Saturday, July 02, 2005

Just Ask Permission

Just Ask Permission
By Tom Adkins

Does the First Amendment give us the right to desecrate the American flag? Or is the flag a sacred symbol of our nation, deserving protection by law? Tough call?

I've got the solution.

For those who want to light Old Glory on fire, stomp all over it or spit on it to make some sort of "statement," I say let them do it. But under one condition: They must get permission.

First, you need permission of a war veteran. Perhaps a marine who fought at Iwo Jima?

The American flag was raised over Mount Surabachi upon the bodies of thousands of dead buddies. Each night on Iwo meant half of everyone you knew would be dead tomorrow, a coin flip away from a bloody end upon a patch of sand your mother couldn't find on a map.

Or maybe ask a Vietnam vet who spent tortured years in a small, filthy cell unfit for a dog. Or a Korean War soldier who rescued half a nation from communism, or a Desert Storm warrior who repulsed a bloody dictator from raping and pillaging an innocent country.

That flag represented your mother and father, your sister and brother, your friends, neighbors and everyone at home.

I wonder what they would say if someone asked their permission to burn the American flag?

Next, ask an immigrant. Their brothers and sisters may still languish in their native land, often under tyranny, poverty and misery. Maybe they died on the way here, never to touch our shores. Some have seen friends and family get tortured and murdered by their own government for daring to do things we take for granted.

For those who risked everything simply for the chance to become an American . . . what feelings do they have for the flag when they pledge allegiance the first time? Go to a naturalization ceremony and see for yourself the tears of pride, the thanks, the love and respect of this nation as they finally embrace the American flag as their own.

Ask one of them if it would be okay to tear up the flag.

Last, you should ask a mother. Not just any mother, but a mother who gave a son or daughter for America. It doesn't even have to be in war. It could be a cop. A fireman. Maybe a Secret Service agent. Then again, it could be a common foot soldier. When that son or daughter is laid to rest, their family is given one gift by the American people: an American flag.

Go on. I dare you. Ask that mother to spit on her flag.

I wonder what the founding fathers thought of the American flag as they drafted the Declaration of Independence? They knew this act would drag young America into war with England, the greatest power on Earth. They also knew failure meant more than disappointment. It meant a noose snugly stretched around their necks. But they needed a symbol, something to inspire the new nation. Something to represent the serious purpose and conviction we held for our new idea of individual freedom. Something worth living for. Something worth dying for. I wonder how they'd feel if someone asked them permission to toss their flag in a mud puddle?

Away from family, away from the precious shores of home, in the face of overwhelming odds and often in the face of death, the American flag inspires those who believe in the American dream, the American promise, the American vision. . . .

Americans who don't appreciate the flag don't appreciate this nation. And those who appreciate this nation appreciate the American flag. Those who fought, fought for that flag. Those who died, died for that flag. And those who love America, love that flag. And defend it.

So if you want to desecrate the American flag, before you spit on it or before you burn it . . . I have a simple request. Just ask permission. Not from the Constitution. Not from some obscure law. Not from the politicians or the pundits. Instead:

  • ask those who defended our nation so that we may be free today.
  • Ask those who struggled to reach our shores so that they may join us in the American dream.
  • And ask those who clutch a flag in place of their sacrificed sons and daughters, given to this nation so that others may be free.
For we cannot ask permission from those who died wishing they could, just once . . . or once again . . . see, touch or kiss the flag that stands for our nation, the United States of America . . . the greatest nation on Earth.


Justice for the Next Justice

John Cornyn (Republican senator from Texas) wrote in WaPo This week marks a historic occasion, not only for the U.S. Supreme Court, but for America -- the retirement announcement of our nation's first female Supreme Court justice. The process in the U.S. Senate for considering her successor should reflect the best of the American judiciary -- not the worst of American politics.... As soon as the president announces his nominee, media reports and interest groups will probably attempt to demonize or paint the nominee as a right-wing extremist. Some Senate Democrats -- who often insist on asking nominees to prejudge cases and issues -- will subject the nominee to controversial questioning during the hearing process. The American people should recognize such questions for what they are: an attempt to politicize the process and badger the nominee to reveal personal feelings about any given issue. This is unfair to the nominee and the American people, and grossly distorts the Senate's role of providing advice and consent. Before her service on the federal bench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- a distinguished jurist and liberal favorite -- served as general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, a liberal organization that has championed the abolition of traditional marriage laws. Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg expressed her belief that traditional marriage laws are unconstitutional but that prostitution is a constitutional right. She also wrote that the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are discriminatory institutions, and that courts must require the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions -- hardly views Americans would consider mainstream. Yet Senate Republicans and Democrats alike set aside such concerns and approved her nomination. By contrast, we have seen during the past four years a partisan minority obstruct this president's judicial nominees -- who hold views shared by millions of Americans and enjoy bipartisan majority support in the Senate -- suffer vicious attacks and unprecedented obstruction at the behest of liberal interest groups. Our role as senators is to ensure that the nominee is qualified and has the intelligence, character, and judicial temperament to perform the job, to guarantee that all senators have an opportunity to evaluate the nominee, to allow as much debate as is necessary to fully discuss the nomination, and then to come to a vote. Yet there are some who argue that the Senate can refuse to vote altogether, and that the Supreme Court should be forced to operate without a ninth justice. While I am confident that the nominee to replace Justice O'Connor will be an able jurist, I am less confident in the treatment he or she will receive from the president's opponents.

Extreme Left Wing Hunter @DailyKos blogged This post from Ed Kilgore over at TPMCafe is getting a lot of online attention, because he pretty much pegs exactly the problem here -- for Democrats, for Republicans, and for Bush:

This appointment represents the giant balloon payment at the end of the mortgage the GOP signed with the Cultural Right at least 25 years ago. Social conservatives have agreed over and over again to missed payments, refinancings, and in their view, generous terms, but the balance is finally due, and if Bush doesn't pay up, they'll foreclose their entire alliance with the Republican Party.
A few voices have bravely piped up, here and there, with the notion that Bush has an opportunity here to boost his legacy immeasurably with a moderate, centrist pick. It's admittedly true; he would probably get a major poll bounce, and start growing some non-existant coattails, if he chose a moderate conservative instead of a Gary Bauer, James Dobson approved one. But that's a pipe dream. Dobson owns Bush; we might as well start calling O'Connor's chair the Terri Schiavo Memorial Seat right now.

Oh, and John Cornyn of all people has a WaPo op-ed calling for "no litmus tests". Yes, that's right -- Senator Cornyn (R-Galapagos) is calling for restraint in discussing federal judges. Restraint by Democrats, of course...
Are you familiar with the Sermon on the Mount: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Are have the Secular Humanists shielded you from the Golden Rule? Do you recall how the Republicans treated the Democrats regarding Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer
Betsy Newmark blogged Senator Cornyn argues for the Ginsburg model in the confirmation hearings. Don't ask or expect the nominee to commit him or herself ahead of time on issues that will come before the Court. And since everything comes before the Court at some point, the Senators must limit themselves to broad questions of philosophy or to questions about past rulings. Of course, the Democrats won't do this, but if Specter has any spine at all, he should make it clear over and over in the hearings what questions are not appropriate. I don't expect him to do so, but the other Republicans can pick up the slack in drumming this point home. Cornyn is showing his chops already. He's going to be the point man on this nomination.


IE Security Flaw

PCMag reported Microsoft late Thursday confirmed a security flaw in its dominant Internet Explorer browser could be potentially exploited by malicious hackers to take "take complete control of the affected system." The software giant released a security advisory acknowledging the vulnerability and recommended that IE users set Internet and local intranet security zone settings to "High" before running ActiveX controls in these zones.

ActiveX is dangerous, and I dont like to use it at all. In fact this is one good reason to use Firefox as a browser, since it does not support ActiveX.
All supported versions of Internet Explorer, including IE 6.0 in Windows XP SP 2 (Service Pack 2) are affected. Microsoft Corp.'s confirmation comes less than 24 hours after private security research firm SEC Consult published a working exploit to show that the bug could crash the browser or exploited to execute arbitrary code in the context of IE. Microsoft said it was not aware of any attacks attempting to use the reported vulnerability or customer impact and promised a patch would be made available once an investigation is completed. "A COM object, javaprxy.dll, when instantiated in Internet Explorer can cause Internet Explorer to unexpectedly exit. We are investigating a potentially exploitable condition," Microsoft said in the advisory.


Do it like Ginsburg

Byron York blogged on The Corner Look for Republicans to point to the confirmations of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer as models of the process that should be employed in the effort to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Both Ginsburg and Breyer were nominated and confirmed at a time (1993-1994) in which the president's party -- Democrats -- also controlled the Senate. And both were given relatively easy passage through the Senate because the minority party -- Republicans -- cooperated with Democrats to ensure a quick confirmation. Ginsburg was nominated on June 14, 1993 and confirmed by the Senate on August 3, 1993. Breyer was nominated on May 13, 1994 and confirmed on July 29, 1994.

They moved with such speed because Republicans, in particular Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking GOP member on the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, declined to challenge their records. Ginsburg, in particular, received something of a bye from Republicans despite her former position as general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union; had they chosen to, Republicans could have hung every extreme ACLU position around Ginsburg's neck. Instead, "Sen. Hatch put an orderly and fair process above scoring political points," says one high-ranking staffer involved at the time. "It ensured that the Senate's conduct of the hearings was constructive rather than divisive."

Republicans also chose not to oppose Ginsburg even though she refused to answer dozens of questions during her confirmation hearings. Among others, she declined to give her views on Roe v. Wade, on the Second Amendment, on the death penalty, on the Voting Rights Act, on race-based congressional redistricting, and on adoption rights for gay couples, among many other issues. At one point in her hearings, Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond told her, "In preparing these questions or any others I may propound during the hearings, if you feel they are inappropriate to answer, will you speak out and say so." On another occasion, Thurmond said, "I will not press you to answer any that you feel are inappropriate." Not surprisingly, Democrats wholeheartedly agreed. Then-chairman Sen. Joseph Biden told Ginsburg, "You not only have a right to choose what you will answer and not answer, but in my view you should not answer a question of what your view will be on an issue that clearly is going to come before the court in 50 forms probably, over your tenure on the court."

Joe Biden needs to be reminded of that quote. I wonder if it was televised, and if so if the Republicans will dig out the tape.
Of course, Republicans today realize that Democrats, now the minority party, will never extend to a Bush nominee the sort of treatment the GOP gave Ginsburg in 1993. Nevertheless, they will tell the story over and over, in hopes that someone will listen.


Blame the military

WaPo reported It began as a shouting match on a busy Capitol Hill street corner during the frenetic morning commute, a bike-vs.-car incident not uncommon in a big city. But then the silver-haired, retired Navy lieutenant got out of his car, approached the red-headed ballet dancer riding a bike and allegedly shoved her to the ground, authorities said. He got back into his car and, as bystanders followed him, drove down the block to his nearby office, the bicyclist said. The man was identified as Ted E. Schelenski, 64, vice president for finance and operations at the Heritage Foundation, a think tank that promotes conservative policies. He pleaded not guilty this week to a charge of simple assault.

If he was guilty (notice he pleaded not guilty) of doing what the girl claimed, then he was certainly a cad, but what is the significance of the fact that he is a retired Navy lieutenant. Was he wearing any sort of uniform? Or did WaPo mention he was a retired Navy Lieutenant just to try to run down the military (in a time of war).


Practical Voice for Partisan Times

E. J. Dionne Jr editorializes in WaPo Barely an hour after Justice Sandra Day O'Connor had announced her resignation from the Supreme Court yesterday, the goal of all liberals and moderates was clear: To replace the retiring justice, President Bush should name someone just like her. From Democratic quarters, you could almost hear the orchestrated shouts of "We love Sandra." It's odd that O'Connor, in an instant, became a liberal hero. In many ways, she is the most profoundly conservative justice on the court. Cass Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago, noted that she is a particular kind of conservative, an implicit follower of the philosopher Edmund Burke, "someone who likes tradition, respects incremental change, doesn't like revolution."

But what she did not understand is that changes in the law should come from the Legislature. The Legislature makes laws; the Judiciary should only apply the law made by the legislature, and then only as long as it agrees with the Constitution.
But the Burkean disposition is not what animates the political movement that now flies under the colors of conservatism. The judicial right is seeking anything but continuity. It wants a revolution of its own -- or perhaps a counterrevolution. And unlike O'Connor, who liked her decisions very particular, the new conservatives love sweeping abstractions. To them, a case-by-case approach is as unprincipled as it is unexciting.... The danger for moderates and liberals is not the end of liberal judicial activism -- those days are over -- but the onset of a new era of conservative judicial activism. You'll never know it in the commotion of the coming months, but the O'Connor succession fight is not primarily over Roe. The real battle is over whether new conservative judges will roll back the ability of elected officials to legislate in areas such as affirmative action, environmental regulation, campaign finance, and disability and labor rights.
It depends on which elected officals you are talking about. If you are talking about the Executive Branch (President, Governors, and Executive Branch agencies) their job is to enforce the law. If you are talking about Judicial branch (in states, where Judges are elected), their job is to apply the law and determine whether it is constitutional. If you are talking about the Legislative Branch (federal and state) then they are the ones to make law, whether in areas such as affirmative action, environmental regulation, campaign finance, and disability and labor rights, or other areas, and it the Judicial Branch determines their laws are unconstitutional, they are the ones to initiate changes to the constitution (which for states, usually requires the changes to be approved by the people, and for changes to the constitution requires approval by state legislatures)
That's why, to liberals, O'Connor now looks so good. She was sometimes wrong from their point of view, but she was not always wrong and she was not predictable. She was not a pioneer looking for some lost Constitution and she was not trying to make history by starting a new era of one sort or another. When she used the phrase "grand unified theory," it was to criticize it.

Hugh Hewitt blogged The fundamental dishonesty of the coming campaign from the left over the new nominee to the Supreme Court is demonstrated in E.J. Dionne's column in this morning's Washington Post.

Jack Cluth blogged It’s interesting that Liberals are suddenly hailing Sandra Day O’Connor for being such a brave defender of the Cause. O’Connor, over the course of her 24 years on the Supreme Court, has shown herself to be ANYTHING but a Liberal. She has fairly been described as someone who likes tradition, respects incremental change, doesn’t like revolution- not exactly the recipe for a bleeding heart Liberal. Of course, perhaps the biggest reason that Liberals are saddened over O’Connor’s resignation is that they fear who might come behind her. Given that George W. Bush will be making the selection, the fear that the Supreme Court will be saddled with a clone of Antonin Scalia is nothing to ignore. There is the very real possibility that Bush will put forth a solidly Right-wing, Social Conservative ideologue, which will only serve to further fuel the cultural war taking place in this country.
And which has resulted in the Dems losing the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.
O’Connor, whose reasonableness and practicality was enough to anger both the Left and the Right, seemed to understand that it’s about the law, stupid.
It is about the law, and who makes the law. It is the job of the Legislature to make law. It is the job of the Judiciary to apply the law. Judges that want to make law should resign from the bench and run for the Legislature.
will probably be too much to expect O’Connor’s replacement, as well as activists on both sides, to keep that in mind. Of course, given the long-lasting impact that O’Connor’s replacement may well have on American law and society, this battle (and it can only fairly be described as nothing less) may well be one of the most important we face in our lifetime. George W. Bush has the opportunity to define himself and his Presidency with this choice. Is he the President of all Americans, or merely those far-Right Social Conservative White Christians who donate to Republican causes? Guess where I’m putting my money??
I am hoping it will be to please those that support him and what he is doing. Let me see, how much support is he getting from the left or the so called moderates?



John Hawkins blogged Here are the candidates -- in order -- who are in my opinion, most likely to win the Republican nomination in 2008. Do keep in mind that we're still more than 2 1/2 years out, so this line-up can & most certainly will surely change (Especially if some of the low profile governors start to pick-up momentum or if Rice, Jeb, Cheney or some combination thereof were to throw their hats in the ring).

An interesting list. He had 58 comments when I posted this.


Victory disregarded...

Major K blogged The UK's Guardian manages to snatch a defeatist headline from the jaws of a true victory. [The Guardian headline was "Iraq insurgents snatch victory from defeat "]The arhabi threw everything that they had at the local Iraqi Security Forces in our sister Battalion's sector, in one of the largest coordinated attacks that we have seen since we got here. They failed. We had a few patrols nearby that jumped in just to help out, and they caught the bad guys with their pants down, big time. Read the article. LTC Funk is right. I'm sure any reporter can find someone to complain after the shooting stops. Once again, they also fail to report that a nearby mosque was used as the primary command and control center as well as weapons cache for the terrorists. They even fired on our men from inside the mosque before trying to run away. Our guys did great that morning. So did the Iraqis. The arhabi put together about the biggest operation that they could muster and got their butts kicked. There were a few follow up IED's and such in our sector, but other than the tragic loss of Dup, things have quieted down again. We remain on offense and our sister battalion has been pulling a lot of guys out of closets where they have hidden unsuccesfully hoping to fight another day. I think their only fighting will be done in the chow hall of an Iraqi prison. Here's another good one that only headlined for about 5 minutes.[The CNN headline was "Huge underground hideout uncovered in Iraq"]

Major K makes a very good point. The MSM doesn't post the victories of the War in Iraq.

Hat tip to Greta (Hooah Wife)


Insurgency in Iraq

Amy Proctor blogged Even and although politicians of both leanings refer to terrorists in Iraq as "insurgents", is that really what they are? An insurgent is someone, usually as part of a group, fighting against the government in their own country. In reality, my understanding is that the Baathist party of Saddam was dismantled pretty soundly (seriously, most of them are dead, as my husband who fought there can tell you).

That is true. There are still some of the criminals that Sadaam let out of jail just before the war started that are creating chaos, but that is because they know that if the new government really gets control over the country, they will be back in jail, and they are more able to conduct their illegal affairs if there is anarchy.
Most if not all of the "insurgents" are coming from outside of Iraq like Iran, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. It isn't really an insurgency but attacks of terrorism. Will an Iraqi based al-Qaeda take over the government? No, al-Qaeda is based in Afghanistan.
Amy is correct. Zarqawi does call his organization al-Qaeda in Iraq, but then Zarqawi is a Jordanian, and his suicide bombers come mainly from Saudi Arabia.
I only mention this because to my ears the connotation is that Iraq is rejecting its new government, and that simply isn't the case. They have voted for it, are working toward it, sacrificing for it and resisting the terrorists. That isn't a true insurgency. Also, if there was truly no connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, why are the terrorists fighting so hard to keep Iraq from becoming democratic? The 9/11 connection may only be that Saddam was himself a terrorist (see previous entry below), but he was thrilled with the fall of the World Trade Center and Pentagon. He ordered a mural painted in Iraq 9/11. What's happening in Iraq is only an insurgency if it is carried out by Iraqis. Otherwise, consider them terrorists, not insurgents. Food for thought.


Trackbacks Obsolete???

Greta blogged Greta at EIMC has decided that Trackbacks are soon to be obsolete & are WAY too big of a PITA. Technorati has taken over!

I commented I respectfully disagree with Greta

Trackbacks are a courtesy in which one blogger reveals to another blogger that he (she) liked one of that bloggers posts so much that he (she) blogged about it (perhaps copying it completely, or perhaps just excerpting from it, and providing either a supportive or contrarian point of view). A trackback also is a courtesy to readers of the other blog, letting them know that the subject is also being discussed elsewhere.

I certainly hope that courtesy is not obsolete.

Technorati is a good research tool, as is WhoLinksToMe and Google

What do you think?


Saturday, July 2

This Day In History

  • 1566   French astrologer and physician Nostradamus died in Salon.
  • 1776   The Continental Congress passed a resolution that ''these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States.''
  • 1850   The gas mask was patented on this day. It was an invention of B.J. Lane of Cambridge, MA.
  • 1867   New York City’s first elevated railroad officially opened for business. Commuters soon called the mode of transportation the El.
  • 1881   President James A. Garfield was fatally shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Washington railroad station; he died on Sept. 19.
  • 1890   Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act.
  • 1908   Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice, was born in Baltimore.
  • 1926   The U.S. Army Air Corps was created.
  • 1932   Democrats nominated New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt for president at their convention in Chicago.
  • 1947   An object that the Army Air Force later said was a weather balloon crashed near Roswell, N.M. Eyewitness accounts gave rise to speculation it might have been an alien spacecraft.
  • 1961   Author Ernest Hemingway shot himself to death at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.
  • 1964   President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a sweeping civil rights bill.
  • 1976   The Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was not inherently cruel or unusual.
  • 1994   Colombian soccer player Andres Escobar was shot to death in Medellin, 10 days after accidentally scoring a goal against his own team in World Cup competition.
  • 1997   Actor James Stewart died at age 89.
  • 2000   Opposition candidate Vicente Fox won Mexico's presidential elections, ending the Institutional Revolutionary Party's 71-year reign.
  • 2001   Robert Tools received the world's first self-contained artificial heart in Louisville, Ky. (He lived 151 days with the device.)
  • 2002   American Steve Fossett became the first person to fly a balloon solo around the world.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1908   Thurgood Marshall (U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice: first black to hold this office [1967-1991]; died Jan 24, 1993)
  • 1922   Dan Rowan (comedian: Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In)
  • 1929   Imelda Marcos (widow of exiled Philippines leader, Ferdinand Marcos; famous for her collection of hundreds of pairs of shoes)
  • 1932   Dave Thomas (fast-food founder: Wendy’s [appears in Wendy’s TV commercials]; founder: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption; died Jan 8, 2002)
  • 1937   Richard Petty (auto racer: 7-time winner of Daytona 500 [1964, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981]; 1st to win a million $$ stock car race)
  • 1946   Ron Silver (actor)
  • 1947   Lucy Baines Johnson (daughter of 36th U.S. President Lyndon and Ladybird Johnson)


Friday, July 01, 2005

Just 12 minutes, and you're owned

TechBlog notes that ZDNet has a wake-up call for anyone about to connect an unpatched Windows-based PC to the Internet. According to Sophos, a security firm, a virgin Windows XP machine has a 50 percent chance of being compromised within 12 minutes of going online. Keep this in mind if you've formatted your hard drive for that fresh, clean-install feeling and are planning to link up to the Net to start pulling down patches, updates and drivers. There are viruses and other exploits that scan the Internet looking for unpatched Windows systems. The Blaster worm is a good example -- it can infect a PC with the original version of Windows XP in seconds. The best approach is to download drivers and patches in advance and burn them to a CD before formatting your machine's hard drive. For example, you can get Windows XP Service Pack 2 here, though be aware the downloadable version is almost 300 megabytes. Another approach is to make sure you have some kind of hardware or software firewall in place. The one built in to Windows XP will do, just make sure it's turned on before you connect to the Net -- in the original version of XP, it's turned off by default. Then, the very first place you'd go online would be Windows Update -- and download all the available security patches, including SP2, before going to any other sites.

I would also install a good virus protection program before going online as well.


Sandra Day O'Conner Retires

Michelle Malkin has a good summary of links related to the retirement of Justice O'Conner


Friday, July 1

This Day In History

  • 1847   The first adhesive postage stamps went on sale. Ben Franklin graced the nickel stamp while George Washington was pictured on the ten-cent stamp. The cost of mailing a one-ounce letter was 5 cents. That’s more than it cost one hundred years later.
  • 1862   To help pay for the Civil War, the U.S. Congress established the Bureau of Internal Revenue on this day. President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law, making it possible for the feds to collect a three percent tax on incomes ranging from $600 to $10,000, and five percent on incomes over $10,000.
  • 1863   The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg began.
  • 1867   Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain.
  • 1898   Theodore Roosevelt and his ''Rough Riders'' waged a victorious assault on San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
  • 1916   Dwight D. Eisenhower married Mary ''Mamie'' Geneva Doud in Denver.
  • 1943   ''Pay-as-you-go'' income tax withholding began.
  • 1946   The United States exploded a 20-kiloton atomic bomb near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1961   Diana, the Princess of Wales, was born near Sandringham, England.
  • 1963   The U.S. Post Office introduced five-digit ZIP codes.
  • 1966   The Medicare federal insurance program went into effect.
  • 1968   The United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and 58 other nations signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
  • 1969   Britain's Prince Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales.
  • 1980   ''O Canada'' was proclaimed the national anthem of Canada.
  • 1987   President Ronald Reagan nominated federal appeals court judge Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court. Bork was rejected by the Senate.
  • 1991   President George H.W. Bush nominated federal appeals court judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.
  • 1994   PLO chairman Yasser Arafat drove from Egypt into Gaza, returning to Palestinian land after 27 years in exile.
  • 1995   Disc jockey Wolfman Jack died at age 57.
  • 1997   Actor Robert Mitchum died at age 79.
  • 2000   Vermont's civil unions law went into effect, granting gay couples most of the rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage.
  • 2000   The Confederate flag was removed from atop South Carolina's Statehouse.
  • 2000   Actor Walter Matthau died at age 79.
  • 2002   Chile's Supreme Court ruled that former dictator General Augusto Pinochet was suffering from dementia and dropped all charges against him for human rights violations during his regime.
  • 2003   Bishop Sean O'Malley was named by Pope John Paul II the new archbishop of Boston, succeeding Cardinal Bernard Law, who'd resigned in the wake of a clerical sex abuse scandal.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1908   Estee Lauder (cosmetics mogul)
  • 1936   Wally Amos Jr. (entrepreneur: originated Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, [sold name], now makes Uncle Noname chocolate chip cookies)
  • 1936   Jamie Farr (Jameel Joseph Farah) (actor: M*A*S*H)
  • 1945   Karen Black (Karen Blanche Ziegler) (actress)
  • 1945   Debbie (Deborah Ann) Harry (singer: group: Blondie)
  • 1952   Dan Aykroyd (comedian, actor)
  • 1961   Princess Diana (Spencer) (Princess of Wales; killed in car crash in Paris, France, August 31, 1997)
  • 1967   Pamela Anderson (actress)


Thursday, June 30, 2005

Most Iraq Suicide Bombs by Foreigners

Guardian reported The vast majority of suicide attackers in Iraq are thought to be foreigners - mostly Saudis and other Gulf Arabs - and the trend has become more pronounced this year with North Africans also streaming in to carry out deadly missions, U.S. and Iraqi officials say. The bombers are recruited from Sunni communities, smuggled into Iraq from Syria after receiving religious indoctrination, and then quickly bundled into cars or strapped with explosive vests and sent to their deaths, the officials told The Associated Press. The young men are not so much fighters as human bombs - a relatively small but deadly component of the Iraqi insurgency.

Gee this is news? I have know that for a long time.

Gateway Pundit blogged This is, oh, so, confusing! Just when I was getting used to the idea that Iraq was a country of anarchists determined to live without water, electricity, government officials, mosques, market places, cars, trucks, dogs, mentally handicapped children, ... The AP is actually claiming that most of the suicide bombers in Iraq are "foreigners". But, how could this be? I thought they were all "insurgents"? That's what you said here, here, here, here,...


Feds Target Internet Piracy Organizations

Yahoo! News reports The government announced Thursday an 11-nation crackdown on Internet piracy organizations responsible for stealing copies of the latest "Star Wars" film and other movies, games and software programs worth at least $50 million. FBI agents and investigators in the other nations conducted 90 searches, starting Wednesday, arresting four people, seizing hundreds of computers and shutting down at least eight major online distribution servers for pirated works. The Justice Department "is striking at the top of the copyright piracy supply chain — a distribution chain that provides the vast majority of illegal digital content now available online," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said. Called Operation Site Down, the crackdown involved undercover FBI operations run out of Chicago, San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C., and included help from authorities in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany,
Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

How about doing something useful, and go after spammers, virus writers, and adware / spyware companies

NYT reported For the last two weeks, Microsoft has been in talks to buy a private Silicon Valley company, a move that underscores just how eager Microsoft is to catch up with Google, the search and advertising giant. The company that Microsoft has pursued is controversial: Claria, an adware marketer formerly called Gator, and best known for its pop-up ads and software that tracks people visiting Web sites. The Gator adware has frequently been denounced by privacy advocates for its intrusiveness.

Well then, why not go after the ones Microsoft does not plan to buy?


Schroeder faces confidence vote

CNN reported Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will call a vote of confidence in the German parliament on Friday as part of his plan to hold early elections. Schroeder is hoping he will lose the vote of deputies in the Bundestag, a move that would allow him to resign as chancellor and call fresh elections in the autumn -- probably in mid-September. He would then begin campaigning for a fresh mandate to push through tough economic reforms.

What makes him think he would get a mandate for tough economic reforms. He just might lose everything.
Schroeder called for early elections after his party, the Social Democrats, lost a crucial regional election on May 22. A national poll was not due until 2006. He has tried to spur the sluggish economy and reduce unemployment by trimming costs to business, but the moves have met resistance within his party. He told the Bundestag on Monday that he would be seeking the vote of confidence. For Schroeder to lose, some deputies in his ruling coalition, which holds a thin majority, would have to vote against him or abstain. In the lead-up to the vote, only one minister had publicly announced he would abstain. The plan could also fail if Schroeder wins the vote with the support of some opposition deputies, who fear they could lose they seats in an early election. But even if the plan succeeds, Germany's President Hoerst Koehler could refuse to dissolve the Bundestag on the grounds that the vote has been manipulated.
He should, because Schroeder is clearly manipulating things in an effort to grab more power.

Chris Lawrence blogged There’s some background on Germany’s rather unusual confidence procedures here at Wikipedia (the standard Wikipedia caveat applies)—there are actually two different types of confidence vote, one of which replaces the chancellor (the “constructive” vote that most comparative politics textbooks talk about) and the other of which requests (but does not require) that the president call new elections.

Gerry @DalyThoughts blogged One heck of a gambit. If he pulls it off, then there will be an election within 60 days, and polls show him trailing Angela Merkel by a significant amount. Schroeder must be of a mindset that the state of the German economy is going to be worse when the national election is currently scheduled for in 2006 than it is now, and that he can somehow reverse the recent poll numbers in a short timeframe.


Mexican stamp

CNN reported The Mexican government has issued a postage stamp depicting an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin, just weeks after remarks by President Vicente Fox angered U.S. blacks. The series of five stamps released for general use Wednesday depicts a child character from a comic book started in the 1940s that is still published in Mexico.

Vanderleun: blogged It seems like only yesterday that the Vincente Fox, the President of the Oligarchy of Mexico was lauding his border-busting constituents for being willing to do jobs in America "not even blacks want." Wait. It was yesterday. Today, however, we see a kinder and gentler face of the Mexican government. A series of postage stamps that illustrates the the immense respect and sensitivity of Mexico to negroes the world over. Here's some samples of their usually worthless postage stamps which will soon be the most highly collectible items among philatelists of the Klu Klux Klan. Is it too much to hope that the United States issues a similar tribute using, say, Gordo and Speedy Gonzales?

La Shawn Barber blogged I don’t need more reasons to dislike Vicente Fox. The reasons I have are more than enough. His desire to dictate how we enforce our immigration laws, his disregard for the poorer, darker-skinned citizens of his own country (If you’re white, you’re alright!), and the self-interested, unethical, and open encouragement he gives them to invade our country (with George Bush’s complicity) fills me with so much disgust that I hope to meet him one day so I can tell him exactly what I think of him.

I don’t want illegal aliens removed from this land because Mexico is racist; I want them gone because they’re here illegally, have no regard for our laws and culture, seeking only America’s rich blessings and none of the responsibilities, and most of all, because they’re wreaking havoc on our health care and government school infrastructures, costing law-abiding American citizens millions.

But the people in power don’t care. They can afford private schools for their kids and doctors of their choice. Yet, some of these same people want socialized medicine, government doctors, so that we’ll have to wait six months for that life-saving surgery while they can afford the doctors of their choice. And I don’t say this often enough, so listen carefully: if you can’t afford private schools, homeschool your children! But I digress.

Michelle Malkin blogged It seems racism against black Americans is unacceptable, except when it's endorsed by the untouchable Mexican government. As CNN and many others are reporting, Mexican President Vicente Fox's administration has issued a stamp depicting an exaggerated black cartoon character known as Memin Pinguin. More on the comic strip here and lots of images at Blog Alice. More here. You'd think there would be more of an uproar about this. President Bush likes to recite his empty platitude that "Family values don't stop at the Rio Grande." Neither, apparently, does old-fashioned bigotry.

This seems like a very foolish act on the part of the Mexican government.


Thursday, June 30

This Day In History

  • 1841   The Erie Railroad rolled out its first passenger train on this day.
  • 1859   French acrobat Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope as 5,000 spectators watched.
  • 1921   Documents were signed forming the Radio Corporation of America, better known as RCA. RCA soon rivaled its main competitor, General Electric (GE).
  • 1921   President Warren G. Harding appointed former President William Howard Taft chief justice of the United States.
  • 1934   Adolf Hitler began his ''blood purge'' of political and military leaders in Germany. Among those killed was one-time Hitler ally Ernst Roehm, leader of the Nazi stormtroopers.
  • 1936   The novel ''Gone with the Wind'' by Margaret Mitchell was published.
  • 1952   ''The Guiding Light,'' a popular radio program, made its debut as a television soap opera on CBS.
  • 1963   Pope Paul VI was crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • 1971   The 26th Amendment to the Constitution, lowering the minimum voting age to 18, was ratified as Ohio became the 38th state to approve it.
  • 1971   Three Soviet cosmonauts aboard Soyuz 11 were found dead inside their spacecraft after it returned to Earth.
  • 1985   Thirty-nine American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held for 17 days.
  • 1986   The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.
  • 1994   The U.S. Figure Skating Association stripped Tonya Harding of the 1994 national championship and banned her from the organization for life for an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
  • 1997   As the clock struck midnight, Red China reclaimed Hong Kong from Great Britain and the British Crown’s 156-year colonial rule came to an end. Many had predicted the worst, but Hong Kong seamlessly made the transition to a Special Administrative Region of China. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair remarked, “The vision of one country, two systems has become a reality ... I have been impressed by the Chinese leadership’s hands-off approach.”
  • 1998   Officials confirmed that the remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery had been identified as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.
  • 2001   Doctors implanted a dual-purpose pacemaker in Vice President Dick Cheney's chest.
  • 2001   Guitarist Chet Atkins died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 77.
  • 2002   Leonard Gregg, a part-time firefighter, was charged with starting one of the two wildfires that merged into a monstrous blaze in eastern Arizona.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1768   Elizabeth Monroe (Kortright) (First Lady: wife of 5th U.S. President James Monroe; died Sep 23, 1830)
  • 1917   Susan Hayward (Edythe Marrender) (Academy Award-winning actress: I Want to Live [1958], I’ll Cry Tomorrow, Valley of the Dolls; died Mar 14, 1975)
  • 1966   Mike Tyson (boxer: youngest heavyweight champion [20 years + 144 days])


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Reid suggests

Yahoo! News reported U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid suggested on Tuesday that four of his Republican colleagues be considered by
President Bush if a vacancy occurs on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gee, I bet that GWB wants to know who Reid thinks should be chosen almost as much as he wanted to know what John Kerry thought he should say in his speech Tuesday night.
Seeking a possible consensus nominee, Reid recommended Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Mike Crapo of Idaho.
He probably hopes a Democrat would be named to replace them in the Senate.
Reid described them all as bright and able lawyers who would be strong additions to the nation's highest court.
The USSC needs people with appelate court experience, not just lawyers.
"We have had approximately 10 members of the Supreme Court that came from the United States Senate over the years," Reid told reporters. "There are people who serve in the Senate now who are Republicans who I think would be outstanding Supreme Court members," Reid said. There had been widespread speculation that a resignation could come soon on the Supreme Court. But uncertainty rose on Monday when the court ended its term for the year without any announced departures. Still, court observers say there could be a resignation on the aging federal bench in the days, weeks or months ahead. Reid, who has conferred with Senate Republican leader Bill Frist on the possibility of a Supreme Court opening, said he has made his suggestions to "anyone who will listen."
He says a lot to anyone that will listen. Mostly things designed to hurt the Bush administration.
Reid and fellow Democrats have urged Bush to consult with them before making a nomination, which the Senate would then be asked to confirm. Earlier on Tuesday, Frist said, "I've made some suggestions" to the White House on potential nominees, but declined to disclose names. "They are reaching out for suggestions," Frist said after giving a speech at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative group. He added, "I don't have any inside information" about who the nominee could be. Another senator who has been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee is Republican John Cornyn of Texas, a former member of the Texas Supreme Court and the only senator with appellate court experience. Asked if Bush should consider Cornyn, Reid shrugged and said, "I've told you (the ones) I think he should consider."
And they were lawyers with no appellate court experience.
Graham and DeWine were among seven Senate Republicans who joined seven Senate Democrats in reaching a compromise last month on Bush's most contentious appeals court nominees. The accord cleared the way for the confirmation of a number of Bush's nominees, but preserved the right of Democrats to block others "under extraordinary circumstances." Cornyn was among those who have criticized the accord, which could face a major test with a Supreme Court nomination.

PoliPundit blogged Ordinarily, I’d be suspicious of just about anyone Reid supports, but one of the names on that list would make a terrific Supreme Court nominee. Here’s why Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) is that man:
  • He’s from Idaho, one of the safest Republican states. In 2004, Crapo was the only senator to be completely unopposed on the ballot. The one-term senator won re-election with over 99 percent of the vote (the rest went to write-ins.)
  • Crapo’s Senate successor would be nominated by Republican Governor Dirk Kempthorne.
  • On the all-important issue of abortion, Crapo has a perfect record, with a zero rating from NARAL.
  • Crapo is 54 years old. He’d be on the court for the next 30 years.
Which brings up the question of why Reid would back Crapo for SCOTUS. Does Reid know something we don’t, or is he just as “moderate” on this issue as the Republican senators who let Bill Clinton put two ultra-liberal Justices on the Supreme Court without a fight? My guess is the latter. Reid has made favorable comments about Justice Scalia’s potential nomination for Chief Justice in the past. Perhaps he’d really be amenable to a Crapo SCOTUS nomination!

Extreme Left Wing Kos @DailyKos blogged Interesting bunch. We're going to have a conservative replace Rehnquist if he retires, and all four of these would likely be an improvement for our side. My choice would be Alberto Gonzales, torture lover that he is. Fact is, he would be the most likely to become the next Souter. But for that reason, he's vehemetly opposed by rank and file conservatives. Of Reid's four, Graham is the most capable, by far. I've heard about a DSCC poll floating around showing DeWine extremely vulnerable in Ohio to a Sherod Brown challenge (reelects in the 30s). Coupled with yesterday's SUSA poll showing Bush tanking in Ohio, and the state's imploding GOP over the Coingate scandals, and suddenly Bush has a good incentive to rescue DeWine with a promotion. Conservatives are hoping Bush has two retirements to work with, with O'Connor being the second. But given O'Connor's recent turn to the left on issues like the Death Penalty, and her continued strong support for Roe, it's hard to see her surrendering her seat under this administration.


Greenhouse Hypocrisy

Robert J. Samuelson editorializes in WaPo Almost a decade ago I suggested that global warming would become a "gushing" source of political hypocrisy. So it has. Politicians and scientists constantly warn of the grim outlook, and the subject is on the agenda of the upcoming Group of Eight summit of world economic leaders. But all this sound and fury is mainly exhibitionism -- politicians pretending they're saving the planet. The truth is that, barring major technological advances, they can't (and won't) do much about global warming. It would be nice if they admitted that, though this seems unlikely.

The reason they won't is because it would hurt their economies. They reason they settled on the targets was they wanted to hurt the US economy the most, and they figured that they could take a small hit on their economy if the US took a larger hit. But then the US pulled out.
Europe is the citadel of hypocrisy. Considering Europeans' contempt for the United States and George Bush for not embracing the Kyoto Protocol, you'd expect that they would have made major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions -- the purpose of Kyoto. Well, not exactly. From 1990 (Kyoto's base year for measuring changes) to 2002, global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, increased 16.4 percent, reports the International Energy Agency. The U.S. increase was 16.7 percent, and most of Europe hasn't done much better.
Samuelson may have thought it, but I did not.
Here are some IEA estimates of the increases: France, 6.9 percent; Italy, 8.3 percent; Greece, 28.2 percent; Ireland, 40.3 percent; the Netherlands, 13.2 percent; Portugal, 59 percent; Spain, 46.9 percent. It's true that Germany (down 13.3 percent) and Britain (a 5.5 percent decline) have made big reductions. But their cuts had nothing to do with Kyoto. After reunification in 1990, Germany closed many inefficient coal-fired plants in eastern Germany; that was a huge one-time saving. In Britain, the government had earlier decided to shift electric utilities from coal (high CO2 emissions) to plentiful natural gas (lower CO2 emissions).

On their present courses, many European countries will miss their Kyoto targets for 2008-2012. To reduce emissions significantly, Europeans would have to suppress driving and electricity use; that would depress economic growth and fan popular discontent. It won't happen.
Precisely. No country is willing to hurt their own economy when they know it won't do any good, because Kyoto excludes China and India, and even if everyone met their targets, the increased industrialization in China and India would generate more extra emissions than the others cut, hence Global Warming would continue.
Political leaders everywhere deplore global warming -- and then do little. Except for Eastern European nations, where dirty factories have been shuttered, few countries have cut emissions. Since 1990 Canada's emissions are up 23.6 percent; Japan's, 18.9 percent.

We are seeing similar exhibitionism in the United States. The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently endorsed Kyoto. California and New Mexico have adopted "targets" for emission cuts, reports the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. All this busywork won't much affect global warming, but who cares? The real purpose is for politicians to brandish their environmental credentials. Even if rich countries actually curbed their emissions, it wouldn't matter much. Poor countries would offset the reductions.

"We expect CO2 emissions growth in China between now and 2030 will equal the growth of the United States, Canada, all of Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Korea combined," says Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist. In India, he says, about 500 million people lack electricity; worldwide, the figure is 1.6 billion.
Exactly as I indicated
Naturally, poor countries haven't signed Kyoto; they won't sacrifice economic gains -- poverty reduction, bigger middle classes -- to combat global warming.
And those that did sign it are not going to do what it would take to meet its targets.
By 2030, the IEA predicts, world energy demand and greenhouse gases will increase by roughly 60 percent; poor countries will account for about two-thirds of the growth. China's coal use is projected almost to double; its vehicle fleet could go from 24 million to 130 million.

Todd Zywicki: blogged Kyoto is nominally an environmental treaty--although the effect on global warming is thought to be very small, perhaps on the order of a reduction in temperature of 0.15 degrees C in 2100, or putting off the same warming trend by 6 years. But once you look into the details of the treaty, at this point it seems clear that its primary purpose as drafted (and why Europe is so keen on ratification by the U.S.) is economic, and, in particular, for Europe to gain economic advantages versus the United States.... Moreover, this assumes that both the U.S. and Europe are equally committed to complying with the treaty. In fact, one reason the United States has probably been reluctant to enter into Kyoto is because it would probably actually abide by its terms, unlike the Europeans. As Samuelson suggests, the "sophisticated" Europeans by contrast, probably do not intended to comply with Kyoto, and it is questionable whether they ever intended to meet their targets from the very beginning.

Ronald Bailey blogged The indispensable columnist Robert J. Samuelson succinctly exposes the political hypocrisy over global warming policy. BTW, I made many of the same points with my coverage of the United Nations' Climate Change negotiations here, here and here.



ProfessorBainbridge blogged Today I learned that I am John Hawkin's 29th favorite blog. On the other hand, I also learned that I am not on People for the American Way's list of "Other High-Profile Federalist Society Members." Oh well. You win some, or at least come in 29th, you lose some.

Actually the Professor was 4th on Right Thinking Girl's list and 4th on mine. I thought about moving him up, but I figured it would not be nice to the ladies in the list above him.

My List

  1. Michelle Malkin
  2. The Anchoress
  3. La Shawn Barber
  4. ProfessorBainbridge
  5. Outside The Beltway
  6. Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger
  7. Captain's Quarters
  8. Blogs For Bush
  9. GOP Bloggers
  10. Blogspotting
  11. Chrenkoff
  12. Little Green Footballs
  13. How Appealing
  14. Confirm Them
  15. Betsy's Page
  16. Wizbang!


Wednesday, June 29

This Day In History

  • 1767   The British Parliament approved the Townshend Revenue Acts, which imposed import duties on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea shipped to America.
  • 1776   The Virginia state constitution was adopted and Patrick Henry was made governor.
  • 1860   The last stone was laid at Minot’s Ledge (Massachusetts) Lighthouse. The stone tower replaced an iron-pile Lighthouse that had been destroyed by a storm in April 1851. The new lighthouse was built of 1,079 blocks (3,514 tons) of Quincy granite dovetailed together and reinforced with iron shafts. Minot’s Light has lasted through countless storms and hurricanes, a testament to its designer and builders. The first 40 feet is solid granite, topped by a storeroom, living quarters and work space.
  • 1901   The first edition of "Editor & Publisher" was issued. It was a newspaper for the newspaper industry.
  • 1925   A patent for the frosted electric light bulb was filed by Marvin Pipkin.
  • 1946   British authorities arrested more than 2,700 Jews in Palestine in an attempt to stamp out alleged terrorism.
  • 1966   The United States bombed fuel storage facilities near the North Vietnamese cities of Hanoi and Haiphong.
  • 1967   Actress Jayne Mansfield, 34, and two male companions died when their car struck a trailer truck east of New Orleans.
  • 1972   The Supreme Court ruled the death penalty could constitute ''cruel and unusual punishment.''
  • 1992   A divided Supreme Court ruled that women have a constitutional right to abortion, but the justices also weakened the right as defined by the Roe v. Wade decision.
  • 1995   For the first time, a U.S. space shuttle (Atlantis) linked up with a Russian space station (Mir). They remained docked until July 4. The joined craft were visible from earth as a fast-moving, shiny, star and carried a record 10 people (6 Americans and 4 Russians).
  • 1995   A department store in Seoul, South Korea, collapsed, killing 501 people and injuring more than 900.
  • 2001   U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was elected to a second term.
  • 2002   President Bush transferred presidential powers to Vice President Dick Cheney for more than two hours during a routine colon screening that ended in a clean bill of health.
  • 2002   Singer Rosemary Clooney died at age 74.
  • 2003   Actress Katharine Hepburn died at age 96.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1861   Dr. William Mayo (physician, surgeon; founder [w/sons William and Charles] of the Mayo Clinic [Rochester MN]; died in 1939)
  • 1901   Nelson Eddy (actor, singer [w/Jeannette MacDonald])
  • 1919   Slim Pickens (Louis Bert Lindley Jr.) (actor: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Howling, The Apple Dumpling Gang, In Harm’s Way, One-Eyed Jacks, The Outlaws, Hee Haw; Cowboy Hall of Famer; died Dec 8, 1983)
  • 1944   Gary Busey (actor)
  • 1948   Fred Grandy (actor: The Love Boat; politician: U.S. congressman)


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

American Gold Star Moms get it right

The Florida Masochist both blogged about this and was courteous enough to send me an email pointing this out. JournalNews reported The American Gold Star Mothers agreed yesterday to admit noncitizens into the group for mothers of fallen soldiers, ending a 76-year-old ban that caused an uproar when a woman from Yonkers was denied membership.

Members voted unanimously to change the bylaws, hoping to stem a controversy that generated internal division and outside animosity toward the group. "We will reach out to the two mothers of the American soldiers whose membership applications are pending due to the U.S. citizenship requirement that was in effect when they applied," said newly elected President Judith Young. "Mothers of United States service personnel who die while serving in the military will not be denied membership based on U.S. citizenship." The decision means women such as Ligaya Lagman of Yonkers and Carmen Palmer of Mount Vernon — who lost sons in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, and have pursued membership — now can join.

This in followup to an earlier post where they denied membership to Ligaya Lagman, hose 27-year-old son, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, was killed last year in Afghanistan when his unit came under fire during a mission to drive out remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida forces, but her membership in American Gold Star Mothers was denied because -- though a permanent resident and a taxpayer -- she is not a U.S. citizen.


Business Has Its Own Agenda

WSJ reports For a High Court Nomination, Business Has Its Own Agenda - When religious conservatives rally their troops for the much-anticipated fight over the Supreme Court's next vacancy, they invoke Roe v. Wade. When regulatory lawyer C. Boyden Gray recruits business executives for the battle, he cites Geier v. American Honda Motor Co.... The emerging corporate agenda is different from, and at times contradicts, that of their religious-conservative allies. The Christian right, represented by groups such as the Family Research Council in Washington, has been lobbying the Bush administration to appoint a Supreme Court justice who opposes abortion and gay marriage and favors school prayer and public religious displays. Top business priorities include more protection for intellectual-property rights, more flexibility in clean-air emissions standards, restriction of jury awards and a lenient interpretation of the Sarbanes-Oxley law that imposes new accountability and disclosure requirements on businesses.... In some cases, the biggest heroes of social conservatives -- Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia -- have given jitters to corporate lawyers. This often-allied pair has concluded that the Constitution contains nothing that protects business from huge punitive damage awards.

They are right. It does not. And we don't need judges that "find" things in the Constitution that were not written by the founders. If business wants limits on punitive damage awards (something I support), they should get Congress to set those limits.
In 1995, a court majority threw out a $2 million damage verdict against BMW for failing to disclose that a car had been damaged before sale. Justice Scalia dissented. In a speech earlier this year, he mocked the majority for inventing a nonexistent "Excessive Damages Clause of the Bill of Rights." The potential for outright conflict between business and religious conservatives is personified by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, a Clinton appointee. Pro-business legal scholars and practitioners say the former law professor and aide to liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has the best understanding of corporate issues of any current member of the court. Justice Breyer wrote the majority opinion favoring Honda in the Geier case. James Dobson, president of the Colorado-based conservative-advocacy group Focus on the Family, once said Justice Breyer ought to be impeached because he was too sympathetic to gay rights.

As indicated here Breyer voted with the other liberals on Kelo, and as indicated here Justice Stephen Breyer believes that the Constitution is a living document and that the role of the court is to interpret and reinterpret it continually in the light of new ideas and new norms. That is exactly what we DO NOT NEED


Google 3D mapping

CNEt reports Google mapping enters the third dimension

Google has launched its new mapping service that uses local search and satellite images to give users a three-dimensional view of buildings and terrain. Google Earth, announced on Tuesday, uses technology from the company's Keyhole division, a satellite mapping service it bought in October. The software for the service can be downloaded free from the search giant's Web site. Google Earth lets people search for a location to get an aerial view, then zoom in to see 3D images of certain buildings and landscapes in select U.S. cities. Images can be tilted and rotated. It also offers dynamic navigation and video playback of driving directions. Users can combine multiple layers of information and save their results for later use, Google said. The company already offers local search and mapping services for Web users and mobile phone users.

This is 31st and 129th, the major intersection nearest my house


Ranking ISPs

PCWorld published an article ranking Internet Service Providers: The Best (and Worst) ISPs

Cox (our local Cable ISP) ranked 72% for overall service (highest was Earthlink cable at 81%), 66% for reliability (highest was CableVision cable at 84%), 58% for tech support (highest was RoadRunner cable at 65%), 58% for customer support (highest was RoadRunner cable at 63%), 76% for download speed (highest was CableVision cable at 91%), 64% for upload speed (highest was CableVision cable at 84%), 34% for spam blocking (highest was CableVision cable at 84%).

Dwight Silverman blogged The biggest non-surprise: broadband users are much happier with their service than are dialup users. Well, duh.

Obviously they are happier. I wish that rather than just asking how satisfied they were with upload and download speeds they asked for them to be determined with a consistent measuring site.
The biggest surprise: Using broadband doesn't necessarily mean users consume more video and other bandwidth-heavy services.
When we asked more than 6000 PC World subscribers to rate their Internet service provider, we got an earful, and a few surprises. Broadband users: You're happy with your provider, which you've probably been using for years, and you're also likely to get television or telephone service from the same company that delivers Web access to your home. Dial-up users: You're less thrilled with your Internet service, but for the most part you're resigned to the technology's slow speed and aren't necessarily inclined to move up to broadband. And while all of you use the Internet every day, you're still more likely to be checking your e-mail and browsing text-heavy Web sites than streaming video and audio or using Voice over IP.
The heart of the piece is a chart with satisfaction rankings for major ISPs. Cable-modem providers did better than their DSL competitors.

At the top are three cable-modem providers: Earthlink, Cablevision and Time Warner's RoadRunner. Verizon is the first DSL provider on the list at No. 4. SBC Yahoo's DSL service is No. 7.


Iraqi Democracy

NYT reports Top Shiite Cleric Hints at Wider Voting Role for Sunnis

Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric appeared to offer a major concession to the Sunni Arab minority on Monday when he indicated that he would support changes in the voting system that would probably give Sunnis more seats in the future parliament. In a meeting with a group of Sunni and Shiite leaders, the cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, outlined a proposal that would scrap the system used in the January election, according to a secular Shiite political leader, Abdul Aziz al-Yasiri, who was at the meeting. The election had a huge turnout by Shiites and Kurds but was mostly boycotted by Sunni Arabs. Such a change would need to be written into Iraq's new constitution, which parliamentarians are drafting for an Aug. 15 deadline. Although there has been little public talk about what form elections might take under the constitution, Ayatollah Sistani has been highly influential in Iraq's nascent political system. Under the proposal, voters in national elections would select leaders from each of the 19 provinces instead of choosing from a single country-wide list, as they did in January. The new system would essentially set aside a number of seats for Sunnis roughly proportionate to their numbers in the population, ensuring that no matter how low the Sunni turnout, they would be guaranteed seats. Sunni Arabs welcomed news of the suggestion. "This should have been done from the beginning," said Saleh Mutlak, a member of the National Dialogue Council, a Sunni Arab political group that has pressed for a more active role in politics. "That election was wrong."

You should not have boycotted the election, or you would have gotten more seats.
The January elections ended in a decisive victory for Shiite Arabs and Kurds, leaving just 17 seats for Sunni Arabs in the 275-seat National Assembly. Voting in largely Sunni areas was extremely low, depressed by threats from insurgent groups who opposed the election. Iraqi and American officials say feelings of disenfranchisement among the Sunni Arabs, who ruled Iraq for decades, may be fueling the insurgency. The violence has cut deeply into Iraqi society, with about 1,200 Iraqis and more than 75 American soldiers killed in the past two months. The attacks have taken on increasingly sectarian overtones, raising fears that Iraq could be headed toward civil war.

Captain Ed blogged In another sign that the Iraqis continue to adapt quickly to democratic politics, the spiritual leader of the Shi'a in Iraq gave his blessing to a major concession to his rival Sunnis that could result in greater representation for the former ruling minority in Parliament. That promises to create less tension over the development of the new Iraqi constitution and create serious momentum for the scheduled December elections.
I hope it will persuade the Sunnis to support the new constitution, and does not discourage the Kurds from supporting it.
The change creates a more federalized system, one that benefits not just the Sunnis but also the Kurds, depending on where the boundaries are drawn.
I believe the province lines are already drawn, but there are some major cities in the Kurdish area that this may cause them to try to push out some Sunnis.
The numbers won't be proportionate to population as such, but more to the provinces that each have as majorities. Once the federal government has established its constitution and electoral procedures, the provinces will create their own electoral governments, giving the ethnic and religious factions even more stability and incentive to work within the system.

This continues the careful politics of Ayatollah Sistani, the Najaf-educated cleric who professes the "quietism" of that school of Shi'ite Islam. His vision of Islam focuses on the spiritual rather than the temporal; his vision of government is one guided by the precepts of Islam but not run by clerics. In that regard, and given the history of religious repression by the Ba'athists, Sistani wants to ensure that the Shi'ite majority get its chance to run Iraq but that the Sunnis and Kurds have enough power to keep the country from falling into chaos.

In fact, while Sistani objected to the previous system of nationwide candidate lists, he allowed them to go forward when the United Nations insisted that any other system could not be implemented quickly enough for the January elections. That system effectively cut out the Sunnis, who boycotted in large numbers but would have won more seats in the central provinces had a federal system been in place. That decision has led to some of the resentment even among those Sunni who did participate. However, the more important objective -- that Iraq will convert to democracy despite minority obstructionism and violence -- has been made.

The progress in negotiations should energize the Sunni moderates into committing completely to the political process, putting even more pressure on their more radical brethren to admit defeat and lay down their arms. It shows the progress being made in Iraq and that the momentum still rolls towards democratization and freedom -- as long as we give the brave Iraqis the support they need to realize their goals.

Justin Delabar blogged The New York Times is reporting that Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is suggesting Iraq's new constitution allow for proportional parliamentary representation. In effect, this would guarantee Iraq's Sunni population a set number of seats regardless of voter turnout in the next election. The only issue is that the Kurds, who are concerned over oil-rich Kirkuk and their future autonomy, may view the deal as a threat. I look at the numbers and explain why, which is important to take into account considering the Kurds hold veto power over the new constitution.
But the Sunnis also hold veto power over the new constitution


President Bush Speech

John Kerry editorializes in NYT "The Speech the President Should Give"

Gee, John, I'll bet George W Bush is really looking forward to reading what you think he should say. Do you think that he scheduled a major speach, and asked the TV Networks to cover it, without having any idea what he would say? For another stupid question, do you think anyone in either party really cares what you think he should say?



The Volokh Conspiracy blogged about Justice O'Conner's concurring opinion on banning the display of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky.

Reasonable minds can disagree about how to apply the Religion Clauses in a given case. But the goal of the Clauses is clear: to carry out the Founders' plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society.

By enforcing the Clauses, we have kept religion a matter for the individual conscience, not for the prosecutor or bureaucrat. At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish. The well-known statement that "[w]e are a religious people" has proved true. Americans attend their places of worship more often than do citizens of other developed nations, and describe religion as playing an especially important role in their lives. Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?

I'm sure this will be quoted often — but is it really apt? For much of our nation's history our system has been (by and large) little legal coercion of religious practice, coupled with routine government references to religion, including displays of Ten Commandments memorials; displays of creches; graduation prayers and even daily prayer in school; Presidential preclamations and Congressional acts praising religion; references to God on coinage, in the National Anthem and elsewhere, references that likely contained, at least at the time, some message of endorsement of theism; and more.
Volokh is right. We are not suggesting trading a system (of government tolerance for, and to some degree support of, religion for one that has served others so poorly, such as a complete theocracy. We are just suggesting that a return to what we have had for over 200 years is better than the current trend toward Secular Humanism.
And this has continued until recently: I suspect that standalone creches were quite common until the 1989 decision striking them down, graduation prayer was quite common until the 1992 decision striking it down, and Ten Commandments displays, even ones that the Court would now consider unconstitutional, were fairly common until today.

What's more, little legal coercion of religious practice, coupled with routine government references to religion is the system that Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas would adopt. Justice O'Connor's system is much less tried and true.

Now Justice O'Connor might well be right on her bottom line: Perhaps barring Ten Commandments displays, and similar government endorsement of religion, would further strengthen American traditions of religious tolerance, and would increase the religiosity of Americans to boot. (Query why increasing the religiosity of Americans should be any concern of the Court's; perhaps as to that, she meant to ask why supporters of religion should want to trade away a system that has served them so well.)

But it seems to me far from clear that her argument for that bottom line works here. That a routine-endorsement-of-religion system has done good things in the past (compared to systems whose flaws went far beyond endorsement of religion) doesn't mean that a no-routine-endorsement-of-religion system would yield equally good results in the future.

Professor Stephen Bainbridge blogged My friend and colleague Eugene Volokh ably dissects Justice O'Connor's views on religion in the public square as expressed in the 10 Commandment cases. If you go read the passage he quotes, you might ponder this additional question: What the heck does any of what she says have to do with interpreting the Constitution? It's a display of purely personal opinion being incorporated into the law



La Shawn Barber has a very good analysis of the Kelo decision, which I addressed here and here and here.


The Real Torturers at Gitmo

La Shawn Barber blogged Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu writes:

“After speaking with soldiers, sailors, and civilians who collectively staff Gitmo, I left convinced that abuse definitely exists at the detention facilities, and it typically fails to receive the press attention it deserves: it’s the relentless, merciless attacks on American servicemen and women by these terrorist thugs.
Of course it fails to receive the press attention it deserves, because the press is on a Bash America kick, and they would prefer to exagerate or even make up things to hurt America than to tell the truth of what our fine soldiers are having to put up with.
Many of the orange jumpsuit-clad detainees fight their captors at every opportunity, openly bragging of their desire to kill Americans. One has promised that, if released, he would find MPs in their homes through the internet, break into their houses at night, and ‘cut the throats of them and their families like sheep.’ Others claim authority and vindication to kill women, children, and other innocents who oppose their jihadist mission authorized by the Koran
Actually it is "authorized" only by a misreading of selected passages in the Koran. We (Muslims, Christians, and Jews) are all "People of the Book" (or ahl al Kitâb) and Surat Al 'Imran, 64 (Qur'an 3:64) says "O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God." and Surat aal-E-Imran, 3 (Qur'an 3:3) says It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).
(the same one that hangs in every cell from a specially-designed holder intended to protect it from a touching the cell floor – all provided at U.S. taxpayer expense).”


Extremes Join

David Aaronovitch editorializes in Times Online How did the far Left manage to slip into bed with the Jew-hating Right?

When I was young, smug centrists used to tell me that the extremes of Right and Left would, extended far enough, meet somewhere round the back. And I never quite believed it. But here’s a story that seems to suggest that it really can happen. Indulge me . . . First a recapitulation. The Respect Party of George Galloway famously turned in the best performance by a far-Left party since the Communists won two seats in 1945. Respect itself is mostly — though not entirely — a front for the semi-Trotskyist organisation called the Socialist Workers’ Party, or SWP. SWP members made up just under half of Respect’s candidates, SWP activists form the party’s main cadre and it is the SWP that drives the strategy, tactics and political platform of Respect.

I am not familiar with British politics, and what constitutes the Far Left and the Far Right, but in the US, Evangelical Christians are usually considered to be the Far Right, and Evangelical Christians are some of the best supporters Israel ever had, because they see indications that the End Time is near, and believe that Christ will soon return.


Tuesday, June 28

This Day In History

  • 1491   England's King Henry VIII was born in Greenwich.
  • 1836   James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, died in Montpelier, Va., at age 85.
  • 1838   Britain's Queen Victoria was crowned in Westminster Abbey.
  • 1894   Labor Day was established as a holiday for federal employees on the first Monday of September.
  • 1914   Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sofia, were assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serb nationalist. The event triggered World War I.
  • 1919   Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Wallace became Bess Truman when she married the future U.S. President, Harry S Truman.
  • 1928   New York Gov. Alfred E. Smith was nominated for president at the Democratic national convention in Houston.
  • 1944   The Republican national convention in Chicago nominated New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey for president and Ohio Gov. John W. Bricker for vice president.
  • 1950   North Korean forces captured Seoul, South Korea.
  • 1951   A TV version of the radio program ''Amos 'N' Andy'' premiered on CBS.
  • 1967   Israel declared Jerusalem reunified under its sovereignty following its capture of the Arab sector in the Six-Day War.
  • 1978   The Supreme Court ordered the medical school at the University of California at Davis to admit Allan Bakke, a white man who argued he had been a victim of reverse discrimination.
  • 1994   The U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) announced it would begin experimenting with a UV (ultraviolet) Index, “To enhance public awareness of the effects of overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and to provide the public with actions they can take to reduce harmful effects of overexposure, which may include skin cancer, cataracts and immune suppression.”
  • 1995   Webster Hubbell, the former No. 3 official at the Justice Department, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for bilking clients of the law firm where he and Hillary Rodham Clinton were partners.
  • 1996   The Citadel voted to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school.
  • 1997   Mike Tyson was disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield's ear during their WBA heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas.
  • 1998   The Cincinnati Enquirer apologized to the Chiquita banana company and retracted stories questioning the company's business practices; the paper agreed to pay more than $10 million to settle legal claims.
  • 2000   Elian Gonzalez was returned to his native Cuba seven months after he was cast adrift in the Florida Straits.
  • 2000   The Supreme Court ruled the Boy Scouts can bar homosexuals from serving as troop leaders.
  • 2001   Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic was handed over by Serbia to the U.N. war crimes tribunal.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1491   Henry VIII (King of England [1509-1547]; Henry’s six wives: Catherine of Aragon [divorced], Anne Boleyn [beheaded], Jane Seymour [died], Anne of Cleaves [divorced], Catherine Howard [beheaded], Catherine Parr [survived]; plagued by illness brought on by overeating, Henry died Jan 28, 1547)
  • 1703   John Wesley (religious leader: founder of ‘Methodism’ [forerunner of Methodist church]; writer: A Plain Account of Christian Perfection; died Mar 2, 1791)
  • 1926   Mel Brooks (Kaminsky) (director, actor: Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, The Producers; comedy writer: Your Show of Shows, Get Smart; Broadway producer: The Producers)
  • 1932   Pat (Noriyuki) Morita (actor: Happy Days, Karate Kid, Babes in Toyland, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
  • 1946   Gilda Radner (Emmy Award-winning comedienne, actress: Saturday Night Live [1977-78]; Haunted Honeymoon [w/husband Gene Wilder]; died May 20, 1989)
  • 1948   Kathy Bates (Academy Award-winning actress: Misery [1990]; Fried Green Tomatoes, Home of Our Own, Prelude to a Kiss)


Monday, June 27, 2005

Web site makes gov't. reports available

BusinessWeek reports A new Web site aims to make widely available to the public certain government reports about topics from terrorism to Social Security that congressional researchers prepare and distribute now only to lawmakers. The site -- -- links more than a half-dozen existing collections of nearly 8,000 reports from the Congressional Research Service and centrally indexes them so visitors can find reports containing specific terms or phrases. It also encourages visitors to ask their lawmakers to send them any reports not yet publicly available -- and gives detailed instructions to do this -- so these can be added to the collection. None of the reports is classified or otherwise restricted.

Some of the collections available right (and the number of documents in each) now include

They also list eight current issues:


Plan B

New York Sun editorialized The defeat in Albany of the United Nations' attempt at a land grab in Turtle Bay presents an opportunity for the city, state, and federal governments - and the United Nations itself - to rethink the logic of its remaining in New York at all. "They need to go to Plan B," is the way it was characterized by Senator Elizabeth Krueger, one of those who represent the East Side in Albany. Decamping New York may not be what Ms. Krueger had in mind, but by our lights the best outcome of this fight would be for the world body, which has abandoned the ideals in which Americans originally invested, to vacate its headquarters here altogether and move to, say, the former West German capital of Bonn (which has a lot of office space) or one of the Third World capitals that share its hostility to the things for which America stands.

I would hate to ask the West Germans to put up with them, but I like the idea of sending them to some Third World capital.

We could then use the UN building for a new Union of Democratic Nations.
Our view is, in a sense, the opposite of one that we have often heard expressed - that all this could have been settled if, say, Secretary-General Annan had put the interests of the U.N. ahead of his private ambitions and resigned. Senator Martin Golden offered publicly to allow the U.N.'s building plan to go through if the secretary-general would take such a step. We think Mr. Golden played quite a heroic role in this showdown. In a straightforward way, he expressed the view that many, many New Yorkers hold of a United Nations, a view that sees it as corrupt, wasteful, hostile to Israel, and anti-American. What we have come to object to is not the individual U.N. officials - many of whom are warm and idealistic individuals and fine neighbors - but the institution of the United Nations itself. It is largely a grouping of undemocratic states that seeks hegemony over democratic ones to protect, all too often, corrupt ends. When one raises this issue, defenders of the United Nations throw up all sorts of chaff about the constituent elements of the world body - the World Health Organization, say, or the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, or the International Labor Organization. What vainglory to suggest that these institutions, to the degree that they have value, cannot carry on either independently or in a new structure. The ILO was founded in 1919, 27 years before the United Nations. It survived the demise of its original host, the League of Nations. Surely it would survive the demise of the United Nations.

Secretary-General Annan took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal last week to denounce the House of Representatives and the chairman of its Committee on International Relations, Henry Hyde. It is Mr. Hyde whose name is on the bill that would halve American dues payments to the world body if the U.N. fails to meet minimal reforms.
I support Mr Hyde's bill. The only change I would make is giving the Congress the power to withhold 50% of the dues, and giving the Secretary of State the power to withhold the other 50%.
Mr. Annan seems to think this is a violation of the United Nations Treaty. Well, Mr. Hyde comprehends one thing that Mr. Annan apparently does not, Clause 1 of Section 7 of Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States, which reserves solely to the House the power to initiate American spending. Senator Bruno suggested last week that had the minority in the U.S. Senate permitted John Bolton to take up his post at the United Nations, there might be some basis for going forward with the plan to expand the U.N. footprint in Turtle Bay. Wishful thinking. From Albany to Washington to New York City, Americans have been trying to send a larger message, one that the world body doesn't want to hear. The U.N. has been in business for 60 years now - it was June 26, 1945, when representatives of 50 countries, meeting at San Francisco, signed the U.N. Charter. The failure of the body since then has come not because of the wrong American ambassador being there or the wrong secretary-general, but because of the inclusion of so many unfree regimes. The right plan now is for the United Nations to set about packing up and getting out of town.
I agree completely!!!!!
Without the legitimacy of being in New York, the United Nations would fold like a cheap suit. An anti-American organization could no longer taunt its favorite punching bag from a swanky perch on our own soil. And the site at Turtle Bay would be available for more productive commercial or residential uses or as the headquarters of a new organization of free democracies that could pursue the quest on which the world set out 60 years ago to promote and encourage respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all.

Scott Sala blogged The New York Sun editorial board wrote today that the UN should consider leaving NYC permanently. This is not merely a statement of protest, but a culmination of looking at recent circumstances that have made the UN quite un-welcome already. But it's also not just an assessment. Hard feelings still exist, and I tend to agree that I'd rather see a new body of free nations formed than wait a millenium for the UN to reform.

Scott @PowerLine blogged The Sun invites the United Nations to leave New York. It's about time somebody noticed that the problem of the United Nations goes far beyond Kofi Annan to the nature of the organization itself.