Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shorter Michelle Malkin:

I no longer believe that San Francisco hit-and-run driver was a jihadist terrorist, but at least I had the courage to jump to conclusions -- not like those liars in the MSM who got the story right.

(Via TBogg.)

"Missile-Defense Test Postponed by Fog"

In the event of World War III, I guess San Francisco is toast.
It's not inconceivable that a National Guardsman was "brutally attacked" in Parkland, Washington, by five men in their twenties who called him a "baby-killer," but, er, the alleged ringleader was brandishing a gun and driving a Chevy Suburban. Sound like the typical anti-war lefty to you? The usual keyboarder suspects are in their usual state of self-righteousness, of course. It sounds like a nasty attack, but forgive me if I'm not 100% convinced it happened exactly as described.
There's one of these in The New York Times every two or three months, it seems -- a reminiscence about an earlier generation that stopped a war, maaaan!, accompanied by the observation that today's young people, alas, don't seem to want to do the same. This article, by Andrew Rosenthal, uses as its jumping-off point a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert:

...when those four men sang their protest songs four decades ago, their lyrics echoed and personified a powerful political movement sweeping America. Now they are entertainment, something to leave behind in the concert hall.

...This, perhaps, is the ultimate difference between the Vietnam generation and the Iraq generation: When you hear Young and Company sing of "four dead in Ohio," their Kent State anthem, it's hard to imagine anyone on today's campuses willing to face armed troops. Is there anything they care about that much?

...There was a brief burst of protest when America first invaded Iraq. But if there is a college movement against the war, it's hiding pretty well....

You want an explanation for this, Andrew? It's not because of lack of courage or the fact that "people find protesters vaguely embarrassing" or any of the other reasons you give.

The explanation is that today's war opponents aren't like Bush.

Unlike Bush, today's war opponents know it's futile to keep doing exactly the same thing and expect a different result. People all over America -- people all over the world -- marched in the streets to try to prevent this war. It didn't work. And once the war had begun, people marched to try to get the troops home. That didn't work either. No protest will ever work. Everyone with the slightest bit of sense has figured that out.

In Iraq, Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld think they can just keep pursuing a strategy that's brought nothing but failure since the fall of Saddam and eventually the laws of the universe will change and it will bring success. War opponents aren't delusional in that way. Protests didn't work, so most people have moved on and are trying instead to change the makeup of the government. That might work. Marching in the street won't -- we have a learning curve, so we know that.

"You say '(Islamo-)Fascism' like it's a bad thing!"

(Bush via American Street.)
Headline of the week:

Feds Capture Aliens Illegally Working in Roswell

Oh, lighten up, guys -- extraterrestrials gotta eat, too.
Investor's Business Daily published an editorial yesterday that listed a number of recent incidents of sudden violence against strangers by people with Muslim backgrounds; the most recent entries are the hit-and-run driver in San Francisco and the Jewish-center shooter in Seattle. I guess it's an impressive list; similar lists have been making their way around Wingnuttia recently. (IBD's editorials are often indistinguishable from wingnut Internet rants.) The editorial uses a term for the perceived phenomenon that I've also seen elsewhere: "freelance terrorism."

But here's the thing: Let's say, for the sake of argument, that this is a real phenomenon. Let's say there really are Muslims who are killing and wounding strangers in sudden attacks not because they're dangerous nutcases who've snapped but because ... well, I don't know how to finish that sentence.

And that's the problem. What would be the source of this? And therefore, what would you do about it?

If there is an actual person or group of persons, or if there are several persons or groups, behind all these "freelance terrorists" -- now, there's a conspiracy theory for you -- then by all means find the perps. If you're sending people out to commit such acts, I want you to be discovered and brought to justice.

But if that's not the case -- if there are no "cells" or "cabals" or "conspiracies" of this kind -- then what the hell are we supposed to do?

It seems to me me have two choices:

(1) Deal with each case as an isolated incident involving only the individual perp, assuming we fail to find any co-conspirators; or
(2) Round up all Muslims and put them in camps.

I know there's something truly soul-satisfying to wingnuts about the latter notion, but they won't recommend it out loud -- at least not yet. They know it still goes against American values.

So they're looking for something between (1) and (2). The problem is, there is nothing between (1) and (2).

Either you find a source of this phenomenon -- or it's not a phenomenon. It's just a bunch of nuts. Nuts, perhaps, whose nuttiness in marbled with Islamicist anger (just as the nuttiness of other violent nuts has long been marbled with Christianity-based anger) -- but nuts nonetheless.

You can't arrest an ideology. You can't -- except using extreme authoritarianism -- ban an idea. All you can do is pursue individual criminals and criminal groups, while working to counter messages of hate with other messages.


Of course, the guy in San Francisco hit blacks, whites, and Asians with his car. Funny way to terrorize Jews, if that's what we're supposed to believe he was trying to do.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


The text of Ann Coulter's column about Lincoln Chafee is only mildly repugnant by her usual standards, but here's the title it bears, at least on the Human Events Web site:

"They Shot the Wrong Lincoln"

The clash of civilizations is our business -- and business is good:

Defense Contractor CEOs' Pay Doubles

The chief executives of corporations making big profits from the war on terror are enjoying far bigger pay increases than CEOs of nondefense companies, according to a study by two liberal groups.

The study, conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy, found that, on average, CEOs of corporations with extensive defense contracts are getting paid about double what they made before Sept. 11, 2001.

CEOs of other large corporations -- without big stakes in the war -- have averaged pay gains of 6 percent during the same period, the study said....

The study focused on the pay of the CEOs of the 34 publicly traded U.S. corporations that were among the top 100 defense contractors in 2005 and for which defense contracts made up more than 10 percent of revenues....

Between 2001 and 2005, the profits for the 34 companies have climbed 189 percent. Profits for U.S. corporations as a whole rose 76 percent.

Stock price gains for defense contractors have averaged 48 percent while the overall stock market has remained flat....

(Via DU.)
He wants a big transcontinental clash of civilizations -- but the press won't stop asking him about domestic issues. Who knew the Ahmadinejad presidency was so much like the Bush presidency?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meant to use Tuesday to focus attention on his challenge to the president of the United States....

But at a freewheeling two-hour news conference, Mr. Ahmadinejad also found himself challenged by local reporters who questioned the government's economic program and its tolerance of a critical press.

One reporter said the government's decision to spend billions of dollars to subsidize gasoline amounted to welfare for the rich, an assertion the president disputed. Another said that although the president claimed to support the press, his spokesman sought to have the judiciary investigate critical reporters.

Well, there's a significant difference: Bush seeks to have the judiciary investigate critical reporters, but he's never claimed to support the press.

He climbed up onto a platform and briefly held his right hand over his head in a sort of hero’s greeting to the crowd.

Yeah, stuff like that happens here.

A reporter for a small newspaper called The Path of the People stood to ask a question and said: "I was hoping when you arrived I would share my pain with you. Now I have no pain in my heart, only happiness."

And what do you -- Ahmadinejad even has his own Jeff Gannon!

A man named Omeed Aziz Popal went on a hit-and-run spree in San Francisco yesterday, injuring at least 14 people.

Every right-wing blogger in America is demanding that we regard this as an act of Islamicist terrorism. When a person from a Muslim background goes on a homicidal rampage, you see, it has to be part of international geopolitics. There's no other acceptable way of looking at it.

OK, so let's take a trip down memory lane:

Philip Badowski told police he killed his parents because "God told me to," according to testimony at his preliminary hearing in General Sessions Court Friday morning.

The 22-year-old Hixson man calmly told of shooting his parents with a 30-30 Winchester rifle, then dismembering them....

--Chattanoogan, 12/10/04

Benjamin Matthew Williams, the 31-year-old white supremacist accused of murdering a gay couple outside this Northern California town in July, is now admitting that he slipped into the men's home while they were sleeping and shot them to death in their bed.

He did it, he said, because they were gay and God told him to.

When asked if he had killed the pair, Williams answered, "Absolutely."

During his jailhouse confession Thursday, Williams said the only regret he has about the murders is that they didn't inspire others to emulate him. And he insists his actions do not constitute a crime.

"I'm not guilty of murder," Williams said. "I'm guilty of obeying the laws of the creator."...

--Salon, 11/8/99

A homeless Cuban refugee, chanting and apparently deranged, went on a rampage with a sword aboard a Staten Island ferryboat yesterday and killed two people and wounded nine others before being subdued by a retired police officer at gunpoint....

''He said God told him to do it,'' Richard Condon, the First Deputy Police Commissioner and Acting Commissioner during Benjamin Ward's vacation this week, said of the attacks....

--New York Times, 7/8/86

On a Thanksgiving Day afternoon in 1980, a black woman driving a 1974 black Lincoln decided to plow into people on the sidewalk on North Virginia Street in Reno, Nev. The woman stared straight ahead as she accelerated, striking several people without stopping. She drove 100 feet down one sidewalk, then over 300 feet down another, and finally drove two blocks down yet another one. She might well have continued, but a witness drove in front of woman's car to force her to a halt. She was then arrested. And she was angry that she'd been stopped....

Under interrogation, the driver told authorities that her name was Priscilla Joyce Ford, Ford, 51, was a former school teacher who moved from New York to Reno. She told authorities that some people called her "Jesus Christ." She also claimed to be Adam, of Adam and Eve, and a prophetess....

--from Court TV's

Beginning in 1975 and ending with his arrest in 1981, Peter Sutcliffe travelled the north of England frequently for work, never stopping in one place for too long. This lifestyle allowed him to evade capture viciously murdering 13 women....

During his years of terror he became known simply as the Yorkshire Ripper.

A married man who no one suspected, would go out at night, on what he believed to be a mission from God, seeking out prostitutes to murder....

Harvey Carignan (1972-1975) aka "the Want-Ad Killer" was a 39-year old Army veteran who had actually been kicked out of the Army for a violent sex murder in which he was acquitted on a technicality. His serial killer career began in Seattle where he managed a gas station and beat to death at least 2 young girls who applied for jobs at the gas station. In 1973, he moved to Minneapolis, and committed a string of 4-5 similar murders... When arrested, Harvey politely explained that he was under personal orders from God who commanded attacks on girls who were whores....

Joseph Franklin (1977-1981) was a 37-year old former Klansman and neo-Nazi from Madison, Wisconsin who believed that interracial couples were a sin against God. He also believed that the criminal justice system was too lenient on blacks, and he once targeted a judge he thought was too lenient. He is thought to have bombed a synagogue in Chattanooga and was also a suspect in the shooting of Larry Flynt presumably because interracial couples were featured in Hustler magazine. He was an excellent sniper, and in his travels around the country, he shot 15 people, mostly couples consisting of a black man and a white woman....

--from "Male Serial Killers," posted in conjunction with Dr. Tom O'Connor's Criminal Profiling course at North Carolina Wesleyan College

Clearly, none of these people were "lone nuts," as the "MSM" would have you believe. Clearly, all of them were part of an international Christianist terrorist conspiracy.

When will we stop being willfully blind and start connecting the dots?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oh, I love this guy. He wants to stick it to the Islamofascist Man, so he's carved a huge Christian cross and a huge star of David into his land.

In Aroostook County, Maine.

Yeah, a lot of jihadists are going to see his symbols there, right?

Take that, Abdul!

The guy posted the photo at Free Republic, and now I think I understand what the guy at Free Republic's evil twin,, is trying to do with his rather cryptic "Farm Team Infidel" shirts. I had been thinking that the shirt designer, and the people who've bought his shirts, were into the idea that they were a little cult talking to one another in double-super-secret code. But that's not really it -- what's really going on is that the T-shirt guy and the crop-circle symbol guy really, really want to offend Muslims ... from a nice, safe vantage point where there isn't the slightest possibility any Muslims will ever know what they're saying. The shirts will be worn in a few of Red America's whitest exurbs; the symbolsa will be seen only by real-life and online friends of the maker (and, I suppose, the occasional seagull). But man, if those ragheads only knew...!


*UPDATE: Descriptions of crop carvings corrected -- thanks, Mike in comments. Apologies for the many screw-ups this week....
Oh, perfect:

Vice President Dick Cheney is finally getting the book-length biography treatment -- and he's playing along. We hear that the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes is hot on the case and plans to publish a bio titled, naturally enough, Cheney as early as next spring.... we hear Cheney, his staff, and friends are cooperating....

You remember Stephen Hayes -- he's the guy who's written eighty thousand different articles for the Standard (roughly) trying to make the case that Saddam and Osama really, really, really were working together. All this led to a book, The Connection, about which The New York Times said:

What Hayes ducks is the $130 billion question that should have been at the core of his book: whether a Hussein-bin Laden alliance was not merely conceivable, but so worrisome as to require a preventive war to stop it.

The failure to engage that question demonstrates a sort of prescientific thought process -- one that uses the tools of reason, but only to construct an unfalsifiable case for a foregone conclusion.

... Hayes cannot bear to let his pet theory fall by the wayside, whether it is borne out by the facts or not.

This guy and Cheney? It's a match made in heaven.

Wingnuts will lap Hayes's book up. Discerning readers may prefer this one instead.

...The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation....

As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation's gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960's....

--New York Times yesterday

In 2005, 46.6 million people were without health insurance coverage, up from 45.3 million people in 2004.

The percentage of people without health insurance coverage increased from 15.6 percent in 2004 to 15.9 percent in 2005.

--Think Progress post on a new Census Bureau report

Republicans, nervous about a political catastrophe for their party this fall, often wonder what accounts for the sour public mood, despite robust economic growth. The answer, at least symbolically, is Katrina.

--Rich Lowry at National Review Online (emphasis mine)
Meanwhile, in the other forgotten war:

(8/29/06 - KANDAHAR, Afghanistan) - A suicide bomber in a car struck a NATO-Afghan military convoy Tuesday, killing one civilian and wounding two others, a day after a bomb at a market left 21 civilians dead and 43 wounded, officials said.

Another bomb, detonated by remote control, killed two police on patrol in Helmand province, an official said....

Please note:

The explosion [Monday] was the second deadliest suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan this year; on Aug. 3, a bomber blew up his car in the bazaar at Panjwai, outside Kandahar, killing 21 people.

(When that article appeared, the death toll in the Monday bombing was 17.)

This is all being done by desperate dead-enders, I'm sure.
On September 11, 2001, 2,700 people were brutally murdered in America by terrorists.

The Reverend Donald Wildmon's American Family Association now asks the vital question:

How will we protect the children from the evildoers -- the cops, firefighters, and others who were in the midst of the devastation and sometimes said, "Oh, shit"?

It is time to tell CBS and the other networks that enough is enough!.

Not content with all the profanity already on TV, CBS has decided to air the profanity-laden unedited version of "9/11" on Sept. 10.
The decision by CBS is a slap in the face to the FCC and Congress, which recently raised indecency fines to $325,000 per incident.

"9/11," which will be shown in prime-time, contains a tremendous amount of hardcore profanity. CBS has stated they have not, and will not, make any cuts in the amount and degree of profanity. ...

Send an email, asking the FCC to enforce the law. Your email will go not only to the FCC, but also to CBS.

Contact your local CBS affiliate and ask them not to air "9/11." ...

Please forward this to your friends and family. Share this information with members of your Sunday School class and church, and urge them to get involved....

(Emphasis in original.)

You remember this one -- it was made by two French documentarians who were following the career of a rookie firefighter in New York when the planes hit the towers. For heaven's sake, Rod Dreher of National Review called it "astounding." But people say bad words in it, so you and your congregation should do God's work and keep it off the air.

(It's still not clear whether the FCC is going to hit CBS and its affiliates with massive fines for broadcasting this again.)


How absurd is the climate right now? Well, here's a story I missed from earlier in the summer: Chuck Howard, the sports director of WCNC in Charlotte, North Carolina, resigned after eleven years at the station because he let the word "shit" slip -- on a tape that wasn't even supposed to air:

...Howard, 41, WCNC sports director for 11 years, was taping a roundup Wednesday night for the next morning's "6 News Today" when he decided to redo the segment. "Let's retake that," he said, prefacing the statement with the word s---.

But when the roundup aired at 5:51 a.m. Thursday, the station showed the aborted segment rather than the one intended for broadcast....

"Chuck has tendered his resignation and we have accepted it," Stuart Powell, president and general manager of the NBC affiliate, said Saturday....

Howard's producer also had to resign.

This is Bush's America. This is nuts.

Er, I don't know the facts, but I have a hunch that the kid is telling the truth in this Kentucky story: (SEE UPDATE BELOW)*

A George Rogers Clark High School junior arrested Tuesday for making terrorist threats told LEX 18 News Thursday that the "writings" that got him arrested are being taken out of context.

Winchester police say William Poole, 18, was taken into custody Tuesday morning. Investigators say they discovered materials at Poole's home that outline possible acts of violence aimed at students, teachers, and police.

Poole told LEX 18 that the whole incident is a big misunderstanding. He claims that what his grandparents found in his journal and turned into police was a short story he wrote for English class.

"My story is based on fiction," said Poole, who faces a second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge. "It's a fake story. I made it up. I've been working on one of my short stories, (and) the short story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school over ran by zombies."

Even so, police say the nature of the story makes it a felony. "Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it's a felony in the state of Kentucky," said Winchester Police detective Steven Caudill....

Poole is being held at the Clark County Detention Center.


Up on felony charges. For a story about zombies.

(I don't see anything in the story that says the cops found anything resembling a Columbine-style arsenal.)

Ah, but maybe I'm just being a liberal. Maybe I don't fully appreciate the true nature of the threat.

Maybe the story was about Islamosfascist zombies. From Mexico. That's it --illegal alien zombie Mexoislamofascistos!

Yeah, throw the kid in Gitmo.


*UPDATE: My face is red: This happened in 2005. Details at the link. Thanks to editor_u in comments for sparing me further embarrassment.

Jack Kemp.

I think they're saving Giuliani for October.

By the way, I'm shocked, shocked to see the 1996 Republican vice presidential candidate rejecting the Republican candidate for Senate in Connecticut.

Monday, August 28, 2006


"Details Emerge in British Terror Case," in today's New York Times, gathers together a lot of the melodrama-debunking information that's emerged about the terror plot in England -- too late, of course, given the fact that what's being debunked is already burned into our collective unconscious:

... five senior British officials said ... the suspects were not prepared to strike immediately. Instead, the reactions of Britain and the United States in the wake of the arrests of 21 people on Aug. 10 were driven less by information about a specific, imminent attack than fear that other, unknown terrorists might strike.

... British officials said the suspects still had a lot of work to do. Two of the suspects did not have passports, but had applied for expedited approval. One official said the people suspected of leading the plot were still recruiting and radicalizing would-be bombers.

While investigators found evidence on a computer memory stick indicating that one of the men had looked up airline schedules for flights from London to cities in the United States, the suspects had neither made reservations nor purchased plane tickets, a British official said.

... In fact, two and a half weeks since the inquiry became public, British investigators have still not determined whether there was a target date for the attacks or how many planes were to be involved. They say the estimate of 10 planes was speculative and exaggerated.

... officials said they were still unsure of one critical question: whether any of the suspects was technically capable of assembling and detonating liquid explosives while airborne.

A chemist involved in that part of the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was sworn to confidentiality, said HMTD, which can be prepared by combining hydrogen peroxide with other chemicals, "in theory is dangerous," but whether the suspects "had the brights to pull it off remains to be seen."

..."In retrospect," said Michael A. Sheehan, the former deputy commissioner of counterterrorism in the New York Police Department, "there may have been too much hyperventilating going on."

Read the whole article and you'll believe that these people fully intended to do harm -- I have a hard time being as skeptical as Andrew Sullivan and Craig Murray were a couple of weeks ago, when they were arguing that there might be nothing to this but hype and confessions induced under torture in Pakistan. But it's clear now that this wasn't imminent and that there's no evidence that it was going to be a carefully choreographed ten-plane orgy of mass death.

And the timing of the arrests?

...British officials said many of the questions about the suspected plot remained unanswered because they were forced to make the arrests before Scotland Yard was ready.

The trigger was the arrest in Pakistan of Rashid Rauf, a 25-year-old British citizen with dual Pakistani citizenship, whom Pakistani investigators have described as a "key figure" in the plot.

...Several senior British officials said the Pakistanis arrested Rashid Rauf without informing them first. The arrest surprised and frustrated investigators here who had wanted to monitor the suspects longer, primarily to gather more evidence and to determine whether they had identified all the people involved in the suspected plot.

..."The aim was to keep this operation going for much longer, "said a senior British security official who requested anonymity because of confidentiality rules. "It ended much sooner than we had hoped."...

Is this a bit like 2004, when The New Republic was reporting that pressure was being placed on the Pakistan government to make a significant Al Qaeda arrest in time for the Democratic convention -- which happened, of course?

You recall that shortly after that, Tom Ridge raised the terror threat level because of a plot reportedly aimed at New York financial institutions -- a plot said to have been discovered as the result of another arrest in Pakistan. The revelation of that arrest by the U.S. actually compromised an ongoing sting operation to track down Al Qaeda operatives -- but who cared? It sure took attention away from John Kerry at a critical point in the election cycle. (The Booman Tribune reviews that history here.)

The recent arrest in Pakistan, of course, set in motion a season of air-travel anxiety -- just in time for the fall campaign.


UPDATE: Link fixed.
She was an object of great sympathy: a pregnant woman shot at a Seattle Jewish center, apparently by a man named Naveed Haq.

But now she's said the wrong thing:

A woman wounded in last month's deadly shooting rampage at Seattle's Jewish Federation offices says she hopes the attack helps the public and lawmakers see a need for tighter gun control laws.

"How and why the murderer who invaded my workplace a couple of weeks ago was able to legally acquire two semiautomatic weapons in our state is still a very disturbing mystery to me," Dayna Klein, 37, said Thursday, seated next to her husband at a news conference in a downtown hotel....

And so it's open season on her at Free Republic:

Perhaps Ms. Klein hasn't heard the news: Hitler was in favor of gun control. It made it so much easier to wipe out the Jews.


What a stupid liberal twit.


Another victim displaying her wounds for the world.

I guess she is too stupid to realize that guns aren't the problem.....

I wonder if she will eventually play the race card....


WOW... Liberalism is indeed a Mental Disorder.


Being defenseless in the face of increasing criminal behavior everywhere sure makes this moonbat's whining persuasive.


And "when only criminals have guns", Dayna, how will that keep one or more of them from shooting you?

I know it takes high octane brain power to work through the previous question, but give it a try.


When civilized man determines he no longer has a need to fight, he will surely be killed or enslaved by the uncivilized that does.(Same said for the anti-gun pinheads)


...Her nervous joking makes me feel that she is growing comfortable with her gun-grabbing celebrity lifestyle....


...This is the same mentality that led to Auschwitz and which would empower Islamofascists to slaughter every Jew on the planet! The one thing you need to know about liberals, is that for them its never about the facts; its all about feelings.


... you're a hoplophobic'd never even occur to you to have a gun, much less use it to defend yourself and those around you. Better to call someone else with a gun to defend you-you hypocrite.

... I'd say that insanity or no, the gunman was correct - Dayna is pretty (expletive) stupid....

Just another day on the Right.

John McWhorter in a Washington Post op-ed:

Imagine for a moment that [Senator George] Allen actually knew that a "macaque" is a kind of monkey, or that in French the term is sometimes used as an insult for North Africans (Allen denied having known about either). Who, then, believes that Allen would use the slur against an opposition campaigner aiming a camera straight at him?

Show of hands?

Why, it looks as if everybody has a hand raised. Thank you.

...Campaigning for governor in 1993, he admitted to prominently displaying a Confederate flag in his living room. He said it was part of a flag collection--and had been removed at the start of his gubernatorial bid. When it was learned that he kept a noose hanging on a ficus tree in his law office, he said it was part of a Western memorabilia collection....

In high school [in California], Allen's "Hee Haw" persona made him a polarizing figure. "He rode a little red Mustang around with a Confederate flag plate on the front," says Patrick Campbell, an old classmate....

--Ryan Lizza in The New Republic, 5/8/06 issue

Yeah, sounds like a really circumspect guy to me.

(Those who need a refresher course on why Allen would use the word "Macaca" should go here and here.)


By the way, I want to talk about the main thrust of McWhorter's op-ed -- he argues, in all seriousness, that it's unfair to criticize Andrew Young for his recent remarks about Jewish, Arab, and Asian shopkeepers in black neighborhoods because a lot of blacks say the same things:

The mainstream media have ignored (or remain unaware of) an interesting point concerning Young's allegedly racist comments: His views are in fact common coin among inner-city black people -- the very people the hate-speech patrol so ardently hopes to protect.

Yeah? Well, some white Christians don't like Jews. Does that let Mel Gibson off the hook?

It's curious to hear this from McWhorter, a black conservative who's a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where William Kristol and Peggy Noonan sit on the board and funding comes from Scaife and other right-wing foundations (and where Charles Murray worked on his breakthrough book, Losing Ground). It's curious because McWhorter usually has nothing but contempt for the continued invocation of racism by mainstream civil-rights leaders:

The NAACP is stuck in a mind-set that worked 30 years ago but makes little sense today. Mfume and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond boast that the organization is committed to "speaking truth to power," continuing the whistle-blowing tradition that the organization was founded upon in 1909. This was urgent in an America where lynching was commonplace and segregation was legal.

But almost a century later, black America's main problem is neither overt racism nor more subtle "societal" racism. Lifting blacks up is no longer a matter of getting whites off our necks.

And language that's "common coin among inner-city black people" doesn't get McWhorter's imprimatur when that language comes with a beat attached:

NOT long ago, I was having lunch in a KFC in Harlem, sitting near eight African-American boys, aged about 14. They were extremely loud and unruly, tossing food at one another and leaving it on the floor.

What struck me most was how fully the boys' music -- hard-edged rap, preaching bone-deep dislike of authority -- provided them with a continuing soundtrack to their antisocial behavior. So completely was rap ingrained in their consciousness that every so often, one or another of them would break into cocky, expletive-laden rap lyrics, accompanied by the angular, bellicose gestures typical of rap performance. A couple of his buddies would then join him. Rap was a running decoration in their conversation.

... By reinforcing the stereotypes that long hindered blacks, and by teaching young blacks that a thuggish adversarial stance is the properly "authentic" response to a presumptively racist society, rap retards black success.

But the case of Andrew Young is different for McWhorter -- though McWhorter doesn't have the intellectual honesty to say why: Andrew Young was speaking on behalf of Wal-Mart, and McWhorter's employer has as its main mission the uplift of private industry.

McWhorter seems to be making the defense of Young his life's work at the moment: Last Thursday he published a another op-ed on the subject, this one in The New York Sun. In that one, he actually seemed to be suggesting that Young's background gives him a lifetime exemption from any and all criticism, and that those who think Young was being racist have psychological problems:

The insincerity of the "sensitivity" racket is clear in how strained the accusation against Mr.Young is. He marched with Reverend King as the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, represented in Congress a Georgia just steps past Jim Crow, and was ambassador to the United Nations. The man is even an ordained minister. Might we entertain that this is one person who has the racism thing covered?

Anyone who pretends otherwise is driven by inner demons.

I can't even say anything snarky about that. I just find it baffling.

An archive of McWhorter's writings is here. It includes such gems as "Why Blacks Should Give Bush a Chance" and "Calm Down: [William] Bennett's Comments on Abortion Have Been Taken Way Out of Context."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A T-shirt designed by Lucianne Goldberg's systems administrator is taking the readers of by storm:

Lucianne recently gave the nod on a T-Shirt ... and without fail the LDot family took us by surprise. In 36 hours, we sold all but 12 of our first order of shirts. We are currently taking "backorders" until the next order of 108 shirts arrives....

Wow, must be a really cool shirt!

Er, um ... here's what it looks like:

Apart from the obvious (and conceivably actionable) resemblance to the Major League Baseball logo, this shirt raises the question: Hunh? What the hell is a "farm team infidel"?

The designer is so happy you asked. (You may need to take notes -- this is complicated.)

...It's simple. Those who walk in harm's way in service to our nation are Major League Infidels. These men (and women) are tactical operators and professional soldiers who have the training and the knowledge to decrease the effectiveness of those who work daily to bring America to its knees.

Farm Team Infidels are those who support those in the "big league". Farm Team Infidels also reject the politics of those who hate our military, capitalism and our right to keep and bear arms.

Do you:

* Believe that America is the strongest yet most generous nation on the planet?
* Support our Military
and their mission as the most vital fighting force on the planet?
* Own a firearm or would like to own a firearm? (Be careful, freedom isn't free, owning firearms is an expensive hobby).
* Believe that gun control is a firm grip and perfect sight alignment?
* Feel the desire to wear clothing that shows your Infidel pride?

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, then you are a Farm Team Infidel. Thank you for being a productive member of society!

Er, yeah ... right. Clear as a bell.

So here's what I'm trying to figure out: Did the people who raced to buy this shirt do so because they like the idea that this is a super-secret-triple-acrostic code phrase that only a small, select in-crowd finds comprehensible?

Or is it just that you could sell anything to right-wingers -- ferret-vomit sachets, anything -- if the merchandise is accompanied with a sales pitch saying that a purchase will offend America-hating, capitalism-hating liberal scum?

Beats me. All I know is that I hope the buyers get their shirts in time for Labor Day barbecues, where they'll wear them just to piss off any liberals who happen to be invited, and the liberals will just say, "What? 'Farm Team Infidel'? Uh, I don't get it."


UPDATE: In comments, uncle grumpo notes finds the logo for Major League Infidel. The same basic idea, but with a somewhat different design, is here (enlarged view here). As grumpo says: "So this is not even an original thought, it's a fanboy response to an obscure and bizarre, though at least original, piece of wingnuttery. Imagine having to explain that at a barbecue."
There's an article in today's New York Times about an ethnically and culturally homogeneous group who've set themselves up in an enclave in America -- in America! -- where they have very large families, speak less English than their own language, and proudly proclaim their willingness to double up in apartments if they can't find adequate housing for every family.

And yet I don't see a word of outrage at, even though Michelle's usually all over that kind of thing.

There's more: The women don't drive. The community won't even hire female school bus drivers, because it offends them that women might drive their male children.

Yet there's nothing but silence at Malkin's other site,


These people are Hasidic Jews. The language they prefer is Yiddish. Their enclave is the town of Kiryas Joel, about 60 miles north of New York City.

So much for the abstract principle, expressed by Malkin and so many other right-wingers, that if you don't dress like everyone else in America, talk like everyone else in America, and observe American cultural mores, you're a fifth columnist aimed at the destruction of the United States as we know it.

The reason is simple: Mainstream wingnuts, unlike old-school anti-Semites such as Pat Buchanan and David Duke (and Mel Gibson), see Jews, especially culturally conservative Jews, as friends, allies, and fellow members of the Republican coalition -- in reality or at least potentially.

So you'll never see the wingnut punditocracy denouncing the lack of assimilation in Kiryas Joel, any more than you'll see a major push from anti-immigrant forces on the right to change the "wet-foot-dry-foot" policy that allows a lot of Cubans into Florida -- in fact, right-wingers think it lets in too few Cubans, even though many of those Cubans speak Spanish in their American homes.

This is America -- speak English! (Unless we like you.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I know, I know -- it doesn't really count because he's not supported by angry rabid blogofascist Stalinists like that evil Ned Lamont, but the guy who might be on the verge of beating the incumbent moderate Republican senator from Rhode Island in a primary has a somewhat ugly youthful paper trail:

As a student at Bowdoin College a generation ago, Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey wrote humor columns for a campus newspaper that even he now acknowledges could be construed as homophobic.

For example, in one column in the Bowdoin Patriot, the paper published by campus Republicans, Laffey wrote, "I have never once seen a happy homosexual. This is not to say there aren't any; I simply haven't seen one in my lifetime. Maybe they are all in the closet. All the homosexuals I've seen are sickly and decrepit, their eyes devoid of life."...

"And how about this humanoid (I'd hesitate to say person, and I would never use the word MAN) Boy George," wrote Laffey [in another column]. "It wears girl's clothes and puts on makeup. When I hear it sing, 'Do you really want to hurt me, do you really want to make me cry,' I say to myself, YES, I want to punch your lights out, pal, and break your ribs...."

Laffey's reaction, of course, is to describe the use of words he admits he wrote as a "smear." He also describes the columns as "sophomoric political satire." "We thought it was funny," he says -- though I'm searching in vain for anything resembling an actual joke. Here's another sample of Laffey's youthful writing from the Patriot (PDF):

...It is the immoral action of compromise that has led our country into its present condition: a Government that interferes with individual rights, a foreign policy that, until recently, accommodated the spread of communism, and workers who seek the largest salaries for the least amount of work.

I will say here and now that I
do see things in black and white -- that I do discriminate between moral and immoral actions. The compromises that this country has made to the moral flinchers must be stopped....

Comedy gold!

It's the product of his youth, so it's hard to believe this will hurt him electorally. On the other hand, this is a state where the largest city has an openly gay mayor, so in a general election, who knows?

(If the first link doesn't work, read the story at, er, Free Republic.)

...not for the reasons all of America's most self-righteous right-wing bloggers (is that redundant?) think he is.

At the Huffington Post, Shaw writes that, although "Even one life lost to the violence of terrorism is too much" (emphasis his), there's a possibility of unintended consequences if an attack occurs:

What if another terror attack just before this fall's elections could save many thousand-times the lives lost?

...If 5% of the "he's kept us safe" [Bush supporters] revise their thinking enough to vote Democrat, well, then, the Dems could recapture the House and the Senate and be in a position to:

Block the next Supreme Court appointment, one which would surely result in the overturning of Roe and the death of hundreds if not thousands of women from abortion-prohibiting states at the hands of back-alley abortionists;

Be in a position to elevate the party's chances for a regime change in 2008. A regime change that would:

Save hundreds of thousands of American lives by enacting universal health care;

Save untold numbers of lives by pushing for cleaner air standards that would greatly reduce heart and lung diseases;...

Et cetera, et cetera.

Shaw is an idiot because he thinks "he's kept us safe" Bush supporters would react to another 9/11 by abandoning Bush. You mean, just the way they did after the first 9/11? Give me a break. If there were another attack, the switch from "he's kept us safe" to "he's just the man we need in dangerous times" will be like the switch from "two legs bad" to "two legs better" in Animal Farm -- only it will be instantaneous.

Shaw is an idiot because Shaw doesn't have the slightest idea how Daddy-craving American voters think.


Righties will want to know my answer to Shaw's question, so here it is: No, I absolutely would not want a terrorist attack if I knew it would sink the GOP. I lived through 9/11 in Manhattan. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, ever, for any reason.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A couple of days ago I told you about the religious-right TV documentary that will be broadcast this weekend blaming Charles Darwin for the Holocaust. Well, if you find that offensive, relax -- a rabbi assures us it's just fine.

Guess which rabbi.

... Bloggers Internet-wide as well as the Anti-Defamation League launched their criticism in pointed phrases when the airing was announced.

But Rabbi Daniel Lapin, founder of Toward Tradition, suggested reining in the words just a little....

"This dazzling production shows how ideas always have consequences, often unintended, and how Darwinism has impacted American culture," Lapin wrote. "It discusses how the philosophy of evolution can dehumanize people and how Adolf Hitler, on his own admission, was influenced by Darwinian thought."

...Rabbi Lapin['s] organization works to advance the nation toward "the traditional Judeo-Christian values that defined America's creation and became the blueprint for her greatness" ...

You remember the rabbi's idea of traditional Judeo-Christian values:

...Rabbi Daniel Lapin confirmed Sunday it was his foundation, Toward Tradition, that took $50,000 from two Abramoff clients and, at Abramoff's suggestion, used it to hire the ... wife [of an aide to Congressman Tom DeLay] to organize a conference for the group.

Lapin said he and his board had no idea the money was part of Abramoff's vast scheme to influence Congress...

The foundation is a conservative Judeo-Christian group where Abramoff once served as chairman of the board.

... Although he has been reported to have been the man to introduce DeLay to Abramoff, Lapin said Sunday he doesn't recall that.

...During Senate hearings last year on the Abramoff scandal, e-mails between Daniel Lapin and Abramoff were read detailing the lobbyist's request that the rabbi help phony-up some awards for him.

Abramoff said he wanted something to help burnish his application to join a fancy D.C. club. Lapin responded that he could oblige, saying, "I just need to know what needs to be produced ... letters? plaques? Neither?"...

National Public Radio reported in July that Abramoff at least one time listed on his biography awards from Toward Tradition and another Lapin organization — awards the rabbi said were never given....

Is there such a thing as moral de-evolution?
Sometimes I think most Americans don't think it's appropriate that other countries even exist:

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A geography teacher has found himself embroiled in controversy after his principal found out he had flags from other countries in his classroom.

The Jefferson County School District said Thursday that it has reinstated the teacher who was suspended because he refused to take down foreign flags hung in his classroom. At the time, he was displaying U.N., Mexican and Chinese flags in class.

Principal John Schalk asked Hamlin to remove the flags because of his concern that the display violated a Colorado law (C.R.S. 18-11-205), the Jeffco School District said....

Hamlin's statements in his own defense seem perfectly reasonable:

Hamlin argued that although his curriculum may not speak specifically about those flags, they are used as reference tools for world geography.

"It's much along the lines of a science teacher who puts up a map of the solar system. They may not spend every day and every lesson talking about Mars, but they want the students to see that and to see the patterns of the planets and the order, and the students will observe that and absorb that learning visually," Hamlin said....

But as Denver Post columnist Jim Spencer notes, this is all a bit suspect:

...Jefferson County school bosses deny it, but Hamlin wonders if the foreign flags hung in his Carmody Middle School classroom in Lakewood would have been such a big deal if he had not displayed a Mexican flag, along with Chinese and United Nations flags.

"If I had put up a Danish flag instead of a Mexican flag," said Hamlin, "I don't know what would have happened."

I bet Hamlin would not have been placed on indefinite paid leave.

... The display of a Mexican flag last year at Denver's North High raised a ruckus because it seemed placed on a par with the American flag.

Hamlin insists that's not the case in his class, where an American flag is permanently ensconced....

Hamlin has been reinstated, though he took a sick day today. And he can display his flags -- under strict guidelines:

District officials agreed Thursday that Hamlin could keep the flags up for six weeks, then exchange them with other flags from his collection of more than 50. The district said he could keep his next set of flags, 25 of them from Middle Eastern nations, up for 12 weeks.

That ought to ensure the continued survival of the United States of America.

(Hat tip: Democratic Underground.)

The New York Times reports today:

A new poll shows that fewer Americans view the Republican Party as "friendly to religion" than a year ago, with the decline particularly steep among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants -- constituencies at the core of the Republicans' conservative Christian voting bloc.

The survey found that the proportion of Americans who say the Republican Party is friendly to religion fell 8 percentage points in the last year, to 47 percent from 55 percent. Among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants, the decline was 14 percentage points.

The Democratic Party suffers from the perception of an even more drastic religion deficit, but that is not new. Just 26 percent of poll respondents said the Democratic Party was friendly to religion, down from 29 percent last year....

The number for the Democrats is unsurprising, but what's up with the number for the Republicans? What more do they need to do to satisfy America's deeply religious populace?

I can't figure it out. Can you figure it out?

(By the way, this poll was conducted in July, long before the approval of over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill, so this doesn't seem to be a news-based dip.)


I have more to say about this below, but here's something to think about first: If evangelical white Protestants think the GOP is not friendly to religion, and if a great deal of the GOP base is demanding no compromise on illegal immigration, isn't there a very good chance that the '08 GOP presidential nominee could face a third-party challenge from the right?

Don't forget who's leading in the polls for that nomination -- McCain and Giuliani, neither of whom is considered compatible with the Bush base on "values" issues or immigration. If one of them gets the nomination, defections are a distinct possibility. We could be looking at a very interesting race.


OK, so why the religious dissatisfaction? Details on the poll, at the Web site of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, don't offer much by way of explanation.

No, it isn't because there's a huge contingent of religious liberals. In fact, one of the poll's few revelations is that people who characterize themselves as part of the "religious left" aren't very left-wing:

The survey finds that about a third of all Christians (32%) identify themselves as "liberal" or "progressive" Christians....

On many matters of politics and policy, the views of progressive Christians are not much more liberal than those of the general public.... For example, about half of progressive Christians (52%) oppose gay marriage, compared with 56% of all Americans, and 66% of non-progressive Christians....

Generally, progressive Christians tend to be more moderate than left-of-center politically. Slightly more than one-in-four (27%) report they are politically liberal. Just as many (26%) say they are politically conservative while 45% characterize themselves as moderates....

Here's the key, I think:

Since the late 1980s, polls have consistently shown that most Americans think religion's influence on the nation is waning....

Today, roughly six-in-ten (59%) say religion is losing influence on American life, while 34% say it is gaining influence. And, overwhelmingly, Americans favor more, not less, religion in the country.

Put that together with the GOP's declining "friendly to religion" numbers and it seems as if Republicans are starting to hurt themselves by constantly spreading the word that religion is under attack in America. The public agrees -- and thinks the GOP isn't mounting enough of a defense.


The scariest numbers in this poll, if you're a secularist like me, are in this chart.

Look at the "18-29" line. Among voters under 30, an astonishing 27% consider themselves members of the "religious left" or "religious right." They're evenly split, but no other age group is as religious.

The young aren't rejecting liberalism (or at least moderation) -- but a hell of a lot of them are rejecting secularism.

That's a trend that bears watching.

(Unless, of course, it's just that secular young people didn't have the patience to sit through the lengthy Pew poll -- which really may be the case.)

James Gerstenzang in the L.A. Times on the Kennebunkport leg of Bush's two-part summer vacation:

...Still, he returned to Walker's Point on Thursday for a four-day visit at his parents' home, drawn by family ties and family events into the web of his often-overlooked New England origins, generations deeper than his nearly six decades in Texas.

Although Bush grew up in Texas -- and the twang in his speech suggests generations of Texans behind him -- his family roots are in the Northeast: His grandfather represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate. His father was born in Massachusetts. His mother was raised in a tony suburb of New York City. He was born in Connecticut....

Who overlooks this? Who doesn't know W. has New England roots? What is Gerstenzang talking about?

Is Gerstenzang giving us a glimpse into his own tendency to forget all this, or that of his colleagues in the lapdog White House press corps? Have they been fed the myth of ranch-ridin', brush-clearin' George for so long that they actually believe he had ancestors at the Alamo?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Via Shakespeare's Sister, I learn of the enlightened racial views of Republican state senator Chris Buttars of Utah, as revealed in a recent radio interview:

…During the radio interview host Tom Grover noted that courts historically have been used by minority groups "to ensure [their] rights are protected."

"I don't know of an example where the minority is being jeopardized by legislative action," Buttars replied.

Grover then brought up the Kansas desegregation case that resulted in the busing of black students to white schools and vice versa.

"I think Brown v. Board of Education is wrong to begin with," Buttars shot back.

When Grover attempted to press him on the reply Buttars refused to be more specific, saying only "one day call me again and we'll take a half hour on that one." ...

That's remarkable enough, but it gets better: Buttars realized he had to walk back his remarks, and he was doing just fine -- at first:

Amid the fray, Buttars emerged to clarify his remarks telling Deborah Bulkeley of the Deseret Morning News, "I think Brown v. Board of Education was a monumental step forward. It took that kind of bullet to break through that segregation wall."

But he just couldn't leave it at that:

But Buttars said there were drawbacks to desegregation for some children who were taken out of neighborhood schools where they were in the majority, something he says is detailed in the book "Education Myths" by Jay Greene.

"He talks about how you had schools in the South that were really geared toward the special needs of minority kids," Buttars said. "Then all of a sudden you bused half those kids to a different school that maybe got more money, but they weren't geared to the needs of those kids."

"The special needs of minority kids"? Good grief.


Buttars is a piece of work. Not only did he once introduce legislation that would have brought intelligent design to Utah schools (the bill was shot down), he calls ID "divine design," apparently having missed the ID movement's carefully crafted talking points, which state that the intelligent designer of the universe doesn't have to be God. Oh, and here's some of his airtight reasoning for why the believers in evolution have it all wrong:

Buttars doesn’t disregard evolution completely, rather he believes God is the creator, but His creations have evolved within their own species.

"We get different types of dogs and different types of cats, but you have never seen a 'dat,' " he said.

Sheer brilliance.

Buttars doesn't like "activist judges":

Chris Buttars ... now proposes giving him and his Senate colleagues the power to fire judges whose rulings they don't like.

The current judicial retention election, in which Utahns vote to keep or get rid of a judge, is inadequate, the West Jordan Republican contends.

Every judge "should have to pass a Senate confirmation vote again" when his term comes up, he said.

"That is the only way to make the public aware of some of these terrible decisions. ... I don't know where some of these decisions are coming from. Some judges just go in there and wing it," Buttars said....

Oh, and he's not a huge fan of gay people -- he wants to ban gay-straight alliances in Utah schools, and, of course, he has sponsored legislation banning gay marriage in Utah, with his usual gift for words:

In putting the bill to a vote, its sponsor, Sen. Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan) said the legislation will protect traditional marriage and denied accusations from gays in the state that he is promoting hate and discrimination.

"I want to declare here on the floor that I have homosexual friends," Buttars said. "But I don't accept their behavior any more than I do alcoholics'."

A real prince, this guy.
Why is AP referring to the Connecticut Senate race as "a three-way race"? There are five candidates in the race overall, and only two with significant voter support and the backing of major-party leaders -- Ned Lamont (D) and Joe Lieberman (de facto R). The guy on the Republican line, Alan Schlesinger, is, in effect, a minor-party candidate, just like the Green Party's Ralph Ferrucci, and the Concerned Citizens Party's Timothy Knibbs.

So call it "a two-man race" or "a five-man race." Just don't say "three."
Bob "Remember When Clinton Was President and People Gave a Crap About What I Thought of Him?" Tyrrell commemorates the man who gives him a reason to keep living, in his usual tasteful fashion:

Former President Bill Clinton has been celebrating his 60th birthday at breakneck speed and he will be continuing to do so for months to come, according to news reports. Given the many laughs he has afforded me over the years, I hope he will proceed at a more restrained pace. I could not bear to see him make another run to the emergency room. The sudden whitening of his hair since his retirement from the White House and shrinkage of his once fleshy physique should admonish voluptuaries everywhere of the potential health threats from recreational sex....

Whoa, Bob, slow down.

Recreational sex causes hair to turn white? Is that what you're telling us?

Three words, Bob: John Bolton's mustache.

Do you know something we don't know?
Are there still people in America who think like this? Yup:

Black students ordered to give up seats to white children

COUSHATTA [Louisiana] -- Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children....

...After [parents Iva] Richmond and [Janice] Williams filed complaints with the School Board, Transportation Supervisor Jerry Carlisle asked [bus driver Delores] Davis to make seat assignments for her passengers, Sessoms said.

"But she still assigned the black children to the back of the bus," she added.

And the nine children had to share only two seats, meaning the older children had to hold the younger ones in their laps....

Interesting what takes place at Free Republic in reaction to this story: The discussion starts with comments such as

It's hard to believe the bus driver could be this stupid - not to mention that backwards.

But soon enough there's this exchange:

Don't you think the sitting assignments could have been made to protect younger white children from older black bullies on the bus?
I went to Coushatta Elementary in the early 50's when it was strictly segregated. Today the vast majority of white children in that district attend private school and the public scools are overwhelmingly black. I can see how the few white kids in the public schools could be in a world of trouble with these radicalized blacks. It would not suprise me to see these kids flee to the private school system soon.


"Radicalized" as in allowed to vote?


No, radicalized in feeling free to beat up younger white children and to grope white girls at will.

There's more along those lines, including the tale of a parent whose "sweet white daughter was constantly groped and grabbed by black thugs at her high school" until she switched to a school where "There were enough Bubba's around to PROTECT the girls!"

I'm sure, of course, that all these people are huge fans of Clarence Thomas, Kenneth Blackwell, and Alan Keyes.

I hate you.

First Andrew Young, now this guy:

Democrats are calling on Wal-Mart to repudiate a statement by a talk show host and Wal-Mart proponent likening the party's leading lawmakers to members of a terrorist group, Hezbollah.

In a column published Tuesday, the commentator, Herman Cain, repeatedly used the term "Hezbocrats." Mr. Cain defined them as "a roaming band of militant guerrillas seeking their party's 2008 nomination for president" and said they were lobbing "rhetorical bombs at Wal-Mart."

Senator Kerry of Massachusetts denounced Mr. Cain, who serves on the Georgia steering committee of a Wal-Mart-funded advocacy group, Working Families for Wal-Mart....

Branded as "Hezbocrats" in the column were Senator Biden of Delaware, Senator Bayh of Indiana, and Senator Clinton, as well as Governor Richardson of New Mexico. Mr. Cain made no reference to Mr. Kerry.

(No, but if you read the column, you see that he refers to the entire Democratic Party as "the Hezbocrat Party." He's also so delighted with his own cleverness that he uses the word "Hezbocrat" in the column twelve times.)

Wal-Mart couldn't possibly be more abashed:

"Herman Cain is not a spokesperson for Wal-Mart," the company said in a statement. "We understand that he has a long-standing column and the views he expresses in that column are his own."

A spokesman for Working Families for Wal-Mart, Catherine Smith, noted that Mr. Cain was a volunteer....

Maybe being a volunteer and not, technically, a Wal-Mart spokesman is enough separation forf Ms. Smith, but please note that Cain and Andy Young were part of the same organization. They were both described as volunteers. The New York Times reported that "Wal-Mart executives moved quickly ... to distance themselves from Mr. Young’s remarks" (understandably -- he insulted Jews, Asians, and Arabs).

But I guess equating the entire Democratic Party with a terrorist organization is OK.

Herman Cain, who sometimes calls himself "the Hermanator," has been the chairman of Godfather's Pizza, the president of the National Restaurant Association, a Fox News commentator and a frequent substitute host on the William Bennett and Neal Boortz radio shows. His most recent book, They Think You're Stupid: Why Democrats Lost Your Vote and What Republicans Must Do to Keep It, has a foreword by Zell Miller.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


The anti-abortion folks at put their spin on a new poll:

Pro-abortion former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani leads all potential 2008 Republican presidential candidates in Iowa in a new poll taken by the Des Moines Register despite an overwhelming majority of GOPers saying they are pro-life.

The newspaper surveyed likely Republican causucs-goers and found that Giuliani leads with the support of 30 percent of Republicans.

The poll found Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who has a fairly pro-life voting record and has visited the state twice in recent months, the choice of 17 percent while Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, who mostly votes pro-life, received 6.5 percent....

Romney, Allen, Pataki, Huckabee, and Brownback are all under 5 percent; 29 percent of those surveyed are undecided. The Register story, which is here, adds this:

Giuliani, who has visited Iowa once since 2004, is also viewed as favorable by two-thirds of the poll's respondents, the highest rating among the eight Republicans listed as potential candidates in the survey.

The LifeNewsers and most everyone else -- including you, probably -- expect this all to turn around as soon as Republican voters realize Rudy is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and pro-gun control.

As I've said before, I'm not so sure. I keep thinking it's going to be more like the end of Some Like It Hot:

Jerry: Oh, you don't understand, Osgood! Ehhhh... I'm a man.

Osgood: Well, nobody's perfect.

In other words, Republicans may have already developed a hopeless infatuation with Rudy, based on a hero-myth they've built up in their heads, and that myth may be very, very difficult for litmus-test imposers to dislodge.

Democrats will generally vote for someone who just seems to be competent, but Republicans are always desperate for a manly man they believe will lead them out of the wilderness. It doesn't take much to sell them on that myth -- hell, they believe it about Bush -- and they certainly believe it about Giuliani.

Many of us Democrats have very mixed feelings about Bill, Hillary, John Kerry, and so on, but Republicans generally decide that someone is "good" or "evil" and stick with that decision come hell or high water. That's why their enthusiasm for Bush is still at the hero-worship stage. Their opinion of Rudy is that he's "good" the way the Clintons are "evil." I don't know if anything can cure them of this crush, but I'm sure it would take a lot more than just facts.

It's a good thing I'm not one to believe in conspiracy theories -- because if I were, I might find it a tad suspicious that a Fox News reporter and cameraman have now been held for nearly two weeks by Palestinian captors, even though an initial AP story about the kidnapping noted that

Several foreigners have been kidnapped in Gaza in recent months with their abductors demanding jobs from the Palestinian Authority or the release of people being held in Palestinian jails. All those kidnapped have been released within hours without harm.

(Emphasis mine.)

And I might also find it odd that the group claiming responsibility for this kidnapping, the "Holy Jihad Brigades," has been completely unknown until now.

And I might remark, after watching the video of the two newsmen, that they're by far the most relaxed-looking Western captives of Islamomuslofasconistas I've ever seen.

Did I mention that the two newsmen work for Fox?

Fortunately, I'm not a conspiracy-theory kind of guy, so I won't remark on the fascinating confluence of events in mid-August -- the Right making a national issue of Joe Lieberman's primary defeat, followed almost immediately by the apparently hastened terror arrests in Britain, and then almost immediately after that by this kidnapping.

I'm sure it's all just a coincidence. And I'm sure you'll want to join right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin's "missing Fox News crew blogburst." Surely she's doing this out of the goodness of her heart, not because she has, you know, an agenda.
Shorter Ann Althouse on the op-ed page of The New York Times:

The unsoundness of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's recent warrantless surveillance ruling is obvious to anyone who's read the text, which I won't quote in any detail, so you'll just have to trust my foot-stamping outrage.
At precisely the same moment when we were learning that the president loves fart jokes, we were also being told -- by the same magazine, U.S. News -- that he's becoming an intellectual heavyweight, a veritable Olympic athlete of the mind:

... President Bush now wants it known that he is a man of letters. In fact, Bush has entered a book-reading competition with Karl Rove, his political adviser. White House aides say the president has read 60 books so far this year (while the brainy Rove, to Bush's competitive delight, has racked up only 50). The commander in chief delved into three volumes in August alone -- two on Abraham Lincoln and, more surprising for a man of unambiguous convictions, The Stranger, Albert Camus's existential tale of murder and alienation....

More than a book a week? As Steve Benen says, "For a guy who likes to get to bed early, who devotes a couple of hours a day to exercise, and who ostensibly oversees the executive branch of government during a war, let's just say this is more than a little 'ambitious.'" And credulity-straining.

So we have this, we have the fart story (which, as I said yesterday, was probably a planned leak from the White House, not an embarrassing revelation), and we have a couple of recent stories arguing that Bush's Crawford vacation was a time of punishing athleticism in 100-degree weather.

You know what this reminds me of? The Saddam murals in pre-overthrow Iraq.

Think of those murals, each of which focused on a unique aspect of Saddam's alleged greatness: Saddam the giver of life. Saddam the war strategist. Saddam the devout and powerful Muslim leader. Saddam, beloved of the people. Saddam the rifleman in a bowler hat. Saddam the who-the-hell-knows (a gaucho?). Now think about what's being said of our president: that he's an almost supernaturally fit 60-year-old; that he outreads even eggheads; and that, despite all this, he's the most regular of regular guys -- same propaganda technique, same desire to make the Leader larger than life. We just don't use murals.

Portraying leaders as larger-than-life athletes is a time-honored GOP propaganda tradition, of course. Recall this from a couple of decades ago:

...In this week's issue of the Sunday newspaper supplement Parade (circ. 24 million), Reagan is both photo subject and author of the 1,800-word cover story, "How to Stay Fit." (The President talked out the basics to a White House speechwriter, then rewrote the article himself.) In the first paragraph he throws down the gauntlet: "So, move over, Jane Fonda, here comes the Ronald Reagan workout plan."

...with its Charles Atlas photos of a fit, firm Reagan, the Parade piece had a clear political payoff: if a President pumps iron, his age seems moot....

That was in December 1983 -- just as the '84 election campaign was about to start. Some things never change.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Oh, the usual -- a religious-right documentary blaming Charles Darwin for the Holocaust:

Author and Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy connects the dots between Charles Darwin and Adolf Hitler in Darwin's Deadly Legacy, a groundbreaking inquiry into Darwin's chilling social impact. The new television documentary airs nationwide on August 26 and 27 on The Coral Ridge Hour. For station listings, go to

The program features 14 scholars, scientists, and authors who outline the grim consequences of Darwin's theory of evolution and show how his theory fueled Hitler's ovens.

"To put it simply, no Darwin, no Hitler," said Dr. Kennedy, the host of
Darwin's Deadly Legacy. "Hitler tried to speed up evolution, to help it along, and millions suffered and died in unspeakable ways because of it." ...

Complete with expert testimony!

Ann Coulter, a bestselling author and popular conservative columnist, said Hitler "was applying Darwinism. He thought the Aryans were the fittest and he was just hurrying natural selection along." ...

More from Coulter:

I'll let the scientists decide what should be taught in science class, but it seems to me the one thing that shouldn't be taught in science class is a crack pot nineteenth century mystery religion … [public schools are] the left's madrassas and they propagandize to the children six hours a day, 12 years of the child life.

See the clip in which Coulter says this at this post from People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch blog (which I'm adding to the blogroll).


Also from Right Wing Watch, I learn that Alan Keyes appeared in the Limbaugh brothers' hometown, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and predicted that if embryonic stem-cell research isn't banned, it will lead to the breeding of slave clones:

And despite wording in Amendment 2 imposing harsh criminal penalties on anyone attempting to create a living human clone using the stem-cell research techniques, Keyes raised the possibility of an industrial effort to produce clones.

The result, he said, would be "new legions of humans to be enslaved and brutalized."

My apartment desperately needs painting -- oh, if only...

(I'm kidding, Alan!)
... we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides....

--from the current "Washington Whispers" column in U.S. News

Stepping outside the boundaries of strict political and diplomatic protocol gets no more attention than when the president of the United States does it. And President Bush has been doing a lot of it recently.

He called Canada's prime minister by his first name, massaged German Chancellor Angela Merkel's shoulders and played tour guide to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at Graceland, the Memphis home of Elvis Presley.

His biggest gaffe was that caught-on-tape moment at the G-8 Summit last month with British Prime Minister Tony Blair the one that featured Bush cursing and talking with his mouth full before a microphone that was supposed to be off. That set off tut-tuts around the globe.

While four-letter expletives or a shoulder massage of a co-worker of the opposite sex could raise eyebrows in many office settings, Bush for the most part gets a pass from etiquette experts.

"Part of it is he comes from Texas, and they don't stand on a lot of formality in that state," said Letitia Baldrige, who was President Kennedy's social secretary. "I think you get the Eastern kind of aristocrats, like the old days, they're always going to be more formal, they're always going to have a jacket on."...

--AP today

Don't be fooled -- these aren't embarrassing stories, and it's not a coincidence that they appear almost simultaneously. The White House clearly wants this out right now.

Why? I'm not sure. Preemptive counterprogramming to the expected outing of a top White House aide or ally as gay, perhaps? Or maybe just an attempt to motivate the flatulence-lovin' base?

Never mind, of course, that all this flatly contradicts what we heard at the dawn of the W. era:

...Mr. Bush, who promised during the election campaign to restore "honour and dignity" to the White House, ... and his lieutenants resent the sloppy informality of Mr. Clinton's blue-jeaned army of youthful assistants, whose attire and attitude they considered disrespectful.

From the moment Mr. Bush swore in his staff this week, his deputies made it clear the President expects his staff to dress correctly. No dress code was issued, but there will be no more denim or T-shirts in the Oval Office, where former president Ronald Reagan never even removed his suit jacket.

"The days of jeans and no ties at the White House are over," predicted Georgette Mosbacher, a prominent Republican activist....

--Globe & Mail, 1/25/01

A few weeks after I joined the White House, I read a memoir by Clinton's chief speechwriter, Michael Waldman. Waldman described late-night editing sessions in the Roosevelt Room, the big meeting room on the main floor of the West Wing. By midnight, he recalled, the long conference table would be covered with pizza boxes and capsized French fries. Pizza! At midnight! In the Roosevelt Room! In the Bush White House, the idea would have been as incredible as spitting on the carpet.

--David Frum, The Right Man, pp. 14-15

... the Clinton White House [was] a place where opponents' FBI files were read aloud over pizza and foreign contributors with cash invited in the back door. I thought: Something's wrong with these people, they lack thought and dignity. But most of all they seemed to lack respect, a sense of awe....

--Peggy Noonan, 9/14/98, republished 10/5/01

Of course, whichever way the administration plays it, the lapdogs in the White House press corps will lap it up.

(First item via Shakespeare's Sister. Last three quotes cribbed from an earlier post about this administration's impeccable breeding.)
Beliefnet reports that the Vatican has inched a wee bit closer to that long-rumored merger with the First Holiness Storefront Church of the Republican Creator:

Pope Replaces Intelligent Design Critic at Observatory

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a new director of the Vatican Observatory, replacing the Rev. George Coyne, a long-serving Jesuit astronomer and a vocal opponent of "intelligent design" theory.

It was unclear if the replacement of Coyne, the observatory's director since 1978, reflected a sense of disapproval within the Vatican over his opposition to intelligent design -- the idea that the world is too complex to have been created by natural events alone....

In his staunch defense of evolution, Coyne, 73, has frequently crossed swords with Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, a former protege and close adviser to Benedict whose support of intelligent design has been instrumental in introducing the theory into Catholic discourse....

Although Benedict has referred to the "cosmos" as an "intelligent project," he has yet to explicitly weigh in on the merits of intelligent design, a question that has generated an explosive debate in the United States.

In a November interview, Coyne suggested the pope should withhold judgment on the issue, adding that Benedict "doesn't have the slightest idea of what intelligent design means in the U.S." ...

Benedict may or may not know about this battle in America, but Schonborn certainly does -- in July 2005 he published this attack on "neo-Darwinian dogma" on the op-ed page of The New York Times; the article, as the Times subsequently noted, was written at the urging of Mark Ryland of the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute, and "was submitted to The Times by a Virginia public relations firm, Creative Response Concepts, which also represents the Discovery Institute." The op-ed echoed Discovery Institute talking points.

The Beliefnet story notes that evolution will soon be discussed at the Vatican:

In early September, Benedict will conduct a weekend seminar on the impact Darwin's theory has on the church's teaching of Creation. Schonborn, who has described evolution as "incompatible" with church teachings, will speak at the event, along with evolution advocate Peter Schuster, president of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Other speakers at the event include the Rev. Paul Erbrich, emeritus professor of natural philosophy from the University of Munich, who has described evolution as a "fundamentally inadequate" explanation of the origins of life; and Robert Spaemann, a conservative German philosopher who has challenged "evolutionism," or the philosophical applications of Darwin's theory.

That panel sounds about as politically balanced as the Fox News prime-time lineup.


UPDATE: Some related stateside news, from The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Like a gap in the fossil record, evolutionary biology is missing from a list of majors that the U.S. Department of Education has deemed eligible for a new federal grant program designed to reward students majoring in engineering, mathematics, science, or certain foreign languages.

That absence apparently indicates that students in the evolutionary sciences do not qualify for the grants, and some observers are wondering whether the omission was deliberate....

The awards in question -- known as Smart Grants, for the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent program -- were created by Congress this year, with strong support from the president. The grants are worth up to $4,000 and are awarded in addition to Pell grants.

Recipients must be college juniors or seniors enrolled in one of the technical fields of study that the Department of Education has deemed eligible for funds. Many different topics, as varied as astronomy and Arabic, qualify.

But evolutionary biology is absent....


(Via Memeorandum.)