Amy Holmes predicted the latest Wright-Obama developments back on March 18.
Now that Wright is politically radioactive, Obama has decided that Wright never was his spiritual mentor:
Now, to some degree, you know — I know that one thing that he said was true, was that he wasn’t — you know, he was never my, quote-unquote, “spiritual adviser.”
He was never my “spiritual mentor.” He was — he was my pastor. And so to some extent, how, you know, the — the press characterized in the past that relationship, I think, wasn’t accurate.
I don’t doubt it will again be the media’s fault for quoting him accurately.
Dartmouth gets another black eye, courtesy of one of its English instructors. One Priya Venkatesan, after (deservedly) receiving profoundly negative course evaluations, decides to sue:
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 20:56:35 -0400 (EDT)
To: “WRIT.005.17.18-WI08″:;, Priya.Venkatesan@Dartmouth.EDU
Subject: WRIT.005.17.18-WI08: Possible lawsuit
Dear former class members of Science, Technology and Society:
I tried to send an email through my server but got undelivered messages. I regret to inform you that I am pursuing a lawsuit in which I am accusing some of you (whom shall go unmentioned in this email) of violating Title VII of anti-federal [SIC] discrimination laws.
The feeling that I am getting from the outside world is that Dartmouth is considered a bigoted place, so this may not be news and I may be successful in this lawsuit.
I am also writing a book detailing my experiences as your instructor, which will “name names” so to speak. I have all of your evaluations and these will be reproduced in the book.
Have a nice day.
One’s first inclination is that this has to be a hoax, not just because of the idea of a lawsuit over course evaluations, but also because the person who wrote this was teaching English at Dartmouth. Nevertheless, the story seems to be for real. Still, I’m pretty sure Ms. Venkatesan hasn’t yet consulted a lawyer.
I think someone is about to be bumped from the Internet’s most hated people.
CORRECTION: Venkatesan is an instructor, not a professor. (Corrected the title, but I can’t correct the permalink.)
This is the same party that thought it was unacceptable for President Bush to “politicize” 9/11 by using its images in his re-election campaign.
ASIDE: Confederate Yankee tracks down the clip and finds that both soldiers survived the blast. Also, the clip comes from Fahrenheit 911, Michael Moore’s notorious propaganda piece.
Dean tries to defend the 100-years aspect:
On Meet the Press Sunday, DNC chair Howard Dean defended the ad, saying, “we’re not arguing that he’s going to be at war for a hundred years. We don’t think we ought to be in Iraq for a hundred years under any circumstances.”
That won’t wash. They use images of war and quote casualties. They are clearly implying 100 years of war.
UPDATE: I wasn’t the only one this occurred to.
“I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992, and have known Reverend Wright for 20 years,” Obama said. “The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago.”
Oh, come on! You expect us to believe that Wright had a big change in character, and it just so happened to occur exactly when people started paying attention to him? Sheesh.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE:
“And what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Anybody who knows me and anybody who knows what I’m about knows that I am about trying to bridge gaps and I see the commonality in all people,” [Obama said.]
In all the stuff Wright said (e.g., the United States created HIV to commit genocide against minorities), the thing that particularly angered Obama was that Wright called him a politician. (Via the Corner.)
He sounds bitter. Maybe that explains his antipathy toward people who aren’t like him.
“In the course of a year after they got full up they would have produced enough plutonium for one or two weapons,” Hayden told reporters after a speech at Georgetown University. . .
U.S. intelligence and administration officials publicly disclosed last week their assessment that Syria was building a covert nuclear reactor with North Korean assistance. . . The Syrian site, they said, was within weeks or months of being operational.
The head of the UN nuclear monitoring agency on Friday criticized the US for not giving his organization intelligence information sooner on what Washington says was a nuclear reactor in Syria being built secretly by North Korea.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei also chastised Israel for bombing the site seven months ago, in a statement whose strong language reflected his anger at being kept out of the picture for so long. . .
“The director general views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the nonproliferation regime,” it said.
In full knowledge that the reactor would have produced two bombs in a year, ElBaradei is still against the Israeli operation. I think we can safely say that the IAEA is fundamentally unserious. To them, “nonproliferation” isn’t about preventing proliferation, it’s about verifying proliferation. Hmm, I wonder why we and Israel weren’t hurrying to give them our classified intelligence.
My sister’s roller derby team, the Camaro Harem, made the Everett Herald and is featured on the web edition’s front page. For those who haven’t been following, roller derby is a real sport now, at least in western Washington.
The AP reports on the high number of deaths of Saudi women commuting to teaching jobs. Here’s how the problem arises:
- “Job opportunities are scarce for women in Saudi Arabia, mainly limited to teaching and health care.” (I doubt we’re talking about radiology, either.)
- “The Saudi Education Ministry appoints thousands of male and female teachers to fill vacancies every year at government-run schools in remote areas.”
- “Female teachers find it difficult to move because they need permission from a male guardian to live alone and have to find a landlord willing to rent them an apartment.”
- As a result, many women live in the city and commute to remote rural areas.
- “Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, so the teachers must hire drivers — sometimes sharing rides in minivans, leaving home as early as 3 a.m.
- The Saudi roads on which female teachers spend countless hours are among the most dangerous in the world:
Nearly 6,000 people died in traffic accidents in 2007 in this country of 27.6 million, according to the Saudi Traffic Department. That is a rate of around 21 deaths per 100,000 people — one of the highest in the world. By comparison, around 14 per 100,000 people were killed in road accidents in the United States in 2006, according to the most recent statistics from the Transportation Department.
- As a result, female teachers are dying in car accidents at an alarming rate:
A study released in October by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology found that female teachers commuting to their jobs have about a 50 percent greater chance of getting into car accidents than average Saudi citizens. Its findings were based on figures from the late 1990s.
The worst thing about this is how little I’m shocked.
We have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. That is why I am here. Because Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that. That before we can work on the problems we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.
If we can’t see ourselves in one another we will never make those sacrifices. So I am here right now because I am married to the only person in this race who has a chance of healing this nation. . .
Barack, as Oprah said, is one of the most brilliant men you will meet in our lifetime. Barack is more than ready. He’ll be ready today. He’ll be ready on day one. He’ll be ready in a year from now. Five years from now. He is ready. That is not the question.
Okay, I’m frightened now. Obama is not Jesus. Does Obama really see himself as the one to fix my broken soul?
It gets scarier, because it isn’t just about Obama. No, it’s also about what Obama will require of us:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your division. That you come out of your isolation. That you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual; uninvolved, uninformed.
Got that? Obama will require our complete psychological reconfiguration so we can carry out his agenda.
In context, it’s fairly clear that Mrs. Obama is not talking about a Soviet-style campaign of re-education and psychological adjustment. She is talking about what we must all do as Obama’s disciples. She truly sees him as a christ for America.
Does he? God help us if he does.
Pennsylvania Republicans wonder about Governor Rendell’s efforts on behalf of the Clinton campaign:
For most of the primary campaign, Gov. Ed Rendell acted as a “super staffer” for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, raising serious questions about his use of state resources for political purposes, a state House GOP spokesman says. . .
“The vast majority of the governor’s campaign activity was either very early in the morning, in the evening or on weekends and did not interfere with his full time job,” said Rendell’s spokesman Chuck Ardo. “He merely added hours to a routinely hectic schedule by getting less sleep.
“Additionally, he flew to campaign events on commercial airlines and paid his own way, and he reimbursed the commonwealth for the use of his office phone to a far greater extent than the charges incurred,” Ardo said. “No one got short-changed by this governor’s work ethic, and no one needs to be concerned about the misuse of state resources.”
This doesn’t seem like a profitable tack to me. Rendell has had his ethical problems, but absent any evidence to the contrary, I’d be surprised if he’d be so sloppy as to spend state resources on the Clinton campaign. As far as his own time goes, the less time Rendell dedicates to state business the better.
The world’s stupidest Obama controversy is given new legs . . . by Obama. At a town hall in Kokomo, Indiana, Obama takes up the topic yet again:
“Then I was asked about this in Iowa,” Obama said. “And somebody said ‘Why don’t you wear a flag pin?’ I said, well, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I said, although I will say that sometimes I notice that they’re people who wear flag pins but they don’t always act patriotic. And I was specifically referring to politicians, not individuals who wear flag pins, but politicians who you see wearing flag pins and then vote against funding for veterans, saying we can’t afford it.”
(What Obama said last October was: “You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I’m going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”)
Obama continued, saying “so I make this comment. suddenly a bunch of these, you know, TV commentators and bloggers (say) ‘Obama is disrespecting people who wear flag pins.’ Well, that’s just not true. Also, another way of saying it is, it’s a lie.”
(Interjection in original.) One thing I’ve noticed about Obama is a bizarre inability to take anything back, be it his statements about Jeremiah Wright (e.g., “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial”), his claim that rural Americans are religious because of bitterness about the economy, or his bizarre foreign policy pronouncements (e.g., we should invade Pakistan).
No, when Obama wishes his remarks would go away, he doesn’t retract them: either he retroactively rewords them, or he makes it someone else’s fault for bringing them up, or (most often) both. This is a perfect example. First, he rewords his remarks. (For our convenience, ABC juxtaposes his revised comment with the original.) Then, he counter-attacks against those who quoted him, calling them liars.
To my mind, there is no one more a scoundrel than the man who lies in accusing another man of lying. Here, it’s the journalists and bloggers who accurately quoted Obama’s remark that get the treatment.
PS: Lest I commit the same offense, let me concede that Obama left himself some wiggle room here. He doesn’t name anyone in particular, and no one actually makes the statement that Obama cites. (At least, Google gets no hits on the phrase, other than this very story.) So, even if nearly everyone quoted his remarks accurately, he could probably find someone who lied, and say that’s who he meant.
Robert “Get behind the fist” Mugabe’s latest atrocity in his reign of terror hits a new low:
Scores of children and babies have been locked up in filthy prison cells in Harare as Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, sinks to new depths in his campaign to force the opposition into exile before an expected run-off in presidential elections.
Twenty-four babies and 40 children under the age of six were among the 250 people rounded up in a raid on Friday, according to Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Yesterday they were crammed into cells in Southerton police station in central Harare. . .
The families were rounded up from MDC headquarters, where they had sought refuge from violence in the countryside.
The abduction of children is just one element in a systematic campaign of murder and intimidation:
Thought to be directed by top military officers, Operation Where Did You Put Your Cross? has prompted thousands to flee. They are trying to escape the so-called war veterans, who are attacking people and burning down hundreds of houses for voting “incorrectly” in last month’s elections. . .
The regime’s strategy is to ensure that by the time of the run-off, Mugabe would have a clean sweep in rural areas, where 70% of Zimbabweans live. A police officer admitted yesterday that he had been instructed not to interfere with war veterans as they carry out their campaign of terror.
(Via the Corner.)
Roger Kimball analyzes the NYT’s formula for McCain hit pieces:
1. Prissy introductory sentence or two noting that Mr. McCain has a reputation [read “unearned reputation”] for taking the ethical high road on issues like campaign finance reform.
2. “The-Times-has-learned” sentence intimating some tort or misbehavior.
3. A paragraph or two of exposition that simultaneously reveals that a) Mr. McCain actually didn’t do anything wrong but b) he would have if only the law had been different and besides everyone knows he is guilty in spirit.
In the latest case, the “misbehavior” is that McCain sometimes rides on his wife’s plane, which saves him some money. The NYT concedes that this violates no campaign finance rules, but the FEC has considered changing the rules. That’s it.
The chief of Hamas said Saturday that the Palestinian militant group would accept an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel but it would be a “tactic” in the group’s struggle with the Jewish state. . .
“It is a tactic in conducting the struggle. … It is normal for any resistance … to sometimes escalate, other times retreat a bit. … Hamas is known for that. In 2003, there was a cease-fire and then the operations were resumed.”
Frederick Kagan asks how we’ll know when we’ve won in Iraq, and has an answer.
There has not been any evidence that allowing people to carry a concealed weapon is going to make anybody safer.
Jerry Pournelle has a very interesting, and frightening, insight:
The Democrats seem to be drifting toward the concept of prosecution of former office holders by criminalizing policy differences. That’s a certain formula for civil war; perhaps not immediate, but inevitable. The absolute minimum requirement for democratic government is that the loser be willing to lose the election: that losing an election is not the loss of everything that matters. As soon as that assurance is gone, playing by the rules makes no sense at all. (Pinochet learned that lesson. Fortunately for Chile, he was old and was allowed to die in peace; the inevitable — liberals can always find a good reason not to keep their word — persecutions after he turned over power on the assurance that he would be allowed to retire in peace were not so severe that his adherents didn’t take to their weapons.)
Via Instapundit, who adds an interesting email about the Roman civil war. I’m not so sure Caesar was a republican to the core, but the point doesn’t seem to rely on that.
David Freddoso has a post about Nancy Pelosi’s ignorance and deceit on gas prices. Apropos to that, here’s a graph of gasoline prices at the pump since 1979, real and nominal. I was interested to see that real gas prices are indeed high now, flirting with their peak in the early 1980s. They spiked in mid-2005, started fluctuating wildly and settled into the higher price in mid-2007. (If we’re in a recession now, that has to be a significant cause.) On the other hand, the recent spike in the nominal price is all due to inflation. Real prices haven’t changed much since mid-2007.
The Iraqi Army’s defeat of the militias in Basra is paying immediate dividends for the people of Basra:
Young women are daring to wear jeans, soldiers listen to pop music on their mobile phones and bands are performing at wedding parties again.
All across Iraq’s second city life is improving, a month after Iraqi troops began a surprise crackdown on the black-clad gangs who were allowed to flourish under the British military. The gunmen’s reign had enforced a strict set of religious codes.
Yet after three years of being terrified of kidnap, rape and murder – a fate that befell scores of other women – Nadyia Ahmed, 22, is among those enjoying a sense of normality, happy for the first time to attend her science course at Basra University. . .
She also no longer has to wear a headscarf. Under the strict Islamic rules imposed by the militias, women had to cover their hair, could not wear jeans or bright clothes and were strictly forbidden from sitting next to male colleagues on pain of death.
“All these men in black [who imposed the laws] just vanished from the university after this operation,” said Ms Ahmed. “Things have completely changed over the past week.”
Read the whole thing; there’s too much good news here to pull quotes.
A couple of observations. First, we were told for years that the British “softly, softly” strategy was superior to the American strategy. It may well have been, when our strategy was to defeat the enemy and then leave. But now that we have decided to defeat the enemy then stay and keep them defeated, we’re succeeding where “softly, softly” failed:
The contrast could not be more stark with the last time The Times visited Basra in December, when intimidation was rife.
Many blame the British for allowing the militias to grow. “If they sent competent Iraqi troops to Basra in the early stages it would have limited the damage that happened in our city,” said Hameed Hashim, 39, who works for the South Oil Company.
Second, the above can teach us an important lesson. We’ve learned clearly on the small scale that defeat-and-depart does not work; you eventually need to return and fight again. Why would anyone think that it would work on the large scale? But that’s exactly what the Democrats are proposing. Al Qaeda is largely defeated but not annihilated. If we left, we would be handing the country over to some of the worst butchers in the world, and eventually we would have to invade all over again.
In their more practical moments, some Democrats have seemed to suggest a limited withdrawal from Iraq, one that would leave us with a limited presence there, but not on the front lines. That is, they want to employ the softly-softly strategy, which has also been shown to be a failure.
We need to employ the one strategy that has worked in Iraq: defeat-and-hold. We need to stay in Iraq until the locals are capable of defending themselves. That’s the strategy that will be least costly in the long run. Anything else ignores the clear lesson of this war.
The London Times has an interesting piece on how the Iraqi Army won in Basra. It claims that the key factor was Iran cutting off support for Sadr:
Once the British withdrew from the city centre to Basra airport last summer, the situation changed. Suddenly it was Moqtadr al-Sadr and his rag-tag fighters who were the dominant force in the Basra region. The Iranian backed Badr Organisation, which is well represented in Iraq’s police and military, was sidelined. There were real fears that the Sadrists could consolidate their gains on the ground in local elections planned for October and eclipse the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Badr’s political wing.
For once the interests of America, Britain, Iran and the Iraqi government coincided with disastrous results for Mr al-Sadr and his fighters. Isolated and abandoned they fled, were captured or killed from what were once their impregnable fiefdoms in Basra. Mr al-Sadr was left to lick his wounds and complain that the Government had forgotten that they were all “brothers”.
This is at odds with much of the other reporting, so I’m not sure I buy it, but it’s food for thought.
What this does illustrate is that the media was grossly premature in declaring defeat. In fact, the Basra operation has proven to be a total victory for the Iraqi government. (It reminds me of the week during the invasion that we were supposedly losing. Heaven knows how they would have reported the Battle of the Bulge!)
Fox News reports. We should skip the warning shots next time.
A month ago I mentioned an Economist article about how spacecraft are not behaving quite as expected. A physicist friend of mine e-mails:
The sling-shot anomaly you asked about is taken seriously enough to have been published in Phys Rev Letters last month. Of course it COULD indicate undreamed of physics. But it’s more likely to be a subtle systematic error.
The same first author (Anderson) is also on the 1998 paper on the Pioneer anomaly which seemed to indicate that Pioneer 10 and 11 were accelerating towards the sun a little more than they should. That’s been a thorn in the side of general relativity for some time now. That effect has now been PARTLY explained by a rather prosaic effect: the heat from the plutonium power source warms the spacecraft which radiate thermal radiation. But, because of their composition, it turns out that they radiate more in front of them than behind. So radiation pressure slows them down…. how annoying… but not exciting.
As a condition to posting his email, my friend asks me to point out that he is not an expert. Noted. He knows much more than I do, though.
This is what passes for good news in Zimbabwe these days:
Earlier on Thursday, a Chinese ship carrying armaments made by a Chinese state-owned company and bound for Zimbabwe headed back to China without unloading its cargo of bullets and mortar bombs, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry confirmed at a briefing Thursday.
“The Chinese company has already decided to send the military goods back to China in the same vessel, the An Yue Jiang,” the spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said. . .
China’s decision to turn the ship around was welcomed by the dock workers, trade unionists, religious leaders, Western diplomats and human rights workers who have been campaigning since last week to block delivery of the weapons to Zimbabwe.
They had said the weaponry could be used to carry out an even more violent crackdown on Zimbabwe’s political opposition, which is allied with the country’s unionized workers.
“This is a great victory for the trade union movement in particular and civil society in general in putting its foot down and saying we will not allow weapons that could be used to kill and maim our fellow workers and Zimbabweans to be transported across South Africa,” said Patrick Craven, spokesman for the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which represents 1.9 million South African workers. China’s strategic retreat in delivering the weapons also allows it to avoid Zimbabwe-related protests over its human rights record before it hosts the Olympic Games this summer.
Also, the State Department has decided to acknowledge what everyone knows:
Turning up the pressure on President Robert Mugabe, the top United States envoy to Africa declared Zimbabwe’s opposition leader the “clear victor” in the nation’s disputed presidential election. . .
“This is a government rejecting the will of the people,” she said, referring to the government’s refusal to announce who won the presidential election last month, despite independent projections that placed the opposition ahead. “If they had voted for Mugabe the results would already have been announced. Everyone knows what time it is.”
The Syrian facility bombed by Israel last September was almost certainly a nuclear reactor of North Korean design, reports the Washington Post:
A video taken inside a secret Syrian facility last summer convinced the Israeli government and the Bush administration that North Korea was helping to construct a reactor similar to one that produces plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, according to senior U.S. officials who said it would be shared with lawmakers today.
The officials said the video of the remote site, code-named Al Kibar by the Syrians, shows North Koreans inside. It played a pivotal role in Israel’s decision to bomb the facility late at night last Sept. 6. . .
Sources familiar with the video say it also shows that the Syrian reactor core’s design is the same as that of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a virtually identical configuration and number of holes for fuel rods. It shows “remarkable resemblances inside and out to Yongbyon,” a U.S. intelligence official said. A nuclear weapons specialist called the video “very, very damning.”
This tidbit is also interesting:
Nuclear weapons analysts and U.S. officials predicted that CIA Director Michael V. Hayden’s planned disclosures to Capitol Hill could complicate U.S. efforts to improve relations with North Korea as a way to stop its nuclear weapons program. . .
The timing of the congressional briefing is nonetheless awkward for the Bush administration’s diplomatic initiative to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and permanently disable the reactor at Yongbyon. The CIA’s hand was forced, officials said, because influential lawmakers had threatened to cut off funding for the U.S. diplomatic effort unless they received a full account of what the administration knew.
UPDATE: The Washington Times has more:
The Bush administration will tell Congress tomorrow that a nuclear facility in Syria built with North Korean help was nearly complete when Israel bombed it in September, and that Pyongyang has not provided any further nuclear assistance to the hard-line Arab nation, at least at that site, U.S. officials said.
Nancy Pelosi quotes some “scripture” on Earth Day:
The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, ‘To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.’
Huh? Where exactly in the Old Testament would that be? Biblical scholars are equally puzzled:
John J. Collins, the Holmes professor of Old Testament criticism and interpretation at Yale Divinity School, said he is totally unfamiliar with Pelosi’s quotation.
“(It’s) not one that I recognize,” Collins told Cybercast News Service. “I assume that she means this is a paraphrase. But it wouldn’t be a close paraphrase to anything I know of.”
Claude Mariottini, a professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, told Cybercast News Service the passage not only doesn’t exist – it’s “fictional.”
“It is not in the Bible,” Mariottini said. “There is nothing that even approximates that.”
In fact, one hardly has to be a Bible scholar to recognize Pelosi’s quote as unlikely. Although the Bible definitely suggests that we should be good stewards of creation, to call doing so “an act of worship” sounds awfully close to idolatry.
Mark Goodwin, an associate professor of theology at the University of Dallas, said Pelosi’s quote only reflects a partial Scriptural truth, at best.
“‘To minister to the needs of creation is an act of worship’ doesn’t sound right to my ears,” Goodwin said. “To minister to the needs of creation’- yes, but not as an act of worship. I’m not sure what she meant by that, and if I were there, I would have raised my hand and asked her to clarify that.”
Mariottini doesn’t mince words:
“People try to use the Bible to give authority to what they are trying to say,” he said. “(This) is one of those texts that you fabricate in order to support what you want to say.”
Sources with knowledge of the incident said the official, Rafael Quintero Curiel, served as the lead press advance person for the Mexican Delegation. . . He took six or seven of the handheld devices from a table outside a special room in the hotel where the Mexican delegation was meeting with President Bush earlier this week. . .
It didn’t take long before Secret Service officials reviewed videotape taken by a surveillance camera and found footage showing Quintero Curiel absconding with the BlackBerries.
Sources said Quintero Curiel made it all the way to the airport before Secret Service officers caught up with him. He initially denied taking the devices, but after agents showed him the DVD, Quintero Curiel said it was purely accidental, gave them back, claimed diplomatic immunity and left New Orleans with the Mexican delegation.
If Mexican officials don’t punish this guy, they will be making themselves complicit in his espionage.
UPDATE: The linked article has been updated:
Mexican Embassy spokesman Ricardo Alday said Thursday he was asked to tender his resignation once he arrived back in Mexico City.
“Mr. Quintero will be responsible for explaining his actions to the American authorities conducting an investigation. The Mexican Government deeply regrets this incident,” he said.
Getting fired seems a little minor to me, but it’s a start.
John McCain received permanent injuries at the hands of the North Vietnamese during his time as a POW, injuries that earn him a disability pension. The LA Times insinuates that this should disqualify him from being President.
This is the stupidest thing I’ve heard since the Amazing Race 7, when Kelly accused Ron of not following through on his army obligations. Ron “escaped” his obligations by becoming a POW during the Gulf War.
Bill Roggio reports the Iraqi Army has issued an ultimatum to al-Sadr’s Mahdi army to surrender or face the consequences:
The senior-most Iraqi general in charge of the security operation in Basrah has issued an ultimatum for wanted Mahdi Army leaders and fighters to surrender in the next 24 hours as the Iraqi and US military ignore Muqtada al Sadr’s threat to conduct a third uprising. US troops killed 15 Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad yesterday and have killed 56 fighters since Sadr issued his threat last weekend.
In Basrah, General Mohan al Freiji, the chief of the Basrah Operational Commander and leader of the security operation in the province, has given issued warrants “for 81 people, including senior leaders of the Mahdi militia, and they have 24 hours to give up,” The Associated Press reported.
It will be interesting to watch how this goes. The Iraqi Army no doubt is eager not to be embarrassed again, and there’s no reason they would kick this off early (if indeed that’s what happened last time). I expect they’ll make a better showing this time. The most important thing, though, is to go through with it. Idle threats won’t help their reputation any.
This bit is also interesting:
The assassination of Riyad al Nouri, Sadr’s brother-in-law and a senior aide in Najaf, continues to spark reports that his death was carried out from within the Sadrist movement. On April 17, The Long War Journal reported that Nouri was pushing for the Sadrist movement to disband the Mahdi Army lest the party be shut out from the political process, and US military officers believe he was killed because of this.
The Iraqi press has also reported Nouri was killed after he suggested disarming the Mahdi Army. Nouri “was assassinated after he wrote Muqtada a letter asking him to dissolve the Mahdi Army,” Al Rafidain reported.
It’s the one-month anniversary of my first post at Internet Scofflaw. I wanted to take this occasion to thank WordPress for a their blogging service. It works great, and is quite inexpensive. Thanks guys!
Fox News reports. Although I’m sure Gen. Petraeus will do a good job at CENTCOM, this strikes me as bad news. We need him where he is, winning the war in Iraq.
UPDATE: Secretary Gates says that Petraeus won’t be leaving until late summer or early fall. Also, Frederick and Kimberly Kagan say that Gen. Odierno, who will be taking over in Iraq, deserves a lot of the credit for putting Petraeus’s strategy into effect. (Via Hot Air.) This makes me feel a little better.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Rich Lowry thinks this is good news too.
The nation’s most hypocritical editorial page issues another gem, entitled “The Low Road to Victory”. It calls for an old-fashioned Fisking:
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.
Also, 10 points is inconclusive? Reagan defeated Carter by 10 points and won 44 states.
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.
Getting tired of it? Actually, we Pennsylvanians had to wait a long time for the candidates to pay attention to us. When we did, we didn’t like what we saw in Obama. And by the way, on what planet does negative campaigning not work?
If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.
The “political operatives” say that, do they? Those operatives wouldn’t happen to be the NYT editorial board, would they?
On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.
Islamic terrorism is the most dangerous threat facing our country today. For many people, such as me, it’s the only issue of consequence. But according to the NYT, it’s out-of-bounds even to mention it. We can’t even mention it in the context of crises from throughout the last century.
If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”
Anyone who recognizes the value of deterrence is not prepared to be President, I guess.
By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.
As Lisa Schiffren asks, what on earth has changed about Hillary Clinton since the NYT endorsed her? It used to be she used her super-powers for good (ie, against Republicans), but now she’s using them against a Democrat.
Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about “bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.
When Clinton is negative, she’s bad. When Obama is negative, he’s rising to her bait. I get it.
No matter what the high-priced political operatives (from both camps) may think, it is not a disadvantage that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton share many of the same essential values and sensible policy prescriptions. It is their strength, and they are doing their best to make voters forget it. And if they think that only Democrats are paying attention to this spectacle, they’re wrong.
I have no idea what they’re trying to say here.
After seven years of George W. Bush’s failed with-us-or-against-us presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate — right now and through the general campaign — about how each candidate will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing crisis and end the war in Iraq.
We should have a nuanced debate about fighting terrorism without mentioning it? How’s that going to work?
It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.
This makes no sense. This race could have been won at the ballot box, if the Democrats operated under the same rules as the GOP and the United States. If not for the superdelegates, the race would be over. The purpose of the superdelegates was to give the party elites the chance to overturn the voters’ choice. Now the Democrats are reaping the dividend of their bizarre rules. Bravo.
An outburst of gunfire rattled the city during the weekend, with at least nine people killed in 36 separate acts of violence.
“There are just too many weapons here,” [Police Superintendent Jody] Weis said Sunday. “Too many guns, too many gangs.”
I’m confused. Doesn’t Illinois have the most severe gun control outside of D.C.? From Wikipedia:
Some municipalities, most notably Chicago, require that all firearms be registered with the local police department. Chicago does not allow the registration of handguns, which has the effect of outlawing their possession, unless they were grandfathered in by being registered before April 16, 1982. . .
Illinois is one of two remaining states that have no provision for the concealed carry of firearms by citizens. Open carry is also illegal, except when hunting. When a firearm is being transported, it must be unloaded and enclosed in a case.
If gun control works, there shouldn’t be any guns in Chicago, right?
The debate over net neutrality is frustrating, since so few people seem to know what they are talking about. This AP article (“FCC chief says no need for new regulation of the Internet”) is a good example:
The hearing was called at a time when the issue of “network neutrality”—the principle that people should be able to go where they choose on the Internet without interference from network owners—has heated up.
This is exactly not what network neutrality is about. The main thing to remember is the Internet is not, contrary to popular opinion, a bunch of wires. The Internet is a protocol. Specifically, the Internet Protocol (IP) is a way to route packets over a variety of networks.
An important property of IP is it provides best effort delivery. That means that sometimes it drops packets, typically when it gets too much traffic. Indeed, there is no way to prevent this in a packet-switched network, unless you can prevent routers from getting too much traffic, which IP does not do. If you want reliable delivery, you need to layer another protocol (such as TCP) on top of IP.
IP does not dictate any rules regarding how a router chooses which packets to drop. (This is what network neutrality supporters want to change.) Typically it chooses them arbitrarily. But, it could do something more sensible, based on the nature of the packets. Some packets are more important than others. For example, a video stream typically contains some keyframes and various other frames that depend on the latest keyframe. Dropping one of the latter frames is no big deal, but dropping a keyframe loses you a chunk of video. Therefore, we would like it if our router kept keyframes in preference to non-keyframes.
Furthermore, there’s been research on Quality of Service, by which we might somehow reserve a certain level of network performance. QoS is an active research area, but one thing is for certain, to achieve it we definitely need to discriminate between packets.
Network neutrality advocates are concerned that the people who own the routers might choose to discriminate between packets on some basis that’s bad, like “Google didn’t pay me any money, so I’ll deliver their packets slowly or not at all.” The thing is, exactly no one is proposing to do this. Were any ISP to do it (and it is the ISPs that people seem particularly concerned about), they would immediately lose their customers to another ISP that did not.
But what an ISP might do is establish some preferences between different sorts of traffic; for example to prefer interactive traffic over large downloads. (According to the article, Comcast has done this.) Someday, they might even implement Quality of Service. This is all for the good. It would be a tragedy if network neutrality were to prevent it.
Google argues for neutrality this way:
The broadband carriers should not be permitted to use their market power to discriminate against competing applications or content.
If I had ever heard of such a thing happening, I might feel differently. Until then, network neutrality is a solution to a non-existent problem, and one that, if not implemented very carefully, could be very harmful to the development of the Internet. Readers of this blog will not be surprised that I would estimate the likelihood of Congress being so careful at roughly zero.
A large shipment of weapons from China to Robert “get behind the fist” Mugabe (I won’t call him “President” any more) has been unable to reach him, as African ports have refused to unload the cargo. (Via Instapundit.) I’ve resisted getting too pleased by this, figuring China would find somewhere else to unload their guns, but this story has the first indication that they might give up:
China has defended the shipment as “perfectly normal trade” but Beijing has hinted it may recall the ship as it was unable to offload its cargo.
Voted for Clinton. Also mailed in my change of party affiliation back to Republican.
Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll makes a scene at a rally for Hillary Clinton:
Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato was introducing [Bill] Clinton to a crowd of about 6,000 people in Market Square, where they had gathered to hear a campaign speech by Clinton’s wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton.
When Onorato tried to hand over the microphone, Knoll grabbed it and let loose with some talk targeted at Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.
“They never recognize the lieutenant governor. These two men can’t stand women,” she said, before leaving the stage while talking to Onorato.
It gets weirder:
After the campaign event ended, Knoll spoke briefly with WTAE Channel 4 Action News reporter Paul Van Osdol.
“You really think that Mr. Onorato and Mr. Ravenstahl don’t like women?” Van Osdol asked.
“No, it’s a guy in the back who doesn’t know who Cathy Baker Knoll is,” Knoll said.
“Why did you say that about Luke and Dan?” Van Osdol asked.
“Because they’re afraid of the guys who call the shots,” Knoll said. “You know what? I’m not afraid of anybody.”
(There’s video.) How often do you see a politician simultaneously make powerful enemies and show the world that they’re barking mad? I think Knoll just committed political suicide.
“Some will be surprised that Penn, an Ivy League school, would reject Obama’s appeal to creative class ‘wine trackers.’ But the university is known as being heavily pre-professional, a favorite choice of New Yorkers, and in general, much less of an activist campus than brethren such as Brown, or even Yale and Harvard. So all in all, the endorsement is not a huge shock,” wrote Dana Goldstein at TAPPED.
(Emphasis mine.) (Via Instapundit.)
The article (and the linked TAPPED article) doesn’t give any context, though, so I’m not sure how many of their readers will know what Goldstein meant.
Jim Rutenberg, who wrote the NYT’s last McCain hatchet job, has been called in for a second. This one is even more pathetic than the last. Ed Morrissey has the story.
DARPA has awarded contracts to several firms to build prototypes for the Vulture, an unmanned plane that would stay aloft for five years on solar power:
What the Pentagon wants is essentially a maneuverable satellite replacement: a fixed-wing, heavier-than-air craft that’s high enough to “see” large swaths of the Earth at once, but one that can also reposition itself to circle over new areas of interest, something satellites in fixed orbits can’t do.
It has to be able carry a 1,000-pound payload, battle stratospheric winds, generate a continuous 5 kilowatts of electricity — and it can’t use nuclear power to do so.
“We want to completely change the paradigm of how we think of aircraft,” Vulture project manager Daniel Newman tells Flight. “We would no longer define an aircraft by the launch, recover, maintain, launch cycle.”
Cool. It also would fly at 90 thousand feet, higher than most planes but quite a bit lower than satellites, which would give it better resolution.
As he suggested last week he might, Obama has decided to cancel the upcoming North Carolina debate. Were he to be brutalized again, it might affect his standing with the superdelegates. I expect this is the last time for a while that we’ll see him anywhere he can’t control the agenda.
Running out the clock makes good sense for Obama, if he can, but there is a downside. This pulls the rug out from underneath his spin that the last debate was a travesty for not focusing on the important issues. Apparently Obama doesn’t think there’s much more to be debated on those issues after all.
Just one call today, from Obama. My wife didn’t pick up because she recognized the number.
At the LA Times, in a review of HBO’s John Adams:
George Washington (David Morse) so quickly tired of the infighting among his Cabinet and vagaries of public opinion that he stepped down from the presidency after a single term.
I guess that’s where the tradition of presidents stepping down after one term in office started.
The critic now is suitably embarrassed, but what about the editors? I thought that editors and fact checking were supposed to be the big advantage of the mainstream media.
(Via the Volokh Conspiracy.)