September 30, 2006

Woodward

I really don't have a thing against Bob Woodward and I believe (as any regular stopper-by should know) Iraq is a mess and should never have happened, but one thing came immediately to my mind when I heard about the upcoming Woodward book: his infamous claim back in the 80s that he "interviewed" a near-death CIA director William Casey in his hospital bed. The Corner's Michael Ledeen had a very interesting tidbit on this today (my emphasis):

There doesn't seem to be much interest in Woodward's book here, and for good reason. Anyone who thinks he knows what other people are thinking, especially in situations he didn't witness—which is after all what most all Woodward books are all about—is not to be taken seriously. I haven't read a Woodward book since I reviewed his thing on Casey, which famously contained an account of a sort of conversation he claimed he had with the stroke-stricken director of central intelligence in the hospital. Woodward was scheduled to go on Nightline, and earlier that day Ted Koppel called me and asked what I would ask Woodward. "Ask him to describe the room," I said. "You know, what was Casey wearing? Were there lots of flowers? What color were his pajamas, that sort of thing..." And Koppel did. And Woodward froze, deer-in-the-headlights. Then he said he couldn't discuss it because it would "reveal sources."

He couldn't discuss it because he wasn't there. He was the source himself.

Posted by Hube at 04:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It can be "lived with"

So says Oliver Stone about ... terrorism.

While I agree that terrorism can never be completely vanquished, simply "living with it," as Stone suggests, is sure easy for someone of Stone's means. Hell, with his mega-millions he can hire all sorts of security people and devices to ensure his safety!

Ollie also said this (my emphasis):

"That's the evil that turns its mind and ears on humanity and is able to say 'I can kill a person in the name of God or religion.' This is not a human being, this a fanatic. And I fear that fanaticism is the result of our overreaction to 9/11."

What is it about cretins like Stone that they need to make a completely asinine statement just to get a dig in against the president? Does it need to be spelled out? If our reaction to 9/11 has "led" to [radical Muslim] fanaticism, then what exactly "led" to it pre-9/11?? And how does one account for the lack of a strong response leading to an emboldened fanaticism -- as Osama bin Laden himself mentioned after the US withdrew from Somalia?

Posted by Hube at 03:44 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Where's the ACLU?

Just imagine if these were Christian taxi drivers refusing to drive, say, homosexuals, because their religious beliefs denounce homosexuality:

Got wine at the airport? It's harder to grab a cab. About three-quarters of the 900 taxi drivers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are Somalis, many of them Muslim. About three times daily, would-be customers are refused taxi service when a driver sees they're carrying alcohol. (Link.)

Aren't taxis, despite being privately owned, a "public accommodation"? What if these were radical fundamentalist Christian taxi drivers who refused to drive blacks? Hispanics? Asians? Because of their ... "beliefs"?

Now the airports commission has a solution: color-coding the lights on the taxi roofs to indicate whether a driver will accept a booze-toting fare. The actual colors haven't been decided on yet, but commission officials met Thursday with representatives of the taxi drivers and the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society to continue working on the plan.

There you go -- problem solved for my hypotheticals. Don't allow homosexuals? Just put a rainbow on top of your cab with a "null" symbol through it. No blacks? The color black with a null symbol. No Asians? Yellow with a null symbol.

Hey -- I believe any private entity should be able to do as it pleases in terms of who it serves, caters to, etc., but the law doesn't recognize my belief in this regard, especially (again) when it pertains to "public accommodations."

I like this comment from Polish immigrant Eva Buzek:

"I came to this country and I didn't expect anybody to adjust to my needs," she said. "I don't want to impose my beliefs on anyone else. That's why I'm in this country, because of the freedom. What's going to be next? ... Do I have to cover my head?"

Bravo.

(h/t: Volokh.)

Posted by Felix at 09:09 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 29, 2006

It's official: Robert Downey Jr. will play my fave hero

As I discovered via Mr. Fanboy, Robert Downey Jr. will play billionaire Tony Stark -- also the superhero known as Iron Man.


The news broke last night, and hit the trades this morning – Robert Downey Jr. will play Tony Stark/Iron Man in the upcoming film version of the Marvel comic series.

At his MySpace Iron Man Movie Group, director Jon Favreau wrote as the news was breaking:

“It is true. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. I am about as excited as I can be. I saw what he can do and he is extremely enthusiastic about playing Stark. I can say with absolute certainty that there is no better choice. The humor and emotional dimension he brings truly raises the bar on this project. Get ready.� (Link.)

Yeesh, I dunno about this. I sort of concur with the commentary of Mr. Fanboy:

Really, we hate to rain on someone's parade but this doesn't make sense to us. We just don't see him as a superhero. But then again, Iron Man will be directed by Jon Favreau and will feature the oh-so-culturally-insensitive Mandarin character so who knows what we will get. Every time we think of Downey we get flashbacks to him giving blow jobs for blow in Less Than Zero. Not a great visual, let us be honest with you.

Which sort of connects with his real life dealings with drugs, huh? That image or that of the silly sidekick of Rodney Dangerfield's character's son in "Back to School" is another unappealing visual.

Tom Cruise had been mentioned on and off as a possible Tony Stark. Even with all his current personal-professional hassles, I'd rather have him than Downey Jr. Personally, I'd like to see Edward Norton.

Posted by Hube at 09:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Maybe he wins the 3 a.m. timeslot too!

The Media Research Center is hardly balanced, but I do like it when they pick up on a hilarious tidbit, especially when the subject is actually serious about it. In this case it's sliding-into-genuine-tinfoil-hatness Keith Olbermann of MSNBC's "Countdown" who pointed out the following (emphasis mine):

"Not so fast, Sidney Greenstreet. Check out last night's ratings: At midnight Eastern, 9pm Pacific, Countdown in first place in the only ratings the industry cares about: Viewers 25 to 54. Beat Fox News and Brit Hume by 16,000, beat Larry King by 52,000 -- [mimics King] 'Houston, goodbye' -- beat Glenn Beck by 181,000.

Whoa! Unbelievable!! Olbermann wins that so-incredibly valuable MIDNIGHT time slot!! ROTFLMAO!! (And I almost did when I read this!)

Actually, it's the repeat of "Countdown" that wins that time slot, beating repeats of those competing programs. In the original broadcast time slot ratings battle -- at 8 p.m. -- "Countdown" finishes dead last to its cable rivals. Fox's Bill O'Reilly continues to dominate -- by a prodigious margin -- that most valuable of time periods, although if it's any consolation to poor Keith, the ratings for CNN and MSNBC have been gaining over the past year while Fox's have dropped off a bit. But that's like bowling games of about 280+ for a long time while your competitors are notching around 120 or so. They can only improve while you maintaining such a maximum level of performance can only help but drop off a little.

And what else can the last place cable news network do when facing its predicament? Constantly trash the competition. Olbermann does it so much that if I was a loyal devotee of his show I'd be writing in saying "Stop it, already!" And now, even supposed conservative Tucker Carlson is getting in on the act, denigrating fellow conservatives (from other networks) on his show fairly regularly. Occasionally -- fine. Often? Lame. If my fave [pundit] shows (Scarborough, O'Reilly, Matthews) were doing that as much as Keith and Tucker, I'd be tuning them out, too.

More here and here. IowaHawk has a possible Olbermann "special rant" to explain all this.

Posted by Hube at 04:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 28, 2006

Oh, the irony!

Headline from today's News Journal: Philly Campus Kick-Off fits into college tradition of free expression.

College tradition ... of free expression?? Philly??

Via the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE): "Free Speech Lawsuits Filed Against Penn State and Temple." Temple is rated as a "red" university by FIRE for its restrictive "speech codes."

The case against Temple (PDF) is more complicated and not only challenges Temple’s speech code (here’s a sample: it defines “Gender Harassment” as “[g]eneralized sexist remarks and behavior…that convey insulting, degrading or sexist attitudes about women and men”) but involves discrimination and retaliation against a student in the military who appears to have been punished for disagreeing with a professor’s antiwar views.

The University of Pennsylvania, another Philly higher ed. bastion, currently has a "green" speech code rating from FIRE, but it certainly isn't without its history of restrictive political correctness when it comes to speech. Anyone remember the infamous "water buffalo" flap?

Other nearby colleges:

Hilariously, since one of the more "popular" aspects of speech codes is "anti-gender bias" speech, these colleges are just gonna love rapper Fat Joe.

Posted by Hube at 06:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Most valuable comics

The Pulse asks: What's the most valuable comic you own?

Monetarily, according to Comics Price Guide.com, my current most valuable comic is probably Avengers #57 -- the first-ever appearance of the Vision. My copy is in pretty decent shape -- much better than my copy of Iron Man #1, which is pretty lousy. The thing is, I sold most of my more valuable comics to complete my Iron Man collection several years ago. No regrets here, though.

Here are some of the more noteworthy comics I still hold:

  • Avengers #22
  • Daredevil #181 (How noteworthy is this ish? Well, just consider that a substantial portion of the "Daredevil" movie was based on it, and a decent amount of its dialogue is taken directly from the issue.)
  • Avengers #58 (The origin of the Vision, made classic by John Buscema's classic final splash page "Even an Android Can Cry.")
  • Iron Man #128 (The classic "Demon in a Bottle" finale by David Michelinie and Bob Layton.)
  • Iron Man #225-231 (The "Armor Wars" issues, also by Michelinie/Layton.)
  • Avengers Annual #10 (The first-ever appearance of the X-Man Rogue.)
  • Avengers #85-86 (First appearance of the Squadron Supreme.)

Most valuable comics -- sentimental wise:

Iron Man #78. Probably the best comic I own. Was originally a fill-in one-shot, yet turned out to be one of the most touching and poignant issues of the Golden Avenger ever. In flashbacks, Tony Stark travels back to Vietnam to check out some of his weapons systems in field tests. A North Vietnamese attack devastates the Americans, and Iron Man is blown from the sky by an NV missile. When he awakens, he discovers that both sides were virtually completely wiped out in the battle, but finds a blind Viet Cong boy who's scared -- and who begins firing at him as a result. After calming the lad, IM hoists the boy onto his back, and the duo trek to safety. Along the way, Tony Stark's whole outlook on his life changes -- that of a munitions maker to a "compassionate capitalist" who henceforth devotes his life to the betterment of mankind. Virtually guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye by issue's end.

Superman: Secret Identity (trade paperback). Kurt Busiek is my favorite modern comics scribe, and he solidifies this honor with this absolutely phenomenal offering about the Man of Steel. (I'm not a big DC comics fan, but if Busiek writes it, I usually buy it.) However, this Man of Steel is not the one we're all familiar with. This is an "alternate" earth, where no superheroes exist except for those in comicbooks! Clark Kent gets teased endlessly for his name (since "Superman" comics are popular on this earth) and amazingly one day Clark discovers that he actually has super-powers! Busiek's background story for how Clark got his powers is terrific, and when Clark meets "Lois Lane," the woman of his life, Kurt's writing takes off. Y'see, this is a love story, and it is so excellently written you'll have a big smile on your face by issue's end. There's plenty of action, to be sure, but savor every written word, my friends.

Avengers Forever #1-12. Did I say Kurt Busiek is my favorite modern comics writer? And how! This major event from the late 90s covers just about any and every aspect of Marvel's Mightiest Heroes. Absolutely jaw-dropping art by Carlos Pacheco makes these original issues instant classics. Perpetual Avengers' nemeses Kang the Conqueror and Immortus battle each other for the sake of the team -- and the earth. Busiek "plucks" some of his favorite Avengers from various points in Avengers history to be the major players, but [just about] every Assembler has his or her role in the outcome in one way or another. And, being the huge aficionado of continuity that he is, Busiek provides myriad footnotes as to where and when the characters he utilizes first appeared and/or what they did.

Daredevil #227-233. These are the classic "Born Again" issues written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzucchelli. I have some of the originals, but I also own the trade paperback that collects all of them. Miller was clearly at his best around this time, as his awesome "Dark Knight Returns" and "Batman: Year One" (also drawn by Mazzucchelli) came out around these DD issues. In "Born Again," DD enemy Kingpin discovers who Daredevil really is, and then sets about to destroy his life -- completely and utterly. Almost driven to the point of complete destruction, DD (Matt Murdock) summons the will to fight back, and does indeed just that -- and how! The Avengers (Capt. America, in particular) guest-star in the later issues. This is Miller at his ultimate best, people. If you're a Miller fan, this is a must have. Hell, even if you're not a Miller fan this is a must have!

Marvels (trade paperback). Once again, Kurt Busiek tugs at your heart strings and sentimentality with this phenomenal homage to all things Marvel. Seen through the eyes of a Daily Bugle reporter, Busiek takes us back to the very beginning of the Marvel Universe, and journeys to the [then-] present, highlighting some of Marvel's grandest moments (such as the death of Spider-Man's girlfriend Gwen Stacy, the arrival of Galactus, and the "danger" of the mutant "menace"). The chapter dealing with the X-Men for me is the highlight; a small mutant girl is abandoned by her parents, and the reporter's two daughters find her in a park and bring her home. After a night of anti-mutant rioting (featuring the anti-mutant robot "Sentinels"), the reporter rushes home, concerned for his family's safety (because of the mutant girl at home). Upon arrival, the daughters are crying because the mutant girl had fled -- she did not want to endanger the family. Like Iron Man #78 noted above, try not to shed a few tears after this chapter!

Posted by Hube at 05:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 27, 2006

Movies that make you go "Hmmm..."

"Aliens vs. Predator 2"?? The leads are Reiko Aylesworth and Steven Pasquale (who?) and is directed by Greg and Colin Strause (who?). Why is this being made? Don't know, especially given the ending from AVP-1, but for me it doesn't matter -- I'll go see it. First, because I'm a huge "Alien(s)" ("Game over man! Game over!") and "Predator" fan ("What de hell ah you?"); second, because the [Dark Horse] comics graphic novel on which the film is based is sensational. If the first film was directly based on the GN, it would've been killer. As it was, it was merely mediocre.

Caught the [brief] trailer for "Transformers" last weekend while waiting for "Jackass 2" to come on (yes, I went and saw "Jackass 2"). Looks pretty darn cool. Seems our latest probe to Mars picked up something on its cameras which frightened the crap out of NASA and government bigwigs -- and now it's coming to earth. Could it be ... the Transformers? I never followed the cartoon from the 80s nor the comic, but if Spielberg is involved (as it said on the trailer credits), I'll be watching.

"Fantastic Four 2" is set to have the Silver Surfer guest-star. The Sentinel of the Spaceways will be the beneficiary of the latest in CGI: "Noted character actor Doug Jones (who?) will provide performance and movement references for Weta, in a process similar to the way Andy Serkis portrayed Gollum in the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy." The subtitle of the flick is "Rise of the Silver Surfer." But as anyone familiar with the FF knows, SS was only the herald of that planet-devouring force of nature known as Galactus. Will Mr. Purple Underpants make an appearance in FF2? Seems logical.

Most people interested in "Spider-Man 3" have pretty much known that Venom -- that classic David Michelinie-created anti-hero -- would somehow make his (its) way into the movie. This news seems to confirm just that. And it confirms a theory I myself had based on what we saw from "Spidey 2": Since it was established that Jonah Jameson's son John is an astronaut waiting for a moon flight, the Venom symbiote would be brought back by John, and violá -- Peter Parker has his living costume! At least, that is, until he realizes just what the hell it is! Spidey fans know that the Venom symbiote was originally brought back to earth during the 80s classic "Secret Wars." The Fantastic Four's Reed Richards discovered that the "costume" was actually alive and managed to separate it from Parker. The living symbiote developed an intense hatred of Parker for having been separated from him, and hence sought out another human whose hatred for Parker equaled its own. It found it in the form of Eddie Brock, a disgraced reporter from a rival newspaper. The two "merged" and became the character known as "Venom."

Lastly, my personal favorite hero Iron Man, is slated to have his feature film debut in 2008. You can check out various news tidbits about the Golden Avenger here, and some rejected armor designs for use in the movie here. Looks like IM's "baddie" will be long-time nemesis Mandarin, the Chinese villain who mixes science and sorcery and wields the "ten rings of power." Director Jon Favreau says he'll have Iron Man's armor more in the style of "RoboCop" and War Machine. Also most cool is the inclusion of supporting characters James Rhodes, Pepper Potts and ... Obadiah Stane?? What's the deal on that last one? He's hardly a "staple," although at one time he was a pretty cool villain.

Posted by Hube at 05:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 26, 2006

As if you didn't know

The latest NEA (National Education Association) newsletter features a Q&A with Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers with César Chávez, regarding how to best educate farm workers' children.

But Republican educators beware: As Felix pointed out back in April, Huerta detests the GOP! She said "Republicans hate Latinos," and "Large numbers of the Republican Party are anti-immigrant or anti-Latino." Her "proof"? Repubs have sponsored numerous "anti-immigrant" bills in Congress. Not "anti-illegal immigrant" bills, mind you, but "anti-immigrant" bills.

Sigh.

Another NEA monthly nugget that always intrigues me are the floating statistics that pop up at various spots throughout the pages, sort of like Sergio Aragones' little cartoons in Mad magazine. One says "70: the percentage of Americans who say Congress should restore funding for NCLB and special education." The source is the National School Boards Association. I've never heard of that group, but that aside, the wording of this bit suggests that Congress has cut off funding for these programs. Since that isn't the case, we'll assume this meant to say "restore full funding. Which then begs the following: What constitutes "full funding"? It's a fairly safe assumption what the NEA's answer would be.

The reason it's a safe bet that the NEA meant "full funding" above is because in the previous two pages, another stat is presented that says "85: The percentage of Americans who believe Congress is cheating children when it doesn't fully fund educational programs." This is interesting because the federal government is the one government least responsible for education funding. State and local governments are primarily responsible for those monies. And, again, what is meant by "fully funded"? Based on whose criteria?

If the NEA is inferring unfunded federal mandates in these examples, so be it. That can be a legitimate gripe worthy of debate. But (again) as Felix noted elsewhere, consider another unfunded mandate that the NEA supports: that of [mandated] state support for illegal immigrants.

Consistency? Nope.

Posted by Hube at 07:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 25, 2006

PC insanity in U.K.

Are you a police officer in the UK? Got info on a suspected radical Muslim terror plot? Ready to make a raid? NOT SO FAST!!!

First, you gotta consult a panel of Muslim leaders!!

POLICE have agreed to consult a panel of Muslim leaders before mounting counter-terrorist raids or arrests. Members of the panel will offer their assessment of whether information police have on a suspect is too flimsy and will also consider the consequences on community relations of a raid.

Members will be security vetted and will have to promise not to reveal any intelligence they are shown. They will not have to sign the Official Secrets Act. (Link.)

Absolutely amazing. Repeat: Absolutely amazing.

If something like this finds its nasty little self taking hold over here, don't expect it to be limited to CAIR. What would stop any other interest group -- ethnic/race-based or otherwise -- from demanding the same "consideration" from law enforcement?

Posted by Felix at 06:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 24, 2006

Perpetual radio menace says Castle is "gay"

Yep, take a gander at what that endearing nuisance of Delaware talk radio Liz Allen says over at Down With Absolutes regarding Delaware Rep. Mike Castle:

"I recall the gay bars years back and how many of my gay friends saw him there…perhaps he is having a breakdown as the real Mike Castle gets revealed to the public."

Oh brother. But consider for a moment -- a breakdown over ... being gay? Geez, Liz is a committed radical-leftist. Ya'd think she'd actually want to help Castle in coming out of the closet, wouldn't 'ya? I mean, there's not anything wrong with it, right?

To quote another nutty lefty from the DE the blogosphere, this is a "HOOT." What's next -- Mike Castle is really a closet Muslim fundamentalist with a penchant for wearing neon yellow high heels?

Mike Matthews, you lucky dog. You get all the "winners" over at your place! ;-)

Posted by Hube at 05:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I do usually wear glasses, too

I am nerdier than 40% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out! What the most "impressive" answer you gave? I knew the symbols for the various elements.

Back in school, my friends and I were classified in the "middle" group -- we were good athletes and played on various sports teams, but we were also darn good students and participated in activities (like band) that weren't necessarily considered "cool" by the jock crowd.

(h/t: Anna Venger.)

Posted by Hube at 10:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The guy does deserve some slack

The promos for Fox News Sunday's interview with Bill Clinton (rough transcript is here) have been good teasers. The Right has been clamoring about how Bill lost his cool with host Chris Wallace; the Left has been uptight at the "sandbagging" of the former president.

Both ought to friggin' relax.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Hindsight is 20/20 people. Clinton surely could have done more about nabbing Osama bin Laden. But back during the 90s the Right was ragging on the [former] president's every move -- whether that move was right or wrong -- culminating in the silly impeachment.

I did find it ... telling, though, how upset Clinton got at what was a really simple, fair -- yet tough -- question. Wallace even uses the "hindsight is 20/20" line, too, yet Bill gets really fired up:

"I’m being asked this on the FOX network..."

"All of President Bush’s neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn’t have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office."

"They (Bush admin.) had eight months to try and they didn’t….."

"So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me."

"I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked why didn’t you do anything about the Cole. I want to know how many you asked why did you fire Dick Clarke. I want to know…"

"You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch is going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers for supporting my work on Climate Change. And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about…"

"And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever…"

I have to inject: Eight months vs. eight years??

I really fail to see how Clinton's anger here will satisfy anyone but the Kos crowd (and Keith Olbermann). Wallace's question was fair, and Bill could've handled it much better. This thing almost bears a similarity to the classic Dan Rather-George HW Bush debacle back in '88. But back then, even though Rather's questions were tough (and fair), it was Rather who lost his cool because Bush was evasive. Wallace, by contrast, was calm, polite and collected; it was Clinton who kept raising his voice, wagging his finger at Chris, even getting physically right in Wallace's face.

Clinton has many facts on his side. He also made many mistakes. He could easily have addressed both in this interview, calmly and cooly, and if he did he'd have garnered a lot of respect from the other side of the aisle. But he did not. After watching the entire show, Wallace was more than equitable, and Clinton came off as self-righteously angry. That's a shame.

I like Bill Clinton. He's incredibly smart, extremely articulate, and possibly the best politician of our time. (He, of all prominent ex-politicians, does not lambaste President Bush or the current admin.) But, unfortunately, Bill slid into the trap in which the GOP needed him to fall (Lewinsky). If he had not, his legacy (which many on the Right believe he is obsessed with) would be much more positive.

Further analysis: Blogcritics, LA Times, News Hounds, Powerline. (Above image courtesy Newsbusters.)

UPDATE: Did Republicans really roundly criticize Clinton for his attempts to "get" bin Laden? Ace has some interesting tidbits.

Elsewhere, Michelle Malkin thinks Chris Wallace was "terrific. Unflappable. Unrelenting. Unapologetic." I surely wouldn't go that far, but he didn't get Clinton's "foot up his hiney" either, to quote commenter dan. He remained calm, kept focused on the question, and didn't falter.

I also don't get some lib bloggers calling Wallace out for "welching" on the deal to stick to a time schedule. As Wallace explained, the pre-interview deal was to spend half the time on the Clinton Global Initiative, and the other half on anything else. It was Clinton that kept on the subject of bin Laden, not Wallace, if you watch the interview.

Posted by Hube at 09:41 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 23, 2006

U.S. Military Death Toll Now Equals 9/11; U.S. Civilian Death Toll Since 9/11 Remains Unchanged

From the AP:

Now the death toll is 9/11 times two. U.S. military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan now surpass those of the most devastating terrorist attack in America's history, the trigger for what came next.

The difference between the two events being that it took five years to kill 2,973 servicemen and women, and 102 minutes to kill the same amount of civilians.

Even so, it does no good to note that the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen that have died since September 11, 2001 in Afghanistan and Iraq averages out to under two deaths a day. The fact that it is true and that, by historical standards, an inconceivably low body count for so long a war is irrelevant. Less than two deaths per day is still too many -- too heartbreaking -- for the relatives and friends left behind.

As we acknowledge this though, it also needs to be remembered that the other side of this equation, American civilians killed at home, has remained unchanged. The Left will roll its collective eyes at the suggestion that the war has anything to do with this fact. To them the war has been a waste, these deaths have been a waste. In their minds, this latest "milestone" is symbolic of futility, another justification, or excuse, to surrender Iraq. Maybe Afghanistan, too. The fact that the five years of war abroad have coincided with five years of peace on the home front stirs not the least bit of intellectual curiosity in them. Saddam and al-Qaeda had nothing to do with each other before the war, don't you know.

For those of us interested in things like causation, however, it remains a pressing question. So why no attacks on U.S. soil in five years? The laundry list answer includes better signal (thanks to the NSA) and human intelligence (thanks to places like Gitmo), a government now cognizant of the threat that is faced, disruption of terrorist finances and tighter airline security. These techniques have broken up terrorist cells still relatively early in the staging, but apparently could not head-off a planned, Spring of 2003 al-Qaeda subway bombing meant to rival 9/11 in scale. The New York Times was spared running a front-page photo of oily smoke rising from beneath Manhattan like a funeral pyre only because al-Qaeda itself canceled the operation.

It appears then that the lack of domestic attacks is not merely that we're getting better at detecting them, but also that they have been less inclined to attack us directly. Again, why? Probably because of the spectacular violence and unpredictability of America's response to domestic attacks.

The attack here, unlike the train bombings in Spain, united the public around a hawkish policy. This lead directly to the invasion of Afghanistan, and also made the American public willing to support the invasion of Iraq a year and a half after September 2001. As liberals like to point out, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. True, but this country's adversaries and those they support witnessed that in its anger, America can and will strike out at enemies regardless of whether they were behind an attack on American soil, or were merely glad it happened. It established the credible threat of what America would do if hit again at home. This threat, in turn, seems to have created a deterrent effect.

Are there other reasons than a supposed deterrent that might explain the lack of attacks here? I don't think so. You would have to believe either that our domestic counter-terrorism is comprehensive, something that the subway bombing plot revealed it is not, or that terrorist groups that gleefully behead people in Iraq have decided to not attack the U.S. at home out of a renewed sense of fair play.

Granted, there is no telling how long this deterrence will exist. Tomorrow, a lone cell could take matters into its own hand, or next year Iran's president may wish to speed up the Hidden Imam's arrival. Uncertainty in the nature of the threat. But for half a decade it has held, and that's why it has taken five years for military deaths to reach the number of 9/11 dead, as opposed to ten or twenty years to reach those lost in both 9/11 and what could have followed. Those that have died in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere did so to buy us these safe few years. The Left may believe it otherwise, but these deaths were not wastes.

Posted by JakeM at 01:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 22, 2006

"300" Trailer

Well, as of yesterday the trailer for "300", a movie based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name, had been available here. Apparently, Warner Bros. caught wind of it and had the trailer pulled. But from what I saw in the trailer before it was shut down, the movie appears faithful to Miller's history of the Battle of Thermopylae, at least in its stylized, almost surreal, cinematography and costumes. Much like "Sin City", another movie adaption of a Miller comic book, many of the trailer's lines and scenes were transfered almost verbatim from page to film. Still, I did notice some telling differences.

The big one was the scene where the Persian envoy cries out, "This is madness!" as Leonidas prepares to execute him, to which the Spartan king says, "This is Sparta." Unlike the comic where Leonidas casually commits this act of war without any counsel, in the movie he looks to his queen as though weighing the decision, or perhaps apologizing for the choice he has already made in his mind. She in turn, looking pained like she knows this moment may mean the death of her country and her husband, nods slightly. It was just a few seconds, but at least in the limited space of the trailer that nod carried a lot of importance. She is not commanding Leonidas to begin the war, but saying, "It's okay, and I understand why you are doing this, and it's the right thing to do." We get to the same place as in the comic – death, honor, war and so on – but I like that additional humanization.

A few predictions:

(1) Being a film about ancient Greece, there will be a mini-controversy on whether the film is too gay or not gay enough.

(2) Radical Muslims will interpret the film as offensive and bigoted even though the film is set about 1,000 years before Muhammad's birth. The fact that "300" will depict Western civilization selfishly defending itself from a threat borne via the Middle East will be cause enough for outrage. In a convergence which will surprise no one, parts of the left-wing blogosphere will also accuse the film of being racist.

(3) By the time it comes out in March of 2007, the Iranian nuclear program will have further metastasized, and phrases such as "too late to stop" will start to be used in reference to it. There will be a growing realization among the American public that it has to be stopped, one way or another, as well as a realization the UN intends to do exactly nothing about it. Assuming Democrats win control of the House, the United States will follow the UN's lead. Ticket sales for "300" will soar as American movie-goers escape into a cinematic fantasy where leaders are able to recognize the value of Western civilization, speak forcefully in favor of it, and actually do something in its defense.

(h/t Ace)

Bonus Comic Movie Trailer Commentary

It's been out for a while, but here's the trailer for the upcoming "Ghost Rider" flick. It stars Nicholas Cage as a troubled, carnie stuntman by day and a crime-fighting, Satan-on-a-motorcycle by night. I'm a GR fan, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about the movie. Basically, we've got an A-List actor playing a second-tier Marvel Comics character. I seem to recall seeing that combination before, and it didn't work very well.

Posted by JakeM at 11:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2006

The two faces of Venezuela

First there's the idiot to the left, who no one should think represents your average Venezuelan (especially when the dope holds up a book by Noam Chomsky). In case you haven't heard, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez called George Bush "the Devil" in front of the entire United Nations General Assembly today:

"The devil came here yesterday. Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.�

"He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world." Chavez, after calling Bush a devil, said he thinks Bush needs a psychiatrist. “I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday’s statement by the president of the United States,�

Cheeyeah. OK, Hugo 'ol pal. Enjoy your tenure as prez, 'cause they sure are numbered. Those poll numbers ain't lookin' too good, are they?

Folks, if you want to enjoy a true representative of the Venezuelan people and their culture, I present to you (once again) Los Amigos Invisibles:

You can guess what date is on my calendar.

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

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Our winner this week is Dorothy Sherman of Elkton, MD who ratchets up the hyperbole to the "danger" level:

If George Bush succeeds in his plan to turn justice over to the military, how long before his friends find ways to trump up criminal charges against his enemies that are as thinly disguised as this blatant attempt at a military coup?

Halliburton is running this country. If we don't wake up and try Bush, Dick Cheney and those in the shadows at Halliburton for treason, we might as well start looking for driftwood on which to escape, like cowardly rats leaving a sinking ship of state.

You just gotta love liberal "logic." First they'll point out how the military "despises" Bush, Cheney and co. for throwing them into Iraq "with no plan," and how military recruitment has gone down the crapper. Now, they think Bush's rationale behind terrorist internment and interrogation is merely the first step in a military coup! But there's a problem -- how do the civilian leaders of the country establish a military coup? "Commander-in-Chief" is just a title, one of many the president has. A military coup is established by -- surprise! -- the military!!

And, of course, there's 'ol "treasonous" Halliburton. Maybe Dot can fill us in on just what is so treasonous about that company other than its past affiliation with the vice-president. Ah, but for tinfoil hat/nutjob lefties, that's all that's needed, right?

Posted by Hube at 04:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 19, 2006

Damned if you do ... part 7302

... regarding gas prices.

Posted by Hube at 08:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Heh

Check out this photo of Bill Clinton and 20 liberal bloggers -- via La Shawn Barber -- at a pow-wow in Harlem.

Um, what's missing?

If you guessed right, you may ask "But Hube -- big deal! Aren't conservatives always telling us that that sort of 'bean counting' shouldn't matter?"

That's right. It doesn't matter. (Or at least shouldn't.) But again -- these are liberals. In Harlem. And it's they who care about the "bean counting"!

Posted by Hube at 08:52 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

New blog "carnival"

My boy Avi Green of Tel-Chai Nation and Four Color Media Monitor has started up the latest blog "carnival" -- the Comic Book Carnival. You know this is right up my alley; if you have even a passing interest in "four color" adventure books, check it out. Or better yet, submit something!

The first edition will be Sept. 30.

Posted by Hube at 05:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 17, 2006

Self-defense = violation of human rights, according to U.N.

I had read some spooky stories about how inflicting harm on an attacker (in the UK) can lead to charges ... against the attackee. Here's some confirmation of this inane idea (emphasis mine):

Finally, the woman's use of gun violence against the man was also a human rights violation. This gun violence was also accountable as a human rights violation by the State of Florida. According to the Frey Standards adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, self-defense is not a human right. Rather, "When small arms and light weapons are used for self-defence, for instance, unless the action was necessary to save a life or lives and the use of force with small arms is proportionate to the threat of force, self-defence will not alleviate responsibility for violating another’s right to life." (Para. 26). Moreover, "Because of the lethal nature of these weapons and the jus cogens human rights obligations imposed upon all States and individuals to respect the right to life, small arms and light weapons may be used defensively only in the most extreme circumstances, expressly, where the right to life is already threatened or unjustifiably impinged." Under international law, a jus cogens standard supersedes any contrary rule. The constitutions of the United States and of Florida, as well as numerous human rights treaties ratified by the United States, recognize the government's obligation not to take life unjustifiably. As the Frey Report details, a government's failure to enact sufficiently stringent gun control laws (discussed in item 2, above) and to enact sufficiently stringent restrictions on self-defense constitute a governmental failure to exercise due diligence, and consequently a violation of the right to life.

How 'bout that? Think this is far-fetched? The US Supreme Court has already begun to utilize international law in interpreting our own Constitution, and has recently substituted its own opinion of [the international] Geneva Convention over that of the explicit wording of the treaty. Now, we see that the UN Human Rights Council thinks very little of [legal] gun ownership ... and the right of self-defense, especially when lethal force is used.

Just imagine how ludicrous this can be: It's 3am, and you hear someone breaking into your house. There's no yelling of "Police!!" or anything. You grab your gun, and yell "Who's there? What do you want?" You hear things breaking all over and you slowly go downstairs to approach the intruder. You see a man in a mask wielding a baseball bat. He turns towards you and lunges. You fire your gun, killing him. According to the UN Human Rights Council, you just committed a "human rights violation" because you did not use "proportionate" force against the intruder. (He "only" had a baseball bat, while you had a gun.)

Yet another reason to laugh hysterically at the United Nations, especially at its "Human Rights" Council which presently includes those paragons of human rights Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Posted by Hube at 07:55 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 16, 2006

"Not my fault" lame story of the week

Rosalie Hargroves leaves her five year old son in the car "to make a 'quick' phone call." During that time, a repo guy snatches her car. But there's a problem: the five year old is still in the car!!

The repo man claims he never saw the boy and is quite upset about the whole deal (so much so that he had to go to the hospital while being questioned by police). Hargroves doubts that he couldn't have seen the boy.

Who's to blame? Let's see: Hargroves claims "she normally paid $50 a week (on the car) but had fallen a month behind when she left her previous job in July." Hmm. A mere month behind?? Who the hell repos a car after a mere month's worth of late payment? That comes off as a phony statement. Strike #1 on Ms. Hargroves. Next, how "quick" was that phone call? Good repo guys are fast, but not that fast. What kind of parent leaves their five year old in the car for as long as it would take a repo guy to do his thing? (It was five to ten minutes according to Hargroves.) Strike #2.

Ron Roberts is the repo guy. Repo men are supposed to be as thorough as possible, and quickness is their first motive. It does seem a bit incredulous that Roberts couldn't have seen Hargroves' boy in the back seat (it was daytime) -- if the child was indeed in a booster seat as Ms. Hargroves claims. In addition, repo guys usually knock on the non-paying customer's door first, to inform them of the repossession. Clandestinely snatching a car is supposed to be a last resort due to the previous "repo-informing" leading to a possible confrontation. It's not noted if Roberts had made that attempt previously. If he didn't, swiping the car without at least an attempt at notifying Hargroves seems out of line. But still, as the police note in the article, repo men are not obligated to search a car before repossessing it.

Conclusion: The whole situation would not have happened if 1) Hargroves paid her bill and/or requested that the finance co. work with her while she had financial difficulty. (She claims she did call the co. to inform them she was making a payment; if this was the first time she had run into $$ trouble and hence, her payments, it is hard to believe that her car was repo'd so quickly. Again, repossession of a car occurs usually after multiple instances of non-payment and/or refusal to work with the co. on a new payment plan.); and 2) if she did not leave her five year old boy in the car for her "brief" phone call. People usually know if a repossession is in the cards, so leaving your vehicle unattended -- with your child in it -- during this time is purely dimwitted.

Full Disclosure: I worked in a collections dept. for almost two years, so I'm fairly acquainted with how collections and repossessions work.

Posted by Hube at 07:35 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Why all the fuss??

There's been a lot of furor in the MSM lately about President Bush wanting to clearly define the relevant portions of the Geneva Conventions relating to terror detainees. Specifically, certain GOP bigwigs like Colin Powell and John McCain are against allowing coreced interrogations of terrorists because they'd violate the Conventions, and the US Supreme Court has recently ruled (wrongly, in my view, and against the specific wording of the treaty) that Article 3 applies to terrorists -- not just POWs (prisoners of war).

The president’s measure would go further than the Senate package in allowing classified evidence to be withheld from defendants in terrorist trials, using coerced testimony and protecting U.S. interrogators against prosecution for using methods that violate the Geneva Conventions.

And that's just it -- they wouldn't violate the GC if the SCOTUS had actually examined the specific wording of the Convention. (This, not to mention that Article 4 of the GC specifically denotes who is not covered by the Convention -- like TERRORISTS.) So, the president is seeking specific, legalized wording to distinguish "torture," "coerced interrogations," etc.

People like Powell and McCain are worried. They're worried about US troops being tortured and abused because they feel other countries would do what the US [may] do by "redefining" what the Conventions mean:

Powell, Bush's previous secretary of state, said in a letter to McCain that Bush’s proposal to redefine the Geneva Conventions would encourage the world to “doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism” and “put our own troops at risk.”

But would such a "redefinition" put our troops at risk? Rich Lowry of National Review shares an email he received which notes ... US enemies have never followed the Geneva Convention in over 80 years!! (My emphasis.)

An argument of administration critics is that we are putting American soldiers at risk by treating al Qaeda as outside the Convention. A reader asks: "Why doesn't anyone mention the obvious? NO American adversary in war has followed the Geneva Convention in 84 years! Last night I watched Jonathan Turley portentously tell Jeff Greenfield that we dare not be legalistic in our interpretation of the Convention—after all, we needed it, our soldiers depended on it, so we should not really be too assertive or argumentative about our rights.

“But can Jonathan Turley or anyone else name one enemy of the United States in a war since 1918 (declared or not) that has followed the Geneva convention? The answer is no, because there aren't any—not Nazi Germany (see the Battle of the Bulge for starters), not Japan (which didn't even sign it), not North Korea or Red China (real undiluted torture), not the Vietcong or North Vietnam (the same), not Iran in the hostage crisis, and certainly not Iraq. Everyone of these countries egregiously violated the Convention in dealing with our soldiers and diplomats. OUR ENEMIES HAVE NOT FOLLOWED THE GENEVA CONVENTION SINCE THE KAISER. How is it possible to overlook this while piously genuflecting in the direction of Switzerland?"

I, like many other Americans, greatly respect Colin Powell and John McCain. But as Ryan over at Jokers to the Right once [correctly] stated in a debate about McCain, his Vietnam POW experiences do not make his opinions above reproach. McCain is wrong in this case. Further, the MSM is clearly all too gleeful to inform how these two (and other) military "experts" are dissenting from the administration. It is a "big deal" and "we should listen" to them. Well, yes, we should listen to what they have to say. But that doesn't mean they're right. And, as someone wrote recently (I can't remember where I saw it), when was the last time you read or viewed in the MSM where they referred to Bush and Cheney as "energy experts" and that their experience in this field should be highly regarded? Answer: You haven't.

Ultimately, this is what happens when judges substitute their opinions above clearly written law, international or national. The SCOTUS did so recently in their "reading" of Geneva, just as they have numerous times in "reading" our own Constitution. As a result, the president is seeking the approval he is required to get so as to clearly define "torture" and necessary-for-the war on terror "coerced interrogation."

UPDATE (9/17 at 5:13pm): See what I mean?

Posted by Hube at 01:43 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 15, 2006

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Bill Knox of Wilmington thinks Beau Biden has the necessary experience to become the state's attorney general. But is this really what will lead Bill to vote for Beau in November? Doubtful. Check it:

I have been voting since 1974. Since the Reagan era I rarely have voted for Republicans because of the extreme right-wing Christian influence. I was going to make an exception this year and vote for Ferris Wharton.

Can you imagine someone writing "Since the Johnson era I rarely have voted for Democrats because of the extreme left-wing ethnic minority influence"? But, of course, Knox's sentence is politically and socially acceptable!

But what about Wharton?

But the state convention with its "Beau doesn't know" chant, talk of a state constitutional amendment to have only lawyers with 10 years' experience allowed to run for attorney general, and letters to the editor saying Beau Biden has no experience have turned me off.

Oh, I get it. Pointing out the vast disparity in experience between the two candidates, and favoring an amendment which would mandate a significant amount of said experience before being permitted to run for AG is a "turn off." Wow.

Then there's this bit of cognitive dissonance:

I do think the attorney general's race is just a stepping stone for Biden to eventually run for his father's Senate seat. I despise the American political aristocracy. Just take a look at what is occupying the White House to see how well this is working. But I intend to vote for Beau Biden this year.

This, that, this ... BUT.

"Great" argument there, Bill. Sure persuaded me to check that "X" next to Beau's name come November.

Posted by Hube at 05:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 14, 2006

Enter the U.S. illegally, fine. Catch serial rapist in Mexico -- go to jail.

How 'bout that? Duane "Dog" Chapman, famous bounty hunter, was arrested by US Marshalls today and faces possible extradition to Mexico for his illegal-in-Mexico nabbing of Max Factor heir Andrew Luster three years ago.

Amazing, isn't it? Millions of Mexicans enter the US illegally and we're told that they aren't criminals, just want a better life for themselves, and these illegals even protest in major American cities to demand the same rights as everyone else. They rarely if ever go to jail; indeed, they're set free upon "promising" to return for a hearing at a later date (if they're caught, that is).

Chapman performed quite a public sevice by apprehending Luster. Luster is a serial rapist, after all. But he now may be extradited and see jail time. If I were Chapman, I'd utilize many of the same arguments that illegal Mexican immigrants in the US use: I benefit society, I do a job that no one else wants to do, I'm just trying to make my and everyone else's life better. Maybe Chapman can also organize protests in Mexico City, Tijuana and Monterrey to lobby Mexican lawmakers about making bounty hunting legal south of the border.

Just a thought, anyway ...

Posted by Felix at 05:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 13, 2006

Like, they have to ask??

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to the major networks the other day requesting -- get this -- fairness in their coverage of national security issues (my emphasis):

Until now, there has been a complete absence of balance in the news coverage of national security issues. Over the last month as campaign efforts have begun in earnest, according to Media Matters (!!), there have been 64 percent more conservatives appearing on the Sunday news shows than Democrats. In a speech that was supposed to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, last night President Bush was given almost 20 minutes of primetime coverage on all major networks for a speech that continued to inaccurately link 9/11 to the war in Iraq.

Congressional Democrats have a wealth of experience, authority, and the ideas as to how we could better secure our nation, combat terrorism, and ensure a significant transition in Iraq. House and Senate leaders hold frequent press conferences and briefings on a wide variety of national security issues ranging from Iraq to border security to the state of our military readiness. Most of these receive scant coverage, even when offering specific alternatives to Administration policies.

In order to provide the American people with complete information to make the best choices come Election Day, we ask that you commit your network to providing fair and equitable coverage to the viewpoints of both Republicans and Democrats on these crucial national security debates.

Boy, either Democrats have really lost it or they really think they're in trouble come November. To think that Democrats don't get a fair shake ... in the mainstream media? This has to be the laugher of the new millenium! And quoting Media Matters?? Can you imagine the heaps of scorn Keith Olbermann and co. would be tossing on Republican Congressional leaders if they quoted the Media Research Center in a letter requesting that the MSM be fair to Republicans?

The Democrats have a great chance to win back Congress this Novermber. Why do they continually engage in actions which damage their chances?

Posted by Rhodey at 04:09 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 12, 2006

You knew it was too good to be true

"There is a great story in a movie, a conspiracy by a group of people in the American administration who have an agenda and who used 9/11 to further that agenda. There could be a "fascinating project [on] what happened after Sept. 11."

Who said the above? Why, none other than Oliver Stone, creator of the recent non-political film "World Trade Center."

Stone further claimed that President Bush used "the crisis to stoke fear and bolster his own power at home in a way that was 'right out of George Orwell.'"

Hmm. I wonder what's more misused these days -- the name of Adolph Hitler or that of George Orwell?

Posted by Hube at 05:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How Delaware Liberal "celebrated" 9/11

OK, maybe it isn't completely fair to characterize it that way, but consider what Jason had the cojones to say on 9/11:

While reasonable people can disagree about whether or not George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, nobody disputes the fact that he wanted a "pearl harbor" type event to happen in order to create a pretext for attacking Iraq.

I never got a reasonable explanation in the comments there as to how "reasonable" people can disagree about whether Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Oh, we're told that the administration had that PDB which warned "of an attack," and then Jason and co. went off on the usual completely irrelevant tangents about how bad Bush is, yada yada yada.

How pathetic is it that DE Liberal can hang out there (much like DNC Chair Howard Dean once did) that Bush may have had prior knowledge of the attack on September 11. Even Delaware's biggest nutty lefty blogger doesn't subscribe to that hardcore tinfoil hat conspiracy theory.

We've all seen how Bush hatred can be taken to seriously asinine extremes; add Delaware Liberal to that [growing] group.

Posted by Hube at 05:04 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 11, 2006

September 11 Tribute

(Note: This post will remain as the top post through September 11.)

As you can see to the right, we're giving tribute to Michael Hardy Edwards, one of the 2,996 who perished on that fateful September day.

Michael, of New York, NY, was a managing director of Sandler O'Neil and Partners at the World Trade Center. His wife, Jackie, wrote these touching words in remembrance:

To the man that taught me how to laugh uncontrollably, love unconditionally, & "to always look at the glass as half full". Thank you for being such a great friend, man & most improtant husband to me. I love & miss you terribly.

Bye for now...

Posted by Hube at 08:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

T-shirt

Got my spankin' new "United We Stand, Educated We Understand" shirt today. Fully embroidered, it is an awesome buy at $19.99. You can read about the entrepreneur, David Jackson, the creator of Partnerships for Global Education, here.

You can e-mail Mr. Jackson here and let him know you'd like a shirt.

Posted by Hube at 05:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 10, 2006

Goin' back to Cali -- again

Candace de Russy reports on a Muslim effort to "tone down [textbook] lessons on terrorism carried out with religious motivation.” She mentions the views of Gil Sewall, president of the American Textbook Council, who I had the pleasure of meeting once when I was a member of the Delaware Textbook Assessment Committee (DeTAC). He says current texts aren't “calling attention to radical Islam as they should.”

Well, of course! In California, a proposed bill wants teaching materials to not portray any group "negatively."

I wonder if Cali textbooks "tone down" things like the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the philosophy of Manifest Destiny? Nah, probably not because ... well, you know why.

Posted by Hube at 09:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hello!!?? The Prime Directive?

I don't think I've ever read an article about a subject in which the author is so completely devoid of any knowledge of it. Right from the title, the author completely misrepresents a major cultural icon -- Star Trek. The title? "To boldly go and interfere."

In a word: HUH?

TODAY IS THE 40th anniversary of the first Star Trek episode broadcast on American television. And while we Trekkies will dutifully be honouring the birthday of this often hammy, frequently absurd but nonetheless compelling show, it is also an occasion for lamentation, a time to reflect on the baleful effect the programme has had on the American mindset — namely Star Trek’s message of liberal imperialism, a philosophy that uncannily has since been realised in real life.

"We Trekkies"? It's obvious the author ain't one. Whatsoever. The equation of modern America to Trek's United Federation of Planets is simply ludicrous. While it surely can be argued that the United States [currently] is needlessly interfering in the affairs of other nations, the UFP's (or, more specifically, Starfleet's) Prime Directive is the main guiding principle behind the exploring starships' exploits. Its whole tenet is NON-interference. One of my favorite Next Generation episodes is "First Contact," where we're witness to the Enterprise revealing themselves to a recently warp-capable planet. The planet's inhabitants are fairly xenophobic, but many of its leaders are more rational. The world's "president" asks Captain Picard in one scene "... and what if I ask you to leave -- and never return?" To which Picard responds, "Then we will leave -- and never return." How is this "liberal imperialism"?

Thanks to a process of osmosis from perennial reruns, Star Trek has propagated the belief that it is proper to interfere in other societies, that it is America’s duty to assume the role of (inter-)world policeman, and to correct the errant ways of other cultures — for their own good.

Completely and utterly wrong! The total opposite is true.

Entire episodes (in all Trek series) were devoted to the implications of interfering in the affairs of other worlds, and the overwhelming majority were negative; that is, interference by the UFP was depicted as wrong. Even when the interference was due to an accident, attempts were made by Starfleet to correct the "cultural damage" as much as possible. One such instance -- again, in Next Generation, my favorite Trek incarnation -- happened in "Who Watches the Watchers?" Starfleet had been clandestinely observing a primitive Vulcan-like race, but through some technological mishap, their presence is revealed to a small town's inhabitants. The natives come to believe that Capt. Picard and his crew are "gods," and Picard has to do some quick explaining -- including a near-death demonstration that he is indeed a mere mortal. The cultural damage was done in this case, but Picard did what he could to "lessen" the effect as much as possible.

In some cases, rogue Starfleet officers violated the Prime Directive on purpose. (One example off the top of my head from the Original Trek Series was when such an officer turned a planet into an "interstellar Third Reich.") But the overriding premise is that such actions are a crime of the highest order, and whatever can be done to undo the damage must be undertaken.

Some may contend that this is unfair, in that Star Trek promoted gender equality and that the crew of the Enterprise was multi-ethnic.

True, but it was an American alpha-male who was at the helm of the ship, with a Brit (Scottie), a Russian-Ukrainian (Chekov) a Japanese man (Sulu) and an African- American woman (Uhuru — or should we say Condi Rice) remaining decidedly subservient. Tellingly, having dabbled with employing a female as ship’s captain in the unsuccessful 1990s incarnation Star Trek: Voyager, the most recent manifestation, Star Trek: Enterprise, reverted to type, with a white American male back in the saddle, his principal underling now an Englishman.

This article has to be a parody. It has to!

OK, so the Original Series had the cast noted above. But "subservient"? Well, yeah, I guess so since Kirk was the captain of the ship and this usually means he kind of runs things, y'know?

"Voyager" -- unsuccessful? It ran for what ... seven seasons? That makes it as long-running as Next Generation, though its ratings weren't as high. And yes -- the captain of Voyager was a female.

Conveniently, the author leaves out "Deep Space Nine" whose captain was a black man. Oh yeah, and this series ran for what -- seven seasons as well?

Next Generation's Enterprise was led by beta-male Frenchman Jean-Luc Picard.

As for "reverting back" to an American alpha-male for "Enterprise," surprise -- this series lasted a mere four seasons, and was lucky to have seen that many. (Even so, "reverting back" was the whole premise of "Enterprise" -- a prequel to the Original Series set approximately 100 years before Kirk and co.'s adventures.)

Then what of the show’s celebrated “prime directive”, that the explorers should never interfere in alien civilisations? The problem here is that the prime directive is blatantly and persistently violated. Not an episode concludes without one of Captain Kirk’s sermons, his incessant moralising to troubled alien civilisations that they should follow his lead and cherish life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

No, it wasn't blatantly and persistently violated. Kirk sermonizing is far from violating the PD, and keep in mind that the Prime Directive is of most import when applied to pre-warp civilizations. If Kirk, Picard or whoever is miffed at a race whose technology is on par with the Federation's, there's nothing that prevents them from debating or arguing the merits (that is to say, the benefits) of the Federation's way of life. Indeed, how else would worlds become members of the Federation in the first place if Starfleet, among others in the Federation, weren't allowed to so "sermonize"?

Star Trek represented not the ethos of mutual, egalitarian co-operation, but of multinational interference firmly under the leadership of Americans. Rather than having succumbed to the urge to boldly go and meddle with strange new worlds he didn’t understand, Captain Kirk should have stayed at home and sorted out his own people’s problems.

Completely ignorant prattle. The last sentence is key: There were no problems on Earth (at least ones that really matter, like disease, want, war, power) in Kirk's time. Thus, there wasn't a reason for him to stay home!

And again, this author's "knowledge" of what the Federation represents is pathetic. What he describes above better fits any of the Federation's "nemeses" -- the Romulans, the Dominion, the Cardassians, the Klingons. If anything, a neat scene in the sixth Trek film, "The Undiscovered Country," shows a ground-breaking meeting between the Klingons and the crew of the Enterprise, and when Chekov talks about the Federation believing in "human rights," the Klingon chancellor's daughter says "Listen to yourselves -- 'human rights' -- the Federation is nothing but a homo sapiens only club." It was a distorted view, of course, but interesting nonetheless.

Posted by Hube at 09:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 09, 2006

Still more illegal immigration nonsense

California. It's been said they set the trend for the nation. Hopefully not in this case:

A controversial bill that would allow illegal immigrants to get state financial aid while attending California's public colleges and universities is now in the hands of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has until the end of this month to sign or veto.

The bill's author, state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, called on the governor Wednesday to "invest in California's future'' by signing SB 160, also called the California DREAM Act, into law. Opponents say the state should not give money to lawbreakers.

DREAM Act, eh? More like a Nightmare Act.

Cripes, how many times does it have to be said? We're talking about people in the country illegally. And California wants to reward -- yes, reward -- this by granting financial aid to them? How much more can common sense be turned on its head?

The Legislature approved SB 160 on Aug. 31, voting largely along party lines with Democrats in support. If it becomes law, undocumented students who graduate from California high schools would be eligible to compete for state financial aid.

Compete. Yes, they can compete with citizens and legal residents who played by the rules to live, work and go to school in the United States. And if you've wondered (and I know you have!) why Democrats across the country aren't absolutely mopping the floor against their GOP rivals, here's yet another reason. Democrats favor lawlessness over law in California. This is a dread insult to citizens' and legal residents' sense of fair play, and it ultimately can lead to anarchy. Which laws should be followed? Which ones can be ignored in the name of "investment in the future" or some other such PC culti-babble?

"These students, among the best and the brightest young minds in our state, should not be punished for their parents' pursuit of greater opportunities,'' Cedillo said.

Another example of PC culti-babble: "Punished." They're not being "punished." They shouldn't be rewarded for breaking the law.

I could go on and on, but it's a fruitless endeavor of wasted breath. No amount of excuse-making makes ideas like DREAM legitimate. The onus should not be on the state to "do something" about the "problem" -- other than enforce the g**damned [immigration] law. The onus should be on those that came here illegally in the first place. It is the height of chutzpah to come to another country -- illegally -- and then demand amenities from the state, all because, well, it's somehow "better than the alternative."

Posted by Hube at 09:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Speaking of race ...

... looks like the News Journal agrees with Hube about the Delaware State University athletic director's "racist" comment regarding University of Delaware's refusal to play DSU in football. They say:

We can think of many reasons why UD is reluctant to play DSU, and few of them flatter the Newark school. Among them are snobbery, a belief that UD has nothing to gain, and a desire to remain the big guy on the gridiron.

There are many reasons, but racism is not one of them. Chuck Bell, DSU's athletic director, may be understandably frustrated at UD's snobbery. But his claims of racism come across as schoolyard taunts. He's trying to get a game by, if you'll pardon the expression, calling UD chicken.

DSU is a historically black college. UD once was a segregated school. But a lot has changed in this state and at those schools. Our advice: Forget Chuck Bell's taunts and play football anyway.

Exactly. As I said, Bell is trying embarrass UD by using the most politically charged epithet of modern times against them. He's most probably is full of s***, but PC being what it is (especially on college campuses), it just may work.

Nevertheless, I concur with the Journal: Forget Bell and play the damn game anyway!

PolitaKid has more thoughts on the issue.

Posted by Hube at 08:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another reason ...

... I totally dig La Shawn Barber. She can express my views on a matter much better than I.

Case in point today: She discusses a John Derbyshire article about cowardice when talking about race. Be sure to check it out.

Posted by Hube at 08:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 07, 2006

Not on the schedule? RACIST!

The race canard has now entered the realm of Delaware football. Delaware State University Athletic Director Chuck Bell has stated that the University of Delaware's decision not to play DSU in football is ... a matter of racism, pure and simple:

"I'm convinced the basis is racism," said Bell, the first white athletic director in DSU history. "UD is a white school and DSU is a historically black school, and it's one of those things left over from the days of separate restrooms and separate seating areas."

On what basis does Bell make that statement? Good question. He offers no substantiation. It's basically a "gut feeling."

UD's athletic director, Edgar Johnson, refused to discuss Bell's charge, but he said that UD's non-conference football schedule is set through the 2009 season. When asked about playing DSU, he said "I'm sure it will happen someday." Bell responds by saying

"It's absolutely foreign to me that we don't play." (Bell has broached the subject with Johnson briefly and unsuccessfully.) "It doesn't make any sense financially, competitively and from a rivalry standpoint not to play.

"I've been an athletic administrator 37 years and I'm 61 years old and I've never seen anything like it."

But does that make it racism that's behind UD's lackadaisical attitude about playing DSU? It may well be. But what proof does Bell have to offer for his contention? None.

I agree with Bell that a rivalry between the two DE schools would only be a good thing, especially monetarily. And, you can't say that UD is "scared" to play their downstate rival since it's most likely the Blue Hens would kick the Hornets' butt in a game. But as I've said oft-times before, the "racism" charge is a modern day Scarlet Letter. Bell surely knows this, and he may actually be using it to embarass UD into acquiescing to his demands. It's an effective tactic, to be sure. After all, who wants to be called "racist," especially without proof?

Posted by Hube at 04:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 05, 2006

Um, maybe voter rolls didn't increase because

... many/most of the participants were ... ILLEGAL???

The AP reports (and noted on the frontpage of the hardcopy version of the News Journal today)

No signs of pro-immigrant voter boom LOS ANGELES (AP) -- During the spring protests that brought hundreds of thousands to the streets, Hispanic immigrants chanted a promise and a threat to politicians: "Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote."

So far, however, there is no indication that such a potent political legacy is developing.

An Associated Press review of voter registration figures from Chicago, Denver, Houston, Atlanta and other major urban areas that saw large rallies shows no sign of a historic new voter boom that could sway elections.

Even in Los Angeles, where a 500,000-strong protest in March foreshadowed demonstrations across the United States, an increase in new registrations before the June primary was more trickle than torrent in a county of nearly 4 million voters.

Protest organizers - principally unions, Hispanic advocacy groups and the Roman Catholic Church - acknowledge that it has been hard to translate street activism into ballot box clout, though they insist their goal of 1 million new voters by 2008 is reachable. (My emphasis.)

The article gives several reasons why this is. Check 'em out:

"I was anticipating a huge jump in registration - I didn't see it," said Jess Cervantes, a veteran California political operative whose company analyzes Hispanic voting trends. "When you have an emotional response, it takes time to evolve."

A lack of political experience helps explain why the flow of new registrations has been halting.

Some activists acknowledge that their groups have yet to master the nuances of voter registration drives - a typically face-to-face task more complex than mobilizing a march.

Others complain that political parties with the most to gain haven't financed registration efforts.

Uh-huh. "Nuance." Gee, where did I hear that, before?

Or maybe they're ignoring probably the biggest factor: Maybe, just maybe, a very large portion of those involved in those "massive" pro-immigration rallies a few months back were ... illegal immigrants! Hence, they sure ain't gonna be in a hurry to register to vote, now are they? What's more, it's a mistake to presume that Hispanics, in particular, are automatically sympathetic to the rallies for illegal immigrant "rights" merely because they share an ethnic background. Actually, it's insulting. Why would immigrants who came to the United States -- who played by the rules -- necessarily be sympathetic to those who skirted the law and are now demanding the same rights as those befitting American citizens (not to mention legal immigrants)? People can sure be sympathetic to certain solutions to the illegal immigration situation (like favoring a guest worker program, or streamlining the process by which to become a citizen), but that sympathy gets worn when people who should not even be here rally in the streets and demand what US citizens and legal residents are entitled to.

Posted by Hube at 05:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Delaware Education Association picks for state offices

Got the semi-regular DSEA newsletter in the mail today, and included were their picks for various state races, as well as those for a few "national" races. You can view their picks here.

One state senate pick won't make a few folks happy: Harris McDowell has the DSEA recommendation for the 1st senatorial district. And no -- DSEA doesn't stand for "Delmarva Sits on its Enormous Ass." Here's what the state ed. union says about McDowell:

McDowell is always accessible and very helpful to DSEA, working with the Senate leadership. He has been extremely helpful during the recent Christina crisis.

He was the mover behind the SEED Scholarship Program that allows Delaware high school graduates to receive two years of free tuition at Delaware colleages. He has an exemplary voting record with DSEA and was selected our Legislative Friend of Education in 2000.

Not noted on the DSEA site are its recommendations for Tom Carper for US Senate, and (get ready, Jason!) Mike Castle for US House. Just to razz the host of DE Liberal, here's some of what the hardcopy union newsletter says about Castle:

Mike Castle defends public education as a Moderate Republican leader in Congress. (My underlining.) As a Republican moderate member of Congress, he is often the one to prevent an ideological shift in the Congressional agenda, and more specifically, in the education arena. he most recently advocated for no cuts to education funding and, in fact, voted against an appropriations bill last year which would have cut funding levels.

But remember: Castle is NOT a moderate. Jason says so!

Posted by Hube at 04:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 04, 2006

You mean it's not Abe Lincoln?

Lack of American history education shows through at Target.

(h/t: The Corner.)

Posted by Hube at 01:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

America Online: Making a race issue where there isn't one

The AP reports today that [some] cigarette companies have increased the level of nicotine in their product:

The level of nicotine that smokers typically consume per cigarette has risen about 10 percent in the past six years, making it harder to quit and easier to get hooked, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Health.

The study shows a steady climb in the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs of smokers regardless of brand, with overall nicotine yields increasing by about 10 percent.

What's interesting about this story is that a search via the Associated Press main page yields the article with this paragraph:

The study found the three most popular cigarette brands with young smokers - Marlboro, Newport and Camel - delivered significantly more nicotine than they did six years ago. Nicotine consumed in Kool, a popular menthol brand, rose 20 percent, for example.

The same paragraph, utilized by America Online, is written thusly (emphasis mine):

The study found the three most popular cigarette brands with young smokers - Marlboro, Newport and Camel - delivered significantly more nicotine than they did years ago. Nicotine in Kool, a popular menthol brand, rose 20 percent. More than two-thirds of black smokers use menthol brands.

OK, fine. Perhaps this is a useful bit of information for African-American smokers. But AOL also "heightens the alert," so to speak, with racial scare tactics. It highlights the story on their main page with the omnious question "Are Black Smokers Being Targeted?"

Let's see ... this "targeting" is such a "story" that other AP outlets found the bit of info about black smokers prefering menthol cigarettes rather mundane, or, if you prefer, not very newsworthy. But not only does AOL include that info (which, again, in the article alone, isn't really a big deal), but it makes the leap to blacks being "the target" of these cigarette nicotine increases. The problem is ... the article offers no substantiation for this. Consider the information available in the AOL/AP article:

  • The level of nicotine found in U.S. cigarettes has risen about 10 percent in the past six years;
  • The study shows a steady climb in the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs of smokers regardless of brand, with overall nicotine yields increasing by about 10 percent;
  • The study found the three most popular cigarette brands with young smokers - Marlboro, Newport and Camel - delivered significantly more nicotine than they did years ago;
  • Nicotine in Kool, a popular menthol brand, rose 20 percent;
  • More than two-thirds of black smokers use menthol brands.

If anything, the scare tactics AOL should have used are "Are Youth Being Targeted?" or "Are More Americans Becoming Addicted?" since the second and third items above surely appear more ominous (they cover a lot more people, that's for sure). Yet, despite the second item above noting a "climb in the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs of smokers regardless of brand," AOL chose to highlight one particular brand (presumably popular with African-Americans) and then ask "Are Black Smokers Being Targeted?"

To which people may also wonder: Why target African-Americans? As a group, they are now the third-largest ethnicity in the country (behind whites and Hispanics). Wouldn't it make more economic sense for cigarette makers to go after the largest two groups? (The color companies care about most is green, after all.) It sure would -- and the AP article indicates just this: Again, "The study shows a steady climb in the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs of smokers regardless of brand."

But AOL would rather contribute -- negatively, that is -- to American race relations.

In a slightly different matter, would the federal government either ban cigarettes outright -- or at the very least highly regulate them, like capping the amount of crap like nicotine that can go into the product? I'm weary of reading these "OH, GOSH!" types of articles that belittle people's common sense -- in this case, that smoking cigarettes is BAD for you. Read Hube's "eating breakfast post" to see what I mean.

Posted by Felix at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eat breakfast. Do better in school.

Again, what seems like common sense gets the makings of a news article. The first sentence says "Attention, children: Do not skip breakfast -- or your grades could pay a price."

Evidence suggests that eating breakfast really does help kids learn. After fasting all night, a developing body (and brain) needs a fresh supply of glucose -- or blood sugar. That's the brain's basic fuel.

"Without glucose," explains Terrill Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University, "our brain simply doesn't operate as well. People have difficulty understanding new information, [they have a] problem with visual and spatial understanding, and they don't remember things as well."

Dozens of studies from as far back as the 1950s have consistently shown that children who eat breakfast perform better academically than those who don't.

Isn't this sort of akin to "studies show that smoking is bad for your health"? In other words ... COMMON SENSE?? (But who ever said common sense is in large supply these days, right?)

And you know what's scary? When I do the "food" unit with my classes each year, I informally poll my students about who regularly eats breakfast. Only about half do. The results cut across socio-economic boundaries, too. (I then proceed into an "off the cuff" lecture about how important the day's first meal is.) But, certainly, I don't blame the kids. Much. So ... what's the deal, parents?

Consider: Kids that go without breakfast are essentially going without any sort of sustenance for approximately 15-17 hours. (Using an estimated dinner time of 6pm and lunch time the next day of 11am.) My stomach is growling -- and I get irritable -- even now at my ripe old age of 41 if I wait that long to eat something. It was quite magnified back when I was between 13-18 years old on the rare occasion I waited that long to eat. There have been numerous times in the morning when my daughter has said she isn't hungry, and doesn't want to eat anything for breakfast. I'm adamant that she has something -- at the very least a glass of OJ and half a bagel, for instance -- and the Hube daughter has remarked how much better she feels about an hour to two hours later ... than she did at the time she didn't want to eat.

Parents: Make sure your kids eat breakfast.

Posted by Hube at 09:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Maybe he's just being misinterpreted -- for the umpteenth friggin' time

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced, on the final day of UN Chief Kofi Annan's visit, that "it would host a conference to examine what it called exaggerations about the Holocaust, during which more than 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis." (Link.)

But geez -- did he mean it? Did something get "lost" in translation??

Posted by Hube at 08:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Live by the barb, die by the barb

Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, is killed by a stingray.

Crikey.

Posted by Hube at 07:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 02, 2006

"... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Seems the ACLU forgot about that part of the First Amendment's religion clause.

About 180 members of four local churches surrounded a public middle school yesterday to bless the building and those who use it, despite objections from the American Civil Liberties Union about the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.

Led by a minister from Epworth United Methodist Church, members of Epworth, Karl Road Christian Church, Karl Road Baptist Church and Ascension Lutheran Church joined hands and circled halfway around Woodward Park Middle School at 5151 Karl Rd. In unison, they asked the "great divine one, creator of us all" to bless each "student … teacher, staff and administrator" entering the building.

The ACLU of Ohio sent a letter to Spanheimer and Superintendent Gene Harris last week, saying that permitting the event would violate the constitutional requirement that public schools remain neutral on religious matters.

"Anyone can walk onto the school grounds during the weekend," said Columbus Public Schools spokesman Greg Viebranz. (Link.)

The so-called "guardians of the Bill of Rights" are so frighteningly preoccupied with anything remotely religious that they forgot what's the title of this post: "... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Since there's nothing in the article that indicates the school district had anything to do with the prayer group's actions whatsoever, the 180 or so private citizens' prayers constitute constitutionally protected free speech -- whether they were on public property or not.

Posted by Felix at 04:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Kate van Horn of Newark wins this round with this dopey screed:

If immigrants were wealthy and gave enormous contributions to the Republican Party, we would welcome them with lavish banquets. When the poor arrive, they clean our detritus.

The poor are welcomed only to provide more fodder for the wars of the rich.

Let's see ... we're also "told" by the Kates around us that Republicans really don't want illegal immigration to cease because the "rich corporate types" can make even more money by hiring those whom they don't have to pay even minimum wage. And, of course, the significant distinction between legal and illegal immigration is once again conveniently omitted. Oh, and then there's the synonymity of "poor" with "immigrant." Ahh. Of course. But doesn't Kate know that illegal immigrants can't be "fodder for the wars of the rich"? Probably not. Just like she doesn't know that Democrats have as much reason to ignore illegal immigration as Republicans. Democrats will supposedly "fight for immigrant rights" (again, ignoring the distinction between "illegal" and "legal," but really meaning illegal) and then promise that the government "will take care of you" so that they can envelop a new permanent, reliance-based constituency.

Posted by Hube at 07:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 01, 2006

So that's why Iran desires heavy water!

It's not for use in their budding nuclear program -- it's because drinking it cures cancer and AIDS!!

Who knew?

(See also The Corner.)

Posted by Felix at 02:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Don't agree about global warming? Prepare to get sued!

From the Boston Globe (via Overlawyered.com) comes news that prominent MIT scientist Richard Lindzen and 15 others are being sued by the state of California, Environmental Defense, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Why?

They're skeptical about [certain aspects] of global warming.

California et al. have asked the auto companies to cough up any and all communications they have had with Lindzen and his colleagues, whose research has been cited in court documents.

"We know that General Motors has been paying for this fake science exactly as the tobacco companies did," says ED attorney Jim Marston.

[But] if Marston has a scintilla of evidence that Lindzen has been trafficking in fake science, he should present it to the MIT provost's office. Otherwise, he should shut up.

"This is the criminalization of opposition to global warming," says Lindzen, who adds he has never communicated with the auto companies involved in the lawsuit. Of course Lindzen isn't a fake scientist, he's an inconvenient scientist. No wonder you're not supposed to listen to him.

Hey -- where are MIT's bigwigs coming out in support of Lindzen (and against this lawsuit) in the name of academic freedom? Ah, Lindzen's views are contrary to the prevailing PC! Did I call it in my last paragraph of this recent post, or what? Globe writer Alex Beam notes that (my emphasis)

I sat in a roomful of journalists 10 years ago while Stanford climatologist Stephen Schneider lectured us on a big problem in our profession: soliciting opposing points of view. In the debate over climate change, Schneider said, there simply was no legitimate opposing view to the scientific consensus that man - made carbon emissions drive global warming. To suggest or report otherwise, he said, was irresponsible.

Indeed. I attended a week's worth of lectures on global warming at the Chautauqua Institution last month. Al Gore delivered the kickoff lecture, and, 10 years later, he reiterated Schneider's directive. There is no science on the other side, Gore inveighed, more than once. Again, the same message: If you hear tales of doubt, ignore them. They are simply untrue.

Posted by Hube at 11:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dopey local political line of the week

I guess when you got no shot, you have nothing to lose by uttering stupid lines like this:

"I go talk to people here, and I find that very few people know who he is. The only ones who do know him are in Dover."

This is from 7th representative district Democrat challenger Carl Colantuono, about House Majority Leader Wayne Smith.

How would I know that this utterance is nonsense? 'Cause as noted here, I've assisted in Smith's campaigns over the years, and the only people I've encountered in the 7th district (during my numerous journeys of "lit drops") who didn't know who Wayne is were people who had just moved in from other states. Wayne must wear out ten pairs of shoes during the months preceding an election, as he visits all the homes in his district. And if you doubt the power of Wayne's campaign's organizational prowess, one need look no further than his five-way primary win in 1990, and most recently his victory against longtime House incumbent Dave Brady after redistricting.

Colantuono's comment is just desperate drivel.

(Cross-posted at Delaware 2006.)

Posted by Hube at 08:33 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Ryan Howard: Stud

Congrats to Philadelphia Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard, who last night broke the 26-year old franchise home-run record set by Mike Schmidt. Howard hit #49. Us older Phillies fans know this is indeed quite a feat. And best of all, Howard is most probably steroid-free!

Unfortunately for the Phils, though, they blew a two-run lead in the 9th inning last night against the Washington Nationals, and lost the game in the 10th, 6-5.

Posted by Hube at 08:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Comics for Israel

Via Soccer Dad comes word of an effort to support the children of northern Israel via comics:

Children in northern Israel are to receive support from some of America's most famous superheroes - or at least the artists who created them. Mahrwood Press, a publishing company with offices in Florida and Jerusalem, has initiated the compilation of an anthology, Balm in Gilead, featuring short stories and illustrations that will be sold in support of children in northern Israel affected during the recent war.

"I had been contacted by an American Jewish publisher to do an insert to solicit funds for children in the North, but I wanted to do something bigger, something in the US," said Eric Mahr, Mahrwood's president, who enlisted for the project the help of artists including Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman and The Fantastic Four, and Neal Adams, a leading contemporary comic artist most famous for his work on the Batman and X-Men series. Other participants include Marv Wolfman, the creator of Blade, Robert Silverberg, a popular science fiction writer, and Dave Cockrum, a co-creator of the X-Men series.

A worthy effort to be sure. Congrats to kudos to them. Stan Lee, obviously, is a god among names in comics. Adams may be not well known among contemporary comics readers, and if so that's a shame. His comic art from probably his most famous era, the 70s, was stupefyingly awesome -- some of the most realistic renditions of people and action ever to be seen in the pages of comics. As noted above, his work on X-Men was indeed spectacular, but unfortunately for the title, it came too late. X-Men's popularity actually was in the tank in the early 70s; it wasn't until Dave Cockrum (noted above) and Len Wein jumpstarted the title in 1975 by introducing a whole new crop of mutants -- including a certain well-known Canuck named Wolverine. I also highly recommend Adams' work on The Avengers from the early 1970s' "Kree-Skrull War," and even though I've never been a big DC comics fan, I understand Adams' work on Green Lantern (as well as Batman noted above) are must-haves.

See also the Four Color Media Monitor.

Posted by Hube at 08:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kevin Barrett clone

The University of New Hampshire has its very own Kevin Barrett it seems, and why not -- he belongs to the same group as Barrett, the oxymoronically named "Scholars for 9/11 Truth." And now UNH is asking the same question that Barrett's University of Wisconsin asked: "Should the University of New Hampshire fire psychology professor William Woodward because his belief that the Bush administration brought down the twin towers is so divergent from the mainstream?"

I believe as Felix, that a professor should not be fired merely because of his views about something. But an issue can be made of professional competence. As the [New Hampshire] Union Leader says (my emphasis)

And under no circumstances should UNH let him teach a class on the psychology of 9/11, which he wants to do. Woodward has shown that he is not an objective analyst of that event, but a partisan with an agenda to promote.

If we were inclined to think like Woodward does, we might say that the evidence suggests that he is a small part of an elaborate conspiracy to undermine the public's confidence in the American government. Hey, we can't prove it. But don't you see, that means it must be a conspiracy!

Educators, despite their views, have an obligation to be as fair and balanced as possible in their teachings -- and to their students. Woodward and Barrett have shown little in regard to the former; the latter is still to be determined. Of course, if Woodward and Barrett were espousing some crackpot right-wing viewpoint, you can bet your bottom dollar that university administrators would be highly unlikely to invoke "academic freedom" and come to their defense. Then, well known PC phrases like "hostile environment," "intolerant" and some "-ism" would be utilized in an attempt to ditch the profs.

Posted by Hube at 07:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack