Friday, December 31, 2004

It must be New Year's Eve!

Everybody is talking hangover cures and coming up with lists of best whatever for 2004. I'm fortunately free of the list making gene which allows me to just quote the best lines from everybody else's lists. Anyhow, the NY Post has the Cliff's Notes version of The Media Research Center's The Best of Notable Quotables 2004. Pride of place has to go to:

"The story is true. The story is true. . . . So, one, there is no internal investigation. Two, somebody may be shell-shocked, but it is not I, and it is not anybody at CBS News. Now, you can tell who is shell-shocked by the ferocity of the people who are spreading these rumors." — Rather, denying that CBS would investigate his story on President Bush
There's a million of them! How about:

"John Dean, who was at the center of the greatest political scandal in this nation's history, has produced a book with perspective, and that perspective is simply terrifying. The bottom line: George Bush has done more damage to this nation than his old boss, Richard Nixon, ever dreamt of. . . . This could have been the historical, essentially, prequel to George Orwell's novel 1984, that if you wanted to see what the very first step out of maybe 50 steps towards this totalitarian state that Orwell wrote about in his novel, this [President Bush's policies] would be the kind of thing that you would see." — MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Countdown


There are those who believe that Dick Cheney has led this administration and this president down a path of recklessness, that maybe his approach, his dark approach to this constant battle against another civilization, is actually the wrong approach for ultimately keeping America safe." — NBC's David Gregory, shortly before Cheney's acceptance speech
The MRC also has Times Watch 'Quotes of Note Worst of 2004' featuring the ripest foolishness from the New York Times. Where else could you read tripe like:
Tots surely won't recognize that Santa's big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler's Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will.' But their parents may marvel that when Santa's big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum." -- Movie critic Manohla Dargis reviewing "The Polar Express," November 10.
Then there are all the folks with their New Year's Resolutions. The NY Post asks some celebs and got some rather nontraditional responses:
Actress Diahann Carroll: "To be more selfish and think more about myself."
Miss Guy, lead singer of the Toilet Boys: "To drink more, smoke more and have more sex."

Andy Clerkson, editorial director, Maxim magazine: "To fight off worrying symptoms of metrosexuality. I will refuse latte, lightly tinted sunglasses, fingernail-buffing and the phrase 'low-carb' in favor of billiards, dirt biking and drinking hard liquor at the office."
Toilet Boys?

And one more:
Actor Dan Aykroyd: "To look [others] in the eye for the fond, warm embrace that wafts across this great, free land, and let us remember this phrase: 'Death to our enemies! Go, Marines!'"
Could Dan be funnin' us? He doesn't seem the type.

Watch out for tsunami relief con artists!

And not just the petty crooks that these kinds of disasters seem to attract. I'm talking about the big chiselers at the United Nations. I mentioned yesterday that all the UN brings to the table is other people's money. Diplomad provides Things That Make You Say 'Blah!' The UN Response to the Tsunami:
We've been working some very long days since the tsunami hit this region: today was another 18-hour day, on the heels of a sleepless night answering phones, writing messages back to Washington, coordinating with Pacific Command in Honolulu, and trying to nail down a thousand and one details big and small. There will be no New Year's holiday for any of us.

Our regular readers know that this blog is very critical of the Foreign Service and the State Department. But to be fair, I think Americans would be proud of the dedication shown and of the work being done by their Foreign Service, some incredibly competent and energetic USAID workers, and, of course, the US military.
In stark contrast, the much-vaunted UN humanitarian effort is a disgrace.
Believe me, there is no massive UN effort underway. There is a lot of UN blah-blah, but that's it.

Notice in citation #2 above that when Egeland talks about "an enormous relief effort is on its way" he really means the UN has begun to send bureaucrats out to affected areas to file reports. Also note citation #3: children are dying all over the place and where does UNICEF want to spend its, I mean, your money? On psycho-babble training of teachers -- teachers who probably are knee-deep in mud and water right now.

Ironically the UN effort is best summed up by the "outspoken" Mr. Egeland, who in an unguarded moment in New York revealed the truth: "We are doing very little at the moment."
Follow the link for more. The kleptocrats don't have a clue except how to attach themselves to cash and organize conferences at world resort spots. I guess the Indian Ocean is off the list for a while.

Biscuits and Gravy - Dec. 31, 2004

Conservatives dominate the media, really
So let me 'fess up: It's true. America's major media have long been the lapdogs of conservatism, quietly but effectively purveying its propaganda to an unsuspecting public.

Space limitations prevent me from offering more than a few examples, so let's start with the one that conservatives have long identified as the primary cancer on the body of American journalism: The New York Times. Are you among the millions who have been deceived by what we conservatives have long pointed to as proving our contention: that the Times, in its editorials, endorses Democratic candidates, for everything from president to dog-catcher, 99 percent of the time? Don't be so naive!

Nobody reads the Times' editorials, or at least takes them seriously. Look, instead, at the Times' fabled Op Ed page. Can you believe that anyone seriously wanting to do liberalism a favor would give permanent weekly spaces in that valuable real estate to three such hysterical leftists as Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert and that rehabilitated Enron consultant, Paul Krugman? It would be fascinating to know how many thoughtful Times readers have been edged toward conservatism by weekly doses of their drivel. Do you think the Times is unaware of that?
BBC checks navel for clue - can't find either
Should we be worried about the threat from organised terrorism or is it simply a phantom menace being used to stop society from falling apart?
I believe the technical term is "false dichotomy."

NY Post Letters on Bill Clinton's Rich Pardon
Hopefully, some chickens are coming home to roost for Bill and Hill now that Marc Rich has been fingered as an active participant in the U.N. Oil-for-Food fiasco.

This is the same tax evader and fugitive whose ex-wife Denise funded Hillary's senate campaign and Bill's presidential library with big bucks, in exchange for a last minute presidential pardon for her husband just before Clinton left office.

When Hillary Clinton runs for president as the Democratic candidate in 2008, the Republicans must not let Americans forget about Marc Rich.
From another letter:
Bill Clinton: the gift that keeps on giving.
Kind of like the clap.

Analgesic withdrawals: What a pain
It is a fact of American journalism that it is almost always in a state of agitation. Its practitioners should, with a few notable exceptions, be on medication at all times.

For the newsrooms of America I would prescribe one of the many fine tranquilizers produced by leading pharmaceutical companies.

An example of the agitation afflicting my unsedated colleagues is the enormous pother they have created over another of the pharmaceutical companies' wonders: painkillers.
Brazil Town to Honor Arafat With Statue
The New Year's Eve celebrations in the small community of Paraiba do Sul will honor a figure the town's mayor says hasn't been honored anywhere else in the West - the late Yasser Arafat.

Moments before the clock rings in 2005, a fireworks and light show will serve as a backdrop to the unveiling of a life-sized statue of the Palestinian leader holding the traditional symbol of peace, the olive branch.
If they wanted traditional symbols for ole Fishface, the statue would be wearing a bomb belt and holding a money bag.
The New Year's Eve inauguration of the Yasser Arafat Memorial will be Onofre's last public act as mayor of Paraiba do Sul, a town of 37,000 people 250 miles northeast of Sao Paulo.

During his eight-year tenure, he has unveiled statues of Cuba's revolutionary icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara and Cuban President Fidel Castro, as well as Brazil's late Communist leader Luiz Carlos Prestes, among others.

Onofre, a socialist, said the people he decided to honor are "individuals who fought for their ideals."

Asked if referendums were held so that the citizens of Paraiba do Sul could decide which personalities to honor, the outgoing mayor said: "No. I and my cabinet made those decisions."
He's sad he didn't have time to put up one of Jimmy Carter. Seriously.

Warren Christopher - Still an idiot
We stand at a moment of rare opportunity for the United States in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mahmoud Abbas, a moderate Palestinian leader, dominates the field for January's presidential election.
Yeah, real moderate, real opportunity. If you're a Clinton dung fly.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

It's all about the United Nations, I guess

Former UK cabinet minister Clare Short has her knickers in a twist - Bush 'Undermining UN with Aid Coalition':
United States President George Bush was tonight accused of trying to undermine the United Nations by setting up a rival coalition to coordinate relief following the Asian tsunami disaster.

The president has announced that the US, Japan, India and Australia would coordinate the world’s response.

But former International Development Secretary Clare Short said that role should be left to the UN.

“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.

“Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme.

“It is the only body that has the moral authority."
Sigh. The only thing the UN brings to the table is other people's money. More perverse whining by following the link including this beauty:
Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters.
Have another hit off the bong, Clare.

Anyhow, it isn't just Clare. Apparently Kofi Annan noticed he wasn't going to get his cut and called Colin Powell - Powell, Annan Discuss Asia Aid:
Secretary of State Colin Powell conferred by video hookup U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Thursday on assistance to the victims of the Asian and African tsunamis and then added the United Nations to the core group planning relief efforts.
Hasn't Colin left yet? On the other hand, maybe they can send the UN folks out for coffee. And there's one sure way to tell that the U.N. is involved - it's conference time!
With the death toll rising, European governments were taking soundings on holding an international donors conference Jan. 7, a senior U.S. official said.
Here's a thought, maybe the United Nations could dig into its piggy bank and come up with some loot:
The already controversial U.N. Oil-for-Food program may also have been a vast international money-laundering scheme involving potentially hundreds of millions of dollars, documents reviewed by FOX News suggest.
Anyhow, Fox News has a video of Kofi's news conference linked off their home page where he was asked explicitly whether the United Nations had enough people to provide disaster relief and he launched into a spiel about U.N. partners like the Red Cross. Hey everyone! Just provide the cash and the workers and the goods and they'll provide the "moral authority." With that and $10 and a US Air Force C-130 you can airlift a bag of rice.

Was Nick Coleman drunk or just off his meds?

Nick Coleman, crack columnist
Nick Coleman, "crack" columnist

It's a fair question after his ranting, ad hominem screed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune attacking the proprietors of Power Line. "Career Suicide by Blogger", indeed. But the fascinating part of all this is the insight into the the life of a leftoid columnist for a big city left-wing daily like the Red Star Tribune.
As staff at the Star Tribune got word of Coleman's hire, there was little in the way of celebration. The decision to hire a 53-year-old white guy with liberal tendencies to write a column in the metro section alongside Doug Grow, another fifty-something lib with skin color to match, actually befuddled a number of people--including Grow, who some believe may be reassigned to a lower-profile beat. "I always assumed, and this is not meant as a criticism of Nick, that they would hire someone with a much different voice; whether it be a female, a person of color, or a conservative [snort - ed.]," Grow says.

Confusion in the newsroom quickly morphed to anger, not only because a brand-new, high-paying position was created for Coleman while other departments at the newspaper are struggling to do more with less, but because the job was never posted, which offended many longtime writers, especially women and people of color. There was even scuttlebutt, unsubstantiated but illuminating, that Coleman may have signed a package deal so that his wife, PiPress columnist Laura Billings, could come over to the Strib after she completes her pending maternity leave. (Coleman flatly denies the rumor.)

By the end of last week, the Newspaper Guild, which also represents editorial workers at the Strib, was debating whether to lodge an official complaint against the paper for engaging in illegal hiring practices. "It would be more than fair to say that a lot of people are upset," one union rep says. "That's a great job, and there's more than a few people around here who would have done it very well."
Ruh Oh! I guess ole Nick has to keep up his street cred with the wingnuts or he gets "equal opportunitied." No more columns about domestic bliss, eh Nick?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

It's another one of those damn clowns!

Idiot Ramsey Clark and his bosom chum John Kerry

Guess Who's In The Courtroom With Saddam?

Time magazine checks butt for cranium

(Hat tip: FR) I missed this beauty in the issue where Power Line was named Blog of the Year. Cut to the press release:
TIME also names Power Line its Blog of the Year. “Before this year, blogs were a curiosity, a cult phenomenon, a faintly embarrassing hobby on the order of ham radio and stamp collecting. But in 2004, blogs unexpectedly vaulted into the pantheon of major media, alongside TV, radio and, yes, magazines, and it was Power Line, more than any other blog, that got them there,” writes TIME’s Lev Grossman.
It's no surprise that I missed it, since I don't read Time, but I wonder - did they reveal any of Lev Grossman's hobbies? If so, did sheep bothering play a prominent role?

Someone got it


The usual suspects searching for a meme

Wizbang has a series of posts nicely covering the wingnuttery as the usual suspects strive to find a away to blame Americans, in general, and George Bush, in particular, for the Indonesian tsunami and its effects. Of course, it's a little tough blaming anyone for an earthquake, but that isn't going to stop them.

First off the mark was an attempt to blame "global warming" and "evil" development for er, making things worse. As a bonus, there's a nice whine that Momma USA should have done more to contact every government in the region when the needles started jiggling on the seismographs. Maybe singing telegrams? Of course, some of the local governments had plenty of warning and did nothing. Hmmm, there's novelty in these, but they don't seem like winners.

OK, how about some United Nations whining that the US is stingy as I mentioned on Monday? Nice try, but the gales of hilarity that greeted that ploy have forced the kleptocrat in question, Jan Egeland, to retract his remarks:


Egeland knew exactly what he was saying — and he meant every word of it.

Of course, it was about as truthful as the rest of the slime that oozes from that cesspool on First Avenue.
Ruh Oh! Time to try something else!

Well, the Washington Post is making a game attempt today by trotting out a Democrat hack who's sobbing that President Bush hasn't been sensitive enough. You know, having a photo-op to feel their pain and all that. Yeah, that'll make the survivors living in shelters feel so much better - when they get their TV's working.

Still not good enough, folks. What's next?

There's always fun at the UN!

Claudia Rosett does the honors again in Blue: The Next Orange? Forget reform. The U.N. needs regime change.
The advance of liberty and its attendant institutions can be a rough business, provoking stiff resistance by those who find their interests most threatened: the dictators, cronies and retinues of careerocrats who have already have made their compromises of conscience. And although specifics vary, there are some broad familiar patterns to the process of genuine reform. Protests break out, criticism once whispered in backrooms is heard on the streets, misrule and corruption are increasingly exposed. The regime tries to smother dissent while announcing reforms: too little, too late. In the best of cases--the Baltics 15 years ago or, one hopes, Ukraine today--the old framework gives way, and the democratic revolution has arrived.

In the worst of cases, however, we could just as well be talking about the ruckus of recent times at the United Nations, where the regime, is now really beginning to fight back, and may yet succeed in smothering progress. Without making a single truly significant reform--or, for that matter, suffering a single indictment--the U.N. this past year has weathered its worst spell since the early 1980s. That was the stretch in which the Soviets shot down a South Korean airliner, the U.S. pulled out of a corrupt Unesco, and with certain U.N. member states resenting all the fuss, U.S. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick's deputy, Chuck Lichenstein, told unhappy member states that if they wished to leave America's shores, "the members of the U.S. mission to the United Nations will be down at the dockside waving you a fond farewell as you sail into the sunset."
A lot of the citizens too.
Of course, the U.N. remained comfortably berthed in Turtle Bay, stoked to this day with U.S. taxpayer money, wrapped in diplomatic immunity, and steeped in secrecy more appropriate to the inner workings of the 18th-century French court than a modern world in which free and open political systems offer the best hope of all that peace and prosperity the U.N. is supposed to promote.
Not that the U.N.'s top officials make much secret about their opinions, of, say, their U.S. sugar daddy, the latest example being the rush by Undersecretary-General Jan Egeland this week to condemn as "stingy" U.S. and European offers of relief for the tsunami that has devastated South Asia. Mr. Egeland opined that taxpayers "want to give more," a notion that somehow equates giving more via the U.N. with getting better results. This comes from a U.N. that while evidently failing to set up an international warning system for catastrophic tidal waves did manage last year to turn in a report on snow levels in Alpine ski resorts.
Woohoo! It's just a matter of priorities, Claudia!

If you take a walk in the woods, no opprobrium attaches to finding a wood tick on your body. But what dementia would prompt you to leave it there and watch it gorge itself and grow swollen with your blood?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

It's so hard to decide!

I think I'm with Rodger on this one. Franken is just a twit and there are some much more deserving targets pretending to be journalists.

It must have really broken the AP up to run this photo:

Jihadi Grease Spot
Click for full size
An Iraqi National Guard collects remains of a suicide bomber after a car bomb targeted the home of a senior Iraqi National Guard officer in the Azimiyah neighborhood, Baghdad Tuesday Dec. 28, 2004, injuring nine of his guards and passersby.
It might have been one of their stringers who's now a grease spot.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Here it comes - the UN weenies are complaining that the US is "stingy"

While the USA and other nations are sending in relief supplies, emergency workers, and funds for the aid of the tsunami victims, back at United Nations headquarters in New York, Jan Egeland, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, opened his piehole:
In a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York, Egeland called for a major international response -- and went so far as to call the U.S. government and others "stingy" on foreign aid in general.

"If, actually, the foreign assistance of many countries now is 0.1 or 0.2 percent of the gross national income, I think that is stingy, really," he said. "I don't think that is very generous."
It's a massive natural disaster and the kleptocrats at the United Nations want to whine about foreign aid "in general."
Egeland said that in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, politicians 'believe that they are burdening the taxpayers too much and that the taxpayers want to give less. That's not true. They want to give more."
What's stopping them from making private contributions? And when you write that check to United Nations, don't forget to add some extra for handling, because they love to handle it.

UPDATE: Here's the UN News Centre report. It was a regular herd of bloviating bureaucrats! Ruud Lubbers was even there and hopefully kept his hands off female staff members. And while the report tactfully doesn't mention the "stingy" remark, it does have this gem:
Adding his condolences to those of other UN officials, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States Anwarul K. Chowdhury said the catastrophe “highlights the vulnerability” of such nations to these events.

Mr. Chowdhury, who is Secretary-General of next month’s UN International Meeting on Small Island Developing States, which will be held in Mauritius, urged affluent countries to work together to support small island States as they try to recover from natural disasters such as the tsunami that struck southern Asia and to cope with the effects of climate change.
He managed to work in Global Warming! But I would like to have a title like Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

But it wasn't all bad news!

Church finds its own brand of beer draws young crowd:

Since introducing its own brand of lager this fall, St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill has seen an influx of twenty- and thirty-somethings on Sunday mornings.

"I can't say it's a compelling reason," Rector Paul Abernathy said when asked whether the addition of Winged Lion Lager to Sunday's pub-lunch menu had anything to do with the new faces.

But he acknowledged the coincidence and said with a smile, "I'll find out."

Pub lunches are a long-standing tradition at the 135-year-old church, whose 700 members pride themselves on their fellowship and conviviality, Abernathy said.
Ah, wondrous conviviality! Maybe they could kick back and watch the game together on Sunday afternoon too! All they need to add are some bar maids and a big screen TV.

Castro hits oil:
President Fidel Castro said a crude oil deposit has been discovered off Cuba containing up to 100 million barrels, good news for a country that imports about half the petroleum it needs.
Castro said the deposit was located off the coast of Santa Cruz del Norte, east of Havana, during an exploratory drilling. He said production at the site could begin during 2006.
Yikes! Underwater drilling! I'm sure the ecoweenies will be all over the bearded one! Of course, they won't let out a peep, so why not let him drill the wells and then "Kick the Thug's Ass and Take the Gas"? Maybe we could hire him to drill in Alaska too!

Insurgent, family killed in accidental bomb explosion. Other than misspelling terrorist, it's a heart warming tale:
An insurgent accidentally has killed himself and four members of his family in Iraq's southern city of Karbala.

Police say a bomb he was making exploded inside his house.
Gosh, too bad.

Unnatural Disasters

Seismologists have discovered the real cause of the horrific tsunamis that hit Indonesia and nearby countries on Christmas Day:

But not to worry, the United Nations is on the case - UN Warns of Possible Epidemics in Quake-Hit Asia:
The United Nations warned on Monday of epidemics within days unless health systems in southern Asia can cope after more than 15,500 people were killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless by a giant tsunami.
As James Taranto frequently observes, what would we do without experts? Particularly UN experts. Hmm, I wonder how long before one of the usual suspects opines that some part of the disaster is all the fault of George Bush and those intolerant Red Staters? Maybe we could have a pool?

Meanwhile in outer space, Asteroid With Chance of Hitting Earth in 2029 Now Being Watched 'Very Carefully':
Update, Dec. 25, 9:47 p.m. ET: The risk of an impact by asteroid 2004 MN4 went up slightly on Saturday, Dec. 25. It is now pegged at having a 1-in -45 chance of striking the planet on April 13, 2029. That's up from 1-in-63 late on Dec. 24, and 1-in-300 early on Dec. 24.
Gosh, maybe we should put the United Nations in charge of preparations! First, a special assessment on the developed nations and then a series of conferences at world resort spots (skipping Indonesia, of course). Actually,
Astronomers still stress that it is very likely the risk will be reduced to zero with further observations. And even as it stands with present knowledge, the chances are 97.8 percent the rock will miss Earth.
but we would want the UN to be prepared, wouldn't we?

Some folks should have received lumps of coal

Bloviating Thomas L. Friedman

The Times' Terrible Tommy Friedman got caught with his pants on fire again!

And then one of the crack UN investigators working the United Nations "Oil-for-Food" scandal picked Christmas Day to break the news that
The U.N.-ordered probe into oil-for-food corruption is being seriously hampered by an elaborate system of ghost firms set up around the world to cover the tracks of bribes to Saddam Hussein as he cheated the $60 billion program...
I'm sure shocked, aren't you?

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas To All!

From all the folks at the Country Store:

(Hat tip: Moo Amp)

Biscuits and Gravy - Dec. 24, 2004

A last round of mocking the usual idiots before the Christmas spirit softens my judgment.

Terrorists! Call early to schedule your photo-op with the Associated Press!

More Shocking Photo-Op News from Lloyd Grove! (Via Henry Hanks)
Even a gossip columnist has limits.

Paris Hilton has finally abused mine.

Over the past five years - without any discernible talent, education, scruples, manners, modesty or underpants - the pretty blond great-granddaughter of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton has waged a terrifying campaign for world domination.
I admit that Paris and I have been snared in an ugly web of mutual addiction: She to all the lurid ink, me to all the pointless drama.

But on the "Today" show this morning, I'm planning to announce my New Year's resolution: going cold turkey. No more Paris Hilton.
Three U.N. officials leave world body
The United Nations says the departures of three of its top officials — Secretary-General Kofi Annan's chief of staff, the undersecretary-general for management and the U.N. controller — is coincidental.
But it looks like some of the United Nations folks have a second career ready - making child porn.
The expert was a Frenchman who worked at Goma airport as part of the UN’s $700 million-a-year effort to rebuild the war-shattered country. When police raided his home they discovered that he had turned his bedroom into a studio for videotaping and photographing sex sessions with young girls.

The bed was surrounded by large mirrors on three sides, according to a senior Congolese police officer. On the fourth side was a camera that he could operate from the bed with a remote control.

When the police arrived the man was allegedly about to rape a 12-year-old girl sent to him in a sting operation. Three home-made porn videos and more than 50 photographs were found.

The case has highlighted the apparently rampant sexual exploitation of Congolese girls and women by the UN’s 11,000 peacekeepers and 1,000 civilians at a time when the UN is facing many problems, including the Iraqi “oil-for-food” scandal and accusations of sexual harassment by senior UN staff in Geneva and New York.

The prospect of the pornographic videos and photographs — now on sale in Congo — becoming public worries senior UN officials, who fear a UN version of the scandal at the American-run Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. “It would be a pretty big problem for the UN if these pictures come out,” one senior official said.
Aside from the asininity of comparing terrorists wearing panties on their heads to child rape, how come some enterprising reporter hasn't just bought one of the tapes. Hmmm, maybe they failed to schedule their photo-op!

In the old days they used to be called REMF's
Can you imagine if an al Qaeda bureaucrat had ordered the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists to wear "I heart Osama" T-shirts when they embarked on their murderous flights?

No idiot would send his men on a covert mission wearing clothes that would so blatantly give them away, right?

Wrong. Meet Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn. The man in charge of our in-flight cops, who are supposed to be spying secretly on would-be terrorist hijackers, refuses to allow his employees to dress undercover. Quinn insists that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. He wants them to look PROFESSIONAL.

That means collared shirts and sports coats -- even if a pair of marshals is traveling in coach from Los Angeles to Orlando.
I'm of sufficient age to recall the halcyon days when folks dressed up for airline flights and I wouldn't mind seeing it again if the planes weren't so much like cattle cars. But my preferences are irrelevant to the objective of having air marshals blend in with the flying public.
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents over 22,000 federal agents including air marshals, notes that civilian passengers have publicly outed marshals on countless flights since the Sept. 11 attacks. Air marshals have recounted receiving thumbs-ups and thanks from travelers nationwide. No doubt al Qaeda's operatives who are surveilling flights are mumbling thanks under their breath, too.

Indeed, on an infamous American Airlines Flight 1438 from Chicago to Miami, two air marshals, dressed conspicuously in their professionally mandated suits, received the following greeting from a passenger walking down the aisle: "Oh, I see we have air marshals on board!"
Marshals refer darkly to Quinn's dress requirements as the "kill-me-first dress-code policy."
Updates here and here.

Congressman Mocks Parrot Arrests
Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) issued a statement on Tuesday contrasting the government's zeal in preventing parrots from Mexico from illegally entering the country with their efforts to stop illegal immigration in general.

Under the headline "Apparently There Are No Jobs Available That American Parrots Won't Do," Tancredo said he was surprised to learn of the "incredible success that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers enjoyed in apprehending smugglers attempting to illegally smuggle 150 Lilac Crowned and Mexican Redhead Amazon Parrots into the United States."

The statement points out that ICE, however, has not had the same luck in preventing an estimated 3 million illegal alien human beings from swarming into the U.S. annually unchecked.

"It's nice to see that ICE has their priorities in order," quipped Tancredo, head of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus. "Now that we appear able to successfully identify and apprehend parrots attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, perhaps doing the same with people is just around the corner."
Ding Dong, the Witch is Gone
Maybe I've been too much of a pessimist lately. Since the disastrous Supreme Court decisions in the University of Michigan cases, I had convinced myself that no good news would ever come out of Washington on civil rights issues. I was wrong.

An important event happened earlier this month: The long reign of Mary Frances Berry as Chairman of the United States Civil Rights Commission finally came to an end. After twenty four years, the Commission will no longer be the personal fiefdom of one very, very strange and combative woman.
PC on earth for Santa: Boy Claus booted out of N.H. school dance
A 12-year-old New Hampshire boy who wanted to jolly up his junior high dance by dressing in a Santa suit instead got a lesson in political correctness when his Scroogelike principal turned the student away, fearing he might offend his classmates.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Yuletide Spirit

James Lileks:
Maybe it's just me. Perhaps I'm overly sensitive. But when I wish a store clerk "Merry Christmas!" they often appear stunned and flummoxed for a moment, as if I've just blabbed the plans for the underground's sabotage of the train tracks in front of the secret police.
I've been conducting a similar campaign. Around here it's kind of a slamdunk, but even on the phone with folks who are effectively strangers scattered around the country, the reaction is surprise and pleasure.
This isn't about shoving Christmas down the maws of the unwilling -- it's simply about admitting that the vast majority are celebrating, well, CHRISTMAS, and there's nothing injurious to the public sphere in celebrating that fact. At this rate we will have to rename July 4th The Holiday of Perceiving Nocturnal Airborne Explosives, lest we offend the few who regard the American Experiment as a grievous stain on human history.

Yes, "Merry Christmas" means different things to different people. To those disinclined to follow the creed it represents, it speaks to the cultural traditions of America; to those who take spiritual succor from the season, it means something else. Bottom line in either case: Be happy. And if you're about to throw down the paper and fire off an angry letter to the editor, stop: Think. I wish you a Merry Christmas. I really do. That's all there is to it.
Mark Steyn:
The seasonally litigious rest their fanatical devotion to the deChristification of Christmas on the separation of church and state. America's founders were opposed to the "establishment" of religion, whose meaning is clear enough to any Englishman: the new republic did not want President Washington serving simultaneously as Supreme Governor of the Church of America, or the Bishop of Virginia sitting in the US Senate. Two centuries on, these possibilities are so remote that the "separation" of church and state has dwindled down to threats of legal action over red-and-green party napkins.

But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins? For the answer to that, look no further than last month's election results. Forty years of effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to eliminate God from the public square have led to a resurgent, evangelical and politicised Christianity in America. By "politicised", I don't mean that anyone who feels his kid should be allowed to sing Silent Night if he wants to is perforce a Republican, but only that year in, year out it becomes harder for such folks to support a secular Democratic Party closely allied with the anti-Christmas militants. American liberals need to rethink their priorities: what's more important? Winning a victory over the kindergarten teacher's holiday concert, or winning back Congress and the White House?
The elevation of the right not to be offended into the bedrock principle of democratic society will, in the end, tear it apart. That goes for atheists threatening suits against New Jersey schools and for Muslim lobby groups threatening fatwas against The Telegraph. On which cheery note, Merry Christmas to all.
Charles Krauthammer
It is Christmastime, and what would Christmas be without the usual platoon of annoying pettifoggers rising annually to strip Christmas of any Christian content?
The attempts to de-Christianize Christmas are as absurd as they are relentless. The United States today is the most tolerant and diverse society in history. It celebrates all faiths with an open heart and open-mindedness that, compared to even the most advanced countries in Europe, are unique.
America transcended the idea of mere toleration in 1790 in Washington's letter to the Newport synagogue, one of the lesser known glories of the Founding: "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights."

More than two centuries later, it is time that members of religious (and anti-religious) minorities, as full citizens of this miraculous republic, transcend something too: petty defensiveness.

Merry Christmas. To all.

Wouldn't work on me

Wives, if you want your men to do all the housework in 2005, buy them plasma TVs for Christmas.

A new survey by plasma-maker Panasonic found that 36 percent of married men would do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and other chores around the house for a year if their wives bought them the coveted TVs.

"I'd do it for two years!" said Jerry Longo of Danbury, Conn., as he surveyed the plasma screens at a Best Buy on Sixth Avenue in Chelsea yesterday.

Other possible benefits for women who give the gift of plasma:

* Half of married men would let in-laws visit whenever they want.

* Fifty-seven percent would let their wives pick their vacation spots.
This must be serious!

My difficulty with the whole premise is that there has to be something worth watching on these multi-thousand dollar beauties to make them worth the investment and I'm stumped as to what that might be. It sure as heck can't be Dan Rather.

Olde Countrie Insanity

Orrin Judd commenting on the sad state of affairs in the UK revealed in Joyce Lee Malcolm's Where I come from, our homes are still our castles:
Happily for us Americans, English common law prevails in the US; our homes are still our castles. Californians, for example, are entitled to use force to protect themselves and their property. Legislation in Oklahoma which allowed the home-owner to use force no matter how slight the threat has reduced burglary by nearly half since it was passed 15 years ago. What British police condemn as "vigilante" behaviour has produced an American burglary rate less than half the English rate. And, while 53 per cent of English burglaries occur when someone is at home, only 13 per cent do in America, where burglars admit to fearing armed home-owners more than the police. Violent crime in the US is at a 30-year low. Whatever became of the Englishman's castle?
He traded it for National Health.
My favorite part of Malcolm's column:
Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer jailed for killing one burglar and wounding another, was denied parole because he posed a danger to other burglars. "It cannot possibly be suggested," the government lawyers argued, "that members of the public cease to be so whilst committing criminal offences" adding, "society can not possibly condone their (unlawful) murder or injury".
Er, why not? Sheesh, I'm surprised they aren't obligated by law to make 'em a sandwich and get 'em a beer!
Meanwhile, much of rural Britain is without a police presence. And the statutes meant to protect the people have been vigorously enforced against them. Among the articles people have been convicted of carrying for self defence are a sandbag, a pickaxe handle, a stone, and a drum of pepper.
The innocent citizens are easier to catch too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

You better watch out!

Leave Cookies for Santa Claus Without Fear of Obesity Lawsuit
Washington, DC – Millions of Americans will soon renew the time-honored tradition of leaving a plate of cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. In today’s era of frivolous lawsuits, serving the already obese Saint Nick baked goods could put you on the receiving end of a devastating lawsuit if he has a trial lawyer elf on retainer. For legal protection, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) suggests leaving Kris Kringle a "Christmas Cookie Liability and Indemnification Agreement."

With this waiver, kids can keep the food police like the Center for Science in the Public Interest away from their stockings. They can also protect themselves from lawsuits filed at the encouragement of attorneys like John “Sue the Bastards” Banzhaf, who is threatening to sue restaurants, food companies, school boards, doctors and even parents for the nation’s extra pounds.
Hey, maybe you can even leave Santa some fudge!

Biscuits and Gravy - Dec. 22, 2004

Unseasonal strife in Santa's little sweatshops
It is the week before Christmas, and Santa's helpers are restless. In fact, they have been demonstrating their discontent by striking, smashing their factories, and not turning up for work.

As most adults know, Santa has outsourced production from Lapland to China, in particular the sweatshop grottoes of Guangdong province, near Hong Kong. The plain between Shenzhen and Dongguan makes 70 per cent of the world's toys, assembles its Playstations, stitches its shoes and produces a host of other Christmas gifts.

But after years of compliance, the worker-elves have begun defying their bosses and even the Communist Party. There has been a series of strikes and protests for better pay in recent months, and the delta is also facing a new phenomenon for China: a labour shortage.
But pharmaceuticals are a natural for demagoguery!
Create a company. Raise money from investors. Spend billions of dollars. Develop life-saving products. Suffer the vagaries of the marketplace. Be vilified.

That seems to be the lot in life of pharmaceutical firms.
They aren't getting any smarter, are they?
"We are calling on Californians to observe 'Dark Mondays,' not to buy gasoline as an expression of support for [illegal] immigrants and to demand driver’s licenses for [illegal] immigrants," said Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association.
Don't anyone spoil the fun by telling Nativo how a real boycott works!

Other bizarre news from California - exploding groins in San Francisco
A rare and potentially serious sexually transmitted disease has turned up in a few patients in San Francisco, prompting health officials to issue a public warning.

The disease is called lymphogranuloma venereum, or LGV. It's a form of chlamydia, a common sexually transmitted infection, but LGV can cause scarring of the genitals and colon and cause lymph glands near the groin to swell or burst.
Wait! It gets better! First Islamic Satellite to Go Into Orbit:
The first Islamic satellite to be used in crescent sighting will go into orbit in 15 months’ time, an Arab ad hoc committee said Tuesday, December 21.
Crescent sighting?
“The satellite will fly at a low altitude and beam crescent images to ground stations,” President of Cairo University Ali Abdul Rahman told reporters at a press conference on Sunday, December 19, which was also attended by Egyptian Mufti Ali Gomaa and committee members.
Gomaa said Muslim countries will not be obliged to follow the new satellites in moon or crescent sighting, particularly the start of the holy fasting month of Ramada.

The satellite is the brainchild of the Egyptian Darul Ifta, dating back to 1997. It was then given the go-ahead by a majority of Arab and Muslim countries save Tunisia, which argued that astronomical calculations were enough.
They want to launch this satellite to keep track of phases of the moon. Sheesh, get 'em a calendar.
“The satellite will overall cost $8 million collected through public subscription by the Egyptian Darul Ifta (religious edicts authority) on the form of shares held by willing Muslim countries,” Abdul Rahman added.

Abdul Rahman further stressed that the satellite could also be used in locating places of space pollution, clouds congregation, locust swarms as well as studying natural phenomena.
Not that pesky space pollution!
“This unique experience is a bid to keep abreast with state-of-the-art technology,” he said.
Everyone needs a hobby, I guess, but it sure makes it hard to remember that 1,000 years ago there were preeminent Arab astronomers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Vacation time in a warmer clime!

Only in Germany:
BRAND, Germany — Europe's largest leisure resort opened over the weekend, offering winter-weary Germans the chance to bask in 70-degree temperatures amid palm trees and sandy beaches.
In Germany?
At dawn Saturday, thousands of people began flocking to the bulbous converted aircraft hangar designed by a British engineering company in Brand, an hour's drive south of Berlin.

As the wind howled outside and snow settled on the ground, they pitched their tents and watched a golden sunrise projected on to a 450-foot-long screen.

Tropical Islands resort is the latest lifestyle experience, according to its Malaysian creator, Colin Au, 55, who made his money in luxury cruises and Asian resorts. He has invested more than $90 million in his latest project.

"I've done my research and I know how the Germans tick," Mr. Au said. "My resort means they hardly have to leave home, yet when they're here it's like being on a tropical cruise."

The project is based in a hall of 175 million cubic feet, the world's largest free-standing building. It is taller than the Statue of Liberty and could fit six football stadiums on two layers.

It will be open around the clock with 850 lounge chairs on its two beaches.

Behind the beach, speakers designed as rocks will broadcast bird songs appropriate to the time of year and day in the orchid-thick rain forest and Asian village.

When the sun is shining outside, visitors are promised they will be able to work on their natural tans, thanks to the effect of the rays shining through the textile membrane roof. Visitors, incongruously clad in sheepskin coats while clutching buckets and spades, tumble out of shuttle buses and into the dome.
The retired couple got up at 4:30 a.m. to travel to the resort, where they paid $25 each for a four-hour stay.
Why not just turn the heat up at home and watch a Dorothy Lamour sarong movie?
And in Tropical Islands, gloomy thoughts are frowned upon. The brochure says workers have been trained to "use their smiles to enthuse stressed and winter-wearied Europeans."
Hmmm, maybe they have the real thing!

Captain Hook Hijinks!

Ole Captain Hook wants a raise to his already hefty "salary" - Radical cleric Abu Hamza sues for more British benefits:
Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who is in a British jail on incitement to murder charges, is to sue welfare officials for thousands of pounds in extra state benefits.

Hamza, who is due in court next month on incitement to murder charges, claims he has been denied benefits worth 200 pounds a week for nearly three years, The Sun newspaper said Tuesday.

His family are already taking in benefits worth over 1,000 pounds a week, it said.
Let's see - that's 52,000 pounds a year and he wants a raise to 62,400 pounds per year. The current conversion rate is roughly 1.94 dollars per pound, so in US dollars the amounts are $100,880 and $121,056 respectively. Woohoo! Who says crime doesn't pay?

The Sun has more including his rent-free house worth 500,000 pounds and the taxpayers funding his 2 million pound legal expenses to avoid deportation. If Hillary gets elected in 2008, I'm applying for political asylum in the UK! They certainly have the welcome mat out.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I'm so upset!

Is Kyoto Kaput?
Even before it officially takes effect on Feb. 16, the Kyoto agreement to curb greenhouse gases is leaking air.
Hot air (and I don't mean "global warming.")
Fixing it won't be easy.
Presuming one cares to. I know! Let's jet off somewhere and pad our expense accounts!
Last week, most of the world's nations met in Argentina to assess what the treaty might be able to achieve by its expiration in 2012. Many nations are faltering in their commitment to rein in industrial carbon-dioxide pollution since it's possible such steps will limit economic growth.

Some, such as Italy and Canada, are raising doubts about the sacrifices required. Britain admits it may not reach its target, while Japan flat-out says it can't reduce emissions by the expected amount, which is 6 percent below the 1990 levels.
Actually it's not just "many," it's most, but I digress.
If only the US, as the world's biggest CO2 polluter, had been in the treaty, the other developed nations might feel better about imposing restraints on their industries.
You mean if we had jumped off a cliff, they would have joined us?
That's why the other purpose of last week's meeting was so important. European diplomats bent over backward to find a new consensus for a post-Kyoto effort that would include the US.

But not much happened.
More dog-bites-man news.
The meeting ended with a weak proposal for an international "seminar" in May for nations to "exchange information" on their ideas about the unusual weather many are experiencing.
How neat is that? More expense account padding plus the promise of some virgin sacrifices in the offing to appease the angry weather gods. It's real cold here today after being nice and warm on Saturday - maybe I can attend and swap yarns exchange information with the kleptocrats. Hmmm, I wonder if it is BYOV (Bring Your Own Virgins)?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I always enjoy a nice friendly invitation

CAIR's Dreams of American Sharia
“Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

This was the sentiment of Omar M. Ahmad, the Chairman of the Board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, as told at an Islamic conference held in Freemont, California, in July of 1998.
I hope Omar won't get tetchy if I skip the party.

That explains it!

(Via GeekPress) I long ago wrote off Wired as a coffee table magazine (and web site) for those among the terminally trendy with pretensions to technocool. That's why I was blissfully unaware of their weekly online column called Sex Drive which is penned by one Regina Lynn who recently delivered Keeping Love Connections Open:
There's a scene in Dead Poets Society where Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) declares that "language was developed for one endeavor." In the significant pause that follows, he lets his gaze roam from boy to boy, waiting. Finally, one of the boys asks in an uncertain voice, "To communicate?" Mr. Keating shakes his head. "No!" he cries. "To woo women!"

I don't care what they tell us about defense departments and universities sharing data. If the sole purpose of language is to woo women, the internet was invented to woo more women more often.
That must be why I keep getting all that spam for "male health" supplements and "male attribute" enlargement!

More blather by following the link, the point of which seems to be:
I'm not the only one who expects (dare I say, demands) internet interaction with a mate.
And this is after, er, a "physical manifestation" of the relationship has been realized. Sheesh, what happened to the near universal demand for "long walks on the beach?"

Friday, December 17, 2004

Biscuits and Gravy - Dec. 17, 2004

Osama - another whining leftie
Osama's pre-American election tape already sounded like a promo for "Fahrenheit 9/11", with its carefully scripted list of MoveOn-esque grievances. Now, in his latest production aimed at the House of Saud, bin Laden is moving one step further along the path of the great ideological - or at least rhetorical - convergence between the angry left and the angry Islamofascism:
"The speaker on the tape accused the regime of 'injustices against the people'. The Saudi Royal Family had misspent public money while 'millions of people are suffering from poverty and deprivation', he said."
And thus Osama becomes yet another billionaire complaining about the growing gap between the rich and the poor, a sort of George Soros with a Closed Society Institute, and a Peter Lewis, who instead of insuring cars blows them up.
Google Brings 'Thrill of Public Library' to Your Desktop
If the project succeeds, the source said, public libraries could dispose of their collections of flammable dust-magnets (trade jargon for 'books') and could finally focus on their primary mission -- reheating homeless people while they surf the net at broadband speeds.
Top prize for fiction
IT'S as natural as mung beans that the worst finding of bias to rock the ABC involves a report that was too pro-green.

Just as natural is that the very same Four Corners program that the ABC's own judges this week conceded was inaccurate, emotive, unfair, misleading and seriously lacking in balance also won Australia's top award for environmental journalism.

Here's proof that no creed biases the judgment of journalists as badly as the green religion -- and no bias is more likely to be honoured as a sign of integrity.

Remember that the next time you read another breathless report that man is hotting up the world to hell, the Murray is dying or GM food will turn your children into mutants.
Schools prohibit Christmas colors: District targeted with lawsuit after officials require white-only supplies for 'winter' party
First it was schools that banned the singing of Christmas carols.

Then another banned carols played only by instruments with no lyrics being presented.

Now a school district has banned the colors red and green from a "Winter Break Party," requiring parents to bring only white plates and napkins.
He says parents have been verbally told the reason for the color restriction was to shun traditional Christmas red and green. Last week, a note went home with students asking parents to bring certain items for the party. Two items listed that some were asked to supply were: "One package small white plates" and "One package white napkins."

Food being requested included a dozen sugar cookies and a bag of Hersey's kisses. Liberty Legal Institute says the parents were told not to include any colored icing on the cookies, while Alliance Defense Fund reports children were told not to wear red and green clothing to the party.
Commenting on the white-only policy for party supplies, Shackeford quipped, "I guess nobody has told them white could symbolize the purity of Christ. They'd probably ban white!"
Then they could require clear stuff. Ooops, Jesus walked on the water - no clear utensils either! Maybe they could eat with their fingers?

Scouts' sales tactic outside ACLU becomes pop smash
A friendly jab at the American Civil Liberties Union has turned into a financial bonanza for a tiny nine-member Boy Scout troop from Chesterfield County.

Troop 828, with an unexpected boost on Wednesday from nationally syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck, watched its struggling popcorn sales explode.
The windfall came after Beck got wind of the Scouts' decision to set up a booth near the ACLU's Virginia headquarters in downtown Richmond.
Sales were initially poor Wednesday morning.

"We had two customers between 10 and 10:30, and the guys were just about ready to call it quits," he said.

But after an unsolicited plug from Beck, a well-known conservative talk show host who airs on WRVA (1140 AM), hundreds of people from across the country began ordering popcorn from the Chesterfield Scouts.

As of yesterday afternoon, the troop had topped $22,700 in sales from 586 people ordering online from the Boy Scouts' national popcorn distributor, local scout officials said. Beck put a link to the company on his Web site.

But that wasn't all. Richmonders flocked to the Scouts' booth at Seventh and Main, buying about $4,200 more, Carpenter said.
Said Carpenter: "Things just went nuts. It didn't slow down until about 3:30, 4 o'clock. We had cars pulling off and lots of people honking the horn, we had a couple of police officers stop by and buy popcorn. We had fire trucks going by and tooting their horns. It was incredible."
Blue State Party
ALL OF THIS MAY SOUND bitter and divisive, but the Wilton Democrats have come around and are now planning to celebrate the upcoming inaugural alongside the Red State ruffians. From the group's "Action" page -- also known as, "Things You Can Do to Make a Difference" -- here are selections from ""Some Things to Do Before the Inaugural":

Get that abortion you've always wanted.

Admittedly, this is not the most egalitarian way to kick things off, and crude to boot. I wasn't aware there were people out there, even among the most earnestly pro-choice factions, who "always wanted" an abortion. Will these abortions be done strictly in the name of snubbing George W. Bush, or will there be other mitigating circumstances?

Drink a nice clean glass of water.

Um, all right. Done. What's next?

Visit Syria, or any foreign country for that matter.

Syria? Syria!? That's your post-election plan? "Have a glass of water and go to Syria"? As a virulently anti-Semitic state sponsor of terrorism, Syria is not usually a hot vacation destination. I'm not going to drop a dime and ring up John Ashcroft or anything, but I have to say on the face of it, that's some pretty sketchy stuff. Why not visit someplace less extreme instead, like Libya or Saudi Arabia?
If you're white, marry a black person, if you're black, marry a white person.

Here's a novel idea: Why don't we just marry the person we love? If that's not possible, can I keep the Jew I just married, or do I have to trade her in for something more politically correct?
There's more.

The long goodbye by the soreheads
Bumper sticker in Beverly Hills
Here's One Use Of U.S. Power Jacques Can't Stop
We see where a curator at France's Pompidou Center says his museum is opening a branch in Hong Kong, because "U.S. culture is too strong" there, and "we need to have a presence in Asia to counterbalance the American influence." With the Pompidou Center?

"American influence" is the great white whale of the 21st century, and Jacques Chirac is the Ahab chasing her with a three-masted schooner.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

It's Barney Time!

No, I don't mean the Purple Peril. I mean Barney, the White House pooch:
The White House unveiled its latest secret project yesterday: Barney III.

It is the third holiday video featuring the first family's Scottish terrier, Barney. The black terrier is shown scampering past the elaborate Christmas trees and other seasonal decor at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

This year's version, which includes scenes of President Bush and his dog in the Oval Office, is entitled ``Where in the White House is Miss Beazley?''

Miss Beazley is the puppy that first lady Laura Bush was given last month by her husband as a birthday gift.

The plot isn't likely to show up on an Oscar list anytime soon.
Along the way, the presidential pup encounters Bush political strategist Karl Rove pulling blue ornaments off a Christmas tree and replacing them with red ones - instructing the dog to check Ohio in the search for Miss Beazley.
Bwahaha! We need a pool for the first wingnut to spot a nefarious plot in this modest japery. Anyhow the video is linked off the White House home page.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Cranky Crown Prince Alert!

Kojo relentlessly pursuing freight to inspect

CNN gets a letter from Crown Prince Kojo of the United Nations and he's a cranky lad:
Kojo Annan, in his first public comment on the subject, told CNN in a written statement: "I have never participated directly or indirectly in any business related to the United Nations."

Annan, 31, who lives in Lagos, once worked for Cotecna, a Switzerland-based company that inspects commercial freight shipments. It employs 4,000 people in 100 countries.
I'm sure the Crown Prince spent a lot of time opening crates.
"I feel the whole issue has been a witchhunt from day one as part of a broader Republican political agenda," Annan said in his statement to CNN.
Deny, deny, deny and and claim it was a frame-up. Not a bad plan, but he better polish it up a little since just last week it was revealed that he was turning in expense reports for things like:
Kojo Annan, 29, claimed fees and expenses for eight days' work in July 1998, including six days in Abuja "during my father's visit to Nigeria". On another, he claimed expenses and $500 a day for a 15-day trip to New York and the UN General Assembly in September 1998 for meetings on "special projects".
Sounds like United Nations business to me. But gosh, he has plausible deniability - his company got a juicy contract from Emperor Kofi, but he wasn't really involved because he was collecting some nice fees for doing something else. Of course, that brings up the difficult question of what exactly he was doing:
What appears missing from documents seen so far is any indication of what Kojo Annan's employment either on staff, or as a consultant, actually delivered in the way of results for Cotecna; or what services he was providing for which he submitted expenses during the noncompete period following his employment.
I believe the technical term is "no show job." But it wasn't no work and no play for Kojo:
On November 17, 1997, one Cotecna official based in Niger, where Kojo Annan was staying at a company guest house, sent an email in French to Mr. Pruniaux in Geneva, noting, "It's important that KA respect the hours and rules of the liaison office" because "laxity on his/our part" would lead the local staff, given his background, to ask, "Why him and not us?"
Woohoo! Anyhow, those evil Republican congressmen want to help Kojo get his message out:
"We'd be happy to hear from him under oath if he has things to contribute to the investigations," said Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.).
Silly fellow! Royalty doesn't have to answer questions from the commoners.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Electoral hijinks alert!

Is there a problem with Democrats being incapable of voting without screwing it up? Blue vote for Edwards a shock to Minnesota electors (annoying free registration required):
Defeated Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry likely is going to get one less electoral vote nationally than he should have -- 251 instead of 252 -- because of an apparent mistake Monday by one of Minnesota's 10 DFL electors.

One of the 10 handwritten ballots cast for president carried the name of vice presidential candidate John Edwards (actually spelled "Ewards" on the ballot) rather than Kerry.
There was stunned silence after the announcement that Edwards had gotten a vote for president, but none of the 10 electors volunteered that they voted for Edwards as a protest, nor did anyone step forward to admit an error.

"It was perhaps a senior moment," said elector Michael Meuers, 60, a Bemidji marketing consultant for a health care firm, the second-youngest member of the Minnesota delegation to the Electoral College.

Meuers said he was certain that the Edwards ballot wasn't his, but he noted that "both the candidates were named John, and the ballots looked pretty much alike."
That sounds familiar - bwahaha!

And shades of Theresa Lepore (the Democrat Supervisor of Elections in Palm Beach County in 2000) - Democrats sue Washington's biggest county over provisional ballots:
Washington state Democrats, fearful their candidate for governor might narrowly lose because of disputed ballots, sued election officials Friday in the state's largest county.

The lawsuit would block election officials in King County, home to Seattle, from discarding about 900 provisional ballots. Party officials hoped they could get a decision later in the day.
Thus far, the county has declined to count about 900 provisional ballots because they did not include a proper signature.
King County is run by a particularly virulent breed of Donk wingnut. But I guess they didn't do a good enough job "interpreting" the ballots.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Emergency Monster Thickburger Alert!

Saddam's on a hunger strike for one of these... without the bacon

Saddam, aides on hunger strike. Probably wouldn't even have to take the bacon off.

Gosh, I hope we don't have to see that Rich bitch again!

Billionaire Marc Rich has emerged as a central figure in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal and is under investigation for brokering deals in which scores of international politicians and businessmen cashed in on sweetheart oil deals with Saddam Hussein, The Post has learned.

Rich, the fugitive Swiss-based commodities trader who received a controversial pardon from President Bill Clinton in January 2001, is a primary target of criminal probes under way in the U.S. attorney's office in New York and by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, sources said.

"We think he was a major player in this — a central figure," a senior law-enforcement official told The Post.
Ruh Oh! I have a question though.
Investigators are looking into a series of deals that took place in the months after his pardon from Clinton. If criminal wrongdoing is established in these deals, he could be subject to prosecution.
That answers it.
Investigators say they have received information that Rich and Ben Pollner, a New York-based oil trader who heads Taurus Oil, set up a series of companies in Liechtenstein and other countries that they used to put together deals between Saddam and his international supporters in the controversial oil-voucher scheme — which the dictator designed to win international support against U.S. sanctions at the United Nations.

Under the scam, hundreds of international political and financial figures from France, Russia and other countries were awarded middleman vouchers allowing them to purchase set quantities of Iraqi oil at discount rates.
Investigators now believe Rich and Pollner brokered many of the deals by finding buyers for the oil allocated to people who were bribed by Saddam. The discount Iraqi oil would be resold to major oil companies at higher prices and Rich and Pollner would pocket percentages of the profits, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, sources said.
Sounds like ole Marc really reformed, eh Bubba? Based on his past history, I'm sure Marc isn't going anywhere near the long arm of the US law, but you never know.
So intense is the interest of prosecutors in the Rich connection that Pollner was recently "grabbed" and questioned by investigators from Morgenthau's office as he was on his way to Kennedy Airport for an overseas trip, a law-enforcement official told The Post.

In an angry confrontation that followed, Pollner told the New York investigators that they had no jurisdiction over oil deals that took place outside the United States and refused to cooperate, an official familiar with the interrogation said.
Air drop him over Kurdish or Shiite territory. I'm sure they have jurisdiction.

Or just threaten to - think how cool it would be if Rich and his pal copped a plea by turning in Bubba!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A tad strange

While I am a fan of Roald Dahl's book and the original movie (which are two different things), the new trailer for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory seems rather more odd than expected. Probably a Tim Burton effect.

Today's Hoot!

Michael Moore not poisoned with dioxin! It was something else.

Over in the UK, the inmates are in charge of the asylum

Ha ha! You can’t insult Islam but I can
Here’s a short Christmas quiz. Let me rephrase that. It’s a short Winterval quiz. I would not wish to frighten or alienate any Sunday Times readers by waving Jesus Christ in their faces.

Anyway, the first question is this. One of the two statements below may soon be illegal; the other will still be within the law. You have to decide which is which and explain, with the aid of a diagram, the logic behind the new provision. a) Stoning women to death for adultery is barbaric. b) People who believe it is right to stone women to death for adultery are barbaric.

The answer is that a) should be fine and b) may land you in court charged with inciting religious hatred against Islam, under new provisions in David Blunkett’s Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill. He’s been a busy bee of late, hasn’t he.
Not exactly the insect I would have chosen.
The comedian Rowan Atkinson said this: “For telling a good and incisive joke (about religion), you should be praised. For telling a bad one, you should be ridiculed and reviled. The idea that you could be prosecuted for the telling of either is quite fantastic.”

Exactly — and Mr Blunkett was swift to respond. Apparently, comedians were to be exempt from the law. So, if I sail a little close to the wind in this article, please assume that I’m wearing a red nose.
Whew, what a relief! I can always claim to be a comedian and they'll let me visit.
But if I said people who believed in something that was stupid were themselves therefore stupid, would that land me in the dock? “Um. Not sure. Possibly. I just don’t know at this stage. It has to go to the attorney-general first. I suppose, if it were likely to incite people to hate Muslims.” Then the press officer said this. “There are no definitive answers.”

That strikes me as a problem, because the police and the CPS and the judiciary, when they’re attempting to bring a prosecution or trying a case, have a penchant for definitive answers.

Later the press officer rang back. “It’s all about context,” she said. “If you wrote something in your column about Islam the CPS might not be interested, but if the same thing was said by Nick Griffin (the British National party leader) in a pub in Bradford, they might well be.”

So I’m exempt too. Mr Blunkett, or his office, has bestowed upon me an honorary red nose, for which many thanks. But Nick Griffin isn’t exempt. Doesn’t that strike you as a tad unfair, a shade undemocratic? Can you imagine the court case against him? And his defence? Would it be okay if he’d said it in a pub in Droitwich, or Diss? I quite like the idea of person-specific crimes, mind. Perhaps we could devise an offence for which only, say, Robert Kilroy-Silk or Ainsley Harriott were prosecutable.
Maybe there should be special provision by their National Health Service for the clue impaired.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Do you blame the pimp or the whore?

'Now it's our party," reads the typi cally arrogant e-mail, referring to the Democrats, from to its supporters: "We bought it, we own it and now we're going to take it back."

Sad to say, the message — sent by the group's political director, Eli Pariser — is largely true. and similar so-called "527" groups (named for the section of the campaign-finance law that governs their activities) did all but take control of the Democratic Party this year — for no other reason than that the Democrats offered themselves for sale.

Funny how that worked out

Exodus as Dutch middle class seek new life
Escaping the stress of clogged roads, street violence and loss of faith in Holland's once celebrated way of life, the Dutch middle classes are leaving the country in droves for the first time in living memory.

The new wave of educated migrants are quietly voting with their feet against a multicultural experiment long touted as a model for the world, but increasingly a warning of how good intentions can go wrong.

Australia, Canada and New Zealand are the pin-up countries for those craving the great outdoors and old-fashioned civility.
"There's a feeling of injustice that if you do things right, if you work hard and pay your taxes, you're punished, and those who don't are rewarded. People can come and live here illegally and get payments. How is that possible?
Hmm, that sounds familiar! But lots of luck with Canada and New Zealand.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Everyone loves to talk about the weather!

'Climate Witnesses' Testify About Warming
As scientists debate whether global warming is affecting Earth, "climate witnesses" told a U.N. environmental conference Friday they are already feeling the heat of the changing weather patterns they say are drastically affecting the way of life from the Himalayas to the South Pacific.

"In the past we just accepted it was the will of God," said Penina Moce, a woman from Udu, a fishing village in Fiji. "But now we believe there could be other reasons."
Around here it was real cold early last week, but today it was real warm, but it's supposed to get colder tonight. When do we sacrifice the virgin?

My thanks to the United Nations for maintaining the high standards for which it is justly famous. Why not toss Kofi's kid a few bucks to fly around and investigate?

I love puzzles!

This one is a toughie though:
Suppose that a big corporation headquartered in New York City were the center of the largest embezzlement scheme in world history ($21 billion), which enriched big oil companies, foreign dictators, terrorists, and its own employees. Further, suppose that the corporation's own union had declared its lack of confidence in the corporation's management, because of endemic corruption, and because of senior management's lax attitude towards sexual abuse, including coercive sex with underage girls.

Also suppose that the son of the company president was getting paid by another business that profited from the embezzlement scheme, and the company president had claimed that his son's affiliation ended in 1999, but actually the son continued with the business until 2004. And suppose that the company president and his staff were obstructing government investigations into their own corruption. Oh, and let's also suppose that the corporate president and his underlings had attempted to influence the recent U.S. presidential election.

You can be quite sure that a scandal of this incredible scope would be aggressively covered by the newspapers. And it has been covered by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Sun, and The Times of London, all of which advanced the story last month with major articles. But none of these stories were reprinted in The Denver Post, which has not written a word about the scandal's developments in the last month. The Rocky Mountain News did slightly better, with a nine-paragraph article on page 34A of last Saturday's paper.

Why are the Denver papers so reticent about informing their readers about such a big scandal?
No peeking at the answer. And it isn't just Denver, of course.

Here's another one:
Which of the following recent news stories is the odd one out:

(a) United Nations accused of cover-up of sexual harassment by senior official.

(b) U.N. soldiers in Africa accused of sexual trafficking in minors.

(c) Son of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan accused of profiting from U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal until early this year.

(d) U.S. Senator urges Kofi Annan to resign after his committee discovers that the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program transferred $21 billion to Saddam Hussein.

(e) U.N. "High Level Panel" of eminent persons urges greater powers for world body.
Here's a hint:
No one is ever asked to resign for wrongdoing at the United Nations.
Kofi Annan is the symbol of the United Nations' lack of accountability. He is never held responsible for what goes wrong, because the United Nations is never held responsible, either. It sails in a cloud of noble idealism over the actual failures, hypocrisy, corruption and outright criminality that attend some U.N. actions on the ground below.

And there is a polite consensus outside the United States not to notice the glaring contradictions between idealism and reality.
But it's not all bad news - Annan's one virtue: He weakens the U.N.

Wake up and smell Kofi

We're not supposed to notice the aroma
Kofi Annan is the perfect expression of the United Nations: soft, suave, urbane, and a magnet for incompetence and corruption.

The apologists for the U.N. are fond of saying that if the U.N. didn't exist we would have to invent it. Just what this means is not meant to be clear. If Kofi Annan didn't exist someone would have to invent him, too.

Mr. Annan, in fact, was invented, and by the very Americans the apologists loathe, when the stink of the Boutrous-Boutrous Ghali administration finally became so overpowering that nearly everyone agreed that he had to go. His replacement had to satisfy the requirements of the Lilliputians of the Third World who are forever fantasizing about how to tie down Gulliver, and the Americans scrounged through what was available and came up with Mr. Annan, fresh from mismanaging the U.N. "peacekeeping" operations in Rwanda and Bosnia. Wherever Mr. Annan went, massacres followed. But he apologized nicely and that was that. The man and the hour had met.
And he didn't break his sting of failure, incompetence, and mendacity.
The usual suspects are closing ranks behind Mr. Annan. The 191 ambassadors to the U.N., terrified at the thought that any Lilliputian should be deprived of his sweet life in America on someone else's dime, gave Mr. Annan a standing ovation this week when he presented his "blueprint for U.N. reform" to the General Assembly. There was no appreciation of the irony of the moment, with the presentation of institutional reform by the man who may be in desperate need of personal reform himself.

Nothing like the party of the people

In Washington State, Democrats dust off old rule
Even if Republican Dino Rossi wins the hand recount of the state’s extraordinary governor’s race, a never-before-used provision in the state constitution could allow the Democrat-controlled Legislature to hand the election to Democrat Christine Gregoire.

Experts are unsure how to interpret the provision. But the state Democratic Party says it gives Democrats the ability to contest the results of the election before the Legislature.

The Legislature would hold a trial of sorts, like an impeachment hearing, with lawmakers voting on the final outcome, according to a Democratic Party lawyer.

That scenario would seem to favor Gregoire, because Democrats will hold a 26-23 advantage in the Senate and a 55-43 edge in the House when the Legislature convenes Jan. 10.
Why bother even letting the proles vote for governor?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

If there is anything more ridiculous than the United Nations ...

It's the weenies at Ted Turner's United Nations Foundation. Hey Ted, have you come up with the billion bucks yet?

That ought to get their banner ad to pop up above a few more times.

More gas from the fever swamp

MoveOn to Democratic Party: 'We Own It'
WASHINGTON - Liberal powerhouse MoveOn has a message for the "professional election losers" who run the Democratic Party: "We bought it, we own it, we're going to take it back."
"In the last year, grass-roots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the party doesn't need corporate cash to be competitive," the message continued. "Now it's our party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back."
I'm sure it was just an oversight that they forgot to mention George Soros.

Today's Hoot!

Super-compassionate liberal Senator Ted Kennedy is one of the richest politicians in America, but he's quietly giving back -- by teaching poor inner-city teens to drive, free of charge!

That's the surprising revelation of a clergyman who coordinates the program, based in a community center in Washington, D.C.

"Teddy doesn't charge these kids a dime and doesn't take any credit," reveals Father Bryan MacKelly. "He volunteers his time on the down-low -- he doesn't really want the media to make a big deal about his personal generosity.

"He told me, 'Safe driving is a skill every young American deserves to have -- not just the rich.' "
When the roly-poly, silver-haired politician first showed up and was introduced as the new driving instructor, the high-schoolers -- ages 16 to 18 -- were shocked.

"Who's the weird fat dude?" one youth asked.
At first, I was real nervous, 'cause pulling out from the curb, Mr. Ted knocked over two garbage cans and scraped the fender on a fire hydrant," she recalls. "He laughed and apologized and told me it had been a while since he did his own driving.

"But once he put me behind the wheel, he was real cool. He kept telling stories about the old days and famous people he'd met, like Bob Dylan and Fidel Castro.

"I didn't know who they were, but I liked that he was so friendly."
(Hat tip to FR where some "greatest hits" are recalled.)

Always nice to know

Rodger alerts us how not to have a Blue Christmas, only he doesn't quite phrase it that way. If I may suggest a personal nonfavorite, the executives at Price Club/Costco are a particularly obnoxious crew of leftoids and well deserving of your nonsupport.