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Saturday, November 30, 2002
IN OTHER NEWS...

The holiday weekend has given me a chance to, through DVD watching, reinforce the idea that Sports Night is quite possibly the best series to ever be cancelled.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:07 AM in TV
IS ASSASSINATION REALLY THE RIGHT WORD?

In a war as diffuse and spread out as the current war on terrorism is there really such a thing as an assassination? When there's no defined fronts what exactly is the difference between an assassination and killed in action? When soldiers aimed at officers in WWII it wasn't assassination it was disrupting enemy operations. As long as their "generals" don't come within 10,000 miles of the battle field I see no problem with taking the battle field to them.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:04 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Thursday, November 28, 2002
HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND ALL THAT JAZZ
Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:26 AM in Miscellaneous



Wednesday, November 27, 2002
FROM THE LAND OF BEAH, BARBIES, AND ROOS

The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard has a great, common sense response to a father's question about why his son was killed in the al Qaeda Bali attack.

Some highlights:


You asked me: "Why did [my] son die?" I don't have a perfect answer to that but I will do my best.

He died at the hands of a murderous group of Islamic fanatics who despise the liberal democratic, open life of Western nations, such as Australia. He died because there are people in the world who believe that indiscriminate violent murder is a justifiable political instrument.


...

I agree fully with you that Australia did the right thing with its intervention on behalf of East Timor. You will be aware that Osama bin Laden has twice identified that very act of Australia's as a reason for hostility to our country from his terror network. That surely does not mean that we were wrong to intervene in East Timor.

...

You are right in saying that boys of your son's age are always the ones to go to war. It has sadly ever been thus. That is why peaceful resolution of differences should always be sought.

Ignoring terrorism, however, will not make it disappear.

History is strewn with examples of countries not taking a stand on something in the hope that the problem would go away, only to find that, at an infinitely greater cost, that challenge must ultimately be confronted.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:06 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Tuesday, November 26, 2002
SEND IN THE CLONES?

Or would "Attack of the clones" have been a better subject? Anyway, an Italian doctor says a cloned baby is due in January.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:08 PM in Miscellaneous
"BUSH HAS GOT MORE INTELLIGENCE"

That's something you don't hear very often, especially from someone who voted for Gore.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:04 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Monday, November 25, 2002
''POST-TRAUMATIC SLAVERY DISORDER''?

An interesting theory. And if it were used as a jumping off point for fixing things I might support it, but it looks like it's mostly being used as an excuse for why blacks fail instead of a reason that can be overcome.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:12 PM in Miscellaneous
HEY EGYPT! WRONG WAY! REALITY'S THATTA WAY!

Egypt apparently sees Hamas as an alternative to the Palistinian Authority. I thought the point of finding someone other than Arafat to work with was to find someone who'd listen to common sense and reason, and could control the bombings. While I'll admit Hamas does the latter they come nowhere near the former.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:27 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
NATO MEETS...

...and Jacques Chirac reads a magazine. Just imagine the uproar if it had been Bush.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:21 PM in Politics/Government
COULD WE JUST MARK IT 'RETURN TO SENDER'?

Andrew Sullivan has a good deconstruction of the supposed new Osama letter.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:11 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
BOWLING FOR LIES

Forbes points out several well, let's call them not-so-factual idiosyncrasies in Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine:


TITLE: Moore titled the movie Bowling for Columbine because, he suggests, the two kids who shot up Columbine High in Littleton, Colo., went to a 6 a.m. bowling class on the day of the attack.
ACTUALLY: Cool story, but police say it's not true. They say the shooters skipped their bowling class that day.

MISSILES: Moore wonders whether kids at Columbine might be driven to violence because of the "weapons of mass destruction" made in Lockheed Martin's assembly plant in Littleton. Moore shows giant rockets being assembled.
ACTUALLY: Lockheed Martin's plant in Littleton doesn't make weapons. It makes space launch vehicles for TV satellites.

WELFARE: Moore places blame for a shooting by a child in Michigan on the work-to-welfare program that prevented the boy's mother from spending time with him.
ACTUALLY: Moore doesn't mention that mom had sent the boy to live in a house where her brother and a friend kept drugs and guns.

BANK: Moore says North Country Bank & Trust in Traverse City, Mich., offered a deal where, "if you opened an account, the bank would give you a gun." He walks into a branch and walks out with a gun.
ACTUALLY: Moore didn't just walk in off the street and get a gun. The transaction was staged for cameras. You have to buy a long-term CD, then go to a gun shop to pick up the weapon after a background check.


Sounds like great documentary filmmaking to me.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:00 PM in Movies
WORDS OF WISDOM

To the Bush twins as they turn 21, excerpted from the NY Daily News:


Burn the fake ID cards.

Go back to Austin's margarita palace, Chuy's, where the bartender called the cops on you. Tipping is optional.

Since you are a Bush, beware of pretzels.

Listen to advice from your family — except for cousin Noelle. Don't drink anything that comes in a fish bowl.

Every time dad uses the word "evil" in public, down a shot.

Swap nights in the Lincoln Bedroom for drinks on the house.

Leave the public hurling to your grandfather.

When the party's over, go cow-tipping in your own backyard. Secret Service agents aren't just third wheels — think of them as designated drivers!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:14 AM in Politics/Government



Sunday, November 24, 2002
GOOD STUFF FROM A NORTHERN NEIGHBOR
This is the real war aim -- or it should be, if we're to have any chance of winning this thing: We have to change the hearts and minds of millions of Muslims, too many of whom are at best indifferent to great evil. "Changing" isn't the same as "winning the hearts and minds," which is multiculti codespeak for pre-emptively surrendering and agreeing not to disagree with them. For over a year now, nothing has been asked of Muslims, at home or abroad: you can be equivocal about bin Laden and an apologist for suicide bombers, and still get a photo-op with Dubya; you can be a member of a regime whose state TV stations and government-owned newspapers call for Muslims to kill all Jews and Christians, and you'll still get to kick your shoes off with George and Laura at the Crawford ranch.
and...
As things stand, there are only three countries that are serious about the "war on terror": America, Britain and Australia. And, even within that shrunken rump of the West, there are fierce divisions: Australia's sissy press makes The Toronto Star look like, well, the National Post; it's doubtful whether Tony Blair speaks for more than 30% of his parliamentary party; and President Bush's resoluteness doesn't extend to his Secretary of State or even, during Ramadan, to himself. The longer this already too long period of phony war continues, the more likely it is that even these stalwarts will decay and Canadianize. I worry about the thin line on which our civilization depends. This last year has been too quiet. Next Ramadan, when the traditional calls for a bombing pause are issued, let's hope there's some bombing to pause.
Mark Steyn with a good piece that touches on just about everything radical Islam and terrorist related.
Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:09 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Saturday, November 23, 2002
DEAR LORD: MORE FROM THE TED RALL'S A BLOOMIN' IDIOT FILE

Technically he doesn't say it, but if you can't pick up that Ted Rall is comparing Bush to Hitler in this column then your in trouble. Yeah, let's just ignore the fact that Bush isn't committing genocide, or occupying countries willy-nilly (Both things, I'd point out, that Saddam has done, or tried to do.). What's important is that Ted Rall try to convince you of his insane, paranoid, and just plain asinine conspiracy theory.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:33 PM in Politics/Government
I'M SHOCKED!

Absolutely shocked that the political parties might be trying to get around soft-money limits. Who would have thought?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:56 PM in Politics/Government



Friday, November 22, 2002
105 DEAD AND COUNTING

More detailed info about the Miss World rioting.


The front-page article said: "What would (the prophet) Muhammad think? In all honesty, he would probably have chosen a wife from among them (the contestants)."

The paper, whose Kaduna offices were burnt, has been forced to print three apologies and faces punishment by authorities. It said the story went out in error, Reuters reported.

The government condemned the article which it says "without doubt exceeded the bounds of responsible journalism by making (a) provocative publication on the Holy Prophet."

Islamic fundamentalist groups had for months warned of protests against the Miss World pageant.

The fundamentalist Nigerian Muslim Umma, an umbrella group of Islamic clerics and scholars, has declared a "serious religious emergency" and issued a statement calling on the government to stop the pageant, Reuters reported.


It looks like it's not just the angry mob, even the Nigerian government is getting in on the action by chastising the paper.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:54 PM in Miscellaneous
RELIGION OF PEACE, TAKE 2

Diana West has a piece over at the Washington Times about Bush's Islamic cheerleading.


Thanks to, among other things, the separation of church and state, it's not in the president's job description to be an Islamic scholar; but neither is it incumbent upon him to take up the pompom for old Islam. This seems particularly clear now that Mr. Bush has decided to weigh in on the blunt critiques of Islam offered by several conservative Christian leaders who have voiced their reactions (negative) to the violence at the core of Islam's unreconstructed traditions of jihad. Islam is violent, said one. Islam is evil, said another; and besides, said another, Mohammed was a pedophile. Historic truths or baseless slanders? If the president has his way, we'll never know. Such remarks "do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans," Mr. Bush noted pointedly last week. "Ours is a country based upon tolerance . . . and we welcome people of all faiths in America. And we're not going to let the war on terror or terrorists cause us to change our values."

While I do think it needs to be pointed out that not all of Islam is evil, or warlike or whatever, I worry that that President's nonstop support of general Islam is leading to the glossing over of serious issues about Islam that need to be addressed. What gets lost is that even if the terrorists and rioters aren't mainstream Islam they're still a version of Islam, and there's definitely something very unpeaceful about what they believe.

When people of your same faith can form a mob and kill 50 people just because the Miss World pageant is going on then I think it's time to take a serious look at your faith as a whole and think about what you and those who share your view can do to bring the radicals into the mainstream fold.

It would be nice to see some mainstream Islamic missionaries head over to Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East to counter the radical leaders. Assuming Islam really doesn't endorse the xenophobia and discrimination practiced so widely in the third world countries then the more enlightened members of Islam need to step up and bring their wayward brethren back into the fold.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:49 AM in Religion
*INSERT CLEVER TITLE HERE*

A disturbing article by Michelle Malkin on Middle Eastern illegal aliens points out that there are over 115,000 people from the Middle East here illegally.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:36 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
MICKEY MOUSE... AUSTRIAN?

The Austrians are launching a toung-in-cheek copyright battle over Mickey Mouse after finding his likeness in a medieval fresco.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:12 AM in Miscellaneous
50 DEAD, BUT AT LEAST THE PAPER WON'T BE PUBLISHING ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT MOHAMMED

Hmmm, you'd think that Allah would disapprove more of 50 people dying in a riot than a newspaper saying Mohammed would have approved of a beauty pagent.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:56 AM in Religion



Thursday, November 21, 2002
RELIGION OF PEACE

It occurs to me that while pointing out that not all of Islam is warlike is a good idea, the coining of the term "religion of peace" may have hurt more than it helped. People are offering up examples left and right under the title "religion of peace" trying to disprove that it really isn't when it isn't so much the religion that's messed up as the culture of the Middle East. The term just seems to be the "kick me" sign put on Islam's back by the Middle Eastern Islamic culture.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:53 PM in Religion
YUCK

A totally repugnant article comparing America to the Nazis. Sometimes you just have to wonder what kind of whacked out world view these people come from that it's actually possible to think like that.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:43 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
MORE AUGUSTA

Bill Simmons of ESPN has a good column up on the women at Augusta controversy.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:32 PM in Miscellaneous
TALK RADIO EVIL

Tom Daschle in the NY Times:


If entertainment becomes so much a part of politics," he said, "and if that entertainment drives an emotional movement in this country among some people who don't know the difference between entertainment and politics and who are then so energized to go out and hurt somebody, that troubles me about where politics in America is going.

Is he actually suggesting that we shouldn't let the voice of the people who can't tell entertainment from politics be heard in our national debate? I thought the Democrats were all about everybody being free to participate in the political system. ;)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:18 PM in Politics/Government
DO WE REALLY WANT THIS?

FBI officials are upset that the FBI isn't "more aggressive and single-minded in hunting terrorists" Do we really want them to be all that single-minded? There are still other crimes that the FBI should be handling, aren't there?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:41 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
No blood for oil!

No, really. David Isby over at the Washington Times explains how and why the possible war in Iraq has more to do with weapons of mass destruction than oil prices.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
From the irony department

The Chinese are fighting to get westerners to stop referring to Mount Everest as Mount Everest and instead refer to it as Mount Qomolangma.


"British colonialists raped the sacred mountain of the Tibetans by giving it a false name," said the report. "Until today the world is still persistently humiliating Mt Qomolangma with English-language hegemonism."

I'm not the only one who sees the irony in China complaining about the British treatment of the Tibetans, am I?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:18 AM in Miscellaneous
Firefighters turn down handouts

I've gotta hand it to the 3 Omaha firefighters who turned down a promotion because they only recieved it because they were a minority. You have to admire somebody who wants to get by on their own merits.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:13 AM in Miscellaneous
Brrrrrrr....

Stephen Hayes brings up something I've thought for a long time... why not have the Super Bowl in the cold? Just how many Super Bowls can you have in New Orleans? I'm all for making Super Bowl watching a little less comfortable. Football isn't a game of comfort, and I don't see why the biggest game of the year should have perfect conditions. It may make marketing and festivities easier, but wouldn't you want your sport's biggest showcase to properly display what the sport is all about?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:01 AM in Miscellaneous



Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Slip slidin' away

Jonah Goldberg with another column on our freedom and the fallacy of slippery slope arguments.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:07 PM in Politics/Government
Liberal hyperbole watch

How can you take any article that starts out the following way seriously?


Suppose there was such a thing as a time machine. Suppose all the bad-guy Germans of the 1930s and 1940s -- the Gestapo, the Brownshirts, the Blackshirts -- were fed into the time machine and emerged as modern-day Americans. Suppose they all still held the beliefs they had when they died.

So my question is, Which political party would they support now, Democratic or Republican?


Surprise, surprise, he's from San Francisco

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:06 PM in Politics/Government
What would Jesus drive?

Not an SUV apparently.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:57 AM in Religion
Looks like Jeffords is regretting a thing or two.

From the Washington Times:


According to a senior Senate leadership source, the election results were barely in before Mr. Jeffords' office put out feelers to his former party's leaders. The message? That the Vermonter would be happy to caucus with the GOP — so long as he retained his committee chairmanship. Republican leaders rightly rolled their eyes.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:47 AM in Politics/Government
Well, at least the guy wanted to get to court.

Man steals car in order to get to court to face car theft charges.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:23 AM in Miscellaneous



Tuesday, November 19, 2002
It's not called the "Christmas Spectacular" for nothing

A reviewer for the Star-Telegram is deeply offended that the Radio City Christmas Spectacular actually contains religious elements.


...to lure spectators of all faiths (and non-faiths) with the promise of an entertaining holiday revue, and then to ambush them with Christian theology, is dated and borderline offensive, especially at a time when understanding of other cultures and beliefs is more important than ever....

Had it been called the Radio City Holiday Spectacular the guy might have a point, but shouldn't you go into something specifically mentioning Christmas in the title expecting that it's possible it might not be entirely secular?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:25 AM in Religion
Good

The government is reviewing all aid to the Arab world. It would be nice if a more strategic way could be found to give aid so the Arab people can see how much we help them.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:14 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Hmmm, I don't like this baby, can I have a replacement?

Strange news out of Romania: New father tries to briber nurseto replace his daughter with a boy.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:05 AM in Miscellaneous



Monday, November 18, 2002
An important story I think.

Three Estonian women brought into this country illegally and essentially enslaved are being deported. These women thought they were coming to the United States to legally work but things went bad.


The Estonian women say their first mistake was trusting Alexandre Grunichev, the Russian who brought them to America to work for him. They say they responded to his newspaper ads offering jobs in the United States.

The ads promised a place to live, a good wage and a visa that would allow them to work legally.

Instead, they say, they were housed in an apartment with 10 other immigrants and were required to work up to 12 hours a day cleaning homes and hotels for about $5.50 an hour.


These women realized they were here illegally so they went to the INS for help.

They say they met with two INS agents, Tom Perryman and Lisa Teal, who promised they could stay in America if they helped with the investigation. Their American friend, Beulah Duddey, has given a sworn statement on the Estonians' behalf, saying she heard the agents promise the women "they would be able to remain in the country (and) get their green cards."

"They said, `You got to help us and we'll help you,'" Ms. Ene said.


I don't know about you, but I think these are exactly the kind of immigrants we want in our country. They came here to work, and they wanted to do it legally, and when they couldn't do that they turned to our government for help. Regardless of whether the INS promised them anything or not I think these are exactly the types of people we want in this country: people coming here to work and partake in the American dream and wanting to do so legally.

What more could we ask of them?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:27 PM in Miscellaneous
It's one of the biggest problems with living in Cincinnati

The Bengals constantly suck and won't live up to it. At the beginning of next season there wouldn't be a single returning coach if it were a just world. This team just needs a purge of the entire management.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:19 PM in Cincinnati
At least they have good imaginations

Charles Krauthammer with a good piece over at The Weekly Standard on the delusions of American Liberals; mostly revolving around how the American people couldn't possibly agree with the evil Republicans so they must be getting duped. The People couldn't possibly disagree with Liberals of course so they must just be easily duped dunces.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:42 AM in Politics/Government
Let me get this straight...

Saddam can't afford to feed his own people because of our dastardly embargo, but he can afford to pay Muammar Gaddafi $3.5 billion? Yeah, all the deaths from starvation are obviously America's fault.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:33 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Run Forrest, run! Or not.

American RealPolitik links to the Washington post about whether DNC insiders want Gore to run in 2004. The spread for/against is 35% for, 48% against.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:50 AM in Politics/Government
School vouchers drawing blacks to the GOP

Good piece by Douglas MacKinnon over at sunspot.net.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has released a survey that clearly demonstrates that black voters are not only much less satisfied with the Democratic Party than they were in years past but are leaving it in not insignificant numbers. The survey found that 63 percent of African-Americans identified themselves as Democrats. While still a large number, it is down 11 percent from just two years ago.

The survey also reports that 10 percent of black voters consider themselves Republicans. A small number, to be sure, but that number is up 6 percent from two years ago. No matter how you slice it, that is a trend that is proving very worrisome to the Democratic leadership.

...

The one issue the survey found that was driving young blacks away from the Democratic Party is an issue I know well -- school vouchers. A majority of African-Americans want them for their children, and the Democratic Party and teacher's unions are against them.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:46 AM in Politics/Government
You've got evil, imperialist mail!

Somebody hacked into Saddam's e-mail box.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:37 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
More Pelosi

A good piece over at the Washington Times on Nancy Pelosi's voting record.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:34 AM in Politics/Government
Don't diss my prophet part 3

Kudos to Human Rights Watch on their condemnation of Prof. Aghajari's death sentence.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:25 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Yep, and we're the bad guys.

Zimbabwe's dictator outlaws yelling at his car.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:13 AM in Miscellaneous

It almost happened.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:11 AM in Miscellaneous



Sunday, November 17, 2002
Did you all go and convert to Islam like you were told to?

Regardless of how they carry out their attacks, they give the world a reason to oppose them simply by their religious radicalism. Say what you will about how the US has treated the rest of the world, at least we don't require that they believe in the same god as us and worship that god in the same way.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:13 PM in Religion



Friday, November 15, 2002
Oniony goodness
"You know, they say people get the government they deserve, but I don't recall knife-raping any retarded nuns."
Hilarious bit on the Republican victory over at The Onion.
Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:44 PM in Politics/Government
More Pelosi

Balint Vazsonyi (a name I'd probably misspell even if I cut and pasted it) has an important piece over at The Washington Times about Nancy Pelosi and her ties to Socialist International.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:40 PM in Politics/Government
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

If Nancy Pelosi thinks her brand of catholicism is conservative I'd like to see what she considers a liberal catholic.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:19 PM in Politics/Government , Religion
I don't think I can have a blog and not link this.

Hate crime police raid 150 homes.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:16 PM in Miscellaneous
Ok, I guess I have to do it.

Warning, disturbing content ahead. A history of Michael Jackson's nose.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:10 PM in Miscellaneous
What?!

The Iraquis might just try to decieve the inspectors?! You've got to be kidding, they'd never do something like that, would they?!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:03 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Thursday, November 14, 2002
I know I linked to the drunk driving campaign a while back...

...but I just can't bring myself to link to the Michael Jackson photo that's floating around, it's just too horrifying. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:15 PM in Miscellaneous
"Don't diss our prophet" followup

I mentioned last week an Iranian Scholar sentenced to death for supposedly insulting Muhammad. Said scholar is now refusing his appeal and daring the government to kill him.


In his letter, Aghajari said, "I should have died when I lost my leg defending my country (during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war) but I've lived two decades more ... If the death verdict is true, let them carry it out, and if it is wrong, then judiciary needs to work on its shortcomings," Nikbakht told a news conference in Tehran.

Now that's what I call guts.

On the plus side, university students are taking to the streets and President Khatami says the sentence "never should have been issued at all."

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:48 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
The Iraqi Letter

Andrew Sullivan has the best response to the Iraqi letter to the UN that I've seen so far...


Whatever else it is, it surely isn't the product of a serious government with actual policies and actual members. It's the note that might be wriiten by a psychopath - full of inane self-grandeur, stupid threats, excessive Unabomber-style rhetoric and any number of Nazi-like references to the "Zionist entity."

The letter really does read like it was written by a ranting lunatic.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:19 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Safire's column

William Safire brings to light some aspects of the Homeland Security Bill that, if true are quite troubling.(Sorry, registration is once again required for the link)


Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."

To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you — passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance — and you have the supersnoop's dream: a "Total Information Awareness" about every U.S. citizen.

The attack on John Poindexter that follows though does kind of lead me to wonder about the veracity of the above. If untrue it would me nice to see it rebutted by someone more knowledgeable about the bill than I.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:42 AM in Politics/Government
Seems out of place at the Times

This piece(Registration required) by Amir Taheri does a good job of explaining just how delusional Saddam is, at least in regards to his role as the Arabic Leader. How it managed to make it in the NY Times I don't know.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:18 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Lafif Lakhdhar is making sense

Great, an Arabic journalist who seems to possess some common sense finally makes it onto the radar and it's only because his common sense views have gotten him fired from the London-based Al-Hayat(Owned by Saudi Prince Khaled bin Sultan).

A couple of the best paragraphs:


"Turkey is today in its best situation. When Ataturk declared secularism in 1924 and abolished the caliphate, Turkey was only 4% literate; today, 95% of Turks are literate. Turkey will become a truly civilized and truly democratic country by joining the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, we have not left barbarity behind us. We are barbarians. Saddam Hussein declares that he won [the elections] by 100% - that is, no one died that day, no one had the flu that day [and was unable to vote]. This is a scandal. You must shake off this dirt..."

and...

...[H]ost Sami Hadad accused Lakhdhar of wanting women to go out naked into the street, or in bikinis. In response, Lakhdhar said: "Women in the world do not go out into the street naked. I want the Muslim woman to be like the Chinese woman, the Indian woman, the Senegalese, the European, American and Russian women. Why do we act with racism against ourselves and claim that this is appropriate for them but not for us? I was recently in Egypt and students told me that I promote secularism, and that secularism is very good for Europe, but not for us. I told them that this is self-racism..."

I think the part about self-racism is quite telling. You generally only hear of the resistance to secularism in terms of it being against Allah's will and that if they "abandoned" Islam they'd go to hell. The idea that some don't seem to see a problem with European secularism at the very least raises some interesting questions about the real basis for the widespread support for Islam in the Middle East. Is it simply the hard-line governments keeping the people in line, or as Lakhdar suggests is it self-racism, or is it perhaps something else?

Thanks of course to Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:11 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East

Could Michael Moore be misrepresenting things?

This story, by way of the The Daily Rant raises questions about whether Michael Moore sneakily edited his new film, Bowling for Columbine, to make it appear easier than it is to buy ammunition in Canada.


If filmed after Jan. 1, 2001, under the Firearms Act, Mr. Moore should have been required to show a valid Canadian Firearms licence or a Customs Canada "confirmed declaration."

If filmed prior to that, Mr. Moore should have at least been required to show his driver's licence or other appropriate ID.

I think the real question though is: What the hell kind of policy was it that they had before 1/1/2001? You have to show your driver's licence? What, you just need to prove that you're somebody? "Yes sir, here you go. As you can see, not only do I exist and have a name, but I'm also allowed to drive a car. Can I have my ammo now?"

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:09 AM in Movies



Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Sometimes I worry about myself

I'm writing a serious Poli Sci paper and so far I've cited a Star Wars: Episode II deleted scene and a Jonah Goldberg column utilizing the term "spastic monkey." I hope my prof has a sense of humor. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:07 PM in Miscellaneous
It's about time!

NATO's finally taking on the real threat... Actors!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:10 AM in Miscellaneous
Do we really need to pay for it?

Geez, you think that in California there'd be plenty of people who'd be willing to heckle our troops free of charge. Couldn't they just invade UC Berkeley? I imagine they'd get pretty much the same thing.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:04 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Oh goody!

We still have a chance to kill bin Laden!

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:38 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Regarding the Augusta dust up.

You know, one of the hardest things about being a conservative and a "little-r" republican is realizing that there's a difference between what should be done and what you can rightfully make someone do.

I do believe that Augusta should admit women, and that barring them is discrimination. But because they want to, not because a court rules it. Hanging out with who they want to hang out with isn't illegal. We have freedom of association in this country.

You can feel that they have to do it, but you can't make them. They have the right to make the decision on their own. Of course you don't need to support them either. You can always not watch tournaments held there.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:58 PM in Miscellaneous
Well, geez...

As long as they voted on it I guess we can't possibly oppose Iraq now. You know, since they played the democracy card and all.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:55 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Well, that's not good.

A member of the Pakistani pro-Taliban, pro-al Qaeda party was elected to the Pakistani parliament.

Even though it's not a good thing I think de Borchgrave goes a little far in suggesting that Pakistan isn't an ally. There's the view of the common people, and the view of the government, and as long as the government agrees with us that's really all we can ask. We can't expect to control peoples minds. All we can really ask is that they don't openly support the bad guys.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:49 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Monday, November 11, 2002
Wow

I'll admit this anti-dui campaign would be effective as hell, but I really worry it's going to far. I mean, I could see this doing serious psychological damage to a child.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:12 PM in Miscellaneous
Indian state outlaws converting from Hinduism

So says the Washington Times. But at least they're not funding religious soup kitchens, because that would just be wrong.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:40 PM in Religion
How do you spell denial?

D-A-S-C-H-L-E apparently. Yeah Tom, you party doesn't need to rethink anything at all. Yeah... You just keep thinking that.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:26 PM in Politics/Government
7 degrees of Internet blogdom

This from James Lileks, based on a New Yorker story, and brought to my attention by InstaPundit highlights just how wrong in their thinking about conservatives.

The other day I was talking with a Democrat friend about the election. She’d remarked, with equal amounts of sarcasm and good-natured ribbing, that the GOP had two years to build utopia. I thought about that later while walking Jasper around the block, and thought, no; they’re not about building utopia. Personally, I’m interested in keeping other people from building Utopia, because the more your believe you can create heaven on earth the more likely you are to set up guillotines in the public square to hasten the process.

Conservatism is not an ideology set up to creat a Utopia, it really is as Lileks suggests a system set up to keep others from dilly-dallying with the world to create their version of a Utopia. Conservatives recognize that there's wisdom in the collected knowledge of society and that there's a reason that things are the way they are.

Liberals on the other hand see how things could be, and want to shape the world in that image. They then view opposing movements as opposing their version of a Utopia, and can't quite understand that that isn't always the case. They take the idea of crafting a Utopia as a given and believe that conservatives must have their own Utopia to create, when really they just want to not accidently mess things up any more than they are already.

The Liberals cme at the Conservatives from a totally different world view. They can't seem to understand the conservative mind, and can only come to the conclusion that conservative's must be monsters(or to borrow Jack Ryan's oft-repeated phrase, "Klingons"). This in turn lends itself to the Politics of Fear. They can't rationally argue with Conservatives because they can't understand where they're coming from, so they have to demonize them and get the public to believe that they are Klingons as well. (Now feels like a good time for the disclaimer that of course some of this happens on the Conservative side as well, so consider me properly disclaimed.)

Which all leads to the fact that until this conclusion is reached by a greater number of people the dirty campaigning and Politics of Fear and demonizing will continue because you can't argue with Klingons. (Well you could, if you were in the Star Trek universe, but they'd just end up ripping you to shreds. You really wouldn't stand a chance. Ok, I'll just shut up now.)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:58 PM in Politics/Government
Happy Veteran's Day

Why not take a moment to thank a member of our armed forces?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:21 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Nothing quite says "rational anti-war stance" like...

blatant anti-semitism.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:17 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Saturday, November 9, 2002
Nice

Zell Miller makes some common sense comments over at the Washington Post.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:36 PM in Politics/Government
Good news

The Clintonites might just increase their hold on the Democratic party thanks to the recent debacle.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:33 PM in Politics/Government



Friday, November 8, 2002
"Don't diss our prophet, or else!" -- Signed: Iran

Or else what you say? How about Death... and 74 lashes... and being banned from teaching for 10 years... AND being exiled. Now that's punishment. But all apparently well deserved, I mean the guy did dare to say that maybe people other than clerics should have some say on what Mohammed meant. Talk about nerve.

Oh yeah, but we're still the bad guys because we blew up 6 terrorists with a missile.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:14 PM in Religion
More protest on Yemen blast

Now Amnesty International is busting our chops. Nevermind them plotting this little thing we call 9/11, something by the way that Reuters still won't say Al Qaeda did. To this day they're saying "Washington blames Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network for the September 11 attacks" as if Osama's confession weren't enough.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:10 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Arresting suspected criminals? Wha?!

Fingerprinting rules have led to the arrest of 179. And somewhere I'm sure somebody thinks this is an outrage.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:53 AM in Miscellaneous
Meanwhile, back at the NRO ranch

John J. Miller has a good piece on how the election of Nacy Pelosi as House minority leader will puch the Dems farther to the left and how that's good for the Republicans.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:40 AM in Politics/Government
Bias watch

For a paper named "The Independent" the headline
"Republican steamroller forces its agenda on Congress" seems a little un-independent

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:37 AM in Media
Oooh, the Saudis are mad at us!

I'm sorry, but I don't think the Saudi's have any right to lecture us on law and order. We're the McDonalds of law and order. "Billions and Billions Served."When we want lessons in religious extremism we'll give them a call, till then...

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:26 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Don't really feel like coming up with a header for this one.

Victor Davis Hanson has a good column up over at NRO on the death of anti-americanism. Though while I can see American anti-Americanism on the decline as a whole I think it needs to be pointed out that theres plenty of foreign anti-Americanism to go around still.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:15 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



Thursday, November 7, 2002
Santa kills daughter

After dispute over Chistmas decorations.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:37 AM in Miscellaneous
Regime Change

For the Dems anyway. Gotta say that I actually agree with The Nation's David Corn, though now that the Left has learned to dislike McAuliffe as much as me I realize that I don't want him to go. It'd really be a lot more fun if we still had him to kick around for a while. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:30 AM in Politics/Government
FYI

An acquaintance got these Democratic talking points in his e-mail:

MESSAGE 1
- Post Election Talking Points
FROM
- xxxxxx


A few immediate suggestions for the first few days
after the election:

Here are nine items that put as much of a positive
spin on things and not give the Republicans too much
credit. Pick and choose what you like, go with what
you're comfortable with.

I don't have enough data yet to see how the election
outcome pertains directly to young people (we'll see
what things like turnout and issue resonance were like
later in the week as more specific numbers roll in).
The most significant issue I can think of is the
same-day Voter Reg initative that failed 60-40 in
California.

The most significant topics are:
1. The country is still very evenly divided
2. Dems won more Governorships on Tuesday
3. GOP beware: moderate gains are not mandates

Full talking points listed below.

-xxxxx.

TP's:

1. MARGINAL GAINS ARE NOT A MANDATE. While the
Republican Party picked up a few seats on Tuesday,
these MARGINAL gains should not be misconstrued as
MANDATE. The GOP had a net of about five federal
seats on Tuesday. We can give them credit for the win
but definitely not for a mandate.

2. NO BLANK CHECK FOR GOP: Our country is evenly
divided, and it's important for the President and the
new Congress to live up to the pledge they made in
2000 to be bipartisan and create consensus legislation
WITH DEMOCRATS. Voters are not looking for a
one-party agenda.

3. DEMOCRATS GAINED MORE GOVERNORSHIPS ON TUESDAY.
More than just a Federal issue: Nine states that were
governed by Republicans are now in the hands of
Democrats. States including Illinois, Pennsylvania,
Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Wyoming, New Mexico,
Kansas and Oklahoma. This also suggests that voters
are more comfortable with Democrats in Executive
positions.
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/2002/la-na-govs6nov06.story
and
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10388-2002Nov5.html

4. VOTERS ARE CLEARLY DIVIDED: Bush will still be
working in a deeply divided climate, where even small
victories will cost him a lot.

Though a Republican won the governorship in Maryland,
two significant Democratic gains were made in that
state including Democrat Chris Van Hollen's defeat of
Republican Connie Murella. In addition, the
Congressional seat being vacated by the incoming
Republican Governor - was won by a Democrat. These
are the same voters showing a clear preference for
ticket-splitting.

5. WHAT HISTORY? FYI to Ari Fleisher - Bush gaining
seats in a midterm election is not making history.
Clinton gained seats in the last midterm election
(1998). And wartime popularity isn't always accurate.
After all, Bush Sr. had a 91% approval rating the
year before he was defeated for re-election.

6. THE INSPIRATION THING: Clearly, neither party
created a sense of inspiration in the electorate. No
single issue galvanized this electorate as in past
years.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11040-2002Nov5.html

7. Some Democrats believe their Party was timid in
responding to attacks of the GOP. But that is
understandable in part because the Democratic Party
has always been about attacking issues and not about
attacking people.

8. "We may not have been strong enough with our
message," Democratic Whip Rep. Nancy Pelosi said. "I
do think it behooves the national party to be clear
enough about the distinction between the two parties."

9. Jeb Bush won re-election only after waging the
most expensive campaign in Florida history.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:11 AM in Politics/Government
It's just amazing...

...that people actually think like Professor Peter Kirstein.(The e-mail exchange towards the bottom.)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:52 AM in Miscellaneous



Wednesday, November 6, 2002
Good news

With only a few billion dollars, a spy in the military to steal the plans, and several gigawatts of energy you can now evaporate your own artillery shells in mid-flight.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:08 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Geez

Anybody else pick up just a tiny shred of bias in this UPI piece?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:24 PM in Miscellaneous
Darn they're funny.

Once again it looks like it's time for people to make idle threats to leave the country.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:51 AM in Politics/Government
What went wrong for the Dems.

For the public to be behind your positions you first have to have positions.

Nobody in the Democratic party came forward with a coherent explanation of what the Democrats stood for. I thought Terry McAuliffe on Meet the Press Sunday was a good example. He was pressed multiple times about the Democratic agenda and not once did he present anything at all. Every answer started out as a vague hint that some Democrat somewhere had good ideas, but he could never name names, and then every time he moved on to an attack on Bushes leadership.

What the Dems need isn't more attacks on Bush or the Republicans, it's a coherent policy of what the stand for and some way to get that policy out there.

They either had not overall policy or simply did a horrible job of making it known, and that lead to slaughter this time.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:02 AM in Politics/Government
Well, I guess Captain Janeway won't be Ohio's First Lady.
Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:03 AM in Politics/Government
In case you missed it.

James Carville with a trash can on his head.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:00 AM in Politics/Government
First the parish, now this...

Would somebody please inform the people of Louisiana about this thing we have called primaries?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:16 AM in Politics/Government
You know...

Watching all the Democratic commentators tonight is quite entertaining. :)

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:11 AM in Politics/Government



Tuesday, November 5, 2002
Did you vote?

If not there's still time.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:25 PM in Politics/Government



Monday, November 4, 2002
New Mexico voters to decide if idiots can vote.

Insert your favorite Florida voter joke here.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:08 PM in Politics/Government
Ooooh...

Mondale just came out in opposition of terrorism in the Minnesota Senate debate. He's really going out on a limb there...

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:41 AM in Politics/Government
Oh goody

The Saudis will cooperate fully with an attack on Iraq, they just won't help us at all. They've got a funny idea of cooperation over there.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:39 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Wow, Terry McAuliffe is a lying weasel.

Watching today's Meet The Press and this guy is just dodging and lying all over the place. He doesn't seem to have a single good rebuttal to anything Russert asks him. Everything seems to lead back to Bush not leading on the economy. Russert asks him "Once again, if the Democrats are complaining about the economy, what’s the alternative? You don’t want to repeal the Bush tax cut. What do you want to do?" and McAuliffes replies with one sentence hinting at some vague candidates out there having a plan and then moves back into bashing Dubya. Oh, and just to top it off he suddenly wants to take credit for the tax rebates last year. I don't know. I seem to recall a bit of Democratic opposition to that, some griping that it was just the President buying votes and whatnot. I guess they were just being extremely critical of what was actually their idea. Yeah...

Is this what the Democrats have come to? Having to dodge the issues every time? Going on the attack instead of coming out and actually offering a plan that can be reasonably argued for or against? Come on...

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:27 AM in Politics/Government



Saturday, November 2, 2002
Here's something you don't see very often.

The father of a suicide bomber speaks out. And it's actually against terrorism, not for it.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:58 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Damn Jews...

Always making trouble for the Germans by getting killed and whatnot. Apparantly getting a street named after them is just the last straw.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:57 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Quick Movie Review - Punch-Drunk Love

Saw Punch-Drunk Love tonight and absolutely loved it. P.T. Anderson just has an amazing ability to steep his films in his own quirky (for lack of a better word) style without it feeling at all forced. Heck, just having Sandler along for the ride and not having the project turn out to be your typical Sandler flick takes some talent. (Not that I've got anything against Sandler's movies, just bought Mr. Deeds as a matter of fact.) Not everyone will like it though, it's not really a mainstream film. If you enjoy art-house films, or you weren't totally turned off by Magnolia then I'd definately suggest giving it a shot.


4 out of 4 stars.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:44 AM in Movies



Friday, November 1, 2002
Uhoh...

Guess we just can't attack Iraq now. We don't want to go to hell.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:18 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Good point...

Diana West makes a good point regarding all the "we can't identify the Muslim sniper as Muslim" sentiment. I can accept some editorializing that not all Muslims are bad, but some Muslims do bad things and to hide that fact is simply intellectually dishonest.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:05 PM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Yeah, this was a good idea...

Yeah, nothing says that you have a legitimate message to get out than demonizing your opponent by showing him shoving old ladies off a cliff. Is this really the best they could do?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:56 AM in Politics/Government
Tsk, tsk...

Admit it, you weren't planning to vote, were you? Shame on you! Unless of course you were going to vote for the people I don't want to win in which case... Good job! :) j/k of course

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:44 AM in Politics/Government
Just a reminder... for the first time... Uhhhh yeah...

Just 4 more days until Sports Night is available on DVD! Stupid ABC... *grumble*

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:40 AM in TV
From the "Ted Rall's a blooming idiot" file...

If good ole Ted weren't actually serious this could be funny. It reads like a satire of conspiracy theories. I'd rebut a few of his points, but he really has none. He's just casting aspersions about left and right.

You know, if he started out thinking like this I bet the story of how he first got syndicated would be fairly interesting. I just can't imagine that conversation.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 11:34 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East
Nice to see them take on the bad guys

So many "human rights groups" seem to spend far too much time criticizing minor things like are the gitmo detainees being forced to eat bagels or not that it's nice to see them actually get something right once in a while. So I'd like to applaud Human Rights Watch on getting this one right.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 10:49 AM in War/Terrorism/Middle East



 
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