Saturday, March 27, 2004

Schoolmarms Gone Wild!

If you like tales of rapacious villainy, it's hard to beat the chronicles of the so-called "public sector" unions in the USA. That's because their leftoid leaders know that they have a monopoly and that the benighted taxpayers can always be tapped for more loot. Prime specimens are the teachers' unions and a case in point is the Spring Break pow wow of the Washington (State) Educators Association. When the "educators" took time out from the fleshpots of Spokane, they decided to let everything hang out:

Teachers' union votes to sue state to force more education funding
Washington Education Association delegates voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the filing of a lawsuit to try and force the Legislature to spend more money on public schools.

The board of the 76,000-member teachers' union asked about 1,100 delegates, meeting here at the annual Representative Assembly, to approve the lawsuit.

The vote was unanimous, union spokesman Rich Wood said.

There was "a lot of discussion in support of it, and very little or none opposed," he said.

The next step is to form a coalition of parents, school boards and other friends of public education in support of the lawsuit, Wood said. The actual court filing could be a year away, he said.

Union members could be asked to vote to approve a special assessment of $1 a month to regular dues to raise $1 million for legal and technical research on the lawsuit. A discussion of that issue will come later in the meeting, Wood said.

"Despite the good efforts of many individuals," the teachers' union has reached the conclusion that state lawmakers "have not been able to find the political will to meet their responsibilities" to education, WEA President Charles Hasse said earlier Thursday.
It's for the tykes, I'm sure. And the lawsuit ploy sort of worked in North Carolina. The only problem is that the "educators" have long since ceased teaching elementary skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic in favor of bizarre socialization experiments. That's why they truly hate standardized testing of such skills. And that's why they also truly hate "charter schools" which emphasize them - Teachers union plans charter-school challenge
The state's largest teachers union yesterday voted to challenge a charter-school law passed so recently that Gov. Gary Locke's signature barely has had time to dry.

The 1,100 delegates at the Washington Education Association's annual meeting in Spokane voted overwhelmingly to file a referendum asking voters to overturn the law, passed by the Legislature on March 11 and signed by Locke last week.
The legislation cleared the way for a new breed of public schools in Washington state — privately run but publicly funded schools that now exist in nearly 40 other states across the country.

The legislation allows just 45 new charters over six years, with the majority reserved for those that serve students from disadvantaged backgrounds. School boards also could convert existing schools into charters if they're falling short of the test-score goals set out in the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Ruh Oh! There's a red flag to bulls! No more hangovers in the teachers' lounge.

The sad part, of course, is the real teachers submerged in the sea of time servers and their union bureaucrat enablers.
Hot rural news alert!

Amish find refuge in Wisconsin
Levi Fisher's ancestors farmed the fertile land of eastern Pennsylvania for more than 275 years while living a quiet, traditional Amish lifestyle.

But squeezed in recent years by encroaching suburbia, rising land prices and increasing tourism, Fisher sought a place that reminded him how things used to be. He found it in the rolling pastures of southwest Wisconsin.

Fisher moved here in 1999 with a dozen children. Soon after, his brother Henry and family followed.

Now the Fisher clan is building a cinder-block house on its 118 acres for a third brother, Gideon, who moved this month with his wife and six children from Pennsylvania.

"We don't like the rat race out east," Gideon Fisher, 38, said while installing a window in his new home.
Who knew that the Amish needed to get away from the rat race?

Actually, I'm just teasing. If you are familiar with Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, you know that it has become a Philadelphia suburb and an Amish "theme park." I can sympathize with their plight. There's much more in the article, but I liked:
Hollywood has portrayed the Amish as shy, reclusive and backward people. In reality, the Amish are proving to be sharp business folks.

"There is a certain tipping point for [the Amish], and when outsiders get too close, they move," said Richard Dawley, a writer who has chronicled the Amish in Wisconsin and conducts seminars around the state to teach residents about them.

"They are generally experts at buying low and selling high," Dawley said. "There is a calculated method to their moving. It's rather well thought out."

Before considering a region to move into, they send advance teams to scout out the properties, evaluate the quality of the soil, gauge the receptiveness of the locals and calculate land prices.
"Howdy, ma'am. I'm an Amish advance man."
Look who's wrapping himself in the Constitution!

Daschle threatens to block all Bush judicial nominees
Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle threatened yesterday to block all of President Bush's judicial nominees unless Mr. Bush promises to not appoint federal judges while Congress is on recess.

"We will continue to cooperate in the confirmation of federal judges," said Mr. Daschle, who faces re-election in South Dakota in November, "but only if the White House gives assurance that it will no longer abuse the process and that it will once again respect our Constitution's essential system of checks and balances."
Hmm, his copy must have different wording than mine.
Mr. Bush has used his recess appointment powers, outlined in the Constitution and used since George Washington's administration, to place two of his nominees on federal appeals benches this year without the typically required Senate approval. Both judges had been filibustered by Democrats for at least 10 months.
My copy also doesn't mention "filibuster." All little Tommy has to do is let the nominations come up for a vote and then everyone and the Constitution would be satisfied, right? Don't hold your breath.

But I'm still waiting for the Republican Senate leadership to hold the Donks' feet to the fire on filbusters. Some CSPAN footage of little Tommy urinating in a cup behind the lectern ought to provide good election year fodder.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Now this is way cool!

CBC to Welcome King of Pop at Weekly Meeting
“King of Pop” Michael Jackson, recently indicted on child molestation charges, is scheduled to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday to talk about world affairs.
It's great to see that they have cheered up down at the Caucus. I thought they were still sniffling over Jean-Bertrand "C'mon Baby Light My Tire" Aristide.

Kiss and tell alert!

There must be something about the genre that appeals to the liberal mind - RAINES REAMS EX-COLLEAGUES, NEWS CULTURE AT GRAY LADY
Former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines has unleashed a blistering criticism of the paper where he worked for 25 years and of the onetime friend who ultimately fired him, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

"I felt on the day I became executive editor and on the day I drove away from West Forty-Third Street for the last time that the Times badly needs to raise the level of its journalism, and to do so quickly in order to survive and make the full transition to the digital age," Raines writes in the May issue of The Atlantic Monthly - his first public comments since the days following his ouster last year.
Silly me - I just thought it would be nice if they stopped being such shameless leftoid shills. But here's the hot stuff:
Raines likens Sulzberger's efforts to thwart the paper's gossipmongers to a cartoon character known for persistence - and failure: "Every executive editor has been frustrated by the Times grapevine, and Arthur sometimes comes across as Wile E. Coyote, so elaborate and endlessly hopeful are his schemes to thwart the gossip network."

Raines also has some disparaging comments about the disparate experiences that shaped Arthur and his father, former publisher Arthur Sulzberger Sr., widely known as Punch.

"The difference between Punch and Arthur is the difference between the Marine Corps, where Punch had his formative experience, and Outward Bound, where Arthur had his," Raines writes. Both experiences teach you how to get to the top of the mountain, he notes, "but Arthur wants it to be touchy feely along the way."
Raines still refers to Arthur as his pal, but one can't help but wonder how long the chumship is going to last.
Can you say lying crap weasel?

The NY Post editorializes on Richard Clarke's Shifting Stories
As several commissioners noted, the book's accusations - which he repeated under oath yesterday - are totally at odds with the 15 hours of closed-door testimony Clarke delivered earlier to the 9/11 commission.

And they are dramatically contradicted by a press backgrounder Clarke himself conducted in August 2002. Fox News made an audiotape of that briefing public yesterday; in it, Clarke confirms much of what Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testified to on Tuesday.
You've got a real credibility problem," former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a member of the federal 9/11 commission, told one-time White House official - now full-time fabulist - Richard Clarke yesterday.
Ya think?
Revenge of the Chair Warmer!

It sure enough is a big honking surprise:
Are you sitting down? Another ex-government official who was fired or demoted by Bush has written a book that ... is critical of Bush! Eureka! The latest offering is Richard Clarke's new CBS-Viacom book, "Against All Enemies," which gets only a 35 on "rate a record" because the words don't make sense and you can't dance to it.

As long as we're investigating everything, how about investigating why some loser no one has ever heard of is getting so much press coverage for yet another "tell-all" book attacking the Bush administration?
Well it did have a snappy opening chapter where ole Dick tells us he was singlehandedly running the nation on 9/11. He's a regular Paul Bunyan, I guess. As for why he's getting so much press coverage, we know the answer to that one don't we, kids? I particularly liked the liplock that ole Lesley Stahl put on Dick on 60 Minutes.

Anyhow, as part of his book tour, Dick showed up before the 9/11 commission yesterday to spin a few of the yarns from his book for the crowd. The only problem is that if you're going to make up tall tales about real events, folks can check out your story.
A crucial (false) claim of Clinton defenders is that the Clinton team forged an anti-al Qaeda war plan that was then handed over to the Bush administration and ignored. In his August 2002 briefing, Clarke said, "I think the overall point is, there was no plan on al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration." His book seems to confirm that, but nowhere puts it so starkly.

In his 2002 briefing, Clarke said that the Bush administration decided in "mid-January" 2001 to continue with existing Clinton policy while deciding whether or not to pursue more aggressive ideas that had been rejected throughout the Clinton administration. Nowhere does this appear in his book.

He said in 2002 that the Bush administration had decided in principle in the spring of 2001 "to increase CIA resources . . . for covert action, five-fold, to go after al Qaeda." Nowhere is this mentioned in his book.

In 2002, Clarke emphasized that the Bush team "changed the strategy from one of rollback with al Qaeda over the course [of] five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of al Qaeda." This is mentioned in his book, but - amazingly - as an afterthought.

Clarke in 2002 knocked down the idea that there was irrational animus toward the Clinton team on the part of the Bushies that blinded them to the necessity of strong counterterrorism. He offered himself, kept on as a holdover from the Clinton administration, as a refutation: "That doesn't sound like animus against the previous team to me." In his book, he suggests there was such an irrational animus.

Finally, in his 2002 briefing, Clarke made it clear that there was no "appreciable" change in U.S. terror policy from October 1998 until the Bush team began to reevaluate policy in the spring of 2001 and get more aggressive. His book implausibly argues the opposite, that Clinton was on the ball and Bush dropped it.

This is just the beginning of the contradictions and mistakes.
My favorite:
Clarke claims, for example, that in early 2001, when he told President Bush's National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about al-Qaida, her "facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before."
Sean Hannity has been playing a radio interview that Dr. Rice gave to David Newman on WJR in Detroit back in October 2000, in which she discusses al-Qaida in great detail. This was months before chair-warmer Clarke claims her "facial expression" indicated she had never heard of the terrorist organization.
As we know from Dr. Rice's radio interview describing the threat of al-Qaida back in October 2000, she certainly didn't need to be told about al-Qaida by a government time-server. No doubt Dr. Rice was staring at Clarke in astonishment as he imparted this great insight: Keep an eye on al-Qaida! We've done nothing, but you should do something about it. Tag – you're it. That look of perplexity Clarke saw was Condi thinking to herself: "Hmmm, did I demote this guy far enough?"
Which of course brings us around to the key question, "Did Dick ever do dick?" Apparently not:
For almost three decades Clarke mastered official Washington. What he didn't master was counterterrorism. His first brush with notoriety came in 1986 when, as one of the State Department's top intelligence officers, he hatched a bizarre scheme to incite a coup against Muammar Qaddafi in retaliation for the Libyan strongman's support of terrorism.

Clarke's plan called for American planes to produce a wave of sonic booms over Libyan airspace while empty rafts washed ashore--not to attack, but to create the effect of an attack, which would spur Qaddafi's enemies to move against him. The plan became public, was scrapped, and created a small scandal for the Reagan White House. Then, in 1992, Clarke's State Department career abruptly ended when the inspector general accused him of failing to stop illegal transfers of sensitive U.S. military technology to China. Clarke strongly denied the accusations but fled State and landed at the National Security Council.

Things didn't go much better there. In 1993 he oversaw Somalia policy during the American intervention, the greatest military debacle of the 1990s. Clarke was also in the middle of the botched effort to get Osama bin Laden in 1996, when the Clinton administration rejected--as The Washington Post recently revealed--a Sudanese offer to hand him over. Then, in 1998, he played a key role in the Clinton administration's misguided retaliation for the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which targeted bin Laden's terrorist camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. Clarke reportedly steamrolled intelligence officials who doubted (correctly) the evidence linking the Sudanese factory to either bin Laden or chemical weapons.
He's a regular Rambo fer sure! At least among chair warmers:
But even as these decisions were backfiring, Clarke was demonstrating his real skill: political survival. He is the longest-serving member of the NSC. Universally described as a master of bureaucracy, he made himself indispensable to the NSC transition teams of both the Clintonites and the Bushies.

He thus became the only NSC staffer from the first Bush administration retained by Clinton, and one of the only Clinton staffers kept on by the younger Bush. "Dick Clarke is the ultimate survivor," says Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and counterterrorism official at the State Department. "He is a bureaucrat's bureaucrat. He knows how to write memos, move the paper. The guy's a master."
Too bad being a bureaucrat isn't a martial art.

But not to worry. Clarke says he wouldn't take a job in a Kerry administration. Aside from the question of why anyone would want him, he's already got his pension, his book profits and a nice little consulting business. I'm sure his pals can throw a little cash his way. We already know what he is, the only question is the price.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Ruh Oh!

3D ads to put virtual beers on bars
Three-dimensional foaming glasses of beer could soon leap out of TV screens and on to bars, to try to tempt customers into buying drinks.

The system, from X3D Technologies in New York City, allows the virtual drinks to jump up to a metre in front of the screen. They can be viewed with the naked eye from anything up to a 120 degree angle.

"People stand in their tracks, they are stunned by what they see," claims Myles Owens, chief executive officer of X3D. The first 3D alcoholic drinks advertisements were shown at the International Nightclub, Bar Beverage and Food Convention in Las Vegas earlier in March.
Its 53-inch plasma-screens are already being used to make shampoo bottles loom in front of customers in shops in France, Italy and Spain.
Now think about all the things you would just as soon NOT have jump out at you. Like this or this.
You know you're getting old...

When Buffy says it better than you do. From Jonah Goldberg at The Corner:
From a reader:
mr. goldberg,

you may have already heard or thought of this. whenever i hear about hamas vowing revenge for the killing of one of their leaders, and the concerns over more radicals joining the fight, i can't help but think of an exchange from buffy the vampire slayer.

buffy has just embarrassed a vampire in a fight:

Buffy: Wow, that was really funny-looking! Could you do it again?
Vampire: I'll kill you for that.
Buffy: For that? What were you trying to kill me for before?

then again, perhaps you haven't. my thoughts seem to be more simple than most.

[Name withheld]
My simple thoughts tend in the same direction although I don't seem to recall ever viewing this Buffy person.
Sometimes, even the lefties notice

John Hawkins points us to an article by "self-proclaimed lefty Marty Nemko" on the myriad problems of illegal immigration - The overwhelming of America. It probably doesn't hurt that Nemko's wife is Napa County (California) Superintendent of Schools, since the schools are very hard hit by the illegals, particularly in California. Hawkins summarizes it nicely and the (long) article has all the details, so I'm going to mention only one part - the effect on American jobs:
Cindy and Ed Kolb used to run a construction service in Hereford, Arizona. On CNN, she said, "We could never win a bid because we paid Americans a living wage. Other firms hire illegals and pay them below minimum wage." The Kolbs have had to close their business.

Of course, the problem also affects employees. The owner of a Bay Area construction company who insisted on anonymity bragged that he used to have to pay carpenters $20 an hour plus benefits but now gets them for $12, no benefits, because of the ready supply of illegal immigrants.

The Center for Immigration Studies has calculated that illegals have already cost American workers $133 billion in salary cuts and job losses. According to a study by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, illegal immigration combined with the rampant offshoring of US jobs promises to significantly shrink the middle and working class, forcing ever more people into poverty.

Legally residing young adults without college degrees — an already vulnerable group — are being hit particularly hard. Last year, the employment rate for teens reached a record low, down nine percentage points just since 2000.

President Bush, pandering to Corporate America's thirst for cheap labor, is proposing a so-called Guest Worker program that would greatly increase the number of illegal workers. It would provide legal residency for three years (renewable) to all illegals holding US jobs, to their families, and even to those with just a letter stating that an employer promises a job.

The only restriction would be that the employer must first have tried to hire a legal resident. That restriction is practically unenforceable. The cost of investigating each of millions of hiring decisions would be prohibitive. No doubt, as in the 1986 amnesty program for agriculture workers, Bush's Guest Worker program would rely on employers' self-serving attestations. Even that amnesty program's sponsor, Charles Schumer (D-NY) admitted that in that program, fraud occurred in 2/3 of the hires.
I don't know what it's like where you live, but even around here in the sticks, construction is almost solely the province of illegal alien labor except for a few skilled trades like plumbers and electricians, and that is changing too. Do those sound like jobs no American citizens would take?

On a related note, Chip Taylor points to a NY Times piece on machines versus illegals in farming:
Canopy shakers are still an unusual sight in Florida's orange groves. Most of the crop is harvested by hand, mainly by illegal Mexican immigrants. Nylon sacks slung across their backs, perched atop 16-foot ladders, they pluck oranges at a rate of 70 to 90 cents per 90-pound box, or less than $75 a day.

But as globalization creeps into the groves, it is threatening to displace the workers. Facing increased competition from Brazil and a glut of oranges on world markets, alarmed growers here have been turning to labor-saving technology as their best hope for survival.
So even while President Bush advances a plan to invite legal guest workers into American fields, farmers for the first time in a generation are working to replace hand laborers with machines.

"The rest of the world hand-picks everything, but their wage rates are a fraction of ours," said Galen Brown, who led the mechanical harvesting program at the Florida Department of Citrus until his retirement last year. Lee Simpson, a raisin grape grower in California's San Joaquin Valley, is more blunt. "The cheap labor," he said, "isn't cheap enough."
So even the canonical jobs that "citizens don't want to do" are disappearing. Or maybe not:
Investment in technology generally happened when the immigrant spigot was shut. After the bracero program ended and some farm wages began to rise, scientists at the University of California at Davis began work on both a machine to harvest tomatoes mechanically and a tomato better suited to mechanical harvesting.

By 1970, the number of tomato-harvest jobs had been cut by two-thirds. But the tomato harvester's success proved to be a kiss of death for mechanical harvesting. In 1979, the farm worker advocacy group California Rural Legal Assistance, with support from the United Farm Workers union of Cesar Chavez, sued U.C. Davis, charging that it was using public money for research that displaced workers and helped only big growers.

The lawsuit was eventually settled. But even before that, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter's agriculture secretary, Bob Bergland, declared that the government would no longer finance research projects intended to replace "an adequate and willing work force with machines." Today, the Agricultural Research Service employs just one agricultural engineer: Donald Peterson, a longtime researcher at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, W.Va.

"At one time I was told to keep a low profile and not to publicize what I was doing," Mr. Peterson said.
Hmm, employment security for illegal aliens. What a concept!

But even that won't save them in the battle of global wage rates for unskilled labor.
Mr. Loukonen, the Barron Collier manager, said the farm workers were right to be anxious. "If there's no demand for labor, supply will end," he said. "They will have to find another place to work, or stay in their country."
Or maybe not - come looking for work, stay for the "benefits". While I don't agree with all of Nemko's conclusions, he's got one thing right:
the US should impose and enforce severe penalties on employers who hire illegals. If an employer cannot find a legal worker, it must improve salaries and working conditions until a legal resident will take the position. The government must also eliminate incentives for foreigners to sneak into the US: no benefits to illegals and their families except for emergency health care.
And a bus ride to the border.
Navel gazing alert!

There's a crop of articles "strategizing" the demise of Sheik Yassin. By far the best story is Amir Taheri's Why Sharon Did It which theorizes that it was part of a plan to clean out the thugs in the Gaza strip so Egypt would take it over. I'm a non-nuanced kind of guy so I prefer the comment of a reader to Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner:
"Can anyone explain what, exactly, was achieved by his killing?"

”He's dead, Jim.”
Sounds right to me.

But back to Taheri's article, there was one part that I noticed particularly:
But possibly the most important reason why Sharon believes he can hit Hamas at the highest level of its leadership is the Israeli belief that the Palestinian radical movement is losing momentum. In 2003, the number of Israelis killed by Hamas and other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine was down by almost 50 percent compared to 2002. Although this was partly due to more effective prevention work, there has also been a sharp decline in the total number of planned attacks.

Hamas and virtually all other Palestinian radical groups have been experiencing growing difficulties in attracting new recruits, especially for suicide operations. Hamas is also facing financial difficulties.

The fall of Saddam Hussein closed what had become the single biggest source of funds for Hamas in the past five years. Several other Arab countries have been forced to close channels through which funds were collected for and directed to Hamas.

Both the United States and the European Union have also plugged sources of finance for Hamas. (Until 2001 nearly half of all foreign contributions to Hamas came from front organizations in the United States.)
You think that despite all the hand wringing, whining, and obstruction by the Kumbaya crowd, we might actually be winning the War on Terror?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Some things go beyond mere disgust

Over in the Olde Countrie - Man is jailed for killing robber
A 25-year-old man is beginning an eight year sentence after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of a 38-year-old man who had tried to rob him.

Carl Lindsay from Walkden, Greater Manchester, stabbed Stephen Swindells after he and three accomplices arrived at Lindsay's home armed with a gun.
When Lindsay opened the door, to be confronted by him and three accomplices who were armed with a gun, he fetched a Samurai sword and stabbed Mr Swindells four times.

Mr Swindells died later in Hope Hospital after he was found in an alleyway between Strawberry Road and Broad Street in Pendleton.

David Ryan, of Salford, Darren Ashton of no fixed abode and Michael Page, also of no fixed abode, were all convicted of robbery and firearms offences.

They were sentenced to 14 years.

Det Chief Insp Sam Haworth said: "Four men including the victim had set out purposefully to rob Carl Lindsay and this intent ultimately led to Stephen Swindell's death.

"I believe the sentences passed today reflect the severity of the circumstances."
Funny, I would have said the sentences were a complete travesty of justice.
Here's a treat

The NY Post's Countdown to Gaza Fiend's Destruction has some background on the operation to get the odious Sheik Yassin, but here's the part I liked best:
The clock that measured Yassin's final hours actually began last Tuesday when Sharon's defense Cabinet met to decide how to respond to an attack by two Hamas bombers that left 10 Israelis dead in Ashdod. The members considered destroying nearly all of Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah, leaving him confined to one room and a shower, but military officials objected.
How cool would that be? The only thing cooler would be to then make the room disappear.
When do we get to the "war crimes" videos?

GI John's New Ad Highlights War Record
John Kerry yesterday launched a new TV ad showing video of him as a young soldier in Vietnam and stressing he "fought for his country," as the Democratic nominee tries to rebound from President Bush's charges he's weak on defense.

Kerry's new 30-second spot, which goes up today in 17 swing states, features video of a helmeted, rifle-toting Kerry in fatigues walking past what appears to be a thatched hut and also has a shot of Kerry being decorated with a Silver Star for his service.
But, but, but ... I thought he testified before the Senate that he and his fellow soldiers were war criminals? also features audio sound bites -- in the MP3 format -- of Kerry describing what he did in Vietnam, both in testimony before the Senate and in an interview.

"Yes, I committed the same kinds of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed," Kerry said in the sound bite. "I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages."
Maybe he'll make up for it with an ad about his trip to Paris to surrender to the North Vietnamese:
"I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks -- that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government," Kerry said during testimony on April 22, 1971, before the Foreign Relations Committee
He's so fair and even handed!
I'll bet he also made sure all the conference room pencils were really, really sharp!

Dick's Tall Tale
Richard Clarke is the greatest man who has ever strode this planet's surface. I know this because I have just read his book, "Against All Enemies."

Some might suggest that the book is a distorted, false, sour-grapes account from a demoted government official who wants to settle scores and destroy the Bush administration in which he served as a holdover staffer from the Clinton years.

But that's because they simply don't comprehend the power and the glory that is Dick Clarke.

He is the man who took charge of America on 9/11 by "putting together a secure teleconference to manage the crisis," he writes on page 2.

A secure teleconference! Wow!

If you knew anything about Washington, you would surely think that a staffer on the National Security Council - traditionally a role without a great deal of authority - wouldn't be a major decision-maker during the day of and the days following the attack on this country.

That's because You Don't Know Dick Clarke.

Clarke says he all but ordered the president of the United States not to return to Washington on that day. ("Figure out where to move the president. He can't come back here until we know what the s--t is happening.")

By his own account, it was Clarke who gave the order to "authorize the Air Force to shoot down any aircraft . . . that looks like it is threatening to attack."

You thought it was Dick Cheney who gave that order? You were wrong - at least if you believe Dick Clarke.

Oh, and Clarke took command of the Air Force, too. ("Roger, find out where the fighter planes are. I want Combat Air Patrol over every major city in this country. Now.")

Remember when Alexander Haig created a firestorm right after the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan by claiming he was "in charge"? Well, when it comes to being "in charge," Haig had nothing on Dick Clarke, who was - so he tells us with excruciating generosity - a just and righteous ruler of America on that day.
Wotta guy! I wonder if he puts his pants on one leg at a time?
It doesn't get any better than this

Ole Lurch sure opened a can of worms when he touted himself as the "International Man of Mystery" who had met with all sorts of foreign leaders who were backing him for President, but couldn't mention any of their names. It was bad enough that everyone was laughing at his claim, but then when a few of the more odious wingnuts actually piped up to say "John Kerry's our boy," he had to issue press releases disavowing them. Here's the latest:

Kerry Attacks Venezuela's Chavez
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has attacked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a dubious democrat hostile to U.S. interests, delivering a slap in the face to the leftist leader who had portrayed Kerry as a potential friend.

The Kerry statement on his Web site made front-page news in Venezuela on Monday, nearly two weeks after Chavez had publicly praised the Democrat contender, hailing his health care plans and likening him to assassinated U.S. President John Kennedy.
Sensing through his perpetual alcoholic haze that his chum was in trouble, Ted Kennedy jumped in the water to help:
MR. RUSSERT: Well, shouldn't Senator Kerry have a higher standard? When he said, "I've met more leaders," shouldn't he tell us who he met? And where in his schedule did he have time to meet those leaders?

SEN. KENNEDY: Well, the fact is, he's obviously met leaders over a period of time. And anyone--the CIA knows who they--if the White House is really interested in those leaders, they control the CIA. The CIA gives them those lists. Everyone knows at the United Nations where the country stands. Any child can look at the newspapers and television and look at what's happened in these demonstrations all over the world. This isn't a big mystery.
That Teddy's such a tease! C'mon Ted, help us little people out with a few names.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Why wasn't Lurch out marching with his pals?

LGF and Citizen Smash have round-ups of the leftoid thugfests this weekend. Not only are the wingnuts deranged, but violent too. But then we knew that.

But it makes me wonder why John Kerry wasn't out there with the comrades? It would be just like old home week - they could even call it Dewey Canyon IV in honor of his past "triumphs". But heck, once you marry into money, I guess you just have the servants do it.
Here's a surprise

Hamas vows revenge for leader's death:
Hamas has declared open war against Israel after its founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was killed in an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip.
I wonder what they called what was going on before? A tea party with finger sandwiches?

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Meanwhile back at the UN, the "Oil-for-Food" scandal just keeps getting better

Claudia Rosett has all the details in Turtle Bay’s Carnival of Corruption. Just a brief snippet:
It now appears that neither the Iraqi Governing Council nor the CPA has thus far received a single bank statement from either BNP or the U.N. treasurer's office. A frustrated CPA official, connected with the wrapping-up of some $8.2 billion worth of relief contracts inherited from the U.N., tells me there has been no answer to his repeated requests to see current statements: "They never say no, but they never do it either." Neither has the Iraqi central bank received any statements, he adds. For the Iraqis and CPA officials now administering the remaining contracts in Iraq, this source explains, there is no way to tell "what activity has taken place" in the BNP accounts, or "how much money's left."

U.N. Treasurer Suzanne Bishopric, reached by phone in New York last Friday, confirms that she has sent no bank statements either to the CPA or to the Iraqi Governing Council. As she explains it, "They never asked me." Bishopric says that in any case, after the U.N.'s withdrawal from Iraq following the bombing of the U.N.'s Baghdad offices last August, she has not been able to deliver current bank statements because "we have no mechanism to send them."

Asked if it would not be possible to transmit the statements by fax, email, or express-delivery service, Bishopric says, "I'm not going there."
Does every UN job description start with "Must be several fries short of a Happy Meal"?
Buh Bye!

Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the guiding light of the murderous thugs of Hamas, met a missile with his name on it. Too bad he went so fast. Memo to Satan: Incoming!
Lurch's Firm Grasp Alert!

Terpsboy alerts us to Keep Your Panders Straight:
"John Kerry, defending 'gay rights' before a black audience, explained that when 'Mr. King gets dragged behind a truck down [in] Texas by chains and his body is mutilated only because he's gay, I think that's a matter of rights in the United States of America.' James Byrd was dragged behind a truck and murdered in Texas. Rodney King was beaten by police in Los Angeles. Neither man was gay."

- The editors of National Review, writing in the April 5 issue
If this weren't from before Lurch's Spring Break, I would say he must have fallen down too many times. Hmmm, maybe he has.

In related news:
Mr. Kerry plans to throw his snowboard, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, over the White House fence later this week. TV news crews will be permitted to videotape his second snowboard toss attempt.
It's a Lurch fun fest!

Mark Steyn:
Then there was the senator's clumsy attempt to declare himself America's ''second black president.'' Bill Clinton was at least canny enough to get himself anointed as the first black president by an actual black person, the novelist Toni Morrison, who declared that he displayed ''every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas.'' It's harder to pull that off when you're a Swiss finishing school boy from Massachusetts. Many's the night John and the other boys in his dorm would lie awake dreaming of their freedom as they murmured one of the traditional spirituals of their people: ''Swing by, sweet limousine, comin' for to carry me home.''

Of course, like many African Americans, he understands what it's like when people are prejudiced against you because of your skin. In Sen. Kerry's case, his skin is extremely thin. So it was inevitable that, when a voter named Cedric Brown, in Bethlehem, Pa., needled the candidate to name one of the world leaders who were supposedly desperate for him to beat Bush, within moments the senator would be snarling that it's ''none of your business.''

It's never a good idea in vernacular politics to leave the impression you're more comfortable with the global elite than with American citizens. Instead of the second black president, Kerry sounded awfully like America's first French president.

Also none of our business is the senator's go-ahead-punk bluster about foreign policy. For months he's been droning in his stump speech that, if George W. Bush wants to fight this election on national security, Kerry has three words for him: ''Bring it on!'' So Bush brought it on -- with a 30-second ad arguing that the senator is weak on defense. And suddenly the campaign's curled up on the floor in a fetal position whimpering that it's just totally unfair making such a horrible personal attack. Watching him in New Hampshire, I always thought, when Kerry dares you to ''bring it on,'' he couldn't quite bring it off. As all military strategists say, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. And so it proved.
Mark also answers the puzzling question, "How many John Kerrys does it take to change a lightbulb?"
Aren't you glad you don't live along the border?

Shots fired along border; Douglas man's shed set on fire in one incident
In what appears to have been a retaliation by Mexican drug smugglers, a man's home was shot up and a travel trailer he used for storage was set on fire Wednesday morning.
Skipping some of the chronology:
About 24 hours later, the man who was the victim of the Wednesday morning attack and who had seen the incident on Tuesday involving the ICE agent saw the same vehicle come back into the United States.

Cochise County Sheriff's Department Sgt. R. Morales said the man, who is not being identified, confirmed he had seen the Tuesday incursion and fired three shots from his 30-30 rifle at the vehicle on Wednesday.

The vehicle again turned around and went back into Mexico, said Morales, who works out of the Sheriff's Department's Douglas substation.

The Wednesday incident began around 7:20 a.m. Forty minutes later, people apparently illegally entering the United States from Mexico headed for the man's home.

That group opened fire on the man's home and set fire to his 26-foot travel trailer, Morales said. The man was inside his home when the culprits began firing.

ICE agents were on the scene first after the incident. Morgan said his agents had heard the gunfire and saw smoke coming from the area east of Geronimo Trial Road where the Tuesday shooting by an ICE agent happened.

Responding to the scene, they found the man was not injured, although his home had a number of bullet holes in it.

The U.S. Border Patrol also responded to the incident.

At least 21 AK-47 shell casings were found outside the man's home, Morgan added.

Morales said 9 mm and 40-caliber casings also were discovered.
Instead of some guy with a lever action .30-.30, how about some attack helicopters? There are more incidents in the article, like this:
On Wednesday, agents from the Douglas Border Patrol Station also apprehended Armando Rodriquez, 41, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who is a convicted sex offender.

He entered the United States about three miles east of Douglas around 2:20 a.m. Wednesday before being apprehended. While processing his fingerprints, agents discovered he was convicted in 1996 for sexual abuse with a minor in New York, according to a U.S. Border Patrol press release on Thursday.

Rodriquez, who was formally deported in 2001, is being held in federal custody on a felony charge of "re-entry of an aggravated felon," the Border Patrol said.
Then there's the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation which has become a highway for illegal aliens as well as a massive garbage dump for their trash.
Hemmed in by tighter border controls in California and Texas, thousands of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers are flooding this vast Indian reservation southwest of Tucson, leaving chaos, crime and environmental destruction behind.

More than 1,500 immigrants tramp across the Tohono O'odham Nation every day, making it one of the busiest illegal entry points in the country. So far this year, 27,130 people have been arrested in this remote desert, nearly half the number caught in the much more populated San Diego area. At the same time, federal agents have seized a staggering 179,300 pounds of narcotics since October.

The sheer volume of criminal activity and law enforcement response has made some Indians feel they are living in a combat zone.

High-speed chases are so frequent, residents rely on police scanners to know when it's safe to go outside. Burglaries are so common, people leave homes unlocked to keep doors and windows from being broken. Overhead, Black Hawk helicopters hunt drug runners, and on the ground, camouflaged agents prowl the bush.

"Our people fear for their lives," said Vivian Juan-Saunders, tribal chairwoman. "Anywhere else this would be considered a crisis, but there is a double standard because we are Indians."
Don't worry Viv, they aren't doing that well outside the reservation either. Also note the way the LA Times likes to sneak in the occasional reference to them as "immigrants".
The reservation, roughly the size of Connecticut, shares a 75-mile border with Mexico that includes 160 illegal crossing points. In 36 spots, there are no barriers at all, officials say. Elsewhere, the most formidable obstacles are three or four strands of rusty barbed wire.
Many of the 11,000 residents here live in trailers or ramshackle adobe houses surrounded by the twisted saguaros and fragrant mesquite of the Sonoran Desert.

As more illegal immigrants cross, the residents are increasingly fearful of letting their children play outside. Tribal elders no longer gather ceremonial plants in the desert. Fences are going up and people are packing weapons.

Some Indians are forming armed citizen patrols, occasionally shooting over the heads of immigrants and smugglers to scare them off their land.

"We are armed and we will shoot them," said Arnold Smith, 69, who lives a quarter-mile from the border in a trailer that's been burglarized five times.

Smith sharpened his knife on a piece of soapstone.

"They use our pasture like a freeway; they cut our fences; they killed my 10-month-old mare," he said.
Great, a 69 year old guy holding back the hordes. The article describes some new government initiatives to try to bring it under control. They better get cracking - Smuggler convoy called a first here:
In an unprecedented move along the U.S.-Mexico border, a convoy of 12 pickup trucks packed with suspected illegal immigrants barreled through the Tohono O'odham Nation and tried to run down approaching Border Patrol agents.
Photos of just one pickup truck burning after a hit by an antitank missile would do more to reduce the illegal tidal wave than all the government programs they can dream up. "Waaah, that would be wrong!" Tell it to the folks who live along the border.

But heck, I'm a Kumbaya kind of guy. How about if the Federal government opened a chain of all night convenience stores along the border and any CEO who hires workers with unverified Social Security numbers gets to work the graveyard shift? I'm sure there would be available slots for the bank presidents and local government officials who want to accept matricula consulars as valid identification too.