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June 03, 2006

ROGER SIMON: "I can't say I'm surprised it took eight paragraphs before the New York Times deigned to tell us what might be behind (have motivated) the arrest of 17 people in Ontario over the last couple of days. In fact it takes them six paragraphs before they even name any names. And of course they hasten first to make sure we know most of these men (not yet identified as Islamists) are "young people," shades of the French linguistic obsession with les jeunes, lest we might think them representative of a hostile ideology. This political bowdlerization is accomplished in paragraph four. Think for a moment how the Times would have constructed an article (has constructed many articles) about the malfeasance of US servicemen. They sure wouldn't bury the lede."

UPDATE: The sounds of silence.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More on the Canadian effort here.

And more on the post-bust spin here. There's also lots more over at Canadian newsblog Newsbeat1.

MORE: In the comments to Roger's post, a hypothesis on why the Big Media tend to underplay the Islamist angle on terror:

Just like our own elites: they truly believe that - if not carefully monitored, us People will riot and string up Muslims from every lamp-post at the least provocation. In their view, the Military, especially, is certain to run amuck at any time (thus the obsessing over Abu Ghraib, and now, jumping all over Haditha) - and, of course, probably has, almost continuously, and Rumsfeld, etc has Covered it Up.

And with Bush in power, the Elites are wringing their hands, knowing that the RedNecks are rampant, uncontrolled, willing and able to do ANYTHING!!!!

Though in fact, it's the Big Media that tend to act like a hysterical mob more often than do ordinary people.

WELL, I FLUNKED THIS QUIZ:

Q: Was U.S. economic growth higher during the time John Snow was Treasury Secretary, or during the time Robert Rubin was Treasury Secretary?

A: It was the same , 3.8 percent.

Poor Snow could never get a break. Funny, though, it seems that we heard a lot more good news about the economy when Rubin was in. Go figure.

MORE PROTESTS AND VIOLENCE IN IRAN.

UPDATE: Lots of people are surprised that this isn't getting more big-media coverage. So am I.

ANOTHER UPDATE: No comfort from Karl Vick.

But at least we've got Jimmy Carter for comic relief.

A TERROR RING THAT PLANNED OKLAHOMA-CITY-STYLE BOMBINGS has reportedly been smashed in Canada. Interestingly, it seems that Internet monitoring played a key role.

It's also interesting that this happened at almost the same time as the major bust in London. So what's cooking here in the United States?

UPDATE: Brendan Loy has more, plus a complaint about Reuters' coverage, which leaves out a lot of details about the Islamist character of the defendants: "Reuters didn’t see fit to mention any of that, or to specify whether the arrested terrorists are Muslims, or Arabs, or Islamists, or Al Qaeda members/sympathizers, or… anything. From the Reuters article, you wouldn’t know whether these guys are Osama bin Laden’s band of brothers, or a band of angry rednecks from Saskatchewan. Well, actually, maybe we do sorta know, because if they were angry rednecks from Saskatchewan, I’m sure Reuters would have told us that."

Indeed.

MORE: Some additional background here:

Mathers said an investigation of this magnitude by INSET would been an “accumulative effort” involving informants, electronic intercepts of communication, and “hours and hours and hours of surveillance — very boring surveillance too.”

But he said it’s most likely human sources — acquaintances of those planning a terrorist attack, or people somehow linked to the plans themselves — who would have provided the most vital information that would provide enough evidence for arrests.

“Electronic sources don’t always provide you with enough timely information. You need human beings,” he said.

That's certainly true. I hope we're keeping a close eye on likely terrorists here in the United States.

HADITHA PHOTO FAKERY?

TOM MAGUIRE:

Are Michal Kranish, Boston Globe reporter and Douglas Brinkley, historian and Kerry hagiographer, capable of eliciting relevant information during an interview? If so, their own interview notes might shed some light on a Swift Boat mystery the NY Times chose to resurrect last Saturday. The puzzle - how can four men fit in a three man boat? Answer - they can't, so who is lying, or misremembering, when they say they were?

I confess that my swift-boat attention span has pretty much expired, but Tom is looking for help from military readers, so if you have any to offer be sure to drop by.

June 02, 2006

AT BLOGCRITICS, a look at Haditha, the laws of war, and terrorists.

UPDATE: Reader Peter Ingemi was somewhat upset that some people on the left construed an email of his as calling for civil war against antiwar folks. It's updated here, along with an email from a reader on the left calling for civil war against people on the right. Or something like that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Peter Ingemi sends a followup email:

I've been doing a little surfing today and for the fun of it did a Technorati search of me. It is a new experience to be villified all over the internet by a bunch of people who I've never met and am unlikely to.

I was about to start answering some of the nonsense when the Sicilian in me kicked in. It is a waste of time effort and pixels and the responses and counter responses would eat up time I would be spending actually having a life and like I've said before Sicilians are used to being thought of poorly. It is almost like reading newspapers from the old south pre 1860, there is a mindset so entrenched that nothing is going to change it and what's worse it gets reinforced over and over again. It's almost a cult. I've only seen this for an hour, you must get it every day by the bagful.

How do you put up with it?

Practice. Plus, like Jeff Goldstein, I crap bigger than them. Much bigger. . . .

WIRELESS INTERNET on JetBlue.

AUSTIN BAY looks at the latest from Nigeria: "This is one of those conflicts taking place that has genuine, measureable global economic effects."

BEWARE the two-minute snark. It's like the two-minute hate, only dumber. Er, and snarkier.

THE WORLD'S LEADING KIDNEYBLOGGER notes an outrage at the National Kidney Foundation.

STAGING THE NEWS: An amusing video roundup.

BIG TERROR RAID IN BRITAIN: 200 cops, health workers, and more. Roundup here.

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE looks at media coverage of Haditha and pronounces it dishonest. "So please do look carefully at future news stories that include that mysterious phrase from nowhere - along with all others from similar sources."

THIS SEEMS DUMB:

The head of the FBI says Internet companies should retain customer records for two years to help the federal government investigate not only porn but also terrorism. . . .

Top U.S. law enforcement officials have told Internet companies they must retain customer records longer to help in child pornography and terrorism investigations, and they are considering asking Congress to require preservation of records.

If I recall correctly, this started out as a porn measure, and I suspect the terrorism bit of being tacked on. Of course, it's no dumber than this:

Get ready to give up a little bit of your privacy in exchange for certain allergy or cold medicines.

Starting in late September, just in time for cold season, consumers will be required to fork over photo IDs and list their home addresses in logbooks before buying Sudafed, Contac or other remedies containing the nasal-decongestant pseudoephedrine or similar substances.

We already have to do this in Tennessee. It's asinine and -- not surprisingly -- turns out to be ineffective. But at least those Mexicans busy cooking up meth won't add to the illegal-immigration problem!

JOE TRIPPI:

America's two political parties may not realise it yet, but in their current form they are nearing obsolescence. As technological advancements continue to bring more and better tools for communication, citizens are increasingly empowered to come together in common purpose and reject the current political system that seems designed by the two parties to keep us apart.

There was a time when to have any hope of winning office a candidate needed to run within either the Republican or Democratic party. To come from one of the major parties meant that a candidate inherited a dedicated donor base and an organisational base as well.

The 2004 presidential campaign proved that those days are nearing an end - and it is the ability of hundreds of thousands using the internet to connect with each other that makes it so.

I think that's right -- see here and here -- but I also think that the ability of the Internet to mobilize the kinds of "boots on the ground" that it takes to win elections is yet to be shown. I've visited the Hamilton Jordan / Gerald Rafshoon Unity '08 site and while I like the idea, I found the execution somewhat unappealing. I'm not sure why, exactly, and it may just be that the website itself has a prepackaged, off-the-shelf feel to it.

But if you examine the two big political parties as businesses, their key advantages are informational and social: Informational, in terms of their ability to coordinate people and money, and social, in terms of being able to cultivate and make use of people's loyalties to the group on constructive ways. The former seem to me to have been undermined by technology, and the latter seem to me to have been undermined by the parties themselves.

BILL ROGGIO LIVE FROM KABUL: In a podcast interview by Richard Fernandez of The Belmont Club. Who says bloggers don't do original reporting?

BRIAN ANDERSON says that video games are good for kids. As he notes, I agree.

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT in Canada.

A ROBOTIC FLOOR SCRUBBER. The reviews aren't bad, but I'm skeptical. I really want Rosie from The Jetsons.

UPDATE: Possumblog is dissing Rosie. That's wrong -- but his point about Ashley Scott is well-taken.

DAVE PRICE WONDERS if people are getting ahead of the news cycle on Haditha. It wouldn't be the first time that the media and antiwar folks were suckered -- somewhat willingly -- by the insurgents. But I think it's best just to wait and see what the investigation shows. Not that that's stopping the usual suspects, of course.

UPDATE: Related thoughts from Ed Morrissey and Daniel Henninger. More here, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mark Steyn talked about this and related topics. Transcript and audio here.

Read this post on Ishaqi, too.

THE PAJAMAS MEDIA WEEK IN REVIEW PODCAST IS UP, featuring me, Austin Bay, "Advice Goddess" Amy Alkon, and Eric Umansky. Topics include Iran, overinflated career expectations, Haditha, and more.

GEORGE BUSH, COLD-WAR LIBERAL: It seems to me that this is the kind of diplomacy that Peter Beinart is calling for from liberals:

The United States and five other major world powers agreed Thursday to offer Iran a broad new collection of rewards if it halts its drive to master nuclear technology, but they threatened "further steps in the Security Council" if Iran refuses.

The agreement, announced here by British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett following extended talks, brings general unity to the countries' approach to Iran after months of discord, diplomats said. It is intended to sharpen the choice facing Iran, giving it a clear reason to opt for cooperation over confrontation on its nuclear program.

The question is, will it work? And if so, would it work as well if it weren't for the presence of U.S. troops on both sides of Iran?

And though the Iraq war is held out as a case of aggressive unilateral warmongering, the fact is that it was the slowest "rush to war" in history, as the Bush Administration made (to my mind excessive) efforts to keep the U.N. relevant. And it's interesting that Beinart holds up Kosovo as an example of war done right when it had far less U.N. sanction than the Iraq invasion -- Wesley Clark, remember, said that the Kosovo bombing was "technically illegal."

At any rate, it seems clear that the Bush Administration's approach is far more nuanced than his critics credit. Whether it will be effective is another story.

UPDATE: Bush is certainly more diplomatic than this! If only they'd talk this tough about, you know, terrorists.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Freeman Hunt wants less carrot, more stick.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Turns out that the latest nano-toxicity scare was bogus:

Last week, German regulators released tests that showed Magic Nano contained no nanoparticles. The product was designed to deposit an oil- and-water-repellent nano-thin film composed of silicon dioxide, but lab tests have yet to verify that property.

Experts still don't know what caused the illnesses in a case that highlights the murky definitions and poorly understood risks in one of the fastest-growing segments of science and technology.

"So the speculation begins," said Andrew Maynard, chief scientist of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. "This is the great danger — you're going to have a response against nanotech as a whole."

More background here. My skeptical take on this story when it appeared, here.

ARMED LIBERAL:

I'm genuinely afraid that the ruling cohort, and those who enable it by participating in the political process, have so much lost touch with the realities that we face that they are incapable of looking at an issue like Iraq, or 9/11, or the economic straits we have spent and borrowed ourselves into as a nation except as a foothold in climbing over the person in front of them. I imagine a small table of gentlemen and -women, playing whist on a train as it heads out over a broken bridge. The game, of course maters more than anything, and the external events - they're just an effort to distract the players from their hands.

Alas, you go to war with the political class you have.

EVAN COYNE MALONEY: Microsoft Vista No Es Buena.

June 01, 2006

SOME THOUGHTS ON WHY SOME PEOPLE hate Jeff Goldstein. Personally, I've always blamed the armadillo. Nasty creatures, armadillos. They carry leprosy, you know.

TIM BLAIR: Is that all you've got? "Eight men. Coming up on five years since 9/11, only eight men are pursuing legal action over travel issues. . . . That’s how the NYT decides when something qualifies as a problem: comedians build a routine around it. Prepare for a 15-part NYT series on airline food."

Plus, further thoughts on East Timor.

RFK, JR. GETS A BAD REVIEW FROM DAN RIEHL: "NPR debunked it a week ago before it was even published."

Meanwhile, Don Surber comments: "Real journalism would have at least also looked at Wisconsin, where multiple-state voting likely cost Bush a state."

UPDATE: Armed Liberal notes that even Mother Jones is ahead of RFK, jr. When you're peddling conspiracy theories that have already been busted by NPR and Mother Jones, well . . . .

HADITHA UPDATE: "Military prosecutors plan to file murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges against seven Marines and a Navy corpsman in the shooting death of an Iraqi man in April, a defense lawyer said Thursday."

Interestingly, this isn't about Haditha, but another case from earlier this Spring; the Haditha investigation continues. As Peter Beinart noted in our podcast earlier, the difference between the United States and most other countries isn't that we're perfect, but that we follow up stuff like this. That tends to get missed in the coverage.

The Mudville Gazette has much more on this story. And read this post over at Michael Yon's site.

Ace, meanwhile, is unimpressed with the "higher standard" argument.

A CARTOON FOR MUBARAK: Background is here. There's more background here, too.

Does Mubarak want to be known as the new "Sodom" Hussein?

UPDATE: I've got more thoughts over at GlennReynolds.com.

NPR REPORTS ON RE-ENLISTMENTS: A really nice story from All Things Considered featuring soldiers explaining why they re-upped.

"MR. HASTERT, SIT DOWN."

The Glenn and Helen Show: Peter Beinart on "The Good Fight"

beinartcov.jpg
We talked with Peter Beinart, New Republic editor and author of The Good Fight : Why Liberals---and Only Liberals---Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again. Beinart talks about Cold War liberalism, how the left abandoned anti-communism and anti-totalitarianism in the 1960s, and what people on the Left need to do now to deal with the threat of Islamic Jihadism. We also talked about Iran, Democratic opposition to Hillary Clinton, Al Gore's prospects, and the likelihood of a third party challenge in 2008.

You can listen directly by clicking right here, or you can get it via iTunes here (we like it when you subscribe on iTunes, as it boosts our rank on their charts). There's an archive of past podcasts here, and lo-fi versions, suitable for dialup, are here.

Music is by Mobius Dick. And, as always, my lovely and talented cohost is taking comments and suggestions.

MORE IRANIAN PROTESTERS KILLED: And ethnic groups are lining up against the Mullahs. Gateway Pundit has a roundup. It seems to me that events like these would get a lot more attention if they were happening in Iraq. So why are they being ignored, now?

A POLL AT REDSTATE: Would you vote for Bush again, if he were eligible in 2008?

I CAN'T SAY I'M SURPRISED BY THIS REPORT:

In the rift between Congress and the Justice Department, Americans side overwhelmingly with law enforcement: Regardless of precedent and the separation of powers, 86 percent say the FBI should be allowed to search a Congress member's office if it has a warrant.

That view is broadly bipartisan, this ABC News poll finds, ranging from 78 percent among Democrats to 94 percent of Republicans.

Which merely serves to further illustrate the idiocy of the Congressional Republicans in standing with Pelosi, Jefferson, et al.

A GREENPEACE PUBLIC-RELATIONS GAFFE that's pretty funny.

MORE ON KATRINA: The report is out, and Popular Mechanics has a summary. Excerpt:

Government or contractor negligence was not discovered. The practices and design criteria did vary however since 1965. The piecemeal construction of levees, floodwalls and gates over the decades led to “inconsistent levels of protection.” Protection erected around the 17th Street Canal for example was not as strong as those at the Orleans Canal, which incorporated more conservative designs and practices. Materials also ranged in strength and fortitude.

IPET also determined Katrina’s surge levels were as much as six feet higher than design levels in the eastern and southern portions. And the waves were “long period ocean storm waves” allowing them to run over the levees. Some waves generated velocities of 10 to 15 feet-per-second over levees.

All but four breaches were due to overtopping and erosion. A key element leading to failures at the 17th Street Canal and London Avenue was the formation of gaps behind I-walls. The morning of the hurricane, water had already rose 1.7 feet above the tops of the levees and floodwalls to an elevation of 14.2 feet. As the water passed over the levees, it eroded the soil supporting the walls degrading their stability and resulting in catastrophic flooding.

It will be interesting to see how much media play this gets, since it, er, undercuts some earlier reporting on the story.

DALE CARPENTER WRITES on why a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is a bad idea even if you oppose gay marriage. I support gay marriage (though I'd prefer to separate marriage and state, making marriage a matter of contract, not status), but it's interesting reading.

MY MENTION OF THE HENRY REED BOOKS led to various requests for kids' book recommendations. That's really my mother's turf -- she's a children's librarian -- but the InstaDaughter is a big fan of Cornelia Funke's books Inkheart and Inkspell, though I haven't read those. She liked The Thief Lord, too, though I read it and found it okay but not great.

For oldies-but-goodies of the Henry Reed variety, of course, there are also the recently reissued Mad Scientists' Club books by Bertrand Brinley. The InstaDaughter read the first one but was lukewarm -- unlike Henry Reed's stuff, she saw it as a "boy book." And it pretty much is, I guess.

A LOOK AT HUGO CHAVEZ AND OPEC, with an Iranian slant.

PEGGY NOONAN: "The Perot experience seemed to put an end to third-party fever. But I think it's coming back, I think it's going to grow, and I think the force behind it is unique in our history. . . . The problem is not that the two parties are polarized. In many ways they're closer than ever. The problem is that the parties in Washington, and the people on the ground in America, are polarized. There is an increasing and profound distance between the rulers of both parties and the people--between the elites and the grunts, between those in power and those who put them there."

(Via Texas Rainmaker). I've been saying that for a while. There's more on the third-party angle here, too.

UPDATE: Mark Tapscott looks at the rapid ascendancy of the Republicans from third-party status before the Civil War and comments:

The GOP went from nowhere in 1854 to Lincoln in the White House and congressional majorities in a decade. Thanks to the Internet's power to link like-minded people, I doubt it will take so long this time around for a new party to become ascendant.

I think the "Feiler Faster Principle" applies here, too. But Michelle Malkin, even though she favors Noonan's idea in the abstract, thinks it won't go anywhere: "When push comes to shove, Kos repulses me more than Bill Frist or Dennis Hastert does. So I won’t gamble on a Reform candidate, especially one who’s likely to draw votes from the GOP nominee, lest it tip the election to the nutroots." John Podhoretz, less comfortable, warns against just such an outcome.

That's what Republican (and Democratic) leaders are counting on, of course. But their best protection against a third-party breakout would be to do a better job themselves.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: "Given the last five years of strident complaints about the supposedly imperial presidency, I'm just wondering what, say, Senator Reid or Rep. Pelosi thinks about a branch of government that decides to define its own powers regardless of what the courts say."

Read this, too, about Rep. Jefferson's car and the speech-and-debate clause. And there's some interesting institutional background here.

SOME COOL PORTRAITS FROM INDIA.

STRATEGYPAGE ON EAST TIMOR: It's a case of "Melanesian malaise."

Meanwhile, a comparison of East Timor and Iraq.

MOWERBLOGGING UPDATE: Yes, I still have the unpowered push mower that I wrote about last year. Still works fine. Doesn't use any gas!

I'd rather have a robot mower, though. But then you'd miss photo-ops like this one.

DON SURBER has an update on the Harry Reid scandal, and seems to think it's a bit more important than I do.

A SCOTT BURGESS / JOHANN HARI cage match. They're vacuuming up what's left of Hari.

GUN CONTROL IN BURLINGTON, even if it violates state law?

Maybe we need a federal "amnesty" for people who break state and local gun laws. . . .

GAY-BASHING IN MOSCOW: Peter Tatchell writes:

When Moscow's mayor can abuse fundamental freedoms with impunity, it is doubtful that Russia is fit to hold the presidency of the Council of Europe - or even be a member.

President Putin's silence is damning. He has said nothing in defence of the right to protest or of the human rights of Russia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Nevertheless, Moscow Pride was a huge success, despite all the homophobia it revealed and the savage repression it unleashed. It is a major milestone in Russian queer history. A handful of courageous gay Russians got up off their knees and stood tall, proud and defiant. They dared to take on the authoritarian regime of Mayor Luzhkov.

By insisting on the right to protest, they were defending more than gay rights: they were defending the democratic freedoms of all Russians, gay and straight.

That's certainly true. Moscow needs more people willing to stand up to the authorities. Veronica Khokhlova has a big roundup on this event, too, one that takes a somewhat more negative view of the precedent that was set.

PETER ARCHER writes that we should be encouraging the resistance in Iran. That seems right to me.

I'VE GOTTEN A BUNCH OF EMAILS ON A JIMMY CARTER / OSAMA BIN LADEN CONNECTION, but as John Hinderaker notes, "The bin Laden Group is the biggest construction company in the Middle East and is, as far as I know, a perfectly respectable company. Jimmy Carter would say that the Camp David accords were the crowning achievement of his generally-unsuccessful Presidency. There is no reason why Middle Eastern Arabs like the bin Ladens should not show their appreciation of President Carter by making a donation to his library. And there is no reason why the entire bin Laden family should be guilty by reason of its black sheep, Osama--who had, as I recall, some 50 brothers and sisters."

He concludes: "We've been highly critical of Jimmy Carter on a number of grounds, but this isn't one of them." Nor should it be.

This seems a bit like the bogus Kerry China scandal.

A LOOK AT MAYOR BLOOMBERG vs. guns.

Personally, I'd rather have a gun . . . .

WHAT IS SO RARE as a day in June?

I'M INTERVIEWED on the Internet and politics, in the D.C. Examiner.

WATCH OUT, GOOGLE: Ask.com now has a blog search feature. It gets a pretty good review over at TechCrunch. (Thanks to Gabe Rivera for the tip.)

MICKEY KAUS thinks that John McCain is setting himself up for a third-party run in 2008.

POPULAR MECHANICS: "Hurricane Season Begins with New Plans and Old Levees."

It could be subtitled "It's the soils, stupid."

May 31, 2006

THE WASHINGTON POST has a story on Egypt's imprisoned bloggers. And, in the Christian Science Monitor, Sandmonkey is calling for a boycott of Egypt:

If arresting peaceful protesters on the street, week after week (653 last month alone), weren't enough, the Egyptian government is looking to end public dissent over the Internet. So far, six bloggers have been arrested. One of them is Alaa Abdel-Fatah, one of Egypt's most prominent bloggers. Mr. Abdel-Fatah runs an aggregator service for Egyptian blogs, using the space to help organize protests. He has been a thorn in the side of the Egyptian government for some time, which finally decided to handpick Abdel-Fatah and fellow bloggers out of a recent street protest and detain them. They have been in jail for three weeks now in a place that makes Abu Ghraib look like the Four Seasons.

Another blogger, Mohamed el-Sharqawi, was released, then rearrested two days later, just last Thursday. He was beaten up and says he was raped by the police before being thrown in jail again. There is still no word on what he is charged with, or how long he will be detained, since the emergency laws allow his indefinite incarceration without charges. . . .

For all of the aforementioned reasons, I call upon you to boycott Egypt financially.

I am not just asking the US State Department to suspend the $3 billion in annual aid sent to the Egyptian government. I am asking every person who reads this to not visit Egypt, not buy Egyptian products, and not invest in companies that invest in Egypt. I am asking you to completely boycott Egypt and everything Egyptian until this government stops silencing dissent.

Don't get me wrong. I love my country. But the current regime has to be stopped, and the only way that's going to happen is if it is no longer supported.

Read the whole thing. Mubarak, apparently, is pissed at the pressure he's been getting from the United States. Seems to me that means it's time for more.

SINCE SOME PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE IT, I should note that Kim du Toit is blogging again.

BILL ROGGIO HAS POSTED A REPORT FROM KABUL that's worth your time.

He also emails this photo of sunset in Kabul.

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MERCENARIES FOR DARFUR: Max Boot floats an idea that's been seen here at InstaPundit before:

If you listen to the bloviators at Turtle Bay, salvation will come from the deployment of a larger corps of blue helmets. If only. What is there in the history of United Nations peacekeepers that gives anyone any confidence that they can stop a determined adversary?

The odds are much greater that U.N. representatives will instead be taken as hostages by bloodthirsty thugs, as happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995 and in Sierra Leone five years later. Or that, rather than protecting the people, the peacekeepers will prey on them — as allegedly has happened in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Congo, all places where blue helmets have been accused of a horrifying litany of sexual abuses, including pedophilia, rape and prostitution.

Even if these worst-case scenarios don't come to pass, the U.N. is likely to prove ineffectual in the face of determined opposition. Look at what is happening in East Timor, where, after seven years of U.N. stewardship, the capital has been paralyzed by fighting among armed gangs. The situation is even worse in Haiti, where a Brazilian-led U.N. force has done little to stem growing chaos. It is worse still in Somalia — the most lawless country on Earth — where a U.N. deployment failed in the early 1990s. . . .

But perhaps there is a way to stop the killing even without sending an American or European army. Send a private army. A number of commercial security firms such as Blackwater USA are willing, for the right price, to send their own forces, made up in large part of veterans of Western militaries, to stop the genocide.

We know from experience that such private units would be far more effective than any U.N. peacekeepers. In the 1990s, the South African firm Executive Outcomes and the British firm Sandline made quick work of rebel movements in Angola and Sierra Leone. Critics complain that these mercenaries offered only a temporary respite from the violence, but that was all they were hired to do. Presumably longer-term contracts could create longer-term security, and at a fraction of the cost of a U.N. mission.

Yet this solution is deemed unacceptable by the moral giants who run the United Nations. They claim that it is objectionable to employ — sniff — mercenaries. More objectionable, it seems, than passing empty resolutions, sending ineffectual peacekeeping forces and letting genocide continue.

More likely they fear that if it proves effective, they'll lose out on a line of business that has proved profitable so far.

FAREED ZAKARIA WRITES, correctly, that Iraq's problems are fundamentally political not military: "The reality is that only an effective political bargain will bring about order. There needs to be a deal that gives all three communities strong incentives to cooperate rather than be spoilers."

The Iraqi Oil Trust idea, originally proposed here via Lou Dolinar (and see the followup posts here, here, and here for more) might be one way to accomplish this.

ANN ALTHOUSE doesn't think that hypocrisy is a generational matter.

IRAN AND THE U.S. NEGOTIATION OFFER: Austin Bay has thoughts.

A HADITHA ROUNDUP, plus this pretty much sure-fire prediction: "The media frenzy around the actions of a handful of Marines is now building and, as happened with the illegal acts at Abu Graib, will be used to advance agendas unrelated to the allegations, agendas which trade on the slander of the American military, and which use the very rare exceptions to paint broadly, even as the enemy will."

UPDATE: Peter Ingemi writes that the antiwar left has made Haditha morally irrelevant:

There is one aspect about Haditha that seems to be ignored by everybody.

Our press and the anti-American left both in this country and outside of it has been reporting "Hadithas" over and over again over the last three years.

Time and time again our friends have accused us of every possible atrocity that there is to the point that internationally people are already able to believe this or the 9/11 stuff or all the rest.

Because of this, internationally it is totally irrelevant if the Marines actually violated the rules of war. Our foes are going to say that we've done things if we do them or not, so the only people that it really matters to will be; the people killed (and family) and the people in our own country who support the military.

The real danger is that we who support the war will reach the point that we say "we might as well be taken as wolves then as sheep". At that point the left can celebrate that they have made our military and those who support it the people they claim we are. Once that happens however any compunction about respecting them will be gone, and remember one side is armed and one is not.

That is a fate that I don't wish on any of us.

Neither do I.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Background and video here.

MORE: Some people, judging from my email, are misjudging -- or deliberately misconstruing -- Ingemi's point. Ingemi's point, as I took it, is that crying wolf leads end the end to moral callousness, as people assume that there's no point in behaving morally when they're going to be called monsters anyway. This seems rather uncontroversially obvious to me.

STILL MORE: I keep getting emails like this: "So you endorse using violence against your political enemies?" I don't see where anyone gets that from the above. I certainly didn't say that, and I don't think that Peter Ingemi meant it. And I don't really see how anyone could get that from the above.

This seems rather manufactured -- kind of like Matt Yglesias' claim that this post constituted an incitement to vandalism against the New York Times.

And at a time when elected Democratic officials are speaking fondly of the prospect of "putting a bullet between the President's eyes," these claims of outrage ring rather hollow.

MORE STILL: I didn't think that Peter Ingemi was proposing civil war (One tipoff -- where he said "This is a fate I don't wish on any of us."). He sends this followup:

You know I've been re-reading the responses to that letter and thought about it overnight. It really bothers me.

When you look at military dictatorships and military oppression that has taken place in history there is one common thread, (something that you have written on over and over) one side is armed and one is not. Usually you have a homogeneous military consisting of a single group/race etc.

One of the great genius' of the American system was the subordination of the military to civilian rule, and the concept of militia consisting of all able bodied men. Our military came from all over the country and from all walks of life mixing and getting together. It's a lot like going to church, people of all walks and trades and classes together in one spot. My pastor politically is as left as they come, that doesn't stop him from being of the finest priests I've ever seen. I very much wish the church had more like him. (but I digress)

As political fever drives both sides farther apart over time we are in great danger of having a military that represents only a single party and class of people. We got a tiny glimpse of this during the Clinton years as the troops did their best to separate the office from the man. What will happen in 20 or 30 years?

Since the 60's two unifying forces, for good or ill, were removed from the country: the removal of Judeo/Christian values as the semi-official moral code of the public schools) and the death of the draft/aka Vietnam. (actually ending in the 70's). These two changes had one thing in common, it took two generations for them to have the following effect:

It is now unlikely that a student going to school today, had a teacher or parent who 1. Served in the military or 2. Was taught that moral code in school. To a whole generation now being born these are things that belong to outsiders. This makes the military and religious people outsiders and strange to one group and vice versa. Since the military draws predominantly from those two groups it will become more isolated from the rest of the public as time goes by.

This is not healthy for our country. What is worse is that one group has slowly vilified the military assuming them to be all dupes or thugs. A lot of this was political rhetoric but it has grown as a matter of faith.

There is NOTHING more dangerous in a republic than this. In the old south you had a police force that was of a single race, how many people of color felt comfortable calling the police? Right now we are in a war with a group that ironically hates most of what the left loves. The people who are predominantly fighting that war are on the right, the primary targets of our foes are frankly those on the left.

Some guys like Andrew Sullivan understand that I might disagree with him on Gay Marriage but these barbarians would cut his head off and brag about it. A person like me might suffer 2nd class citizenship in an islamist state. Our friends on the left would be dead.

I am an anomaly. I was born in 1963 but my parents were in their 40's at the time. That means my father served in the pacific and my mother said the Lord's prayer in the public school that she went to. My father is long dead but my own sons are babysat by my 81 year old mother quite a bit, (active is too slow a word for her). The values I've grown up with were the values that were the mainstream of the greatest generation, however I grew up around people a generation ahead of me so perhaps I can see it a bit brighter than most. This has to be nipped in the bud before somebody in the future with power means what our left leaning friends think I did.

I see two simple solutions: The primary one is history. Let our friends in the left study the history of their grandparents and great grandparents. It is almost a certainly that they had family members in the military, belonged to a church and had the worldview that the right hold now. Look into this and see when you study their lives, how they lived without the wonders we take for granted, how they got by without TV or air conditioning or that 2nd car and see if you see what kind of people they were.

Second take a lesson from today. I would recommend to our liberal friends the book KEEPING FAITH A FATHER-SON STORY ABOUT LOVE AND THE USMC. by Frank Schaeffer (the sequel Faith of our Sons is fine too). It is the story of a man of the left who's son decides to join the Marine Corps (1998). The reaction of the people in his community and his school are shock and dismay. The reaction of the teachers is where did we go wrong? It is a riveting read.

For our part on the right we need to not make the venom directed against our institutions make us unquestioning supporters of all they do, furthermore have some contacts with people on the left. Socialize, In the group I hang out with. I am the only practicing Roman Catholic, most are not religious, several have marched in favor of gay marriage, several have signed the petition to put it back on the ballot, yet we all are pals, we are all welcome in each others homes and would drop what we are doing in a second to give the other a hand. That doesn't mean when a subject comes up we don't argue politics but that doesn't make us less friends.

Anyway I can't believe I've spent an hour writing this on my day off but it was on my mind and wouldn't get off of if until it was written and sent.

I'm opposed to conscription, but this is the strongest argument for the draft I've seen. Meanwhile, reader Kevin Deenihan, who was initially unhappy with Ingemi's first email, sent this after I assured him that I didn't think Ingemi was calling for civil war:

I agree that, on the surface, the comment looks like a simple 'reap what you sow' shot at scaremongers that see Abu Ghraib every time a Marine rolls his eyes. Perhaps I shouldn't read more deeply then that... or perhaps I've gotten your own opinion on that kind of boy-cries-wolf scenario exactly backwards.

But that comment, to me, did mean more. It's about holding to moral standards greater then your opponent and maintaining your integrity. I support the war -- by and large -- because I want to believe that those supporting it with me can always look at a Haditha and say 'This is wrong.'

To hear that the horror of a Haditha on fellow supporters can be minimized or lost because of the silly ramblings of The Nation -- that's profoundly disturbing to me. Are our moral compasses so easily dulled by New York Times opinions that we don't have the capacity to tell the difference? Or worse -- and this is what truly bothered me -- to tell the difference, but no longer even care? The idea that listening to overblown NPR rhetoric could lead to apologists for Haditha, simply because it will 'piss off' the Left, or because they're tired of being criticized, or whatever rationale.. I feel like that's the line that cannot be crossed.

Perhaps the reason that the Left is e-mailing so much is because, deep in their hearts, they believe that we all share some fundamental, American outrage at these kinds of abuses, if they really are what they seem to be. Imagine the Left's dismay if they finally proved there were horrors, and the response was a calm "we don't care about Haditha, thanks to your endless whining. Good job."

At Berkeley there was a Republican who wanted to start a Berkeley Gun Club for no better reason then 'It will really piss off the Hippies.' I can think of no more ideologically and philosophically bankrupt position then letting rage or fatigue towards your political opponents determine your own morals and integrity.

That's certainly right. A silly contrarianism is, well, silly at best. And -- by pointing out the unfortunate political purposes to which some people try to put war crimes -- I'm not trying to suggest that they don't matter when they actually happen. (I even played a part in Zeyad's efforts to uncover crimes by U.S. troops in Iraq). I would, however, like to see something more than endless efforts to rerun My Lai, as well as credit to U.S. troops for waging a war that is undoubtedly the most restrained in history. And when people exercise that kind of restraint, and get less than no credit for it, I think the result is poisonous.

And, alas, I don't think the lefty emails are motivated by anything as noble as Deenihan suggests. At least, not the ones like this, from trout@thefishshow.com:

You find this myth about we who oppose you comforting, do you, you pencil-necked weakling fuck?

Would you be shocked to learn that we are armed, dangerous, and smarter than you?

You will be.

Fuck you and your little rat-eyed chimpanzee emperor.

There were a lot of those, too. So who's threatening civil war, again?

[LATER: Technically, I guess it wouldn't be "civil war" for me, since thefishshow.com is registered to a Vancouver, BC registrant. That's a relief, as we all know that Canada is free of potentially violent extremists.]

MORE ANTISEMITISM FROM PETE MCCLOSKEY that makes the Los Angeles Times' and San Francisco Chronicle's endorsements look pretty bad:

There's no doubt that Jews, like others, participate in the political process, and promote causes that they care about -- which sometimes include Israel. It's quite legitimate to discuss that. It's quite legitimate to criticize Israel; for all I know (not being particularly knowledgeable on the subject), Rep. McCloskey's substantive criticisms of Israel were quite sound, though the claim that Israel was "very much like Adolf Hitler's Germany" makes me skeptical of his other views.

But when someone suggests that the Democratic Party is "in the hands of the Jews," because it is beholden to "Jewish money" (the money of 2% of the U.S. population, a group that's somewhat but not vastly more prosperous per capita than the average person), that suggests a pretty serious lack of perspective. And when coupled with the more recent talk of the "so-called Holocaust" and the shocking double standard in evaluating Arafat and the Israeli leaders, it makes one wonder whether Mr. McCloskey is indeed quite as good as the Times and the Chronicle suggest.

I'm not wondering at all.

MICHAEL MOORE, DEFENDANT:

A double-amputee Iraq-war vet is suing Michael Moore for $85 million, claiming the portly peacenik recycled an old interview and used it out of context to make him appear anti-war in "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Sgt. Peter Damon, 33, who strongly supports America's invasion of Iraq, said he never agreed to be in the 2004 movie, which trashes President Bush.

In the 2003 interview, which he did at Walter Reed Army Hospital for NBC News, he discussed only a new painkiller the military was using on wounded vets.

"They took the clip because it was a gut-wrenching scene," Damon said yesterday. "They sandwiched it in. [Moore] was using me as ammunition."

I hope that this gets the attention it deserves.

LIVEBLOGGING THE SPELLING BEE, at Throwing Things.

UPDATE: Ack, that's last year's link. That's what I get for blogging from the car. Just go here and scroll.

THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTS on Harold Ford's chances of winning a Tennessee Senate seat, which seem to be at the center of Democratic plans for taking back the Senate. You can hear our podcast interview of Ford here.

A LOOK AT HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN ENHANCEMENT from Ron Bailey.

RAND SIMBERG HAS MORE THOUGHTS on obesity and public schools.

UPDATE: Laura Lee Donoho has bad memories of school cafeteria days.

HERE'S AN INDONESIAN BLOG with more coverage of the earthquakes.

DR. WES FISHER has thoughts on politics and the New England Journal of Medicine.

THINGS THAT DON'T SUCK: My TCS Daily column is up.

May 30, 2006

I'M OFF VISITING MY BROTHER and both blogging and email responses are likely to be slow tonight. Back later.

A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT IS OBVIOUSLY REQUIRED: "Food police" may be making children fatter.

THE INSTA-DAUGHTER was desperate for reading matter a few weeks ago, so I gave her a copy of a book I loved when I was a kid, Henry Reed's Journey, which I've mentioned here before. She pronounced it "great," and then devoured Henry Reed, Inc., Henry Reed's Think Tank, and, well, I think all of the other books in the series, too. The setting already seemed charmingly out of date when I was a kid, but the stories haven't lost their appeal, I guess.

EUGENE ROBINSON: "The evidence, by now, is overwhelming: Beautiful, decadent New Orleans wasn't doomed by Hurricane Katrina but by decades of human incompetence and neglect." Worse, the problems remain.

HILLARY CLINTON GETS THE LIEBERMAN TREATMENT from angry Democratic activists. Obviously, only one potential Democratic candidate can fully pass their test. But he's perfectly positioned. He's even a veteran! . . .

POPE BENEDICT'S AUSCHWITZ SPEECH gets a bad review from Eric Muller.

JOHN MCINTYRE:

There is a quiet rage building among average middle class folks on the illegal immigration issue, and if the Republican leadership doesn't take control of the problem very soon they will allow the more extremist wings of the anti-immigration debate to become the face of the Republican party on immigration. That would be a disaster for GOP hopes to grow their new found majority in the years to come.

The surprise that is building politically is how strongly illegal immigration will manifest itself in the fall elections. Contrary to the early conventional wisdom that the huge immigration rallies would galvanize Congress to pass some kind of "comprehensive reform" along the lines of the Senate bill, the reality is that House Republicans with their enforcement-first approach are poised to reap substantial benefits by killing the Senate's reprise of Simpson-Mazzoli. . . . Republicans should understand that if there is a signing ceremony with President Bush, John McCain and Ted Kennedy on a compromise immigration bill that the Washington Post and New York Times praise, the GOP can kiss control of Congress good-bye.

Mickey Kaus has more, and observes:

If the House passes A (enforcement) and the Senate passes A (enforcement) + B (legalization)--and if, as the Weekly Standardites claim, the Republicans need to pass something, isn't the most conspicuous candidate for that something the common element that has been approved by both chambers? In other words, A.

What's been most striking to me about this whole affair has been the complete cluelessness, on the part of both the White House and the Congressional Republican leadership, on how this has been playing with the country and the base. The good news: It's not government by poll! The bad news: It's amazingly out of touch. (When we talked to Ken Mehlman, he was putting a good face on things, which is his job, but I certainly felt that he didn't fully grasp what he was confronting. Bill Frist, on the other hand, seemed to get it, but hasn't been as strong on follow-through.) And though McIntyre says that the importance of the immigration issue is a surprise, I should note that Hugh Hewitt has been warning for a year that the issue threatened the split the GOP coalition like no other. Not many people outside the blogosphere seem to have listened, though, and the result -- once again -- is the Republicans in political trouble that they could have avoided.

UPDATE: Polish your crystal ball by reading this piece by John Fund. He's certainly got this part right: "So far, the White House and Republican National Committee are behind the curve."

GRAND ROUNDS is up.

UPDATE: So is the Carnival of Liberty and the Carnival of the Capitalists.

STUCK ON STUPID in East Timor.

BILL ROGGIO has made it to Afghanistan, and sends this report:

The good news is I've safely landed in Kabul. The somewhat bad news is the UN flight to Kandahar is booked, so I will head down there on Monday. But there is plenty to do in Kabul, and I've already dug around a little bit about the violence in the city yesterday after a US vehicle killed 1 to 3 Afghans during a traffic accident. The consensus among the folks I spoke to is the protests after the accident were staged by groups waiting for such an event to happen. I made the comparison to the reaction by some Islamist groups in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) after the Muhammad Cartoon riots, where the "spontaneous protests" were anything but. there was agreement on this point. I will likely post about this tonight or tomorrow.

I drove through the city twice today, and it is an interesting place. The city is scarred from decades of combat, however you can see people are working to rebuild. Shops are open, people and traffic are on the streets, and there are signs of new construction and rebuilding/repair projects. I saw several "land/title offices," as well as signs for rooms for rent. Security is tight, and it seemed as if police were on every corner, no doubt a reaction to yesterday's events. Unfortunately my camera was packed away, but I'll get some shots tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

May 29, 2006

MORE TURMOIL IN IRAN: Gateway Pundit has a roundup.

THE AUTOMATED DORM ROOM: Via Slashdot.

HARRY REID EMBARRASSED: "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid accepted free ringside tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission to three professional boxing matches while that state agency was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing."

This seems like small potatoes to me -- you'd have to pay me to go to one of those things, though Reid feels differently ("I love the fights anyways, so it wasn't like being punished") -- but it won't help that "culture of corruption" offensive.

OWEN WEST FROM VETS FOR FREEDOM calls for an end to squabbling about the war in the New York Times. Read the whole thing. (Via Ann Althouse).

BLOGGING A TOBY KEITH CONCERT in Iraq.

UPDATE: And here's another blog report from the same show.

LOADS OF EMAIL on the Google / Ask / Dogpile post below. Lots of people like Ask.com and Dogpile.com as Google alternatives. I should note that Ask has a sort-of competitor to Google News, too.

I still miss Jeeves, though.

UPDATE: And a couple of recommendations for Clusty.com, a search engine I'd never heard of before.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A Google-vs-Ask comparison, here.

THE JAVA EARTHQUAKE NEWS just gets worse:

Homeless earthquake survivors living in rice fields and makeshift shacks begged for food and water under a blazing sun Monday as Indonesia's death toll rose to over 5,000.

Soldiers began delivering bags of rice to village chiefs in the mountainous quake zone on the island of Java, but survivors called the aid meager and slow. The United Nations planned a global appeal, saying relief money was running low.

"We have 300 families in this village and have only gotten two sacks of rice," said Lastri, 27, holding a 5-month-old. "It's not enough."

Indonesia's Social Affairs Ministry raised the death toll to 5,137, saying some 800 bodies that were buried in mass graves immediately after the quake had just been counted. . . . The country also is battling a bird flu crisis and a spate of terror attacks by al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants.

Here's a list of charities if you'd like to help.

IT'S A BEST AMERICAN NOVEL POLL over at Power Line.

BLAMING BLACK MAGIC for bird flu: "As their neighbors started dying, confusion and mistrust prompted villagers to stop cooperating with officials. Many refused to give blood samples, fearing they would later fall ill and suffer the fate of their neighbors. The case has been a powerful lesson for WHO officials in understanding the importance of early communication and education."

MY POST YESTERDAY on Amazon's new Bill Maher vehicle got a lot of negative email. I agree that Maher was a somewhat pedestrian choice, but I imagine the platform will broaden considerably in short order.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: "Since all efforts at commemoration are bound to fall short, one must be on guard against any attempt at overstatement. In particular, one must resist efforts to ventriloquize the dead. To me, Cindy Sheehan's posthumous conscription of her son is as objectionable as Billy Graham's claim, at the National Cathedral, that all the dead of Sept. 11, 2001 were now in paradise. In the first instance, we have no reason to believe that young Casey Sheehan would ever have supported MoveOn.org, and in the second instance we cannot be expected to believe that almost 3,000 New Yorkers all died in a state of grace. Nothing is more tasteless, when set against the reality of death, than the hollow note of demagogy and false sentiment. These things are also subject to unintended consequences. When Dalton Trumbo wrote his leftist antiwar classic 'Johnnie Got His Gun,' he little expected that it would be used as a propaganda tool by pro-fascist isolationists in the late 1930s, and that he would be protesting in vain that this was not what he had really meant."

JONAH GOLDBERG ON GOOGLE: "It's kind of sad. They change their homepage logo for all sorts of holidays and occasions. Just last week they paid tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday. But Memorial Day doesn't seem to rate anything at all."

UPDATE: A reader points out that one of Google's competitors remembered:

askmmday.jpg

ANOTHER UPDATE: DogPile gets a good review, too, from reader Rich Willis: "I switched to Dogpile.com as my search portal about a year ago. They let you use several search engines at once to grab searches from a variety of sources. After the last bit of 'Googliganisms' I removed google from my search tools in Dogpile. Thankfully, I read your blog daily, or I would have missed that Google today showed an unsurprising lack of respect for our armed forces, and for those of us who DO honor and respect them."

It's not a huge deal, but judging from my email it seems to be the last straw for a lot of people, coming after the China censorship deal, etc. As I warned earlier, Google seems to be engaged in a Dell-like squandering of its goodwill, which strikes me as very unwise given that goodwill is its biggest asset, really.

dogpile.jpg


SOME MEMORIAL DAY THOUGHTS from Ben Stein.

UPDATE: See also this post from Phil Carter.

OVER AT CHICAGOBOYZ, something you can do in observance of Memorial Day. I just donated $100 myself.

HERE'S AN ASSOCIATED PRESS STORY on imprisoned Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah:

The 24-year-old Abdel-Fattah's blog, which he does with his wife Manal Hassan, has become one of the most popular pro-democracy voices in Egypt. He has continued writing despite being arrested in early May during a street demonstration in Cairo — part of a crackdown on reform activists by Egyptian security forces.

"We covered the walls of our cell with graffiti of our names and slogans and Web site addresses," Abdel-Fattah wrote one time, referring to himself and fellow imprisoned activists. "We chanted and sang and the mood was great." . . .

The duo call their blog Manalaa, a combination of their first names. Young, secular and anti-authoritarian, they link the blogosphere with a democracy movement demanding reform from President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power longer than they have been alive.

Their blog, launched two years ago and written in a mixture of English and Arabic, is an Internet rallying point for activists in a nation where state-run media predominate and give little voice to reformers.

It posts announcements of planned demonstrations, political commentary, even photos — with names — of plainclothes security agents notorious for beating protesters. In March, the couple used their blog to organize a sit-in, where more than 100 protesters slept in a downtown Cairo square.

Read the whole thing, which suggests that the effort to silence Alaa has backfired. I've written more on the topic here, too. And Extreme Mortman has further thoughts on the freedom-blogging phenomenon:

On this Memorial Day, it’s thrilling and heartening to see the battle for democracy being fought on the Internet, not on bloody battlefields. Cheers to all blogging on the front lines.

Indeed.

May 28, 2006

SENSENBRENNER OPPOSES the "path to citizenship."

I'VE HAD GOOD LUCK WITH MY DELLS. Doug Weinstein, not so much.

But he's had worse trouble with Adaptec.

DEBRA SAUNDERS:

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi rails against the GOP "culture of corruption."

And in the most boneheaded political move of 2006, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., just handed her extra rope.

This has been a sorry year for congressional ethics. Cunningham pleaded guilty. Under indictment and with news reports linking him to Abramoff, Rep. Tom DeLay has announced his resignation. When he pleaded guilty, Abramoff implicated Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio. Last month, Alan Mollohan, D-W.V., stepped down from the House ethics committee after The Wall Street Journal reported that he was under investigation for directing federal spending to nonprofits with which he has financial ties. So when the FBI raided the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., Hastert should have kept his head down and, for a change, let Pelosi do the squirming.

Instead, Hastert and Pelosi issued a joint statement demanding that the federal government return "the papers it unconstitutionally seized." Bush responded by sealing the seized records for 45 days.

Be it noted that the FBI had a subpoena and the House raid followed a search of Jefferson's home last August that netted $90,000 stashed in Jefferson's freezer -- money that allegedly came from a $100,000 bribe captured on videotape. The feds had tried to get Jefferson to honor the subpoena for months -- but to no avail.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told The Washington Times, "Make no mistake, the American people will come to one conclusion -- that congressional leaders are trying to protect their own from valid investigation." That's certainly how I see it.

Me too.

MORE ON WARD CHURCHILL, from a CU department head.

IRAN ERUPTS -- MULLAHS BLAME U.S.: Gateway Pundit has a roundup.

UPDATE: Another roundup here -- including the news that, ironically, a cartoon is involved.

CAR CRASH AT INDY: Donald Sensing has more, including video.

SINCE THE SUBJECT'S IN THE NEWS AGAIN, here's the Kerry Christmas in Cambodia speech post. There's more background here, here, and here.

And refresh my memory: Did Kerry ever release his military records in full, as he promised? It seems rather silly of him to restart this debacle otherwise.

UPDATE: More here.

And Ed Driscoll is dubbing Kerry's newest initiative the "Blogosphere Full Employment Act of 2006." He is a gift that keeps on giving. More here, too.

TOM ELIA offers historical perspective for the ignorant.

IT'S A SPECIAL MEMORIAL DAY Carnival of the Recipes! I cooked barbecued chicken on the grill last night; the InstaDaughter made strawberry and blueberry trifle for dessert.

I KNEW IT WAS COMING: Amazon TV.

UPDATE: The reviews so far aren't that positive.

THE PIECE BY PROF. ROBERT TURNER OF VIRGINIA that I linked yesterday, on separation of powers and Congressional immunity, is now up as a free link at OpinionJournal.com.

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has split with Hastert and Pelosi:

FRIST: ... if there are accusations of bribery, of having lost the trust, abused the trust of the American people, criminal activity, no House member, no senator, nobody in government should be above the law of the land, period.

And a search warrant was obtained to go in. So to answer your question, no, I don't think it abused separation of powers. I think there's allegations of criminal activity, and the American people need to have the law enforced.

I don't think it was a separation of powers question. I've looked at it very carefully.

He's right, of course.

A LOOK AT GREENHOUSE HYPOCRITES AND THEIR GULFSTREAMS, over at Hot Air. More background from Gregg Easterbrook here, and an account of Al Gore's carbon consumption on his film tour here.

If you don't fly commercial, don't talk to me about greenhouse gases or conservation.

IF YOU WANT TO HELP the victims of the Java earthquake, most of the charities in this list will probably be helping.