July 31, 2006

Castro death watch

Could actually be legit this time.

Posted by Hube at 10:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Must be kin of the Vichy crowd

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy today:

"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.

"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran -- a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.

Douste-Blazy later remarked that North Korea is a "humanitarian" nation, that Sudan's slavery "isn't all that bad," and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia were "just trying to knock some sense into the arrogant educated class" back after the Vietnam War. (/sarcasm)

Hopefully he had his fingers crossed, eh? ;-)

Posted by Hube at 10:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Watch these SCOTUS matters

So tells us Roger Clegg:

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights heard important testimony on Friday — two witnesses arguing that social science evidence shows that racial balancing in K-12 classrooms has important educational benefits, and two saying that such evidence is lacking (see here and here). The testimony is very timely, since the Supreme Court has granted review in a pair of cases, one from Seattle and one from Louisville, that raise the question whether racial preferences in student assignments to ensure such balance is constitutional. It seems dubious that social science could ever justify racial discrimination; certainly if there is a division of opinion among social scientists such discrimination cannot be justified.

As Hube and I noted previously, the always-nebulous notion of "diversity" actually shows little to no educational benefits. The noteworthy National Association of Scholars study (mainly in reaction to the Michigan affirmative action case) can be seen here. In addition, keep in mind what Hube noted almost a year ago: It (diversity) didn't raise the academic standards of the intended beneficiaries in northern Delaware, or in the famous Kansas City case.

If by "educational benefits" diversity proponents mean "socialization," that's actually an entirely different matter, and hopefully judges won't be fooled. I'm sure there are some decent arguments to be made for "diversity," but better educational performance (or "benefits") doesn't seem to be one of them.

Posted by Felix at 07:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LA Times can't figure out why that guy shot up the Seattle Jewish Center

In what has to be one of the biggest salutes to political correctness in recent memory, the front page of yesterday's Los Angeles Times says "Jewish Center Shooter's Motive is a Mystery."

Let's see, could it have been family trouble? Financial woes? Fired from his job?

Cheeyeah. Patterico dissects this complete idiocy.

UPDATE: Soccer Dad points me to these additional instances of media bewilderment.

Posted by Hube at 04:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good point

David Frum (via Instapundit):

If a drunken Mel Gibson did indeed call out, "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," then there can be only one possible place for a man who believes such things: as the next Secretary General of the United Nations.

Posted by Felix at 03:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Just like Fox News's popularity ...

... the nutty Left will come up with a convoluted explanation for this one, too: Most informed political audiences include "O'Reilly Factor" viewers and Rush Limbaugh listeners.

Check the chart:

The "knowledge questions" used for the "high knowledge" category were: 1) Which party has a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives (Republicans); 2) the name of the current U.S. Secretary of State (Condoleezza Rice); and 3) the name of the current president of Russia (Vladimir Putin). More explanation on this is here.

Now before you say "Hey! CNN does better than FNC on the chart!" notice my headline includes the word "popularity." FNC's popularity, in my opinion, is due to its coverage of the conservative point of view much more often than its competitors. It's ranking on the chart (again, which isn't my point) still beats rivals MSNBC, C-SPAN (that surprises me) and CNBC. (How in the hell did friggin' Larry King viewers beat FNC? That's sad.)

Posted by Felix at 02:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 30, 2006

Good for a laugh: Ted Kennedy on Alito, Roberts

At the Washington Post.

Hey Teddy -- three words: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Posted by Hube at 11:43 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Moral equivalence makers: Check it out

Maybe, just maybe, the below will enlighten folks like Jason at DE Liberal who wrote on Friday regarding yours truly:

Hube at Colossus has Israel's back. I get the arguments. I just don't like the idea of blowing up "their" civilians because they blew up "our" civilians. What is civil about that?

Yon simple question from a simple mind. Unfortunately, it's not nearly that simple (emphasis mine):

The Australian Sunday Mail publishes the picture below and others, smuggled out of Lebanon. According to the Sunday Mail, the pictures were taken in a Christian neighborhood in East Beirut, and show Lebanese Party of God (Hezbollah) militiamen, in civilian clothes, hiding and using weapons in a densely populated area.

The Melbourne man who smuggled the shots out of Beirut told yesterday how he was less than 400m from the block when it was obliterated.

"Hezbollah came in to launch their rockets, then within minutes the area was blasted by Israeli jets,'' he said.

"Until the Hezbollah fighters arrived, it had not been touched by the Israelis. Then it was totally devastated.

"After the attacks they didn't even allow the ambulances or the Lebanese Army to come in until they had cleaned the area, removing their rockets and hiding other evidence.

"Two innocent people died in that incident but it was so lucky it was not more. The people there were horrified and disgusted at what Hezbollah were doing.''

The fighters used trucks, driven into residential areas, as launch pads for the rockets, he said.

Get it yet, Jason? It's hardly blowing up civilians in retaliation for blowing up civilians. There is NO moral equivalency in this matter. Hizbollah does exactly what David Bernstein notes here (again, emphasis mine):

Party of God gets what it wants: There are only two reasons to put missle launchers in (when they are not in use) and next to (when they are in use) apartment buildings, and, for that matter, to have your local militia headquarters double as the local bomb shelter; the first is the hope that it will dissuade the enemy from attacking you, and the second is the hope that if they do bomb you, many civilians will be killed, leading to a propoganda victory. Unfortunately, the Party of God has benefited from both--many commentators in the Israeli media believe that the eight Israeli soldiers killed and dozens wounded a few days ago would not have met this fate if, instead of going house to house to search for Party of God fighters, Israel had leveled the buildings there [sic] hiding in. So the Party of God got at least a partial military victory. Today, Israel leveled a building they were hiding in, which unfortunately also housed many innocent children. So the Party of God gets a propaganda victory.

Rhymes With Right has more here and here.

Posted by Hube at 10:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 29, 2006

21st century journalism in the 20th century

This cracked me up. (That has to be Christiane Amanpour.)

Posted by Hube at 05:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dobrich family makes New York Times

The continuing saga of the Dobrich family, who vacated Sussex County, Delaware for the north of the state after they became the subjects of religious intolerance, is the subject of a New York Times story today. Nothing much new about their situation is offered in the article; however, the story notes that a Muslim family in another part of Sussex County has also filed a lawsuit that sounds similar to the Dobrich's. We'll see if we can get more info on that.

Other Colossus posts on this subject here and here.

UPDATE: Jason at DE Liberal blames Congressman Mike Castle for a lot of this problem. Funny how Ruth Ann Minner isn't mentioned by him, the Democratic governor of the state in this, or his past, diatribes linking Castle to the Dobrich case.

Why doesn't that surprise me?

Posted by Hube at 11:11 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

"Pressing needs"

Get this: That stellar line-up on the United Nations Human Rights Committee yesterday urged the United States to -- hold on to your hats -- grant the District of Columbia a voting representative in Congress!

The United Nations Human Rights Committee on Friday urged U.S. lawmakers to give the District of Columbia a voting member of Congress, saying the lack of such representation appeared inconsistent with international law.

The rebuke(!!) came in a report released by the committee in Geneva on Friday which said residents of the U.S. capital deserved to take part in government affairs directly or through freely chosen representatives under the 1992 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee said it "remains concerned(!!) that residents of the District of Columbia do not enjoy full representation in Congress, a restriction which does not seem to be compatible with article 25 of the Covenant."

OK, I underlined a few key terms there -- "appeared" and "does not seem." That should be all you need to shrug this off as yet another example that the U.N. is ONE. BIG. SORRY. ASS. JOKE.

Need I explain all the REAL disastrous human rights violations across the planet, including one in a place called Darfur, Sudan, which the UN idiots refuse to do anything about?? Not to mention all across the African continent? North Korea? Cuba? Saudi Arabia? Iran? China? Etc.?

The best solution, by the way, for the D.C. "human rights problem" is to just incorporate it into the state of Maryland. Democrats, of course, hate that easy idea since it would take away three guaranteed presidential electoral votes (it is logical to assume the 23rd Amendment would have to be repealed if Maryland incorporation occurred). A different proposal has been worked on in Congress, though. According to the article,

The House Judiciary Committee this week scheduled a September 14 hearing on a bill that would create two new House seats, one for heavily Democratic D.C. and one for Utah, the largely Republican state that was next in line for a new seat based on 2000 Census Bureau data.

The bill was overwhelmingly approved by the House Government Reform Committee in May but needs approval from the judiciary panel, where it faces a tougher fight, before it can advance to the House floor.

The constitutionality of giving D.C. a voting representative is certainly in question as the Constitution reserves that right for "states." But when has something that is so plainly written in our governing document stopped "great" legal minds before?

Posted by Felix at 09:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2006

Breaking: Jewish center in Seattle attacked

Via Fox News:

At least five people were shot, one of them fatally, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and one person was arrested, authorities said. A witness told a local newspaper that the man said he was a Muslim who was angry at Israel.

Five or six people were wounded in the incident Friday afternoon, assistant police chief Jim Pugel said.

One person died, fire department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said.

One wounded woman was shot in the abdomen and another woman was hit in the arm, according to news accounts. Information on the others wounded was not immediately available.

But it's "not terror related" according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Well, at least not yet:

"We believe it's a lone individual acting out his antagonism," said David Gomez, who heads the FBI's counterterrorism efforts in Seattle.

"There's nothing to indicate that it's terrorism related," Gomez said. "But we're monitoring the entire situation."

Interesting -- no mention of whether the attacker committed a "hate crime." Why doesn't that surprise me?

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has many updates regarding the attack (and attacker).

UPDATE 2: Andy McCarthy adds some thoughts.

Posted by Hube at 10:55 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

They teach us that phony "peace" is meaningless

Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher in today's Washington Post:

In April 1996, when Hezbollah again launched rocket attacks on Israel's northern border, the Israelis countered with Operation Grapes of Wrath, sending 400,000 Lebanese fleeing from southern Lebanon. Errant Israeli bombs hit a U.N. refugee camp at Cana in southern Lebanon, killing about 100 civilians and bringing the wrath of international public opinion down upon Israel.

This time Shimon Peres, who had become prime minister after the assassination of Rabin, sought our help. In response, we launched an eight-day shuttle to Damascus, Beirut and Jerusalem that produced a written agreement bringing the hostilities to an end. Weeks later, the parties agreed to a border monitoring group consisting of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, France and the United States. Until three weeks ago, that agreement had succeeded for 10 years in preventing a wholesale resumption of hostilities.

What do these episodes teach us?

President Bush provides the correct answer:

My goal is exactly what I said it was, and that is to hopefully end this as quickly as possible, and at the same time, making sure there's a lasting peace -- not a fake peace, not a fake, you know, kind of circumstances that make us all feel better, and then, sure enough, the problem arises again.

"Fake" in that since Christopher's "terrific" agreement, Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon (not to mention Gaza), while Hizbollah continued to build its arsenal.

But hey, if I was Christopher, I'd try to make foreign policy appear as peachy as possible from back in the Clinton years, too -- just to avoid having folks remember that it was he and that administration that glossed over the al Qaeda threat and brokered another "terrific agreement" with North Korea.

(h/t: Taranto.)

Posted by Rhodey at 03:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Movie reviews (not mine) of "America: Freedom to Fascism"

I haven't seen the movie (and probably won't), but I saw a blurb about it on the 'net this morning. Rotten Tomatoes has the briefs of several reviews (with links to the complete ones). What caught my eye about this flick in particular is the filmmaker's (Aaron Russo) claim that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was never passed properly, hence we shouldn't have to pay federal income taxes. There's also a complaint about the term "voluntary compliance" when paying your taxes, which is certainly interesting, since if you "volunteer" not to pay you'll find yourself in jail.

There's more to the film, but the above I've been interested in for some time. These particular claims by Russo are frequently brought up by those who consider themselves Libertarians. I first heard about them years ago via Philly radio talk guy Irv Homer, a Libertarian who's now quite up in age now but still on the air. Irv is probably the IRS's biggest nemesis; I once attended a talk by him back in 1993 and he described his numerous witness testimonies against the tax collection organization and in favor of myriad plaintiffs. He must have been pretty effective -- he is no longer permitted to serve as such a witness. Irv also mentioned the book The Law That Never Was (which the movie reviews make it sound as if Russo read). Back when I tried to get a copy to read (pre-Internet era, mind you), my aunt (a former librarian) had quite a bit a difficulty tracking one down. Eventually she tracked one down at a law library. The book demonstrates how the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified by the states. The book's attention to detail was head-spinning and if memory serves Delaware had quite a few irregularities with its passage. Some of the irregularities seemed quite superficial, however, but I must admit that many of the "ratifications" and "passages" -- if accurate -- were of such dubious legality that it appears the feds went ahead and just ratified the damn amendment at their leisure.

I was left wondering if any other amendments that were ratified had similar difficulties/irregularities. In numerous discussions I participated online and off, many people argued that "there probably were." That didn't make me feel any better, though!

Another interesting argument made by radio host Homer is that the 16th Amendment conflicts with the 13th Amendment. Think on that a moment ...

... done yet? Section 1 of the 13th Amendment reads Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Not only does the 16th Amendment force you to pay a portion of your income to the national government, but it, via the the tax code, forces employers to do all the necessary paperwork and withhold the tax from their employees' paychecks for the government.

These all make for interesting reading and listening, but I remain largely unpersuaded. I did some Googling and via, of all places, the Anti-Defamation League website under "Extremism in America," there's a section titled the "Tax Protest Movement." It seems some of the more extreme anti-tax folk have gotten violent in the past; however, in my readings over the years, most of the protestors merely utilize "passive resistance." In addition, the ADL labels those who are against income taxes (and other taxes) on principle as "extreme right-wing." That is disingenuous.

Still, my view on instances such as the 16th Amendment passage is pretty much along the lines of that regarding any conspiracy theory: If such a "conspiracy" requires a vast number of people, and virtually nothing has come out about said "conspiracy" after many years, the "conspiracy" most likely does not exist. But, again, the legal arguments remain intriguing and make for quite fascinating reading.

Posted by Hube at 10:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

Rally for Israel thoughts

I got to the Jewish Community Center a bit early, and it was a good thing, too. As noted in the News Journal, over 500 people packed into the auditorium to listen to several speakers give short talks about different aspects of the current Israeli-Hizbollah conflict. The first thing I noticed upon arriving was the presence of at least three state police cars -- were they actually expecting trouble? It was a tad disconcerting, but as the News Journal noted, there were no incidents or counter-protests as there have been in other cities.

In the lobby I took some literature, and I filled out a postcard that was designated to go to the IDF, the Israeli Defense Force. I merely wrote "Best Wishes and Godspeed" and signed my name. After I turned the card in, though, I wondered if I should have written "Godspeed" as "G-dspeed." I'd forgotten that many Jews use the written word of the diety with a dash as it's considered ... improper to write out the entire word. Oh well -- I am a goyim after all, and it's the thought that counts!

The auditorium was about half full when I entered. That quickly changed as the hour approached 7pm. I recognized quite a few a people, including several students of mine from past and present (and their parents), as well as the wife of US Congress candidate Dennis Spivack whom I've known (along with Dennis) for some fifteen years. A couple students (and their parents) asked me "What are you doing here?" (I suppose because I'm not Jewish!) to which I replied "Standing with Israel!" I jokingly inquired if "clear-thinking" Gentiles were permitted to attend. "Absolutely!!" was the enthusiastic reply. I also got a hug from a mom of one of my students.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe I also saw Holocaust survivor Dorothy Finger in attendance. I've a pretty good memory, so I'm probably correct that it was her. I know Mrs. Finger from my very first job, as a busboy and then waiter at the old Brandywine Country Club that was located off of Concord Pike (rt. 202), now a big shopping center. I also once worked a private party for her and her family, and it was there that I read a lot of old news clippings about her ordeal in WW II. In a word, it was terrifying.

Close to 7pm, lo and behold Mike from Down With Absolutes walks in, followed about five minutes later by Ms. Anonymous Opinion! We stood in the back right-hand corner of the hall as the presentation got underway. Nathan Guttman of the Jerusalem Post spoke first. A couple students then spoke about their experiences working with students and families in Israel. But the best speaker (in my opinion) was Delaware's own treasurer, Jack Markell. Jack was vociferous and uncompromising in his defense of the Jewish state and he drew vigorous applause. He and the previous speakers touched on numerous FACTS about the current conflict:

  • Israel left Lebanon six years ago and Gaza earlier this year -- and still got over 1,000 rockets shot at them for it.
  • Israel has had to deal with 1 million displaced citizens from the north of the country during the present crisis. One speaker noted that Delaware doesn't even have 1 million people in the state, so just imagine if all of New Castle and Kent Counties were evacuated to southern Sussex County because, say, terrorists were lobbing missiles into those areas from the Philadelphia suburbs.
  • Israel is using "excessive force"? Israel has dealt with rocket and other terror attacks since time immemorial. Consider the United States' reaction to three jets ramming into buildings: They toppled the entire government of Afghanistan and continue military operations there to this day.
  • It is preposterous to claim Israel targets innocent civilians. The fact is that the IDF goes out of its way to avoid such casualties. Hizbollah and other terror groups hide away in civilian homes, and even hide their rockets there. (Anna Venger recently posted a cartoon which perfectly illustrates the difference between the Israelis and Hizbollah/pro-Palestinian terror groups.)

Also discussed was the history of the conflict between Israel and its neighbors. One must always keep in mind that if the Palestinians and their Arab supporters really wanted the "two-state solution," they had many opportunities to achieve it. The first, of course, was when the United Nations first put forth its "partition" plan which led to the creation of Israel -- and could have created a Palestinian state. Instead, the Palestinians and surrounding Arab nations attacked the new Israel, giving the finger to the UN and, obviously, their willingness to live alongside a predominately Jewish nation. 1967 was the next time there was a concerted effort to annihilate Israel by the same actors, and this led to the "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But even here, when Israel offered to give back these lands (along with the Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula) in exchange for a lasting peace, they were told, in so many words, to "go to hell." It actuality it was "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it."

It ill behooves me when people make Israel out to be the bad guy in this history. Their schools do not teach that Muslims are "swine" and less than human. Their maps do not omit surrounding Arab countries from their cartography. Jewish terror groups do not flourish within Israel's boundaries that seek the annihilation of surrounding Islamic states.

I said it before, I'll say it again: If the Muslim terror groups drop their arms, you'll get peace in the mid-east. If the Israelis drop their arms, you'll get a second Holocaust.

Posted by Hube at 03:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ivy League

Check out what Anna Venger discovered: an online application for the Harvard MBA program.

Notice anything unusual about the gender selection drop-down menu? Not to mention that the choices for "Your Interests" seem to be skewed in a particular ... way.

Posted by Hube at 01:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 26, 2006

Israel: Up close

For daily updates on what's going on inside Israel, coupled with insighful commentary, check out Benjamin Kerstein's Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite. Today he has a link to an Alan Dershowitz article slamming the namesake of Ben's blog.

Posted by Hube at 06:16 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The Nobel Oxymoron Award

Via The Australian:

NOBEL peace laureate Betty Williams displayed a flash of her feisty Irish spirit yesterday, lashing out at US President George W. Bush during a speech to hundreds of schoolchildren.

Campaigning on the rights of young people at the Earth Dialogues forum, being held in Brisbane, Ms. Williams spoke passionately about the deaths of innocent children during wartime, particularly in the Middle East, and lambasted Mr Bush.

"I have a very hard time with this word 'non-violence', because I don't believe that I am non-violent," said Ms Williams, 64.

"Right now, I would love to kill George Bush." Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.

How peaceful! How humanitarian!

Jay Nordlinger offers this in response:

Friends, you’re familiar with my rap (many of them). You know how I say, Why shouldn’t the anchorman of CBS News attend a Democratic fundraiser (as Dan Rather did)? And why shouldn’t the Supreme Court reporter of the New York Times participate in a pro-abortion rally, and then report on it (as Linda Greenhouse did)?

In the same spirit, I ask this: Why shouldn’t a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize tell a bunch of schoolchildren, “I would love to kill George Bush” (as Betty Williams did)? It should almost be a precondition of winning the prize.

Problem is, they sometimes give it to someone decent. Just to throw us off, I guess.

While I’m pursuing this line: Why shouldn’t Cuba, Sudan, China, Zimbabwe, and Saudi Arabia sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council?

Remember: The Nobel Peace Prize was once awarded to Yassir Arafat (1994) "for [his] efforts to create peace in the Middle East."


Posted by Hube at 10:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The precursor to 1984

John J. Miller reports:

Authors sometimes gripe about the long wait between the completion of a book and its publication. Perhaps the sad case of the Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin will help them put things in perspective: He finished his novel "We" in 1921, but it didn't appear in print in his native land until 1988.

The problem wasn't that Zamyatin and his manuscript were obscure or unknown. Rather, it was that they offended communist censors, who correctly understood "We" to be a savage critique of the totalitarianism that was starting to take shape in the years following the Russian Revolution.

They managed to suppress "We" inside the Soviet Union, but they weren't able to keep it from making a deep impression elsewhere: Two of the most iconic novels in the English language--"Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley and "1984" by George Orwell--owe an enormous debt to Zamyatin.

That's because "We" is the ur-text of science-fiction dystopias: It described an Orwellian society almost three decades before Orwell invented his own version. Although the book has never been especially hard to find in the U.S.--editions have been in print since 1924--it will now become even more readily available, thanks to Natasha Randall's new translation, published this month by the Modern Library.

Reading the in-depth description of the book further down in the article makes it seem like George Lucas got all his ideas for THX-1138 from the novel.

Posted by Hube at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2006

"I don't know, sue everybody!"

Anyone an old "Jerky Boys" fan? Remember that riotous call they made to that lawyer wanting to sue for an ambiguous "punitive damages"? The JBs frustrated, the dialogue goes as follows:

"Well, would it be possible to sue you people?"
"Sue me? Why would you sue me? What are talking about?"
"Punitive damages."
"Yeah, but why would you sue me?"
"I don't know, sue everybody!"

That's the way it's going, apparently. Check it:

In Detroit, a group called the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has filed a suit on behalf of about 30 people charging that "the federal government has failed to protect Americans from the fighting in Lebanon. ... The committee is asking the court to order Washington to request a cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon."

A commenter on that post notes "Sounds like somebody didn't read the fine print on their passport..." And, nothing like attempting to make foreign policy via lawsuit! But it ain't over yet:

Three Israeli lawyers are planning a lawsuit in U.S. courts demanding compensation from the government of Lebanon for war damage to property and businesses in northern Israel.

Can't let the Arabs have all the fun, right? Still, this makes quite a bit more sense than the previous suit. But hold on -- the Lebanese are saying "nyah, nyah":

And according to news agencies, the government of Lebanon itself intends to demand billions of dollars from the government of Israel to compensate for the damage done by its bombardment. Curiously nothing is said in coverage of this last story about resorting to the U.S. courts -- you mean there's some other place to take a grievance?

Indeed! But probably not as lawsuit friendly, that's for sure.

Maybe if the Lebanese had muzzled Hizbollah, y'know, there might not be a need for the second noted suit, which would have led to no need for the silly subsequent countersuit!

Posted by Hube at 02:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Folk" Marxism

I saw this over at Right on the Left Coast and as mentioned in the writing, I too think that it's an explanation of why Israel's recent actions (and past actions, too) are continually frowned upon (emphasis mine):

The problem is that there are a lot of people in this country who are devotees of Folk Marxism. What is Folk Marxism? It's a mindset that sees all human interaction (whether economic, political, academic, or even social) as a conflict between oppressed and oppressor. The oppressors are the ones with the power (or, I should say perceived power), and the oppressed are the ones regarded as less powerful. Therefore, in interactions between blacks and whites, the whites are the oppressors, the blacks the oppressed. Israel, being more powerful, is the oppressor, Hezbollah the oppressed; large corporations the oppressor, consumers the oppressed; and so on. It doesn't matter if any actual coercion or oppression takes place, to the folk marxist, the perceived power imbalance is evidence of oppression and prevents any truly voluntary actions on the part of the oppressed. Hence the idea advanced by some radical feminists that all sex is rape, since the oppressed woman cannot give any meaningful consent. Now I'm not saying that all folk marxists take the ideas to that extreme, but they do look at things through oppressor/oppressed glasses.

In the spirit of America's love for the Underdog, folk marxists make moral judgements based on the oppressor/oppressed category. Oppressors are morally wrong, and anything the oppressed do to an oppressor is morally justified. Hence support for Palestinian suicide bombing of Israeli restaurants and weddings. But realize that the most powerful country in the world is the US. Therefore, to folk marxists, we are also the ultimate oppressor. In any conflict with another country, we must be morally wrong, and the other side is right. Why? Because we have power.

So the knee-jerk reaction probably doesn't spring from a hatred of the US, but rather a simplistic world view that shows why we must always be wrong. Heck, the folk marxists may indeed love the US, but the very prosperity, standard of living, and degree of liberty that makes this country so great also makes it (in the FM view) morally corrupt. I'm sure there are some amongst the folk marxist who get a great deal of self-righteous satisfaction that they are so morally pure that they would condemn even the country they love so well. However, I suspect most are disturbed that they live in a country that (to them) always seems lost in a moral swamp. Probably explains a lot of bitterness on the left.

Al Sharpton must be a Folk Marxist (surprise). Recently on "The O'Reilly Factor," when host Bill asked him if blacks can be racist, he answered "I think that there may be bias on all sides. But racism takes power."

Posted by Felix at 01:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Failed anticipation

While away this past weekend, I greedily began devouring my latest sci-fi book (the 4th of this summer), Robert Heinlein's The Door Into Summer. I'm about 3/4 of the way through it, but as with all "dated" sci-fi books (DIS was written in 1957), what's interesting is contemplating how the author's "prescience" worked out. The most obvious "sci-fi" aspect of the novel is the application of suspended animation. The protagonist unwittingly enters this "cold sleep," and awakens in the year 2000. As I said, the use of suspended animation is the needed sci-fi facet. But Heinlein's world of 2000 doesn't utilize computer technology whatsoever. In its place, robots have taken over jobs of many mundane tasks. But the robots are not essentially automated computers -- they have "gears" and "circuits" and -- my favorite -- "memory tubes!" Tubes! And, for example, these automatons wouldn't merely do any word processing themselves; they'd do the typing themselves -- on a typewriter!

With the state of computer technology in 1957, one cannot fault Heinlein overmuch, that's for sure. However, in Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel, first published in 1953, an overpopulated Earth approximately three thousand years in the future still uses nuclear fission as its main source of power. This is the same nuclear power that we use today, here and now! The biggest hassle with this type of power is the toxic waste products, and Asimov deals with this by having his future Earth digging deep, huge tunnels into the planet's crust to house the waste. What gets me is how Asimov didn't take the next logical step and have his future Earth use nuclear fusion, the very clean -- and cheap -- source of power that, once humans are able to harness it efficiently, will provide cheap energy for ... well, just about forever! Nuclear fusion was already an established principle when Caves was written -- the first hydrogen bomb was tested in 1952, while Caves was penned in 1953. It's estimated that economically viable fusion power could be safely utilized in some 30-40 years, maybe longer. It seems silly that Asimov's future Earth (3000 years!) wouldn't have used fusion power, let alone moved on to something even more powerful and efficient.

To be fair to 'ol Isaac, thirty years later he began continuing his "Robot," "Empire" and classic "Foundation" series, and attempted to link them all together. He made the most of the computer technology and power sources of the time, and extrapolated. Fusion power was supplanted by gravitic power sources (as seen in Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth) and human-computer interfaces were introduced.

These examples are really just two off the top of my head. What are some other "big misses" of some of the great sci-fi authors?

Posted by Hube at 09:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 24, 2006


I take a small little jaunt to the beach (or the "shore" for you Pennsylvanians and Jerseyites) for three days and nothing happens around here? Either the other Colossans (Colossites? Colossoids?) were also away or had nothing to say. Hoo-rah.

I played a round of golf at the Rookery, whose pro was the Senior British Open champion two years ago. Even though it was drizzling most of the day, I carded a tie for my second-best ever score: 83. Amazingly, I was able to card that number with only two or three good drives. But my iron play was uncanny, my chips unreal and I had no three putts the entire round. Sorry if I sound like I'm bragging, but for the occasional golfer like me, an 83 is really special!

I ran into a former student of mine working at a store near the boardwalk in Rehoboth. We recognized each other right away, too! She was one of a cadre of four girls I had many years ago who were some of the best students I ever had. This girl, Lauren, informed me that two of that four had studied abroad in Spanish-speaking countries for a semester (Spain and Chile)! Wow. They're all now done college. Small world, small Delaware.

I had one of the best dishes ever at a restaurant in Lewes Saturday night. The restaurant is La Rosa Negra and the dish was veal medallions with artichoke hearts and lump crabmeat in a lemon wine sauce over angel hair pasta. I was in culinary nirvana.

Posted by Hube at 07:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Rally for Israel

This Wednesday at 7pm, at the Bernard and Ruth Siegel Jewish Community Center on Garden of Eden Rd. (right off of Concord Pike -- Route 202 -- at the Silverside Rd. interchange):

I'll be there. (Wonder if Liz Allen will stop by. No, I guess not.)

Posted by Hube at 10:30 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 21, 2006

Wisconsin lawmakers want 9/11 conspiracy theorist axed

From the Chicago Tribune:

Sixty-one state lawmakers sent a letter Thursday calling on University of Wisconsin-Madison to fire an instructor who believes the U.S. government orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The letter signed by 52 Assembly representatives and nine state senators, including Republican leaders, condemns a decision earlier this month by UW-Madison Provost Pat Farrell allowing Kevin Barrett to teach an introductory class this fall on Islam.

Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said the letter, which called Barrett's views "academically dishonest,'' sent a strong message to top UW leaders.

"When 61 legislators condemn a decision by UW-Madison and demand the dismissal of Kevin Barrett, the leadership of the UW System operates at its own peril if it continues to ignore views of the taxpayers,'' he said in a statement.

As I noted here, I don't think it's a big deal that Barrett teaches this course. Yeah, he's a nut, but apparently he uses his nutty theories as only "one perspective" of the course. I suppose I can see how "professional incompetence" could come into play (like allowing a professor to teach that the Holocaust did not really happen), but, again, Barrett claims his "alternate" theories are but a small part of the class and 9/11 is certainly very new history, not even five years old. I'm open to the possibility that additional information about the attacks could come to light; however, nothing I've seen in Barrett's "research" has swayed me even slightly.

Posted by Felix at 01:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 20, 2006

An explanation might be nice

Check out this AOL headline:

"About time"? A little context might be nice.

A reader of Michelle Malkin notes that at least this AP story -- unlike the one used by AOL -- notes why the president hasn't addressed the group: "Julian Bond's searing rhetoric and of course the noxious James Byrd ad."

Michelle herself says Bush squandered an opportunity:

Bush could have hit back hard at the race exploiters who shamelessly accused him of hating black people and suppressing black votes and causing Hurricane Katrina.

As for the lingering existence of racism, the President could have used his platform to excoriate NAACP leftists for doing and saying nothing while liberal bigots relentlessly attack minority members of his administration and the Republican Party.

Could have. But didn't. You learn not to expect so much from a White House more concerned with La Raza, CAIR, and the NAACP than with its own base.

Posted by Felix at 03:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bush blamed for Zidane head-butt, and a comparison

It had to happen! You knew it was coming! This is no "Onion"-style parody, either. From Patt Morrison of the LA Times (surprise!):

NOW WE KNOW why France's team captain lost his cool in the World Cup finals and France lost the trophy to Italy.


Zinedine Zidane, who is of French and Algerian ancestry, head-butted an Italian player who insulted him. Although Zidane in an interview Wednesday would not say what words provoked him, a lip reader hired by the Times of London claims Marco Materazzi called Zidane "the son of a terrorist whore.''

That's pure trickle-down politics. From the White House to the soccer pitch, "terrorist" has "cooties" and "your mother wears combat boots" flat beat as the top playground potty-mouth slur for the 21st century.

Who's surprised? The Bush administration has been scattering the word like ticker tape on a Manhattan parade. Old McDonald left the farm for the NSA, and now it's here a terrorist, there a terrorist, everywhere a terrorist.

Emphasis mine. There's no need to parody this stuff anymore. Reality (such that it is in deluded liberal minds) makes parody unnecessary.

Y'know, I watched a very interesting program last evening on the Discovery Times Channel. It was titled "Decisions that Shook the World." The decisions made in this episode were by Franklin Roosevelt in the years leading up to World War II. Bill Clinton himself did a lot of the commentary.

Several times, Clinton noted that the legality of many of FDR's decisions -- had they been known -- could have led to his impeachment. For instance, FDR ordered illegal wiretapping of those suspected of being [Nazi] spies. He supplied Britain with war materiel using some dubious logic (and outright defiance) against the Neutrality Acts. And how about that Executive Order 8985 which established the Office of Censorship? (Which wasn't covered in the show.) This doesn't even touch on FDR's numerous domestic initiatives which were routinely shot down by the Supreme Court. Roosevelt, who got so fed up with the SCOTUS, actually proposed enlarging the Court so that he could pack it with like-minded cronies. (See also Hube's classic post on FDR -- and Lincoln -- here.)

Clinton noted that FDR's actions, though dubious and [probably] illegal, saved the United States and the world from Axis tyranny. He made it sound as if FDR had the country's best interests in mind, and he'd do whatever to achieve it. This may be true; however, hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Clinton also said that FDR would "accept the judgment of history."

It's still way too early to make a judgment on Bush's "War on Terror," and the actions he has undertaken (or attempted to undertake) to help win it. Bush has many more obstacles in his way, especially instant worldwide communications and a media decidedly more hostile to [any] Chief Executive, not to mention a much more politically polarized country. But he faces an enemy no less determined than what Roosevelt faced.

Posted by Felix at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dutch court: "Pedophile" party OK

We first caught wind of this story back in May; now, a Dutch court has "refused Monday to ban a political party whose main goal is to lower the age of sexual consent from 16 to 12." (Link.)

Judge H. Hofhuis said, "Freedom of expression, freedom ... of association, including the freedom to set up a political party, can be seen as the basis for a democratic society." I agree. Except that much of Europe's idea of "free expression" bans ideas that are deemed politically incorrect by their liberal elites. (See here for but one example.)

Still, it seems the court's ruling is going to do little "damage" to Holland politics. The "Pedophile Party" has only three members, and will need approximately 60,000 votes to get a Parliament seat. Pollsters believe the group will be lucky to get 1,000.

(h/t: Nordlinger.)

Posted by Hube at 10:41 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 18, 2006

We're back

After about a six-plus hour bit of downtime, mu.nu is apparently back online. I've no idea what happened, but I know you're happy to see us again, right?

Posted by Hube at 08:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Why Fox News thrives

I was watching CNN this afternoon ("The Situation Room") and there was Jack Cafferty blasting President Bush for not getting Americans out of Beirut fast enough. He praised France and other countries for being much more efficient. He invoked the government's response to Katrina. He was quite self-righteously indignant, especially about Americans having to pay some money for their evacuation.

Then, I watched "Special Report" over on Fox News and the "Grapevine" segment featured this little piece:

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is calling on the president to immediately declare that the U.S. will start bearing the costs of evacuating its citizens from Lebanon, instead of charging them, saying, "A nation that can provide more than $300 billion for a war in Iraq can provide the money to get its people out of Lebanon."

But the president isn't authorized to reverse the policy — which requires citizens to pay commercial fare plus a dollar for government evacuation — since it's encoded in the 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. That law was approved by the House and the Democratic controlled Senate in 2002. Pelosi herself voted for the measure. (Emphasis mine.)

Bush has been blasted for everything in sight (and not in sight), including "overstepping his bounds as head of the Executive Branch." When it comes to fighting terrorism, a national defense matter, Bush is a "dictator," a "fascist," "Big Brother," you name it. But when he bows to state and local governments as required (Katrina) and a recent foreign relations law (not to mention the individual responsibility matter of being in a potential powder keg of a region), the Pelosi's and Cafferty's of the world want Bush to become that very "fascist dictator"!!

UPDATE (10:03pm, 7/19): Media Blog has Cafferty's exact words from yesterday. They also have more on the applicable law the requires people to pay for their evacuation -- apparently, it goes all the way back to 1956.

Nevertheless, the US has now waived that fee for Lebanon evacuees.

Posted by Rhodey at 07:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Democrats prefer socialist over their own party

Hillary Clinton will not back CT Senator Joe Lieberman in the general election as an independent if he loses the Democratic primary to challenger Ned Lamont. Why? Party loyalty:

"I've known Joe Lieberman for more than thirty years. I have been pleased to support him in his campaign for re-election, and hope that he is our party's nominee," the former first lady said in a statement issued by aides.

"But I want to be clear that I will support the nominee chosen by Connecticut Democrats in their primary," the New York Democrat added. "I believe in the Democratic Party, and I believe we must honor the decisions made by Democratic primary voters."

But such loyalty has its limits elsewhere. In Vermont, the very same Democrat Party is attempting to not even allow one of its own get on the ballot for US Senate so as to clear the way for socialist Bernie Sanders:

Ian Carleton, the chairman of the Vermont Democratic Party, said the party's efforts to secure the nomination for Sanders is a concession to political reality: Polls indicate that Sanders is so popular in Vermont that no Democrat has a real chance of beating him.

Even though three Democrats have announced their intention to run! Democrat Party leaders say they prefer Saunders to any of the three.

That's loyalty for 'ya!

(h/t: Taranto.)

Posted by Rhodey at 06:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

No Lyme Disease

First, the scare. But my doc said yesterday that it was "highly unlikely" based on his observation; the blood test results were called in to me about a half hour ago and ... they were negative!


Posted by Hube at 05:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Old Holocaust vs. New Holocaust

The inimitable Xrlq writes: "Denying the Holocaust is an imprisonable offense in Germany, but advocating a new one apparently is not."

Case in point:

... more than 1,000 Lebanese and Palestinians staged an anti-Israeli protest at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Monday, police said.

A Reuters witness said demonstrators were chanting "death to Israel" and "death to Zionists", while some carried placards bearing the image of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Police said around 1,200 people took part in the protest at the German capital's famous landmark, not far from a major memorial to the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Posted by Hube at 09:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 17, 2006

First State Politics hits big

Dave of First State Politics has recently been interviewed by Howard Mortman, former producer of MSNBC's "Hardball," and now blogger at Extreme Mortman.

It's a terrific read. Congrats, Dave!

Posted by Hube at 02:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why they're a fave read -- again

The Hatemonger's Quarterly proves it -- again.

Posted by Hube at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush uses profanity to describe current mid-east crisis!

A microphone picked up an unaware President Bush saying on Monday Syria should press Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit" and that his secretary of state may go to the Middle East soon.


UPDATE: Here's video of Bush's comments.

Posted by Hube at 09:37 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 16, 2006

61 years ago today

Hard to believe, but it was indeed sixty-one years ago that the world's first atomic device was detonated at the Alamogordo bombing and gunnery range in New Mexico. I've encountered many people who, when the topic "first atomic bomb" is brought up, think of Hiroshima. Nope. The U.S. had to test the scary device first! And scary it was -- some of the scientists working on it thought its detonation would burn off the planet's atmosphere, killing all life!

Yes, the development of atomic power ushered in one of the scariest epochs in human history. We could now kill ourselves completely. However, it also ushered in an era of a whole new type of power -- one which, when taken to the next level, will give humans cheap and unlimited power forever.

Posted by Hube at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2006

Lyme disease?

Yeesh. I may have it. I've had a 50 cent piece-sized rash (due to some kind of insect bite) on my right bicep for about a week now, that, while not really getting worse, hasn't gone away at all despite mucho applications of Neosporin and Cortizone-10. I hit a local medical center this afternoon, and while the doc said the rash doesn't fit the "usual" rash-like symptom of Lymes, there are atypical rashes that can still be due to Lymes.

So, I got the powerful first-stage "Lymes assault" antibiotic as a precaution (and if it isn't Lymes, the meds should still zap whatever produced the rash) and I'll have to get a blood test to concretely determine if I have the malady.

Shows what I get for playing so much damn golf ... and hooking and slicing too many balls in to the high grass!

Wish me luck! (You too, Jason.)

Posted by Hube at 10:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Europe's justification for terror

What the U.N. Human Rights Commission did on April 15, 2002 according to the National Post (my emphasis):

Six European Union countries yesterday endorsed a United Nations document that condones violence as a way to achieve Palestinian statehood…Canada and two EU countries — Britain and Germany — opposed the measure, which supports the use of "all available means, including armed struggle" to establish a Palestinian state. Guatemala and the Czech Republic joined the opposing voices, but with 40 countries of the 53-member commission voting yes and seven abstaining, the resolution is now part of the international record… "The failure of the resolution to condemn all acts of terrorism, particularly in the context of recent suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians, is a serious oversight which renders the resolution fundamentally unacceptable," said Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, Canada's ambassador to the commission. "There can be no justification whatsoever for terrorist acts…." EU members Austria, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Sweden approved the resolution, and Italy abstained.

Notice that date? It's not sufficient that Americans are pissed off enough on Tax Day ... !!

UPDATE: Tammy Bruce has more on Europe's current idiocies, like this doozy from Jacques-off Chirac:

"One may well ask if there isn't today a kind of wish to destroy Lebanon -- its infrastructure, its roads, its communications, its energy, its airport. And for what?"

Meanwhile, the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat reports that Israel has issued an ultimatum to Syria: stop Hizbullah’s activity, and bring about release of kidnapped IDF troops.

Posted by Hube at 09:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2006

Opinion piece: Bring in Lou Piniella as Phillies manager

I'm at for it. Now. PLEASE!

So why not Lou Piniella, and why not now?

No one should question Sweet Lou’s credentials as a manager. Despite managing the dreadfully underfunded Devil Rays for three years, he’s won 99 more games than he’s lost in 19 years as a manager with the Yankees, Reds, Mariners and Rays. He got the 1990 Reds to the World Series, where as huge underdogs, they beat Tony LaRussa and the A’s.

He knows baseball inside and out, is passionate about winning and demands that players execute the fundamentals and give everything they have on the field.

The Phillies, on the other hand, have underachieved as badly under [Charlie] Manuel, a players’ manager, as they did under Larry Bowa, a dugout tyrant. Their play is sloppy, their situational hitting abysmal, their esprit de corps all but crushed.

Piniella has his faults. He doesn’t always get along with his pitchers and even got into a clubhouse fight with reliever Rob Dibble once. He’s got a temper, too, and has ripped his teams publicly from time to time.

But this is a team that needs a kick in the backside. The things that Piniella is criticized for are the things the Phillies need. They need passion. They need commitment. They need to pay attention to detail. They need to learn the concept of situational hitting. They need to play the game hard and play it well. Those are the things Piniella insists on, and woe be to him who doesn’t get on board.

A-frickin'-men, especially that last paragraph. I still actually watch the Phils, if not now to just mock their lackadaisical attitude and play. Bobby Abreu jogging for fly balls and missing. Pat Burrell running in on a pop fly and it goes over his head. Numerous players constantly swinging at first pitches, especially Jimmy Rollins, the lead-off man (a position he shouldn't be in). Poor base running. Sloppy fielding. Pathetic pitching. And disastrous managing.

The really frustrating thing for Phils fans is that they could have had Jim Leland (now skipper of the Detroit Tigers, and who has masterminded a miraculous turnaround of that club) as their manager a year and half ago. Inexplicably, Phils management went with the incredibly inept Manuel, who can't put three words together to make a complete sentence, let alone manage a big league ball club.

Actually, it's not really inexplicable. Leland probably insisted on having total control in order to improve the team. Then-lousy GM Ed Wade couldn't have that! Better to hire the useless Manuel, who wouldn't be a "boat-rocker."

Meanwhile, Philadelphia fans anxiously await football season, and the baseball season is barely more than half over ...

Posted by Hube at 05:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Heterosexuals = "breeders"

I suppose this post could have been titled "Why Hate Crimes are a Joke, Part 7943," but ...

In Provincetown, MA, a town considered a "model" of "tolerance" and "openness," it seems there have been incidents of, well, I guess you could call it "reverse intolerance":

Town leaders here are holding a public meeting today to air concerns about slurs and bigoted behavior. And this time, they say, it's gay people who are displaying intolerance.

Police say they logged numerous complaints of straight people being called "breeders" by gays over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Jamaican workers reported being the target of racial slurs. And a woman was verbally accosted after signing a petition that opposed same-sex marriage, they said.

The town, which prizes its reputation for openness and tolerance, is taking the concerns seriously, though police say they do not consider the incidents hate crimes.

Oh, but of course! How can you rightfully charge homosexuals with hate crimes? After all, they're supposed to be protected by them!

Posted by Felix at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sad "surprise": U.S. alone in supporting Israel

As usual. The U.N. condemns Israel for its actions (the U.S. vetoed the Security Council resolution), Europe calls Israel's response to Hezbollah "disproportionate." I particularly liked this line:

In fact, diplomatic sources tell NBC that Israel has been looking for an excuse to clean out Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon after weeks of rocket attacks into Israel.

"Looking for an excuse"?? An EXCUSE?? After weeks of rocket attacks??

Be sure to check out Soccer Dad, Daled Amos, Meryl Yourish and Pajamas Media for more.

UPDATE: Benjamin Kerstein, in Israel, has more.

UPDATE 2: Hatemonger's Quarterly offers some insight in their inimitable manner.

UPDATE 3: Andy McCarthy:

Haven't you read Hamdan? Hezbollah cannot be in violation of international law over a little thing like projecting power across sovereign boundaries. After all, they are not a nation. They're just an international terrorist organization which happens to kill across continents ... for about 30 years running.

About two years ago, the so-called "World Court" (the UN's International Court of Justice) held that Israel's security fence was a violation of international law. Israel, a nation, had no right to protect itself from incursions from Palestinians because, the ICJ reasoned, the Palestinians are not a sovereign country, so those incursions were irrelevant.

Al Qaeda? They're not a nation either, so obviously the United States, a nation, should have a legal arrangement whereby al Qaeda commits world-wide mass-homicide, and in return their operatives are swaddled in the protection of international human rights law.

Welcome to the international community. Are we having fun yet?

This, sadly, is the world we get when we decide our national security problems are legal problems, and when we compound the problem by allowing the governing laws to be cooked up by transnational progressives instead of made by ourselves on the basis of what keeping us alive requires.

Posted by Hube at 09:23 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 13, 2006

Rapper "Fat Joe" speaks to national student conference

Yet another sign of the higher education apocalypse. First, 9/11 conspiracy theorist Kevin Barrett is granted permission to teach a course which covers his bizarre theories; now, the Campus Progress National Student Conference invites rapper Fat Joe to offer some ... "insight."

One way to break the ice with a bunch of earnest young liberals . . . Rapper Fat Joe , speaking on a panel yesterday at the Campus Progress National Student Conference in D.C., took the inevitable question on how he feels about the representation of women in hip-hop.

"Y'all might as well throw spears at me now," he said. "Y'all are going to throw me out, but I think they're bitches and hos."

Awkward silence.

"But I also think they're intelligent, beautiful mothers," he added, noting how men can be dogs as well.

Warm applause.

Aww, that's so sweet! Joe thinks hip-hop "hos and bitches" can also be smart, attractive mommies! Dont'cha just wanna give him a great big hug?

Of course, if Joe was a known conservative and said something like "I think women should stay at home and take care of the family's children," not only would he not be invited to speak at such a conference in the first place, he'd be socially ostracized and vehemently condemned by the "earnest young liberals" as an "intolerant sexist."

Posted by Felix at 01:14 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

July 12, 2006

[Now former] Newark councilman does right thing ...

... now maybe he can offer some advice to Phillies pitcher Brett Myers and the entire Phillies organization. From today's News Journal:

Newark City Council member Karl Kalbacher resigned Tuesday after he was arrested on suspicion of hitting his wife during an argument that happened shortly after he returned home from a council meeting.

Kalbacher, 44, was charged with third-degree assault after Newark police responded to a report of a domestic assault Monday at his home.

Kalbacher told police he and his wife, Adrienne, began arguing after he returned home from Monday's City Council meeting, which adjourned at 9:26 p.m. He told officers his wife became extremely angry and was "right up in his face" screaming at him, Newark police Lt. Thomas LeMin said.

Kalbacher said he pushed her away, and she slapped him on the left side of his head and face. He said he then slapped her across the face with his left hand.

His wife suffered a laceration on the right side of her nose, LeMin said. She also had ringing in her ears and a cut on her right index finger.

'Ya hear that, Myers and Phillies? Kalbacher resigned his position. First, the Phillies let Myers pitch the day after he [allegedly] struck his wife; now, Phillies team chairman Bill Giles has come out and said "Brett Myers's alleged assault of his wife in front of witnesses in Boston last month 'really didn't happen' -- that in fact Myers 'was trying to help his wife.' "

Yeah. This sounds like "help":

Kim Myers (Brett's wife) and two witnesses told police that Myers hit her during an argument after midnight on June 23 near Fenway Park in Boston. Police responding to a 911 call found Kim Myers crying and her face swollen.

Being the pop culture maven that I am, I immediately thought of a classic early M*A*S*H* episode, season 3's "House Arrest", where Hawkeye (Alan Alda) finally gets fed up with Frank Burns' harrassment and ineptitude, so he socks him in the eye. The entire camp is ecstatic about Hawk's action (because everybody hates Frank), even as Frank demands a court martial of Hawkeye. But Hawkeye and buddy Trapper insist that Frank's shiner is the result of "slipping on a bar of soap," and subsequently hitting his eye on a sink. Trapper tells camp commanding officer Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) that Hawkeye was "only trying to help Frank." To which Henry replies, "By jamming his fist in Frank's eye??"

I'm not saying Myers should resign from the Phillies or baseball in general (being a multi-million dollar pitcher in the big leagues isn't exactly like being a councilman in a small speck of a town; does Newark town council even pay a salary?), but the entire way the Phils handled (re: botched) the whole deal is excruciating. In contrast, Kalbacher quickly resigned his councilman position and he was placed on unpaid leave from his New Castle County job until the matter is thoroughly investigated. The Phils eventually, after a series of missteps, settled on a "suspension" of Myers until after the All-Star break (meaning, through today).

Anna Venger received an interesting letter from a reader on how to deal with wife beaters.

Posted by Hube at 09:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 11, 2006

First Slate??

What happened? Anyone know?

Posted by Hube at 07:12 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Watch this video ...

... of University of Wisconsin professor Kevin Barrett on "Hannity & Colmes" last night. Barrett will be teaching a course that will be cover the topic of whether 9/11 was deliberately planned by George Bush and Co. Barrett just doesn't believe this was the case -- he KNOWS it was.

He claims, however, that he will not force students "to regurgitate" his views; he wants his students to "think critically." He claims "he always presents things in a fair and balanced manner."

Again, he doesn't think 9/11 was an "inside job," he knows it was.

While Hannity states he believes Barrett "might not be the best person to teach such a course (he'll have a captive audience) due to his [extremist] views on the matter," Barrett, towards the end responds that Hannity shouldn't be allowed to "spew his venom" on the air, that Fox News is the "biggest bunch of extremists around," and that FNC "should be taken off the air." That sure doesn't sound like a "fair and balanced" response to me!

I really could care less if guys like Barrett teach a course that [partly] covers 9/11 conspiracy theories. It's not a friggin' required course, so let whoever wants to take such a course take it, and make their own judgments about not only the course, but Barrett. If he proves to be unfair and a true nutjob, the course will be discontinued and Barrett'll have to teach something else. The free market at work, people!

UPDATE: David French at Phi Beta Cons has more on Barrett and UW. A university spokesman is quoted as saying "We cannot allow political pressure from critics of unpopular ideas to inhibit the free exchange of ideas."

I agree wholeheartedly. Except that universities do exactly that to ideas that they don't like. For instance, UW had to be "dragged kicking and screaming" (French's words) into "permitting RAs to hold Bible studies in their own rooms on their own time."

Posted by Felix at 03:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

What the U.S. can learn from Mexico

... about elections, that is. John Fund writes:

Mexico has developed an elaborate system of safeguards to prevent voter fraud. Absentee ballots, which are cast outside the view of election officials and represent the easiest way to commit fraud, are much harder to apply for than in the U.S. Voters must present a valid voter ID card with a photo and imbedded security codes. After they cast a ballot voters--just like those famously pictured in Iraq last year--also have a finger or thumb dipped in indelible purple ink to prevent them from voting again.

Fund goes on to analyze the ridiculousness of the Democrats' arguments against requiring identification before voting. Notable were Barack Obama's claim that the whole ID concern is moot because there's "no voter fraud in the country," as well as Ted Kennedy's contention that the requirement is akin to a "poll tax." (Georgia's recent attempts to mandate photo ID included the significant modification that obtaining an ID be free, i.e. paid for by the state.)

Fund's point about absentee ballots is a good one. He notes that "states such as California and Washington state routinely have more than a third of voters casting absentee ballots--thus changing the very meaning of an Election Day in which everyone votes at the same time with the same information." I know the US is accustomed to just about every convenience imaginable, but voting should entail a bit of "inconvenience." However, Fund glosses over a major concern about voting in the US -- electronic voting. As this site I discovered asks, "Where's the Paper Trail for Each Ballot Cast?"

An independent audit of electronic voting systems would restore people's ability to observe the accuracy of two things -- how ballots were recorded, and how votes were counted. There would be two requirements.

First, the computerized voting system would have to print a "voter-verified paper ballot" (sometimes called a "voter-verified paper audit trail" or VVPAT) for each voter to verify before leaving the booth. This is a printout of the voter's ballot with his or her votes, and the voter checks it for accuracy. If it is correct, it goes into a locked ballot box. The law would have to recognize this voter-verified printout as the legal ballot.

When the voter verifies that his or her printout -- the permanent, unalterable paper ballot -- is correct, this restores public oversight of ballot recording. (The ballot is supposed to be recorded inside computer memory also, but anything in computer memory can be lost or changed. Computers used in elections have lost hundreds of ballots, and voters have actually seen their votes switched to other candidates on the computer screen many times.)

Second, after the election is over and the electronic voting system produces its final tallies, the Board of Elections must conduct a full count of all voter-verified paper ballots in full public view. This is the second half of restoring public oversight -- the audit that enables people to verify that the computer's vote tallies are correct because they are the same as tallies of the voter-verified paper ballots.

What if the audit shows a difference between computer and paper ballot tallies? Then a "reconciliation" must be done. That means an investigation to show why there are differences -- mistakes and/or fraud by humans and/or computers.

I like #4 of the Conclusion section:

It is simpler, more accurate, and less costly to conduct an election using hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots than to use a computer system and then have to audit the computer. Everyone understands the use of paper, but only a few people understand the use of computers and how to audit them.

Lastly, the first recommendation about "better ways to vote" says this:

Studies show that elections conducted with hand-marked hand-counted paper ballots are the most accurate. National and provincial elections in Canada use hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots, and Canadians expect (and get) precise counts of voters, votes, and ballots with no discrepancies.

C'mon, people! If Canada can do it, if Mexico can do it, why not us? I think a large part of the explanation is American federalism. The federal government historically has been hesitant -- if not totally absent -- on matters of how states and localities run voting, even in national (re: presidential) elections. In my opinion, this is a very good thing for matters related only to the states or localities; however, something must be standardized when it comes to presidential voting. (Of course, one beneficial side-effect of such a standardization would be that just about every state -- and locality -- by utilizing such a mandated procedure for presidential elections would therefore also use it for state/local elections. It would only be cost efficient to do so.)

The federal government, in the form of the US Supreme Court, has already gotten involved in a presidential election. Who can forget Bush v. Gore from 2000? A major part of that decision invoked the 14th Amendment's "equal protection" clause about [re]counting ballots using a similar standard. Couldn't a similar argument be made using "equal protection" that national elections must utilize uniform voting procedures? Couldn't the argument be made (and it was, I remember, after Bush v. Gore was decided) that certain methods of voting are more susceptible to error than others?

Democrats' believe requiring photo ID "disenfranchises" voters. They want to make voting as easy as possible for folks. This is a recipe for disaster. But on the other side, Republicans should focus on more than just the ID requirement. Reform of absentee voting procedures and how votes are cast at polling places needs to examined thoroughly -- and then significant changes need to be implemented.

Posted by Hube at 10:01 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Breaking: U.S. to give Gitmo detainees full Geneva Convention protections

Via CNN:

All detainees under U.S. military custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will now be granted the privileges of the Geneva Convention, sources told CNN Tuesday.

This is the first time the detainees -- including those suspected of being members of al Qaeda -- will have the full protection of the international conventions on holding prisoners of war.

The new guidelines are to be released in a memo from the Pentagon, the sources said.

*Sigh* Can someone explain to me again why Article 4 of the Convention was even included in the whole deal, then?

Previous recent Colossus coverage on this topic here and here.

UPDATE: Jeff the Baptist shares my annoyance with this development. And, unfortunately, I fear what he offers here may become the sad truth:

I predict that this is going to have the opposite effect people want. Our soldiers are, by and large, going to simply take fewer prisoners. Despite what some people may think, it is actually much easier to kill someone than to take them prisoner. We have to go out of our way to do it. But now prisoners are no longer useful intelligence sources and are often going to be set free to return to the fight against US forces. Why risk it?
Posted by Hube at 08:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 10, 2006

Colleges: Diversity more important than freedom, democracy

From Inside Higher Education:

The National Association of Scholars announced that a search it had conducted of college and university Web sites indicated that academe is not only obsessed with diversity, but more obsessed with diversity than with arguably more important values, like freedom. The study — quickly praised by conservative commentators as a sign of the times, and particularly sad with July 4 approaching — prompted a bunch of others to Web surf as well, with very different results.

For starters, here’s how the NAS did its study: It took the top 100 colleges and universities, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and compared how many references to diversity were on their Web sites, compared to references to other words, like freedom, liberty, equality and democracy. Diversity references beat out all the other words — a five to one ratio for diversity vs. liberty, for example. The association also compared colleges’ Web sites to those of other parts of society and found higher education far more concerned about diversity.

I, for one, find these results not the least bit surprising. And always remember: "Diversity" in higher education never includes diversity of opinion or political philosophy.

Posted by Felix at 05:53 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 08, 2006

News Journal -- against Roe v. Wade?

Weighing in on a New York state appeals court ruling that the state legislature must decide about making gay "marriage" legal, the editorial board of the WNJ says this (emphasis mine):

New York's ruling on same-sex marriage surprised a lot of people. Many, including supporters of gay rights, were confident that the New York court would follow the Massachusetts top court's lead by striking down all laws banning gay marriage.

Instead, the New York court offered a series of reasons why the state's laws do not discriminate and are therefore constitutional.

The court then said the issue is best left to elected legislators to decide in the political arena.

We agree.

Fundamental changes must be settled democratically. Otherwise, the political system is short circuited and problems are not solved.

The continuing controversy over the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade case is due in large part to the fact that the court decision took the power to decide out of the hands of the people.

If the abortion question had been left in the political arena, the great political middle, instead of the either extreme, would have worked out compromises.

This sounds very much that the powers at the News Journal believe Roe was a bad decision, in that it usurped the power to decide for the people from state legislatures. I'd be curious to know if the editors have ever explicitly written about opposition to Roe.

Posted by Hube at 11:58 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Ten weeks?? Why that's too long!

SCSU Scholars notes that some colleges (and professors) are miffed that the Bush administration has mandated a ten-week minimum stay for study abroad programs to Cuba.

As SCSU's King notes:

If one really wants to study a place, you would want to visit for more than three weeks. I spent five in Egypt but would never dare say I know Egypt. I spent seven weeks in Indonesia and barely understand some of the place. If you are going to study a country, you should stay a while, learn what it's really like to live there. But that's NOT what organizers of study abroad trips to socialist paradises want!

Indeed. My trip abroad to Costa Rica as a college junior lasted fourteen weeks. That was more than the college spring semester, and four weeks less than the mandate for Cuba. And, I still believe I didn't get a "full picture" of the country. Hence, I think King is right on the money that organizers of trips to Castro's island don't want students to stay too long to get a "fuller picture" of the society there. What the hell can one realistically do in, say, three weeks? Hit the beach, drink plenty of cheap rum, smoke fine cigars and stay in nice hotels forbidden to ordinary Cubans? Probably. If they have to stay ten weeks, especially living with a host family, well, the realities of the "socialist paradise" may just weep out to students!

Ironically, I've learned that the University of Delaware has discontinued the spring semester abroad to Costa Rica, opting instead for the Winter Session trip. Which, for reasons discussed above, is a terrible shame. Winter Session lasts barely one month. It took approximately that long for my [minor field of study] Spanish to really get into gear on the way to fluency. The good thing for me was, I had another ten weeks in which to make use of it! Not to mention that much more time to explore the country, meet more people and engage in more academic programs.

Posted by Hube at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why some prefer [blogging] anonymity

There has been a slew of posts around the DE blogosphere recently debating blogger anonymity. Some think wanting anonymity is a funny joke.

Maybe those who think it's silly to want anonymity (or at least a degree of anonymity) should read this:

We all know that lefty trolls can be a real inconvenience at times, but a very special troll named Deborah Frisch has taken trolling down a very dark road. Jeff Goldstein is the very insightful conservative blogger who writes at Protein Wisdom and Dr. Frisch (did I mention she's a psych[o] professor at the University of Arizona?) has repeatedly and quite disturbing levied DEATH THREATS against Jeff's 2 year old child.

Here's a sampling of the comments "Dr." Frisch made on Goldstein's site:

[...] as I said elsewhere, if I woke up tomorrow and learned that someone else had shot you and your “tyke” it wouldn’t slow me down one iota. You aren’t “human” to me.
Ooh. Two year old boy. Sounds hot. You live in Colorado, I see. Hope no one Jon-Benets your baby. Are you still married to the woman you humped to produce the toddler?
Give your pathetic progeny (I sure hope that mofo got good genes from his mama!) a big fat tongue-filled kiss from me! LOTS AND LOTS OF SALIVA from Auntie MOONBAT, if you don’t mind! Somehow, Jeffy boy, I think you get off on the possibility of Frenching your pathetic progeny, even if it is a boy. You seem like a VERY, VERY sick mofo to me, bro.

Anna Venger, Patterico and Xrlq have more. Much more via the trackbacks at Blackfive.

UPDATE: The nutty professor has written an apology. And, she's resigned from her adjunct professorship. And, she has the gall to "feel threatened" by some comments made on other blogs about her ... so much so that she says she's contacted the FBI. Now that's chutzpah!

Posted by Hube at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Photo ID = illegal impediment to voting

Jason at Delaware Liberal thinks the 2004 election was stolen. Part of a rational solution would be to require a photo ID before being able to cast a ballot, wouldn't 'ya think? Delaware requires it (I didn't know that). Mexico requires it. Mexico actually requires the following to register to vote: a photo, a signature and a thumbprint. Al Mascitti of WDEL radio vehemently agrees with requiring a photo ID.

But not the state of Georgia:

A Fulton County judge stopped enforcement of the state's photo voter ID law on Friday, declaring it an illegal impediment to the right to vote.

Judge Melvin K. Westmoreland said, "The right to vote is not absolute as the state can impose voter qualifications and regulate access to voting. However, it cannot unduly burden that paramount right to vote. The power to regulate elections does not justify the abridgment of the right to vote."

What's next? Not even requiring registering because using a pencil is an impediment to those with arthritis?

Former (Democratic) Governor Roy Barnes brought the suit. He "accused the Republican party of cooking up the photo ID requirement as a scheme to maintain political control and suppress the votes of poor, elderly and minority voters, who tend to cast Democratic ballots."

The state issues free ID cards to those who cannot afford them. So, how are the poor affected? How many elderly do not possess one form of photo ID? (Or, how much of an "impediment" is it to get someone to assist you in getting an ID?) And how is requiring such an ID relevant to minorities?

La Shawn Barber (a black woman, for those unfamiliar with her) has much more on that last point, including:

Last year, a group of black politicians in Georgia walked out of the Capitol building after the law was passed. Walked out because their colleagues passed a law to protect the integrity of the voting process and to make sure those eligible to vote are voting. And they invoked Jim Crow, that repugnant system of government-mandated segregation based on skin color.

They fought the law, and the law won. For now. Last month the Department of Justice approved the law, but black liberals and their white enablers are still fighting it. What a noble cause!

Such silliness conjures up images of the poor ignorant darky caricature, too unrightously indignant to realize he sounds like a shameless fool, too ignorant to understand simple instructions or ask for help, too lazy to get up and go down to the DMV to get a FREE state-issued ID, too ingratiating and bent low to see all the white folks laughing at his sorry, indignant, ignorant, lazy, unmotivated butt.

Angry. Insulted. Disgusted. These words are too weak to convey how I feel about people (especially whites) who think blacks are too stupid to follow the rules like everybody else.

I’m just…

UPDATE: An amazing bit of hypocrisy here -- the NEA (National Education Association) has come out against requiring photo ID to vote. However, they require it for their own elections! As the Education Intelligence Agency says, "Fraud in a vote for a one-year seat on the NEA Board of Directors is apparently more worrisome than fraud in a vote for President of the United States." (h/t: Right on the Left Coast.)

Posted by Hube at 09:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2006

Comment hassles -- again

I've been informed that our comments are giving an error message again. I did a quick check at the mu.nu tech site and they're aware of it. (Looks like a mu.nu member screwed around w/the server spam "blacklist" and, well, screwed it up.)

If you're dying to make a comment on a post right now, e-mail us and we'll put it up in the post body. Otherwise, just be patient. All should be resolved shortly.

UPDATE (4:49pm): Comments are working again.

Posted by Hube at 02:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

John Huber of Newark writes:

The recent acts of Israel against Palestinians in Gaza are moral outrages.

Statements by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and President Bush that "Israel's restraint is positive" and "the release of the Israeli soldier is the key to ending the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza" are impotent and downright false.

There is absolutely no proportionality between the Israeli soldier's abduction and the havoc caused in Gaza by the Israeli army. Remember that a 16-month cease-fire ended because of the June 9 shelling of a Gaza resort that killed a half-dozen civilians. While the soldier is held captive, more than 1,000 Palestinians, including women and children, remain imprisoned by Israel.

Israel says it will not negotiate, but negotiation is the key. Much more is needed than the White House rubber-stamping Israel's deeds.

First, John, Israel has denied responsibility for the June 9th shelling at that Gaza resort. Second, your moral equivalence is mind-boggling: Because Israel has jailed (over time) some 1,000 Palestinians for crimes, this somehow justifies kidnaping an innocent man?? Unreal.

Next time you speak of "moral outrages," John, try considering why the Palestinians elected Hamas -- a group that has been continually dedicated to the DESTRUCTION of an entire people.

Almost equally dopey is a claim on the other side of this issue, made by Jim Ward of Middletown. Titled "Israel has an ancient claim on the lands of Palestine," he writes

The land now occupied by Israel should be much larger than it is. The root of the problem is that Palestinians (Jordanian and Egyptian refugees) don't want a peaceful nation alongside Israel. They want a nation instead of Israel. The truth lies in Bible prophecy, not in some land-for-peace treaty or violent extortion by thugs.

While technically Israel's current land holdings could be much larger than they are (they gave back the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt after Egypt made peace with them), you cannot utilize Biblical prophecy or "ancient claims" in place of modern international agreements as justification to hold lands. While I concur that no more current land deals should be made by the Israelis until there's a fundamental shift in attitude by the Palestinians, if we start using the "ancient claims" philosophy, the vast majority of Americans should vamoose from the North American continent ASAP.

Posted by Hube at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mascitti smackdown

I'm on the wife's laptop in the kitchen at the moment and I have WDEL on. Al Mascitti has just ripped perennial Delaware nut-job Liz Allen a new anal orifice. It was a pleasure to hear at this early summer hour!

Thanks for making my breakfast a pleasurable one today, Al!

Posted by Hube at 09:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

Howard Dean gives GOP yet another reason for hope

Howard Dean on today's NY State Court of Appeals decision against gay marriage:

"As Democrats, we believe that every American has a right to equal protection under the law and to live in dignity. And we must respect the right of every family to live in dignity with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law. Today's decision by the New York Court of Appeals, which relies on outdated and bigoted notions about families, is deeply disappointing, but it does not end the effort to achieve this goal."

Dean, never knowing who to pander to next, has already misstated the DNC's party platform on gay marriage; indeed, when he correctly stated it, he said it's up to individual states to decide. Isn't that what New York is doing here -- the Court of Appeals saying that it's the legislature's job to make any changes to the state constitution? Yep.

And Dean, as governor of Vermont, refused to make gay marriage law in his state -- instead opting for a civil union law! Now that's consistency for 'ya!

Posted by Felix at 09:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Speaking of Superman ...

In a related tidbit, my pal Brent lent me a copy of a recent Wizard magazine that has Kevin Spacey (as Lex Luthor) on the cover as sort of an advertisement for the article titled "The 100 Greatest Villains Ever." Superman's "rogues gallery" certainly gets its share of the count needless to say. Here's how the son of Jor-El's enemies ranked:

#94: Brainiac, from "Superman: The Animated Series." "This Kryptonian super-computer ditched the doomed planet instead of saving it. Pulling a HAL 9000 on Earth, only Superman stopped this 'bot."

#58: General Zod, from "Superman II." "Obsessed with Superman, the Kryptonian madman (Terence Stamp) turned an entire planet upside down to get at one man. You can't deny his awesomeness! 'Kneel before Zod.'"

#23: Darkseid, from DC Comics in general. "Ruling over the hellish planet of Apokolips, Darkseid has no mercy for the countless lives he has ruined or ended, his pursuit for power trumping all. Like few others, even his name is feared."

#8: Lex Luthor. "There may be people in the world smarter than Lex Luthor and surely there are many who are able to move mountains and lay waste to cities in an instant, but no one exudes ruthlessness like Double-L. And when he wants something, he does anything to get it. Luthor's intelligence makes him a perfect foil for Superman's brawn and a formidable foe to the rest of the DC Universe, but the kooky part is, he's convinced he does his dirty deeds with humanity's best interests in mind. From building billion-dollar corporations to becoming US president to obliterating Superman, Lex has always acted to make the world 'better.' Few things are scarier than a bad guy who believes in his own twisted evil. And Lex, with his money and power, is one of them."

Some of the villains included on the list are just downright funny. Here are some of the "WTF?" entries that were included:

#92: Dean Wormer from "Animal House"!
#87: "Endo" from "Lethal Weapon." (He's the oriental dude who kept electrocuting Mel Gibson towards the climactic ending!)
#80: Clubber Lang from "Rocky 3"!
#73: Biff Tannen from "Back to the Future."
#69: J.R. Ewing from "Dallas."
#61: Johnny Lawrence, the main karate-ing bully from "The Karate Kid"!
#57: Principal Rooney from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"!
#35: Roddy Piper from the WWF! (Hey, I dug him in "They Live"!)
#32: Hans Gruber from "Die Hard." (He was a cool villain, but #32 let alone in the top 100?? I don't see it.)
#27: The Hillbillies from "Deliverance." This isn't so much a "WTF?" as it is such a great call for such an obscure reference!

Others that made the list in which you may be interested (I'll try reverse order this time):

#1 overall is the Joker from Batman fame.
#7 are the Borg from Star Trek.
#10 is the Shark from "Jaws."
#11: Darth Vader.
#13 are the Aliens from the "Alien" movies.
#16 I love: The Thing from 1982's remake by John Carpenter.
#20: Khan from "Star Trek."
#29 is the T-1000 Terminator from "T-2."
#38 is Dark Phoenix from Marvel's The X-Men and most recently in "X-Men 3."
#44 is Godzilla.
#67 is Venom from Spider-Man comics and the upcoming "Spider-Man 3."
#72 is Tony Montana from "Scarface." ("Jyew fuggin' cagaroach!")
#79: Cancer Man from "The X-Files."
#85 is Colonel Kurtz from "Apocalypse Now!"
#91: Auric Goldfinger from -- you guessed it -- "Goldfinger." Probably my favorite Bond movie ever.

Posted by Hube at 01:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Biden said whaaat?

Joe Biden:

"You CANNOT go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts without an Indian accent."

Joe uttered that while "thanking a young Indian-American man for the support of his Indian-American group," and touting "how Indians are the fastest growing immigrant group in Delaware."

Wonder what Jason has to say about this bit of clear stereotyping as opposed to making a complete non-issue out of Mike Castle's "silence" on the Indian River School Board/religion case.

Posted by Hube at 12:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Superman Returns

I finally saw it yesterday afternoon. I waited a week because my good teaching buddy Brent was away on vacation, and Brent is probably the biggest Supes fan I know.

The flick was definitely worth the wait. Brandon Routh is sensational as the Man of Steel, and it's easy to see why this unknown was selected to play the Kryptonian -- he looks and sounds eerily like Christopher Reeve. But, besides that, he captures perfectly the inner and outer strength of the Man of Tomorrow, as well as the comical aloofness of Clark Kent.


"Returns" plays very similar to the 1978 silver screen offering. It takes place five years after "Superman II," (where Supes battled General Zod and his two associates) and Supes has journeyed to the area that used to be the planet Krypton. Earth astronomers had located the [former] planet, and Kal-El had to be sure there was no vestige of life remaining on his home world (or the pieces thereof). He seems to have traveled via a Kryptonian spaceship, most likely constructed by the myriad crystals found in his Fortress of Solitude. Returning, Supes crash-lands near his childhood home, and then eventually makes his way back to Metropolis. He gets his old job back at the Daily Planet, making the overall scenario pretty much as it was in the 1978 original.

But Supes' love, Lois Lane, while not married, is heavily involved with the Planet's publisher's nephew (played by James Marsden, who was Cyclops in the X-Men movies). They have a child together, Jason. But hold that for a sec ...

Lois has won a Pulitzer Prize for her article "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." Clark/Supes is a bit chagrined over this, not to mention Lois' involvement with another guy.

Supes makes his grand re-entrance to the world when a Space Shuttle launch goes awry. Needless to say, the special effects are beyond spectacular. Elsewhere, Lex Luthor played awesomely by Kevin Spacey (at right, who is definitely one of my favorite actors ... plus he can do killer impressions of other actors! Has anyone besides me seen his "screen-tests" for "Star Wars"? I thought I'd choke to death from laughter at his "Christopher Walken-as-Han Solo" test!) manages to avoid major prison time because ... Superman wasn't around to testify at his [numerous] appeals! Whoops! Just like the original flick, Luthor surrounds himself with mentally inferior dopes, notably the Ms. Teschmacher analogue Kitty Kowalski.

From here on out the movie is a cleverly updated version of the Chris Reeve original, with numerous twists. Luthor travels to Supes' Fortress of Solitude (just like in "Superman II") and takes several of the magical "knowledge" crystals from the big "control panel." Marlon Brando posthumously reprises his role as Jor-El, expertly woven in via computer magic. Lex also nabs a big chunk of Kryptonite from a local museum, to be used against you-know-who. (As a diversion, Luthor has Kitty race through Metropolis' streets "uncontrollably" in a classic Mustang so as to get Supes' attention; when Routh sets the car down after his rescue, it's a very clear homage to the cover of the very first appearance of Superman, 1938's Action Comics #1, at left! In addition, right before Luthor nabs the Kryptonite rock, you can read "Addis Ababa, 1978" on the plaque underneath it, another homage to the original movie.)

Luthor has much more in mind for the green mineral than he did back in 1978. Instead of merely using it to weaken/kill the Man of Steel, he realizes the intelligent properties of the crystal ... and plans on creating an entirely new continent smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! (Supes first arriving at this new landmass is shown at right.) What's more, the new continent is entirely imbedded with Kryptonite, making it virtually impervious to harm by Supes. Not knowing this, of course, makes Superman's first [re]encounter with his arch-enemy a not-so-good one, as Luthor and his henchmen proceed to beat the living crap out of Kal-El in his weakened state! Spacey's Luthor is much more vicious than Gene Hackman's, as he kicks and punches Superman mercilessly, until he finally drives a sharpened shard of Kryptonite into Superman's back!

Saved by Lois, her boyfriend and ... Lois' son, Supes, in a very cool scene, soars up into near-space to "re-energize" himself to save the planet. He zooms down into the sub-oceanic magma and lifts the burgeoning continent up and out into space! But, again, considering the rock of this continent is imbued with the deadly green mineral, Supes barely has enough energy to do the job, and he plummets back to earth unconscious! The sequence of Superman lifting the young "continent" is clearly a throwback to 1978's film, where Chris Reeve flew underneath the San Andreas fault and lifted it back into place, thus thwarting Luthor's exploding of an H-bomb there in order to destroy California.

In possibly the clearest "human touch" of the film, Superman is raced to a hospital after his fall to earth and is given the standard treatments afforded "normal humans" in a similar condition! Comically, needles break on his skin, and attempts to restart his heart short out those electric "heart-jumper" things (what're they called again?). Supes remains in critical condition for some time, and the streets surrounding the hospital are packed with people hoping he'll recover. He does, eventually, but not after a touching visit by Lois and her son.

Which brings me to the situation between Lois and Clark/Kal-El: The film wonderfully portrays the difficulties the two face after Clark reappears on the scene. Lois has moved on, gotten involved with Perry White's nephew Richard, and had a son. Clark still clearly loves Lois, and the scenes where the two have their first "talk" is touching and emotional. Kate Bosworth as Lois is superb -- you can feel how torn she is. After all, talk about a "step down" after you've had Superman! (In a neat little touch, before Supes takes Lois for a "fly," she says "I forgot how warm you are," which should assuage those of us -- like me -- who wondered back when how Lois didn't freeze her ass off in that slinky dress when Supes flew her all over the sky high above the clouds, not to mention up to the Arctic!)

And, don't think I've forgotten (for those who've seen that movie already, that is) about Lois' son. It's clear that his father is Superman, not Richard, as Jason had slammed an entire piano into one of Luthor's thugs to save his mother, not to mention spotted a drowning Superman from the sky while in Richard's plane. This is obviously the biggest "departure" from the original movie, and leaves many questions (and possibilities). Regarding this ... "situation," one of my favorite scifi authors, Larry Niven, had written an article over 30 years ago titled "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex," in which he argues that there's no way Lois and Clark could have a child via normal means, much less merely have ... "relations." He writes (emphasis mine):

The problem is this. Electroencephalograms taken of men and women during sexual intercourse show that orgasm resembles "a kind of pleasurable epileptic attack." One loses control over one's muscles.

Superman has been known to leave his fingerprints in steel and in hardened concrete, accidentally. What would he do to the woman in his arms during what amounts to an epileptic fit? Consider the driving urge between a man and a woman, the monomaniacal urge to achieve greater and greater penetration. Remember also that we are dealing with kryptonian muscles.

Superman would literally crush LL's body in his arms, while simultaneously ripping her open from crotch to sternum, gutting her like a trout. Lastly, he'd blow off the top of her head.

Ejaculation of semen is entirely involuntary in the human male, and in all other forms of terrestrial life. It would be unreasonable to assume otherwise for a kryptonian. But with kryptonian muscles behind it, Kal-El's semen would emerge with the muzzle velocity of a machine gun bullet.

In view of the foregoing, normal sex is impossible between LL and Superman. Artificial insemination may give us better results.

Interesting, eh?

The most touching part of the entire movie for me (and my wife) was the finale: Just like at the end of the 1978 film where Christopher Reeve is shown zooming up to earth orbit and circling the globe, so does Routh. But the clincher was -- just like Reeve did so memorably -- Routh, in the final scene, looking directly at the camera and smiling ... before jetting off for wherever. If you're a fan of Superman, especially the original movies, you'll find yourself fighting back tears at this ... moreso when the credits roll right after, and there's a line stating "This film is lovingly dedicated to Christopher and Dana Reeve."

Posted by Hube at 12:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Jersey Update

The press likes to tell stories from an emotionally-charged angle. Usually this cuts against Republicans, but in Democrat-dominated New Jersey, for once it's cutting the other way (h/t Sixers):

Barring a reprieve from the deadlocked government in Trenton, the only state-run camp for blind children in New Jersey — and one of the few in the country — will close its doors until further notice.

The newest campers, 5-year-olds with multiple disabilities, were scheduled to arrive Sunday. They already have been told not to come.

The counselors, some of whom traveled from as far as Florida to work at this special camp in Morris County, found out yesterday their summer job may be up in smoke. Along with it would go the salary that is supposed to cover college tuition and car payments.

Camp Marcella's bleak prospects are the result of a state shutdown policy that dictates that summer camp — no matter how vital to disabled youngsters and their parents — is not an essential service.

It's all fun and games until blind kids get hurt.

In the face of this public relations nightmare, Gov. Corzine is preparing a self-funded ad blitz to swing the public behind his tax hike plan. Somehow, I think going to the people on this issue when the bulk of Jerseyans think they're already over-taxed is a losing strategy. Corzine's fortune can do many things, but I doubt it can buy public support here.

Delaware, meanwhile, is taking advantage of New Jersey's continuing implosion by soaking up some of Atlantic City's lost casino revenue. (The First State thanks you, Gov. Corzine.) Even Delaware media is using NJ as a cautionary tale (though the WNJ's editorial incorrectly says Corzine is pitching a one cent increase in the sales tax -- it's actually one percent).

A list of what's closed in Jersey here.

Update at 2:12 p.m.: In the comments, Paul Smith explains the math: "It's a one cent increase in that it's one cent per dollar. But, I'd call it a 16.67% percent increase since 7/6 is 1.1667. It's an almost 17% hike in the sales tax rate."

Update at 2:30 p.m.: Looks like NJ lawmakers have reached a deal on the budget by caving on Corzine's sales tax increase. No other details yet.

The Democrat-run legislature had resisted Corzine on the sales tax only because they thought there would be a price for it on election day. I guess they'll find out if their initial instincts were right when November comes around.

Update at 2:49 p.m.: A comprehensive breakdown and explanation of Corzine's proposed tax increases by Enlighten-NJ here.

Update at 3:15 p.m.: As the deal ws being brokered, some were already patting themselves and Gov. Corzine on the back.

"Once the govenor has the belief and good faith that this is done, he will announce the state is back in business, hopefully by tomorrow," said Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic). "The governor has reached out to everyone, north and south, Democrat and Republican. We all believe this is a New Jersey issue, and we can't afford to have people out of work."

But I guess the people are supposed to afford your constant spending increases. News conference announcing details is at 4 p.m. but here's what's expected:

Two sources said the compromise plan keeps intact Corzine’s sales tax hike for a decade, but calls for a 50 percent of the new revenues - an amount that would dedicated by a constitutional amendment - to be set aside to offset property taxes. In a nod to [Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden)], the plan also leaves open the annual possibility of increasing that percentage dedicated to property tax relief, the sources said.
Posted by JakeM at 10:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dressed to Kill

Guess what fashionable terrorists are wearing this season.

Though he's a committed Islamist activist in a movement that denounces the United States for supporting Israel and occupying Iraq, Shorah proudly sports what has become the latest trend in Palestinian street wear: US military apparel.

"This is the new fashion in the market," says Shorah. "It's a show of force, because the US army is powerful. It's a symbol of strength and of our refusal to put down arms."

Maybe Mr. Shorah will appreciate the subtle irony of his fashion sense when he's straifed by an American-built Israeli jet.

It seems like youth culture, regardless of nationality, eventually appropriates the look of those that want to kill or conquer them. For instance, the LA Times was recently talking about terrorist chic in Los Angeles -- kids sporting kaffiyehs, hooded sweatshirts and flowing veils as a political statement. An interesting difference between the American and Palestinian culture is that in the U.S., a large part of terrorist chic's 'statement' is to shock authority figures and annoy parents. By contrast, U.S. Army chic has been embraced by Palestinian parents.

"The people love their little kids to be dressed in military clothes," says [Rafah clothing store owner Omar] Bilbaysi. "They want to teach the children and prepare them so they will be ready for the battle that lies ahead when they grow up."

One explanation for this difference in attitudes may be that American parents are generally protective of their children, while Palestinians view kids as weapon-delivery systems.

Posted by JakeM at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Biden Supports Sane Democrat, Endures Party's Wrath

Delaware's own Joe Biden is backing Sen. Joe Lieberman over challenger and nutroots darling Ned Lamont in Connecticut's hotly contested Democrat senatorial primary (h/t LGF).

Embattled Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman is getting a little help from his Senate friends as he tries to fend off an anti-Iraq war challenger in an intraparty fight. Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware, Barbara Boxer of California and Ken Salazar of Colorado plan to campaign in Connecticut for Lieberman between now and the Aug. 8 primary.

Their goal is to reassure the party faithful of the three-term senator’s loyalty to Democratic causes, including women’s issues, labor and the environment.

As you might imagine, Biden's position does not sit well with everyone. Speaketh Kos: "Biden is just giving people more reasons to laugh away his presidential ambitions." I think there are all kinds of reasons to laugh at Biden's delusions of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but his support of Lieberman isn't one of them. Among Democrats, Lieberman has emerged as one of the few moderate voices on Iraq. He is a rarity in his party mainly because he seems interested in actually winning the war. The party's foreign policy mouthpieces have already devolved to the cut-and-run likes of Jack Murtha and John Kerry, but Biden is right to try to save Lieberman in the primary, and perhaps with him salvage some lingering Democrat legitimacy on national security.

For moonbats keeping score, Kos has a list of who's been naughty, meaning those on record supporting Lieberman if he loses the Democrat primary and runs as an independent. Biden isn't on it, Kos says, because he "hasn't committed to supporting Lieberman as an indy, so he's off the list for now." I'm sure Biden wouldn't be worried even if his name were to appear on it. I can't see him paying a political price in Delaware over his support of Lieberman, and as he has no presidential prospects other than in his dreams, it's not like this decision will haunt him at the 2008 New Hampshire primary.

Updated and related, 1:10a.m.: Previously, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had signaled it would support Lieberman even if he lost the primary so long as he promised to caucus with the Democrats should he win the general election as an independent. That no longer appears to be the case. (h/t Sixers)

Posted by JakeM at 12:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

New Jersey: Sorry, We're Closed

In much the same way I rubberneck whenever I see an accident on I-95, I remain transfixed as Jersey lawmakers experiment in government by incompetence and cost their state $1.3 million a day in casino taxes while arguing about how to raise more taxes.

The dice stopped rolling, dealers quit shuffling and slot machines fell silent Wednesday as New Jersey's casinos closed for the first time, the latest victims of a five-day state government shutdown that showed no signs of ending soon.

In the first mass closure in the 28-year history of Atlantic City's legalized gambling trade, all 12 casinos went dark. With no state budget, New Jersey cannot pay its state employees, including casino inspectors who keep tabs on the money.

Background here. If you're in a hurry, here's a short summary:

New Jersey state government spends too much, taxes are too high and the people are sick of it. The Democrats’ answers to those pesky issues - raise state spending by 9.2 percent and then fight amongst themselves about which taxes to raise and by how much.

Or put another way:

To sum up this nonsense in New Jersey, Jon Corzine wants to close the budget shortfall with a sales tax increase. The legislature, controlled by Democrats, doesn't want the sales tax increase. The legislature wants to raise the state income tax on wealthy residents. That's right...Democrats are arguing over which tax increase is best, to the point that they shut down the state government. This is an obvious preview of America under a Reid/Pelosi/Clinton axis of taxes.

I had thought the Jersey legislature and Gov. Corzine would come to an agreement before today when voters would start to actually see the shutdown (state parks, beaches and casinoes hadn't been affected by the shutdown until today). New Jersey's electorate has always seemed detached, which might explain why they continue to elect the corrupt or the inept, often both (Torrecelli? McGreevey?). But people are taking notice. A Jersey voter (or at least resident) has written to me that, "i think it [the shutdown] is a silly thing to do, especially since AC and the lotto bring in so much freakin money."

A lot of freakin' money, indeed.

More below the fold.

Meanwhile, Corzine is spending the night in Trenton on a cot, I guess to show he's willing to tough it out in order to tax Jerseyans even more. I'm sure he thinks this shows guts and leadership, but when you're ultimately hurting people both with the shutdown and the tax increase, hosting a sleepover at the governor's office isn't going to impress anyone.

If Corzine thought this was his way eventually to a cabinet position or even the presidency (he had complained that he couldn't get anything done in the Senate before running for governor), he's blowing it. Mark Warner became the Democrats' darling because he conned Virginia's Republican-controlled legislature into a tax hike. By contrast, a Democrat like Corzine that can't get other Democrats to join him on a tax increase (which they believe is necessary) is like a deacon that can't even preach to the choir.

Depending on how much longer this draws out, it's effects are going to be felt by more than Corzine and the legislature. The NJ Republicans' nominee for Senate, Tom Kean, is already linking his Democrat opponent, Sen. Bob Menendez, to Jon Corzine and the shutdown (link). Menendez is keeping quiet, but if it goes on too much longer, he's going to have to say something about it.

Posted by JakeM at 09:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Entebbe revisited

Powerline reports that yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the daring -- and successful -- Israeli rescue mission in Uganda.

Posted by Hube at 10:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

As long as they suck ...

... why the big-time concern? North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile, which worried so many US officials, proved a bust a mere 30-some seconds after lift-off. Considering the NKs threatened "nuclear war" with the US if we pre-emptively took out the missile, Newt Gingrich's, Ashton B. Carter's and William J. Perry's advocation of just that seems to have been the result of a premature concern.

I'm curious -- and maybe better military-minded folk can help me out here -- if we did blast that missile to bits on the NK launch pad and the NKs launched an all-out attack on their southern neighbors and, say, Japan, would we be able to assist adequately considering our ongoing presence in Iraq?

Posted by Hube at 09:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 4 "small" golf tourney

Yesterday, eight of us dudes (four whom I know pretty well) got together at Loch Nairn Golf Club for a small golf tournament. It was a two-man better ball scramble format, where the duos play the better shot of each individual's effort. That's me over there at the par 4 11th hole, getting ready to tee off. Ironically, this was probably my best drive of the day, straight as an arrow, approx. 240 yds. long. (The wife and I recently got new cell phones -- with built-in cameras -- so my buddy Jay took a snap of me. Mike at Mike's Musings was my inspiration for snapping some golf photos!)

Reminiscent of Greg Norman's 1996 breakdown at the Master's (OK, I'm exaggerating!), my partner Barry and I were up by two strokes with four holes to play. We proceed to bogey holes 15, 16 and 17, and then the biggie: We carded an eight -- a friggin' EIGHT -- on the 18th hole. The 18th is fronted by a huge lake right off the tee. Barry duck-hooked his drive right into the drink. I, who hadn't hooked a drive all day (I had a couple mild slices), did exactly the same thing! I reloaded and hit a great drive to about 110 yds. from the flag. But we're now hitting our 4th shot. Barry smoked his shot over the green and under a tree. I chunked my shot, the ball going a mere 30 feet or so. We played my ball, now hitting our 5th. Barry's flew slightly off the green; I chunked another chip!! ARRGH!! We played Barry's ball. We lamely chipped back on the green and two-putted. For an eight.

Barry and I were four over par through 17 holes, for cripe's sake. On the 18th hole alone we were four over. That's some big-time choking, I tell 'ya! We went from leading to third place in the space of two holes. That sucks.

Thankfully, the "19th hole" provided some much needed liquid refreshment in which to drown our sorrows!

Posted by Hube at 09:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2006

The ultimate canned soup

I've found it.

I've been searching a LOOOONG time for a great canned soup, and never had any luck. I've tried all sorts of hardly known brands from many different stores. Recently, for the hell of it (not being a fan of organic products), I grabbed a can of this soup at a local Shop-Rite.

The search is over. I'm in culinary nirvana.

Posted by Hube at 08:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 02, 2006

World War II refought

I'm just about finished the second book in John Birmingham's "Axis of Time" trilogy, Designated Targets. It, and its predecessor Weapons of Choice, detail a situation not unlike the campy 1980 flick "The Final Countdown." A multinational force in the year 2021 is battling Islamic radicals and is now in Indonesia. A special research ship is among the battle group, expected to try out a wormhole experiment whereby a "micro-explosive" will be transported into the skull of a bin Laden-like leader. But the experiment goes awry, and the entire battle group is whisked to 1942!

The first book neatly details the prologue in 2021, and the chaos that ensues after the "Transition" to 1942 when the 21st century soldiers figure out where (and when) they are. Not only are the military aspects extraordinarily done, but the social ramifications of the time travel event are too. The military -- and [U.S.] culture -- in 1942 was segregated and very ... intolerant by 2021 standards. Birmingham neatly weaves examples of ethnic and racial tension throughout both novels, especially in Targets. For example, the second novel, which begins four months after the "Emergence" of the time travelers, details FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover's difficulties in dealing with the "21sts." The huge historical file archives of the future folk show how Hoover was a cross-dressing control/power freak, and this, combined with the fact that the 21sts have their own "enclave" in California where the laws of their time apply, makes Hoover crazy.

Even though the Allies have recovered the bulk of future technology, some of the future vessels have landed in Axis hands. After thoroughly researching the computerized historical archive of their captured ships, the Axis Powers discover their past mistakes, and set out to rectify them. Designated Targets' finale doesn't make it look good for the Allies, but alas, the concluding book, Final Impact (due out in January, 2007), will hopefully turn that around!

Posted by Hube at 10:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New Lefty tactic: Geography as bigotry

It isn't enough that among the nutty Left opposition to racial quotas is "racism," denunciations of radical Islamic terrorism is "Islamophobia," and opposition to illegal immigration is "anti-immigrant." Now, mere geography can be used to label one a bigot.

Case #1 (emphasis mine):

I see by the papers that the Republicans want to make an issue of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the congressional races this fall: Would you want a San Francisco woman to be speaker of the House? Will the lectern be repainted in lavender stripes with a disco ball overhead? Will she be borne into the chamber by male dancers with glistening torsos and wearing pink tutus? After all, in the unique worldview of old elephants, San Francisco is a code word for g-a-y, and after assembling a record of government lies, incompetence and disaster, the party in power hopes that the fear of g-a-y-s will pull it through in November.

Oh, yeah! As if there isn't any number of other items on which to battle Pelosi, but no -- "making her an issue" is a "secret code" for ... HOMOPHOBIA!!

But wait, it's gets better. The San Francisco Chronicle's Jon Carroll (ironically proving that by his mere geography that lefties are allowed to spew intolerance!) believes that President Bush's usage of the term "New York" is code for anti-Semitism (my emphasis):

Also, the name of the New York Times contains the word "New York." Many members of the president's base consider "New York" to be a nifty code word for "Jewish." It is very nice for the president to be able to campaign against the Jews without (a) actually saying the word "Jew" and (b) without irritating the Israelis. A number of prominent Zionist groups think the New York Times is insufficiently anti-Palestinian, so they think the New York Times isn't Jewish enough.

OK, Bush is "anti-Semitic" by his utilization of the term "New York (Times)," yet prominent Jews think the Times is too "pro-Palestinian"?? Let's see who figure that out, considering the Bush administration has been rock-solid in its support of Israel during its five-plus years.

(h/t: The New Editor.)

Posted by Hube at 10:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gas Hags

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Olympia Snowe have a column in this morning's Washington Times in which they talk about their bold plan to help Americans suffering from high gas prices... sometime in the next couple of decades.

The technology to increase fuel economy already exists. We just need the political will.

That's why we've joined with a bipartisan Senate coalition to call for increasing average fuel economy standards by 10 miles in 10 years.

Specifically, we're calling for raising the average fuel economy of all cars and SUVs to 35 miles per gallon by model year 2017.

This would save 2.5 million barrels of oil per day by 2025. That's the same amount of oil we currently import from the Persian Gulf on a daily basis.

Such vision. Such complex paragraph structure.

Of course, we could have been pumping 1.4 million barrels per day already. That would have cut down on Persian Gulf oil dependence too and a lot sooner, but whatever. We won't notice the difference until things come to a head with Iran over its nuclear program and suddenly tankers are getting sunk in the gulf.

So, not only is this proposal good for consumers and our national security interests, but raising CAFE standards is also good for the environment.

It is estimated that a 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by the middle of the 21st century is required to stabilize the Earth's climate. In order to do so, we need to take strong steps toward reducing the amount of emissions from our cars, trucks and SUVs.

Raising fuel economy standards to 35 mpg by 2025 would eliminate 420 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions -- the equivalent of taking 90 million cars (or 75 million cars and light trucks) off the road in one year.

This would be a good first step to protecting our environment.

I just wonder why this pair even mentions national security when it seems like they're more spooked by "An Inconvenient Truth" than by anything that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been saying.

Posted by JakeM at 06:32 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Jersey Closes, Menendez Loses?

As of the time of this writing, New Jersey state government has been closed about 29 hours. (Enlighten-New Jersey is keeping a running clock on the shutdown.) The shutdown resulted when the legislature refused to pass Gov. Corzine's budget which included a sales tax increase from 6 to 7 percent. CNN reports here.

After Gov. Jon S. Corzine ordered nonessential government services shut down Saturday amid a bitter intraparty budget dispute, the lottery and some road construction projects were the first to go.

State beaches, parks and campgrounds were to stay open through the July Fourth holiday. But should the impasse extend beyond Tuesday, they too would be added to the list of closed attractions.

Which means this thing will be resolved by Wednesday at the absolute latest if Corzine knows what's politically healthy for him and his party. If Jersey voters start having their sunbathing interrupted as police kick them off state-run beaches (state cops won't be affected by the shutdown) and losing tourist dollars because their governor wants an unpopular tax hike (polling here), even Jersey's lethargic electorate could be moved to take some action.

Corzine would probably bear the brunt of any backlash but for the fact that he's not up this election. The man he appointed senator, however, is. National Review has called the race between Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and Republican challenger Tom Kean a toss-up. When that NRO article was posted on June 29, before the shutdown, that prediction seemed optimistic to me given how blue Jersey runs. Now I'm not so sure. If Corzine has his way on taxes, especially if he only gets it by dragging out the state shutdown, Kean can always remind voters that Menendez was appointed by Corzine. Voters won't be able to toss out the governor, but his senator might make for a good enough scapegoat.

With Zarqawi gone, a government formed, and a national army beginning to stand on its own feet, Iraq is beginning to look like it's turned the corner (to those of us that don't have a vested interest in losing the war, anyway). With the war fading as a Republican liability, the 2006 elections may turn out to be local instead of national referendums after all. In that environment, and with all his missteps over the budget, Corzine rather than GWB might be the executive New Jersey voters turn out to protest, with Menendez being the one to suffer.

Posted by JakeM at 05:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

There is no molehill he can't make into a mountain

Don’t look now, but Dana Garrett is on the trail of another big! political! scandal!

Brian Moore placed an advertisement in the current Hockessin Community News that makes the same declaration: “Brian Moore State Representative” (p. 26). It doesn’t say “Brian Moore State for Representative” [sic] or “Elect Brian Moore State Representative.” It suggests that he is the incumbent. Unless his chumminess with his neighbor Rep. Roger Roy is so close that he has psychologically fused with Roy and now suffers from an identity confusion problem, arguably the likely explanation is that Moore is attempting to mislead some of the voters in his district. [Emphasis added.]


This accusation is embarrassingly idiotic. Maybe Dana would be onto something if the sign read “State Representative Brian Moore”. The problem for him is that it doesn’t, and voters with enough brain power to breathe without assistance get that “Brian Moore State Representative” means that Brian Moore is running for State Rep.

But what if I'm giving the electorate too much credit? Maybe Dana is right that they're all a bunch of morons. I mean, these poor people were probably campaigning for John Kerry only because they thought he was already president.

This is a non-issue. Dana is trying to make a scandal where there isn’t one, and, predictably, he’s doing it by attributing someone with the worst motivations on the slimmest of evidence. This is actually a habit of his and I’ve posted before on how Dana has a real problem accurately gauging others motivations. By ‘before’, I mean I posted on it yesterday, and he proved me right the very same day. Now that's some timely blogging.

If Dana had said the campaign sign might confuse some voters and hadn’t accused Moore of deliberate wrongdoing, that would be one thing. He’d still be wrong about confusing the public, but at least he wouldn't be libeling anybody. Instead, Dana decided to make a reckless accusation with nothing but his own conjecture to back it up. I'm sure we're all shocked by this.

Posted by JakeM at 02:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 01, 2006

'Spider-Man 3' Trailer

On a lighter note from the post below, here's the "Spider-Man 3" trailer. And here's a quick synopsis:

Meh. He does wear the black suit -- or a black suit; it's just the normal costume in black and white, rather than the differently-styled black suit of the comics -- and he does bond with the alien symbiote Venom.

And Sandman's in it, as well as Hobgoblin, though they seem to just be calling him Green Goblin. Which they're probably doing because Gwen Stacey is in this movie, if you know what I'm getting at.

Strangely, they introduce the alien symbiote by actually doing a very quick version of the whole Marvel Secret Wars story line and they briefly introduce every major character in the Marvel Universe, including four or five of the X-Men from the current franchise (plus Gambit and a black mutant that might be Bishop).

Don't pop a chubby, nerds. No they don't. I'm lying. Come on, how could they do that?

In the comics, Gwen Stacey was Peter Parker's first love. Mary Jane and Peter only became an item after Gwen died at the hands of the original Green Goblin (aka, Norman Osborn) on the Brooklyn Bridge.

In the movies, by contrast, MJ is Peter's first love, she lives following a fight between Spidey and the Goblin on the Manhattan Bridge (presumably saving the iconic Brooklyn Bridge fight for later). Basically, the movies switched Gwen with Mary Jane, but changed things so that MJ lived.

I haven't read any spoilers so this is just complete speculation on my part. But with "Spider-Man 3" introducing Gwen and having Harry Osborn (Norman's son) become the Goblin, I'm wondering if MJ isn't due to get killed by Harry. That final, long dissolve on MJ's face at the end of "2" seemed to strongly suggest she was in for some tragedy by staying with Peter.

No idea. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Posted by JakeM at 05:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I'm getting to this late, but the DCBA posted a statement on blogosphere anonymity earlier in the week. The post, a response to Delaware blogger Dana Garrett’s threats to out anonymous bloggers, states:

However deep the blogosphere’s political divisions, surely there’s common ground on this: cheap bullying to stifle speech cannot be accepted. If identities are fair game for some on the Delaware blogosphere, what will Dana and people like him do the next time they disagree with a poster, anonymous or otherwise? Home and work numbers put up on the Web with accompanying posts egging readers to call and harass? Maybe some digital pics of the target person leaving work or dining with their families with “Caption This Photo” written underneath?

It turns out this isn’t anything that Dana would really mind. In his entry for the “Carving Myself an Exception in the Face of My Well-Documented Hypocrisy” category, Dana shares his feelings:

I took two of the sites down because I read the writers’ claims in a discussion thread at DelaThought (now erased from the site) that the principal reason why they write anonymously is to protect their families from harm. I was revolted by their ludicrous and improbable claim about potential harm. Knowing the smears that often appear in their posts, it seemed obvious to me they were merely using their spouses and children as a pretext to cover their libels, defamations, and smears about their perceived enemies. It sickened me to see their pseudonyms when I opened my site.
[Emphasis added.]

Hey, genius, people don’t use their families to shield their anonymous blogging. They use anonymous blogging to shield their families from nuts on the Net. This should be obvious but Dana, for whatever reason, is so possessed of hatred for his perceived enemies he can’t even acknowledge they have this basic human concern, much less that it’s a legitimate one. If he can’t get something so simple, so common sense, then there’s no reason to believe he can accurately gauge anyone’s motivations. Which is a real problem for him when it comes to how he measures what anonymous speech deserves protection:

Anonymous blogging is fine, but when people use it to commit libel w/ impunity by hiding behind their anonymity, then such persons' names should be revealed so that others can determine if the blogger is trustworthy, a known confabulator, or a person with a vested interest in spreading the libel (that is a big one, as it turns out). Exposing liars is a good thing. We need more of it.

Dana’s free speech yardstick assumes he’s capable of reading it, and the fact that so often his perceptions of others -- how to put it nicely? -- don’t comport with reality proves that he isn’t. If Dana’s viewpoint is such that he can’t understand that people he doesn’t agree with have families that they love and want to protect by blogging anonymously, then there’s no reason to believe this guy can tell up from down, let alone libel from fair criticism or a lie from a truth he just doesn’t want to hear.

In his own mind, Dana might believe he’s capable of being the arbiter of what anonymous speech should be protected. The rest of the Delaware blogosphere knows better.

Related: Michelle Malkin today writes on how invading the privacy of their political opponents is becoming a favorite tactic among moonbats. Hopefully linking to this won’t give Dana any more bad ideas.

Posted by JakeM at 04:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

It's been a while, but we have one. David Thomas of Greenville writes:

America invades Iraq, and there are people in America that say it is an illegal war and occupation.

Israel has now invaded Gaza in, a land it occupied illegally for decades, and not one voice I have heard calls that illegal.

There are people who actually want me to believe that the United States has no bias towards Israel, and its actions cause no resentment in the Muslim and Arab world.

You need to get more, Dave. A lot more. I've opined on this matter enough times that regular readers know how ridiculous I think statements like Dave's are. The US should have a "bias" towards Israel, especially since the Jewish state's neighbors are pretty much dedicated to its destruction. Dave should check another Dave's (Bernstein's) analysis of international law, and how it's not a recipe for national suicide.

So, Dave, I'll say it again: The US should have a bias towards Israel. It should stand up for a democracy whose existence has been continually threatened since its inception. And yes -- this causes resentment among the Muslim and Arab world.

But it's not our position that should change.

Posted by Hube at 09:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack