Saturday, August 20, 2005

Once more without feeling

Paul Greenberg wrote in Townhall To paraphrase Dr. Johnson on the subject of second marriages, what the world is witnessing in Gaza is a triumph of hope over experience. Once again the Israelis are pulling back, much as they did after the Oslo Accords of 1993. And once again the Israeli withdrawal is supposed to be the first step toward peace with an Arab neighbor, this time a nascent Palestinian state. It's not the first time. Back in the '90s, the Israelis agreed to pull out of Gaza on the Mediterranean and Jericho on the West Bank in return for promises of peace. Yasser Arafat's PLO was going to recognize Israel's right to exist, control its own crazies and punish disturbers of the peace. We all know how that turned out.

Arafat had no interest in peace. It remains to be seen whether Abbas does.
But it was a beautiful dream, so beautiful it is hard now to recapture the optimism of those sunny days; they seem part of not another decade but another world, where prayers were shared, handshakes exchanged on the White House lawn and peace in the Mideast was thought of as not just possible but inevitable. Alas, the whole, carefully assembled house of cards collapsed. Instead of peace coming stage by stage, war did. The anticlimax of the whole process came at Camp David, when Israel's Ehud Barak proposed a Palestinian state that would consist of Gaza, almost all the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem to boot. Yasser Arafat left without even bothering to make a counteroffer. It was clear he'd decided to launch a second Intifada instead, and suicide bombings soon became the new vogue. Not till another informal but bloody war was fought, and the Israelis began to build their wall - excuse me, Security Barrier - did an uneasy tension begin to supplant the violence. Now the Israelis are taking another unilateral step in hopes of imposing a peace.
If it leads to peace, that would be one thing, but IMHO the primary reason Israel did it is because there was no way to extend their Security Barrier to include a few small settlements in Gaza, and they believe that their real security depends on the Security Barrier. However there is a second reason. It challenges Abbas to control violence from Gaza. If he is successful in controling the violence, he will find it possible to negotiate more withdrawals from some of the west bank settlements. And if he is not successful, and if more jihadists rush to Gaza, and begin major attacks, Israel will have a good reason to retaliate, and if they launch a very massive retaliation, they should be able to kill a major number of the bad guys, and at the same time convince the others that survive, that they should help turn in any new bad guys that materialize, to avoid another massive retaliation.
Or at least a breathing spell. For the dazzling dreams of Oslo are not only long gone but almost forgotten. The ultimate vision remains the same - a Jewish and Arab state living side by side in peace, aka the two-state solution. Everybody, or at least all men of goodwill, understand that is the goal, the light at the end of the tunnel. There's just no tunnel....

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Son of Liberty

Anne Morse wrote in National Review Online Twenty-four-year-old Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, a Humvee mechanic, was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004, when his unit was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire in a firefight outside Baghdad. By now, the whole world knows that Casey's mother, Cindy Sheehan, did not want him in Iraq and did not support his decision to serve in the military. But Casey, a devout Roman Catholic, believed that he could do no other: He believed that God had called him to military service. "It's all he wanted to do was serve God and his country his whole life," his sister, Carly Sheehan, told the Associated Press shortly after his death. "He was a Boy Scout from age six or seven and [an] Eagle Scout. It was kind of a natural progression to go into the military from that. He said he was enjoying the military because it was just like the Boy Scouts, but they got guns." Allison Corrigan, a family friend, said that Casey, who had reenlisted after the start of hostilities in Iraq, "definitely is one of those people who lived his life through a higher calling. He knew there was something big he was supposed to be part of." On a memorial website devoted to Casey's memory, friends Judy and Jim Brennan recall Casey as "a person of dignity and purpose. Being in the military was important to him." And in a piece titled "Missing Casey," the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Sheehan family told friends, "Casey was convinced that while in uniform he could help people, that Casey wanted to be a chaplain's assistant and perhaps make a career out of the Army." This, of course, is precisely what his mother did not want him to do. I don't blame her. I've been married to the military since 1987, the year my husband became a commissioned officer in the United States Army. It's not a warm, fuzzy career choice, and military wives spend a lot of time worrying about where their husbands might be sent. Today we have two healthy sons who have reached draft age at a time when their country is at war, and likely to remain so for many years. Do I want them following their dad into military service? I admit it wouldn't be my first choice. If it were up to mothers, no son or daughter would ever volunteer for military service. We don't like seeing our children do dangerous things, whether it's leaping from the top of jungle gyms or volunteering for rescue missions in Iraq, as Casey Sheehan did.

But if mothers really could pick their children's careers, what kind of a world would we have? We would wake up one morning to discover that we had no more soldiers, policemen or firemen, no freedom fighters, no prison guards or life guards. We would find ourselves in a world in which the strong preyed upon the weak, a world in which millions would be abandoned to the tender mercies of death squads and serial killers, to those who rape and torture, exploit and enslave. What a terrible world it would be.

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A Mighty Wind

Jonah Goldberg wrote in Townhall "The law, in its majestic equality" wrote Anatole France, "forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." But apparently not environmentalism. On that score there's one rule for the rich and one rule for the rest. Witness the current fight in Cape Cod over an effort to build wind farms just offshore. It features sanctimonious environmentalists, super-rich property owners, and super-rich, property-owning, sanctimonious environmentalists feeding on each other like big hungry sharks in a small tank. The basic situation is that some environmentalists and a company called Cape Wind want to build 130 windmills way out in the ocean to help offset energy costs in the region - and to satisfy all those demands that we find substitutes for evil fossil fuels.

It would be interesting to see how successful it could be.
Meanwhile, other environmentalists and conservationists are eager to stop the wind farm from being built, largely because it will mar the view from their extravagant coastal homes. Leading this charge is Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose famous compound would have a nice view of the turbines.
And just think how much publicity Kennedy could get from crowing about the sacrifice he made.
(To be fair, though most people say the turbines would be hard to see except on very clear days, and even then they'd be tiny blips on the horizon.) But Ted wants no such thing spoiling cocktail hour on the veranda. So he drafted his famously green nephew Robert to join the fight - even though Robert is a senior lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which strongly backs the project. Obviously, the reason this is so much fun is that the stakes are so small for everybody except a handful of people who deserve to lose.
ROF, LMAO
Personally, I couldn't really care one way or the other. I think the aesthetic arguments have some merit, but I also think wind power has more potential than most of its critics claim. The windmills would ultimately provide about 75 percent of the energy used by Cape Cod and the surrounding Islands, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard - in a clean, renewable form that, unlike older technologies, wouldn't kill birds in an avian frappe. Seventy-five percent of the area's power needs may be a rounding error when discussing America's total energy consumption, but that's a lot for any specific community. But why get distracted by the merits of the issue when the real fun is to take a Nestea Plunge into the swirling waters of limousine liberalism. A very quick search of the LexisNexis news database reveals that Sen. Kennedy has called for more "sacrifice" from the wealthy roughly 8 kabillion-jamillion-gazillion times during George W. Bush's presidency (and forget about during Ronald Reagan's!). He's excoriated Bush's tax cuts, the war, health care policies, and just about everything else for not demanding the rich share more in the "national sacrifice." Well, here's their chance.
Remember, he called on others to sacrifice. He did not volunteer to sacrifice himself.
This is not some symbolic hybrid car you park next to your Hummer. Recall Arianna Huffington's passionate campaign against SUVs? She made great sacrifices to rid the world of those guzzlers as she flew around the country in a private jet. Well, here is something concrete the rich and famous can sacrifice for the little guy and for the environment: their views. And, let's be honest, it's not a huge sacrifice. If Teddy really thinks his fat - or, if you prefer, "phat" - crib on the beach will be ruined by the prospect of having to look at some windmills five to 13 miles offshore, he can swap pads with me.

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War and Peace

NYT reported At War in Bomb Field, at Peace in Field of Dreams - After a seven-hour mission inside an armored Humvee so hot its metal would burn exposed skin, Staff Sgt. Dawayne Harterson crawled out the passenger door, exhausted, and walked directly to his tent. He quickly exchanged his uniform for an Army-issued gray T-shirt and black shorts. A few minutes later, he was standing on a grassless expanse, ready for the next task of his yearlong deployment in Iraq: softball season. "C'mon, dawg! Where is everybody?" he said to his coach, Sgt. Ronnie Mays, when they realized the team was a player short. "Man, I'm gonna lose my mind if we don't play today."

I thank God that our troups have a diversion they can fall back on in their off-time, but why could the NYT not focus on the diversions that many of our troups use, helping to rebuild a school, or collecting school supplies, or otherwise helping local Iraqis.
Their Army Reserve unit, Company A of the 467th Engineer Battalion based in Memphis, has one of the most harrowing jobs on this base. As many as two or three times a day, often on only a few hours' sleep, the engineers of the 467th leave the relative safety of Warhorse's walls and travel down highways at 20 miles an hour in search of the No. 1 killer of American soldiers in Iraq: roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.'s. [Six more American soldiers were killed Thursday by roadside bombs, four by a blast in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra and two others in Afghanistan, the military said. Pages A4 and A9.] "One minute we're trying to catch a fly ball; the next minute, we're praying not to get blown into a million pieces," said Sergeant Harterson, 35, from Jacksonville, N.C., as Black Hawk medevac helicopters flew over Warhorse and Bradley fighting vehicles kicked up dust in the distance. "That's how messed up our life has been. But man, we still need sports, because we need to have that escape."
And I am glad you have it.
So a sergeant in the 467th lifts weights to help fight nervousness after a car bomb exploded and burned him. Two young brothers compete in basketball and volleyball and in the eight-team softball league to release tension. Two best friends play marathon games of Monopoly to combat boredom and fear. "We need to trick our minds that we're somewhere else," Sergeant Harterson said. "Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to go on, knowing today might be our last." The 122 soldiers in the 467th, from places like Tennessee, Mississippi and Puerto Rico, came together this year in Baquba, a city 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. They range in age from 19 to 58, and at home, they have jobs like FedEx package handler, prison guard, Kellogg's waffle inspector and horseshoer. About one-third came from the inactive ready reserve, soldiers who do not have to train but can be called to active duty at a moment's notice.
Clearly the NYT does not like the fact that reservists are serving in this war, but would they prefer that we maintain a much larger Active Duty force when we are not at war, just so we wont have to call up the Guard and Reserve when we need them?
"The only reason we got this nasty job chasing roadside bombs is because we are expendable," said Staff Sgt. Jeff Rayner from Nashville. "They need bodies, and we provide them. We clear the roads, but we're still treated like dirt here."
Staff Sgt Rayner, I will assure you that you are not expendable. The IUDs need to be cleared, and someone needs to do it, but they certainly are not expendable.
Soon after they arrived, the soldiers were moved from containerized housing units, aluminum shipping containers that hold two or three soldiers, to tents, the most primitive housing on the base. They bonded on convoys down the treacherous roads and turned to sports to boost sagging morale.
Should we have built permanent housing when we were not going to have a permanent base there?
On one afternoon last week, when the air finally cooled to a tolerable 100 degrees, the engineers emerged from their curved-top tents, which sleep 12, and hung out under a patio covered by camouflage netting and blue and tan tarps. They smoked cigarettes, traded stories about their missions that day or tried to relax on a bizarre collection of stained bucket seats from a car, ripped floral futons, and vinyl and velour back seats torn from vans.

"So, are you a virgin?" one sergeant asked another, taking a long drag on his Marlboro. "Oh no," the sergeant answered. "I've been hit by an I.E.D. already. Yep, got the first one out of the way awhile ago." On every mission, the engineers search for signs of bombs by looking for discolorations in the sand, wires sticking from the ground or anything else that seems out of place. They also use a large armored vehicle called the Buffalo, which has a long hydraulic arm to search for I.E.D.'s inside things like garbage piles, traffic pylons and even dead dogs. When one explodes, "the sound is so loud, it could make your heart stop beating," said Sergeant Harterson, who works as a crash investigator at a Navy aviation depot back home.
Thank you for the good job you are doing.

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The Illusions of Reproductive Freedom

Jennifer Roback Morse wrote in Townhall The feminist establishment is in an uproar over the appointment of Judge John Roberts to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In their minds, the abortion license established by Roe v. Wade is sacrosanct. But I believe the very concept of reproductive freedom is dangerous illusion that has brought misery to millions of people.... But under feminist tutelage, the social norms and constitutional interpretation around sex and conception have morphed into a much stronger demand: We now believe that we are entitled to have sex without having a live baby result.

And make a bundle of money for the abortion industry.
But this is far less appealing than “the right to choose.” The various euphemisms such as “reproductive self-determination,” and “reproductive justice,” vastly overstate what government can provide. The government cannot assure anyone that they will achieve their reproductive goals. This so-called freedom is a negation: it is only the right to say “no” to a baby.... So, the only way avoiding unwanted pregnancy while being sexually active is to have unlimited access to abortion. More accurately, I should say, this is the only way the state could guarantee the right to have sex without having a live baby.... But the “control of their reproductive lives” that the Court promises through Roe is only a negative right. The Court did not, and in the nature of things, can not, establish the right to have a baby when you want to have a baby. Complete control over reproduction would be a fully symmetric right including a “right to pregnancy” that corresponds to the right to terminate a pregnancy. The Court creates the illusion of far more control over reproduction than is really possible in a process as inherently probabilistic as achieving pregnancy. Ask a thirty-five year old infertile woman whether she has “the ability to control her reproductive life,” and she may just smack you. Her pain is all the more poignant if she has been contracepting for years. Perhaps she did organize her life around the promise of reproductive freedom. But she discovers, too late, that this promise is simply an illusion.
Big Government can't do everything.

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Saturday, August 20

This Day In History

  • 1741   Alaska was discovered by Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering. That’s how the Bering Sea got its name.
  • 1833   Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States, was born in North Bend, Ohio.
  • 1866   The National Labor Union advocated an eight-hour workday. Industry, however, did not heed the request. Workers commonly worked 10 or 12 hour days -- or more.
  • 1914   German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War I.
  • 1918   Britain opened its offensive on the Western front during World War I.
  • 1940   British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force, saying, ''Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.''
  • 1953   The Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
  • 1955   Hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.
  • 1964   President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure.
  • 1977   The United States launched Voyager 2, an unmanned spacecraft carrying a 12-inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature.
  • 1992   The Republican national convention in Houston renominated President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle.
  • 1998   Retaliating 13 days after the deadly embassy bombings in East Africa, the United States launched cruise missile strikes against al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan and what was described as a chemical plant in Sudan.
  • 2000   Tiger Woods won the 82nd PGA Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. Woods birdied the last two holes in regulation and won the championship in a playoff over Bob May, becoming the first player since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open) in one year. He was the first player to win back-to-back PGA championships since Denny Shute in 1936 and 1937.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1833   Benjamin Harrison (23rd U.S. President [1889-1893]; married to C. Scott, M. Dimmick [one son, two daughter]; nickname: Kid Gloves Harrison; grandson of 9th U.S. President, William Henry Harrison; died Mar 13, 1901)
  • 1918   Jacqueline Susann (author: The Valley of the Dolls, The Love Machine; died Sep 21, 1974)
  • 1962   Geoffrey Blake (actor: The Last Starfighter)

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Frist Backs 'Intelligent Design' Teaching

Yahoo News reported Echoing similar comments from President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said "intelligent design" should be taught in public schools alongside evolution. Frist, R-Tenn., spoke to a Rotary Club meeting Friday and told reporters afterward that students need to be exposed to different ideas, including intelligent design.

Sounds very reasonable to me. The Secular Humanists (atheists and agnostics) in charge of the public school will prefer to force their faith on kids, but they should be exposed to both.
"I think today a pluralistic society should have access to a broad range of fact, of science, including faith," Frist said. Frist, a doctor who graduated from Harvard Medical School, said exposing children to both evolution and intelligent design "doesn't force any particular theory on anyone. I think in a pluralistic society that is the fairest way to go about education and training people for the future." The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution,
Not true. ID merely says that an intelligent designer was using evolution as a tool.
implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation. Nearly all scientists dismiss it as a scientific theory, and critics say it's nothing more than religion masquerading as science. Bush recently told a group of Texas reporters that intelligent design and evolution should both be taught in schools "so people can understand what the debate is about." That comment sparked criticism from opponents, including Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, who called Bush "anti-science." Frist, who is considering a presidential campaign in 2008, recently angered some conservatives by bucking Bush policy on embryonic stem cell research, voicing his support for expanded research on the subject. Frist said his decision to endorse stem cell research was "a matter of science," but he said there was no conflict between his position on stem cell research and his position on intelligent design. "To me, I see no disconnect between that and stem cell research," Frist said. "I base my beliefs on stem cell research both on science and my faith."

TChris (TalkLeft) blogged Pandering once again to religious extremists
People who believe in God, and who accept the Holy Bible as His Word.
(perhaps to make up for his flip-flopping position on stem cell research), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist echoed the president today by arguing that "intelligent design" should be taught in public schools. Frist thinks students need to be exposed to "different ideas." Of course, some ideas (like "people are born with a particular sexual orientation") haven't made the list of ideas to which Frist thinks students should be exposed.
I suspect he might not mind, as long as equal time was given to the other theory, and that is that sexual orientation is a decision made by the individual.
Students do have access to “a broad range of … faith.” They can choose to obtain religious instruction from a variety of religions. They can expose themselves to as many religious ideas as their heads can hold, or as many as they choose to explore. But Frist isn’t talking about a course in comparative religion, which would objectively explore the differences between (for instance) Christian and Islamic faiths. Frist only wants public school students to be exposed to religious ideas that comport with his own narrow views
At least 80% of Americans profess to be Christian, so I would not say it is a very narrow view.
(or, more accurately, the views of the extremist voters he’s trying to court). There’s no question that the origins of “intelligent design” are found in religion, not science. Frist’s conflation of “faith” with “fact” and “science” ignores the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which prohibits government (including government-run schools) from endorsing any particular religious belief.
It does not say that. It says that the federal government cannot pick one particular church as the official church, like England has the Church of England, with the head of government also being the head of the church. They cant favor Baptists over Methodists, or one particular Protestant church (the Anglican Church) over Catholics (which is what England did).
Intelligent design is bottomed in religious belief, despite the efforts of its proponents to dress it up as science. If parents wants their children to be exposed to “intelligent design,” they should send their kids to a program of religious instruction.
Fine. Approve a universal federal voucher system where kids can go to any school they choose, and all tax money spent per student follows that choice. But dont insist on tax revenues to support a Secular Humanist program, regardless of whether the student wants that program or one involving faith.

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What if the US had to write a constitution from scratch?

Brad Rourke wrote in CSMonitor What if, like the new Iraq, we in America had a matter of months to draft a new Constitution? Could we do it? No way - we can barely meet our annual October budget deadline.

That is a very good point. It actually turns out that there are two ways to amend the US Constitution. The one that has always been used is to pass something through both houses of congress, and then get it approved by 3/4 of the state legislatures, but it turns out that there is a second way. Article five provides that If two-thirds of the legislatures of the states so request, Congress is required to call a national convention for the purpose of proposing an amendment. Never, however, have the requisite number of states made such a request, though two proposals have come just two states shy of the required number. There is much controversy as to how such a convention would operate, how its delegates would be chosen, the necessary vote required to propose a particular amendment, and many other lingering questions. The state legislatures have, in times past, taken advantage of the fear of the unknown by using their power to apply for a convention in order to frighten Congress into proposing the desired amendment.
First, we'd argue over whether current amendments should stick around; over whether there should be new language articulating a right of privacy. Someone would float a provision protecting the flag from the scourge of desecration. Another would propose limiting the right to bear arms, so Uzis don't flood the caf├ęs. Someone would maintain it's critical for us to define when life begins, so we can protect the unborn from abortion. And so on. You can make your own list from today's headlines.
And what about whether or not there really should be a Wall of Separation between religion and state, or whether there just should not be one designated official religion.
Indeed, the main stumbling blocks for the Iraqi negotiators - the status of religion in government and its effect on women; the way to parcel out cash-generating natural resources; and the way the political parties can coexist - are ones we share here, in the land of the free. Recall, as just one example, the fierce battles over the Ten Commandments in an Alabama courtroom. On many of these questions, I fear we'd never agree. Like the Iraqi negotiators, we'd need another week. At least.

I feel for the Iraqis, portrayed in the media as bumbling when it comes to new nation stuff. The Bush administration doesn't help in this respect, damning with faint praise its efforts to develop a police force and speaking of "training wheels." The White House response to Monday's missed deadline, while calculated to put the best spin on things, has clear notes of disappointment, as when reluctantly giving a child a second chance at some task. Liberals, not to be outdone in the unhelpfulness department, have jumped on the setback as more evidence the war was a fool's errand to begin with. But a new constitution is a trick I doubt we could pull off here. Our pride in being the shining example of democracy is a bit overblown. We're coasting on past successes.

For all the talk of a "real" America where people share a common ground, that place recedes into fiction the moment the public square is entered. Out in the public square, compromise is derided as capitulation, tolerance blasted as weakness. The atmosphere is brutal. Every advantage must be pursued, or your allies will excoriate and excommunicate you. Ask the senators in the "Gang of 14," the ones who forged a compromise avoiding a shutdown of the Senate earlier this year, how happy their own party members were about the helpful efforts. Well, Mike DeWine (R) of Ohio, for one, is now facing a primary challenge.

What have we done for democracy lately? This isn't a question posed to some government institution, or even a political party. This is a question we can all ask of ourselves. What have I done, today, to make the public square the kind of place where debate can occur? What have I done to ensure fairness for the other side as well as my own? Most important: What would I be willing to give up for the good of the nation and not just my corner?

These are unwelcome questions. They ask individual citizens to put their own well-being behind that of the nation. It's the kind of sacrifice we ask of soldiers. We should ask it of ordinary people, too. And we should outright demand it from the political leaders who now pollute the public square with vitriol and make progress impossible.

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Jihad Still Part of Lesson Plan

Los Angeles Times reported Each year, thousands of Pakistani children learn from history books that Jews are tightfisted moneylenders and Christians vengeful conquerors. One textbook tells kids they should be willing to die as martyrs for Islam. They aren't being indoctrinated by extremist mullahs in madrasas, the private Islamic seminaries often blamed for stoking militancy in Pakistan. They are pupils in public schools learning from textbooks approved by the administration of President Pervez Musharraf.

If this is true (and who could ever suspect something in the LA Times not being true), then this is distrubing.

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Microgravity tech could sway stem cell debate

CNET News reports Microgravity technology developed by NASA can multiply stem cells from a newborn's blood in large enough quantities to be used to regenerate human tissue, London scientists have found. Researchers at U.K.-based Kingston University have discovered primitive stem cells in the umbilical cord blood of infants that are similar to those from human embryos, which can be used to develop into any tissue in the body. The newly discovered human cells, called "cord-blood-derived embryonic-like stem cells" or CBEs, are more versatile than adult stem cells, found in bone marrow, which can mend damaged tissue during life. Separating adult from CBE stem cells, the scientists can extract as many as 10,000 primitive cells from the umbilical cord blood. The scientists then use a micro-bioreactor to generate millions more, according to Dr. Colin McGuckin, director of the Stem Cell Therapy group at Kingston University. So far, the scientists have successfully formed liver tissue from the cells, and they're now working to replicate pancreatic and nerve tissue. "We're merging the two technologies: our stem cells with bioreactor engineering technology," said McGuckin. "We're helping to keep cells in a small, neat environment that helps them to replicate." McGuckin's research was published in NewScientist this week.

I'd like to know more, but this is interesting.

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What They Did Last Fall

Paul Krugman editorialized in NYT By running for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, Florida's former secretary of state, has stirred up some ugly memories. And that's a good thing, because those memories remain relevant. There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn't change the outcome.

The Democrats certainly tried to steal the 2004 election, just as they tried to steal the 2000 election, but Krugman is right. They were not successful.

What, you mean Krugman was accusing the Republicans? I am shocked. And nothing the Republicans did could ever come anywhere near to the efforts of the Dems ot steal elections. It is not the Republicans that push for people to be able to signup and vote in one day, and to vote without providing any ID, much less one with a photo.
And the next election may be worse. In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election." Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore.
But a complete recount is not what Gore asked for. He just wanted recounts in areas he thought might result in more Democratic votes. And those independent reviews only came out on Gore's side in very limited interpretations of which "hanging chad" votes to count, and which to throw out. In other words, if you let them redefine the rules after the election, AND after they have looked at the ballots, AND then made up the rules of which ones to count, and which ones to reject, they could twist the results their way.
This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.
Maybe if the voters had had photo IDs they could have proven they were not the felons.

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Friday, August 19

This Day In History

  • 1812   The USS Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerriere east of Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.
  • 1848   The first report of the California gold strike was published in the "New York Herald" newspaper.
  • 1856   Gail Borden of Brooklyn, NY patented his process for condensed milk.
  • 1909   The first race was run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. It wasn’t a brick track yet. It started as a crushed stone and tar track.
  • 1929   The comedy ''Amos 'n' Andy'' made its network radio debut on NBC.
  • 1940   The new Civil Aeronautics Administration awarded honorary license #1 to Orville Wright.
  • 1942   About 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering about 50 percent casualties.
  • 1955   Severe flooding in the Northeast caused by the remnants of Hurricane Diane claimed some 200 lives.
  • 1960   The Russians sent two dogs into earth orbit in a satellite.
  • 1960   A tribunal in Moscow convicted American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage.
  • 1974   U.S. Ambassador Rodger P. Davies was shot and killed at the American embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus, during a protest by Greek Cypriots.
  • 1976   President Gerald R. Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party's convention in Kansas City.
  • 1977   Comedian Groucho Marx died at age 86.
  • 1994   President Bill Clinton halted the nation's three-decade open-door policy for Cuban refugees.
  • 1996   A judge sentenced former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker to four years' probation for his Whitewater crimes.
  • 2002   A Russian military helicopter crashed after being shot down by rebels in Chechnya, killing 119 people.
  • 2003   A suicide truck bomb struck U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22, including the top U.N. envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1870   Bernard (Mannes) Baruch (financier; chairman of War Industries Board [WWI]; representative: UN Atomic Energy Commission; presidential adviser; died June 20, 1965)
  • 1871   Orville Wright (aviator: one of the Wright Brothers: pioneers in aviation; died Jan 30, 1948)
  • 1883   Coco (Gabriel Bonheur) Chanel (fashion designer; perfume creator: Chanel #5; died Jan 10 1971)
  • 1902   Ogden Nash (poet: famous for his strange but funny rhymes of nonsense: “Undeniably brash Was young Ogden Nash Whose notable verse Was admirably terse And written with panache.”; writer: The Bad Parent's Garden of Verse, You Can't Get There from Here; died May 19, 1971)
  • 1919   Malcolm Forbes Sr. (publishing magnate: Forbes magazine; died Feb 24, 1990)
  • 1921   Gene (Eugene Wesley) Roddenberry (creator, producer: Star Trek; writer: Have Gun Will Travel; died Oct 24, 1991)
  • 1931   Willie Shoemaker (jockey: holds record for most wins in a career: 8,833 out of 40,350 mounts; died Oct 12, 2003)
  • 1938   Diana Muldaur (actress: A Year in the Life, The Tony Randall Show, The Survivors, Star Trek: The Next Generation, McCloud, L.A. Law, Born Free)
  • 1946   William (Jefferson) Clinton (42nd U.S. President [1993- ]; married to Hillary Rodham [one daughter: Chelsea]; nickname: Bill)
  • 1947   Gerald McRaney (actor: Simon & Simon, Major Dad, Murder by Moonlight, Blind Vengeance, Take Me Home: The John Denver Story)
  • 1948   Tipper (Mary) Gore (Aitcheson) (author: Raising PG Kids in an X-rated Society; wife of U.S. Vice President Al Gore)

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ariel Sharon

Zev Chafets wrote in JWR Ariel Sharon is not a Christian. He doesn't believe that the meek will inherit the earth. He doesn't love his enemies. Put him on the road to Damascus and he is more apt to channel George Patton than Saul of Tarsus. Lately, though, Mr. Sharon seems to have undergone some sort of conversion. He's become a proponent of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. He's authorized the release of Palestinian prisoners. He went to Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, and, with the whole world watching, warmly took the hand of Mahmoud Abbas. It wasn't the first time Mr. Sharon had been photographed shaking hands with a Palestinian leader, but it was the first time he ever looked happy about it. Some believe that Mr. Sharon — the symbol of intransigent hawkishness — has seen the light of nonviolence. But this misunderstands the man and the moment. Ariel Sharon hasn't found a new language or a new religion; he has simply embraced a new leader: George W. Bush.... A succession of prime ministers feared and mistrusted Ariel Sharon. They kept him at a distance and occupied him with busywork. For years he drifted. After the Oslo accords, with peace apparently at hand, he seemed to be a relic. The intifada saved him. Ehud Barak's government panicked in the face of suicide bombers. This time it was the public that summoned Mr. Sharon, electing him prime minister in 2001 with a clear mandate: Restore order. It took a while — he was rusty — but Mr. Sharon did the job. The question then became: What next?

Enter George W. Bush. During the intifada, Mr. Bush had impressed Mr. Sharon by letting him fight. The president's critics called this "American disengagement." In fact, it was a shrewd confidence builder. Throughout his career, Mr. Sharon never trusted foreigners; he manipulated them. But Mr. Bush was different — the two men thought alike. Mr. Bush disdained Yasir Arafat. He put Israeli security ahead of Israeli concessions. And he was willing to use force. After Saddam Hussein was overthrown, Mr. Sharon embraced George W. Bush as his godfather in a shared cause, the war on Islamic extremism. Like all of Mr. Sharon's leaders, Mr. Bush has a plan — pacifying Palestine by creating an independent, democratic Arab state next to Israel. Once, under Begin or Meir, Ariel Sharon would have killed to prevent such a vision. Today, in the face of threats from Israeli extremists, he is ready to die trying to make it real.

This approach may work, or it may not work, but the only alternative is a major war in which Israel wipes out major numbers of the "Palestineans". This is why creating an independent Palestinian state is important. Hopefully it will want to live in peace with its neighbor, and if so I believe that Israel will be a very good neighbor to have. Or it may decide to immediately declare war on Israel, in which case Israel will be ready, and rather than just reoccupying the area, it will disinfect it first.

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After Roe v. Wade, then what?

Larry Elder wrote in Townhall If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, what happens?

Then individual state laws will apply, which will mean abortion will still be legal in most, if not all, blue states, but there will probably be at least restrictions, if no prohibition, in red states.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., seemed clueless on the issue. "Meet the Press's" Tim Russert flummoxed the senator when Russert asked, "What would happen if Roe v. Wade was overturned?" McCain's response? "I don't know. I don't know what would happen because I don't think it's going to be."
McCain is probably right, although I certainly would be happy if it is reversed.
Russert asked, "You don't?" McCain replied, "No, I don't think it is, at least not any time soon given the tenor of politics in America and the courts in America." McCain "doesn't know"? Almost two months following McCain's "Meet the Press" appearance, Russert discussed the Roberts nomination with former Gov. Mario Cuomo, D-N.Y., among others. On the issue of abortion, Russert quoted Justice Antonin Scalia. Russert said, "[Scalia's quote] may surprise some people. . . . 'If a state were to permit abortion on demand, I would and could in good conscience vote against an attempt to invalidate that law. . . . I have religious views on the subject, but they have nothing whatever to do with my job.'" Note Russert's assertion that this "may surprise some people." This "surprises some people" because leftists in academia, mainstream media and Hollywood confuse people on the issue. Roe did not legalize abortion. Rather, the Court discovered a "right to privacy" -- nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. Consider a recent article in The Los Angeles Times. On the issue of the nomination of John Roberts to become a Supreme Court justice, the Times reporter wrote: "The president of the National Organization for Women [NOW], Kim Gandy, warned that of the high court candidates considered by Bush, Roberts was one of the most extreme when it came to the question of overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion [emphasis added]." Legalized abortion? Our Founding Fathers restricted the duties, powers and obligations of the federal government, leaving the remainder to the people and to the states themselves. This includes abortion. In 1971, nearly two years before Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on United States v. Vuitch, their first case involving abortion. It upheld a District of Columbia law permitting abortion only to preserve a woman's life or "health." The Court, however, generously defined "health" to include "psychological and physical well-being."
I dont think that extension is reasonable
This effectively allowed abortion for virtually any reason. In 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade, 13 states -- including Colorado, California, Oregon and North Carolina -- allowed abortion for reasons including the mother's mental or physical health, rape and incest, and fetal deformity.
I don't like the "mental health" aspect, because it can be a loophall that allows abortion on demand, but if that is what the state wants, then I would not stand in their way.
New York allowed abortion on demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy, with similar laws in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington. Mississippi allowed abortion for rape and incest, while Alabama allowed abortion for the mother's physical health. Thirty-one states allowed abortion only to save the mother's life. Again, in a post Roe v. Wade world, what happens? USA Today conducted a state-by-state analysis. Their analysis expects 11 "conservative states" to immediately pass laws prohibiting abortion. But those "conservative states" only had 122 abortion providers in 2000, less than 7 percent of the nation's 1,819 abortion providers. "Most of those 122 providers (65) are in Texas," writes USA Today. "If pro-choice forces can hold on to Texas (not unlikely, given the feisty Democratic minority's tendency to flee to Oklahoma to deny the Legislature a quorum when its members are miffed) we're down to 57 providers. If the Democrats controlling the Alabama and Arkansas legislatures decided to act like Democrats, not Dixiecrats, that total could fall to 36." That leaves eight "conservative states" with only 36 abortion providers between them -- an already difficult proposition for any woman seeking an abortion in those states. In six of them -- Mississippi, Kentucky, the Dakotas, Missouri and Nebraska -- a woman cannot find an abortion provider in 97-98 percent of those states' counties. In other words, as it stands now, conservative states reduce abortion to almost non-existence, so a post-Roe world, at least in those states, changes little. Despite NOW's intense support of Roe v. Wade, regular Americans appear wary of Roe and its scope. Yes, according to a recent CBS poll, 59 percent of Americans call Roe a "good thing." But when pressed more specifically, people give answers that change the picture dramatically. Only 25 percent want abortion on demand -- effectively the Roe position.
Yet the Dems seem willing to do anything to go along with that 25%
Fourteen percent want abortion permitted with more restrictions; 38 percent want abortions permitted in rape, incest and to save women's lives;
I could accept that, especially if it would remove abortion on demand.
15 percent want abortion permitted only to save women's lives; and 3 percent want abortion not permitted at all. When added together, 70 percent want greater, not fewer, restrictions on abortion. What about the alleged extremist, right-wing, Christian-driven, out-of-the-mainstream demand for parental notification of abortion for females under 18? The number of Americans supporting parental notification -- 80 percent. With a reversal of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court says this: Where the Constitution fails to provide a specific empowerment for the federal government -- butt out. Now that may surprise some people.

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Stumping for President

NYT reported Campaigning in Egypt's first multicandidate presidential election kicked off Wednesday with President Hosni Mubarak - unchallenged for 24 years and almost certain to win - trying to depict himself as just another competitor in a 10-member race. The Sept. 7 election is the cornerstone of Mr. Mubarak's reform program, and his government is trying to show it will be a fair race to convince skeptical Egyptians it is serious about greater democracy. Previously, Mr. Mubarak ran uncontested in yes-no referendums. But the United States has been pressing Mr. Mubarak, one of its closest Arab allies, to move ahead with democratic change, and the fairness of the election is a major test of Washington's policy of promoting democracy in the Middle East.

Democracy is wonderful

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A double Democratic litmus test

Terence Jeffrey writes in Townhall Will a Republican president ever again name a non-stealth conservative to the U.S. Supreme Court? Or will liberal Democrats succeed in imposing not one, but two litmus tests on Supreme Court nominations? The first prospective litmus test is that Democratic presidents, deferring to the liberal base of the Democratic Party, will name only publicly pro-abortion justices to the Supreme Court. The second prospective litmus test is that Republican presidents, preferring to avoid a major political brawl with the liberal base of the Democratic Party (and their allies in the liberal media), will name only stealth nominees.

The answer to the first point is to threaten that if there ever is another Democratic President, the Republicans in the Senate need to give him (or her) just as much static (including filibusters) that the Dems have done to Bush, and they need to say that once that President is out of office, they will conside the books balanced, and they are willing to go back to being civil in the future, if the Dems will also be civil.

The answer to the second point depends on how much spine GWB has.
If these two litmus tests are institutionalized, the liberal base of the Democratic Party will retain significant influence over the nomination of Supreme Court justices no matter which party controls the White House and no matter which party controls the Senate.
That will be the case unless the Republicans make it clear that they can give just as well as take.

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The Information Reformation

Hugh Hewitt wrote in the Weekly Standard Dean Barnett of Soxblog has penned a couple of crucial essays on the effects of lefty blogs on the Democratic party that remain must-reads (here and here). Barnett is expanding on a theme sounded by Michael Barone in a February column in U.S. News & World Report where Barone asked and answered his own question: "So what hath the blogosphere wrought? The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans."

That is because the Dems have become a party of hate, so their blogs just magnify that hate, while conservative blogs, frustrated at the MSM's refusal to tell the whole story, focus on the facts the MSM tries to hide.
While the lefty blogs are helping to push the Democrats over the cliff, the center-right blogs continue to grow in influence and to innovate. Two examples deserve widespread attention.

First, let us now praise Day by Day's Chris Muir, the funniest and sharpest three panel political cartoonist at work in America today. Muir's timeliness and productivity have created a large audience for him online, which is growing wider and wider as new blog consumers arrive in record numbers. Many bloggers routinely cite or even carry the Muir strip of the day (an innovation I first noticed at Captain's Quarters), and Muir's popularity further strengthens the center-right blogosphere's vast humor advantage over the relentlessly profane, vulgar and snarling left. With James Lileks, Scrappleface, Fraters, and ProteinWisdom also at work on a near daily basis, Muir makes the center-right's funny folks the blogosphere's Globetrotters to the left's Washington Generals. It is a very great thing to have the advantage in the humor corner. Ask Joe Lieberman about his 2000 debate with the Dick Cheney. The left has to pretend to like Ted Rall. The center-right gets the real thing.
Again, the left is focused on hate, while the center-right are not filled with hatred, and hence can laugh at good humor.
(Note: Before you send emails noting that some of these center-right folks sometimes--or in Jeff Goldstein's case, pretty much every day--use vulgar and profane humor, let me assure you that I know that. But as a group, they are not addicted to it, and some use it not at all or very sparingly.)

The second significant development is the recent launch of Power Line News by DAILY STANDARD contributors John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, and Paul Mirengoff, who have been writing at their blog Power Line for years and who were Time magazine's Bloggers of the Year in 2004 for their work in exposing CBS and Dan Rather as gullible victims of a crude fraud. But the trio is no longer content with exposing mainstream media absurdities. Now they are about replacing one of mainstream media's remaining utilities: That of news aggregator and editor.
I have been familiar with the blog for a long time, but I just learned about the News site, and will be exploring it more in the future
As the daily information avalanche keeps getting bigger and bigger, and the data mountains higher and higher, the need for sherpas increases. No one person can keep on top of it all, but the technology Power Line News harnesses puts the new media's best content in a compact and easy-to-use display--basically mirroring the function RealClearPolitics performs for old media. Reliable aggregation of content is a huge development, one which further weakens the mainstream media.

It is hard to overstate the speed with which the information reformation is advancing--or to overestimate its impact on politics and culture. The mainstream media is a hollowed-out shell of its former self when it comes to influence, and when advertisers figure out who is reading the blogs, the old media is going to see their advertising base drain away,
Remember how I blogged earlier about how Julie Roehm is spending more and more of Chrysler's ad budget online (Fishing where the fish are)
and not slowly. Other new aggregators are in the works, and the revenue flowing into new media will further strengthen and expand its reach.

Before long corporate America will be calling search firms to find candidates for new positions dealing exclusively with new media, and boards of directors, long used to consulting or recruiting from politics and the mainstream media, will be debating how to persuade Betsy Newmark or Stephen Bainbridge, LaShawn Barber, or Joe Carter to advise (or even join) their ranks.
I am familiar with three of these, and will probably begin checking out the fourth now.
It's fun to be present at the revolution. And even more fun to be on the winning side.

La Shawn Barber blogged I won’t editorialize this to death, but let me say one thing about the information revolution, a force that many people don’t comprehend, can’t see or won’t see. I’m on the inside looking out, and the view from here is spectacular.

Betsy Newmark: blogged Are conservative and liberal blogs so very different today from those publications two centuries ago? Except just not as well written? Seeing how blogs are starting to both mold and reflect the news, I could almost think so. I don't know if Barone and Hewitt are right about the impact of the two different blogospheres on their respective parties. I hope it's true since I belong the side of the blogosphere that they posit will actually benefit the most in the long run.

Captain Ed blogged I wouldn't go so far as Hugh does to say that the port side of the 'sphere has hit the shoals. The Ohio 2nd CD race showed that the more rational among them can organize pretty effectively, although they couldn't beat the GOP in the end. However, it does seem that the Left's more influential sites continue to push the teeming masses ever further towards a radical-left agenda, leaving the center more and more undefended and open for socially-moderate Republicans to fill.

Mitch Berg blogged I read leftyblogs because - well, someone has to. But I've paid the price. It's depressing. A trip through Kos or Ollie Willis is feels like it must have felt in - I don't know, the F├╝hrerbunker in April of '45. Box lots of delusion slathered with enough anger to corrode the frame of a semi into red dust. The only thing worse is when they try to be "funny". I've yet to see a leftyblog that does humor - or "humor" - that doesn't wallow in juvenile snark and scatology. I've yet to see a lefty "humor" blog that could write Scrappleface's headlines.

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Lott Settles Scores

Yahoo! News reports The Senate is crammed with "lone wolves and immense egos,"

That is true. It contans 100 people who think they know enough to be President. Fortunately for the country, it usually knows better than to elect a Senator to be President.
former Majority Leader Trent Lott writes in a memoir that settles a few scores with fellow Republicans and recounts an improbable partnership with a Democratic president. In "Herding Cats, A Lifetime in Politics," Lott wrote that Sen. Bill Frist, his successor as majority leader, was one of the "main manipulators" in the events that resulted in his own loss of power.
Did Bill Frist control Lott's mouth? He got in trouble for what he said, not for what anyone else did or did not do.
Lott lost his post in 2002 after making racially tinged remarks at a 100th birthday party for one-time segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond.

"Frist's actions amounted to a "personal betrayal," Lott wrote. "I had taken him under my wing. ... He was my protege. ... We'd been friends off and on the floor, and that's pretty rare in a governmental body loaded with lone wolves and enormous egos."
In what way did Frist's actions betray you? He did not make you say what you said, did he?
Amy Call, a spokeswoman for Frist, R-Tenn., said the senator "hasn't read the book, so he can't comment directly, but he always appreciates Senator Lott's advice." President Bush also played a role in his downfall, Lott wrote, not so much with what he said, but by saying it in a tone that was"devastating ... booming and nasty." Colin Powell damaged his chances, Lott wrote. "That one hurt," he added, saying he once had prevailed on the president to name the former secretary of state's son to the Federal Communications Commission.
Did Lott expect Bush to praise him, in a nice "tone", for what he said? And because he helped Powell's sone get a job did he expect Powell to excuse what he said?
It looks to me like Lott wants to be certain that he does not get the Majority Leader slot back when Frist runs for President.

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Thursday, August 18

This Day In History

  • 1227   The Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan died.
  • 1587   Virginia Dare became the first child of English parents to be born on American soil, on what is now Roanoke Island, N.C.
  • 1846   U.S. forces led by Gen. Stephen W. Kearney captured Santa Fe, N.M.
  • 1894   Congress established the Bureau of Immigration.
  • 1914   President Woodrow Wilson issued his Proclamation of Neutrality, aimed at keeping the United States out of World War I.
  • 1920   Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right of women to vote.
  • 1954   Assistant Secretary of Labor James E. Wilkins became the first black to attend a meeting of a president's Cabinet as he sat in for Labor Secretary James P. Mitchell.
  • 1958   The novel ''Lolita'' by Vladimir Nabokov was published.
  • 1983   Hurricane Alicia slammed into the Texas coast, leaving 22 dead and causing more than $1 billion damage.
  • 1988   Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle was nominated as George H.W. Bush's running mate during the Republican convention in New Orleans.
  • 1989   In Colombia, leading presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galan was assassinated outside Bogota.
  • 1991   Soviet hard-liners launched a coup aimed at toppling President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who was vacationing in the Crimea.
  • 1997   Beth Ann Hogan became the first coed in the Virginia Military Institute's 158-year history.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1774   Meriwether Lewis (explorer: team: Lewis and Clark; died of gunshot wounds Oct 11, 1809)
  • 1904   Max Factor Jr. (cosmetic mogul; died June 7, 1996)
  • 1917   Caspar W. Weinberger (15th U.S. Secretary of Defense [1981-1987]; chairman: Forbes magazine; (co)author: The Next War)
  • 1922   Shelley Winters (Schrift) (Academy Award-winning actress)
  • 1927   Rosalynn Carter (Smith) (First Lady: wife of 39th U.S. President Jimmy Carter)
  • 1933   Roman Polanski (director: Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, MacBeth)
  • 1937   Robert Redford (actor)
  • 1943   Martin Mull (comedian, actor)
  • 1952   Elayne Boosler (comedienne, actress)
  • 1952   Patrick Swayze (dancer, actor: Dirty Dancing, Ghost)

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Unfree Under Islam

Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in OpinionJournal In every society where family affairs are regulated according to instructions derived from the Shariah or Islamic law, women are disadvantaged. The injustices these women are exposed to in the name of Islam vary from extreme cruelty (forced marriages; imprisonment or death after rape) to grossly unfair treatment in matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance.

This is certainly true. Islamic Law has not changed much since the brith of Prophet Mohammed 570 AD. Women certainly had more rights when USA was formed than they would have had under Sharia Law, but they did not get the right to vote until the 19th amendment was passed
Muslim women across the world are caught in a terrible predicament. They aspire to live by their faith as best they can, but their faith robs them of their rights. Some women have found a way out of this dilemma in the principle of separation of organized religion and state affairs. They fight an uphill battle to achieve and hold on to their basic rights. Two cases demonstrate just how difficult that struggle can be, in the context of new as well as established democracies.

The first is the draft constitution of Iraq, now due next week. Iraqi women like Naghem Khadim, demonstrating on the streets of Najaf, are fighting to prevent an article from being put in the constitution that would establish that the legislature may make no laws that contradict Shariah edicts. The second case is the province of Ontario, in Canada. There, Muslim women led by Homa Arjomand, an activist of Iranian origin, are fighting--using the Canadian Charter of Rights--to keep Shariah from being applied as family law through a so-called Arbitration Act passed as law in Ontario in 1992.

It seems strange to associate the context of Canada with that of Iraq, but a closer look at the arguments used to reassure the demonstrating women in both countries reveals the similar ordeals that Muslim women in both countries must go through to secure their rights. It shows how their legitimate and serious worries are trivialized, and how vulnerable and alone they are. It shows how the Free World led by the U.S. went to war in Iraq, allegedly to bring liberty to Iraqis, and is compromising the basic rights of women in order to meet a random date.
The date is far from random, and I believe that 30% of those working on the constitution are female.
It shows how the theory of multiculturalism in Western liberal democracies is working against women in ethnic and religious minorities with misogynist practices.
Or maybe it shows that multiculturalism is bad.
It shows the tenacity of many imams, mullahs and self-made Muslim radicals to subjugate women in the name of God. Most of all, it shows how many of those who consider themselves liberal or left-wing see their energy levels rise when it comes to Bush-bashing, but lose their voice when women's rights are threatened by religious obscurantism.

Hamam Hamoudi, the head of Iraq's constitution committee, refuses to discuss the article that worries the Muslim women. He also refused to put in the draft constitution that men and women have equal rights, creating a bizarre situation whereby the women had more rights under Saddam Hussein's regime than in post-Saddam Iraq. Mr. Hamoudi insists that women will have full economic and political rights, but the overwhelming evidence shows that when Shariah--which gives a husband complete control over his wife--is in place, women have little chance to exercise any political rights. Does Mr. Hamoudi realize that it took the removal of Saddam and the establishment of a multiparty democracy for men to vote, while if his draft constitution is ratified, women will need the permission of their husbands to step out of the house in order to mark their ballot? I thought that President Bush and all the allies who supported the Iraq war aspired to bring democracy and liberty to all Iraqis. Aren't Iraqi girls and women human enough to share in that dream?

Under Shariah, a girl becomes eligible for marriage from the moment she starts to menstruate. In countries where Islamic law is practiced, child-brides are common. Do the drafters of the constitution grasp what this will mean for the school curriculum of girls or the risks of miscarriages, maternal fatalities and infant deaths? These and other hazards that affect subjugated women are common phenomena in the 22 Arab-Islamic countries investigated in the Arab Human Development Report. An early marriage also means many children in an area of the world that is already overpopulated and poor.

The draft Iraqi bill of rights favors men in other respects, such as the right to marry up to four wives, and the right to an easy divorce, without the interference of a court, simply by repeating "I divorce you" in the presence of two male witnesses. A wife divorced in such a fashion will receive an allowance for a period of three months to one year, and after that period nothing. On the other hand, if a wife wants a divorce, she must go to court and prove that her husband does not meet her material needs, that he is infertile and that he is impotent. Once a divorce is finalized, if there are children, the custody of the children will automatically go to the father (for boys at age 7 and for girls from the start of menstruation). Inheritance based on the Shariah means that wives will get only a small portion of the property of their husbands and a sister will get half what her brother gets.

Canadian women are told that the Arbitration Act of 1992 was passed in order to provide citizens with the opportunity to resolve minor conflicts through mediation and thereby save valuable court time. They are reassured that Muslim women in Canada have nothing to fear because parties must enter into arbitration out of their free choice, and that there are enough limits to safeguard the rights of women. The Muslim women's arguments that "free choice" is relative when you are psychologically, financially and socially dependent on your family, clan or religious group seem to fall on deaf ears. The populations of battered Muslim women in "tolerant" Canada's women's shelters seem to be ignored. In Canada, battered Muslim women say that their husbands told them that it is a God-given right to hit them. If the current Iraqi constitution goes through, Iraqi wife-abusers will be able to add "It is my constitutional right to beat you."

An Iraqi constitution is necessary, and the need for urgency is apparent, but urgency is a bad argument for passing a bill that strips half the nation of its rights. In Ontario, minorities come first and individual women within minorities last, living as second-class citizens and suffering in silence.

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Progress in Iraq, despite headlines.

Deroy Murdock wrote on National Review Online Amid roadside bombs, constitutional tensions, and even a blinding sandstorm last Monday, outside the blogosphere (see here and now here) one wonders if anything is going right in Iraq. Plenty is, actually, although the mainstream media rarely mention such good news. The journalists’ maxim, “If it bleeds, it leads,” prevails. Major news outlets correctly focus on the depressing consequences of the Improvised Explosive Devices and car bombs responsible for 70 percent of July’s U.S. military fatalities in Iraq. Terrorist assassinations of civil servants and police officers obviously deserve coverage. But it honors neither America’s soldiers nor Iraq’s selfless patriots to overlook the achievements they share in this new republic. The growth of locals in uniform is a positive military development.

According to the Brookings Institution’s indispensable "Iraq Index", on-duty Iraqi security personnel have risen from 125,373 in January to 175,700 today. They fight beside Coalition forces against terrorists and Baathist holdouts. One joint raid nabbed 22 alleged insurgents in Yusufiyah on July 25 while another ten suspected terrorists were caught in Ramadi on August 3. In both cases, the Pentagon reports, citizens offered timely intelligence that helped Iraqis and their Coalition partners nail these killers.

Civil-affairs work by uniformed personnel may have persuaded average Iraqis to furnish useful information. On August 5, GIs and medics from the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Division, plus Iraqi police, performed health screenings on 200 children in Mosul. They also gave these kids soccer balls. During five such missions since mid-July, at least 1,000 of Mosul's kids have received basic medical attention.

Most Iraqis actually see the overall security situation improving. A July 12-17 Tips Hotline survey of roughly 1,200 Iraqis in Baghdad, Basra, Diyala, Irbil, Najaf, and Salah Ad-Din found that 75 percent of respondents believe their security forces are beating anti-government fighters. Twenty percent saw the security situation as “somewhat worse” than in April, and 14 percent found it “much worse,” but 46 percent considered it “somewhat better,” and 16 percent described it as “much better.”


See the rest of the article for more good news

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Iraq Puts Positive Face On Constitution Delay

WaPo reported After granting themselves an extra week to complete a draft constitution, Iraqi leaders Tuesday joined U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in painting the missed deadline as an opportunity, not a failure.

Which it is. I am disappointed they did not make the deadline, but remember it took us six years to write our Constitution, and it did not contain a Bill of Rights; they had to be added as the first 10 ammendments.
Khalilzad acknowledged he was "personally disappointed" that Monday's deadline had not been met but said he was confident an agreement could be reached by Aug. 22. Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari said political groups still had "some differences in views on details, but not on the main principles or major issues." But despite the positive public front, many participants in the negotiations said deep fissures remained among Iraq's main factions on topics as fundamental to the charter as the level of autonomy to be granted to regional governments and the role of Islam in determining law.
States rights vs the Power of the Federal government -- seems like we have had many US Supreme Court Decisions trying to nail that one down. And we have certainly had a number regarding religion also, resulting in a court that thinks the founders wanted Separation of Church and state, when all they said was that there could not be a specific church endorsed by the Federal government (on Independence Day, 1776, nine of the original thirteen colonies had official state churches, and in 1791, when the First Amendment was adopted, four of the fourteen states had official state churches, and they did not want the federal government to conflict with their state churches.
After voting for an extension Monday just before midnight, some informal discussions resumed Tuesday among leaders of the country's largest political blocs; broader negotiations were slated to resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

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Omitting Air America

Brent Bozell wrote on Townhall Which side of the talk radio wars do you suppose our "mainstream" media outlets favor?

Hummm. Thats a tough one? They should cover both sides equally. Right? ROF, LMAO
If you have to ask, then just look at the news coverage of talk radio scandals.When Rush Limbaugh acknowledged an addiction to painkillers in 2003, the news media couldn't get enough of his misfortune. The Newsweek cover story by Evan Thomas called Rush "a childless, twice-divorced, thrice-married schlub whose idea of a good time is to lie on his couch and watch football endlessly." CNN anchorman Aaron Brown confessed that "the subject is Rush, made worse no doubt by the permanent smirk that seems to be attached to my face."
But you need to understand, the reason the Dems had control of congress for 40 years was because the MSM kept the conservative message from getting out, but then Talk Radio, and particularly Rush Limbaugh, started saying things conservatives wanted to hear, and pretty soon the Republicans have both houses of congress and the White House.
Or what about radio and TV talker Bill O'Reilly? When ex-producer Andrea Mackris sued him for sexual harassment last fall, the networks and other media outlets pounced with glee. ABC and NBC were so excited to put O'Reilly's accuser on the air with her lawyer that they gave them seven- and eight-minute interviews -- an eternity in TV land -- almost as many minutes as those networks devoted to covering and analyzing the final presidential debate that morning.
Another straight talker, hated by the MSM for the same reason.
On July 26, bloggers busted open a brand-new talk radio scandal, and the hypocrisy was juicy: The ultraliberal Air America radio network, the folks who would call themselves Compassion for the Poor Radio, had taken $875,000 from a children's charity as a "loan" that it hasn't paid back. An Air America executive that also served as development director for the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club of the Bronx made a "diversion" of funds for the struggling leftists. Air America is no small potato in the eyes of "mainstream" media outlets. After all, when the network launched last year with its six paltry stations, the coverage was massive. Al Franken was its rock star. So with Air America embroiled in scandal, there would be a media feeding frenzy, right? All I can hear are the crickets.
I don't even hear the crickets, at least on the MSM, but it is all over the Blogosphere.
Let's compare the coverage, then and now.The New York Times put Air America's debut on the front page, and published a huge cover story on Al Franken in the New York Times Magazine. In June, they promoted Al Franken for the U.S. Senate. And this is a New York City scandal, right? But it took the Times two and a half weeks to publish one bland story, inside the local-news section with a lead that focused on the troubled charity, not Air America's scandalous participation. That's still better than nothing -- which was what the Times' national edition carried. The Washington Post published a breezy front-page article plugging Air America's 2004 debut, not to mention an even larger profile on the front of the Sunday Style section. They lavished more than 7,000 words on Air America host Randi Rhodes last September in a Washington Post Magazine cover story. Current scandal coverage? Post-watching blogger Christopher Fotos found an AP dispatch (also two weeks delayed) on the Post website, but noted it didn't make the actual newspaper.
Of course not. People save newspapers; AP dispatches disappear quickly.
Newsweek hyped the debut in a big three-page spread, featuring a Bush-mocking "photo illustration" of Franken standing on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit. Scandal coverage? Nada. Time writer Richard Corliss could only give a page to the network's debut, ending with the plea: "America needs Air America." In April of 2005, Corliss hyped the network's first anniversary: "The story has a happy ending for liberals -- or at least a promising second act." Scandal coverage? No way. ABC gave the Air America debut a morning news story, an evening news story and an entire broadcast of "Nightline." Coverage of their scandal? None. CBS promoted the launch in brief anchor mentions, and then aired a long profile of Air America star Al Franken on "Sunday Morning." Scandal coverage? Zip. NBC highlighted the launch with a Franken interview in the morning, and an evening news story. Scandal coverage? Nothing. NPR promoted the launch on their talk show "Talk of the Nation," as well as their evening news show "All Things Considered," but then aired a critique of their programming on the same show a few weeks later from Michael Harrison. Scandal coverage? Zero. Then there's CNN, which aired Air America start-up stories in heavy rotation on the weekend before the network debut, as well as promotional stories across their prime-time lineup on Debut Day. A few days after the scandal broke, CNN's blog reporter noted in the afternoon that bloggers Brian Maloney and Michelle Malkin were pushing this story. But CNN has had no story of its own. That's rich, because in October of 2003, when "NewsNight" anchor Aaron Brown was announcing his smirk over Rush's troubles, he brought on his guest -- ready for this? -- Al Franken, who sneered Limbaugh could never recover, because then he'd have "nothing left" for radio. Al Franken will never need to recover from media scrutiny.

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The morning after Gaza

Steven Stalinsky wrote in JWR The Road Map for peace called for an end to Palestinian armed activity, including for the Palestinian Authority to collect arms from terror groups and for all official Palestinian institutions to end incitement against Israel. None of which has happened. Now that Israel's disengagement from Gaza is a fact — a major question remains, what will happen the day after? All indications point to Gaza becoming a haven for gathering Palestinian terrorist groups, as well as global terrorists affiliated with them. Many have openly stated they will be moving their bases of operations there.

Where they will be easier for the Israelis to target.
The Saudi daily Al-Watan reported in the last week of June that Palestinian Authority leaders have invited all Palestinian rejectionist groups to Gaza. They include multiple groups and individuals on the U.S. list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations including Syrian based Hamas officials such as Khaled Mashaal and Musa Abu Marzouk, as well as leaders from the Democratic Front of the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Struggle Front. It was also announced that the Tunis based head of the PLO, Faruq Qaddumi is moving his base of operations to Gaza. He is a possible successor and key rival to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. According to him, the PLO charter which calls for the destruction of Israel has not really been amended. Qaddumi will be bringing with him a 'volunteer popular army' of at least 1,500 who will be under his control according to Saudi media reports from August 3. This follows other reports from Lebanon that additional Palestinian fighters devoted to Israel's destruction are also coming to Gaza. One report, in the Lebanese Daily Star from August 1st quoted a senior Fatah official who "did not deny rumors" and was quoted explaining "we were informed we will be with them [other Palestinian fighters in Gaza] soon."
It is now up to Abbas. If he wants to have an independent Palestinian state, he should gain control over these people immediately. If they are allowed to lauch attacks on Israel, it will show that they really only want a state so they can launch another war on Israel, and with all of the bad guys concentrated in the Gaza Strip, it will help the Israelis to wipe them out in a wholesale fashion. They can then ask Abbas, who I presume will still be in the West Bank, if they now want a peaceful state in the West Bank, or do they want to be wiped out also.
Additionally in May, Arabic papers such as Al-Ayyam and Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that hundreds of Palestinians wanted for connections to terrorist attacks have joined the Palestinian security apparatus. Other jailed terrorists have been released from prison this summer. According to the Arab News of June 12, members of Islamic Jihad who were involved with the suicide attack in February that killed five in Tel-Aviv have been sent free. The issue of arms remains contentious as the U.S. is urging Israel to re-arm the PA while terrorists who were supposed to be disarmed under the Road Map have not yet been disarmed. In June, the PA's Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Kidwa, Yasser Arafat's nephew, explained on PA TV: "Keeping our weapons is a strategic option" and that "possession of weapons is a strategic issue." Referring to terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he explained "the dismantling of armed organizations is not on the table because weapons are legal." In the days and hours leading up to disengagement — the PA leadership has been stating in Arabic how it views the situation. On August 12, Abbas exclaimed "Today were are celebrating the liberation of Gaza and the Northern West Bank, tomorrow we celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem." Similarly, during the first week of August, PA Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei in celebration of Yasser Arafat's birthday exclaimed, "Today Gaza, tomorrow Jerusalem" adding: "We will still celebrate once we reach our goals and establish a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, with the return of the refugees." Recognizing the role of Hamas, Qurei stated: "the children of Yasser Arafat the martyr and the children of Ahmad Yassin the martyr and children of all the martyrs. Jerusalem is closer than ever… We will continue until victory. None of us will give up until we are on Jerusalem's soil." The leadership of Hamas has been the most open about its intentions. According to Al Jazeera.net on August 12, the groups leader, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, explained his organization is a legitimate security tool and will never disarm. After attending a training session of the military wing of Hamas, the Izz Al-din al-Qassam Brigades, he stated the Palestinians will "liberate Palestine from the Jordan River to the sea." The armed wing of the Fatah movement, which is a part of the PLO issued a statement on August 15 that sums up the problems ahead: "We support our brothers in Hamas and affirm that no Palestinian armed wing will be dissolved because Palestine is not Gaza only, but rather, Palestine is Palestine from the River (Jordan River) to the Sea (Mediterranean Sea) and it is our land and we have the right to defend it."
And Islam is a religion of Peace?????

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UN on precipice

CSMonitor reported UN on precipice of critical reform ... or irrelevance

It may not be make or break for the United Nations, but its upcoming General Assembly session will be critical in deciding if the UN is to fulfill its founding expectations as a significant force for peace and democracy, or if it is to totter into irrelevance

Where some feel it has been for years
The latter would be a crushing disappointment for Americans, a majority of whom, polls show, support the UN, and whose government is one of the most, if not the most, influential members of the organization.
A majority may support the idea of the United Nations, but there is certainly a significant number who favor kicking the UN out of New York, and using the building for a new Union of Democratic Countries.
Happily, there is the promise of constructive reform this fall. It is triggered by three factors.

One is the call for such reform by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who himself declaring the UN to be at a crossroads, appointed a prestigious international panel to make recommendations.
And who is worried about keeping his job. I have not yet heard what Kofi thinks about the latest UN Scandal
Reporting last year, the panel found fault with many UN agencies and operations, and made sweeping suggestions, including enlargement of the Security Council now dominated by the veto-wielding, permanent big five: the US, Britain, Russia, France, and China. Mr. Annan largely embraced his panel's recommendations, but went significantly beyond them in the area of human rights. In particular, he urged scrapping the much-criticized UN Human Rights Commission, which has inexplicably included among its members nations such as Cuba, Libya, and Sudan, which give minimal observance to the human rights of their own citizens. Its replacement by a new entity truly dedicated to improving human rights would perhaps do more than anything to convince UN critics that it's cleaning house.

A second factor working for reform is the blistering findings of the Volcker commission last week about the maladministration of the UN oil-for-food program in Iraq. The inquiry, chaired by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, found the program's director, Benon Sevan, guilty of accepting kickbacks from Iraqi oil sales, and another UN official, Aleksandr Yakovlev, of taking bribes in exchange for confidential bidding information.
And is focusing on Kofi and his family right now.
This, with other violations in the program uncovered by the commission, is sullying the UN image and fueling momentum for change.

A third, and particularly meaningful, factor in this climate for reform is the Bush administration's support for the UN provided such reforms take place. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, now firmly in control of the diplomatic conduct of US foreign policy, is making clear the US wants to see the UN become more effective, not made extinct. Ambassador John Bolton, now waging a charm offensive in the early days of his appointment, is directed to implement that policy.
And if the UN does not reform, the muzzle may be taken off of Bolton.
Though the Bush administration was obviously bitter over the UN's earlier failure to enforce a string of UN resolutions against Saddam Hussein, its support for the UN was clearly signaled recently by its opposition to a move in Congress to cut back America's UN dues.

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Democrats Feel Heat From Left On Roberts

WaPo reported Major liberal groups accused Democratic senators yesterday of showing too little stomach for opposing John G. Roberts Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination, saying newly released documents indicate he is much more conservative than many people first thought.

So he is a conservative. What sort of judge did George W Bush promise to appoint both in 2000 and 2004? He is not a child molester, a serial killer, or an Extreme Left Wing Liberal.
The response was quick and pointed, as two key senators unleashed their sharpest criticisms yet of Roberts and sought to assure activists that the battle is far from over. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, said in a statement: "Those papers that we have received paint a picture of John Roberts as an eager and aggressive advocate of policies that are deeply tinged with the ideology of the far right wing of his party then, and now.
Then the people that elected GWB should be pleased.
In influential White House and Department of Justice positions, John Roberts expressed views that were among the most radical being offered by a cadre intent on reversing decades of policies on civil rights, voting rights, women's rights, privacy, and access to justice."
I seriously doubt that. I suspect what he advocated was following the law, as passed by the legislature, and making certain those laws were consistent with the Constitution. Which probably does tick the Dems off, since they want judges that will put on xray goggles and pretend to see things that the founders never wrote into the Constitution, and which they know they could not get 2/3 of both houses and 3/4 of the state legislatures to approve putting into the Constitution.
.... Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, said Democrats who support Roberts could face a voter backlash, particularly if he turns out to be as conservative as the groups contend. "History shows us that voters turned on Alan Dixon for his vote on Clarence Thomas
Were these racist Dems (like the former KKK member Robert Byrd once was) that did not the fact that Thomas was black, or did they just think Thomas was too "uppity" because he thought for himself, and was a conservative.
and voters gave Arlen Specter the toughest reelection of his life," Aron said, referring to the former Democratic senator from Illinois and the current Republican senator from Pennsylvania. If grass-roots voters "are where we expect they'll be around the time of the vote [on Roberts], they'll remember long and hard.".... With Democrats holding 44 of the Senate's 100 seats, liberal activists concede that it would be extremely difficult to block Roberts's confirmation.
But they are welcome to vote against him if they wish.
But they urged those senators yesterday to show more openness to the possibility if more documents and the hearings suggest that Roberts is in the mold of conservatives such as Justice Antonin Scalia.
It seems that I remember GWB saying he wanted judges like Thomas and Scalia.

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Gaza: Tomorrow's Iraq

Richard Cohen wrote in WaPo It is the solemn obligation of a columnist to connect the dots.

But unfortunately they select which dots they want to connect, and ignore others, and then they pick the route they want to connect them, to support their preconcieved agenda.
So let's call one dot Iraq and another the Gaza Strip, and note that while they are far different in history and circumstance, they are both places where Western democracies, the United States and Israel, are being defeated by a common enemy, terrorism. What is happening in Gaza today will happen in Iraq tomorrow.
A lot of distortion in that statement. What do you think is happening in Gaza? Israel has decided that the PA can't control Gaza, so rather than having a lot of soldiers defend small settlements, they are pulling both the soldiers, and the people they have been protected, back inside a defensable wall. Totally different from helping Iraq form a new constitution.
In both cases politicians will assert that it is not terrorism that has forced their hands. President Bush says this over and over again: denunciations of evil, vows to get the job done, fulsome praise for Iraq's remarkably brave democrats. But the fact remains that Iraq is coming apart -- the Kurds into their own state (with their own flag), the Sunnis into their own armed camps, and the dominant Shiites forming an Islamic republic that will in due course become our declared enemy.
There certainly are people in each camp that might like it that way, perhaps even as much as Richard Cohen does, but there are a lot who have really liked the idea of democracy, and who are working hard to come up with a constitution.
Similarly, Israeli politicians assert that it is not terrorism that has chased Israel from Gaza but the realization that a minority of Jews (about 8,500) cannot manage a majority of Arabs (more than 1 million), and this is surely the case. But it was terrorism that made that point so powerfully. After all, Israel took Gaza from Egypt in the 1967 war. It took 20 years for the Palestinians there to launch their first uprising. Without the violence, Israelis would still be farming in Gaza.
If Israel had been smart it would have insisted that Egypt take back the Gaza when they signed their peace agreement, but Egypt did not want the headache of the million Arabs, and did not want to assimilate them into their large country. Israel never should have started farming in Gaza.
Israel in Gaza, like America in Iraq, underestimated its enemy. Palestinians have been tenacious, not merely fighting but doing so in ways that elude our understanding. Since the 1993 Oslo accords, there have been more than 90 suicide bombings. Israel has responded wisely by erecting a security fence. It has not responded by pulling out of the West Bank. But what's true in Gaza is also true in the West Bank. For Israel, the numbers are all wrong -- too many Palestinians, too few Jews. Ultimately demographics will trump Zionism.
Perhaps
The same holds for Iraq. There, suicide bombings are an almost daily occurrence -- more than 400 since the U.S. invasion in March 2003. The guerrillas, the insurgents, the terrorists -- who are those guys, anyway? -- attack U.S. forces an average of 65 times a day. The insurgency is unrelenting, and so is the mayhem. Sunnis and Shiites are at each other's throats, killing and retaliating and killing some more. No one, it seems, can figure out who is allied with whom. The thing's a morass, a mess, a mystery and, unforgivably, a surprise. This was not supposed to happen. American troops would be greeted as liberators. Remember? There would be no insurgency. Where would it come from? What would be its purpose? Who would possibly die for such a cause?
Things are not perfect, but they are not nearly as bleak as Richard thinks, and if we are successful in getting a Democracy launched in Iraq, it will really be good for the area

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United Nations Bankrolled Latest Anti-israel Propaganda

New York Sun reported The United Nations bankrolled the production of thousands of banners, bumper stickers, mugs, and T-shirts bearing the slogan "Today Gaza and Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem," which have been widely distributed to Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip, according to a U.N. official.

This is outrageous. Anyone who supported this expenditure, up to and including Kofi, if he was involved, should be fired, and his diplomatic immunity should be removed.
The U.N. support of the Palestinian Authority's propaganda operation in the midst of the Israeli evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip has provoked outrage from Israeli and Jewish leaders, who are blaming Turtle Bay for propagating an inflammatory message that they say encourages Palestinian Arab violence. "The intifada worked. That's contextually what this message is saying," the director of U.N. affairs for the Washington-based Jewish organization B'nai Brith, Amy Goldstein, said. The Arabic slogan, which refers to disputed territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, has become ubiquitous in Gaza, where Israeli soldiers this week are evacuating 21 settlements. It's served as the central message of a Palestinian Arab effort to spin the withdrawal as a victory.

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