Sunday, July 31, 2005

Post #1




Matthew Heidt of Froggy Ruminations has a great post up on the funeral for a fellow Navy SEAL, James E. Suh. It has some good photos and one picture of the man that just stops you dead in your tracks. His gaze, that is:

 James Suh

James Suh fought the good fight. Though many don’t see it, he was fighting for humanity, for freedom, for individuals the world over.

[W]e pledge to bind ourselves again to one another;
To embrace our lowliest,
To keep company with our loneliest,
To educate our illiterate,
To feed our starving,
To clothe our ragged,
To do all good things,

knowing that we are more than keepers of our brothers and sisters.


We are our brothers and sisters.


In honor of those who toiled and implored God with golden tongues,

and in gratitude to the same God who brought us out of hopeless desolation,

We make this pledge.

There are so many ways to make the pledge and keep the pledge. This grateful American honors the man with the haunting gaze who made and kept the pledge in his own way.

Rest in peace, James E. Suh.

31 jul 05 @ 10:34 am edt

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Post #2




For the first time in what seems like a long time but probably isn’t, we’re having some fairly substantial morning rain in Tallahassee. The National Weather Service has a new experimental website up that will give you a pretty good loop showing you your present local radar. Below is a static image, not the loop, for Tallahassee a bit earlier today:

 Summer Weather Radar

I’ve always been fascinated by this kind of technology – we absolutely take it for granted today but not that long ago it simply did not exist.

30 jul 05 @ 10:25 am edt

Post #1




So, last night I’m scanning the dial and happened upon CNN. There was a panel discussion going on; it was Lou Dobbs’ show and Ron Brownstein of the L.A. Times was one of the panelists. All I remember is that it was negative about what had just occurred on Capitol Hill. Somehow, the Republicans were portrayed as having problems, problems, and more problems. Revolts were popping up all over the place.

Now (given what happened yesterday), that is the very definition of sad sack media slavishness to talking points wouldn’t you say? Thankfully, I wake up this morning and, lo and behold, what greets me on the Washington Post website but this truthful gem:

A Flurry of Republican Victories on Capitol Hill
Key measures had suffered from years of partisan wrangling; passage represents significant wins for president, congressional GOP leadership.

Charles Babington and Justin Blum

Context, context, context.

Agenda journalism goes down a lot easier when the MSM members can at least admit the obvious. What of the New York Times? No, no, no – they couldn’t dare admit something so obvious. Disaggregate, like this:

Senate Approves Bill Protecting Gun Businesses
The Senate also passed legislation on highways and energy and renewed its version of the antiterror USA Patriot Act.
Most Patriot Act Provisions Made Permanent
Lawmakers' Pet Projects Find Home in Bill
Senate Leader Criticized for Stem Cell Shift

So, is their focus on guns? No, but that’s the scarier headline.


Read more and you will get the basic facts. The paper of record, however, failed in this instance where the Washington Post did not.

30 jul 05 @ 6:44 am edt

Friday, July 29, 2005

Post #3




Michael Yon (from Polk County) continues to cover Iraq with unvarnished distinction; his post welcoming into American citizenship a real variety of soldiers fighting the good fight in Iraq.

My two brothers and I all served in the United States Army. Yon’s post reminds any ex-soldier what we usually love about the Army – the men and women who become your brothers- and sisters-in-arms. I have a nephew serving now as a mechanic in Special Operations. He may or may not be going for his Green Beret in the next year (yes, I am a bit worried about that). I mention him in this post because his best friend is a white boy from Tennessee who happens to be a big U.T. Volunteer fan. My nephew, of course, is a big Gator fan. I’m hoping to get both of them down to the great Sunshine State for the weekend festivities surrounding the Florida-Georgia game. Hopefully, Florida will have beaten the Vols behinds by then. All of this to say, it’s that kind of relationship that the Army makes possible, if not probable. Other institutions in America do this to, of course, but the Army makes it really accessible to the average American.

Back to the post . . .

Yon has some good pictures and profiles in the post; check them out. I’m drawn to this guy:

“The Q”

There’s another soldier here from Mexico, Victor Quinonez. Everyone calls him Q. At 23, Q fights like crazy; he’s earned his great combat reputation. I joke with Q that he’ll either be a top military leader, or in trouble with the law if he doesn’t listen to his leaders. And Q always tells me, “Mike, when the shit goes down and the bullets are flying, you stick with me and I’ll get you out. Never fear when the Q is here! You’ve seen me in action. You know I’ll get you out. I’m a Mexican, not a Mexican’t!”

First time I met Q, I thought he was full of something, and he was, but it wasn’t what I was thinking. One time, during a brief shootout, I kind of broke through a gate for cover in a house, and Q said, “Mike, what you hidin’ from!” I answered, “Bullets, dumbass! Get in here!” “You come out here!” Q said, “We’re gonna get these guys!” Now he’s like my young Mexican-American brother and I get worried he’ll get shot or blown up.

It’s been true since the U.S. was founded that some of the best Americans were not born in America. And we can use all the good people we can get. That’s something to remember.

Damn right. I still have vivid images from my days in the Army of guys from Mexico named Luna, Quinonez, etc. Yon’s “Q” sounds like the real deal. And I like that Mexican bit.

29 jul 05 @ 4:14 pm edt

Post #2




Mark Steyn is still trying to fight the good fight in Britain, advising folks there to wake the hell up:

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.

And here is Chrenkoff, with a riff building on Steyn:

As I’ve tried to say many times recently, Al Qaeda is more than just the sum of individual grievances. You can solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict or the problem of Kashmir, but Al Qaeda will still be with us. That’s not an argument for not trying to solve these international problems - by all means, a Palestinian state is a laudable end - but don’t kid yourself that this will end terrorism, because:

a) Al Qaeda doesn’t just want a Palestinian state - it wants a Taliban-style Palestinian state that is to the exclusion of, and not in addition to, the Jewish state, and

b) it wants a lot more than that - it’s the Caliphate or bust.

Trying to eliminate various geo-political grievances might help by reducing the number of potential single-issue terror recruits - but it won’t end the terror. The list of grievances is seemingly inexhaustible, which means there will always be reasons for somebody to get worked up about something happening somewhere around the world (the IRA’s war largely consisted of Irishmen blowing up other Irishmen and the Brits on the British Isles; Al Qaeda’s war consists of Moroccans blowing themselves up in Iraq). Secondly, there will always be enough people attracted to Al Qaeda’s totalitarian dream - people who want the flag of the Prophet flying over every capital, the end of Dar Al Harb, and the conversion or death of all the infidels.

When you have to choose sides in such a situation – and you do have to choose sides, even if you would prefer not to – the decision is really easy. Much of the problem in America (vis-à-vis recognizing the war we’re in) is the large number of folks who refuse to give up on utopian-flavored theories and preferences in the face of this determined enemy.

Because they are susceptible to “grievance-mongering” they, in turn, are sympathetic to Islamofascist grievance-mongerers who are hijacking Islam. It’s as simple as that.

Back to Mark Steyn, who is really pissed that the British welfare state is being used by the folks to bring down the British way of life:

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.

That’s why I regretfully have to disagree with the editor of this great publication in his prescription of the current situation which appeared in these pages a week or two back under the headline ‘Just don’t call it war’. As you’ll have gathered, the boss objects to the language of ‘war, whether cultural or military.... Last week’s bombs were placed not by martyrs nor by soldiers, but by criminals.’

Sorry, but that’s the way to lose. [RattlerGator: this is so obviously true you have to wonder why folks keep resisting it – oh, that’s right, they’re grievance-mongerers, too] A narrowly focused ‘criminal’ approach means entrusting the whole business to the state bureaucracy. The obvious problem with that is that it’s mostly reactive: blow somewhere up, we’ll seal it off, and detectives will investigate it as a crime scene. You could make the approach less reactive by a sustained effort to improve scrutiny of immigration, entitlement to welfare and other matters within the purview of government. But consider those two snippets from the Tuesday papers and then figure out the likelihood of that happening. A ‘criminal’ approach gives terrorists all the rights of criminals, and between British and European ‘human rights’ that’s quite a bundle. If it’s a war, you can take wartime measures — including withdrawal from the UN Convention on Refugees, repeal of the European Human Rights Act, and a clawback of sovereignty from the EU. But if you fight this thing as a law-enforcement matter, Islamist welfare queens will use all the above to their full extent and continue openly promoting the murder of the Prime Minister, British troops, etc. with impunity.

Softly-softly won’t catchee monkey.

Are you laughing at that last line as much as I am? Beautiful stuff.

Of course, Bill Clinton listened to all those brilliant Europeans and studiously followed the law enforcement model. John Kerry wanted us to go back to it. That would have been pure madness.

Mullah Omar was banking on the law enforcement model being employed – until George W. Bush dropped not a surprise, but a “so-prize,” on their behinds. Still, many on the left want to go back to the law enforcement model; Mark Steyn says hell no and I’m with Mark.

29 jul 05 @ 2:49 pm edt

Post #1




This is so good and relatively brief that I’m reproducing it in full:

Electronica songmaister Moby used to criticize Eminem for misogynistic lyrics (really?). Eminem, in turn, reciprocated with this well-reasoned and witty riposte in his hit “Without You”:

And Moby, you can get stomped by Obie,
You 36 year old bald headed fag, blow me,
You don’t know me,
You’re too old let go
It’s over, nobody listens to techno

But regardless, Eminem has finally won Moby’s seal of approval - because of his anti-Bush, anti-war in Iraq stance. “I found myself respecting him for doing that,” says Moby. And so the man who not so long ago was saying “any music that glorifies abuse, misogyny, homophobia or racism is disturbing, but especially so when it’s targeted to a fanbase of 10-year-old boys” is now gushing:

“Honestly, if he retired, I think the world of music would be a poorer place. He’s a really fascinating public figure... I’d much rather have public figure musicians like Eminem because at least he’s exciting.”

And what about being called a “bald headed fag” and parodied in a video?

“To have the most successful musician in the world dress up like you in a video and sing about you in a song - it was honestly some of the best publicity I’ve ever had.”

George W Bush - you are a truly a miracle worker. Who else, after all, could end a feud between an egomaniacal white trash rapper and a sensitive New Age electronica maestro?

Moby, “Hotel” might just be my favorite new CD this year, but you’re an idiot.

And the man titled the piece Moby Dick! Oh man, I love that ability to slice and dice.

29 jul 05 @ 2:47 pm edt

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Post #4




I’ve got to get on the road and travel but what an amazing story this Arthur Teele saga is – absolutely incredible.

28 jul 05 @ 12:28 pm edt

Post #3




Martin Kimani, delivering more of the cold, hard truth:

"It is common knowledge that many housemaids in genteel middle class Nairobi are never paid a wage; it is their parents, or ‘auntie’ who receives the pittance that they are owed every month. Anyone who has lived or visited the city for any length of time also knows that it is not uncommon to have ten-year olds doing the washing, cleaning and cooking for an entire family while enduring a steady diet of slaps and kicks. And I do not exaggerate when I point to the high frequency of maid rape in many households. If you ask your typical Nairobi ‘babi’ or middle class boy what his first sexual encounter was, he will spin a tall tale about the ‘older girl who lived just up the road’. Wrong. The first encounter, and the second and the third, is more often than not with the maid. She is shared among the boys in the house, their friends in the neighbourhood sometimes and very often the man of the house who after dropping off the kids and wife to school in the mornings, will sneak back for a quick one. This sexual access is usually procured forcefully with the implicit threat that for the maid to resist will result in instant dismissal. Here's a little clue for HIV/AIDS health workers who decry the transmission of the disease from philandering husband to wife: it is the maid who is at the centre of a domestic sexual web that runs through the sons and their father, not to mention any other lovers she may take. This is of course not to blame her, it is to recognise that the helplessness that attends many maids – relentlessly mistreated, isolated from friends and family, and economically disempowered – exposes them to the malign actions of a class of people whose upward aspiration is often marked with a immense contempt for their ‘inferiors’."

When you read this there is an automatic acknowledgment, deep in your soul, that it is the absolute truth.

Here’s to more truth-telling in Africa and more acceptance of responsibility.

28 jul 05 @ 12:18 pm edt

Post #2




Shay at Booker Rising thinks so:

Towards A Possible Agenda
Mind you, I personally disagree with much of the agenda that I outline below (I am fiscally conservative and socially moderate, and believe in small government), but I also believe that black communities desperately need more political competition. I am a pragmatist, and thus will offer recommendations that will help get us there. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a liberal commentator, recently wrote: "The fear and loathing many blacks still have of Bush's policies for now guarantee the Democrats a winning hand in the hard fought game for black voters. But Republicans think they can do something that was unthinkable a scant four years, and that's break the Democrat's stranglehold on the black vote. Bush and Mehlman may be on to something." What will grab these folks, so the Republican Party can reach its stated goal of capturing 25% of the black vote by 2008? In conversations with old-school black folks and looking at the Pew Research Center data, these positions seem to grab at the Cosby Republicans:

support for school prayer: they believe it creates better-behaved children and acknowledges God at the center of humanity

support for school vouchers: they believe enables black parents to choose better schools for their kids

opposition to abortion: viewed as black genocide

opposition to gay marriage: they believe it threatens the already fragile black marriage rate. They also view attempts by (overwhelmingly white) gay activists to link the issue to the Civil Rights Movement as almost blasphemous, racially arrogant, and leeching off black folks' hard work

pro-union: they believe it protects workers from corporate overreach

tax cuts for middle class but keep progressive structure: they don't believe that the rich pay their fair share

support for more African aid & more trade: links to their social gospel ethic

opposition to illegal immigration: viewed as mostly hurting black workers

support for government safety net: linked to their belief that government should care for the needy, but they will also support restrictions to curb irresponsible behavior

are turned off by "blacks are victims" rhetoric: they believe racism exists and will rant against it, but don't buy that it dominates as it did in the 1950s

support for affirmative action: view it as a step up for folks who are willing to improve themselves, and as payback for centuries of black oppression

There are some folks who mostly but don't entirely fit the model. For example, Mr. Aldridge mentioned above is a social moderate who supports gay marriage. So it's not a monolithic group. However, these populist folks stand out for their strong religious faith and conservative views on many moral issues. They also tend to support a social safety net, which would set them apart from conservative Republicans. Although given big-government conservatism of late, perhaps not. Cosby Republicans are skeptical about the effectiveness of free markets, and favor government regulation to protect the public interest, protect morality, and government assistance for the poor. They may overlap with white moderate Republicans on issues such as the environment and tax cuts for the middle class, but will diverge on key social issues.

However, this group is also suspicious of the Republican Party, because of its infamous Southern Strategy in wooing white voters - whom they or their parents fought battles against during the Civil Rights Movement - and wonder if the party likes black folks. The recent GOP apology, via chairman Ken Mehlman, at the NAACP's national convention may help thaw the ice. However, this is a huge hurdle for the Republican Party to cross in its outreach to old-school blacks. To get over the hump, the Republican Party must do a far better job of defining itself in media that this subgroup actually follows, which is black media. Right now, the Democratic Party defines the GOP in black media, and it ain't a flattering definition either.

Support for school prayer? Check.

Support for school vouchers? Check.

Opposition to abortion? The whole culture of life theme resonates with black people but this is a very complicated issue that results in a kinda-sorta check.

Opposition to gay marriage? Absolute check.

Pro-union? No go, black people don’t give a damn about that.

Tax cuts for middle class but keep progressive structure? Honestly, black people really don’t think about this but they generally don’t believe the rich are paying their fair share [in fact, this is an area ripe for greater education – the Democratic talking points can definitely be attacked] so I give this a kinda-sorta check.

Support for more African aid and more trade? No go, Black people in all honesty don’t give a damn about this.

Opposition to illegal immigration? Check.

Support for government safety net? Check.

Turned off by “blacks are victims” rhetoric? Check. We’ve clearly seen the unintended consequences.

Support for affirmative action? Check. But, like me, more and more folks are seeing that we’ve carried a hell of a lot of water for white females and are questioning if the baggage is worth it.

More later, but this is a good start for greater substantive discussion.

28 jul 05 @ 12:17 pm edt

Post #1




Just One Minute is steady on the case of the continuing Valerie Plame – Joe Wilson thing. One of the comments to the post struck me, though, more than the post itself:

I remember 1991. We went in not knowing how bad Saddam's WMD were...and found they were a lot worse than what Bush 1 had said they were. And I was serving then and supported the president and was worried that he had exaggerated. But he hadn't. In 2003, it was the reverse. But IMHO, we still had causus belli. And that was because Saddam had ejected the inspectors. It was up to him to comply.

Note that in 1991, only 6 Democrat Senators supported the war. Even thought Kuwait had been invaded. They ran for the hills when the war went so well. Now, they (mostly) voted for this one and want to bail out when it get's tough.

That’s the way it appears to me, too. Just as so many people want to say they supported the action in Afghanistan but really didn’t.

28 jul 05 @ 12:15 pm edt

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Post #2




Dafydd ab Hugh's Five Universal Rules of Intelligence:

1. The Law of Imperfect Precognition: Sometimes there is no "right choice." Throw the dice.

2. The Law of Imperfect Postcognition: Not even hindsight is ever really 20-20.

3. The Law of Colliding Interests: Five different people can each make a rational decision and still wind up in a melee.

4. The Law of the Rational Onion: There is always another layer of analysis that contradicts everything you've already concluded. At some point, you just have to stop.

5. The Law of Models: There is a real reality out there, whether you can see it or not. And it bites.

Works for me.

27 jul 05 @ 4:58 am edt

Post #1




Kay Hymowitz in City Journal lays down the devastating facts on the crumbling foundation of the black family in America – and throws a disturbing historical marker back in our faces:

Read through the megazillion words on class, income mobility, and poverty in the recent New York Times series “Class Matters” and you still won’t grasp two of the most basic truths on the subject: 1. entrenched, multigenerational poverty is largely black; and 2. it is intricately intertwined with the collapse of the nuclear family in the inner city.

By now, these facts shouldn’t be hard to grasp. Almost 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers. Those mothers are far more likely than married mothers to be poor, even after a post-welfare-reform decline in child poverty. They are also more likely to pass that poverty on to their children. Sophisticates often try to dodge the implications of this bleak reality by shrugging that single motherhood is an inescapable fact of modern life, affecting everyone from the bobo Murphy Browns to the ghetto “baby mamas.” Not so; it is a largely low-income—and disproportionately black—phenomenon. The vast majority of higher-income women wait to have their children until they are married. The truth is that we are now a two-family nation, separate and unequal—one thriving and intact, and the other struggling, broken, and far too often African-American.

So why does the Times, like so many who rail against inequality, fall silent on the relation between poverty and single-parent families? To answer that question—and to continue the confrontation with facts that Americans still prefer not to mention in polite company—you have to go back exactly 40 years. That was when a resounding cry of outrage echoed throughout Washington and the civil rights movement in reaction to Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s Department of Labor report warning that the ghetto family was in disarray. Entitled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” the prophetic report prompted civil rights leaders, academics, politicians, and pundits to make a momentous—and, as time has shown, tragically wrong—decision about how to frame the national discussion about poverty.

My God, how I wish “ghetto family” and “Negro family” had not been equated by Moynihan – Hymowitz apparently does it, too. There’s something in that conflation that explains (in part) the visceral rejection of the correct diagnosis offered by Moynihan, I do believe.

The rejection is explained even more, of course, by the preponderance of the statist approach dominant in the 1960s. I have a sneaking suspicion that this very issue probably served as the crux of how a historically dysfunctional Democratic Party – a rabble rousing collection of folks (WASP cultural elites from all over the nation, white working class laborers from all over the nation) co-opted the emerging black vote guaranteed by the Civil Rights Acts of the era.

The rest is history. Some social programmatic “bones” were thrown our way that wound up buttressing (and glorifying) some of the sorrier elements of our culture. Chalk it up as yet another unintended consequence.

African Americans simply do not believe in collectivist-inspired European-style initiatives and do not interact well with them. I suspect this is true of folks all over the African diaspora. For instance, according to Hymowitz:

Moynihan went much further than merely overthrowing familiar explanations about the cause of poverty. He also described, through pages of disquieting charts and graphs, the emergence of a “tangle of pathology,” including delinquency, joblessness, school failure, crime, and fatherlessness that characterized ghetto—or what would come to be called underclass—behavior. Moynihan may have borrowed the term “pathology” from Kenneth Clark’s The Dark Ghetto, also published that year. But as both a descendant and a scholar of what he called “the wild Irish slums”—he had written a chapter on the poor Irish in the classic Beyond the Melting Pot—the assistant secretary of labor was no stranger to ghetto self-destruction. He knew the dangers it posed to “the basic socializing unit” of the family. And he suspected that the risks were magnified in the case of blacks, since their “matriarchal” family had the effect of abandoning men, leaving them adrift and “alienated.”

More than most social scientists, Moynihan, steeped in history and anthropology, understood what families do. They “shape their children’s character and ability,” he wrote. “By and large, adult conduct in society is learned as a child.” What children learned in the “disorganized home[s]” of the ghetto, as he described through his forest of graphs, was that adults do not finish school, get jobs, or, in the case of men, take care of their children or obey the law. Marriage, on the other hand, provides a “stable home” for children to learn common virtues. Implicit in Moynihan’s analysis was that marriage orients men and women toward the future, asking them not just to commit to each other but to plan, to earn, to save, and to devote themselves to advancing their children’s prospects. Single mothers in the ghetto, on the other hand, tended to drift into pregnancy, often more than once and by more than one man, and to float through the chaos around them. Such mothers are unlikely to “shape their children’s character and ability” in ways that lead to upward mobility. Separate and unequal families, in other words, meant that blacks would have their liberty, but that they would be strangers to equality. Hence Moynihan’s conclusion: “a national effort towards the problems of Negro Americans must be directed towards the question of family structure.”

Hymowitz writes that President Johnson agreed, subsequently giving a speech that he would later describe as his “greatest civil rights speech.” However, the statist elements in the government were not pleased and a large number in the black community weren’t either.

In part, the hostility was an accident of timing. Just days after the report was leaked to Newsweek in early August, L.A.’s Watts ghetto exploded. The televised images of the South Central Los Angeles rioters burning down their own neighborhood collided in the public mind with the contents of the report. Some concluded that the “tangle of pathology” was the administration’s explanation for urban riots, a view quite at odds with civil rights leaders’ determination to portray the violence as an outpouring of black despair over white injustice. Moreover, given the fresh wounds of segregation, the persistent brutality against blacks, and the ugly tenaciousness of racism, the fear of white backsliding and the sense of injured pride that one can hear in so many of Moynihan’s critics are entirely understandable.

Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is that here is the point where Hymowitz either blinks vis-à-vis her political analysis or is ignorant of a crucial world historical point: African American centrality to the perceptions war going on between the United States and the Soviet Union. I find that most white people are completely oblivious to this point.

And I’ll have more on this issue in future posts.

27 jul 05 @ 4:55 am edt

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Post #2




Wretchard the Cat:

The phrase “Global War on Terror” may, in retrospect, turn out to be the least descriptive of terms to apply to the worldwide upheaval since September 11. Perhaps future historians will find a more appropriate phrase to describe the changes that have remade the political and attitudinal landscape not only in the Middle East, but also in the West. In that tale Iraq will play a strange part. Never an obvious strategic an end in itself, the campaign against Saddam’s former dominion served as the vortex around which forces defined themselves, dividing into one side or the other, in the process of remolding the world. The effects of the decision to invade are still rippling through Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and Europe. And the odds are that if there is a settling of accounts in Iraq it will not be the last country in which this happens. The Times of London interview of President George Bush last month suggests that at the highest levels American leadership sensed rather than calculated that taking down the most powerful Middle Eastern state would set a tsunami in motion that only the US, in its power, might ride largely unscathed.

THE TIMES: Mr President, last night you mentioned the link between Iraq and 9/11, but there’s evidence of Iraq becoming a haven for jihadists, there’s been a CIA report which says that Iraq is in danger of — are you at risk of creating kind of more of the problems that actually led directly to —?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No. Quite the contrary. Where you win the war on terror is go to the battlefield and you take them off. And that’s what they’ve done. They’ve said, ‘Look, let’s go fight. This is the place.’ And that was my point. My point is that there is an ideology of hatred, an ideology that’s got a vision of a world where the extremists dictate the lives, dictate to millions of Muslims. They do want to topple governments in the Middle East. They do want us to withdraw. They’re interested in exporting violence. After all, look at what happened after September 11 (2001). One way for your readers to understand what their vision is is to think about what life was like under the Taleban in Afghanistan.

So we made a decision to protect ourselves and remove Saddam Hussein. The jihadists made a decision to come into Iraq to fight us. For a reason. They know that if we’re successful in Iraq, like we were in Afghanistan, that it’ll be a serious blow to their ideology. General (John) Abizaid (Commander of US forces in the Middle East) told me something very early in this campaign I thought was very interesting. Very capable man. He’s a Arab-American who I find to be a man of great depth and understanding. When we win in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s a beginning of the end. Talking about the war on terror. If we don’t win here, it’s the beginning of the beginning. And that’s how I view it.

And maybe that’s the way it was.

And all punk ass surrender monkeys be damned – move forward with confidence, America, move forward.

26 jul 05 @ 11:04 am edt

Post #1




I had heard speculation that Representative Jennifer Carroll was in the running to secure a future slot as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Maybe that was accurate, but . . . it looks as though an Orlando guy nailed it down:

First-term state Rep. Dean Cannon of Winter Park said Monday he has enough support from fellow Republicans to become speaker of the Florida House in 2010.

2010, you may be asking, 2010!?! That’s right:

Florida’s term limits law has prompted lawmakers to chase leadership posts immediately after being elected, and some want to avoid lengthy power struggles that have caused problems in years past.

After being shut out by FSU grads in recent legislative years, Cannon breaks the recent trend for U.F.:

Elected in November, Cannon is a member of Gray Robinson, a law firm that has gained a higher political profile in recent years. The Lakeland native received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida and is married with two children.

Cannon cited economic development and Medicaid reform as policy priorities.

The next Republican in line to become speaker, in 2006, is Rep. Marco Rubio of Miami. He will be followed by Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Destin, assuming the party retains its majority.

Another trend that seems to have developed is the selection of occasional Speakers of the House from the Northern third of Florida BUT NOT from Jacksonville or Northeast Florida.

Time for that trend to change, too.

26 jul 05 @ 10:44 am edt

Monday, July 25, 2005

Post #1




Ed Morrissey takes note of my post yesterday (thanks, Cap’n) linking to Melanie Phillips and extends it in a couple of ways. Read the whole thing but after discussing Australia, he ends with this riff:

India has a long history of Hindu-Muslim tension. Pakistan and Bangladesh owe their existence to a British partition of the Asian subcontinent when it pulled out in 1947. Ever since the split and massive relocations in the period that followed, the mainly Hindu India has disputed the borders it shares with Muslim Pakistan, which resulted in a nuclear standoff not long before 2001. Both nations claim the Kashmir province, and radicals on both sides provoked both governments into several bouts of brinksmanship.

AQ targeting of India shows quite clearly (as does its attempt to strike Australia) that the analysis of American causality as the origin of the 9/11 attacks and the London bombings clearly do not make sense. If anything, India's targeting shows that AQ doesn't just dream of an Arabian peninsula under its tyrannical control, but an Asian and African continent ruled by a new Caliphate. That has nothing to do with American interest in the Middle East, but rather an old dream of world conquest that has haunted the consciousnesses of lunatics for centuries.

And here's a good question for our media -- why haven't we heard about Mohammed Afroze? Why hasn't his conviction for targeting India and Melbourne made headlines in the United States? Could it be that the media understands all too well what Afroze's conviction means for its meme of American provocation of al-Qaeda and have chosen to remain quiet rather than prove itself tragically wrong?

Pesky facts; they can be so damn irritating to the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

25 jul 05 @ 8:48 am edt

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Post #1




Melanie Phillips, writing from Britain, draws our attention to this remarkable story from the London Times:

AN INDIAN man was jailed in Bombay yesterday for plotting to fly passenger jets into the House of Commons and Tower Bridge in London on September 11, 2001.

Mohammed Afroze was sentenced to seven years after he admitted that he had a role in an al-Qaeda plot to attack London, the Rialto Towers building in Melbourne and the Indian Parliament.



His lawyer has claimed, however, that the confession was “forcefully taken” and that Afroze was tortured by Indian police.

Afroze admitted that he and seven al-Qaeda operatives planned to hijack aircraft at Heathrow and fly them into the two London landmarks. The suicide squad included men from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Afroze said. They booked seats on two Manchester-bound flights, but fled just before they were due to board.

Afroze returned to India in October 2001. He was arrested in Bombay and charged with “committing depredation on territories at peace with India”.

In response to this article, Phillips wrote:

I did a double-take when I read this. One of the central claims by the appeasenik crowd is that Britain would never have been an al Qaeda target had it not joined the US in its war on terror, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. It was always obvious to anyone with eyes to see that Britain was always a target along with the rest of the free world. But the only reference to an actual plot against Britain on 9/11, as far as I am aware, was made in Rohan Gunaratna’s book Inside al Qaeda. Now, in a small story on page 12 of the Times, we are told that a man has been convicted of an al Qaeda conspiracy to hit Britain on 9/11. Shouldn’t this be a major story?

Yes, it should – especially given all of the phony talking points surrounding the War in Iraq / War on Terror. To be fair, there was a report in the London Daily Mail on December 7, 2001 that reported the basic facts:

A suspected terrorist plotted suicide attacks on two London landmarks to coincide with the September 11 atrocities, it emerged yesterday.

Mohammed Afroze, who is in custody in India, claimed his team of hijackers intended to crash passenger planes into the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge.

According to his story, as they waited to board the London-Manchester flights in an airport cafe, they heard about the scale of the disaster in the U.S., panicked and fled.

There were also aborted plans to fly jets into Melbourne's Rialto Towers and Parliament House in New Delhi, it is claimed.

Afroze, 25, who is nicknamed 'The Pilot', was arrested in Bombay on suspicion of links to Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda network. The Indian national is said to have told police during interrogation that he and seven other Al Qaeda members from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan booked themselves on to two Manchester flights on September 11.

After backing out at the last minute, Afroze flew from Heathrow to New Delhi the next day, before making his way to the resort of Goa and then on to Bombay.

Acting on a tip-off from the FBI, police stormed his hotel on October 2.

The journalistic crime, however, is that this December 7, 2001 story (and its obvious implications) has been completely ignored by the worldwide press. If I may extend this charge further, however, the CAPITAL CRIME arising from this dereliction wasn’t even addressed by Melanie Phillips – the inclusion of India in the strike plans.

Now, that’s a bombshell – isn’t it? After all, the talking points from so many on the left-wing is that this is a white folks problem, one generated by Europeans and their Anglo progeny, America and Australia. But if that’s the case, how the hell do they explain India?

India, my friends, defines the problem (the bastardization of Islam by Islamofascists) and puts the lie to the Blame America First crowd.

That’s why this story has been so earnestly ignored.

24 jul 05 @ 7:38 pm edt

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Post #1




I don’t give a damn what anybody else says, George W. Bush has done a fantastic job as President of these United States. His selection for the Supreme Court, John G. Roberts, proves the political brilliance at work. Check out the official announcement and Dubya’s remarks to the press just this morning. Then look at the man:

 Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts

Handsome enough, some might say damn good looking (for a judge). Absolutely physically fit and looks young for 50. In our television age – oh yeah, homeboy works quite well as the first person nominated by Dubya for the Supreme Court.

This guy appears to be the classic company man (in the sense of D.C. being a company town – the federal government). A Yale Man appointing a Harvard Man who has been trained by as well as signed off on by the present Chief Justice.

I’ve seen some folks presuming that this guy could easily be another David Souter but there is no way in hell this guy becomes another Souter.

Further, what this man does even more is perfectly set up Bush for his NEXT nominee. Along those lines, check out this post at PoliPundit:

You know, I’ve been thinking about Chief Justice Rehnquist’s decision not to retire. Let’s say he’s able to hold out until the end of the High Court’s next term. Well, in that event, Janice Rogers Brown will have about a year on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, of course, to her tour-de-force tenure on the Supreme Court of California.

Chief Justice Janice Rogers Brown certainly would have a nice ring to it, huh?

Just a thought.

Memo to President Bush:

You’ve given the far left their political castor oil. And that’s good. Very good. But next time bring out the lobotomy tools, chief.

Yeah, baby – that’s what the hell I’m talking about; political brilliance. I see McConnell or Luttig getting nominated and Janice Rogers Brown – but I don’t see here being nominated as Chief Justice. But damn, wouldn’t that be something?

Political brilliance to the nth degree.

20 jul 05 @ 9:53 am edt

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Post #1




Michael Wilbon wrote a great column today in the Washington Post on Tiger’s victory at the British Open and the sorry response two fine writers had to his historic accomplishment:

There's plenty in sports to criticize, but occasionally there's something to celebrate. And Tiger Woods's place in the athletic universe is something that is overwhelmingly uplifting, as these things go. At the moment, Tiger is a little bit Ali, a little bit Jordan, a little bit Nicklaus at their best. And he's 29 years old, which, since he's a golfer, means Tiger could be with us for Sunday afternoons for the next 15 to 18 years, maybe longer. As he chases Nicklaus's professional record of 18 major championships, Tiger is going to frame the discussion of athletic competition in this country and around the world until babies born yesterday begin college. He is as significant a figure in sports, worldwide, as there is.

Sportswriters have their favorite sportswriters. Two of mine are Bill Plaschke, the wonderful sports columnist of the Los Angeles Times, and best-selling author John Feinstein, my first mentor at The Washington Post and good friend for 25 years. Both wrote about Tiger yesterday; Feinstein's piece appeared on The Post's op-ed page. I wanted to strangle them both within seconds of reading their pieces, both of which centered on what Tiger Woods isn't -- that he isn't Jack Nicklaus, that he's not warm enough, that he doesn't share himself enough with the public, that he's too corporate, curses too much, on and on.

Plaschke wrote that "Woods is not simply a golfer anymore, he is Microsoft, he is Coke, he is Steinbrenner and that isn't fun. He is not as beloved as much as he is feared. He draws fewer embraces than stares."

Wilbon twernt happy, twernt happy at all.

To all this, I'd raise a toast. Good for Tiger that he's Microsoft and Coke and Nike and Buick. Because I know how eloquently Plaschke has written about racial prejudice in sports over the years, I'm going to presume he slipped up for just a moment and didn't forget in full how long black athletes waited for the day when they would be courted by America's major corporations.

This isn't ancient history; Serena and Venus Williams, as big a stars as they are, had trouble attracting sponsors a few years ago. I don't remember much if any criticism of Arnold Palmer, even though in his mid-seventies he's one of the top-earning athletes in the world. And it sure isn't from winning any golf tournaments. It's from being corporate. I only wish Lee Elder and Charlie Sifford had the chance to be so corporate.

True dat. I find myself often asking folks (since bitching and moaning has become a national sport these days), “what the hell you got against making money?”

Feinstein criticizes Woods for not trying to curb his language, which can get pretty foul when he misses a putt or hits a bad shot, just like most of us. And because Feinstein is a golf historian, I know he knows that Nicklaus, whom he justifiably praises to the high heavens, could have cursed up a storm if he wanted in 1962 or thereabouts without it reaching the television because he wasn't followed everywhere with sound men holding frighteningly high-tech boom microphones so close they can pick up the sound of his stomach churning. So, apparently, to Feinstein and Plaschke (and I know they are joined by a great many) it's not enough to win major championships, to win so much and with such style it revolutionizes the entire game and elevates the profile of the profession -- no, he's got to smile the way they want him to smile, accept only as much money from Coke and Nike as they want him to accept.

There you go, baby. “Don’t be THEIR slave – be MY slave. And no, I’m not going to pay you what THEY pay you. In fact, I’m not going to pay you a damn thing.”

He doesn't need to wave like Jack or be like Jack. Tiger Woods is 29, a champion already and an icon. Can you imagine how the game of golf would be reduced without him?

He's a work in progress, as we all are. And I consider myself lucky to be able to watch the length and breadth of his career. When Nicklaus waved bye-bye from Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews Friday he was in essence handing the game over to Tiger Woods, a champion and caretaker golf is lucky to have.

Somebody had to say it and Wilbon said it mighty well. The whole column seemed like a classic piece to me.

19 jul 05 @ 10:09 am edt

Monday, July 18, 2005

Post #3




I highly recommend reviewing a fascinating post at InstaPunk taking issue with Hugh Hewitt's blog entry analyzing the ultimately negative effects of left-wing bloggers on the Democratic Party. Overall, I think I’m with Hugh but . . . damn, that’s a hell of a post at InstaPunk. You absolutely have to read the whole thing to understand it but here is my overview. The points delineated are those made by Hugh Hewitt:

1.  The left's style of argumentation is costing it the opportunity to make conversions among moderates.

But InstaPunk says:

All that's left after the usual MSM mauling of an issue is an impression flavored by an emotional stink of some kind. It was ugly... not good for the President... does he know what he's doing...?

Chalk one up for the mainstream media. Next point from Hugh:

2. Center-right bloggers are much more successful in proselytizing independents because they care more about facts and honest analysis.

But InstaPunk says:

It's possible the [Center-Right Bloggers] played a role in shoring up conservative and moderate support against the tsunami of propaganda spewed by the MSM during the 2004 election, but given the polar nature of the choice between candidates, Bush should have won a 45-state landslide. He didn't come close.

Chalk another up for the mainstream media, InstaPunk says. I have to admit, I thought John Kerry was the single-worst Democratic candidate for President in my lifetime and, given the stakes, thought it incredible he received as many votes as he did. Of course, I’m also fairly certain he actually lost more states than the results admitted – because the Democrats double-voted their asses off.

3. This success is owed in large part to the predominance of lawyers among the center-right bloggers.

But InstaPunk says:

I am NOT saying that the lawyer bloggers in the center right are no good. They have many valuable contributions to make. But I AM saying that the blogosphere is not some debating club or informal court of law under another name. It is an electronic Hyde Park Corner, the sort of venue in which Karl Marx convinced just enough intelligent people to follow him in promoting what would become the most costly experiment in human government the world has yet produced.

Chalk up another victory for the left-wing because “[l]awyers are powerless to win such an engagement [What kind of an engagement? One where they – Make the charges, keep making the charges, disregard whether or not the charges are mutually exclusive (war for oil? war for familial vengeance? war for crusading fundamentalist Christianity? war for the Zionist conspiracy? war to distract from the failure to get bin Laden? war to disguise complicity in 9/11?] in the same way that those who seek to win the war on terror by treating it as a law enforcement problem are. It's a function of fundamentally misunderstanding the enemy and the nature of the conflict he is waging.” That is a damn good point, I must admit. The final point made by Hugh Hewitt is this:

4. The center-right blogosphere (CRB) is having (and ostensibly will have) a greater impact on the political scene generally because it demonstrates what might be called superior character to the lefty blogosphere; i.e., it is more professional, more serious-minded, more focused on ideas and their underlying logic pro and con, funnier, and -- by inference -- less ruthless in its treatment of the positions and people on the left.

But InstaPunk says:

The conservative side of this war -- and it is a war -- must include voices who go beyond the Golden Mean into dangerous territory. There must be voices of passion, stirring rhetoric, polemical cunning, savage denunciation, reckless and bloodcurdling scorn, and a daringly disrespectful sense of the absurd.

That, my friends, is some serious food for thought. In fact, here is my reply to the post on their website:

Truly, truly fascinating.

It's going to take some time to digest all of that but I have to say you make some good points. I've been amazed at the number of punk ass surrender monkeys we seem to have in this country after the 9/11 wake-up call and your post may help to explain it better.

One thing I do know for certain, however -- you have put your finger on a certain occupational blindness of lawyers. Further, I'm curious whether you have previously discussed the "trial lawyer" effect on the Democratic Party. Much of what you discussed relates back to stereotypical trial lawyer tactics.

Democrats have confused a "Have Gun, Will Travel" / zealous advocacy / lawyering model with responsible political advocacy.

Or so it seems to me.

18 jul 05 @ 9:07 pm edt

Post #2




EURSOC, a European blog dedicated to the development of a more democratic Europe, highlights some interesting goings-on in Germany and France (the infamous leaders of Old Europe):

Angela Merkel, widely reckoned to be Germany's chancellor-in-waiting, is in Paris today to pay her respects to president Jacques Chirac. If Merkel wins the forthcoming election, she'll have to do business with the troubled Chirac, but all eyes are on Tuesday's meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy.

The [London] Times describes the tete-a-tete as the first summit for the "stars of the new Paris-Berlin axis."

As the troublesome, embittered and finally embarrassing Chirac-Gerhard Schröder axis nears its end, any change of personnel will be welcome. However, the attention focussed on Sarkozy and Merkel - to the detriment of their respective nations' current leaders - is unprecedented in European politics.

And some people still refuse to see the incredible leadership of the George W. Bush administration – the whole “Old Europe” thing is going to go down as a classic utilization of verbal warfare.

The Times has toned down its EU-romanticism this week. Since France rejected the EU constitution in late May, the newspaper has run away with the idea that a new Europe, led by Tony Blair in concert with Sarkozy and Merkel, would shed the corrupt and anti-democratic institutions of Brussels past and step up to a new era of liberal prosperity. This is highly unlikely. Indeed, the opposite - a new era of anti-business protectionism - is a more feasible outcome of the current crisis.

However, it is right to conclude that a spring clean of continental Europe's two top offices is welcome, not just for France and Germany, but for Britain and indeed Europe as a whole. Sarkozy's "alternative Elysee summit" could be the best thing to happen to the EU since enlargement.

Yes, yes, yes. There are changes on the horizon. Small, incremental changes to be sure but changes in the right direction nevertheless.

18 jul 05 @ 9:43 am edt

Post #1




One of the reasons why I have turned so firmly away from the Democratic Party (and especially the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party) is the realization that they have consistently relied on a faulty mindset that is essentially anti-American in addition to being morally and contextually blind to the realities of competing social systems. W.E.B. DuBois was philosophically captured by these people and a keen intellect was derailed. Paul Robeson and countless other African American giants were likewise led astray, supporting people like Stalin but somehow capable of finding American capitalism unbearable.

Yesterday, Andrew Stuttaford at National Review Online made a good post that seems relevant to me:

Most opponents of American mid-east policy are very, very far from trying to argue that there is any sort of moral equivalence between the US and the forces of Islamic extremism, but there are a few, as Gene points out over at Harry’s Place, who seem to be heading in that direction. He quotes from an article in the [London] Observer that includes this:

“Fanaticism comes from any form of chosen blindness accompanying the pursuit of a single dogma. The G8's dogma is that the making of profit has to be mankind's guiding principle before which everything else from the traditional past or aspiring future must be sacrificed as illusion. The so-called war against terrorism is, in fact, a war between two fanaticisms. To bracket the two together seems outrageous. One is theocratic, the other positivist and secular. One is the fervent belief of a defensive minority, the other the unquestioned assumption of an amorphous, confident elite. One sets out to kill, the other plunders, leaves and lets die. One is strict, the other lax. One brooks no argument, the other 'communicates' and tries to 'spin' into every corner of the world. One claims the right to spill innocent blood, the other the right to sell the entire earth's water. Outrageous to compare them!”

Good lord.

To give a little historical context, Gene quotes this comment from a British pacifist from 1940:

“I am not greatly taken in by Britain's "democracy", particularly as it is gradually vanishing under the pressure of the war. Certainly I would never fight and kill for such a phantasm. I do not greatly admire the part "my country" has played in world events. I consider that spiritually Britain has lost all meaning... I feel identified with my country in a deep sense, and want her to regain her meaning, her soul, if that is possible: but the unloading of a billion tons of bombs on Germany won't help this forward an inch... Whereas the rest of the nation is content with calling down obloquy on Hitler's head, we [pacifists] regard this as superficial. Hitler requires, not condemnation, but understanding. This does not mean that we like, or defend him. Personally I do not care for Hitler. He is, however, "realler" than Chamberlain, Churchill, Cripps, etc, in that he is the vehicle of raw historical forces, whereas they are stuffed dummies, waxwork figures, living in unreality. We do not desire a German "victory"; we would not lift a finger to help either Britain or Germany to "win"; but there would be a profound justice, I feel, however terrible, in a German victory…”

Yes, yes, that's a very harsh comparison, but...

There’s no need for a “but, but, but” here. The context is clear and directly related to the stupidity of the 2005 comment listed first and the 1940 comment listed second. For people who demand or fervently wish for utopia, however, none of this matters.

None of it.

18 jul 05 @ 9:42 am edt

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Post #2




It’s left up to Mark Steyn to cut to the chase on the Joseph Wilson – Valerie Plame “outing” obsession:

This controversy began, you’ll recall, because Wilson objected to a line in the president’s State of the Union speech that British intelligence had discovered that Iraq had been trying to acquire ‘‘yellowcake’’ -- i.e., weaponized uranium -- from Africa. This assertion made Bush, in Wilson’s incisive analysis, a ‘‘liar’’ and Cheney a ‘‘lying sonofabitch.’’

In fact, the only lying sonafabitch turned out to be Yellowcake Joe. Just about everybody on the face of the earth except Wilson, the White House press corps and the moveon.org crowd accepts that Saddam was indeed trying to acquire uranium from Africa. Don’t take my word for it; it’s the conclusion of the Senate intelligence report, Lord Butler’s report in the United Kingdom, MI6, French intelligence, other European services -- and, come to that, the original CIA report based on Joe Wilson’s own briefing to them. Why Yellowcake Joe then wrote an article for the New York Times misrepresenting what he’d been told by senior figures from Major Wanke’s regime in Niger is known only to him.

There you go, baby. He’s the walking-talking definition of punk ass surrender monkey. You see, he’s just so much more NUANCED – in a State Department kind of way. And we don’t need a State Department kind of Central Intelligence Agency. This is, I think, what Steyn is trying to say here:

The British suicide bombers and the Iranian nuke demands are genuine crises. The Valerie Plame game is a pseudo-crisis. If you want to talk about Niger or CIA reform, fine. But if you seriously think the only important aspect of a politically motivated narcissist kook’s drive-thru intelligence mission to a critical part of the world is the precise sequence of events by which some White House guy came to mention the kook’s wife to some reporter, then you’ve departed the real world and you’re frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo.

What’s this really about? It’s not difficult. A big chunk of the American elites have decided there is no war; it’s all a racket got up by Bush and Cheney. And, even if there is a war somewhere or other, wherever it is, it’s not where Bush says it is. Iraq is a ‘‘distraction’’ from Afghanistan -- and, if there were no Iraq, Afghanistan would be a distraction from Niger, and Niger’s a distraction from Valerie Plame’s next photo shoot for Vanity Fair.

The police have found the suicide bomber’s head in the rubble of the London bus, and Iran is enriching uranium. The only distraction here is the pitiful parochialism of our political culture.

I don’t see much discussion on that supposition of mine but we certainly need more examination of that topic.

17 jul 05 @ 11:10 pm edt

Post #1




I was negligent in not mentioning the passing of longtime U.F. professor James Haskins on the 6th of July. He was a striking figure on campus in the 80s – in another time and place I might have fought to become part of his circle. The U.F. English Department had what seemed to me a very strong cadre of Black professors – also included in the mix were Mildred Hill-Lubin and Ronald Foreman.

When the New York Times ran an obituary of Haskins, I wasn’t surprised. The man lived in Manhattan and Gainesville but most knew that he was primarily a New Yorker. But the L.A. Times? That’s impressive to me and the Los Angeles paper did a thorough obit even if it was one week and a half after his passing:

James Haskins, who wrote more than 100 books about key moments in African American history and the black politicians, social reformers, artists and athletes who rose to prominence along the way, has died. He was 63.

Haskins, who aimed most of his books at young readers, died June 6 at his home in New York City of complications from emphysema, according to Irma McClaurin, a friend and colleague.

He began his career as a teacher in the New York City public school system and wrote some of his first books to help fill a gap he had discovered years earlier.

“I remember being a child and not having many books about black people to read,” Haskins recalled in an autobiographical essay.

He made it his mission to reconstruct African American history book by book, covering subjects that ranged from slavery to the black power movement and beyond.

“Jim Haskins created a canon of literature, particularly for children, that is a resource for anyone studying black history,” said McClaurin, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Florida, where Haskins was on the faculty nearly 30 years. “He wanted to document the triumphs and tribulations of African Americans in books that are readable and accessible for the young, but not only for them.”

Later, they provide some very interesting historical information:

Haskins was born in Demopolis, Ala., on Sept. 19, 1941, when African Americans were not allowed to use the public library. His mother gave him an encyclopedia, one volume at a time, sold at a local supermarket.

“Since my first major reading was the encyclopedia, this is probably … why I prefer nonfiction,” he later said.

His parents separated when he was 12, and he moved with his mother to Boston, where he attended Boston Latin School, an academically rigorous public institution. After graduating, he entered Alabama State University.

When protests over segregation began in that state, Haskins joined a march in downtown Montgomery and was expelled from the university for it. He enrolled at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he majored in psychology.

After graduating, he earned another bachelor’s degree, in history, at Alabama State. He went on to receive a master’s in social psychology at the University of New Mexico in 1963.

He had had a false career start as a stock trader in New York, but then realized he wanted to teach. After two years in the New York City public school system, Haskins became a lecturer at the New School, which was then called the New School for Social Research.

He joined the University of Florida as a professor of English in 1977.

 James Haskins

Well done, foot soldier. God speed.

17 jul 05 @ 11:08 pm edt

Friday, July 15, 2005

Post #1




Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters Blog has another post up on this thing. What caught my eye, however, was what one of his commenters added to the discussion. The writer, after making a quite valid point about the focus of the left wing and the right wing, opens up a dimension that the MSM has purposely kept under the radar screen:

First I want to clarify something that the left and right often talk right past each other. The facts of what Wilson found, and the conclusions of the intelligence community (IC) about Niger and Uranium. Wilson himself, using his excellent contacts, talked to the Prime Minister of Niger. The PM told him that he was called upon by an Iraqi trade delegation, and that he interpreted their overtures as a desire to buy uranium. The PM also said he refused, and the consensus of the IC believes him.

So there are two distinct facts. The left talks about one, the right, the other. Fact one: The IC concluded that Iraq did not buy uranium from Niger. The left loves this fact. The right generally ignores it as irrelevant. Fact two: Iraq did TRY to buy uranium from Niger. The left ignores this fact, and the right highlights it. Left and right often talk past each other, without realizing that they are talking about two different facts.

In his SOTU speech, the President highlighted fact 2 as a way of demonstrating that Iraq was making efforts to reconstitute its WMD programs. He said Iraq tried, not that Iraq succeeded. He was talking about efforts and motive. The left screamed that he was strongly implying that Iraq succeeded and was therefor a liar. But the important point the President was trying to make (and could have made more clearly) was that Saddam was indeed making efforts to reconstitute his WMD programs. Whether he has succeeded yet or not is a different question, but how long would you like to let him keep trying?

How does this apply to the current Rove/Plame/Novak/Wilson/Miller/Fitzgerald kerfuffle?

Speculation follows.

Here is my current thinking.

People generally act in their own self interest. Even when they act ‘on principle’ it generally conveniently correlates to their self interest.

Several people have challenged ‘If outing Plame wasn’t a crime, what is Miller sitting in jail for?’ The answer is that is far from the only possible crime committed. It gets the most play because that is the one the media party is trying to [convict] Rove with. But there are many other possible crimes. For instance, perjury. That could go all sorts of ways with different players. Or disclosing classified information...Plame’s identity is FAR from the only leak. Heck, this leak about Novak telling Rove could well be a crime, and there were no shortages of leaks out of the CIA in the run up to the war.

So why is Miller in jail? Because it suits her and her employers interest. How so?

I see several possible reasons. I don’t have any good way of determining which, or possibly several, apply.

The most devastating would be that Miller (who has good CIA-WMD contacts) had a lot more knowledge about what was happening before Wilson’s famous oped. For instance, she might have already known that Wilson did in fact talk to Niger’s prime minister and he corrorborated Iraq’s efforts (not success, fact 2, not fact 1) to buy uranium. So in fact, that piece of Wilson’s findings strongly corroborate the President’s famous 16 words in the SOTU. If the NYT understood that distinction before Wilson’s [Op-Ed] and the 16 words hype...the NYT would have absolutely no credibility. It would be reduced from the ‘paper of record’ to the Upper West Side Daily overnight, even among leftists and the rest of the media. It is possible they deliberately and knowingly served as a platform for a liar and deliberately spread misinformation. That would be worth going to jail to keep quiet.

Another possible reason is that Miller and her sources are the source of Plame’s name. Cooper got it from Rove, Rove got it from Novak, who’d Novak get it from? It was apparently the talk of the DC party scene, how’d it get there? Miller had good contacts at CIA on WMD. One strong possibility is that Plame was one of Miller’s key sources, and broke the law with several classified disclosures. It is also possible that another source at CIA-WMD clued Miller in about Plame and Wilson, and thus is far closer to the guilty party than Rove ever was. Thus Miller’s sources could be in big legal trouble.

Depending on how this plays out, so too could the NYT credibility...assume for a moment that Miller is the ultimate source and that the NYT knows it. Then re-read their trashing of Rove....and think about their correction for that and their [credibility] in the aftermath.

[Separate] from why the Prosecutor wants Miller’s testimony, this addresses why Miller isn’t giving it. The NYT did a lot of ‘experts say’ and ‘sources say’ and Miller could be caught in an integrity trap. She [knowingly] gave highly partisan politically motivated leaks the pleasant patina of ‘expert authority’ rather than disclosing their motivations. That is a big journalistic no no.

If Fitzgerald is being petty, he could be going after Plame for nepotism in getting her husband the job. [RattlerGator: O.K., I don’t quite follow that.] I don’t think that is the case, but nepotism is illegal.  

Miller’s testimony could be important to establishing a perjury charge against someone else. If that person was another media person, she might be willing to take the hit rather than talk and either perjure herself or prove the perjury of someone else.

Shifting gears here, I want to talk about Cooper’s testimony and why he waited 18 months after his source gave him permission to testify. I think it speaks to Miller’s non-testimony. Rove signed a broad prosecutor written disclosure 18 months ago. That freed Cooper to talk. He didn’t. Why? Because it was not in his interest. Why? Because his testimony (or at least his emails) disclosed substantial discrepancies between his story and the facts. Cooper wrote what amounts to a hit piece on the administration strongly suggesting that the Administration (Rove) was shopping a story outing Plame as revenge for Wilson. His email to his editor doesn’t even suggest such a thing. In fact, he called Rove. And about a different subject, then changed it to Plame. And Rove talked about Plame in the context of how an opposition partisan hack got into a position to do such damage....and the answer....nepotism from his wife at the agency. And Cooper totally ignored Rove’s point...don’t go out on a limb with Wilson...he isn’t credible and turned it into an administration revenge sliming. Don’t believe Wilson and here is why is a far cry from a revenge outing. But Rove gave Cooper the first and Cooper wrote the second. [RattlerGator: Damn good point]

Cooper’s story is the false meme that the colored the entire story from then till now. Cooper is the one who falsely attributed the motive of revenge that the left is still running with. That is why Rove was more than willing to let him testify 18 months ago...and Cooper wasn’t willing to until he faced jail. Cooper’s journalistic fraud is what prevented him from testifying until faced with jail. I think something very similar is facing Miller, but hers was big enough that she would rather go to jail than have it exposed.

Why isn’t Miller testifying? Because her own and the NYT credibility is on the line.

If true, their credibility isn’t actually on the line – it’s already been compromised.


15 jul 05 @ 12:48 pm edt

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Post #1




Beldar has a great post up  indirectly answers so much of the misinformation related to Guantanamo but is a direct response to Andrew Sullivan, a man I refuse to read at all anymore, who sang the praises of this piece by Jonathan Rauch. It was all just too much for Beldar; after demonstrating the ridiculous and false premise of the column, he offered Sullivan a tip:

If you want some clarity — some genuinely elegant clarity — on this topic, Mr. Sullivan, read this short essay by Prof. Eugene Volokh. It's too tightly constructed, indeed seamless, to excerpt here in a way that does it justice, but it brings any reader to this absolutely inescapable conclusion (internal parenthetical omitted; bracketed portion mine):

[A]s a matter of law and of morality, it's perfectly proper to keep an enemy soldier [— whether he's been a lawful or unlawful combatant —] detained until he is no longer dangerous to us, even if that means he'll be locked up for the rest of his life. It's that; killing them on the battlefield; or letting them go so they can kill us.

Just read the whole thing. Afterwards, unless you're willfully blind to law, logic, and morality, you'll certainly understand why you needn't bother reading past the second paragraph of Mr. Rauch's essay.


UPDATE (Sat Jul 9 @ 12:45pm): Via Prof. Volokh's trackbacks, I came across this reply to his essay by Hanno Kaiser. Mr. Kaiser has the impression that the Gitmo detainees were captured not as combatants on a battlefield, nor through an exercise of martial law, but as persons caught up in a "pocket of [American] executive or military power" that has since dissipated. Equally bogus; amazingly obtuse and otherworldly; something that could only be written by a man with absolutely no concept of what it's like for an American soldier to have an RPG fired at him on a battlefield.

So many of them are completely unserious, completely.

14 jul 05 @ 7:12 pm edt

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Post #3




While the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party still bitches about the Patriot Act, Britain has been mugged by reality and can now clearly smell the coffee. From tomorrows editions of the London Telegraph here’s a story discussing the need to modify anti-terrorism laws in Europe and sanction world nations that did not crack down on money laundering activities:

Mr Brown hinted that Britain would back sanctions on nations that failed to take action. He said he would put the issue on the agenda for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this autumn.

Mr Straw took an equally combative line in a meeting with the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament.

He told MEPs he understood but could not share their qualms about the proposed "data retention" law aimed at telephone and internet firms.

Mr Straw called for a "rebalancing of where the line between the rights of individuals and the rights of societies should lie".

No chit, Mr. Straw, and welcome aboard. Good luck bringing those punk ass surrender monkeys in Europe along with you.

12 jul 05 @ 10:05 pm edt

Post #2




Here’s why the whole War on Terror, root causes and all, is about them. Amir Taheri in the London Times:

The ideological soil in which alQaeda, and the many groups using its brand name, grow was described by one of its original masterminds, the Pakistani Abul-Ala al-Maudoodi more than 40 years ago. It goes something like this: when God created mankind He made all their bodily needs and movements subject to inescapable biological rules but decided to leave their spiritual, social and political needs and movements largely subject to their will. Soon, however, it became clear that Man cannot run his affairs the way God wants. So God started sending prophets to warn man and try to goad him on to the right path. A total of 128,000 prophets were sent, including Moses and Jesus. They all failed. Finally, God sent Muhammad as the last of His prophets and the bearer of His ultimate message, Islam. With the advent of Islam all previous religions were “abrogated” (mansukh), and their followers regarded as “infidel” (kuffar). The aim of all good Muslims, therefore, is to convert humanity to Islam, which regulates Man’s spiritual, economic, political and social moves to the last detail.

But what if non-Muslims refuse to take the right path? Here answers diverge. Some believe that the answer is dialogue and argument until followers of the “abrogated faiths” recognise their error and agree to be saved by converting to Islam. This is the view of most of the imams preaching in the mosques in the West. But others, including Osama bin Laden, a disciple of al-Maudoodi, believe that the Western-dominated world is too mired in corruption to hear any argument, and must be shocked into conversion through spectacular ghazavat (raids) of the kind we saw in New York and Washington in 2001, in Madrid last year, and now in London.

That yesterday’s attack was intended as a ghazava was confirmed in a statement by the Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe, an Islamist group that claimed responsibility for yesterday’s atrocity. It said “We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid (ghazava) in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.” Those who carry out these missions are the ghazis, the highest of all Islamic distinctions just below that of the shahid or martyr. A ghazi who also becomes a shahid will be doubly meritorious.

There are many Muslims who believe that the idea that all other faiths have been “abrogated” and that the whole of mankind should be united under the banner of Islam must be dropped as a dangerous anachronism. But to the Islamist those Muslims who think like that are themselves regarded as lapsed, and deserving of death.

It is, of course, possible, as many in the West love to do, to ignore the strategic goal of the Islamists altogether and focus only on their tactical goals.

Of course, some Americans think they had no “choice” in the decision to prosecute this War on Terror – still deluding themselves that they can safely ignore the Islamic declarers of war themselves; still bitching about the Patriot Act and completely unconcerned with sleeper cells intent on destroying liberties far beyond anything even dreamed of in the Patriot Act.

12 jul 05 @ 6:37 am edt

Post #1




Click this link for a Macromedia Flash presentation.

As Bill Roggio at Winds of Change noted in this link, since that declaration:

The facts presented speak for themselves.

There have been 30 major mass casualty attacks directed against the United States, Britain, France, Spain, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Iraq, Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and North Osetia. 14 of the 30 attacks were conducted prior to the invasion of Iraq, making claims of the occupation of Iraq as a casus belli for al Qaeda’s terrorism to be disingenuous at best. 4,895 people have been killed in these attacks, and 12,345 plus have been wounded. The majority of the countries attacked are Muslim countries. And although not stated, the vast majority of the victims of al Qaeda's violence are Muslims.

The ideologues, leaders and foot soldiers of al Qaeda have no reservations about slaughtering the innocent. The majority of their attacks have been directed against civilian infrastructure such as embassies, consulates, shipping, transportation, hotels, resorts, nightclubs, bars, synagogues, churches, temples, mosques, markets, housing complexes, office buildings and schools. Each of al Qaeda's targets were purposefully selected and carefully timed to inflict mass casualties as well as to provide the maximum media exposure. The radical Islamists embrace Muslim casualties, as many are considered infidel for embracing Western culture and rejecting the “pure” Islam espoused by al Qaeda. This is an enemy that deserves no quarter.

It is the arrogance of black and white Americans that makes so many of us wonder why they hate us.

It ain’t about us. It never has been about us.

It’s about them. And it always has been.

12 jul 05 @ 6:36 am edt

Monday, July 11, 2005

Post #1




The sun is shining between the numerous clouds, and it’s still quite breezy at times but it looks as though the Florida Panhandle got off fairly easy. Here in the easternmost section of the Panhandle, it looks no worse than it does when a bad thunderstorm comes through. I only lost power at my house once – and that was for only for 10 seconds or so.

Check out the Pensacola News-Journal for coverage from the land where the Eye of the Hurricane made landfall.

11 jul 05 @ 9:25 am edt

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Post #2




I’m sitting here in front of the computer; another squall line has passed by from Hurricane Dennis. A couple of small branches have fallen on the house. All of our many dangerous trees in the yard are still standing and nothing really “bad” has rolled through my part of Tallahassee. We are having regular power surges, etc. The lights may or may not stay on. My wife’s children’s theatre staff is scheduled to come by this afternoon to watch yesterday’s culminating performance from the Irene C. Edmonds Youth Theatre Camp – the Lord willing, of course.

But the good folks over Pensacola and Panama City way appear to be hours away from taking a direct hit from a Category 4 hurricane.

Mercy is the word and the mantra for the day.

10 jul 05 @ 10:15 am edt

Post #1




Wretchard the Cat discusses Wretchard the Cat; I am presenting his full post below:

The Belmont Club, or Wretchard rather, was cited in the Times of London in connection with “Downed US Seals may have got too close to Bin Laden”. It’s pretty strange since I’ve neither met Bin Laden nor ever been in Afghanistan, and makes me feel something of a fraud at being cited in connection with something I have no direct knowledge of. (Though the analysis is probably correct). It also reopens the question of whether Wretchard should continue to blog anonymously. Anonymous blogging has proved a good buffer against the petty vanities of authorship. The deal is you don’t do radio interviews, signed articles etc. The upside is that you have no ego to protect. The ideas you articulate are separated from your own personality.

This model is only partially functional now. People who knew me in the past, as well as my colleagues at Pajamas Media, know perfectly well “who” I am, although I think that information is totally irrelevant. Since the model of anonymity is failing, I’ll disclose the boring details. My name is Richard Fernandez, of Filipino birth and Australian citizenship. My interest in history probably began at Harvard, from which I graduated with a Masters in Public Policy. Wretchard is the name of an imaginary cat, the symbol of that entire race of stoic, yet somewhat foolish creatures. Belmont is the name of a suburb I roomed in while at Cambridge, Mass.

A Harvard man? I’ll be damned.

Any fool could read his writing, though, and immediately notice the quality and the analytical confidence. Growing up in Jacksonville, which is a Navy town although I am an Army man, there were many Filipinos (Filipino women can be stunningly beautiful) and in law school I had a friend who was a Jacksonville Filipino (a Fernandez, in fact). It may be psychobabble, but I’ve always thought that minorities who meet this country and our culture half-way – refusing to fall prey to hate or envy – see this country most clearly. This is true whether Asian or African or other.

A tip of the hat to Richard Fernandez, THE Blog God – Wretchard the Cat.

10 jul 05 @ 9:57 am edt

Friday, July 8, 2005

Post #4






From South Africa’s Mail & Guardian print edition.

Tale of two elections
Burundians recently cast their ballots in a poll that should finally end decades of skewed ethnic politics but it is the relatively stable Mauritians who are being told not to fear change. This tale of two African elections played out in the troubled Great Lakes region and the holiday island off the east coast of the continent.

Weapons still coming into DRC 'too easily'
The continuing flow of arms from neighbouring countries into the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo threatens the fragile peace in that region, Amnesty International recently. Also, the International Court of Justice in The Hague began hearing a case brought by the DRC, accusing Rwanda of armed aggression between 1998 and the present. Rwanda has rejected the allegations.

Lesotho Court of Appeal upholds gender quotas
A landmark ruling in the Lesotho Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal to declare as unconstitutional the reservation of one third of the country’s local government seats for women. An aspirant male ward councilor Molefi Tšepe lodged the complaint with the Lesotho Independent Electoral Commission.

Botswana diamonds lose their sparkle
Police had to hold back a placard-wielding crowd of fifty from disrupting a glitzy celebrity party at the London Natural History Museum where diamonds from South African mining company De Beers were being exhibited. The charity Survival International organised the protest to highlight the Botswana Bushmen’s claim that their land had been taken away from them to mine the diamonds.

Zim army opposed house demolitions
President Robert Mugabe ignored warnings from senior security officials that his government had “got it all wrong” in executing the controversial Operation Murambatsvina. The Mail & Guardian has learnt that the security organ had told Mugabe three weeks ago that the local Government Minister had overstepped by "demolishing people's houses rendering them homeless”.

Zambia works to shed corrupt image
In an African context, Zambia's level of corruption is hardly the worst, but it is a problem and politicians, church leaders and ordinary Zambians are starting to speak out against it. With its new status as a highly indebted poor country and the recent scrapping of its debt to Paris Club creditors boosting hopes of an economic upswing, perceptions are everything.

Mixed verdict for Rwanda's community courts
It is not the place where you would expect to find justice in Rwanda: at the end of a bumpy dirt road leading to a shantytown of red mud-brick homes, where children sit idly on verandas. Yet, deep within this labyrinth of buildings, streets and palm trees in the south of the capital, Kigali, a rudimentary courtroom has been set up.

New attorney general for Botswana
On Thursday, Judge Molokomme, who has been appointed that country’s attorney general, declined to have an interview with the Mail &Guardian. "Journalists here know that I have an open-door policy towards the media. But I have refused to give interviews to the local media and they will kill me if I were to give it to you," she said with a cross-border warmness.

Zimbabwe is being hypocritically vilified by West
For a month now, the BBC, CNN, ITV and others have been reporting what has been portrayed as one of the greatest humanitarian and human rights disasters in years. At least 200 000 people are said to have been forcibly evicted from slum areas of Harare in Zimbabwe. The figure peaked last week at 1,5-million.

AU: Not much to celebrate
The African Union celebrates its third birthday next week suffering something of an identity crisis. The venue is apposite. Libya’s purpose-built administration centre of Sirte, along the Mediterranean coast from Tripoli, is where Moammar Gaddafi gave rein to his idea of a new united Africa.

Zim accepts aid
The Zimbabwean government has agreed to allow aid groups to offer humanitarian assistance to people who have been displaced in its controversial urban clean-up drive. Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo announced that the government would allow donors to provide assistance, mainly in the capital, Harare, and Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo.

Stern expressions after peace talks
The hasty and silent manner in which Côte d’Ivoire President Laurent Koudou Gbagbo left Pretoria this week would indicate that he did not get the result he wanted from two days of wrangling about the peace process in his country. This round of negotiations, had certainly been billed as an occasion to pile the pressure on the rebel New Forces.

Presidential candidate accused of forgery
Amid chaotic scenes in a Cairo court, the main opposition candidate in Egypt's forthcoming presi-dential election went on trial on Tuesday accused of forgery. Ayman Nour, leader of the Al-Ghad (Tomorrow) party, has faced constant harassment since declaring his intention to run for the presidency and says the charges are trumped up. A conviction would automatically disqualify him from the election in September.

Shortage fuels Zim crisis
Zimbabwean doctors are threatening to down tools. They don't want money but fuel. About 300 junior doctors countrywide face this predicament. They are classified as special services but complain that they are not getting the preferential treatment their jobs demand.

Rights abuses across the board
Talks to end years of rebellion in the Côte d'Ivoire resumed this week at the South African capital. But although government and rebel representatives in Pretoria may be speaking of peace, the areas they control are marked by persistent human rights abuses.

Dissent in the debt ranks
Africa goes into the big match at Gleneagles next month 1 to 0 up but with some dissention in the ranks. To win the final at the gathering of the world’s richest countries, it needs a 3 to 0 result. The $40-billion debt forgiveness announced in London by finance ministers of the seven most industrialised countries is the first goal of the 18 developing countries that qualify as highly indebted poor countries.

Ending one of the worst forms of child labour
As pressure mounts in the United States for ethically produced chocolate, Cote d'Ivoire, the world's top cocoa producer, is working hard to roll back the use of child labour in its family-owned plantations. Just days before the world's chocolate industry outlines a global plan to combat child labour on July 1.

'What about us?' ask Liberians who didn't flee
The seven siblings scamper around the second-storey room in the Liberian capital, veering dangerously close to where the wall should be. One foot wrong and it's a 20m drop onto a traffic-clogged road. Aside from keeping a beady eye on her children, their mother Josephine also has to feed the entire family on less than a dollar a day.

Truth commission for Burundi
The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to create a mixed truth commission and a special court to prosecute war crimes and human-rights violations during decades of civil war in Burundi. The country’s Minister of Justice, welcomed the adoption of resolution 1606 at the United Nations headquarters in New York this week.

Burundi's peace process comes to the crunch
With a local election under its belt, and legislative and presidential polls scheduled for the next two months, Burundi is entering the final stretch of a lengthy and difficult peace process. For most of the past 12 twelve years, rebels from the majority Hutu ethnic group have been at war with government troops dominated by minority Tutsis.

And . . .

Instapundit links to this devastating column in the L.A. Times by Max Boot on the real needs in Africa:

In the last 50 years, $2.3 trillion has been spent to help poor countries. Yet Africans' income and life expectancy have gone down, not up, during that period, while South Korea, Singapore and other Asian nations that received little if any assistance have moved from African-level poverty to European-level prosperity thanks to their superior economic policies.

Economists who have studied aid projects have found numerous reasons for the failures. In many instances, money was siphoned off by corrupt officials. Even when funds did reach the intended beneficiaries, the money often distorted local markets for goods and labor, creating inflation that drove local businesses out of business. . . .

Oddly enough, Sachs ignores the most obvious obstacle to Africa's escape from the "poverty trap," what his pal Bob Geldof has accurately described as "corruption and thuggery." (This was also Sachs' blind spot when he tried to reform the Russian economy in the 1990s.) Yet not even Sir Bob has offered any plausible ideas for addressing these deep-rooted woes.

Africans continue to be tormented not by the G-8, as anti-poverty campaigners imply, but by their own politicos, including Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, who is abetting genocide in Darfur, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is turning his once-prosperous country into a famine-plagued basket case. Unless it's linked to specific "good governance" benchmarks (as with the new U.S. Millennium Challenge Account), more aid risks subsidizing dysfunctional regimes.

Any real solution to Africa's problems must focus on the root causes of poverty — mainly misgovernment. Instead of pouring billions more down the same old rat holes, maybe the Live 8 crew should promote a more innovative approach: Use the G-8's jillions 2 hire mercenaries 4 the overthrow of the 6 most thuggish regimes in Africa. That would do more to help ordinary Africans than any number of musical extravaganzas.

So true. Martin Kimani is proving to be a must-read on this whole “aid to Africa” thing.

8 jul 05 @ 10:28 am edt

Post #3




Mark Steyn in the London Telegraph:

One way of measuring any terrorist attack is to look at whether the killers accomplished everything they set out to. On September 11, 2001, al-Qa'eda set out to hijack four planes and succeeded in seizing every one. Had the killers attempted to take another 30 jets between 7.30 and nine that morning, who can doubt that they'd have maintained their pristine 100 per cent success rate? Throughout the IRA's long war against us, two generations of British politicians pointed out that there would always be the odd "crack in the system" through which the determined terrorist would slip. But on 9/11 the failure of the system was total.

Yesterday, al-Qa'eda hit three Tube trains and one bus. Had they broadened their attentions from the central zone, had they attempted to blow up 30 trains from Uxbridge to Upminster, who can doubt that they too would have been successful? In other words, the scale of the carnage was constrained only by the murderers' ambition and their manpower.

The difference is that 9/11 hit out of the blue - literally and politically; 7/7 came after four years of Her Majesty's Government prioritising terrorism and "security" above all else - and the failure rate was still 100 per cent.

But, of course, Steyn was just warming up and went on to [1] note that a defensive war on terrorism serves only to ensure more terrorism, [2] skewer Bob Geldof and the planned G8 protests in Scotland, [3] quite rightly state how easy it is for the political class to assert that the British people will never surrender to terrorism, and [4] detail examples proving the likelihood of enemy jihadist cells within Britain. But here was his main purpose:

Since 9/11 most Britons have been sceptical of Washington's view of this conflict. Douglas Hurd and many other Tory grandees have been openly scornful of the Bush doctrine. Lord Hurd would no doubt have preferred a policy of urbane aloofness, such as he promoted vis à vis the Balkans in the early 1990s. He's probably still unaware that Omar Sheikh was a westernised non-observant chess-playing pop-listening beer-drinking English student until he was radicalised by the massacres of Bosnian Muslims.

Abdel Karim al-Tuhami al-Majati was another Europeanised Muslim radicalised by Bosnia. The inactivity of Do-Nothin' Doug and his fellow Lions of Lethargy a decade ago had terrible consequences and recruited more jihadists than any of Bush's daisy cutters. The fact that most of us were unaware of the consequences of EU lethargy on Bosnia until that chicken policy came home to roost a decade later should be sobering: it was what Don Rumsfeld, in a remark mocked by many snide media twerps, accurately characterised as an "unknown unknown" - a vital factor so successfully immersed you don't even know you don't know it.

The Islamofascists are proving on a regular basis the deficiencies of European-style nuance, and those who champion it. The concept is highly overrated and a complete slave to the unknown unknown.

8 jul 05 @ 9:23 am edt

Post #2




Blog God Wretchard the Cat:

The Al Qaeda have characterized the attack on London as ‘punishment’ for Britain’s temerity to resist the inevitability of Islam. It is the kind of punishment these self-ordained masters of the universe are accustomed to meting out against harem women and insolent slaves. A few administered licks, and no doubt the cowardly kuffar will crawl back to his place. The tragedy is that Al Qaeda’s perception is perfectly correct when applied to the Left, for whom no position is too supine, no degradation too shameful to endure; but incorrect for the vast majority of humans, in whom the instinct for self-preservation has not yet been extinguished. It will result in history’s greatest case of mistaken identity; the mismatch that should never have happened. The enemy is even now dying at our feet, where we should kick him and kick him again.

My kind of man. Meanwhile, all across America, members of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party continue to act out the “no position too supine, no degradation too shameful to endure” mindset.

UPDATE: Wretchard answers Patrick Belton at Oxblog who represents the lengths academics will go to twist and contort the knowable facts with unknowable conjectures. Belton is unconvinced that the War in Iraq is weakening Al Qaeda. Read his piece for yourself, but here is the obvious answer:

The idea that fighting the enemy makes him stronger everywhere is a curious one and I’ve often wondered about the battlefield arithmetic that would make it possible. [RattlerGator: exactly!] There are many who accept without question the proposition that the US Armed forces are being ‘bled dry’ in Iraq; that it has become over extended. They would accept, without reservation, the idea that using the US Army in Iraq would weaken it with respect to Korea. One Swedish researcher kept writing to me privately, ‘proving’ from all kinds of weird arithmetic that the USMC had been annihilated in Fallujah. Yet the very same persons will vehemently reject the idea that Al Qaeda can also be spread thin; that its cadres are subject to death as wastage; it is as if one set of natural laws operated for the Jihad and another for the blundering Americans. But mental honesty will compel us to accept that this can’t be true: that the sun rises and sets on one man as for another: that if we thought about it really hard, everyone who lives peacefully in a Western city owes it to the men out on patrol tonight.

Now, three years ago I would have been absolutely amazed by Belton’s argument. Now? Fuck him, I’ve grown quite weary of listening to learned folks apply double-standard after double-standard to impute incompetence to the American effort.

8 jul 05 @ 9:02 am edt

Post #1




The British public is attacked – 7/7 now goes down in history – and we stare at the enemy once again.

This is from Dafyyd Ab Hugh at Captain's Quarters – and don’t say you ain’t been told:

Toby Keith wrote, “this big dog will bite if you rattle its cage.” It’s a clear statement, but I actually prefer a pithier version, an older version, one we flew on our Navy ships in 1775 and have recently begun to fly again: the original Navy Jack of the fledgling United States, with its thirteen stripes alternating red and white, a superimposed rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the perfect motto for the civilized world in this age of the death-cult of militant Islamism: Don’t Tread On Me. The same symbol was painted onto the drums of the first American Marines, superimposed on a yellow background instead of the stripes and later made into the Gadsden flag.

The rattler was once a symbol of defiance against the British themselves, when they were a tyranny. But they have long since thrown off their own chains and now stand as one of the great bulwarks of liberty throughout the world, just as we do. They have been our closest allies since the Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812, probably the oldest alliance in the world today. Here is an anonymous description, possibly by Benjamin Franklin, of the meaning of the rattlesnake:

She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. ... she never wounds ‘till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.

And of course, if you ignore the warning and do tread on her, she is deadly.

Rule, Britannia; we’ve got your back.

I’ve never been a great fan of Britain. It’s not our mother country as far as I’m concerned, I think the Germans are the real deal in Europe, and I detest it every time Americans stoop to saying “Sir” this or that. But there’s no denying their culture is the foundation upon which this nation is built and they have been good military allies for many years (though Australia seems to be more supportive as a culture).

So . . . I can’t roll with this Rule, Britannia stuff. But that Rattler stuff obviously works with me and we most definitely do, and should, have their back.

8 jul 05 @ 9:00 am edt

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Post #2




This prescription offered by Joseph Knippenberg at No Left Turns on Academic Ethics is equally applicable to (and desperately needed by) African America:

Students come to us not quite fully formed, but nevertheless pretty far down the moral path they’re going to take. They are in some measure products of their families, churches (and other religious institutions), communities, and schools. There are real limits to what we in the universities can do. We can do our darndest to undermine the commitments and character our students bring to campus. Or we can strengthen them at the margins, helping students critically to engage with and discern a wider and more diverse culture and society than the one that "produced" them. (I had promised to say no more about God on the Quad, but Riley does a good job describing efforts at various religious institutions to help students with that sort of discernment.)

Let me state this last point in both secular and religious ways. The secular way of putting is that, the authors to the contrary notwithstanding, philosophy is indeed necessary, not in order logically to derive moral principles, but rather to defend them against relativist and nihilist doubts. Aristotle himself works within a moral horizon, offering the most systematic possible account of gentlemanly virtue, but not deducing it from non-moral first principles. A latter-day Aristotelian can offer a defense of sound common sense against the inventions of theory.

From a religious point of view, the college and university experience can help students become more articulate and thoughtful defenders of their faith, open to the larger world, but not vulnerable and defenseless in the face of its challenges.

To wrap this longish post up, the two things most needful for ethics in higher education are religion and philosophy, the one not mentioned in the column, the other more or less dismissed. Campus practices can indeed avoid undermining and reinforce the common decency a good number of our students bring with them, but our students do need practice in moral discernment, whether offered in explicitly religious terms or in the language of natural law.

Knippenberg was writing in response to a post by Win Myers on an article by Candace de Russy and Mitchell Langbert on The Corrosion of Ethics in Higher Education.

7 jul 05 @ 10:29 am edt

Post #1




I have not been following the whole Joe Wilson – Valerie Plame supposed “outing” and subsequent investigation including the civil contempt charges against Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time magazine but Tom Maguire of the Just One Minute blog has. Reading through his thread on this subject, I was prompted to ask myself and his readers:

Just curious (I haven't been following this at all) but would Colin Powell qualify as a senior White House official at the time of the supposed leak? How about Richard Armitage?

It is that quote of a supposed official "ratting" on other White House officials that make me think of the State Department.

Wouldn’t that be something? Talk about a boomerang!

UPDATE: I just finished watching Victoria Toensing on C-SPAN on this issue and it appears that the State Department leadership I mentioned would likely not have been implicated. This assumption arises from the fact that the Special Prosecutor grounded his initial investigation (and captured Judith Miller within the web) based on phone records of calls made from and received by the White House.

Still, Powell and Armitage are both superior practitioners of the D.C. game and I haven’t dismissed my suspicions completely.


7 jul 05 @ 7:49 am edt

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Post #3




Joseph C. Phillips:

Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his portrayal of the legendary Music icon Ray Charles. His award was well deserved. Similar to Angela Bassett as Tina Turner in What's Love got to do With It, (she was robbed in her Oscar bid) his performance is not an impersonation of Charles but an embodiment of the man. Truly wonderful! as are all the performances in the film. Unfortunately it just isn't a very good movie. It has its moments -- the music and the scenes of Early Ray with his mother -- but by and large the film just sits there. Unlike What's love...there is no trajectory, no redemption, no growth of the character. What we are left with is the story of Super Ray: a musical genius who with his super hearing can hear humming birds outside windows and woo women just by squeezing their wrists. Needless to say I was disappointed. Rent this one for Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Bokeem Woodbine and the rest of the fine cast. If you want a good film rent What's Love Got to do With it.

A friend and genuine Florida Boy now living in California came home earlier this year and in discussing “Ray” I could see the near-shock in his face when I said I was disappointed with the film.

I think we received in that film the view of folks among the coastal elites. Scrubbed out of the film or left on the cutting room floor was the more substantive, youthful stuff from his Florida childhood that would lead to the development of his genius and his subsequent efforts at grappling with that same genius.

I wanted to see Greenville, Florida – his hometown. I wanted to see St. Augustine and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. I wanted to see some acknowledgment of his struggling to make a way out of no way in Jacksonville or Tampa. Most of all, I wanted to see some of the development that would allow him to grab hold of America the Beautiful and make it his own by LEADING with these immensely powerful but often forgotten words:

O beautiful, for heroes proved

in liberating strife.

Who more than self their country loved

And mercy more than life!

America! America!

May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness

And every gain divine!

The movie “Ray” gave me little of that, and that’s a shame.

6 jul 05 @ 2:24 pm edt

Post #2




The incomparable Luther Vandross recently passed away; his personal website that I just linked to seems to be playing a continuous loop of two selections of Luther’s music. It would be a nice touch, to me, if they would do this with a slightly greater variety of his songs but it’s still good.

 Luther Vandross

Here is a link to the New York Times obituary, and it strikes me as somewhat off the mark – wrong tone, wrong substance. The Washington Post had a story that seemed on the money:

He couldn't be all that he could be until he was 30, yet Luther Vandross managed to become the premier romantic balladeer of his time, as much the voice of his generation as Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Al Green had been of theirs.

Yet as tempting as it is to listen to Vandross's lush, soulful tenor and place him in a pantheon of classic soul men that stretches back to Ray Charles, his richest, most lasting influences were on women, particularly the great old-school divas such as Dionne Warwick, Cissy Houston and Aretha Franklin. That's one reason Vandross's singing rang so true -- particularly with women, who recognized the vulnerability and insecurity at the heart of his songs.

Here are some basic thoughts from the Conservative Brotherhood:


Darmon C. Thornton

Michael King

Duane Brayboy


It was a tremendous disappointment to see BET missing-in-action on last Friday. When they should have been doing a retrospective on Luther and a live call-in so that Black America could honor this man and reflect on him, we were instead treated to a repeat of the BET Awards show.

Cut into the damn programming that was previously scheduled and provide a service as we would expect it to be provided.

Locally, afternoon drive-time DJ Joe Bullard of 96.1 Jamz did the right thing, like (apparently) so many other radio stations around the country did – he focused on Luther. He played his music. He reflected on the man and allowed his listeners to do some of the same. He was skeptical of the news of Vandross’s death until it was verified to him and made the news. He did this because he said, “You know, we’ve killed Luther before.” And he was right.

BET missed a great opportunity and demonstrated its continuing immaturity or irrelevance to the community. This man expected far, far more and was quite disappointed to receive nothing – which is exactly what re-runs of the BET Awards were – nothing. On the day that Luther died.

* * *

Here is what his management has posted on Luther's website:

Luther Ronzoni Vandross, the silky-voiced R&B crooner who spun romance into hits like "Here and Now" and "Any Love," died on Friday, July 1st, 2005 at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, NJ. He was 54.

With a smooth yet soulful delivery, the highly admired singer/songwriter/producer has sold in excess of 30 million records worldwide, winning eight Grammy Awards, numerous Soul Train, BET, NAACP Image and American Music Awards.

He ranked as one of the most successful R& B singers of the 1980's and broke through to even wider commercial success in 1989 with the Best of Luther Vandross, the Best of Love, which included the new song "Here and Now," his first Grammy winning hit which became a signature wedding song.

Born in New York City in 1951, Luther was the youngest of four children. In 1972, a song Vandross wrote, "Everybody Rejoice," was included in the Broadway musical "The Wiz."But his biggest early break came when he landed a job as a backup singer for David Bowie and created vocal arrangements for the hit album Young Americans.

Luther soon became a sought-after backup vocalist and arranger, working for artists from Bette Midler to Barbra Streisand, and he helped pay the bills as one of the most popular jingle singers of the time. His 1981 debut, Never Too Much, reached the top of the R&B charts and sold more than one million copies. Through the 1980's, he recorded a string of platinum albums, including Forever, For Always, For Love, Busy Body and The Night I Fell in Love. His last album, Dance With My Father received 4 Grammy Awards (including Song of the Year for the title song "Dance With My Father") and has generated worldwide sales exceeding 3 million copies.

Luther was also a prolific writer and producer for such musical icons as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick thereby fulfilling a lifelong dream. "When history books are written, I'd like it to be said that I am one of the premiere singers of our time," said Vandross in an interview with BET.

He leaves to cherish and celebrate his life, legacy, and wonderful memories a loving and devoted mother, Mary Ida Vandross, nine nieces as well as eight great nephews, three great nieces and a circle of close friends and colleagues, his musical family and millions of loyal, supportive fans.

Funeral services will be held at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, located at 1076 Madison Avenue (at 81st Street) New York, New York on Wednesday and Thursday, July 6 and 7 with public viewings from 4:00pm - 9:00pm. The Memorial Service will be held Friday, July 8 at Riverside Church, located at 490 Riverside Drive, New York, New York scheduled for 12:00pm.

 Luther Vandross In Concert

God speed, Luther.

6 jul 05 @ 12:35 pm edt

Post #1




Cox Newspapers and the Palm Beach Post have stories here and here.




6 jul 05 @ 11:22 am edt

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Post #3




Gerard Van Der Leun at American Digest has some thoughts on Mexico and a stamp of honor in that country. Don’t miss the comments to the post. Here are a few of the stamps from the series that is at issue:

 Mexican Sambo-like Stamp 1

Mexican Sambo-like Stamp

Americans? Yeah, those guys are racists. But we Latinos? Im-po-SEE-ble!

Si, señor?

Hell no, señor!

3 jul 05 @ 12:17 pm edt

Post #2




Incredible. Absolutely incredible.

Dale Franks at Q and O Online Magazine has posted a picture, via JozJozJoz, of the “winner” of an ugly dog contest named Sam:


The picture prompted Franks to, in part, write this:

I don't know about you, but I think the judges this year did a fine job. The dog above isn't just ugly. It's a montrously subtle ugliness that just keeps on giving. Try it yourself: Look at the picture, then go to some other web site for a few minutes to cleanse your mind of the hideous perversion of canine virtue that this dog embodies. Then come back and look at the picture again. Every time you do, you notice yet another hideously repulsive feature that escaped your attention previously. No, really. Try it.


I mean, that is a TRULY ugly damn dog.

3 jul 05 @ 12:13 pm edt

Post #1




Florida's Education Fact Sheet has some pretty interesting numbers up for your consideration:

“The State of Education in Florida is stronger than ever.”
– Governor Jeb Bush

Education in Florida

Then (1998-99)

Now (2003-04)

School Grades
More schools are improving and earning school recognition funds, although we raised the bar in 2001.

  • 202 As
  • 313 Bs
  • 1230 Cs
  • 601 Ds
  • 76 Fs
  • 1262 As
  • 540 Bs
  • 615 Cs
  • 184 Ds
  • 49 Fs

Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT)
More students are reading on grade level, and we are closing the achievement gap.

4th Graders Reading on Grade Level

  • 51% of all students
  • 23% of African-American students
  • 38% of Hispanic students

4th Graders Reading on Grade Level

  • 70% of all students – 42,702 more students
  • 53% of African-American students – 11,857 more students
  • 63% of Hispanic students – 15,223 more students

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP – "the nation’s report card")
Florida shows dramatic improvement in reading, leads the nation in writing.
Florida is the only state to show improvement in 4th grade reading in the most recent NAEP report.

4th Grade Reading

  • Median score was 206
  • Median for African-American students was 186
  • Median for Hispanic students was 198



4th Grade Writing

  • Florida did not participate

4th Grade Reading

  • Median score is 218
  • Median for African-American students is 198
  • Median for Hispanic students is 211





4th Grade Writing

  • Florida ranked 8th in the nation

Number of High School Students taking PSAT
More students taking the PSAT (given free to all tenth graders) in Florida than ever before, we lead the nation in minority test takers.

  • 43,184 total test takers
  • 4,459 total African-American test takers
  • 5,621 total Hispanic test takers
  • 116,341 sophomore test takers
  • 22,349 African-American sophomore test takers (up 401%)
  • 27,341 Hispanic sophomore test takers (up 386%)

Number of High School Students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses
Increase in number of test takers more than twice than national increase.

  • 34,607 AP test takers
  • 2,595 African-American AP test takers
  • 6,181 Hispanic AP test takers
  • 67,559 AP test takers
  • 6,038 African-American AP test takers (up 133%)
  • 14,710 Hispanic AP test takers (up 138%)

Graduation Rate
Florida counts every student and our graduation rate is on the rise.

  • 60.2% of all students
  • 48.7% of African-American students
  • 52.8% of Hispanic students
  • 71.6% of all students
  • 57.3% of African-American students
  • 64.0% of Hispanic students

Dropout Rate
Fewer students dropping out.

  • 5.4% among all students
  • 6.6% among African-American students
  • 8.3% among Hispanic students
  • 2.9% among all students
  • 3.6% among African-American students
  • 3.7% among Hispanic students

Florida’s Community Colleges
Nearly half are in the nation’s top 100, five of them in the top 10.
More students are earning Associate degrees and going on to universities.

  • 737,864 students enrolled
  • 25,720 earned Associate degrees
  • 15,783 successfully transferred into the State University System
  • 816,290 students enrolled (up 11%)
  • 30,819 earned Associate degrees (up 20%)
  • 16,454 successfully transferred into the State University System as of last year (up 7%)

University Enrollment
Under One Florida, without the use of racial quotas, minority enrollment is up.

  • 32.2% of all students were minority
  • 35.6% of university freshmen were minority
  • 20.7% of new graduate students were minority
  • 24.3% of new law students were minority
  • 35% of all students are minority
  • 37% of university freshmen are minority
  • 21.4% of new graduate students are minority
  • 34.2% of new law students are minority

All administrations, naturally, will engage in some puffery – but that looks like a pretty good record for Jeb, especially considering the hysteria in this state when he first took office and began his focus on some metrics by which we could attempt to improve our public schools and then measure that improvement.

Although the raw numbers are in for the 2004-05 school year and have been posted around the state, they have yet to be systematically tabulated and posted on the Fact Sheet website.

3 jul 05 @ 1:20 am edt

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