became visibly remorseful because they had many black friends. Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals.


Of course, it’s not really surprising that the teen-age pranksters “had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history.” That particular identification would only have been made (before last September) by hyper-racially-sensitive obsessives. The lynching of blacks in the post-Civil War pre-WWII era is commonly treated as a key feature of the American catalogue of racial crime, but the reality is that lynchings were equal opportunity forms of mob justice.

Lynchings occurred as spontaneous outbursts of public indignation over particularly objectionable crimes, in which a suitable quorum of the community assembled proved unwilling to wait for legal due process to unfold, and having –rightly or wrongly– concluded the suspect’s guilt was incontrovertible, simply proceeded without further ado to the immediate application of justice.

Nor was lynching a unique feature of the segregated American South. As recently as 1933, there was a lynching in the San Francisco Bay area, following a kidnap-murder in San Jose. The perpetrators wound up dangling from the recently-completed (1929) San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.

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