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Monthly Archives: November 2005

Intellectual Ammunition

November 21st, 2005 - 10:15 pm

Received a copy of Richard Miniter’s Disinformation in the mail the other day, and blazed through it in near-record time.

The book’s subtitle is “22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror” – and it really is what it claims to be. Myths 12-15 cover the many, many links between Saddam Hussein an al Qaeda. While much of it wasn’t new to me, it’s certainly handy to have everything gathered together in one chapter.

Pick yourself up a copy, and keep it close to your computer monitor; it makes for a handy reference while you read the news. That, and it’s just heavy enough to hit your screen with a satisfying “thwap” when all else fails.

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Stick This in Your iPod and Watch It

November 20th, 2005 - 9:31 pm

Want to know what gives a geek chills? Click here.

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None Too Soon

November 20th, 2005 - 9:24 pm

Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi dead? Maybe:

US authorities are looking into whether Al Qaeda’s Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed in a gunfight in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, an US official says.

Then again, US officials aren’t ready to pop any corks:

White House spokesman Trent Duffy told Agence France-Presse in Beijing, as President George W Bush was wrapping up a trip to China, that the story was ‘highly unlikely, not credible.’

Dear or alive, however, we do have this small bit of good news:

Iraq’s most-wanted militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been disowned by members of his family in Jordan who have pledged to “sever links with him until doomsday” and proclaimed their loyalty to Jordan’s king, Abdullah II.

The statement, which also removed “protection” from Zarqawi, came amid further protests in Jordan at the suicide bombings at three hotels on November 9 in Amman , the capital, that killed 59 people, including revellers at a wedding party.

One thing’s for sure: Zarqawi’s Jordanian fundraising efforts have taken a hit.

And another thing. People may pick on President Bush for not being the shiniest penny in the roll, but we can be thankful our enemies have even less gloss. In other words, what the hell was Zarqawi thinking when he attacked Jordan?

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Too Late

November 20th, 2005 - 9:07 pm

David Warren wrote something I wish I had:

Neither a Marxist, nor a neoconservative (whatever that means), but still a militant Tory, I don’t believe in sides of history. It’s just one gigantic palpitating mess beyond the possibility of human comprehension, but we try to make the best of it as we go along. Principles there are, and none are relative, but there is the frequent embarrassment of competing principles, and sorting through their hierarchy of the moment requires something like prudence or tact.

Replace the word “Tory” with “Whig” or perhaps “Federalist,” and you’d get as close to my own thoughts as it’s possible to get.

And the whole column? Read it.

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Stuff and Things

November 20th, 2005 - 10:05 am

Light blogging? Oh, yeah, baby – we can do that! Between travel all last week and Melissa’s birthday this weekend, there just wasn’t time enough to blog.

We kicked off the birthday festivities Friday night at the in-laws, with an Italian dinner filled with so much cheesey goodness that I woke up at 5am on Saturday – not with a hangover, but with the mozzarella sweats. If you’ve never experienced them, or if you don’t think such a thing is possible, then you really need to spend a month in Tuscany or Sicily. Or – who am I kidding? – even if you do believe in it.

Followed that up on Saturday night with dinner at Walter’s Bistro here in Colorado Springs. The Fall Menu is not to be missed. If you’re in town the next couple weeks, drop in and order the Mushroom Fricassee appetizer. You won’t be sorry.

Sunday was brunch with friends at a Jewish deli, followed by Melissa’s annual Steve-Cooked Birthday Dinner. Add it all up, and I’m sure we each took in well over 15,000 calories in the course of 48 hours. At seven-plus months gone, Melissa can handle it – but as of Sunday night, I appear to be about 4 months gone.

Now that I’ve waddled my way downstairs to the computer, it’s time to play catch-up with the news. Back in a flash.

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Party Talk

November 18th, 2005 - 9:13 am

Neo-Neocon makes this observation about OSM bloggers:

When I say bloggers can talk, I mean talk. We’re talking serious talk here. Stamina, breadth, depth, decibel level. Get a group together, and it’s not for the faint of heart–if you don’t jump in quickly and vigorously, you may never get the floor, because the competition is hot and the topics change at the speed of light as one thought follows another, like group chain-smoking.

Karol Sheinen has a complete party wrap-up with pictures.

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Whew

November 17th, 2005 - 10:27 pm

Made it home safe and no more unsound than usual.

I’ll be back to the usual BS on Friday.

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Live From New York – Pajama Blogging!

November 16th, 2005 - 1:00 pm

Judith Miller was the keynote speaker at lunch this afternoon, and I came away impressed – if not exactly convinced. I thought about asking her a pointed question during the Q&A, but the only ones I could think of all concerned lesbian prison sex.

Details later, if I can remember any.

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Torture

November 16th, 2005 - 6:29 am

No, not torture like my Chicago-New York flight yesterday, but the real kind:

The Senate passed a defense bill Tuesday that would ban torture of terrorism detainees and grant them limited access to federal courts.
By an 84-14 vote, the Senate passed an amendment that would allow the roughly 500 detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to appeal convictions by military tribunals if they face the death penalty or at least 10 years in prison. The appeals would be heard in federal court. Detainees also would be allowed to appeal their designation as enemy combatants.

That reads like a pretty sensible compromise. Also, it doesn’t look like John McCain’s “CIA exemption” made it into the final bill. Good. It seems silly to trust the CIA – which hardly ever gets anything right – with something as morally repugnant as torture, especially given its questionable utility.

At this point, some well-meaning person might trot out the old “if there was a nuclear timebomb and we had a prisoner who knew something…” argument. A) That’s unlikely as hell. B) Torture still might not get us any usefull information. C) If it somehow did, then there’s probably not a DA who would indict our torturer, and there’s certainly no jury that would convict.

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Live From New York – Pajama Blogging!

November 15th, 2005 - 10:39 pm

When you land at the wrong airport with a half-dozen fire engines waiting for your plane… well, it seems a bit crass to complain about having to wait 90 minutes for your luggage.

Now that the drama is out of the way, there was a lovely dinner with lovely cocktails, followed by more cocktails without any food whatsoever.

Something tells me I’ll miss the Oh Dark Thirty conference Wednesday morning.

NOTE: I was so happy to land safely, I left my camera in the hotel room. Pictures I didn’t take to follow.

ANOTHER NOTE: I’ll take pictures tomorrow. Really.

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E.J. Dionne Is Lying

November 15th, 2005 - 1:49 pm

Check out this howler from the increasingly-unhinged E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post:

He doesn’t want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.

The big difference between our current president and his father is that the first President Bush put off the debate over the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm elections. The result was one of most substantive and honest foreign policy debates Congress has ever seen, and a unified nation. The first President Bush was scrupulous about keeping petty partisanship out of the discussion.

The current President Bush did the opposite. He pressured Congress for a vote before the 2002 election, and the war resolution passed in October.

Now, almost none of this is remotely accurate. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for the summer of 2002! Here’s then-Senator and then-Majority Leader Tom Daschle, speaking on July 31, 2002, a full two and a half months before a resolution came up for a vote in Congress, and long before the mid-term elections:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, agreed. “It would be a big mistake for the administration to act without Congress and without its involvement,” he said.

“I think there has to be a debate; there has to be some good discussion,” Daschle said. “There has to be some opportunity for the people to be heard. … Congress needs to be equal and full partners in this discussion, and ultimately in the decision.”

Daschle spent most of the summer of 2002 demanding a Congressional vote on the use of force in Iraq. This was simple pandering to the pacifistic core of the Liberal base, and politically idiotic during a national election year, but Dionne can hardly blame Bush for Daschle’s incompetence (well, he can, but the complaint doesn’t make any sense). When Bush agreed early in the fall that yes, Congress should vote on going to war and Daschle finally realized the political consequences of getting what he’d been asking for for months, he nearly had a stroke. The vote, on October 11, 2002 was 77-23, and Daschle was among those voting in favor, saying:

[T]he threat of Iraq’s weapons programs “may not be imminent. But it is real. It is growing. And it cannot be ignored.”

To further jog Dionne’s Bush-Derangement-Syndrome-addled memory, here’s a bit of good sense from that noted member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, David Corn of The Nation, written a couple of weeks before the congressional vote on Iraq:

The GOP is perfectly within its rights to urge voters to back Republican candidates who support Bush and his war on terrorism and his war on Iraq to come, and to claim that these are the most important questions facing the United States. It is up to the Democrats, if they so desire, to present a different case. That is the essence of politics. The Democrats can argue they care about national security and domestic matters. They can champion a different definition of “national security” than that embraced by the Republicans. They can assert Bush is using a justified or unjustified war to divert attention from the in-the-dumps economy. Democrats who oppose the war can try to persuade voters they know better. That is what an election is about.

War should not be beyond politics. When Karl Rove, Bush’s master political strategist, earlier in the year was caught suggesting Republicans could gain from the war on terrorism, Democrats howled. But he was really only saying GOPers should position themselves close to a popular President and a popular war, and let the voters decide. When a computer disc containing a GOP briefing that advised Republican candidates to focus on war was found on a street, Democrats again complained about politicization. But this is not politicization. Perhaps exploitation. It also is what every politician does: emphasize the issue that provides a perceived advantage. But a crucial component of a campaign is debating what topics deserve focus.

There is nothing underhanded about defining an election as one between a party in sync with a president and a war (or two) and a party opposed to a president and filled with some who support those wars and some who do not. The Democrats are upset because, split as they are, they do not believe they benefit from such a comparison.

Just so. And that’s also why Dionne and others on the Left are in a hissy fit right now. Apparently, it was completely fair to attack Bush for doing things he didn’t actually do–but it’s entirely unfair for Bush to counter by talking about what Democrats actually said in 2002, and are actually doing now.

E.J., get some therapy. You aren’t doing yourself or your side any favors by printing this kind of dishonest tripe.

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Notice

November 14th, 2005 - 8:52 pm

I have to be up at five to catch a flight tomorrow, so none of the usual late night blather tonight. But I’ll be checking in from the PJ Media launch over the next couple days.

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The (Weak) Arm of Decision

November 14th, 2005 - 12:37 am

When Steven Den Beste adds to something I wrote, it’s for damn sure I’m going to listen.

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Required Reading

November 14th, 2005 - 12:33 am

John Noonan:

We embarked on a defensive war in 2001, and 4 years later we are winning. There have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11, and the global war on terror is confined to the theaters where we have chosen to fight it.

I’d quibble with the phrase “defensive war,” because we’ve been on the offensive tactically since Afghanistan (Oct, 2001) and strategically since Iraq (March, 2003). But that’s my only quibble. Go read the whole thing already.

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Pardon the Language

November 14th, 2005 - 12:27 am

What a goddamn lying coward.

And that’s all I have to say about John Edwards.

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Who’s Next?

November 14th, 2005 - 12:25 am

Given Ross Perot much thought lately? Even if you haven’t, Karl Rove should be thinking about little else.

Before we get to that, let’s give President Bush some small credit for his big speech last week. Usually, what passes for a big foreign policy speech from Bush the last year is just another “stay the course” yawner, given in front of some cherry-picked audience. Instead, Bush

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DRM Gone Wild!

November 11th, 2005 - 4:07 pm

We knew Sony was up to no good. Now there’s this:

Sony’s misplaced zeal to protect its intellectual property suggests that the company sees its customers not as kings but as captives. The Electronic Frontier Foundation yesterday dissected the Sony-BMG end-user license agreement (EULA) that accompanies Sony-BMG CDs and detailed the terms of imprisonment.

As the EFF explains, the EULA says that 1) if your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home; 2) you can’t keep your music on any computers at work; 3) if you move out of the country, you have to delete all your music; 4) you must install any and all updates, or else lose the music on your computer; 5) Sony-BMG can install and use backdoors in the copy protection software or media player to “enforce their rights” against you, at any time, without notice. And the list goes on.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

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Good News, Bad News

November 11th, 2005 - 9:24 am

Good news: the LA Times is finally dropping wacko leftist Robert Scheer from its editorial page, and picking up none other than Jonah Goldberg.

Bad News: they’re also dropping David Gelernter.

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BRAC This!

November 10th, 2005 - 11:59 pm

Minot AFB is the base that time forgot – and remembered.

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Better Than John McCain with Bacon Bits

November 10th, 2005 - 11:53 pm

Finally, a Washington insider I can support without reservations – although they’re recommended on Friday or Saturday nights.

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Oh, Those WMDs

November 10th, 2005 - 11:27 pm

Joe Goat forwarded this BBC story:

The US has revealed that it removed more than 1.7 metric tons of radioactive material from Iraq in a secret operation last month.

“This operation was a major achievement,” said US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham in a statement.

He said it would keep “potentially dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists”.

Along with 1.77 tons of enriched uranium, about 1,000 “highly radioactive sources” were also removed.

Remember, kids – Iraq was never a threat!

More seriously, though, you ought to see the results of a GoogleNews search with the terms “radioactive” and “Iraq.”

HINT: Not even the BBC News story showed up on the first page, three freakin’ days after the BBC filed the report.

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Live Long and Drink a Lot (or Vice Versa)

November 10th, 2005 - 11:22 pm

How do you live to be 105? Bill and Henry both have answers – but I like Henry’s better.

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Abuse of Power

November 10th, 2005 - 10:52 pm

A couple days ago, we talked about the media and its role in the Terror War.

Well, guess what? They’re still on the wrong goddamn side.

(Hat tip to Jeff Goldstein, for whom I’ll be drinking in New York next week. And why not? I’ve been drinking for three for seven months now – what’s one more?)

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Friday Recipe

November 10th, 2005 - 10:44 pm

Steak Diane has long been a favorite of mine, and I’ve been looking for the perfect recipe for about ever. Thought I’d found it in Tony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook, but much to my surprise, the sauce came out oily and under-flavored. So I tweaked it. Enjoy.

(Not Quite) Les Halle’s Steak Diane

You’ll need:

2 12-ounce steaks, preferably ribeyes
Some light olive oil
2 tablespoons (barely) crushed peppercorns
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 shots of good Cognac
4 ounces of veal stock, but beef stock will do in a pinch
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon demi-glace
1 large cast-iron or oven-safe skillet

Get all your non-steak ingredients pre-measured and set out near the stove in ramekins or custard dishes. You’ll want them handy, because once you get it out of the oven, this dish moves fast.

Preheat the oven to 425.

Use just enough olive oil to barely coat the steaks, then dredge them in the peppercorns. Cover them completely

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Out With the Old Bastards, In With the New

November 10th, 2005 - 9:55 pm

Stephen M. St. Onge looks at the future of France, through the prism of this country in the ’60s. Key points:

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Here It Comes

November 10th, 2005 - 12:38 pm

The first bird flu death has been confirmed in the US.

CAUTION: Graphic photo at link.

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SCOTUS Update

November 10th, 2005 - 10:49 am

When Russ Feingold says he’s “impressed” with a Republican nominee, it’s hard to see how Alito won’t be confirmed.

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Dilemma

November 10th, 2005 - 10:25 am

David Warren understands why it won’t be easy to address the “root cause” of the Paris Riots:

And part of the joke is that, since long before they were born, the Muslim young raised in these ghettoes were in fact prevented from getting the usual sorts of jobs, and thereby insinuating themselves into bourgeois French society. And this because the powerful, leftwing unions of France — themselves quite willing to riot for results — have long since achieved 30-hour weeks, high pay, and perpetual employment for three-quarters of the labour force. It is an arrangement, secured in a form of

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Live from Paris

November 10th, 2005 - 10:23 am

I’m a day late with the link, but don’t miss this report on the Paris Riots, written by a Parisienne.

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Porkbusters

November 10th, 2005 - 10:20 am

We have our “porker of the month“:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ — Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) Porker of the Month for working to thwart a budget reconciliation package that could save taxpayers $53.9 billion over five years. As ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Spratt preaches fiscal restraint yet refuses to offer savings proposals and even held a mock hearing to misconstrue miniscule spending reductions as deep cuts. The House is scheduled to vote today on the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (H.R. 4241).

My local congressman earns some small amount of praise:

But Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) has proposed seven across-the-board cuts — of one percent each — to appropriations bills this year, and Rep. Spratt voted against every one.

One percent each, eh? That’s better than nothing – but still a lot lot treating cancer with a Band-Aid.

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