November 30, 2002
Those Wacky UN Arms Inspectors: For sheer voyeuristic chuckles, The Osbournes has nothin' on the UN arms inspection team.
First comes word that as UN inspections of Iraq's arsenal commence, the chief arms inspector, Hans Blix, isn't even in Iraq. He's at the United Nations in New York pretending to be busy. Hans defended his decision not to remain in Iraq for the arms inspection claiming his role is to politically manage the inspections from UN headquarters. Of course the fact that New York offers cozier accomodations than Iraq didn't play a role in his decision. Yeah, right.
And then the Washington Post revealed that a member of Han's arms inspection team, retired Secret Service agent Harvey John McGeorge, is the founder of a sadomasochistic sex club. McGeorge promptly offered his resignation. Today, the New York Post reports that Blix refused to accept McGeorge's resignation saying that McGeorge has done nothing illegal and is a valuable member of the UN arms inspection effort.
Perhaps Blix will put McGeorge in charge of locating dungeons, whips, nipple clamps and weapons of ass destruction.
November 29, 2002
Protecting Us To Death: The Food and Drug Administration is determined to protect your life -- even if it kills you.
Just ask Edie Bacon, a mother of five from Massachusetts.
Edie is afflicted with metastatic soft tissue sarcoma, a very rare form of cancer. In the Wall Street Journal, she explains that "every oncologist in the civilized world knows I'm a goner if I don't get lucky. A few thousand cases are diagnosed each year; an equal number die. There's no cure. For about a third of us chemotherapy can 'buy some time,' but at a terrible price. Generally, regular surgery is the way to stay alive. The cancer grows slowly, and the tumors can be 'resected' as they appear. Eventually, you have so many that surgery is no longer possible."
Johnson & Johnson has a new drug which may offer Edie a fighting chance at living. The drug, ET 743, has "been approved by the FDA for trials in cancer patients who have failed other therapies," Edie writes. "It's been given to hundreds of patients in U.S. clinical trials over the past few years. It's been shown to be safe. It's the only drug in the world that has had significant success with sarcoma patients."
But the FDA is standing between Edie and what may be her last hope. She's physically and financially incapable of making weekly trips to Texas for the FDA's six-month clinical trial, and the FDA's myriad of cumbersome rules seriously jeopardizes approval of ET 743 should Johnson & Johnson provide it to someone outside of the clinical trial.
Edie says that before she's allowed the have the drug, the FDA want's "proof" that it works. But by the time the FDA has its proof, she will be dead. FDA red tape ensures that "the life of an individual patient has no importance whatsoever," Edie concludes. "Without ET 743, I'm a dead woman walking. Five kids are going to wonder why they're left without a mother."
The case of Edie Bacon offers a hard lesson: socialism is hazardous to your health.
November 28, 2002
Bin Laden Audiotape A Fake? The Associated Press (via Drudge) reports that a Swiss research lab has concluded that the voice on a recently released Al Qaeda audiotape is not that of Osama bin Laden:
"Lausanne-based Dalle Molle Institute for Perceptual Artificial Intelligence said it is 95-per-cent certain the tape does not feature the voice of the long-absent terrorist leader . . . the institute compared the voice on the tape, first aired two weeks ago on Al-Jazeera, an Arabic television network, with some 20 earlier recordings of bin Laden."
As is noted in the November 18 Broadsides post, another blogger reported that an Egyptian political scientist who interviewed bin Laden was certain that the voice on the audiotape was not his. Now there is scientific analysis to back her up.
The question is, how did U.S. intelligence officials reach the opposite conclusion?
The Nuge Says America Rocks: Legendary outdoorsman and rock guitarist Ted Nugent writes in the Wall Street Journal why he's thankful to be an American:
Having met tens of thousands of Americans in my music and hunting travels over the past 40 years, I'm buoyed and thankful that the American spirit still soars high on the wings of an eagle. From cops to priests to firemen to guitar players, the rugged, defiant American spirit that has built and nurtured America is alive, prospering and kicking. I remain convinced America is the land of hard working, caring, law abiding people who go about their daily lives trying to provide a better life for their families, which, in the final analysis, leads to a more vibrant America overall. Rush hour and traffic jams are beautiful things. They prove we rock.
America isn't at a social or political crossroads as some will try to tell us. Those who believe that would have told you 500 years ago that the earth was flat. Thirty years ago they would have been stoned on LSD, drooling and dancing naked at a Grateful Dead concert. My advice is to avoid these people. They will always gravitate towards the negative. Take it from an old, cocky rock 'n' roll guitar player whose God-given senses remain finely tuned: America's best days are in front of us.
Ted, run for public office!
Read the entire column here.
November 27, 2002
Bag It Yourself: You say your local grocer is out of turkeys? (Just play along, ok?) Don't panic! Do what OpinionJournal's Brendan Miniter and his brothers do every Thanksgiving: go turkey hunting.
The reward is more than a full belly come dinner time. Writes Miniter: "Pursuing these birds in the rugged, beautiful setting of rural America offers a glimpse of the wild bounty the Pilgrims celebrated nearly 400 years ago. A tradition that can offer that and closer ties to one's brothers is reason enough to be grateful."
Literary Profiling: So what kind of person shells out money to buy the Gores' latest literary flop, Joined at the Heart? Amazon.com offers some clues. Amazon customers who bought Al & Tipper's book also bought:
It's Still the Economy, Stupid: George W. Bush, the GOP's CEO by Paul Begala
The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President by Vincent Bugliosi, et al
Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and the Failed Search for bin Laden by Jean-Charles Brisard, et al
Jews for Buchanan: Did You Hear the One About the Theft of the American Presidency? by John Nichols, David DesChamps
The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton by Joe Klein
Go To Plan B! What do you do when you're Al Gore and the book you (allegedly) wrote as a publicity-generating vehicle flops badly? Why, you attack Rush Limbaugh, of course.
In today's New York Observer, Gore whines that "The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party . . . Fox News Network, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh—there’s a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires who make political deals with Republican administrations and the rest of the media …. Most of the media [has] been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks—that is, day after day, injecting the daily Republican talking points into the definition of what’s objective as stated by the news media as a whole."
Only a desperate and hollow politician would dare to characterize freedom of speech and freedom of the press as a fifth column.
Be sure to check out the sketch of Gore in the New York Observer article; he appears to be melting. How fitting.
Joined At The Heart Failure: Armand Hammer protegé Al Gore and his wife, rock-and-roll lyrics-censor Tipper Gore, have co-authored a book entitled Joined at the Heart: The Transformation of the American Family.
And apparently no one gives a shit.
Ranked a dismal 1693 in sales yesterday by Amazon.com, Joined at the Heart is flatlining with bookbuyers -- and with good reason. Not a word of it is sincere. Rather, Joined at the Heart is a weird and cynical presidential campaign publicity stunt. It's merely a literary version of the Gores' disturbing-yet-hilarious open-mouth kiss in front of the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
The ploy is obvious. Al and Tipper chose a warm-and-fuzzy sounding topic, wrote a half-ass book about it (though I seriously doubt they actually wrote it), and then used the publication of the book as an excuse to get their mugs on talkshows. Their hope was that this book would generate enough buzz keep them in the public eye until the 2004 presidential campaign kicks into high gear.
Judging from the sales figures and these readers' reviews at Amazon.com, the ploy failed:
Just like his Campaign, the book is a disppointment!, November 19, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from New York, NY
I question the timing and intent of this book. It's campaign propaganda. I preferred his other book on the creation of the Internet.
A Collection of Bathroom Mirror Thoughts, November 21, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Lautenberg, New Jersey
Ah yes, once again, Mr. Gore attempts to re-invent himself. As what, we do not know, but this book sounds like the opening to yet another presidential campaign. And why not (Mr. Gore pontificates into his bathroom mirror, the current site of many of his best speeches)? After all, he was the winner of the 2000 presidential election (oh, no I forgot, he was not); after all, the Democrats won big in the 2002 congressional elections (oh no I forgot, they did not). Many of his reflections on family are just fine. Yet in his own reflections, he misses the point: individual character and personal responsibility and motivation, not the recycling of failed ideas and policies, will continue to lead America into the 21st century.
Joined at the Heart, November 25, 2002
Reviewer: pennyhughes from Pennsylvania
Poor Al, another blockbuster fizzled. Hope this guy can find employment somewhere.
Absolute nonsense!, November 25, 2002
Reviewer: sheed3 . . . from Ma USA
I tried very hard to finish this book but it was impossible! It would surely be a violation of the Geneva convention to require anyone to read it. Thank God for the country that Al is not president!
The Restoration of Reality: "This Thanksgiving," writes Washington Post columnist Michael Kelly, "I am thankful that this person, and all the other deep and subtle and clever people of the Clinton White House, and all the thoughts they thought, and all the damage they wrought, are history . . . I am thankful that we live in a reality defined by the actual consequences of policies, rather than what columnists and correspondents and editors can be gulled into thinking are consequences -- gulled at least for long enough to skate through that day's news cycle and this season's electoral cycle."
Amen to that.
November 22, 2002
Gobble This! Some animal rights/vegan cult named Farm Sanctuary is urging Americans to adopt a turkey rather than eating one this month. Apparently, these tedious busybodies think a turkey makes a swell pet.
Taking Farm Sanctuary's advice, I hurried to the grocery store today and adopted a pet Swift Premium Butterball turkey. And, frankly, I don't get it; he just sits there in the freezer motionless. He's rather aloof and unaffectionate and doesn't respond to my vocal commands.
And he doesn't do any tricks. But that'll change soon: on Thanksgiving Day, I'll use my rotisserie to teach him to roll over.
November 20, 2002
Friends In Eastern Europe: Nowadays most of the United States' staunchest allies are in Eastern Europe -- Poland, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania. It's not surprising, really. The Iron Curtain is a vivid memory for these countries. East Europeans know all too well the deadly consequences of living in a country void of freedom. And that's why they strongly support America's war on terrorist nations; they know what's at stake.
After the New York Times ran an article on Romanian/American relations, Opinion Journal's Best of the Web cheered the former Stalinist nation for its unblinking support of the United States:
Three Cheers for Romania
Smug and vicious anti-Americanism may be the rule in Brussels and Florence, but it's far from universal in Continental Europe. The New York Times reports from Bucharest that "Romania, burdened by its legacy of Stalinist totalitarianism, values the muscular international stance of the United States":
While Western Europeans fought for a compromise United Nations resolution on Iraq and sniff with disdain at Mr. Bush's midterm election mandate, members of the Romanian elite heartily approve of the White House's policies. "Unofficially, there is a feeling of quiet jubilation" about the American elections, said Sergiu Celac, a former Romanian foreign minister. "We're happy because Bush is happy."
Opinion polls in Romania show approval ratings of 80 percent and higher for the United States. Romania sent its own troops to Afghanistan and became the first country to support the American demand that American soldiers be exempted from prosecution by the International Criminal Court. Along with Bulgaria, another prospective member of NATO and the European Union, Romania recently granted the United States access to its military bases and flyover rights should there be a war with Iraq.
Romania and Poland will bring a "pro-American critical mass" to NATO, said Mircea Geoana, Romania's foreign minister in an interview. Indeed, whenever Mr. Geoana's French diplomatic counterparts worry about Romania's enthusiasm for the United States, he said he tells them that "after Romania enjoys several decades of prosperity like France, then we will have the luxury of taking the U.S. for granted."
November 19, 2002
Light Up, Get Punched In today's New York Post, columnist Johanna Huden relates a personal experience. After leaving her office building last Friday night, she lit a cigarette. As she approached a busy intersection, she was punched by a wacko woman who didn't like that Huden was smoking.
Stunned and with an aching arm, I quickly walked after her. She turned around, saw my angry face hovering a foot above her, and blurted: "Oh, you want to . . . uh, uh, your god-damn cancer stick." Right there she admitted that she'd assaulted my body because I was smoking. Outside. In the open air. On the street. In New York City. She had physically attacked me not because she felt threatened in any way, but just because I dared to smoke. Outside. In New York City.
When Huden informed the woman that assault is illegal, the nutcase responded by trying to kick her. Once a crowd formed, the crazy anti-smoking stormtrooper ran away. Huden observed:
Obviously, my squirrely friend wasn't normal at all. Only extremist zealots - like terrorists - use physical violence as a solution. But when cities across the country, and now our own Mayor Bloomberg, are raving about smokers as public enemy No. 1, it gives ammunition - permission - to fanatics like my anger-management case. A smokers' right to not be physically assaulted is coming into question.
This can't be what the mayor has in mind, can it? Creating a climate of fear for private citizens engaged in legal activities? Mature, professional, tax-paying folks - who are breaking no law - facing open hostility in the street? It's one thing to wave your hand in front of your nose when you pass a smoker - and that's pretty ridiculous if you're out in open air.
But my experience takes the game to another level entirely: Government-sanctioned lynching.
In Ohio, the state government is funding an extensive multimedia anti-tobacco campaign which blatantly encourages teens to "Take a STAND against tobacco" by using aggressive, PETA-like tactics to harass smokers. The ads even encourage teens to go the STAND website for ideas on harassing smokers.
The STAND commercials have been running on television and radio for well over a year and feature teen actors declaring their hatred of tobacco and tobacco companies and demonstrating their preferred method for harassing smokers. One STAND radio ad in particular is exceptionally disturbing; in it, we hear a series of kids saying in angry tones things like "You want to give my little brother a cigarette? You have to come through me." Then we hear sound effects of people being punched. Each "You have to come through me" declaration is followed by the same punching sound effects.
An ironic footnote: shortly after the state launched the STAND campaign, it substantially increased the cigarette tax not to discourage smoking but to close a large budget gap. So in Ohio, the state government is encouraging harassment and violence against smokers while, at the same time, looking to smokers to keep the state's budget in the black.
A bit of research into the STAND campaign reveals that it's produced by the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation which is a government agency masquerading as a charitable foundation. And the state law which created this bogus foundation mandates that the governor and state legislative leaders be included on its board of trustees.
Here's the kicker: the OTUPCF is directed by a trial lawyer. And he's the same trial lawyer who spearheaded Ohio's liability lawsuit against the tobacco companies. It all makes sense now: a shyster is spending millions of government dollars not to discourage kids from smoking as much as to vilify tobacco companies and smokers. By launching a massive media assault designed to convince young people that companies which make a legal product and citizens who consume it are unspeakably evil, trial lawyers and the officeholders they control are tampering with future jury pools. This increases the likelihood that future attempts at judicial extortion-disguised-as-liability lawsuits are successful.
If these anti-smoking efforts were rooted in a genuine concern for people's health, the OTUPCF, New York's disappointing mayor and other government anti-smoking fronts would demand an outright tobacco prohibition.
But they don't.
Nor will they.
This proves that the war on cigarettes has nothing to do with promoting good health. Rather, it's all about a money grab. Specifically, it's about putting more money in government treasuries and in the pockets of ambulance chasing trial lawyers -- all at the expense of freedom.
Charactering the assault on Johanna Huden as "government-sanctioned lynching" is right on the money. Literally.
November 18, 2002
Bin Alive All Along? The White House confirmed today that intelligence experts believe the recently released audiotape purported to be of Osama bin Laden is authentic. Sorry, I find that conclusion difficult to accept. An audiotape just isn't bin Laden's style. He demonstrated time and again that he's a megalomaniac camera hog. Were he alive, his ego would have dictated that his dramatic reemergence be documented on videotape. And can there be any doubt that a recent video of bin Laden giving a pep talk to his homicidal cult would inspire and motivate his crazed lemmings more than an audiotape?
And now comes word from blogger Jeff Cooper (via InstaPundit) of an NPR interview with Egyptian political scientist Mamoun Fandy. In the interview, Fandy, who has met and interviewed bin Laden, says the voice on the audiotape is not bin Laden. The Fandy interview can be heard in RealAudio on the NPR website.
November 15, 2002
Quote of the Day "What an idiot. What a billionaire snob bullyboy." -- Wall Street Journal contributing editor Peggy Noonan correctly describing New York City's disaster-in-the-making mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
November 11, 2002
Lame-Duck Lott Does Trent Lott have a neutral zone around his head? Just three days after an historic mid-term election in which voters gave Bush and the Republicans a thumbs-up and gave Democrats the middle finger, Senate Republican leader Trent Lott pissed-and-moaned about the president's demand that the Senate work during a lame-duck session on anti-terrorism legislation.
The AP quoted Lott as saying "that he is 'not an advocate of lame-duck sessions . . . I've never seen one that served the American people well, and I've been through a lot of them." And this guy is a leader??? No one in Washington is as adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as Trent "Let's Share Power With The Democrats" Lott.
It's true that Trent has been through a lot of lame-duck sessions. It's also true that during most of those lame-duck sessions, Republicans were in the minority. And now, when our country is at war and Republicans are presented with a crystal-clear mandate by voters to prosecute that war, Lott wants to take a powder.
Four questions for Trent:
1) Do nations which hire Islamist mercenaries to kill Americans take a vacation during congressional lame-duck sessions?
2) How is it that Americans aren't served well by lame-duck sessions, especially when the issue at hand is a matter of life and death?
3) Is the Congress somehow relieved of some of its authority and obligations in the intervening months between an election and a new Congress?
4) How much hairspray do you use each month?
Trent Lott is one of those congressional Republicans who has an ingrained minority party mentality. Think of it as a political version of the Stockholm Syndrome. After having spent so much time in the minority while serving in House and the Senate, Lott reflexively behaves as a submissive, make-no-waves minority leader -- even when he's the majority leader!
Last Tuesday marked a new era for the Republican Party. That new era requires effective leadership; and that's something Trent Lott is incapable of providing in the Senate. This January, President Bush and Senate Republicans would do well to find themselves a Senate majority leader willing and capable of boldly advancing the Republican agenda. And to soften the blow, perhaps they can give Trent a lovely parting gift....such as a case of Dippity-Do.
November 07, 2002
Mid-Term Know-How The Washington Times relates a recent conversation between the president and a friend:
At a fund-raiser two months before the midterm elections, President Bush was reminded by an acquaintance of the propensity of Republican leaders to mess up just when things appeared to be going their way.
"I won't mess this up," the president whispered in reply, "because I know exactly what I'm doing."
I'm sure Gephardt, Daschle, Clinton, Mondale, Carnahan, Cleland and McAuliffe privately agree.
November 06, 2002
BIG, BIG NEWS! Woohoo!!! It's the biggest news of the day, and who could've guessed it? Americans have made their choice and their message is clear: The Simpsons is still a hit and as funny as ever.
Oh...and the Republicans won control of the United States Senate.
November 04, 2002
ASK A QUESTION, GET AN ANSWER: Earlier today, I asked why France is supporting what may result in an American preemptive strike against terrorists in Somalia while opposing American preemptive efforts aimed at Saddam.
The Associated Press offers an answer: money. France is doing business with Saddam's Iraq and wants to strengthen that relationship.
I'm not surprised. After all, this isn't the first time France has enthusiastically collaborated with homicidal foreign dictators.
BULLSEYE! An al-Qaeda honcho and five minions won an all-expense paid trip to Hell yesterday courtesy of the United States. While enjoying a Sunday drive in Yemen, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi and his chums found their car on the business end of an American Hellfire missile. Unfortunately for Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, AAA's roadside assistance program doesn't cover Hellfire missile attacks. The Associated Press has the details here.
Aside from the AAA confusion, the attack was a win-win situation for all parties. For the United States, it was a high-profile success which marked "America's first overt attack on suspected al-Qaida operatives outside of Afghanistan." And for Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, it means he'll no longer be subjected to signing that ponderous name on his checks.
TO THE SHORES OF DJIBOUTI: UPI is reporting that 700-800 U.S. Marines have arrived in Djibouti. Some are at sea and others are possibly stationed at a French base there.
General Tommy Franks confirmed the fact with this explanation: "We do have more forces in that region, down around Djibouti . . . as we have better refined and defined our relationships and what we're looking at, it seems to make sense to us to put this capability -- Marine capability -- in the vicinity of Djibouti to work with countries in the Horn of Africa."
Which country "in the vicinity of Djibouti" does General Franks have in mind? Take a look at this CIA World Factbook map and the answer is obvious. Somalia, a major al-Qaeda base of operations, is just south of Djibouti. Clearly, the Marines are spearheading military efforts to destroy Somali-based al-Qaeda mercenaries.
It's also clear that the French apparently have no problem with preemptive U.S. military operations in Somalia. So why does France oppose the same policy vis-a-vis Iraq?
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