ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, July 29, 2005

Woooops

No worries... it's still gonna be cr@p.

Vista, IE 7 Betas Out in The Open
By Sean Michael Kerner

UPDATED: Well, that didn't take long.

Barely a day after Microsoft released beta versions of Windows Vista and IE 7 to a select group of developers and testers, both applications have been pirated and are now available on P2P networks.

On July 27, Microsoft released the Windows Vista beta, which included the IE 7 beta. The company also issued a standalone version of IE 7 for Windows XP.

The betas were supposed to have been issued only to Windows Vista Technical Beta Program, MSDN developer program and Microsoft TechNet users, which potentially add up to more than 10,000 potential users. But they had already appeared on BitTorrent P2P file-sharing networks by July 28.

"While we understand that the industry is excited about the release of the first Windows Vista Beta, we do not recommend downloading the code on a production machine unless you are a participant in one of the above Microsoft programs, as it is designed for a very specific technical audience," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "Most consumers should wait until delivery of the final product before using Windows Vista."

The spokesperson added that Microsoft will expand opportunities for consumers, businesses and partners to be involved in the beta program once beta 2 is released.

Being part of Microsoft's various beta programs sometimes carries a price, as well. Subscriptions for Microsoft's MSDN developer program range from $199 to $2,799. Pricing for Microsoft's TechNet Plus program ranges from $559 to $1,269.

In a blog posting on the day the betas hit, IE team manager Dean Hachamovitch wrote that the beta should be interesting to developers and IT professionals.

"For this reason, the beta is available to MSDN subscribers and a pretty small set of pre-enrolled beta test participant," Hachamovitch wrote.

"Our goal is to get feedback from this group, do a bunch more work around quality (performance, security, reliability, etc.) and some features (e.g. additional standards support beyond what's in beta 1, additional functionality around tabs and RSS, etc.), and release Beta 2 much more broadly."

Isn't it great that for a small fee, you too can help Microsoft work out the kinks and bugs of its next big software release? All the benefits of working for Microsoft without having to deal with that nasty paycheck.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

NYTimes and Investing

Investment advice you can take to the BANK...

JUST BEING CONTRARY Carl Futia is a Yale and Berkeley economics grad who runs a website where he publishes his market forecasts, based in part on "the theory of contrary opinion." He writes,
I happen to think that the New York Times is essential reading for any investor. I systematically do the opposite of whatever the Times is encouraging its readers to do, and this investment strategy has been very successful.

He makes a significant point, but I think it applies to more than just their economic or financial analyses. The New York Times is the embodiment of conventional wisdom, as its news articles are regurgitated not only by the punditocracy elites in NYC, DC, and LA, but also by newspapers and other legit news outlets around the country. And, if there's anything you can take to the bank and have a probability of success that is greater than 0.5, it's that conventional wisdom is dead wrong. The big money can be made in wisely going against the passions of a mob.

If the New York Times recommends a course of action in investment, the fact that this message is so pervasive means that its impact is huge. And when large masses move in a single direction, money can be made... If the Times predicts a shoddy economy and this becomes conventional wisdom, one can snap up undervalued stocks that tank on the news and profit when the results are "better than expected."

May be adding this guy to the blogrooooooolllllll

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Isolationist Democratic Party, Part II

And on cue, the DUers prove my point.

CAFTA Vote May Leave Long Paper Trail for Critics
By Warren Vieth, Times Staff Writer

....The late bargaining for votes in support of CAFTA infuriated critics of the trade agreement, who Thursday said they considered the deal-making unseemly.

"Right there in front of us, for the world to see, they were twisting arms, making deals, changing votes," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "This let's-make-a-deal mentality ... has got to stop."

As lawmakers returned to work Thursday following a lengthy CAFTA debate and roll call that had kept them up past midnight, there were hints of recriminations and retribution....

***
The agreement became a lightning rod for discontent about globalization, China's trade and currency policies and U.S. job losses. Heading into Wednesday's House showdown, it appeared Bush might become the first president in more than 40 years to suffer the loss of a major trade agreement in Congress.

For more than an hour, lawmakers milled about the House floor and gazed at the electronic scoreboard displaying the vote tally, which showed CAFTA several votes short of the mark. Finally, when the count reached the slim majority of 217-215, the vote was gaveled to a close....

It's amazing how they view the democratic process... and it sounds like Pelosi has got some problems, if she doesn't know what the heck her Whip is supposed to do. In the comments that follow the DU post, there isn't a single pro-CAFTA DUer...

With the loss of the political strength of the AFL-CIO (which takes union members dues and spends it on political campaigns that the dues-paying members may be against), the Democratic party is becoming a melange of eco-whackjobs, marxists and stalinists, super-wealthy elites on the coasts, and shakedown artists.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY

Apparently, the GOP's anti-BDSM policy (whatever BDSM means) has given the DUers the right to call out a candidate's campaign manager.... BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY (although I must admit that I didn't see the anti-BDSM plank in the 2004 platform).

No word as to whether he's married and looking to cheat on his wife (which is deplorable) or just a bachelor with some...errr... interesting issues (which is sad, but none of my business), or someone who is harassing employees working for him (which is a crime unless you have the right positions on "women's issues" (ie have a "d" after your name)). From the blogger digging into this:

It's time to get scrunchy, get in the dirt and spread it around and play as dirty as they do. They can run on the issues if they choose. But if they don't, we don't have to either.

BTW, does a "family values" position have any bearing on... ummm... preferences in the bedroom? I don't believe so... It's more related to promoting the concept of the family as the organizing unit within our society. I'm sure there are plenty of conservatives that do pretty whacky stuff in private.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

An Inspired Notion!

A contributor, but not "made" conspirator, known only as Desert Rat, who I have known since just after the passing of the last Triceratops, has suggested (see comment on the immediate previous post) that we do away with this "gate" stuff as a description of scandal and instead use "quiddick" as in Chappaquidick.

This seems to me to be an inspired notion. Why is every scandal irrevocably consigned to remind us of Richard Nixon (R.I.P.)? There are other malefactors, some of whom are still around and pretending to pass judgment on others.

Air Americaquiddick?

Hmmm...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterey John

Another MSM Scalp for the Blogosphere

H/T EU Rota

Seems that the UK's Guardian is looking for a new executive editor.

Breaking: Guardian Editor Quits Over Sassygate
Posted at 12:36 BST

Last night I was informed by a journalist that Albert Scardino, the Guardian's executive editor for news, has resigned as a direct result of Sassygate. My impression from that source's report is that his position had become untenable because of the split between Mr. Aslam's supporters and those who wanted him fired (the latter including, to his credit, Ian "Clark County" Katz).

According to that source, Alan Rusbridger has conceded that the Aslam affair and its internal repercussions constitute a significant crisis for the paper.

Today a second source, with close connections to the Guardian, has independently confirmed Mr. Scardino's resignation. This person also cites the Aslam situation as the primary factor.

More to come - including, I hope, the identity of "a staff reporter".
That's a shame...
:-)

Seems that the Guardian thought it was a great idea to hire an Islamofascist who advocated the destruction of western civilization and was part of an Islamic organization with that as their mission statement.
It will come as no surprise to many Ablution readers that our favourite Guardian cub reporter, the irrepressibly sassy Dilpazier Aslam, was working for this group as recently as June of last year, when he was writing for the Hizb Ut Tahrir magazine. The email address given for Mr. Aslam is at the 1924.org domain, which belongs to that organisation.

From the magazine's mission statement:
"We maintain that the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ is not only inevitable but imperative."

Imperative! Don't worry though, it will be a peaceful "clash" - while it's true that western governments and institutions will of course have to be destroyed, that destruction won't be violent:
"[The organisation's leader] accepts that the very notion of a caliphate implies the destruction of institutions and government systems, but believes there is no alternative - although he stresses the transition will not be violent."

A recent incident illustrates the means by which this nonviolent imperative may be carried out; namely, via the useful expedient of threatening parliamentary candidates with death. The candidate in question explains:
"'I was meeting people who live in the flats. Hizb-ut-Tahrir suddenly filled the room and blocked the door. I tried speaking calmly. They then said I was parading as a false prophet and served a sentence of death on me. They were claiming I was representing myself as a false deity and for this apostasy I would be sentenced to the gallows,' he said."

Guess who the candidate was - no really, take a guess.

Give up? It was none other than Gorgeous George Galloway!

Think about that for a minute. The Grauniad's [an islamofascist rag] fresh-faced trainee was until recently, and very likely still is, a vocal member of a group that threatens George Galloway with death (though no doubt a peaceful one) in the name of fundamentalist Islam.

Of course, the organisation is (still) a legal one, and the Grauniad is free to employ whomever they want. But one can't help but wonder if their earnest editors would have any comment on (say) the Telegraph hiring and providing a forum for a member of an international organisation of right-wing racists that urges followers to "kill [Jews] wherever you find them," as Mr. Aslam's group does.

How do you think Mr. Aslam's employers [at The Guardian] would view that?


Michelle Malkin covering, too

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

And if you have no ideas...

Just buy the votes... With a stable of wealthy slush fund contributors, it's not that tough!

16 Democrats Convicted in East St Louis vote buying scheme

West Virginia Democrats Charged with Vote Buying

And my favorite....

Convicted Vote Fraud Defendant Says More Dems Should Be Charged
Sheila Thomas, convicted of vote fraud last month in East St. Louis, says high ranking Democrats should also face a jury.

Sheila Thomas said she is innocent, but added that if her vote fraud convictions were justified, then high-ranking county Democrats should also have faced a jury.

Thomas is the first of five defendants convicted of vote fraud in federal court last month to make a public statement after the verdict.

"We got into this because they gave us money," Thomas, 31, said about $73,000 passed out in East St. Louis two days before the Nov. 2 election. St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Robert Sprague distributed the funds by giving checks to city Democratic precinct committeemen.

"If we never would have got money, we probably would have never got into this," Thomas said.

Thomas also said she does not know whether county Democratic officials knew the money might be used to pay for votes.

"Bob Sprague is the one who gave us our checks. He gave us the money. He, too, should have been tried.... We all should have been sitting at the same (defense) table. All of us. All the (East St. Louis) precinct committeemen. All the guys in Belleville. Not just the five of us because that wasn't fair," she said.

Thomas said she felt that other county Democratic officials should have been charged but wasn't sure who.

Ahh, the logic of a Dem party operative. Let's extend this to contract killing. The trigger man says "If the guy didn't give me the money to kill his wife, I wouldn't have gotten into this."

And the Left still deliriously holds on to the thought that Bush stole the election, while cases of voter fraud like this and significant questions about voter fraud in Milwaukee have actually been documented.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Democratic Party = Isolationist at the core

This is a GREAT editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Get a subscription if you don't have one...

Here's the relevent stats:


Free-trade votes in the House, by party

Nafta, 1993
GOP = 132
Dem = 102

China MFN, 1997
GOP = 147
Dem = 112

Trade Promotion Authority, 2001 (FastTrack)
GOP = 194
Dem = 21

CAFTA, 2005
GOP = 202
Dem = 15


Trading Places
July 29, 2005
[...]
Another negative political note is the declining support among Democrats for open trade. The White House had to deliver 202 House Republicans to pass Cafta, 217-215, because only 15 Democrats bucked their party leadership to vote yes. Not a single Democrat from California or Oregon voted aye, and only one (Norm Dicks) from Washington -- all states that benefit enormously from exports.

Cafta represents a new trade low for House Democrats, who delivered 102 votes for Nafta as recently as 1993, and 112 votes for most-favored-nation treatment for China in 1997. The nearby table shows the voting trend for both parties, with Republicans becoming more free trade and Democrats more protectionist.

Some of this reflects changing control of the White House, with Democrats less willing to risk the wrath of the AFL-CIO without Presidential cover. But it's still unfortunate because trade politics since the 1930s has tended to be more regional than partisan. The economic isolationism that used to reside on the political right has now migrated to the left. This Democratic turn against trade is dangerous because it means that one of our major political parties is rejecting America's leadership role in the global economy. Bill Clinton's New Democratic Party, R.I.P.

And not only are the Dems now isolationist economically, they're isolationist when it comes to the role of the US in the world. They're unwilling to stand up for the inalienable rights of all people, such as the right of people to act like idiots (e.g. like this), outside of the US. Their unwillingness to do so is caused by the following factors:
  1. Republican in the White House
  2. multi-culturalism in extremis
  3. knee-jerk belief that the US can only be a force for evil
  4. fear that an influential US will lead to further spread of free market capitalism

Just my $0.02...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Run Dick Run!!!

From Drudge...



REPORTER VOWS TO 'KILL SELF' IF CHENEY RUNS FOR PRESIDENT
Thu Jul 28 2005 15:32:13 ET

Veteran wire reporter Helen Thomas is vowing to 'kill herself' if Dick Cheney announces he is running for president.

The newspaper HILL first reported the startling claim on Thursday.

MORE

"The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told the HILL. "All we need is one more liar."

Thomas added, "I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does."

MORE


***UPDATE ST WENDELER***
You beat me to it, John! I think this is a perfect demonstration of why conservatives laugh when journalists say they're objective... I'm sure Helen would characterize herself as that, despite her obvious hatred for those she covers each day.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterey John

Evidence of our Patriarchy

H/T the Buzz on NRO

Hmmm... the feminazis will argue that they're still oppressed by the patriarchy of our society. I say BAH!

Note that the most powerful women are from the US.

and GO CONDI GO!

Course, I suppose the feminazis can take the position that African-American "leaders" take on Condi, Colin, & Clarence, converting "They're not 'real' blacks" to "She's not a 'real' woman." I suppose that simple biology doesn't come into their consideration. Biology is secondary to ideology in their eyes.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Yet another example of why I don't get paid for this

Victor Davis Hanson (my favorite Democrat) is always good for perspective.

Reformation or Civil War?
The jihadists cannot be reasoned with, only defeated.
Victor Davis Hanson

Remember how shortly after September 11 Mohammed Atta’s lawyer father sounded worried in his cozy apartment? He stammered that his son did not help engineer the deaths of 3,000 Americans. According to him, the videos of the falling towers were doctored. Or maybe the wily Jews did it. Why, in fact, he had only talked to dear Mohammed Junior that very day, September 11. Surely someone other than his son was the killer taped boarding his death plane.

Apparently Mohammed el-Amir was worried of American retaliation — as if a cruise missile might shatter the very window of his upper-middle class Giza apartment on the premise that the father’s hatred had been passed on to the son.

He sings a rather different tune now. Mohammed el-Amir recently boasts that he would like to see more attacks like the July 7 bombings of the London subway.

Indeed, he promised to use any future fees from his interviews to fund more of such terrorist killings of the type that his now admittedly deceased son mastered. Apparently in the years since 9/11, el-Amir has lost his worry about an angry America taking out its wrath on the former Muslim Brotherhood member who sired such a monster like Atta.

Yet one wonders at what he is saying now, after the worst terrorist attack in Egyptian history at the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egypt finally is suffering from the same terror and mayhem that its radical sons like the pampered Atta and Dr. Zawahiri unleashed on so many poorer others. The Mubaracracy may not take kindly to Atta’s father endorsing such carnage from his pleasant apartment that is incinerating those other than Jews and Westerners — and threatens to ruin the nation’s entire tourist industry.

The father of Mohammed Atta is emblematic of this crazy war, and we can learn various lessons from his sad saga.

First, for all their braggadocio, the Islamists are cowardly, fickle, and attuned to the current political pulse.

When the West is angry and liable to expel Middle Eastern zealots from its shores, strike dictators and terrorists abroad, and seems unfathomable in its intentions, the Islamists retreat. Thus a shaky al-Amir once assured us after 9/11 that his son was not capable of such mass murder.

But when we seem complacent, they brag of more killing to come. Imagine an American father giving interviews from his apartment in New York, after his son had just blown up a shrine in Mecca, with impunity promising to subsidize further such terrorist attacks. If our government allowed him to rant and rave like that in such advocacy of mass murder, then we would be no better than he.
[...]
Quite simply, Islam is not in need of a reformation, but of a civil war in the Middle East, since the jihadists cannot be reasoned with, only defeated. Only with their humiliation, will come a climate of tolerance and reform, when berated and beaten-down moderates can come out of the shadows.

The challenge for the Middle East is analogous to our own prior war with Hitler who sought to redefine Western culture along some racial notion of a pure Volk long ago unspoiled by Romanizing civilization. Proving the West was not about race or some notion of an ubermenschen ruling class did not require an “internal dialogue,” much less another religious reformation, but the complete annihilation of Nazism.

So it must be with the latest fad of radical Islamicism. Contrary to popular opinion, there has not been a single standard doctrine of hatred in the Middle East. Radical Islam is just the most recent brand of many successive pathologies, not necessarily any more embraced by a billion people than Hitler’s Nazism was characteristic of the entire West.
[...]
The common theme is not the Koran, but the constant pathology of the Middle East — gender apartheid, polygamy, religious intolerance, tribalism, no freedom, a censored press, an educational system of brainwashing rather than free inquiry — that lends itself to the next cult to explain away failure and blame the West, which always looms as both whore and Madonna to the Arab Street.

Iraq has inadvertently become the battleground of a long overdue reckoning, a bellwether of the future of the Middle East. If the constitutionalists win, then the jihadists will be in retreat and there will be at last a third way between radical Islam and dictatorship.

We must now step up our efforts. At home we should no more tolerate the expression of Islamic fascism on the shores of the West than Churchill would have allowed Hitler Youth to teach Aryan global racial superiority in London while it was under the Blitz.
[...]
To fathom our success abroad, read what the Islamic websites — or Mohammed Atta’s own father — now say about the evil Americans and George Bush, who, they lament, have set Muslim against Muslim in Lebanon, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine. The foreign contagion of democracy and reform, despite the best efforts of both the mullah and the strongman, now infects the Arab Street and it seems to be driving bin Laden and Bashar Assad alike crazy.
[...]

I think mid-century, our view of this time will be much more accurate than it is as we're in the thick of the fight. The ankle-biting of the Left will be forgotten and they'll say that they were "always serious" about the war on terror and recognized that Iraq was the path to transformation of the Middle East.


***
BTW, speaking of getting paid, if anyone wants ad space, there's a spot on the right that's available --- super cheap!!!! Might even consider moving it up higher in the sidebar if someone snapped it up.

;-)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Why I don't get paid for this

Mark Steyn puts us all to shame....

Issue: 30 July 2005
Wake up, folks — it’s war!
Mark Steyn
[...]
So here’s how things stand:

1) Four days after Mr de Menezes became the most famous foreigner in the United Kingdom, Her Majesty’s Government is unable to give a definitive answer on his immigration status.

2) Four years after 9/11, British taxpayers are subsidising the jihad — in Mr Omar’s Bounds Green council flat and in many other places.

There’s a pleasant thought the next time you’re on a bus when some Islamakazi self-detonates: it’s on your tax bill; P-A-Y-E — pay as you explode.
[...]
‘If you’re looking for “root causes” for terrorism, European-sized welfare programmes are a good place to start. Maybe if they had to go out to work, they’d join the Daily Mirror and become the next John Pilger. Or maybe they’d open a drive-thru Halal Burger chain and make a fortune. Instead, Tony Blair pays Islamic fundamentalists in London to stay at home, fester and plot.’

I wasn’t the first to notice the links between Euro-Canadian welfare and terrorism. Mickey Kaus, an iconoclastic California liberal, was way ahead. But, after three-and-a-half years, one would be entitled to assume that a government whose fortunes are as heavily invested in the terrorist threat as this one’s might have spotted it, too — especially given the ever greater numbers of British jihadi uncovered from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Israel and America.
[...]
If the jihad has its war aims, maybe we should start thinking about ours. What would victory look like? As fascism and communism were in their day, Islamism is now the ideology of choice for the world’s grievance-mongers. That means we have to destroy the ideology, or at least its potency — not Islam per se, but at the very minimum the malign strain of Wahabism, which thanks to Saudi oil money has been transformed from a fetish of isolated desert derelicts into the most influential radicalising force in contemporary Islam, from Indonesia to Leeds. Europeans who aren’t prepared to roll back Wahabism had better be prepared to live with it, or under it
[...]
On a couple of very fleeting visits to London and Belfast in recent weeks, I had the vague feeling that Britain is on the brink of a tragedy it doesn’t quite comprehend. America’s post-9/11 muscular nationalism was easily mocked by Europeans, but its absence in London is palpable: try to imagine Mayor Giuliani uttering half the stuff Ken Livingstone said in the last fortnight (‘The bombings would never have happened if the West had simply left the Arab nations alone in the wake of the first world war’). Even if he’s right, the message it communicates is weakness: bomb us, and we apologise — or at the very least go to comically absurd lengths to distinguish terrorism against London from terrorism against Israel.

[...]
On the Thursday of the second attacks, I happened to pass through London, which isn’t the easiest town to pass through these days. I am a Canadian subject of Her Majesty and, when I showed up at the ‘Fast Track’ lane at Heathrow, the immigration officer plonked down in my passport a big stamp saying ‘RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS PROHIBITED’. ‘Tosser,’ I sneered. Well, OK, I murmured it, very sotto voce, as I had no desire to miss my appointment because the zealots of HM Customs suddenly fancied an intimate cavity search. But honestly, what a pathetic example of pointless gesture politics: if you’re a fancypants North American business traveller in town for less than 24 hours and splashing a ton of hard currency around the West End, the Home Office goes through a big hoop-de-doo about saying you’ve no entitlement to welfare. But if you’re a Somali and you want to live in public housing at public expense for six years while you fine-tune your plot to blow up Warren Street Tube station, pas de problème!

And, of course, in the event that I were overcome by a yen to join Yassin Hassan Omar on the public teat, an automatic stamp in the passport of every Canadian, American and Australian landing at Heathrow isn’t going to do anything to prevent it. For all the Home Office knows, I may already be living in a council flat in Bounds Green. This silly passport stamp was introduced after 9/11, in the wake of concerns about ‘asylum-seekers’, and it’s a classic example of what you get when you opt for a narrowly drawn law-enforcement approach entrusted to a complacent bureaucracy: rather than do anything about immigrant welfare fraud, they’ll simply order up a new rubber stamp that gives the vague air of doing something about it.

How come Tony Blair can bestride the world like a colossus, liberating Iraq, ridding Africa of poverty, and yet know so little about the one tiny corner of the planet for which he bears formal responsibility? Well, there are several possible reasons, but the effect is pretty much the same: daily, weekly, remorselessly, the situation will deteriorate. If it’s a war, you can win it. Anything less is unlikely to end in victory.

And while Bush's and Blair's approach to War On Terror outside of our borders is a worlds apart from how it would've been handled under a Kerry presidency (I think i'm going to be sick at the thought!), the domestic prosecution of the war has been ham-handed and inefficient. We still have a porous border with immigrants pouring in through Mexico, Canada, and even islamofascits jumping off of ships in port. (By the way, my position on the border with Mexico in this regard is to establish a formal process for immigrants from Latin America to come to this country, so that at a minimum you know who is here while at the same time eliminate the sub-standard wages that are paid to illegals).

But, simply put - there are Islamofascists in our midst that have a common cause with those in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need the moderate Muslims who understand and accept the promise of America to help us to minimize this threat. When a moderate Muslim is in a mosque and the Imam goes on a rant that incites violence and hatred, they should stand up and reject such idiocy. Unfortunately, while wooing moderate Muslims to our cause, we have the ankle-biting Left to deal with.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Are you going.... to... San Fraaaaancisco?

Montery John - This is your neck of the woods... Please explain
NSFW (Not Safe For Work) and NSFHE (Not Safe for Human Eyes)

Tip 'O the Hat to Michelle Malkin

My favorite observation?

The march continued up Telegraph. Unfortunately, aside from a few people coming over to snap pictures, no one seemed too "freaked out" at our arrival. Berkeley's social scene is an ever-escalating arms race between narcissistic showoffs trying to seize attention through outrageous behavior and smug cosmopolitan sophisticates who take pride in their blasé insouciance about everything. Who will win this battle?

Oh, and this theme song... how inspiring!

BTW, these folks do have a point... What Iran really needs is more breasts, less bombs. I vote that we send these courageous and naked Americans to Tehran to lead this effort. (We could host a pool on how long they'd survive after their plane touched down.)

I've got to go scrub my eyes with sandpaper.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Just when you think they have hit bottom...

Just when I thought I was going to enjoy a quiet news day, Cohen at WAPO offers up one of the most disgusting and dishonest pieces of cr$p I have ever seen:

From Captains Quarters


July 28, 2005
Stop Me Before I Violate Godwin's Law!
Dick Durbin disgraced
himself and the Senate by comparing our detention facility at Guantanamo Bay
with the deathcamps of Auschwitz and the killing fields of Pol Pot, and the
resulting chorus of derision should have warned anyone else from following suit.
Some people cannot learn from experience, however. Today's violation of Godwin's
Law comes from the Washington Post, with Richard Cohen giving us the worst
of theatrical reviews and political analogies
in a single column:
I need
to be very careful here, to say precisely what I mean and leave nothing to
chance. I have just seen the play "Primo," which is performed by a single actor,
Antony Sher, with material taken from Primo Levi's incomparable "If This Is a
Man," the book that made the obscure Italian chemist an international literary
sensation. It is an account of his time spent in Auschwitz. I could not help but
think of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo.
Of course, Cohen writes, he would never
compare American soldiers to Nazis. Never, never, never (emphasis mine):
One
must never compare anything to the Holocaust. One must never invoke Nazism
except in reference to the Nazis. One must isolate that era as a way of honoring
the victims, keeping it pristine and removed from all other human experience
because it was so uniquely awful. I know all this -- and I believe it, too.
What's more, I am not likening what happened at Auschwitz and the other camps to
what's happening or happened at Guantanamo and other places where America's
enemies -- real or supposed -- are kept. Our purpose is not to murder. We do not
engage in slave labor. We are not evil, and our intent is to safeguard the
innocent both here and abroad, not to kill them for whatever reason. I hope I
have made myself clear.
Having made himself clear, he then goes on to do
exactly what he says he won't do -- make an allegory between Primo and its
explicit setting of Auschwitz and our detention facilities in Guantanamo and
elsewhere. He decries the treatment of the character in this one-man play as an
"inventory tag", a mere number intended for nothing but destruction. Primo has
to avert his eyes as his fellow inmates ("the recalcitrant and the brave") get
executed and tortured while he remains silent. He shames himself by following
the Nazis' commands while they torture him, either explicitly or implicitly in
the slave labor and utter neglect and contempt with which they treat him.
I'd
like to ask Cohen what part of this made him think of Guantanamo Bay and the
detention of terrorists. After all, the Jews did nothing wrong, while the people
held at Gitmo got captured in open combat with American forces, out of uniform.
The Jews (and others, the many others) at Auschwitz and other deathcamps were
rounded up because of their religion and ethnicity and sent to their torture and
degradation without any hint of process. The detainees at Gitmo have all
received military hearings to determine their status, and some have been
released (and went on to rejoin the jihad, too).
So if their status has
nothing in common, then what evokes Gitmo from this play? The inventory status?
Perhaps Cohen would like to explain the difference between the common practice
in American prisons of identifying inmates by number instead of name and
whatever he imagines happens at Gitmo. Maybe that's not it; maybe Cohen believes
that our servicepeople have made the detainees watch while they execute and
torture other terrorists held at the facility, heaping even more shame onto
their heads.
Or maybe Cohen just decries the shame the terrorists must feel,
having been captured by infidels and living under their control after attempting
to kill as many of us as possible. Well, boo hoo for them. Cohen wants us to
feel pity because we've shamed terrorists? He wants to stoke our outrage because
their self-esteem has suffered?
Take a look at Ground Zero, Mr. Cohen, and
think about 3,000 people who lost more than just their self-esteem. Take a drive
past the Pentagon, where one of our officers on duty that day barely survived
the plane crash that carried his ten-year-old son, who had been on his way to a
Little League championship. Watch the tapes of the Madrid bombings, the London
bombings, the Sharm el-Sheikh bombings, and the ongoing terrorist actions in
Iraq intended on enslaving an entire nation under Islamofascist rule.
It's
hard to remember when I've read such an intellectually dishonest and patronizing
column in a major publication. Cohen should be ashamed of himself instead of
projecting his shame onto Islamist terrorists as a means to turn them into the
victims of this war.
Posted by Captain Ed at July 28, 2005
07:08 AM



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterey John

Too Good Not to Lift in Its Entirety

From Powerline

July 28, 2005
Shallow Throat

Our friend David Lebedoff is a prominent Minneapolis attorney and accomplished author, most recently of The Uncivil War: How a New Elite Is Destroying Democracy. David writes:

Thank God for a vigilant press.

For those who thought the era of tough and fearless investigative journalism was over, take heart! Two intrepid journalists at the NY Times went after U.S. Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, and this week they hit pay dirt!

On Wednesday the Times, in a four-column story, went public with the scoop: while a member of lthe White House Counsel office, and still in his 2o’s, Roberts misspelled the word "Havana." And not once, but three times! He spelled it "Havanna" in each case, and if the Times had not looked through thousands of files in the Reagan Presidential Library, Roberts might have gotten away with it.

Even worse: when writing about the rights of Cuban refugees from the Mariel boatlift of 1980, he misspelled Marielitos. The poor fool actually wrote "Marielitoes," and what’s more, notes the Times, he did so "repeatedly."

What would happen if such a man were actually permitted to join our highest court. I mean, today we have Honduran refugees! The mind reels at what this dolt would do to "Tegucigalpa."

So he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in only three years. And was Managing Editor of the Harvard Law review. Oh yeah, superficially that makes him seem pretty smart. But how do we really know, until trained professionals, by-lined at the Times, have gotten to the bottom of the record. (And if this isn’t the bottom, what is?)

After all, Roberts academic achievements were in the days before spellcheck. And of course there was no Larry Summers running the place, so any spelling or grammatical laxity might have been overlooked. There’s an unconfirmed rumor floating that as a sophomore he placed an apostrophe before the last letter of a word that ended in "s." That shouldn’t be surprising. It’s part of a pattern that’s gradually emerging.

You can run, Roberts, but you can’t hide. Your past will be revealed and reviled. You can bet there’s even worse to come.

Posted by Scott at 05:09 PM




Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterey John

Senator Kennedy and Judge Roberts

More nosing around on Big Blog (you know, like Big Tobacco only different) and found on BeldarBlog this interesting post.

It seems that Senator Kennedy thinks that "conservative bloggers" have access to information the senate do not have. (The Conspiracy Lives!) Well, as it turns out, the information to which he referred was not only available but published. Nice staff work Senator!

I suspect we are going to see a lot of this sort of paranoid stuff from the usual suspects, Kennedy, Schumer et al. The administration is "hiding stuff." Truth of the matter is that the White House has probably already given the Senate way too much stuff. Be that as it may, it won't stop the minorty (yeh, really, they ARE the minority) from trying to cast everything as being underhanded and evil.

Yawn.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterey John

Al & Janine: From the mouth of babes - literally

Woops... (H/T MichelleMalkin)

It seems that when the talking heads at Air America have a choice between failing in the marketplace and stepping on the backs of poor kids in the Bronx they say, "Give me your lunch money, kid!!! And that basketball!!! And hey, you geezer... We're going to need that wheelchair, but don't worry - we'll make sure you get your 1% return on Social Security. We've got more important things to do with your money - take down Karl Rove!

A Bronx congressman yesterday praised the smooth takeover of dozens of programs serving thousands of youngsters and seniors across the borough after the city yanked funding from two sponsoring agencies that have come under a cloud.

The nonprofit Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club and its affiliate Pathways for Youth found their city contracts, running into the millions of dollars, abruptly ended last month by the city Department of Investigation...

In its initial announcement, the DOI said it was probing allegations that program officials "approved significant inappropriate transactions and falsified documents that were submitted to various city agencies."

According to published reports, the allegations involve Charles Rosen, the founder of Gloria Wise who has stepped down as executive director, investing city contract funds in Air America Radio, the liberal talk radio network.

Evan Cohen, Air America's former chairman, had served as Gloria Wise's director of development.

Waiting for Downer's reaction...

***UPDATE***
More from Donald Luskin
..only because of a New York Daily News tidbit do we know that Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club nearly shut down major programs recently, because almost $500,000 in governmental grant money was instead diverted to Air America's liberal radio network.

It's taken a mad scramble by area politicians, including Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Bronx) to find a way to keep several programs for disadvantaged children and seniors from disappearing.


BTW, if this was ClearChannel ripping off charitable programs for the poor, what would the reaction of the Left be?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Let's Turn over the WOT to this Judge

Hey, this guy really "gets" the war on terror.

Judge Gets in Swipe at Bush Administration
Jul 28, 9:40 AM (ET)
By GENE JOHNSON

SEATTLE (AP) - The sentence itself was fairly straightforward: An Algerian man received 22 years for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium. It was what the judge said in imposing the term that raised eyebrows.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.

"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," he said Wednesday. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."

He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."

I don't remember ANY of the scumbags in Gitmo being caught by police here in the US... I guess we should send combatants captured in Afghanistan and Iraq straight to this twerp's courtroom for processing. Perhaps we could send them to his home address? Unfortunately for him, SCOTUS recently ok'd the military tribunals.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Freaky

Well, we had a nice run... but it had to come to an end sometime.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The International Herald Tribune on Roberts

When I read things like this, it just demonstrates that they have no clue what "original intent" or "strict constructionist" means. This tool brings up the argument that the founders could not have conceived of internet wine sales or podcasts, thus the justices of the Supreme Court should rule willy-nilly and tell us what to do, eschewing Roberts' apparent prediliction towards judicial minimalism. Here are some choice examples:

[...]
The Endangered Species Act has infuriated states' rights supporters and property rights activists, who say it gives vastly inflated importance to creatures of no proven value. The Wal-Mart developers, in Roberts's spirit, had challenged whether that act could be applied to species found in a single state. But the Supreme Court stood firm. Since the New Deal, the court has accepted a broad interpretation of interstate commerce, applying the notion even to wheat consumed on the farm where it was grown. Local matters can have wider impacts.

But in 1995, in an opinion written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the court set limits: a federal ban on firearms possession near schools was held to rest on an overly broad interpretation of interstate commerce. Nonetheless, Rehnquist said, the law did apply to "intrastate activities having a substantial effect on interstate commerce." Meaning what, for a cave-dwelling bug?

Roberts, in the toad case, echoed Rehnquist (for whom he once clerked): The notion of interstate commerce had been stretched too far. But still, there were arguments for toad-protection. He recommended another lower-court review; other grounds might be advanced "more consistent with Supreme Court precedent."

Yes, I am concerned about the over-reliance of the judiciary on the commerce clause to regulate almost any human activity. How 6 insects in the middle of Texas have an impact on interstate commerce is beyond me... continuing...
The judicial ambitiousness, or modesty, of the next justice could shift the balance in close cases. Roberts seems the careful minimalist, citing "the cardinal principle of judicial restraint - if it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more." Too much blithe adapting of the intent of the Constitution's writers, say conservatives including Bush, risks dangerous "judicial activism."

A visiting Martian might see a certain quirky quaintness in judicial reliance on words written more than two centuries ago. The Constitution, after all, saw no harm in slavery; nor were the Founders clairvoyants. Which of the Founders' words were meant to regulate, say, Internet wine sales? The downloading of podcasts? Disputes over artificial insemination? Cloning?

Relying on 18th-century eminences to answer such questions can be a strained exercise, prone to sometimes deleterious institutional conservativism. It was not until 1967, for example, that the court saw fit to overturn a ban on interracial marriage, finally allowing Richard Loving, a white man, to walk through Virginia streets holding the hand of his black wife, Mildred.

Those Martians... we really need to justify our judicial system to them, huh... With regard to slavery, I believe a Constitutional Amendment was ratified dealing with the matter - the appropriate vehicle for such matters. Yes, the original Constitution was silent on the issue - and our country paid dearly for that mistake. The Dred Scott decision could be viewed from the perspective of judges acting against Constitutional law in order to arrive at a political result (ie judicial activism). An even stronger case can be made that Plessy v. Ferguson was also an example of judicial activism. And with regard to interracial marriage, I believe the 14th Amendment would address that quite nicely... Oh, wait... that's what the court relied upon (the text of an article in the Constitution) to decide in favor of Mr. & Mrs. Loving. The justices did not say "bans on interracial marriage can continue for 25 years, until such time that they are no longer acceptable" (as they did in the Univ. of Michigan case). continuing...
Sometimes, the justices' work appears to be to say that words that once meant one thing now mean another. The world changes; society evolves; like an ancient church grappling with contraception, the justices must reconcile old principles to modern-day realities.

In this tortuous exercise, Roberts tends clearly toward caution. His opinions tend not to stray far from the statutes. When the Washington police arrested and handcuffed a 12-year-old girl for eating a French fry in the Metro system, Roberts wrote that "no one is very happy about the events." But, empathy aside, "it is not our place to second-guess such legislative judgments."

Yes, society evolves. However, the rights granted to us by our Creator do not, despite the potential tax benefits to local government. The genius that is our Constitution is that:
1 - it is not overly specific and thus leaves specificity to the LEGISLATURE; and
2 - it provides us with a high threshold to modify it, meaning that a super-majorit of idiocy must spread throughout the body politic before our Constitution gets messed up.

We have a vehicle for dealing with all of the issues that are raised in the IHT article and that the Left cares about - it's called the legislature. As Scalia said, persuade your fellow citizens and pass a law. The fact that Roberts won't stray from the statutes is comforting to me - because justices that stray from the statutes are in effect creating their own.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I think I'm going to be sick...

This is absolutely disgusting on two levels. First, the actual deeds of the accused are almost unbelievable. Second, despite the fact that some of the perps were recidivist pedophiles, the maximum sentence imposed was 28 years.

The enlightened French, indeed...


France sentences sex ring members
Sixty-two people have been found guilty of abuse and sentenced in one of France's biggest child sex trials.

Sentences ranged from four months suspended to 28 years for second-time offenders. Three people were acquitted.

Those who received the longest jail terms were key figures in the vast paedophile ring that operated in a deprived area in the town of Angers.

Sixty-five people were tried on charges of sexually abusing 45 children aged between 6 months and 12 years old.

Defence lawyer Jean-Noel Bouillaud told French radio he was happy with the sentences.

"Overall I would describe this ruling as balanced... You will remember that we feared a mass trial... When you look at the ruling as a whole, the impression is that, on the contrary, the court paid great attention to every individual case."

Central figures
The defendants included 39 men and 27 women, aged 27 to 73.

There were originally 66 accused, but charges against one defendant were dropped because of ill health.

A man known simply as Philippe received a sentence of 28 years for his role in the abuse.

His son, Franck, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and Franck's former partner, 32-year-old Patricia, received a 16-year jail term for her crimes.

Much of the abuse is believed to have been carried out at the couple's flat in the western town.

Franck was convicted of raping three of his own children.

Two brothers involved in the ring received combined sentences of 54 years.

Eric, described as an "ogre" and known to the children as "the fatty" , was sentenced to 28 years and his brother, Jean-Marc received 26.

One social worker received a jail sentence of one year with six months suspended for failing to report the sexual abuse on some of the youngsters.

Most of the families involved in the case had been visited by social workers, but for years no action was taken, says the BBC's Jackie Rowland in Angers.

Confused
The crimes allegedly took place between January 1999 and February 2002 in Angers' Saint-Leonard district.

Full identification of the suspects was banned to protect the identity of the children.

During the five-month trial, jurors heard pre-recorded evidence given by some of the children.

Correspondents say the accused - many of whom were unemployed and lived on benefits - said little in court and seemed confused by the proceedings.

About 20 of them acknowledged some of the charges, while others said they knew nothing about the paedophile ring.

Defence lawyers had called for many acquittals, citing lack of evidence.

They also pointed out that many of the accused had suffered abuse as children themselves.

Additional story here with more details... this closing is disturbing:
[...]
French shock

France is asking how this could happen in this day and age, in such a civilised country.

Some have been shocked by the discovery of an underclass in their midst. Many of the defendants were illiterate and unemployed. Many of the men and women had been abused as children.

New measures will now be put in place, such as a child protection register and one for sexual offenders, to keep track of paedophiles.

But many in France prefer to think of this as a one-off - a horrifying case that won't be repeated elsewhere.

It seems that the French attitudes towards almost any issue (whether it's their disastrous economic policies, their position on Iraq, or the matter of disgusting pedophilia) is to stick their heads in the sand and wish the problem away.

Ahh, the enlightened French.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Derb looks wobbly...

On the Corner today, John Derbyshire has an interesting debate on the state of the war occupation in Iraq. I quote on section in full (there are plenty others, just keep scrolling up and down):

WAR STUFF [John Derbyshire]
Ramesh:

While my scorn for the "Bush lied, men died" gang is every bit as great as yours, it is a fact that no American, in March 2003, thought we would have a huge army planted in Iraq 2½ years later. The administration did not even hint at such a possibility -- not because they are liars, but because, like the rest of us, they did not envision it. If they had, I doubt Congress would have approved the war. (I would not have.)

Now the administration is being driven by events, and making up war aims as it goes along. Jihadis, and squabbling Iraqi politicians, are essentially calling the shots. The tragedy of this war, in my view, is that the salutary effect it might have had on Middle East Muslims, if done properly, has been frittered away by this pointless, and apparently endless, and increasingly embarrassing, occupation. I would much rather we had done ten times as much damage, killed ten times as many Iraqis, and left ten times as quickly. That is the war I should have liked to see; that is the war that might have done us some good and advanced our interests. This is a half-hearted war, a nice war, a lawyer’s war.

Our war against the Empire of Japan, 1941-45, lasted 1,347 days. The current war in Iraq, against a rabble of Arab hooligans, has lasted 861 days. If it lasts as long as WW2, it will end on November 25 next year. Do you really think it will have ended by then? Do you really think that Zarqawi and his gangs are as formidable an enemy as the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces? Do you really believe we are doing this right? Really?

Posted at 10:49 AM

My comments:

Count me as one of the ones who knew we would be in Iraq 2 and 1/2 years after invading. It was one of the reasons I was hoping for an earlier invasion date (say October of 2001). I remember having debates with the Saint about why we were waiting so long, lets get started! The sooner it starts the sooner it will be over.

While it was certainly not mentioned in the arguments for the war (NYTimes Headline if it had been: "Bush argues for long drawn out conflict"), It had to have been considered by the planners.

As to the argument for more damage, more killing, etc. it has its merits, but that would have driven up the anti-war faction of the media and international relations even more than it is today. You have to remember that this is a 50-50 country. Bush is walking a tight rope of doing the right thing for history, but having to maintain his electability to see it through. As it is, the body count used by the anti-war left in this "lawyerly" war keeps increasing (100,000! 200,000!). Can you imagine if we hadn't been so lawyerly? If we had just carpetbombed Bagdhad proper? There would have been no way to install a government aftwards.

The argument comparing Iraq to Japan is false on its face. It took from 1941 to 1945 for Japan to surrender. The occupation, however, was not completed until April 28th, 1952, with the ratification and implementation of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. And we still have troops there today. And it was even easier in Japan, since there wasn't an active insurgency using car bombs to blow up their own civilians and public works projects. Nor was there an active media and international groups undermining the effort.

No we are going to have troops in Baghdad for a long time. We still have troops in Germany and Japan after all. If we're looking to "pull out" of a country how about we start in Germany. To paraphrase a former world leader: "Don't go wobbly on me John...."

[Update:]
Rich Lowry makes similar arguments, but of course in better prose (It's what he gets paid for obviously!) here.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

After Kyoto

Of course, Bush won't get any credit for these efforts, since they're unlikely to ruin the US economy nor have the command & control bureaucracy that the statists love soo much. Nevermind that it will be more effective at reducing CO2 emissions than Kyoto ever could be. Results don't matter...

U.S. Offering Kyoto Protocol Alternative
By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 8 minutes ago

CANBERRA, Australia - The United States will join India, China and Australia in announcing a new pact to limit greenhouse gases as an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, Australia's environment minister said Wednesday.

The agreement was expected to be announced later Wednesday by
President Bush in Washington and on Thursday by officials from signatory countries meeting at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations security forum in Laos.

While 140 countries ratified the 1997 Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Australia and the U.S. have refused because developing countries weren't required to adopt emission targets.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell said Canberra and Washington had for the past 12 months been negotiating a new multilateral agreement targeting rapidly developing countries which pump out large amounts of greenhouse gas.

Labeling the Kyoto Protocol ineffective and a failure, Campbell said it was vital for developed countries to create and deploy modern technologies to help energy-hungry Asia-Pacific economies such as China and India slash emissions.

"We know that this is the answer; we know that the Kyoto Protocol is a failure in terms of saving the climate — we have to do better," Campbell said.

His comments came after a newspaper reported that the five nations, which account for 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, had struck a U.S.-driven secret alliance called the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate.

Prime Minister John Howard discussed the strategy with Bush and Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice when he visited Washington last week, The Australian newspaper reported.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Bush on the same subject on the same day, the newspaper said.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Terrorists in our midst

This story answers my question posed here about roving bands of terrorists that are about to strike.

5 Egyptians arrested after neighbor alleges terrorism link
July 26, 2005, 5:09 PM EDT

NEWARK, N.J. -- Five Egyptians are in federal custody, accused of being in the country illegally, after an anonymous tipster told police that they were terrorists, the FBI said Tuesday.

"The investigation is continuing, but so far there is no nexus to terrorism," said FBI Special Agent Steven Siegel, a spokesman for the Newark office. None of the five, nor a sixth Egyptian man with whom they lived, is on any watch list, he said.

No criminal charges have been filed, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The five will face deportation, Siegel said.

They were arrested Sunday evening at a residence in the city's Ironbound section, Siegel said.

Newark police, who had responded to the 911 tip call, contacted the FBI after becoming suspicious about responses to their questions and noticing a train schedule with some stops circled, Siegel said.

"They also had some video cameras with some tourist-type video on it and $8,000 in cash sitting there," he said.

No weapons were found, and bomb-sniffing dogs did not alert handlers to anything suspicious, he said.

As it turned out, the train schedule was the route that one of the five, Mohamed Ibrahim Gaber, 34, mapped to get to work at a New York restaurant, Siegel said. Gaber was among five people who jumped ship in Baltimore in 2000; the others have already been caught, he said.

Also in custody are Karim Ahmed Abdel Latif Ahmed, 21; his brother, Mahmoud Ahmed Abdel Latif Ahmed, 19; Ahmed Mohamed Atta, 30; and Ibrahim Mohamed Sameh Mahboub, 24. Their hometowns in Egypt were not immediately available, he said.

All worked illegally in "menial" jobs, Siegel said.

The sixth man, Mohamed Talat Anwar Hozain, 24, is in the country legally, he said.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Senator Durbin and the Roberts Nomination

Well, turning to my field of expertise (?), the law, I was nosing around Big Blog, and saw an interesting post on Powerline regarding how the Democrats, specifically Senator Durbin, was going to play the comfirmation game. The gall of these guys is just amazing.

If this were a fight they'd have stopped it

Here's the latest in the Durbin vs. Turley saga, via the Washington Times. Durbin has acknowledged that he was the source for Turley's newspaper column which raised the suspicion that Durbin is contemplating applying a "Catholic test" to John Roberts. Durbin maintains, however, that Turley "incorrectly captured" their conversation. That may very well be. But Durbin does not deny that Turley correctly captured what Durbin told him. Indeed, Turley states that he after he wrote the column he read key portions to Durbin's press aide and the aide verified the account. Joe Shoemaker, the aide in question, declined to comment about this. So it appears that Turley put the story out in the way that Durbin wanted.

In the strangest part of the Washington Times story, Durbin's office notes that Turley introduced himself as a law professor, not a journalist. But it goes on to state that their conversation centered around a newspaper column Turley previously had written. So Durbin knew that Turley is a columnist, and in all likelihood the Senator was trying to plant a story that would raise questions about Roberts' fitness (and the left-of-center Turley raised some based on what Durbin had told him). But the real questions raised by this flap go to Durbin's character and fitness for a Senate leadership position.

Posted by Paul at 08:18 AM

Durbin, if he is anything, is consistant, consistantly blaming others for his own behavior. When he accused Guantanamo of being like the Killing Fields of Cambodia, it was the listeners fault for miscontruing him and being offended. Now it's Turley's fault for not "capturing" what the senator meant when Turley clearly reported the conversation accurately. Senator, you need help, psychiatric help. This is pathological thinking. Get off TV and go fly a couch for a year or two before you make ANY more public utterances.

If this is not a symptom of a psychological problem, it then points to the senator being ethically challenged.

Perish the thought!


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterey John

Reason 1,427 to cancel a subscription to the St Louis Post-Dispatch

See previous reasons to cancel a subscription: 1,426 and 1,425

The P-D's response to the announced breakup of the AFL-CIO? "Sure, this will be good for workers... But the negative political consequences of not having a political machine to back the Dems is of greater concern." My comments throughout in [brackets].

AFL-CIO: Sinking the ship
07/27/2005

BACK IN 1935, the last time organized labor fought a civil war, a stronger union movement emerged from the struggle. Those planning to divide the AFL-CIO this week are hoping for the same result.

But the world has changed much in 70 years, and labor's current rebels may learn that history rarely repeats itself. With union membership shrunken to just 12.5 percent of the work force, it's in the unions' best interest not to shatter the AFL-CIO.

Shattered it will be this week. [Yoda??? Is that you???] The Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters quit the nation's premier labor organization on Monday. Two other unions - United Food and Commercial Workers and Unite Here, a group of textile and hotel workers - seem ready to bolt. Together, they represent about a third of the AFL-CIO's membership.

They're forming their own coalition, called Change to Win, to rival the old labor group.

The rebels claim that the AFL-CIO's leadership, under President John Sweeney, is stodgy and out of step. In that, they're right. The answer to labor's woes is to get busy organizing more workers into unions, say the rebels. To do that, they would pull money away from politics, running the risk that the balance of power in Washington and state legislatures will tilt even further against labor. [it might tilt against organized labor... although now that organized labor isn't the Sturmabteilung of the Democratic Party, perhaps not...]

That's a gamble worth taking. [Ok, so the P-D is for this move??] Labor's political clout is declining along with its membership. Unless the membership decline is reversed, organized labor will fade into irrelevance.[Oh, because they need more members in order to increase their political abilities vis-a-vis the DNC.]

[...]

Besides being gung-ho on organizing, [Andrew Stern] proposes merging 60 big unions into just 20 centered on specific industries. The idea is to increase labor's clout by facing a single employer with a single union, rather than five or six separate ones.[Sounds like this a good strategery.... incease bargaining power where it matters - at the negotiating table with "management" or, as Downer would say, with the kapitalist pigs who own the factors of production.]

Both are very good ideas, but busting up the AFL-CIO is a bad one.[The P-D agrees... but likes the status quo]

In politics, labor speaks most powerfully when it speaks with one voice. The AFL-CIO has been that voice. [Nevermind that the AFL-CIO has become ineffective in today's global economy... it's the singular political voice as expressed by Sweeney & the big dogs that's important. Nevermind all that boring labor-management negotiation stuff] It has pressed for real family values [as opposed to the family values of marriage, universal morality, etc, etc] including decent wages, a strong Social Security system, family leave and health care. [And don't ask us any specifics about these "real family values" because our ideas were just dusted off from FDR's playbook.] The union movement's united ability to direct money and volunteers toward the election of friendly politicians [aka Democrats] gives influence to ordinary Americans who otherwise would have little - especially compared to that of huge corporate contributors. [You know, because the Republicans certainly don't speak for ordinary Americans... just evil corporations.]
[...]
Mr. Stern and his allies know the right course for labor, but he shouldn't sink labor's [political] ship in an effort to turn it around [as a labor organization].

This is what passes for insight from the Post-Dispatch... Their primary concern is for the Democratic party and to hell with the original purpose of labor unions...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Breaking - Arrests in UK

British Police are rounding up suspects from the 7/21 attempted bombing. Let's hope they're not using profiles that might include ethnicity to nab these slugs, lest the British press become "concerned" with the "increasingly hostile environment for Muslims."

British police arrest four in bombing investigation
The Associated Press
WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2005

LONDON British police investigating a series of failed bomb attacks in London said Wednesday they had arrested four men in the English city of Birmingham.

One man was arrested during a police search of a home in England's second largest city of Birmingham, at 4:30 a.m (0330GMT), a Metropolitan Police spokesman said. The man was shot with a stun gun during the search and police said they uncovered a suspicious package, which was being examined by explosives experts.

Three other men were arrested shortly after at another home in the city, about 190 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of London.

''The operations are in connection with the incidents in London on July 21,'' the spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity. Four bombs were planted on London Underground trains and a bus on that day, but they failed to fully detonate.

Police have since then launched a manhunt after releasing images of four men thought responsible for planting the devices. They released the names of two of the suspects.

Officials could not confirm reports that one of the men arrested in Birmingham was one of the four suspected bombers.

Police have been trying to determine whether last week's failed bombings were connected to the deadly July 7 attacks that killed 52 people and the four suicide bombers who carried them out.

In a separate development, two other men were arrested on suspicion of terrorism while traveling on a train in England's midlands region.

Does anyone else get the feeling that England has roving bands of terrorists, waiting until the proper time to attack? Is there any question that similar circumstances exist in the US?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Future of Blogging (?)

Is this the future of blogging?

Here's a quick snapshot of the First 200 Days for Ian Mills, who is video-blogging each day of 2005 at noservicecharge.com

I have to say that this certainly has potential...although, it'd be difficult to have interesting content day after day that didn't seem contrived. IHT is correct that "the mundane" can be cool (see Seinfeld), but only if people can relate to the quirky and mundane parts that you vblog about. And if you have to storyboard a vlog post and its mundane, people will run away screaming - since it's unlikely to be contrived and unable to compete against anything a team "creative-types" come up with after a week of working together, chained to their lattes.

But, perhaps we could transform Another Rovian Conspiracy into a video blog....

Who am I kidding? Karl wouldn't allow us to film and publicize our meetings... After all, there's too much goat blood and Latin to ever "play in Peoria." And besides, the whole point of a conspiracy is to keep things under wraps, which is why it's so difficult to get any of us to express our opinions about the issues of the day.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Reform" en français = faible

The International Herald Tribune has this story on "radical" reforms of French employment law:

French law would make firing easier
By Thomas Fuller International Herald Tribune
WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2005

PARIS Put aside for a moment criticism about torpid European governments and their reluctance to adapt to an increasingly competitive world: France, home to the 35-hour workweek and thick layers of social protection, is hatching a minor revolution in its labor policy.

The government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is proposing a law that would allow certain companies to skirt existing dismissal procedures and more easily fire employees during their first two years on the payroll. The new rules, scheduled for discussion by the French cabinet Tuesday, are to take effect in September, a remarkable timetable given the typically languid summer months.

The rules have been scorned by labor unions, which view them as eroding job security, and pilloried by the opposition Socialist Party because of the way they were passed - via decree, as opposed to traditional parliamentary procedures.

But Villepin is sticking to his guns, saying the legislation is necessary to curb unemployment, which stands at 10 percent in France and at about 9 percent in the European Union over all.

The easy-to-fire law, which would apply only to newly hired employees, would be a closely watched experiment for Europe. It might help answer the question of whether making it easier to get rid of employees - as is the case in Britain, Denmark and the United States - actually encourages companies to hire more people in the first place.

Five other employment-related decrees in the same package would make it easier for small companies to hire young people, to streamline paperwork and to remove age limits for civil service jobs.

Firing someone in France today is, as in many other European countries, a difficult, lengthy, multistep process. Employers' associations have complained for years about the bureaucracy involved in firing or laying off employees. Workers, on the other hand, treasure the security that the system provides.
[...]
The new rules would apply only to companies with fewer than 20 employees, which today covers about a third of the work force. France's main employers' organization is already urging that it be applied in the future to a broader spectrum of companies.

Yet among human resources managers, there is skepticism. Bernard Brunhes, the founder of an eponymous consulting firm in Paris, called the law "marginal." He said, "I don't think this was generally received in the world of human resources as a very positive thing."

The government, he said, missed a good opportunity for a more comprehensive reform of the labor code. "Why are small companies hesitating to hire?" Brunhes said. "Not only because it's difficult to fire.They are hesitating because it's complicated, the paperwork, the social security system, the taxes."

Decades of legal tinkering have piled on provisions to the 2,300-page labor code, including laws that are obsolete, Brunhes said.

"We are used to seeing new governments every year or two rediscovering the problem of employment," Brunhes said. "I think it would be a lot more efficient to totally wipe out the labor code and start over."

Yann Duchesne, managing director in Paris of the private equity firm Doughty Hanson, and author of "France S.A." - which translates as France Inc. - said the new law was "cosmetic."

"My guess is that this will have a positive psychological impact on some people," Duchesne said. "But it will only have short-term impact."

Villepin's approach does nothing to address things like France's high tax burden, which surged to 46 percent in 2000 from 34.5 percent of gross domestic product in 1972, according to Duchesne.

Villepin defends the decrees as the "last chance to save the French social model." Meanwhile, French labor unions say they will defend the social model in their own way - by hitting the streets in September.


Such boldness!!! Recognizing that the current system doesn't work and reforming the laws for only the smallest of employers. You can bet that if a company has 21 employees, the mgmt is kicking off the process right now to fire the 21st employee so it can fall under the cap.

If this minor change is the "last chance" to save La République, I fear that even the French leadership doesn't grasp the extent of their problems. Labor mobility is key for France (and the EU) to succeed. (It's also critical for our success, but that's a post for another day!) Unfortunately for France, even the "right" does not understand the forces of the free market.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Signs that you're in trouble

First, your organization loses a key portion of its membership.
Second, liberals that recognize that they've relied on your support for decades react to the news with the following:

Union Disunion

(man, this must be my day to be centrist boy)

So apparently there’s a crackup in progress at the AFL-CIO. As a Democrat, I’m supposed to be concerned about this. Union households vote heavily Democratic, and they’re seen as one of the traditional pillars of the DNC. But I seriously question the relevancy of the unions, as currently structured, to our national workforce. I have never had union membership, but from the outside looking in it often appears that while they once strongly advocated for the rights of workers pertaining to what were once luxuries - like the idea of eight hour workdays and “the weekend” - they are nowadays more like a good concept gone bad.

In most other industries, a crack in the monopoly usually leads to benefits for the end users (AT&T for instance), so perhaps instead of a unionized borg, this split will cause the more forward-thinking elements in labor to innovate and get back to basics.

I think while Oliver has difficulty with making this statement (due to his partisan leanings), he is displaying some common sense truths - that unions had their purpose, but a concept borne in the 19th century is probably not as effective 150 years later.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Our Next President - Update

Mickey Kaus weighs in on HRC's "move to the center."

Hillary's Cheap Dates
Turns out the center is as easily bought off as the left.
By Mickey Kaus
Updated Tuesday, July 26, 2005, at 3:09 PM PT

From Josh Gerstein's N.Y. Sun report on Hillary Clinton's speech to the DLC:
The potential candidates and their staffs were treated to a first-hand reminder of how Mrs. Clinton's sheer star power threatens to skew any race for the nomination. The senator's delivery yesterday was strong, but far from her most electric.
Is Hillary Clinton ever electric? I deny it. Her speaking style is controlled and insistent--at best, strong--and her substance quotient hovers close to zero. Expectations of electricity are expectations that will be disappointed. ...

Update: Gerstein and other reporters saw in Hillary's DLC speech more of her now-famous move to the center. Here's Gerstein:
Mrs. Clinton also set forth the litany of socially conservative points that are part of her regular repertoire, such as a call to reduce the number of abortions and to protect children from destructive forces in popular culture. At moments, she voiced themes that sounded downright conservative. "We can restore America to its historic devotion to opportunity, responsibility, and the common good, with big dreams, new ideas, and old-fashioned values," the senator said.


I'm not so sure. The speech (which you can read here) doesn't sound too conservative to me. For one thing, Hillary avoids completely the obvious hot-button move-to-the-right issue of immigration, a subject on which she's made conservative noises in the past. Her language on abortion pledges to "support a woman's right to choose"--as Joe Klein has noted, her abortion statements are "centrist" mainly in attitude, not substance. And if reporters are willing to give Hillary credit for being "downright conservative" just because she uses the phrase "old fashioned values"--well, reporters are cheap dates!

I'd always thought this Cheap Date Syndrome helped Hillary mainly with the Left, which loves Hillary so much it could conceivably be bought off with a bit of Bush-bashing that covers a dramatic Hillary shift to the right. But it's now also clear that her shift to the right doesn't have to be that dramatic, because the equally Cheap Date press is ready to interpret even the subtlest, most insubstantial shading as part of Hillary's New Moderation. She can get credit for centrism without having to actually take too many positions that the left would disagree with (and hold against any another politician). Paleoliberals can love her, the DLC can love her, and she never has to say anything, either leftish or moderatish, that commits her publicly to a position that might annoy someone. Her primal drive for vagueness is free to trump her drive to the center.

The only problem is that the resulting biteless rhetoric is almost totally uninspiring. Read the speech, and see if you are actually moved to cheer at any point. (I was, only once, at the line: "The Republicans abandoned arithmetic; well, we brought it back.") Hillary's instinctive contentlessness is both the symbol and part of the substance of what may be the biggest doubt she has to overcome--not the issue of whether she's right or left, or the issue of whether she's "tough" enough on defense, but the issue of whether she's tough generally. When has she told off or even firmly-but-gently rejected someone in her own coalition? When has she ever stood up, in public, against, say, a big union? When has she pulled off a difficult legislative triumph? ** We know she's smart and cautious and flexible. We need to know she has balls.

No more cheap dates!

And this is the problem... she doesn't have to do much to get the "moderate" moniker slapped on her... just like all a Republican has to do is smile and open his mouth and the interviewer asks about their "controversial" positions.

Her speaking style is not electric... unless by "electric" they are referring to the way she speaks in a robotic/fembot monotone.

However, she's never had to take a difficult position... nor will she ever have to. The MSM that is centered in New York and D.C. will insulate her from any of the normal rigors that politicians face. However, as has been demonstrated over the past few years, the MSM does not have the stranglehold that it used to have. However, it certainly is still powerful and influential, especially for swing voters that get their news from 10 minutes of the evening news - or who are making their decision to vote based on a performance in a presidential debate or a stage-managed party convention.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, July 25, 2005

Our Next President



The following is an example of why Hillary Clinton will be our next President. As reported on Drudge...

XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN JULY 24, 2005 19:44:05 ET XXXXX

HILLARY CLINTON TO SUPPORT BUSH COURT NOMINEE

**Exclusive**

Senator Hillary Clinton has confided to associates that she intends to vote FOR Bush Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Unless some unforeseen development occurs around Roberts, Clinton will throw her support behind confirmation, says a top source.

"Look, we're not thrilled President Bush is in office and gets to make these choices," said a top Hillary source, "but we have to make the best of the situation until the next election!"

With her support of Roberts, Clinton ignores pressure from the reactionary-activist wing of the Democrat party.

"She is simply doing what is right for the country, not MOVEON.ORG," the Clinton insider explained.

Developing...

Hillary understands that she has bona fides with the Left and doesn't need to kowtow to them. It's unlikely that the whacko Left (ie the Dem base) will defect from Hillary's camp in 2008 over this issue, since they'll rationalize it as "he would've been nominated anyway..." (If you go to DU right now, you'll see NOTHING about this story - of course, it's all Plame, all the time over there these days.)

Second, what Dem politicians make the Right go batty (although not as batty as the Left is over W)? Bill & Hillary... And this emotional reaction from the far right will become the object of scrutiny - not Hillary's positions on the issues or her leadership abilities.

And over the next 3 years, she is going to be talking to the center of the political spectrum with a couple of bones thrown towards the rabid Left - nothing whacky or worth remembering by the media, however.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler