"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier
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Michael, God bless that cotton pickin' fertile ding dang noodle of yours! I now know that there is a thinking man among us who dares to speak up. xoxox Pam
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BigEarth of New Mexico sez, The warmest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great national moment, reserve their neutrality.
Bill Whittle's mom sez, If you can’t say anything of deep and meaningful scientific or political import that is not supported by fact, reason, historical precedent and in-depth step-by-step logical analysis then don’t say anything at all!

:: Friday, May 28 ::

Al Gore uses 'Day After' to slam pres.
Former Vice President Al Gore has used the new Fox film The Day After Tomorrow about a global warming catastrophe to blast President Bush.

Gore used a telephone news conference Tuesday to criticize the Bush administration's stance on global warming, comparing the film to the president's policies, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
Climate flick favors fantasy over fact

Disaster film has scientists laughing

'Tomorrow's' forecast: bad science on the big screen

Plot in 'Day After Tomorrow' is the movie's real disaster

I thought I would watch it on a Monday or Tuesday night when in the mood for a brainless Sci-fi movie, but reading the above Chicago Sun-Times review makes it clear it's something I could admit to no one. I will rent something from Anna Bunny's Bad Movie Shrine instead.

:: michael Friday, May 28, 2004 [+] ::

Buffalo spammer faces seven years in jail

:: michael Friday, May 28, 2004 [+] ::
:: Thursday, May 27 ::

"It is also worth asking", said Yoo, "whether the strict limitations of Geneva make sense in a war against terrorists."

"Interrogation of ultras not regulated under Geneva"

Ultras. Now that's a word for non-military terrorist enemy, a word most associated with a cigarette or an unnecessary version of Michelob. Ultras - I like it.

:: michael Thursday, May 27, 2004 [+] ::

The headline angered me:
Dad Charged For Not Using Enough Sunblock On 12-Year-Old

Walter McKelvie Jr., 43, of Vineland, was indicted Tuesday and charged with one count of child abuse and neglect in the July 20 incident, in which he took his mentally disabled son to the beach in Wildwood.

The son, identified only as R.M., suffered large, bleeding blisters on his back and face. Authorities were alerted by the boy's mother, who has custody of him but was not with him at the beach, according to Assistant Cape May County Prosecutor Meghan Hoerner.

This story is a throwback to my very first blog, about Eve Hibbits in Brilliant, Ohio. She took her kids to the fair, and ended up in jail because they got sunburned. Sheriff Abdallah, in my opinion, grossly exaggerated the burn description with "dipped in red paint." The medics called it sunburn, and there was no mention of bleeding blisters.

My rant was about the dangers of drama and exaggeration, and subsequent overreaction. Ms. Hibbits, poor in Brilliant, Ohio, claimed to not know about sunscreen, and I believe her still.

There is a difference, and that difference illustrates why zero tolerance policies do not work and encourage intellectual laziness.

:: michael Thursday, May 27, 2004 [+] ::

Today's Ann Coulter column pokes fun at liberals for beginning history anew each morning. Yesterday's news covered the growing debate in Europe over mentioning God in the EU Constitution.

Nearly two millennia of Christian church activity in Europe and the consequential rise of western civilization and free society as a result hold no value for an alarming number of European leaders. Europe, liberated twice from German aggression by a very Christian America, and then protected for decades from the atheist totalitarian Soviet threat, might want to add it all up soon for they are counting the pillars of their faith.

:: michael Thursday, May 27, 2004 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, May 26 ::

It's Mark. He's a Kucinich campaigner and a passionate anti-war activist who likes to read Chomsky and Unger.

"What is the correct spelling of 'emperor'?" he asked. I told him and we hung up.

It's funny how a word's correct spelling can be with you for decades until someone asks you, and then suddenly you don't know how to spell it anymore. While on the phone with Mark I actually typed it into a Word document to make sure with Spell-check, which suggests "juiciness" as a correct spelling for Kucinich.

Wait a minute! I called him back. "You're making a protest sign, aren't you?"

"Yes, and thanks for the help," he answered. I advised him if the protest was a silent one, to not leave until he was heard.

Lesson learned: if a liberal friend calls for the correct spelling of emperor, imperial, president, constitutional, or any word you may possibly see on a sign on a stick, for goodness' sake, give him the wrong spelling.

:: michael Wednesday, May 26, 2004 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, May 19 ::
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Israeli forces have opened fire on a protest march in a besieged Gaza refugee camp, killing at least 10 Palestinians and raising the death toll to 33 in Israel's bloodiest raid in Gaza in years.

Israeli media said at least 22 bodies, most of them school children, had been counted after the strike in the Rafah camp, which some witnesses said was carried out by helicopter gunships and others blamed on firing by tanks.
The same locals who teach their children the virtues of exploding at checkpoints, who name their streets after suicide bombers, who danced and handed out candy on September 11, 2001 - oh! and who were offered 100% of the Gaza, over 95% of the West Bank, and a capital in East Jerusalem in 2000 but started a war instead, are alarmed at the carnage:
People fled screaming, some dragging bloodied comrades and others carrying wounded children in their arms.

"It was horrifying," said Mahmoud Abu Hashem, 35. "There was one person with his intestines coming out. Another had blood covering his face and you couldn't even make out his features."
To clarify, this is the same PA which has been trading suicide bombers for weapons from Hamas. How about calling on the oil-rich Arab nations to absorb the refugees they say they so care about?
The Palestinian Authority branded the attack on Wednesday a "war crime" and demanded international protection for the Palestinian people.
Where is Rachel Corrie when you need her? Fresh troops from Evergreen, please! Would the Israelis go to this kind of trouble if there weren't weapons-supply tunnels being dug from the land that Israel returned to Egypt in exchange for peace? -the land Israel won in the war it didn't start? -the land where Israeli civility spared Nasser's Third Army from annihilation?
The bloodshed seemed certain to bring fresh international pressure on Israel to end its assault, which began on Tuesday with the stated goal of rooting out militants and uncovering tunnels used to smuggle weapons across the border from Egypt.

The raid has raised an international outcry because of Israeli threats to flatten hundreds of Rafah homes to widen an army-controlled security corridor along the border with Egypt.
Not all males. Not all the males? or should it be not only males? - Palestinian females have been exploding inside Israel as well.
Palestinian witnesses said Israeli forces were summoning all male residents over 16 to come out and assemble in a local school. The army said it was after militants, not all males.
Damned Israeli compromise and withdrawal prompts violence!
Violence has worsened in Gaza since Sharon proposed evacuating troops and Jewish settlers in a plan backed by most Israelis and the United States, but rejected by his right-wing Likud party in a referendum earlier this month.
Ahh, the all-powerful Jew lobby. Mahathir was right!
U.S. President George W. Bush called the Gaza bloodshed "troubling" but, addressing Jewish-Americans in a tight election campaign, told the powerful pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC that Israel "has every right to defend itself from terror".

:: michael Wednesday, May 19, 2004 [+] ::

ABU GHRAIB, Iraq — On the eve of the first court-martial in the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal, relatives of those still held at Abu Ghraib prison (search) said Tuesday the only suitable punishment would be death — illustrating the potential gap in expectations in the case.

"If they actually committed such offenses, they should be executed," said Odai Ibrahim, 55, as he waited in a line with hundreds of other Iraqis to visit relatives at the prison on the western outskirts of Baghdad — notorious as the site of executions and torture during Saddam Hussein's (search) regime.
While I think the beheading of Nick Berg would have happened anyway, soldiers are still in greater danger and will increasingly have to shoot first and ask later in order to avoid Abu-torture. Christopher Hitchens echoed my immediate reaction that these errant American MP's betrayed their fellow Americans and should face a firing squad. But:
But the first defendant, Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits (search), faces only a year in prison, a fine, reduction in pay and a bad conduct discharge. He has cooperated with authorities and is expected to testify against the others, who face more serious charges.
Will he get to do the time in Abu-Ghraib?

:: michael Wednesday, May 19, 2004 [+] ::

Fidel Castro can live to 140, doctor says

:: michael Wednesday, May 19, 2004 [+] ::
:: Monday, May 17 ::
From the nation determined to help Saddam become nuclear capable, and where L'Effroyable Imposture was a #1 bestseller:
20 mins standing ovation for FAHRENHEIT 9-11, yelling, screaming, cheering... 'This is the longest standing ovation in the history of the festival! Unbelievable!' declared Cannes stalwart Thierry Fremaux. Moore, raising fist, unable to speak over crowd, vows to fight...
To fight what, exactly? This hysteric slob, interviewed on the morning news less than two miles from the WTC site, declared we are facing no terrorist threat, and that September 11 was an isolated incident. Will he make a movie out of L'Effroyable Imposture? Will it be in French? Would we understand it any less than if it were in English?


Sarin Nerve Gas Round Found, Partly Detonated in Iraq

Two former weapons inspectors — Hans Blix and David Kay — said the shell was likely a stray weapon that had been scavenged by militants and did not signify that Iraq had large stockpiles of such weapons.
Oh, I feel much better:
While Saturday's explosion does demonstrate that Saddam hadn't complied fully with U.N. resolutions, Kay also said, "It doesn't strike me as a big deal."
Or should someone forward this article to Kay:
Developed in the mid-1930s by Nazi scientists, a single drop of sarin can cause quick, agonizing choking death.

:: michael Monday, May 17, 2004 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, May 12 ::

Having a Bekaa Valley full of Iraqi weapons can make you feel cocky:
US Sanctions Not Enough to Deter Syria, Israeli Analyst Says

Assad confirms he learned nothing from the source of his arsenal:
Assad Says U.S. Policy in Iraq Encourages Terrorism

Lebanon, too?
Syria, Lebanon slam US sanctions decision
Oh, that's right. Lebanon is OCCUPIED TERRITORY! But that's OK because it's Syria doing the occupying.

:: michael Wednesday, May 12, 2004 [+] ::

No need to rant about the media's frenzied behavior with this Iraqi prison thing. It couldn't be more obvious. OJ... El Nino... Levy and Condit... from encouraging Americans to think about only one thing at a time, to that plus weakening military morale. Well, at least the media is multitasking for a change.

But this is a truly pornographic interest in seeing all the photos. While I have insisted that people should assume the responsibility to look at evil and acknowledge it, this is different to me because of the mismanagement of the images.

Also, I am snorting at all the self-righteousness from the left, these same people will go right back to making Martha Stewart-in-prison jokes as soon as that story returns to the news.

Christopher Hitchens, an atheist and socialist who once wrote for The Nation, throws in his typically interesting point of view. The final thought, on execution, is something I wondered about as well when I viewed the first few photos. I hate show trials, but when there is this kind of damage done by this kind of proof:
This is only the rehearsal for one's revulsion. One of two things must necessarily be true. Either these goons were acting on someone's authority, in which case there is a layer of mid- to high-level people who think that they are not bound by the laws and codes and standing orders. Or they were acting on their own authority, in which case they are the equivalent of mutineers, deserters, or traitors in the field. This is why one asks wistfully if there is no provision in the procedures of military justice for them to be taken out and shot.
Andrew Sullivan also remarks on the stupidity of terrorists who have demonstrated their usual greater barbarism in the beheading of Nick Berg:
But there is no such thing as a smart al Qaeda. Evil can sometimes be stupid, and often is. Hitler, remember, invaded the Soviet Union. For our part, we must not take the deeper bait, which is to polarize this still further and associate these fanatics with Arabs or Islam as a whole. This is not a war against Islam. It is a war to defend Islam. And a democratic Iraq - not run by mullahs - is indispensable to that end.
I actually do not agree this war is about defending Islam. It is about saving civilization from a frightening number of people who want to see it destroyed. Plus, I have read enough Qu'ran to know that Islam needs to die. But while we are stuck with it, we are also stuck with the responsibility to appeal to the innate sense of decency, however scant, and to recognize the worth that my Christianity teaches me is there in all people. Hard work still lies ahead...

:: michael Wednesday, May 12, 2004 [+] ::
:: Monday, May 10 ::

The LA Times editor bashes his competition most predictably:
Carroll cited a study released last year that showed Americans had three main misconceptions about Iraq: That weapons of mass destruction had been found, a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq had been demonstrated and that the world approved of U.S intervention in Iraq. He said 80 percent of people who primarily got their news from Fox believed at least one of the misconceptions. He said the figure was more than 57 percentage points higher than people who get their news from public news broadcasting.
Let's see, the WMD were already used against Saddam's own people and the Iranians, Uday Hussein threatened a biological attack a week before the Antraax got mailed, and what about that centrifuge?

Al-Qaeda's threats of retaliation for action in Iraq, plus the LA Times like-minded media allies' consistent editorial stand that action in Iraq would invite terrorism, strongly suggest that Fox was not the only news source linking Al-Qaeda to Iraq.

Everyone who paid attention to Fox knew well that much of Europe disapproved, and that President Bush made it clear that the course of our nation would not be determined by others. They also remember that the UN Security Council approved, and they remember Rumsfeld calling France, Germany and their like-minded the "Old Europe," while referring to the ("gang of")eight nations who sided with us the "New Europe." People who listened to the President's SOTU, not just broadcast on Fox, heard also the long list of nations who were supportive.

Many thanks to the LA Times editor for pointing out that I have been tuning in to the correct news sources all along.

:: michael Monday, May 10, 2004 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, May 5 ::

No one I know could remember "why the fifth of May?"

This is interesting:
The 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day, but it should be! And Cinco de Mayo is not an American holiday, but it should be. Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on midnight, the 15th of September, 1810. And it took 11 years before the first Spanish soldiers were told and forced to leave Mexico.

So, why Cinco de Mayo? And why should Americans savor this day as well? Because 4,000 Mexican soldiers smashed the French and traitor Mexican army of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico, 100 miles east of Mexico City on the morning of May 5, 1862.

The French had landed in Mexico (along with Spanish and English troops) five months earlier on the pretext of collecting Mexican debts from the newly elected government of democratic President (and Indian) Benito Juarez. The English and Spanish quickly made deals and left. The French, however, had different ideas.

Under Emperor Napoleon III, who detested the United States, the French came to stay. They brought a Hapsburg prince with them to rule the new Mexican empire. His name was Maximilian; his wife, Carolota. Napoleon's French Army had not been defeated in 50 years, and it invaded Mexico with the finest modern equipment and with a newly reconstituted Foreign Legion. The French were not afraid of anyone, especially since the United States was embroiled in its own Civil War.


When the battle was over, many French were killed or wounded and their cavalry was being chased by Diaz' superb horsemen miles away. The Mexicans had won a great victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying the confederate rebels for another year, allowing the United States to build the greatest army the world had ever seen. This grand army smashed the Confederates at Gettysburg just 14 months after the battle of Puebla, essentially ending the Civil War.
Well, at least we Southerners don't have to say we won thanks to the French.

:: michael Wednesday, May 05, 2004 [+] ::
:: Sunday, May 2 ::

via Israpundit
This is great news. Hopefully this very ballsy act of leadership will inspire more from other groups.
The Italian Muslim Association Board of Governors blesses Israeli President
Moshe Katsav, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel's Government, the
Israel Defense Forces and People of Israel for the noble act of justice which cleansed our earth of the unrepentant criminal Ahmed Yasin.

We bless the Israeli Government for ending the mischief of one who sent scores of suicide slaughterers to murder hundreds of innocent civilians --
babies, women and men -- and to cripple and permanently maim hundreds more.

We bless the United States President, Congress and American People for
standing with Israel in this heroic act of self-defense.

We condemn the shameless declarations by European Union and United Kingdom Foreign Ministers Solana and Straw "deploring" the execution of mass
murderer Ahmed Yasin.

:: michael Sunday, May 02, 2004 [+] ::
:: Saturday, May 1 ::

I wondered if some of those pictures were faked. That is a part of the world (Jenin) were the mass graves can be filled with dead animals and the exumed.

However, it is obvious we have bad seeds in the army, who, as most of the civilized will agree, do not represent the army as a whole. There is an ever growing list of opinion recorded at BBC News. Among the pile of the predictable, something sensible:
We don't know the full story behind these pictures but lets not forget what the Iraqis did to those they captured in Kuwait during the Gulf War.
To be honest, I am not surprised. I always think it such a joke when some Eton-educated frontman is interviewed as an army representative. We train these men to go out and kill for God's sake! What kind of mentality do you think that requires? Soldiers are the people who do the ugly inhuman stuff that enables the rest of us to live civilised lives.
I'm surprised at some of the naivety here. Historically, armed conflict brings out the best and worst in people. Incidents like this, though regrettable, are inevitable. To those that claim this mirrors the worst brutal excesses of the Baa'thist regime, get real.
President Bush has made it clear that court-martials will follow, and a general is in trouble - a woman general! Imagine the hesitation of a President Gore to call for the punishment of a woman general.

:: michael Saturday, May 01, 2004 [+] ::