...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...
I think we all understand that the mainstream media cannot be trusted to analyze Supreme Court decisions within even a basic level of competence.
Accordingly, I've printed out all 101 pages of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, and now that I am home from work, I will attempt to read through it. I may not finish, but even if I only get the highlights, I am confident that I will understand it more thoroughly than the smartest person on staff at USA Today or the L.A. Times could ever hope to.
But for now, I have some Gitmo related questions.
I hear that the ruling does not mean that the U.S. must release the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. (Democrats and foreign types who want us to close the prison are probably disappointed about that.) So, if that means that holding these whatever you want to call them people at Gitmo is okay, then is it only that trying them by military tribunal is not okay?
If so, is the only reason we're insisting on trying them in the first place because that's the only way we can kill them? Otherwise we'd just hold onto them until the end of the war, like we've always done with people we capture on a battlefield.
And if just holding onto them until the end of the war is something that every country has always done in every war, why do some people want us to close down Gitmo? Are people like Carter and Koffi Anon arguing that we don't have the right to hold people we capture on a battlefield?
What do the Gitmo critics want us to do with these prisoners, release them like they were illegal aliens? If so, won't they end up back here again, just like illegal aliens?
Now, if the only reason we are trying these detainees is so we can get the death penalty on them, then we shouldn't be risking the chance that they might be acquitted. I'd rather they just languish in jail until the war is over. And I'm not talking about the Iraq war. As we all know, the "War On Terror" will be going on for a long long time.
If these guys are now "prisoners of war," so be it. I haven't heard of any requirement in international law that a country must unilaterally release prisoners of war before a war is finished. Effectively, these guys probably already have a life sentence. So why bother with a military tribunal at all?
Update: Okay, page three of the decision says, "Hamdan apparently is not subject to the death penalty (at least as matters now stand) and may receive a prison sentence shorter than 10 years . . ."
So again, why do we even need to put him on trial? Can't we just hold onto him indefinitely?
Update 2: This opinion is kicking my ass. I'm at page 27. Someone put some coffee on.
Update 3: Fuck if I'm going to sit here reading this crap on my vacation when I'm a) not getting paid for it, and b) not getting graded for it.
The pool is calling. I'm out.
Oh, here's the USA Today article I cracked on earlier. Not so cocky now, I guess.
Update 4: Check this out:
Hamdan my walkin’ caneIt just came to me. Make of it what you will. Here's The Knitters' version.
Hamdan my walkin’ cane
Hamdan my walkin’ cane
I’m a gonna catch that midnight train
All my sins they've taken away, taken away
If I die in Gitmo jail
If I die in Gitmo jail
If I die in Gitmo jail
Send my body back C.O.D.
All my sins they've taken away, taken away
Hamdan my book of Koran
Hamdan my book of Koran
Hamdan my book of Koran
I’m gonna get drunk sure as you’re born
All my sins they've taken away, taken away
That's why I'm the cool connector... makin' connections between things that maybe... don't need connectin'.
Dr. Rusty has returned, MacArthur-like, from across the waves of Islamist DDOS attacks. Go welcome him back
Come celebrate Ian Paice's birthday with me over at Six Meat Buffet!
You know when I post a poem at night, it means I've either been really busy, the blog's been acting up, or I just couldn't find any inspired choices. Today was a perfect storm of all three reasons.
Since the most important news item of the day was the Star Jones bullshit - more important than Korean missiles or Iranian bombs or terrorist sleeper cells or treasonous papers and politicians or Iraqi amnesty or Israel kicking ass.
Star Jones, Star Jones, Star Jones!
Star Jones, Star Jones, that's what's important. But how does one best glean clues about Star Jones's mysterious exit friom the View? One need look no further than the newest Viewchik. And how better to stay informed about Star Jones lore than by reading some more bad Vogon poetry from the poet laureate of the Vogons herself, Rosie O'Donnell.
there is drama at the view
regis went on yesterday
hey there is an elephant in the living room
no one likes to pretend
as if it were real
there comes a point
where u become complicit
star jones had weight loss surgery
she had part of her stomach bypassed
that is how she lost 1/2 herself
she refuses to say this
which is her right
but we do not have to pretend
we do not know
any fatty will tell u
it is nearly impossible to go
from where she was
to where she is
without medical intervention
dats da fact jack
and it is ok
talk to ur doctor
decide for yourself
if this is the option for u
by all means do it
it is hard to be fat
u get tired
ur knees hurt
people stare at u
think u less then
u feel less then
when i see one of r own
fly away from planet plus
i wave with misty eyes
proud astonished worried
we have a high recidivism rate
we us r tribe
sis and bros
so star shrinks b4 our eyes
we know the truth
but nod as she talks about
pilates and will power
i am sure star jones
beneathe the beyonce bravado
is a scared lil girl
who grew her body big
strong and safe
there is no delete button
in real life
talking about the success
with star like showmanship
he thinking we still believe
what we know is not true
we dont buy it
peace to star jones
every wave hits the shore
For those who are interested, here are the results of last week's blog customer satisfaction survey.
Anyone who knows anything about statistics, feel free to provide your analysis.
Regarding methodology, the poll was set to allow only one vote per IP address. Voting was open from of Friday afternoon on June 23 to Tuesday afternoon, June 27th. Comments were shut off and voters were not able to see the results of the ongoing poll. The poll was at the top of the blog until Sunday morning, June 25th.
My culinary skills produce more misses than hits, but occasionally I make something that is worth passing on. Please do not ask me about the sole meunière of a few weeks back. $35 dollars worth of fish and half of it wasted. But cooking fish requires delicacy, and I don't do anything delicately. (Well, not unless you ask nicely.)
Rather, I prefer to cook dishes that can be mixed up with a sauce, and served with a big spoon. Like the following one, which is based on a recipe from Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cook: Home Collection.
-¼ cup olive oilStart boiling the water for the pasta. You all know how to make pasta. I would subtract a minute or so from the cooking time to keep it just al dente, because the pasta will continue to cook after you drain the water and mix it with the sauce. You don't want the pasta to get too soft.
-one 12 oz. package of bowtie pasta (aka farfalle)
-one large yellow onion, sliced or chopped, whichever you prefer
-about two thirds of a package of regular mushrooms, pre-sliced (what is that, two cups?)
-half a cup or more of julienned sun-dried tomatoes
-two cloves of garlic, minced
-4 oz. of prosciutto slices
-1¼ cup of Silk or some other plain soy milk
-one cup grated parmesan, or as I like to call it "Farmer John" cheese
-one to two teaspoons of capers
While the pasta water is heating, prepare the sauce. In a large pan, heat the olive oil until a tiny chunk of onion fries immediately when you throw it in. Turn down to medium heat. Then throw the sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and the sliced or chopped onion in there. I like chopped onion because sliced onions remind me too much of earthworms after they're cooked.
Fry that stuff until the onions get browned. Be careful with the sun-dried tomatoes, which burn easily. Adjust the heat accordingly. This should take about 2 minutes. Then add the soy milk and the capers. Bring the sauce to a simmer, about another two or three minutes. Then fold in the parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat and cover the pan while you finish with the pasta.
When the pasta is ready, drain it. Then chop the prosciutto slices roughly crosswise into one inch wide pieces. Throw them in the sauce, then pour the sauce immediately over the pasta. Mix the whole thing and transfer to a serving bowl.
There you have it. Simple and fast. The prosciutto goes in last so it will retain some of its color, but eventually the red cooks away. Especially after microwaving the next day, but it still tastes good. Soy milk is a pretty good substitute for the heavy cream called for in the original recipe. I suggest a fresh sourdough baguette and a glass of merlot to go with this meal.
What's that you say? She's now resorted to link-whoring 88Slide?
Oh the humanity!
I don't know why, but this story makes me laugh. Some choice excerpts:
"I had a shotgun or AK (semi-automatic weapon) pointed at my chest. (The officers) kept saying, 'We're going to shoot your (expletive) dog.' They made this woman cry - she was shaking," said Lobo, a Rainbow Family member.LOL!
"They tried to trample us with their horses, and all we did was have our arms up in peace," he said. "I even pulled my pants down - which was probably indecent exposure - to show them I didn't have anything on me."ROTFL!
"I've been here since Saturday, and I've already received three (citations). Look, I'm sick of being harassed. Just because I'm in the middle of the woods with a group of people doesn't mean I don't have a job, that I don't have a family and that I don't contribute to society,"Bwahahaha!
"All they had to do was get a bullhorn and say 'We've got guns.' They shouldn't have pulled out their guns, that's not kosher, man,"We are stardust, we are golden... we are picking a different county next year!
h/t DPGI v.2
This man was a huge part of my formative years. Aaron Spelling, the man who taught everyone the zip code for Beverly Hills has passed away.
Spelling, a onetime movie bit player who created a massive number of hit series, from the vintage "Charlie's Angels" and "Dynasty" to "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place," died Friday, his publicist said. He was 83.Rest in peace, and thank you friend.
Spelling died at his home in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke on June 18, according to publicist Kevin Sasaki.
Spelling's other hit series included "Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Burke's Law," "The Mod Squad," "Starsky and Hutch," "T.J. Hooker," "Matt Houston," "Hart to Hart" and "Hotel." He kept his hand in 21st-century TV with series including "7th Heaven" and "Summerland."
. . .
During the 1970s and 1980s, Spelling provided series and movies exclusively for ABC and is credited for the network's rise to major status. Jokesters referred to it as "The Aaron Broadcasting Company."
Success was not without its thorns. TV critics denounced Spelling for fostering fluff and nighttime soap operas. He called his shows "mind candy"; critics referred to them as "mindless candy."
"The knocks by the critics bother you," he admitted in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press.
"But you have a choice of proving yourself to 300 critics or 30 million fans. You have to make a choice. I think you're also categorized by the critics. If you do something good they almost don't want to like it."
. . .
Spelling had arrived in Hollywood virtually penniless in the early 1950s. By the 1980s, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $300 million. He enjoyed his status, working in a Hollywood office larger than those of golden-era moguls ("I'm slightly claustrophpobic," he explained.) He gifted his second wife, Candy, with a 40-carat diamond ring.
. . .
Spelling grew up in a small frame house on Browder Street in Dallas "on the wrong side of the tracks," he wrote in his 1996 autobiography. He was the fourth son of immigrant Jews, his father from Poland, mother from Russia. The father's name, Spurling, was simplified to Spelling by an Ellis Island official.
Spelling enlisted in the Army Air Corps after graduating from high school in 1942.
"I grew up thinking 'Jew boy' was one word," the producer wrote in his memoir, "Aaron Spelling: A Prime-Time Life." He was considered strange by his Dallas schoolmates because his parents spoke Yiddish. He was subjected to anti-Semitic taunts and beatings on his way home from school.
At 8, the boy suffered what he termed a nervous breakdown, and he spent a year in bed. He later considered that period the birth of his creative urge. He fell in love with great storytellers, especially O. Henry. Of his early TV series he said, "They are all O. Henry short stories."
It's not unusual that I find myself disagreeing with a democrat. But this time it's really ironic.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale says he supports a pre-emptive U.S. strike against a North Korean missile that is raising nuclear fears around the globe.Didn't that guy die? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's still alive, but I though I'd heard that he died a while back.
. . .
Mondale said on WCCO-AM Friday that the United States should tell North Korea "defuel that missile. It has three boosters. Dismantle it and put it back in the sheds. Because if you're getting ready to fire this, we'll take it out."
. . .
Mondale and other former top Democrats are convinced apparently that action is the key to ending the standoff.
"This is such a legitimate thing for the United States to do," Mondale said. "The nature of the threat is so serious that I think we should knock it out right there if they won't stop."
I'm against shooting down the missile. Firing a test missile, assuming they aim it at international waters, is provocative as Condoleezza Rice said. But it is not an act of war. Shooting a test missile down is an act of war. We don't need to escalate this latest confrontation with North Korea into a hot war.
I'm not sure whether Mondale thinks we can shoot the missile out of the sky or whether he thinks we should hit it before it launches. In the audio, he said that
. . . one missile like the one that took out Zarqawi could take out this [the North Korean] missile.I'll cut the old man some slack, but he seems to have forgotten that we used bombs to kill Zarqawi, not missiles.
Now if we were to blow up the test missile on the ground, we would ignite a shit storm of unimaginable proportions. North Korea would be able to claim justification for some kind of retaliation, and the world might start calling us the rogue state. I would not be surprised if the UN Security Council met to discuss sanctions against the US.
If we were to shoot the missile out of the sky, we'd run the risk that our anti-missile missile might miss. That would be worse than doing nothing. Our anti-missile technology is far from perfect. The task has often been described as "hitting a bullet with a bullet." If we were to try for the Korean missile, we could not afford to miss. And I don't care for the odds.
However, if we let the North Koreans shoot their wad, we can monitor its performance much better than even they can. We'll gain important intelligence on their capabilities, both in missile technology and in electronic missile tracking. (Since they'll be watching the missile, we'll be able to watch their radars.) Diplomatically, we can use their "provocative act" against them if and when we need international support for action in the future.
I say, complain about it, but if they're determined to test their missile, don't stop them.
h/t to Larry at Beth's.
If I had an internet messenger chat with Larry King, i think it might go a little bit like this:
larrykinglive: tonight, a journey from private heartbreak to internet superstardom with annika. she shares memories and family secrets and more in an emotional hour next on LARRY KING LIVE
larrykinglive: hello annika!
annikagyrl: who are you?
larrykinglive: A great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, annika becker, of annika's journal, we'll get to your calls in a moment. but first annika, why blogging?
annikagyrl: what do you mean?
larrykinglive: did it surprise you how popular blogs have become?
annikagyrl: is that you Jason? cut it out.
larrykinglive: you were diagnosed as bi-polar schizophrenic with homicidal tendencies as a child. did that affect you growing up?
annikagyrl: wha? are you on something dude?
larrykinglive: do you enjoy blogging?
annikagyrl: umm yeah
larrykinglive: speaking of um yeah, he'll be our guest on LARRY KING LIVE tomorrow night. we're on with annika becker of annika's journal. Do you get many trolls?
annikagyrl: actually the people who comment at my site are mostly all nice... there was this one guy who..
larrykinglive: ...let's take some calls. pompano beach florida, hello
callerdude: hi annika, big fan here
larrykinglive: did you have a question for our guest?
annikagyrl: this is really weird. are you sure you're not some kind of bot?
callerdude: I just wanted to say that you're just great. Up until you i found you, I was reading margret cho's blog but you totally set me straight,
annikagyrl: oh that's good. i'm glad you stopped reading that awful blog
callerdude: oh no i read you both, i think youre both just great
larrykinglive: do you enjoy reading other people's blogs?
annikagyrl: yes, i try to whenever i can,
larrykinglive: barbra streisand has a blog
annikagyrl: does she, i didn't think she did
larrykinglive: marvelous voice don't you think
annikagyrl: well, i guess, she's not one of my favorites
larrykinglive: rosie o'donnell has a blog it's very funny
annikagyrl: it's horrible, she's a terrible writer
larrykinglive: have you ever thought about entering politics?
annikagyrl: actually when i was little, i wanted to be president
larrykinglive: the first lesbian president...
annikagyrl: im not a lesbian
larrykinglive: it says here you're a lesbian
larrykinglive: on your blog
annikagyrl: i think you must be looking at rosie's blog
larrykinglive: oh your right, i am. Austin texas, you're on with annika becker
callerchick: yes hello annika, i'm a bi-polar schizophrenic with homicidal tendencies too, i was wondering if you had any drug recommendations?
larrykinglive: any drug recommendations... annika?
annikagyrl: drug recommendations? but i am not a schizophrenic, i don't know why you said that, i think you're on drugs
larrykinglive: did you enjoy rehab?
annikagyrl: what the fucxx?
larrykinglive: many talented people suffer from mental disorders. Next week, Tom Cruise will be on the show. Let's get another call. Mapleside Maryland, hello...
confusedcaller: hello annika
confusedcaller: first i want to say i love you and i think you're great
annikagyrl: well thanks
confusedcaller: is there any chance you might try to qualify for another PGA event?
larrykinglive: another PGA in your future annika?
annikagyrl: i'm not that annika
larrykinglive: michelle wie can really hit the ball, are you two friends?
annikagyrl: i dont even play golf
larrykinglive: right now we go to west chenango, new york. hello
liberalcaller: i think you're a worthless no-talent whore and a shill, you're bad for america, and only an idiot cares what you say. i'm going to have a party the day you quit, which i hope is soon because i cant fucking stand you and you make me sick
annikagyrl: well, i don't know how to respond to that...
liberalcaller: actually i was talking to larry
larrykinglive: Next week Celine Dion! we have time for one more call. Rubidoux, California, hello
annikagyrl: i love the name of that town
larrykinglive: don't you? it's fun to say. rubidoux rubidoux rubidoux
rubycaller: hello annika?
larrykinglive: rubidoux ruby rubidoux
rubycaller: i was wondering annika, what's the deal with the pumpkin?
larrykinglive: that's all the time we have. Tomorrow night on LARRY KING WEEKEND, we'll talk with Bill Maher. Boy, can he tell a joke, right annika.
annikagyrl: not really
larrykinglive: Until then, arrivaderci.
I found a really mindless game that is strangely therapeutic for a Friday afternoon. It's called Short Bus Rampage. The game sets up like this:
Tired of being ridiculed by the other students, you and the rest of the Special Ed class have taken control of the bus and are out for revenge.I know a game like this might hit a little too close to home for some of my visitors. But the rest of you should give it a try. The sound effects are really funny.
Please take this short customer satisfaction survey, to help me better serve you. I would appreciate your most honest answers, and your best estimates, so I have disabled the comment and the view results buttons. Please only vote once per question. This survey will remain at the top of the page until Sunday morning, so please scroll down for newer posts.
Poll closed. Look here for results.
Instead of just starting a blog, why not enter a contest?
Cotillion sister Greta at Hooah Wife is running "Blogging Contributor Idol," just like American Idol, only for bloggers not singers.
I realize this is old, but today's Coolest Thing On The Internets Of The Day is Sean Gleeson's Autorantic Virtual Moonbat.
He's automated, he's progressive, and he fits on your sidebar.
Actually, this robot is a very accurate portrayal. There's a dude who stands outside the Van Nuys Courthouse and rants incoherently, but sounds exactly like this robot.
Sean designed a chat machine too. It must be channelling Robert MacLelland's spirit, or spit, or something.
Someone should create a computerized voice version. Air America could save a fortune by replacing their on-air personalities with robots. I wonder if anyone would notice. They'd probably just think it was Al Gore.
Find your own pose!
I hate spiders. This morning after my shower, I grabbed some underwear out of the drawer, and as I was putting it on a spider fell out of it and landed on the floor. How does a spider get into the underwear drawer? And no, I do not live in the basement.
I hate spiders because they are sneaky. At least a bee will let you know it's there before it stings you. But spiders are always crawling around where you can't see them. They're like the viet cong.
I hate spiders almost as much as I hate sappy poems.
by Janet Bruno
Spiderlings hatch from eggs.
Each one has eight tiny legs.
A spider has more eyes than you.
Most have eight, and you have two.
A spider has two body parts.
Across its web it quickly darts.
From a spider's spinnerets
Sticky spider silk jets.
Spiders feel the frantic tugs,
Of their favorite food; it's bugs!
In the closest voting ever, La Femme Nikita has beaten Beatrix Kiddo to advance to the final round.
Her opponent: Jason Bourne. Let the final round begin.
Dang, this was a long day.
This has got to be a muhfukkin joke right?
Saudis Offered Scholarships for Aviation Courses in USI say again: WHUT THE FUCK?!
JEDDAH, 20 June 2006 — The Ministry of Higher Education and the General Authority of Civil Aviation are offering scholarships to Saudi men and women to study various majors related to civil aviation in the United States.
The forms are available online at the ministry’s website until July 12 for both bachelor’s and post-graduate studies. Nominations will be announced on July 31. Interviews will take place in August and final scholarship winners will be announced on Sept. 2.
The scholarships are available in majors such as communications, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, systems analysis, air traffic control, flight safety, and other majors related to the airline transport industry.
Applicants for the bachelor’s program must have a minimum score of 85 percent in the science section and 90 percent in other sections, such as Qur’an memorizing, administrative and commercial sciences. [emphases mine]
Oh, I guess I shouldn't be xenophobic. Because Saudi universities are so well known for their pro-western curriculum. Student visas for everybody!
hat tip: Free Thoughts.
Very interesting discussion going on in the comments section of my poll on Hillary vs. Rudy for New York's electoral votes. You didn't disappoint me.
I think Rudy wins New York, running against Hillary. But it would be a squeaker.
Now let's throw a monkey wrench into the debate.
New York is 31 electoral votes. Assume Rudy gets the nomination, and wins New York. Look at this map of the '04 results. I say Rudy also wins "barely Kerry" Pennsylvania and New Jersey too. That's a 67 point switch!
I've never heard of a Republican "northern strategy," but with sixty seven points, Rudy could lose most of the Southern states and still come out ahead. (I also believe Rudy could win Florida, which was "weak Bush" last time only because of the northeastern transplants in south Florida. Add FL and you get a 94 point switch.) Hillary still wins the other Kerry states, but who cares?
Debunk my theory.
From the Times of London:
Taleban fighters used women and children as human shields as they tried to escape into the mountains of Afghanistan, British troops claimed yesterday.This occurred during some very ferocious fighting.
The tactics were revealed in the first account by those who fought in one of the main battles faced by the men of 3 Para and the Royal Gurkha Rifles in Helmand province, where 3,300 British troops are stationed.
The Taleban’s use of human shields happened during a six-hour battle that began when British troops arrived in a remote area to flush out a suspected Taleban hideout.
They came under attack seven times and fired 2,000 rounds as the rebels set ambushes and opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades. About 21 Taleban were killed.
“It happened twice where they pushed women and children in front of them. The first time they ran into a compound and pushed them out the front to stop the assault,” said Corporal Quintin Poll, 29, from Norfolk.
“The second time they were firing through a building with women and children inside. My guys had to go around the left and right to get them.”
The fighting was so intense that rounds set fire to nearby wheat fields. At one stage Private Bash Ali, 20, from London, was hit by a bullet from a Kalashnikov assault rifle. It lodged in the spare magazine of his SA80 rifle, around his waist, setting fire to a tracer round.
“I was going around a corner hearing fire and didn’t know where it was coming from. The next thing I knew I fell to the ground. I thought I’d been hit by an RPG. I was dazed and was pulled into cover by a comrade,” he said.
Apache helicopters and A-10 tankbusters were called in to provide air support and at one stage raked a compound housing militants with their 30-millimetre canons.
“The guys were superb. I left the day with a huge amount of pride,” said Major Will Pike, 36, who has been in the Army for 14 years and said that this was the fiercest day of fighting he had ever seen.
Romeocat recently visited the National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center recently. You can see pictures of her trip here. This annex, near Dulles Airport, houses the first Space Shuttle, the Enola Gay, the Concorde, and many other awesome sights, including an SR-71, the most kick-ass airplane ever built.
Half of the reason I write this blog is to sample opinions from a wide variety of really smart people, that's you.
So here's a question I was thinking about today, which I haven't seen addressed anywhere.
What do you think?
I'll be really busy today, but I did want to link this WaPo op-ed by none other than Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser. It contains information that should please all political stripes, and is definitely worth reading.
I was perplexed by this cryptic passage.
While Iraq is trying to gain its independence from the United States and the coalition, in terms of taking greater responsibility for its actions, particularly in terms of security, there are still some influential foreign figures trying to spoon-feed our government and take a very proactive role in many key decisions. Though this may provide some benefits in the short term, in the long run it will only serve to make the Iraqi government a weaker one and eventually lead to a culture of dependency.Do any of you have ideas on who Mr. al-Rubaie meant when he referred to "some influential foreign figures?"
h/t Michelle Malkin.
Today we mourn the loss of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, Texas and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Oregon.
Spc. David J. Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Massachussetts was also killed during the initial battle near Yousifiya last Friday.
All were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky.
And Sandra Tsing Loh was there too? (She's totally a hero of mine.)
I didn't even get a puppet show for my grad party. wtf?
Oh, you'll note too that Moxie smokes my brand.
And that Ann Coulter's tits are bigger than I had realized.
Danish leaders and public figures openly say what the rest of Europe dares not. In some of the stricter PC regimes, such as Belgium, they would likely be under legal sanction for what they say.RTWT (i.e. read the whole thing)
It may be that Denmark will not withstand the Islamic onslaught. The Danes may well cave to anti-Semitism, or be cowed into submission. They may only hold out a year or a decade longer than Sweden before they are overrun.
But they hold up a mirror to us here in America, and remind us of the future that is careening towards us, and demonstrate a way to face it with dignity.
On Sunday, in response to a Tim Russert question, Representative Murtha actually suggested that we could have run the Zarqawi operation out of Okinawa.
What an idiot. Froggy at Blackfive does a beautiful job explaining why.
Apparently Murtha also believes that Somalia and Beirut are good models for the proper use of American military power. Or non-use, I should say. Murtha said, "in Beirut President Reagan changed direction, in Somalia President Clinton changed direction, and yet here, with the troops out there every day, suffering from these explosive devices, and being looked at as occupiers [blah blah blah]"
Let's follow that logic a bit. Murtha would have advised Washington to withdraw after Valley Forge; Madison to give up after the burning of the White House; Lincoln to throw in the towel after Bull Run, both of them; FDR to redeploy all troops to San Diego after Bataan; etc. etc. you get the picture.
How long must we wait until Murtha takes MacArthur's advice and just faaades away. Not soon enough, I say.
As far as I know, the Russians are famous for two aerial manuevers: "ramming" and the "cobra." Ramming is pretty self explanatory. It's what Russian pilots did in WWII when they didn't have any ammo. The cobra is a modern tactic, and if you've ever wondered what it looks like in practice, there's a textbook example by an Su-35 pilot in this Sukhoi highlight video (at 4:15).
There's also a cool shot of an Su-27's 30mm cannon firing (at 3:24).
And that Su-47 is a freaky lookin thing. It looks straight out of a Japanese monster movie.
Although the cobra manuever looks like something you'd use in a dogfight, it's real purpose is to confuse AWACS radars. The idea was for a group of four planes to fly towards the AWACS plane, with two in the front and two hidden closely behind the leaders. Then when the American radars got a lock, the two Russian planes in the lead would pull up into a cobra. In theory, this would confuse the radar long enough for the two lead planes to hit the deck, and when the radar regained its lock, the radar operators would think that the two trailing planes were the ones that they had been looking at originally. Then the two planes that had escaped the radar could attack from below.
If you ask me, it doesn't sound plausible, but that's what I read.
Update: More ultramaneuverability here, from what I think is an Su-37.
If the mere existence of a sport can be viewed as evidence of American superiority over the rest of the world, it is soccer.
There's real football, and there's futbol. They can't even fucking spell it right.
We suck at soccer because we don't care about it. We don't care about it because it is a stupid game.
You will never ever hear me say, "It's amazing, even though the score was 0-0, I really enjoyed watching that game."
Soccer is fun to play because all you do is run around and kick a ball. Soccer is boring to watch because all they do is run around and kick a ball.
When the foreign announcers say "gooooooooooooool!!!!" we laugh. But we're not laughing with them.
Beckham is eurotrash.
When Sylvester Stallone made that movie about soccer, he had to mix in a subplot about escaping from prison or some shit like that just to make it interesting, and it still sucked. The only movie about real football that had a prison subplot is The Longest Yard. It's now considered a classic, and they didn't even escape!
Soccer is like a slow, boring version of hockey, but without the fighting, or skating, or sticks, or guys getting slammed into a wall, or any action whatsoever.
Soccer is slower and more boring than golf, only there's more scoring in golf even though golfers are all trying not to score!
Soccer is basically like watching a high school football practice. A bunch of guys running back and forth across a field for three hours. Except the guys at my high school were cuter.
I root against the U.S. because the sooner we get knocked out, the sooner I get to stop hearing idiots complain that Americans don't like soccer.
If I have to, I root for Brazil because they come closest to making the game entertaining.
Feel free to add your own.
The following is a paper I did for an undergrad class almost ten years ago. I found it on my crappy old laptop, in a DOS directory if you can believe it. Funny how I still remember the basic DOS commands.
I haven't changed anything except for the first word of the essay, in reference to the year, and removal of the footnotes. I apologize for the excessive use of the passive voice, the unwieldy subordinate clauses, redundant modifiers and other hallmarks of a desperate undergrad's writing syle. Most everything I wrote back in those days was done at the last minute, with a hangover and barely proofread.
But I got a good grade, and it is on a subject of general interest and therefore blogworthy, I hope.
[Eighty-two] years ago, in May of 1924, America was shocked by what has often since been called "the Crime of the Century." In prohibition era Chicago, two wealthy and intelligent teenagers who had almost everything in life coldly murdered a fourteen year old boy for the sheer fun of the experience.
This event has become known as the case of Leopold and Loeb, the two young murderers who were saved from the hangman's noose through the efforts of a defense team led by an aging, yet still able Clarence Darrow.
After a brief discussion of the dastardly crime itself, this paper will examine the strategies of the State of Illinois and that of the Defendants. This paper will then discuss the evidence used in the hearing, including the use of psychiatric reports, and the novel use of expert witnesses by both sides. Finally, the paper will conclude with an examination of the closing arguments and commentary on the prosecution's failure to persuade the court to impose a death sentence on the two defendants.
Nathan F. Leopold Jr. and Richard A. Loeb were raised by wealthy Jewish parents in the fashionable upper class neighborhood of Kenwood on Chicago's South side. They had both been brought up with governesses, chauffeurs and large bank accounts. Both young men were widely read and extremely intelligent. Leopold had been the youngest man ever to graduate from the University of Chicago, at 18. Loeb had been the youngest man ever to graduate from the University of Michigan, at 17. Both planned to study law. Both were homosexuals.
The murder of fourteen year old Robert Franks was the last in a long line of criminal activities for Leopold and Loeb. Up until the incident, however, their crimes consisted mainly of burglaries, petty larcenies, vandalism and arson. In Spring of 1924, Loeb convinced Leopold that it was time to plan a kidnap for ransom and murder.
The conspirators used a false name to open a bank account and rent a car for the crime. The plan was to find a small child, take him into the rented car, hit the victim over the head, and then strangle him with a rope. A ransom note was prepared in advance with a blank spot for the name of the victim's parents.
On May 21, 1924, Leopold and Loeb drove to the Harvard School and spotted their young neighbor and acquaintance, Robert Franks. Once Franks was inside the car, they turned a corner and killed Franks by a few blows to the head with a heavy metal chisel. The two murderers then drove twenty miles around town through "thickly populated streets" with the dead body in the back seat. They waited until darkness before burying the body in a culvert.
Forty-eight hours later the body was discovered and a pair of glasses found nearby was traced to Leopold. On May 31, 1924, soon after the capture of both Leopold and Loeb, the police succeeded in obtaining confessions from both young men. On June 6, 1924, the two prisoners were indicted for the kidnapping and murder of Robert Franks and the crime of the century was set to become the trial of the century.
The so-called trial of the century was not to be a trial at all because on July 21, 1924, the defendants withdrew their not guilty plea and entered a plea of guilty on both counts, to the surprise of all observers. With guilt established, the trial had become merely a hearing on the mitigation or aggravation of the offense, for the purpose of fixing a sentence.
The prosecution team of State's attorney Robert E. Crowe, and assistants Joseph Savage, John Sbarbaro and Milton Smith had originally anticipated that the defendants would try for an acquittal based on an insanity defense. The defense team of Clarence Darrow, Benjamin C. Bachrach and Walter Bachrach had a number of reasons for changing the plea to guilty. Due to the extreme notoriety of the case and the public clamor for the death penalty, the defense wanted to take the case away from a jury. A surprise plea of guilty on both counts was the best way to avoid a death sentence, in the mind of Darrow, because the State would then be unable to try the defendants on one capital charge first and then try a second time if unsuccessful. Darrow felt that a jury would find it easier to hang his clients because they could share the responsibility for the decision. On the other hand, Darrow knew Judge Caverly, and though the Judge had handed down death sentences before, there was a better chance that Darrow could persuade him to be merciful in this case.
Darrow intended to convince Judge Caverly that Leopold and Loeb should not be sent to the gallows because of their mental condition and their youth.The only defense sought to be interposed was 'mitigating circumstances,' to avoid the extreme penalty of the law, death. The mitigating circumstances claimed by counsel for the defendants did not consist of the facts surrounding the commission of the crime, but of the alleged abnormal diseased mental condition of the defendants.Judge Caverly placed no restrictions on the introduction or admissibility of medical evidence to support mitigation "thereby making possible", in Darrow's words, "for the first time in the history of medical jurisprudence a completely scientific investigation in a court of law of the mental condition of persons accused of crime."
This decision was a major blow to the prosecution, which argued that medical evidence of degrees of insanity is improper where guilt is established, and used for the sole purpose of proving mitigation. As State's Attorney Crowe put it: "Our interpretation of this is, your Honor, that they are attempting to show degrees of responsibility. There is nothing in law known as degrees of responsibility. You are either entirely responsible for all the consequences of your act, or you are not responsible at all." Crowe argued that such a tactic amounted to the use of an insanity defense and required that the question be put to a jury.
The defense's argument that Judge Caverly found persuasive in the matter was that there are degrees of insanity and mental deficiency that fall short of the threshold required for a defense of legal insanity. These lesser degrees of insanity should be considered as evidence on the issue of mitigation, just as youth or other factors affecting responsibility.
The most important piece of evidence introduced by the defense after Judge Caverly's ruling was a report made by psychiatrists Drs. Hulbert and Bowman. These lengthy, comprehensive reports contained information on both defendants' family histories, the effect of governesses on their development, their childhood memories and fantasies, and their academic and sexual histories. The report called the murder "a climax to criminal careers that had been developing over a period of years." The report was useful to the defense because it supported their theory of diseased mind with statements such as the following:"The psychiatrists wrote: 'Leopold denies any feeling of remorse. . . . [H]e has no feeling of having done anything wrong as he doesn't feel that there is any such thing as morals. . . . He maintains that anything which gives him pleasure is right, and the only way in which he can do any wrong is to do something which will be unpleasant to himself.'"The prosecution presented eighty-one witnesses in an attempt not only to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but to demonstrate to the Judge the full horror of the crime. This strategy called for the presentation of the State's evidence "in minute detail, as though before a jury", while the defense attempted to counter this tactic with extremely limited cross-examinations. Defense counsel Benjamin Bachrach objected to the cumulative use of evidence by the State at one point, saying that guilt had already been conceded by their side. State's Attorney Crowe responded:I prefer . . . to present my case. Of course the plea of guilty admits everything. Your Honor is going to be asked to fix the punishment here and I want to show by the mountain of evidence we have piled up that, when they pleaded guilty, there was nothing else they could do. . . . I want to show their guilt clearly and conclusively, and the details of it and ask that they be hanged. I don't think I ought to be limited.The defense presented three alienists who had examined Leopold and Loeb and were each highly distinguished forensic psychiatrists of the day. Dr. William Alanson White, the first to testify, was president of the American Psychiatric Association and superintendent in charge of the national mental institution, St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. Each of the three Doctors testifying in support of the defense, concluded that "[Leopold and Loeb] suffer[ed] from a mental disease, characterized by disturbance of [their] emotional life, which, when the two boys were brought into association with each other, resulted in the murder of young Robert Franks."
The second alienist to testify, Dr. William Healy was an expert in juvenile delinquency. His testimony included details of a secret "compact" between the conspirators in which Loeb would perform sex acts with Leopold in exchange for Leopold's regular assistance in various criminal activities. On Cross-examination, Crowe elicited this statement from the witness: "[T]he crime itself is the direct result of diseased motivation of Loeb's mental life. The planning and commission was only possible because he was abnormal mentally, with a pathological split personality."
Crowe seized the opportunity to again move for a jury trial, saying: "[I]f the defense here is insanity, there is only one thing to do under the law and this is to call a jury." Again, the motion was denied and the defense continued with the third alienist, Dr. Bernard Glueck.
Dr. Glueck had formerly been psychiatrist at Sing Sing prison in New York. His direct testimony concerned the defendants' almost total lack of guilty feelings or normal emotional response to their crimes.
In what may have been a crucial error, State's Attorney Crowe attempted to establish monetary gain as the motive for the murder. Dr. Glueck sidestepped Crowe's questions saying that Loeb's motive probably involved "power, potency, and the realization of the fantasy of a perfect crime", while Leopold may not have had any motive. This line of questioning was attacked by Darrow in his closing argument, as lacking credibility since the defendant's were so wealthy money was not a likely motive for the killing.
Later, the defense called certain acquaintances of the defendants to the stand, including two of Loeb's former girlfriends. One spoke of Loeb's recent bizarre behavior, and his reckless driving and taunting of pedestrians. The defense rested soon after calling Dr. Hulbert, co-author of the initial psychiatric report.
For the State's case in rebuttal, Crowe called two alienists who testified that the defendants were normal and not mentally diseased. For his cross-examination, Darrow tried with limited success to show that the alienists' examinations were not credible since there were others in the room at the time they questioned the defendants.
The closing argument of Clarence Darrow, which began on August 22, 1924, has often been called his finest speech. He began by saying that hangings of prisoners who had plead guilty was a rarity and the youth of the defendants would set a precedent. Darrow admitted that his controversial decision to plead his clients guilty and hope for life in prison was made out of fear of public opinion. He attacked the prosecution, calling their arguments "cruel; dastardly; premeditated; fiendish; abandoned and malignant heart; . . . cowardly, [and] cold-blooded." Darrow argued that since the defendants did not murder out of passion or a need for money their crime was less cruel. His main argument was that the defendants were mentally diseased, that killing them would not remove the disease, and finally that as part of a civilized society the court should be moving away from the death penalty. Darrow's eloquence ended with a quote from the poet Omar Khayyam and the Judge reportedly had tears in his eyes when the attorney sat down.
State Attorney Crowe's began his summation by answering the attacks made by Darrow against the prosecution. He then began to paint a picture of the defendants that included sadism, cruelty, perversion, but not insanity. Referring to Drs. Hulbert and Bowman's assessment of the defendant's abnormal lack of emotion, he said:[I]f it is the fate of these two perverts that they must pay the penalty of this crime upon the gallows, when they realize it, you will find that they have got emotion and you will find they have got fear and you will find these cowardly perverts will have to be carried to the gallows.At another critical point in the argument, Crowe made a serious error by alienating Judge Caverly. Crowe intimated that the defense was happy with Judge Caverly because he was "friendly" to their side. Caverly responded angrily saying "[T]he court will order stricken from the record the closing remarks of the state's attorney as being a cowardly and dastardly assault upon the integrity of this court." Despite Crowe's apologies, the damage had been done.
On September 10, 1924, Judge Caverly read the judgment of the court, sentencing Leopold and Loeb to life in prison plus 99 years. In making his decision, the Judge stated clearly that he did not use the medical evidence of psychiatric disorder to mitigate the sentence. However, it seems clear that Judge Caverly was persuaded in some measure by Darrow's unusual strategy of painting the killers as victims of their own diseased minds.
The prosecution's failure to obtain a death sentence in this case was a startling defeat, considering the amount of public opinion on their side. One reason Darrow and the defense was successful may have been his stature in the public mythology. Darrow was a champion of the underdog, and this may have affected public opinion in his favor, and Darrow's heroic reputation may have made the Judge more receptive to the defense's novel arguments. Crowe neglected public opinion and throughout the trial, his aggressive tactics combined with Darrow's victimization of the defendants began to turn Leopold and Loeb into folk heroes. In the end, the prosecution may have lost by alienating Judge Caverly with their tactics of badgering witnesses, their lack of respect for the professional stature of the defense experts, and their insulting attacks on the defense. In doing so, State's Attorney Crowe helped to increase the legendary status of Clarence Darrow and foster a renewed attitude in this country toward the use of the death penalty.
What's this all about?
Check Preston's blog for details.
I'm excited that they've decided to make a feature length 24 movie! Interestingly, they've decided not to do the "real-time" thing for the film. Of course, with two hours available to the writers, they might have had just enough time for Jack to drive from Santa Monica to Van Nuys during rush hour before the closing credits start to roll.
The moviemakers don't need my advice, but in case any are reading here it is: Jack meets Jason!
Think about it.
Reading some of what passes for journalistic analysis regarding today's Supreme Court decision in Hudson v. Michigan, only reinforces my opinion that 90% of all reporters are idiots.
Check the AP reportage for example:
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that police armed with a warrant can barge into homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock, a huge government victory that was decided by President Bush's new justices.The errors in that article are too numerous to list. For one thing, the cops in the Hudson case didn't "barge in," they announced themselves first then waited before trying the door, which was unlocked. But more importantly, the Supreme Court never said that police "can barge into homes and seize evidence even if they don't knock."
The 5-4 ruling signals the court's conservative shift following the departure of moderate Sandra Day O'Connor.
Dissenting justices predicted that police will now feel free to ignore previous court rulings that officers with search warrants must knock and announce themselves or run afoul of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said Detroit police acknowledge violating that rule when they called out their presence at a man's door, failed to knock, then went inside* three seconds to five seconds later. The court has endorsed longer waits, of 15 seconds to 20 seconds.**
On the contrary, the Court upheld the knock rule. The Fourth Amendment still requires police executing a search warrant to knock first, announce their presence and provide the occupants a reasonable opportunity to open the door voluntarily. Today's ruling did not change that rule.
What the Court did do is apply the brakes to an out of control "exclusionary rule." Hudson v. Michigan is a quite sensible decision, and not even particularly conservative, in my opinion. I wonder if the AP reporter even read it.
Proponents of an expansive exclusionary rule want it to apply to any evidence obtained in the prosecution of a suspect, whenever the police fail to follow a procedural rule. In other words, some people believe that a judge should throw out all evidence against a defendant whenever the police fuck up, no matter what kind of fuck up it was. As Scalia noted, that would mean a "get-out-of-jail-free card" in many cases. This is what is known in the popular culture as "getting off on a technicality."
So, wouldn't it have been more accurate for the AP to describe today's decision as the Court limiting the ability of criminals to "go free" on "technicalities?"
The Hudson case does not overturn the exclusionary rule. It simply says that if police screw up on their constitutional requirement to knock before serving a search warrant, and the search later turns up a bunch of evidence that proves the dude was guilty as sin, the judge does not have to throw out all the evidence and let the guy go. I think that's totally reasonable. The exclusionary rule still applies when the cops commit more serious constitutional violations, like searching a house without a warrant.
Critics of the Hudson decision will say that without the exclusionary rule police might simply ignore the knock and enter requirement. Maybe so, maybe not. The Court pointed to other means available to punish cops for failing to knock, civil lawsuits and disciplinary measures for instance. Also, the Court pointed out that the knock requirement isn't even a hard and fast rule. Police can legally enter without knocking if they have reason to believe that evidence might be destroyed were they to knock first.
But the main point is that the cure would be much worse than the disease. If we were to let criminals go free just because the police failed to knock even though they had a valid search warrant, there would undoubtedly be crooks walking around who should be behind bars. The Hudson decision prevents this potential miscarriage of justice and restores balance to a small part of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Or to put it in Johnny Cochran-ese:
Just 'cuz the cop didn't knock,I'm glad the new Court is refusing to expand the exclusionary rule beyond its already unreasonable scope. I just wish that the media would explain the reasoning behind today's decision instead of trying to scare people unnecessarily.
don't mean we let the perp walk.
I give the New York Times opinion writer more slack for his wrongheaded piece, because at least that's an editorial. I would be disappointed if I didn't find wrongheadedness in a NYT editorial.
To be fair, some reporters seem to understand the Hudson case better. Two examples of more balanced articles can be found at CNN's site and at The Christian Science Monitor. Although I do have a semantic nit to pick about the Monitor's assertion that the decision is a setback to "privacy rights." While the right to privacy is related to Fourth Amendment freedoms, the two are not identical. As everyone should know by now, the right to privacy is not enumerated in the Constitution, whereas protection from unreasonable searches and seizures is.
* Again, the AP reporter "forgot" to mention that the criminal's door was unlocked.
** Here the AP reporter "forgot" to mention that the standard for deciding how long to wait is based on how long it would take a suspect to flush the evidence. Therefore, a reasonable wait time might be only a couple of seconds, depending on the particular evidence in the case.
Today is Valdemar's day, which, as longtime visitors of this blog well know, is Denmark's version of flag day. It's when Danish people celebrate God's gift of the Dannebrog to them in the year 1219. I've retold the legend before, but you can read another humorous version at The Moron's Euroblog.
I got an email this morning from visitor Drake, who loves my blog by the way. (I actually encourage anyone and everyone to e-mail me for the purpose of telling me how much you love my blog.) Anyways, Drake alerted me to the following bit of information, Danish exports are UP!
As reported by The American Thinker:
The MSM in Denmark yesterday cited a brand-new report from the Danish ‘Institut for Konjunktur-Analyse’ that unambiguously shows that the “cartoon crisis” has had a positive impact on Danish exports. The export business is literally booming and the result for the first half of 2006 is expected to be the best in the last 4 years.So help celebrate Valdemarsdag, eat a danish today!
Here’s an article from Denmarks largest financial newspaper. Unfortunately it’s in Danish (you might be able to extract the essentials from the headline nevertheless.) The article basically says that while the export to Islamic countries has gone down, this is more than compensated for by an increase in export to other countries, especially the USA! Senior analyst Joern Thulstrup is quoted as saying: (translated) “It’s an overlooked fact in the Danish debate that Denmark is held in very high regard in the USA, and this is really paying off in regard to business.”
Hear Johnny Cash reading this poem in in his inimitable voice here. It was a hit record in 1974.
Ragged Old Flag
I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old courthouse is kinda run down."
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town."
I said, "Your flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it."
He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.
"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing 'Oh Say Can You See.'
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams.
"And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on though.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville,
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.
"On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II.
She hung limp and low a time or two.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.
"She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land she's been abused--
She's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused.
"And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before,
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.
"So we raise her up every morning,
We take her down every night.
We don't let her touch the ground,
And we fold her up right.
On second thought I do like to brag,
'Cause I'm mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag."
I star in another movie! This one has a sad ending, but shows my dramatic range.
Directed by Victor.
Okay, you've all seen these things, a list of questions supposedly designed to help you get to know me better. Really, this list is pretty lame. The only things you need to know about me are that I'm totally awesome, totally hot, and I can kick your ass at tennis or trivia any day of the week. Other than that, what's to know? I'm pretty boring.
I once had a 100 Things list up, but I got tired of it and I haven't yet gotten in the mood to revise it. The following thirty questions are a meme that many of the Cotillion babes are answering this week. In our collective wisdom, we have all decided that questions like "what color is your bathroom" and "what fabric detergent do you use" are burning issues that our readers' lives cannot be considered complete without knowing the answers thereto.
So without further ado:
Hangin' out on Sunday afternoon in Phineas' garage.
Does it even need to be said that if this questionable rumor is true, I hope our boys took a few extra hard swings just for me?
Peter does product endorsements.
Here's two articles from the anti-war, often anti-American Associated Press, that give cause for optimism to those of us who want victory.
Ignore the predictably negative headline and check out some key quotes from this article:
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death doesn't mean an end to the insurgency in Iraq — but it could mean a change in strategy.An even more optimistic AP story looks at the beating Al Qaeda leadership has taken around the world in the last two years. A partial rundown:
"What Iraqi Sunnis want in Iraq is different from what al-Zarqawi wants," said Sadeq al-Musawi, who until February was President Jalal Talabani's political adviser. "Sunnis want to push out foreign forces from Iraq. Al-Zarqawi ... wanted Islamic rule and wanted to instigate civil war between Sunnis and Shiites."
The death on Wednesday of the al-Qaida in Iraq leader could also provide an opening for the Iraqi government to try to woo Sunni insurgents.
Deputy Prime Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, a Sunni, said the national unity government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was open to contacts with armed groups except those involved in the killing of civilians or opposed to the U.S.-backed political process.
There have been contacts in the past between envoys of the U.S. and Iraqi governments and various insurgent groups, but none is known to have produced any deals or progressed beyond the preliminary stages.
"Al-Qaida in Iraq and its supporters must be shaken by al-Zarqawi's death," al-Zubaie said Friday. "It has given security forces a boost," al-Zubaie said.
A 2004 Associated Press analysis named a dozen young terror suspects as front-line leaders, their hands stained with the blood of attacks from Bali to Baghdad, Casablanca to Madrid.Let's not forget the parliamentary approval of Iraq's new Defense and Interior ministers, and the newfound momentum of American troops against the insurgency. Add to those bits of good news, the announcement by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki two weeks ago that "Our forces are capable of taking over the security in all Iraqi provinces within a year and a half," and things look even better.
Al-Zarqawi, who sat atop the 2004 list as the biggest threat after bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, died Wednesday when U.S. forces dropped two 500-pound bombs on his hideout northeast of Baghdad.
. . .
Globally, security forces have also had considerable success. Another four of the top 12 young militants in the 2004 list have met violent ends — in shootouts in Saudi Arabia, under U.S. bombardment in Iraq, or in an Algerian terror sweep. The seven who remain at large are on the run, and none has been able to match al-Zarqawi's success at launching large-scale attacks since mid-2004.
. . .
Joining al-Zarqawi in the list of dead militant leaders is Nabil Sahraoui, who took over the North African Salafist Group for Call and Combat in 2004 and announced that he was merging it with al-Qaida. Sahraoui did not have much time to savor his power play. The militant, who was in his 30s, was gunned down by Algerian troops that same year east of Algiers.
Habib Akdas, the accused ringleader of the 2003 bombings in Istanbul, Turkey, and another member of the class of 2004, died during the U.S. bombardment of the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November of that year, according to the testimony of an al-Qaida suspect in U.S. custody. Turkish security forces believe the account and say Akdas, who was also in his 30s, is dead.
Syrian-born Loa'i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa, who has emerged as an even more senior leader of the Istanbul bombings, but who was not included in the 2004 list of top terror suspects, is in a Turkish jail awaiting trial on terror charges.
Two other men who were on the 2004 list met their ends at the hands of security forces in Saudi Arabia.
Abdulaziz al-Moqrin, 30, who rose from high school dropout to become al-Qaida's leader in the kingdom, was cornered and killed by security forces in Riyadh in 2004, shortly after he masterminded the kidnapping and beheading of American engineer Paul M. Johnson.
In 2005, Saudi forces shot and killed Abdelkrim Mejjati, a Moroccan in his late 30s who was believed to have played a leading role in the May 2003 bombings in Casablanca that killed more than 30 people. Mejjati came from a privileged background, attending an exclusive French school in Morocco before turning to terrorism. He was sent to Saudi Arabia on bin Laden's orders, becoming one of the kingdom's most wanted men.
For most of those at large, life is anything but easy.
I've always been an optimist on Iraq and the War on Terror. I remained so even during the darkest days when the temptation to jump sides became too much to resist for better conservatives than I.
Still, I've never been one who, on this blog, was quick to announce certain "victories" as "turning points" or signs of "light at the end of the tunnel." I know that in war, as in life, the road to victory is often tortuous (definition 1). For every bit of good news, there's some bad news that the opposition will trumpet, so it's hard being an optimist when no one knows the ultimate outcome with certainty. But I'm a lot more hopeful today than I was a week ago. Maybe, just maybe, we've crested a hill over there.
I can attest to the accuracy of the video below, because I have a bunch of history degrees. It's the shit they don't tell you in school.
(It reminds me a lot of this famous site, which is also really funny.)
This is rich. I wonder if Kerry was wearing a flight suit when he wrote this.
Statement by John Kerry on the Death of Abu Musab al-ZarqawiTime to declare victory and come home, eh? There was Caesar, Alexander, von Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Eisenhower, and now John F. Kerry: military genius.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a brutal terrorist and his death strikes a blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq. This ruthless thug who abused the true meaning of Islam was an intruder on Iraqi soil and it’s good news that he’s dead. Our troops did an incredible job hunting him down and destroying him, and all of America is proud of their skill and commitment.
“With the end of al-Zarqawi and the confirmation of the final vital cabinet ministries in Iraq’s new government, it’s another sign that it’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq, bring the factions together, end the insurgency, and run their own country. Our troops have done their job in Iraq, and they’ve done it valiantly. It’s time to work with the new Iraqi government to bring our combat troops home by the end of this year.” [emphasis added]
Now that Al Zarqawi is getting fucked in the ass by his cellmates Pol Pot and Beria, I think we should celebrate the heroes who dropped the two 500 lb. JDAMs that killed him. Their victory is as historic at the one that occurred on April 17, 1943, also heralded as great news:
[A]s the mountains of Bougainville came into view [it was] 0934 when sharp-eyed Doug Canning called out "Bogeys, eleven o'clock. High." Mitchell couldn't believe it; there they were, right on schedule, exactly as planned. The Japanese planes appeared bright and new-looking to the pilots of the 339th. They jettisoned their drop tanks and bored in for the attack. Holmes and Hine had trouble with their tanks, only Barber and Lanphier of the killer group went after the Japanese bombers. All the other P-38s followed their instructions to fly cover.Link to the full history here.
. . . The Lightnings had waded into the Japanese flight, pouring forth their deadly streams of lead. In the manner of all aerial combat, the fight was brief, high-speed, and confused. . . .
. . . Both Lanphier and Barber claimed one bomber shot down over the jungles of Bougainville. Frank Holmes claimed another shot down over the water a few minutes later. From Japanese records and survivors, among them Admiral Ugaki, the following facts are certain. Only two Betty bombers were involved; Yamamoto's was shot down over Bougainville with no survivors; the second went into the ocean and Ugaki lived to tell about it. Shortly after the attack, a Japanese search party located the wreckage, including the Admiral's body, which they ceremonially cremated.
. . .
The pilots uneventfully flew back to Guadalcanal, where upon landing, the ground personnel greeted them gleefully, like a winning football team. While Lanphier and Barber briefly disagreed about the air battle, all was subsumed in the generally celebratory atmosphere. Lanphier later recalled enjoying his best meal of the war that night.
Victor sent me a link to the most horrible thing I've ever seen on the internets. This is way worse than the drunk dog fucking video, which at least was funny. No, this one is so horrible I almost want to cancel my internet service and never go online again. Cuz if that's what the internets have come to, if that's the kind of awfulness we are now able to witness at the click of a button -- I mean the kind of stuff that should have been burned, buried and forgotten, never to see the light of day ever again, where it will damage the eyes and ears and brains of millions of innocent unsuspecting people -- well then I think this whole internets thing has gone too far.
If you dare, click on this YouTube link. But I must warn you, It is shockingly baaad, and even Victor admitted that he was physically unable to watch the entire thing. I did, and I will forever be sorry.
As Tony noted, Saturday was Allen Ginsberg's birthday. There must be a Ginsberg bug going around because Strawman also suggested a poem by the great one. I can't abide his political stuff, but Ginsberg is a genuine literary icon, and a fearless poet. He's also an interesting guy to boot. Here is a perfect poem for today.
A Supermarket in California
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for
I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache
self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what
were you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the
pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans
following you, and followed in my imagination by the store
We strode down the open corridors together in our
solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen
delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in
an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The
trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher,
what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and
you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat
disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
Now this is a special one. Pandora.com is a site that recommends songs based on objective similarities to the songs you input.
[W]e set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.It seems a much more scientific than other internet "radio" sites that play songs based on broader categories or the buying habits of similar users whose tastes usually aren't that similar to mine.
I thought I'd try to stump it by entering the name of my favorite new musical discovery, April Verch. But the program passed my test with flying colors. Give it a whirl.
h/t to Jody.
Try your hand at Tuning Spork's version of the iPod Name That Tune meme I made up last Saturday.
I couldn't get any of them.
VIENNA, Austria - A package of incentives presented Tuesday to Iran includes a provision for the United States to supply Tehran with some nuclear technology if it stops enriching uranium — a major concession by Washington, diplomats said.So far, it appears AP is out there alone on this development. The New York Times reported earlier that the package contained a combination of carrots and sticks: the carrots including aircraft parts and the stick including travel restrictions.
The offer was part of a series of rewards offered to Tehran by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, according to the diplomats, who were familiar with the proposals and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were disclosing confidential details of the offer.
The package was agreed on last week by the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, in a bid to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran.
Meanwhile, the Iranians are sending out positive signals.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana met Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in Tehran to present the package, agreed by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.But are the Iranians merely stringing everybody along until they work out the bugs in their cascade process? Stay tuned.
"The proposals had some positive steps in them and some ambiguities which should be removed," Larijani said after receiving the proposals. He did not elaborate on the "ambiguities".
"We hope, after we study the proposal in detail, we will have another round of talks and negotiations to achieve a balanced and logical conclusion," he said.
In this newsreel, General Eisenhower remembers D-Day with a message that applies equally well in 2006.
Seventeen years ago yesterday, the massacre happened.
More still photos here.
I'd say something about "lest we forget," but I know we already have forgotten. All they wanted was freedom.
Okay here's a fun idea I just came up with. I was inspired by Sheila's old "Guess the First Lines of Novels" game, which is a lot of fun to look at, even though the game is long over.
Then I thought about my Friday iPod post. How boring is it to just post the songs, hoping you'll think I'm cool and all eclectic and shit. Why not give my readers a chance to show how cool you are.
So here's the opening four lines from ten random songs off my iPod. Some of them should be easy, and some will probably be impossible. You could google the lyrics, but I don't know how you'd sleep at night if you did so. Anyways, if you do google, don't post the answer because someone else might want to guess.
There are no prizes in this game, just good karma.
Can you guess the title and the artist? Green means somebody got it. Good luck!
In other news, coming in July: the return of annika's journal Jeopardy. Bigger and badder than ever. Consider this a warm-up.
We had a fight on the promenade out in the rain
She said she loved me, but she had somewhere to go
She couldn't scream while I held her close
Who holds a gun that fires ’cost’
And people die from being cold
Or left alone because they’re old
But that blood it never burned in her veins
Now I hear she's got a house up in Fairview
And a style she's trying to maintain
I'd find a way to believe that its all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road while you’re travelling with me
Strangers in many ways
We’ve got a lifetime to share
So much to say and as we go on from day to day
Let me remember things I love,
Stoppin’ at the log where catfish bite,
Walkin’ along the river road at night,
in a room full of emptiness
by a freeway i confess
i was lost in the pages
And I've looked between the lines that lie on the pages that I tread
I met the walking dude, religious, in his worn down cowboy boots
He walked liked no man on earth I swear he had no name
to shoot a sex machine drug
he got 24 hours
to shoot all paulenes between the legs
Much as I hate to link to the New York Times, occasionally they print something that's worth a recommendation. Here's a background story on the internal White House discussions that preceded our latest overture to Iran. It's most notable for illustrating the incredible regard President Bush has for Condoleezza Rice's advice.
[T]he story of how a president who rarely changes his mind did so in this case — after refusing similar proposals on Iran four years ago — illustrates the changed dynamic between the State Department and the White House in Mr. Bush's second term. When Colin L. Powell was secretary of state, the two buildings often seemed at war. But 18 months after Ms. Rice took over, her relationship with Mr. Bush has led to policies that one former adviser to Ms. Rice and Mr. Bush said "he never would have allowed Colin to pursue."
In case you've been in a cave, here's the latest news on a terrorist cell arrested by the anti-terrorism squad of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
A counterterrorism sweep Friday resulted in the largest arrest ever made by the nation's anti-terrorism forces and raised, for the first time, the spectre of homegrown terrorists striking Canadians from within our borders.[from Globe and Mail]
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell announced the arrest of 12 Ontario men who were to appear in court later Saturday in Brampton, west of Toronto. The men ranged in age from 19 to 43, and are residents of Toronto, Mississauga and Kingston.
. . .
Media reports Saturday alleged that the suspects engaged in terror training camps north of Toronto. It was further alleged that the group was plotting to attack targets in Toronto, including the headquarters of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
. . .
Police have recovered three tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the raids. Commissioner McDonell noted that this amount was three times the amount used by Timothy McVeigh to destroy the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Certainly the most disturbing aspect of this story, and one that will probably be ignored by the evil right wing bloggers, is that the Canadian intelligence services were apparently snooping on these suspected terrorists' private websites!
The chain of events began two years ago, sparked by local teenagers roving through Internet sites, reading and espousing anti-Western sentiments and vowing to attack at home, in the name of oppressed Muslims here and abroad.This is a clear violation of terrorist rights, and it certainly makes me glad to live in America where such domestic surveillance, while still possible, at least generates sufficient outrage among our enlightened class.
Their words were sometimes encrypted, the Internet sites where they communicated allegedly restricted by passwords, but Canadian spies back in 2004 were reading them. And as the youths' words turned into actions, they began watching them.
Who will step up in Canada to protect terrorist rights? Where is Canada's Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid? More proof, I guess, of how backward them Canadians are.
h/t Dr. Rusty.
People have been doing the Friday iPod thing for a while, so I thought I'd give it a try. You know where you set the iPod at random and list the first ten songs that come up. I couldn't do it yesterday because of mu.nu's denial of service attack.
So here's my list.
For my Jewish friends, a Shavu'ot poem:
Sword of Gevurah
that the Just Warrior wields with Mighty Power!
I say unto Thee:
Defend Thy Honor fiercely
with Noble Courage that Towers above the Tide.
I say unto Thee:
Feed the Hungry of Body and Spirit,
Give them Hope for Health and Livelihood.
I say unto Thee:
Protect the folk from those who would seek to steal away
their precious rights!
I say unto Thee:
Be Thou Swift to shine the Light of Truth upon
those who deceive, delude and dishonor,
hiding behind the dark veil of privilege.
Shine the Light now,
so that Ye may walk with Honor to Thy Destiny.
whatsoever is the will of man...
the Lord God demands Truth and Justice
from those who would seek to serve
Understand why it Rains, Know why the Wind Howls:
Be Wise when you are offered the Hand of Redemption!
Justice must prevail!
You are the Servant
that must Right the great Injustice that has been wrought.
I'm not Jewish, but I will enjoy the traditional Chalav observance tonight by eating a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with my favorite chocolate syrup and a big glass of water. mmmmm. Not exactly kosher, but that's the advantage of being Catholic.
h/t Linda at Something and Half of Something.
Update: It's hard to imagine any editorial getting it more wrong than the Wall Street Journal's, surprisingly.
A reporter for L.A. radio station KABC was the victim of an attempted murder today. Someone tried to run him over with a station wagon. What did the reporter do? It appears someone didn't like the questions he was asking about a certain all-latino public school. Story here.
More on the principal of the public school and his extremist agenda here. He sounds like a commie to me.
Mary Katharine Ham has a great background post about two of my favorite boxers, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. They're much more interesting than your average boxers.
Both brothers stand over 6'6", speak four languages, and have Ph.Ds. They served in the Ukrainian army, hold helicopter pilots' licenses, and excel at chess. They are described as intelligent, charming, and well-mannered in a sport that hasn't recently put a high premium on those qualities. They sometimes catch flak for it from opponents and critics who say they're too soft for boxing-- they lack the killer instinct.Ph.D.'s? That's must be where the "science" part of "sweet science" comes in.
Nonetheless, the two have both been heavyweight champions--Wladimir most recently beat Chris Byrd for the title in a bout that avenged his big brother's loss of the title to the southpaw American 6 months earlier. Inside the ring, the brothers combine for a record of 70-2 with 66 KOs. (Not positive that's a current stat, so don't quote me on it; I read several different stats on that, but that's the ballpark.)