Monday, July 31, 2006

C14 H9 CL5

"So. The unanimous scientific choice is to use DDT. But they don't, and instead go with a more expensive insecticide... now why would that be, I wonder?"

Not familiar? How about Dicholoro Diphenyl Tricholorethane? Maybe you know it better as DDT.

DDT adDDT was the first in a long line of chemicals and scientific innovations that activists managed to get banned or financially destroyed. It was 1962 when Rachel Carson wrote the book Silent Spring, the title describing a world without birds singing at springtime. She alleged that DDT weakened the eggshells of birds, causing them to collapse and kill unborn birds. A public outcry resulted, and eventually DDT was banned in the USA, then later in many other countries in the 1970s. The World Bank has a policy of refusing loans to any country that does not ban the use of DDT. In 2001, the Stockholm Convention was signed by128 nations, a treaty that called for the elimination of DDT and many other "persistent organic pollutants" barring health crises.

According to the UN's World Health Organization (WHO), DDT can be sprayed directly on clothing or used in soap with no ill effects to human beings, and although some studies have suggested a correspondence link between exposure to DDT with breast cancer, a direct study of the topic does not support this conclusion. Lancet's review of the data (Lancet 366 (9487), pp 763-73) reveals that:
In humans, DDT use is generally safe; large populations have been exposed to the compound for 60 years with little acute toxicity apart from a few reports of poisoning. Doses as high as 285 mg/kg taken accidentally did not cause death, but such large doses did lead to prompt vomiting. One dose of 10 mg/kg can result in illness in some people. Subclinical and subtle functional changes have not been meticulously sought until the past few decades.
So why was it banned? For the same reason ALAR was banned; because activists and environmentalists screamed that it was dangerous, newspapers leaped on the story to be first to report it without understanding or researching the data, and the public cried foul. Did these alarmists know that ALAR was not dangerous and was not a carcinogen? The data was out there, but they might not have been aware of it. 17 years ago, the internet was not available for research as it is now. But they certainly ignored the voices who did know.

Why does all this matter? Because millions of people a year die from Malaria, it is the world's most deadly disease. DDT is effective at killing malaria-carrying insects (particularly mosquitoes), but due to the lack of it's use, malaria cases are growing in the world when other diseases are all but wiped out. According to JunkScience, a blog dedicated to examining scientific claims and psuedo-scientific advocacy, over 90 million people have died of Malaria since it was banned in the USA. It is estimated 2.7 million people per year die of Malaria, which DDT would be very effective in reducing.

J.F. Beck at the RWDB blog examined an article by Tim Lambert at Scienceblogs. Tim Lambert's article was short, but the response by Apoorva Mandavilli, senior editor of Nature Medicine was a thorough Fisking (subscription required, excerpted at RWDB). Mr. Beck concludes with these thoughts:

At this point an important question arises: Is there any aspect of the use of DDT against Malaria that has not been misrepresented by Tim Lambert?

Lambert, who averaged about five DDT posts a month earlier in the year, has only posted on DDT once in the past two months. I think that's because it has finally sunk into his great big thick head that the scientific community's anti-DDT position was moderating. The anti-DDT tide had turned.

The GMO Pundit (who tipped Beck about the fisking) has this to say about DDT and Genetically Manipulated (GM) foods:
The subtle nature and indirect effects of the de-facto bans on DDT reveals how behind the scene misplaced NGO activism, directed at influencing policy in developing countries so that it conforms with rich country environmentalist fads can, and has caused great harm.

This is the inconvenient truth that Lambert wants to avoid.

Sadly, the DDT delusional drama of a defacto ban is being replayed currently a second time with GMO crops, with even less evidence of actual harm. Here the stick is threats to ban imports of African food into the EU.

Namibia is a definite example that I checked when I was in Africa last year - if Namibia's cattle are fed South African GM maize they will be kept out of Europe say the behind the closed door EU officials. As if meat from cattle who eat GM maize are a "health risk". Similar blackmail is occuring in other African countries. This is voodoo activism at it's worst.

Truly Attaran chose an apt title for his DDT paper, "Balancing risks on the backs of the poor".

The effect of this second (GM) technology "ban" is to inhibit agricultural innovation in a continent where agricultural productivity is key to eliminating poverty. This is a vile and immoral outcome when it originates from misconceptions and falsehoods deliberately being spread in rich countries that have plenty of food.

Understanding the errors on DDT policy can allow reasoning open minded people to learn from history. The problem is that tunnel-vision zealots dedicated to a Green Crusade never will.

Just because the first time, DDT, was tragedy, there is no guarantee the second time, GM crops, will be farce.
-by GMOPundit
There was discussion at Lambert's site as well:

In debunking this DDT myth nonesense there is one aspect that is rarely or never discussed. Malaria was almost eradicated in the early 1960s--from the whole earth. The number of cases registered by health authorities were at a historic low and eradication seemed within our grasp. This was done largely without pesticides, through careful monitoring, early diagnosis and rapid treatment of detected cases and general sanitation measures (cleaning up sources of stagnant water such as old tires, tin cans and other garbage in marginal communities). It was an exemplary international program that got local people heavily involved.

Pesticides were added to these measures in the late fifties, and may have contributed, but probably they were not necessary. If the policies had only continued for a few years more as they were being applied, malaria would be history. It is an eradicale disease as it has no animal reservoirs.

However, in the late 1960s international policy changed and it was decided to rely primarily on pesticides to finish the eradication job, and reduce or discontinue the funds spent on community-based monitoring and environmental measures. Of course, we know who benefited greatly from this decision. But who lost are the over 2 million people who now die every year from malaria, and the 100s of thousands who get sick or are at high risk. Because practically the first year after the new policy was implemented, the number cases began to increase again worldwide as they have done every year ever since then. Besides the usual venality of chemical companies, this story is a major moral and political failure on the part of the world public health establishment, which is why it is never told.

Now no one mentiones 'eradication' as a goal anymore. Who have killed millions are the pesticide companies and others who pushed for this mistaken policy that has utterly failed to control the disease. Malaria is completely out of control and will get worse as things heat up. Spraying, bed nets and now vaccinations are simply admissions of a major failure to eradicate this terrible disease when we had the chance.

Alicia Colon's stuff is more than rubbish. It is a criminal cover up.
-by Rob

Ron -You are generally on target in saying that a multi-pronged attack on malaria was making rapid progress until the 1960s, when it slowed dramatically. But we should be cautious about saying that total victory was just around the corner. In my view, it would be more accurate to say that part of the problem was (as you point out) a naive and overly optimistic belief in the enduring power of DDT, but also that another, very important part was that we had already won most of the easy battles. Gordon Harrison describes, in Mosquitoes, Malaria and Man, how the protean nature of the Anopheles mosquito stymied attempts to use a single breeding control strategy worldwide. The damn pesky critters just come in so many varieties, with a different behavior for each, that what works in Borneo is worthless in Bangladesh. Where the local malaria vector prefers to lay its eggs in (for example) wheel ruts and rainbarrels, the odds are excellent that you can mobilize the town and interrupt the breeding cycle. But where the mozzies would rather breed in the swamp and come to town on holidays, you face a much more difficult fight. The hard-won wisdom of the last fifty years is that any successful strategy against malaria must take into account all the local variables, and use a combination of targeted methods against Plasmodium and its vector. The CDC summed up our present state with a bit of determined pessimism:

With the success of DDT, the advent of less toxic, more effective synthetic antimalarials, and the enthusiastic and urgent belief that time and money were of the essence, the World Health Organization (WHO) submitted at the World Health Assembly in 1955 an ambitious proposal for the eradication of malaria worldwide. Eradication efforts began and focused on house spraying with residual insecticides, antimalarial drug treatment, and surveillance, and would be carried out in 4 successive steps: preparation, attack, consolidation, and maintenance. Successes included eradication in nations with temperate climates and seasonal malaria transmission. Some countries such as India and Sri Lanka had sharp reductions in the number of cases, followed by increases to substantial levels after efforts ceased. Other nations had negligible progress (such as Indonesia, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Nicaragua). Some nations were excluded completely from the eradication campaign (most of sub-Saharan Africa). The emergence of drug resistance, widespread resistance to available insecticides, wars and massive population movements, difficulties in obtaining sustained funding from donor countries, and lack of community participation made the long-term maintenance of the effort untenable. Completion of the eradication campaign was eventually abandoned to one of control.
-by jre

National Review Article on DDT
-by dumbcisco

Malaria was almost eradicated in the early 1960s--from the whole earth. The number of cases registered by health authorities were at a historic low and eradication seemed within our grasp. This was done largely without pesticides
What are you talking about? This was precisely when people were using massive amounts of DDT.

Also, from Lambert's second link:

From the outset, pyrethroids were identified as the insecticide to be used in the spraying component of the LSDI. However, with the discovery of high levels of pyrethroid resistance in An. funestus, meetings were held with the RMCC, national and international experts to recommend an alternative to the use of this family of insecticides. Based on scientific data, it was unanimously agreed the best course of action would be to use DDT. In the light of Mozambique not agreeing to the use of DDT, an alternative recommendation was that a carbamate such as Bendiocarb be used.

So. The unanimous scientific choice is to use DDT. But they don't, and instead go with a more expensive insecticide... now why would that be, I wonder?
-by tc

TC, Ron is referring to the fact that Malaria was elminated from most of Europe and most of North America prior to World War II and the introduction of World War II.
-by Ian Gould
DDT was examined by the US government in 1972, according to JunkScience:
In April 1972, after seven months of testimony, EPA Administrative Law Judge Edmund Sweeney stated that “DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man. ... The uses of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife. ... The evidence in this proceeding supports the conclusion that there is a present need for the essential uses of DDT.”*

Two months later, EPA head [and Environmental Defense Fund member/fundraiser] William Ruckelshaus - who had never attended a single day’s session in the seven months of EPA hearings, and who admittedly had not even read the transcript of the hearings - overturned Judge Sweeney’s decision. Ruckelshaus declared that DDT was a “potential human carcinogen” and banned it for virtually all uses.
Maybe it's time to reexamine this and quit presuming there's a problem with this chemical without the evidence to back it up. And if you read any more articles at scienceblogs, be aware that despite the impressive name, many advocates and junk scientists post there on various hot, activist topics.

*UPDATE: The World Health Organization is apparently going to endorse the use of DDT because whatever risks it might have are outweighed by the benefits in fighting Malaria and other insect-carried diseases.
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The quality of education in the United States is constantly under scrutiny and the subject of debate. For many if not most public school districts, the quality is lacking, students graduating with minimal skills and sometimes without the ability to even read. In Oregon, for instance, one test ranked the state in the bottom 5 states in quality of education, but at the same time, the spending per student was among the 5 highest in the nation.

In a recent column by Linda Chavez, it was revealed that teachers are failing the grade as well. 34 states were notified by the federal Department of Education that their teacher testing had major problems.
In the District of Columbia, for example, teachers can be certified by scoring barely above the 20th percentile on the Praxis test, an exam used by 29 states to test who is fit to teach. The other states aren't much better, granting certification to teachers so long as they score above the bottom third of all test takers.
This reminds me of the state of Massachusetts where 60% of the people seeking teacher certification failed the test. The state education board made the test easier, and over 40% failed again.

Johnny can't read, can't add, and can't find his own state on a map. Johnny doesn't know history, doesn't know grammar, and certainly doesn't know science. But he knows what's on TV and how to use a cell phone text messenger.

Who's to blame? What can be done? Are ventures such as charter schools a viable alternative? Is home schooling a good answer, or does a student miss out on too many social opportunities by staying home?

I've invited some of the most intelligent, consistent, and informed commenters I could find around the internet to discuss this problem, to examine the issue of education, at all levels. If you want to join in feel free, but unlike my usual policy toward commenting, I have zero tolerance for trolls. Keep it polite, thoughtful, informative, and useful.
-Christopher Taylor
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Quote of the day

“Neither good intentions nor efficiency of organisation can preserve decency in a system in which personal freedom and individual responsibility are destroyed.”
-Fredrick Hayek The Road to Serfdom
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Friday, July 28, 2006


"It will probably take a combination of discourse and military force to end terrorism."

Ann Coulter
I'm not a big Ann Coulter fan. The more fame and age she gets, the more unpleasent and deliberately provocative she seems to become. Bitchy, to use a word. She overgeneralizes and uses hyperbole far too often, attacking "liberals" when she means "modern, anti war radical leftists" for example. Lately, she's been saying things that seem calculated to get press and attention timed with the release of her new book.

That said, she often has good points in her columns, she brings up good points if you can wade through the snark and bitterness. Miss Coulter's recent article "More of John Kerry's retroactive campaign promises" is about terrorist attacks in the past, reviewing a partial list of terrorist strikes that US properties, people, and homeland have suffered over the years.

It starts in 1979, and I'll give you a partial list that she offers; the whole list of significant terrorist strikes from 1961-2003 is offered by the State Department:
  • November 1979: Muslim extremists (Iranian variety) seized the U.S. embassy in Iran and held 52 American hostages for 444 days, following Democrat Jimmy Carter's masterful foreign policy granting Islamic fanaticism its first real foothold in the Middle East.
  • 1982: Muslim extremists (mostly Hezbollah) began a nearly decade-long habit of taking Americans and Europeans hostage in Lebanon, killing William Buckley and holding Terry Anderson for 6 1/2 years.
  • April 1983: Muslim extremists (Islamic Jihad or possibly Hezbollah) bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 16 Americans.
  • September 1984: Muslim extremists (Hezbollah) exploded a truck bomb at the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut, killing 24 people, including two U.S. servicemen.
  • October 1985: Muslim extremists (Palestine Liberation Front backed by Libya) seized an Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, killing 69-year-old American Leon Klinghoffer by shooting him and then tossing his body overboard.
  • April 1986: Muslim extremists (backed by Libya) bombed a discotheque frequented by U.S. servicemen in West Berlin, injuring hundreds and killing two, including a U.S. soldier.
  • December 1988: Muslim extremists (backed by Libya) bombed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 on board and 11 on the ground.
  • February 1993: Muslim extremists (al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, possibly with involvement of friendly rival al-Qaida) set off a bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center, killing six and wounding more than 1,000.
  • June 1996: Muslim extremists (13 Saudis and a Lebanese member of Hezbollah, probably with involvement of al-Qaida) explode a truck bomb outside the Khobar Towers military complex, killing 19 American servicemen and injuring hundreds.
  • August 1998: Muslim extremists (al-Qaida) explode truck bombs at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and injuring thousands.
  • October 2000: Muslim extremists (al-Qaida) blow up the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole, killing 17 U.S. sailors.
  • Sept. 11, 2001: Muslim extremists (al-Qaida) hijack commercial aircraft and fly planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 Americans.

There are many more, I trimmed it down to one a year. Miss Coulter also adds in attacks by terrorist groups like Hezbollah on military targets, which while bad, are not technically terrorism.

Her point? John Kerry's statement that the war between Israel and its enemies "wouldn't have happened" if he was President is simply ignorant and foolish. Terrorism isn't new. Hezbollah existed and was antagonizing, attacking, and killing Israelis long before he ran for Sentate, let alone the Presidency. Ann goes on to point out Kerry's contradiction of previous statements he's made, but that comes as no surprise to someone familiar with the man. Now, it's easy to dismiss John Kerry as an idiot, because he makes foolish statements of this kind regularly.

But he's echoing a more deeply held sentiment that some people have, and that's the delusion that we're stirring up and antagonizing terrorists who would be nice folks knitting at home and raising camels if only we'd stop being so mean and imperialistic. They point to the War on Terror as the reason for events, totally ignoring the history of the region and the recent history of terrorism. This isn't new, it's not because we're so mean to them, and it's not going to stop by electing John Kerry.

Commenters at Town Hall responded to Ann Coulter's article:
My Kerry-ish promise If I'm elected President, everyone in the US will be conservative multi-millionaires, and world peace will reign supreme.

Can I count on y'all's votes in 2008?
-by BrianR

What war would the Democrats ever fight? Every time there is a military conflict, they see more pressing business elswhere. We go to Afghanistan, the dems want to open talks with North Korea. We depose Saddam, the dems say we need to focus on Afghanistan; stand up to North Korea, dems want to confront Iran, and the beat goes on. The dems should change their mascot from a donkey to someone kicking a can down the road, because that is their foreign policy; kick the can down the road, avoid making any tough decisions and let the next guy clean up the mess. That way the dems can always say that it didn't happen on their watch, which is technically true, but they are always the ones laying the foundations for disasters.
-by Flagwaver

John Kerry is a tragicomic figure. He is obviously a man of some intelligence -- having graduated from Yale at virtually the same level as George W. Bush. He has a respectable job resume in many respects: county prosecutor, Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, U.S. Senator, author, Democratic candidate for the 2004 presidential race, etc.

The tragic aspect of the man is his self-delusion. It first became public in 1971 during his Senate testimony, which was largely fictional. It has continued mostly unabated since. For Kerry to delude himself into thinking Hezbollah's attacks on Israel would not have happened under his watch is what we have come to expect from this curious man.
-by gnucarsmell

Why even go after OBL?
After all, all of the actual perpetrators of the 9/11 hijackings were killed along with their victims. If a man kills his wife and then turns the gun on himself, we don't arrest his mother-in-law. Continue to narrow your focus and this is where you'll arrive.

What the left doesn't seem to understand is that our enemy in this current war is unlike any other we've faced before. In the past our enemies have been more like tumors, and we have been able to locate them and destroy them where they live. The current enemy is more like a blood-borne parasite that is festering in every organ of the world's body. Not as easy to remove, and just as deadly.

The enemy is intentionally anonymous. They want to look like everyone else. I have a friend who was in one of the first marine units to march into Baghdad. He says that most of the people did come out and greet them as liberators. There were some, however, who came out with the crowds, pretending to be excited to see the Americans, hoping to get close to the marines so they could injure or kill one of them. It didn't take long before they were forced to err on the side of caution and simply couldn't let any civilians close to them.

John Kerry and his ilk foolishly seem to think we're dealing with an enemy who would stop fighting if only we really understood them and they really understood us. We want to live in peace and liberty, and they want us dead. There's no way to come to any compromise when the two sides desire such disparate outcomes.

Q: "Hey, John. There's a jackal gnawing off your head. What are you going to do?"

A: "I'll go to the UN and have them pass a resolution which explains to him that his behavior doesn't pass the international test and he must therefore cease forthwi . . ." (faints, thankfullly, from loss of blood. Or we'd be reading his response until labor day).

In order for diplomacy to work, you must first be dealing with someone capable of rational thought. We cannot reason with our current enemy and should not be expected to do so. But, since ol' Johnny boy seems to think he's the only one up to the task, we should call his bluff. Let's give him a one-way ticket to Beirut.
-by Wingo

Any cause that's able to recruit members willing to die for it, is a formidable foe indeed, and is very capable of prevailing against a less committed adversary - and likely to do so. In the last century, the Japanese produced just such warriors but too late to make the difference. The Kamikazes weren't recruited by the State so much as they spontaneously volunteered in defense of it when defeat was clearly approaching.

We've been kept free by individuals who devoted themselves to the point of death should it be necessitated by circumstances - we didn't set out to purposely kill ourselves.

The Jihadists have taken this passion to a even deadlier level - death as a goal. It's been said that the deadliest fighter on a nuclear battlefield is the soldier, having been exposed to nuclear radiation and realizing he's finished, turns himself into a suicide weapon in his final hours alive. The Jihadists are even more deadly since they aren't restricted by time or deteriorating health.

Therefore, we are indeed fighting a war of survival and the sooner the West decides that this enemy needs to be taken much more seriously, the better it's chances for survival. Their successes can only strengthen them as more recruits are attracted to the cause. Appeasing them is their success since it is an indication of weakness that may be exploited. That's why we nor the Israelis cannot give in any longer.

Ann has made it quite clear that this world-wide Jihad is growing, expanding and widening. It is suicidal to give these people 'rights' - they extend none to their enemies. She is also exactly right that it makes no sense to put leftists in charge of our defense since, corrupted, amoral and bereft of traditional forms of honor though they may be, delusionally thinking they might 'do business' with these people - sort of one gang negotiating with another ('it's only business') or like Faust dealing with the devil - they're sadly mistaken if they think this animal wouldn't eat them too.
-by grubby

Now I'm just a crazy liberal so ya'll can probably ignore this post (or just skip to the bottom). I mean, I am hell bent on America's destruction.

After all, I only lived in New York City for a while and spent 9/11...and 12...and 13 calling (well, trying to get connected to) friends and loved ones, some of whom worked near the towers, desperately praying that they were alive. Even before my brother and his wife moved there last month I was really, really, really rooting for the terrorists to hit there again. Those were such fun days for me...after all, I am a liberal right? And that's what we want.

Oh yeah, and my grandmother, 2 aunts, 3 uncles, and 6 cousins live in Washington, DC. As a deranged liberal I'm hoping the terrorists nuke the whole town. Nothing would make me happier than to go to a whole bunch of funerals and console my mother and and any other survivors. After all, I am a liberal right? And that's what we want.

And I'm rooting for the North Koreans to kill my cousin serving in the Navy in Japan. And for the insurgents to kill another cousin and his wife serving in the Marines in Iraq. I'm a liberal right? So I really want them dead too.

And since I'm a liberal living in Atlanta - probably a target too - in my own liberal deranged way I'm obviously rooting for my own death.

And since I'm a liberal I'm really, really stupid too (ya'll can probably just ignore the Ph.D I'm working on...that's just a bunch of liberal garbage foisted on me by academia). Since I'm so stupid my math is probably really bad. So it won't help to point out that of the 19 terrorist attacks that Ann points out, 12 happened during Republican administrations. In fact, 11 happened from 1982-1988 during Reagan's administration. But he obviously stopped terrorism.

And it won't help to point out that 2 of the 7 attacks during Democratic administrations happened during the first 2 months of Clinton's administration. Obviously Bush bears NO responsibility for 9/11 - that happened 8 months into this administration, but those 2 attacks right after Clinton took power...definitely Bill's fault. If he hadn't been shooting missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan to kill terrorists...oh, that's right. That was just to distract from his receipt of oral pleasure. That, of course, was a national crisis.

Sarcasm aside, it would be really, really nice to have an actual discussion about ending terrorism. That does mean, whether people want to admit it or not, removing the conditions that lead people to think that strapping explosives on oneself and killing innocent civilians is an acceptable idea. Because it's not an acceptable idea. It will probably take a combination of discourse and military force to end terrorism.

And believe it or not, that's what (most) liberals want. An end to the death and destruction. Same as (most) conservatives and (most) Israelis and (most) Lebanese and (most) get the point. Most people want an end to the death and destruction.

I wish I had the answer. I wish someone had the answer. I'm not sure there is AN answer. I know that some of my liberal friends don't have it. Yes, some of them have ridiculous non-solutions that blame the victims. But that's not much better than some of Ann's ridiculous posts that suggest (well, state) that we can just militarily wipe terrorists off the planet. If we could, I'd support that...within the limits of proportionate response (I know. Us liberals have this terrible habit of worrying about civilian deaths when those deaths are disproportionate to the value of the target. The damn military Uniform Code of Military Justice has those same stupid drawbacks...).

So, if you've read this far...why don't we not blame Carter, or Reagan, or Bush I, or Clinton, or Bush II, or liberals, or conservatives, or democrats or republicans for terrorism. Let's get past the notion that one side is rooting for us to lose and the other is looking to use this for purposes of advancement of an agenda. If anyone wants to do that, and frankly Ann is not at all interested in that from her consistent vantage of just bashing the other side (yeah, I'll try to make peace with conservatives, but I'll criticize Ann for the vitriol she spews), then I'll be happy to have the conversation. I don't have the answers, but I'm kind of smart (for a liberal) and lots of ya'll are too, and maybe we can come up with something reasonable and maybe Ann will notice, or someone else here, and well even if not, maybe libs and cons can have rational, reasonable discourse, and that's a good thing too.
-by Tybeeflip

My frustration with today's liberals is that they are putting party politics ahead of this battle we are in on a daily basis. I think if they get the white house they will continue the fight but today they can't join it verbally for fear that Bush' poll #'s will go up. I contrast that with 1998 when Bill Clinton called for regime change in Iraq and asked for Congressional authorization to bomb people. Now it was mentioned and a reasonable person could assume that Bill was just trying to change the headlines from his Lewinsky problem, but the Senate voted 98-0 to grant him this authority. The republicans would not play politics with our security in that case.

You cannot get today's democrats to do that, other than Joe Lieberman--who is a real hero. Today's democrats are like some kids I used to coach in basketball--they'd rather score 25 points in a loss than 5 points in a win. It's not good for the team. And the real question dems should be asking today about the war is not if we knew then what we know now about WMD would we still authorize it. Rather it is if we knew then what we know today about corruption at the UN and in the Oil for Food program would we still call for international approval of our efforts. Other than calling Saddam a bad guy--do ya think?--they refuse to mourn the innocents that died because of Saddam and Kofi Annan and France and Russia and Germany and China. Or even the thousands being killed by their terrorists country men in Iraq. Just those who are used as human shields and killed by Israel or the US. The liberal lack of support hurts us--it lengthens the war because the terrorists get the idea if they just outlast Bush we'll back off.

You sound like an adult but the Democratic Party and their officials try to please the whacko childish side in order to get their support. They behave like children in so many ways. I have read Kos and Huffpo to try to test my thoughts and see where we can find any agreement. It's not there.
-by GoBlue

I've been in the Air Force for 20 years now and I (like all other service members) pray for peace and would prefer to avoid conflicts when at all possible. However, we are in this war whether we want it or not and total defeat of these fanatics MUST be our only goal. I would never advocate the needless killing of innocents, but we can only win this war by the total annihilation of the enemy. In WWII, we didn’t seek to “hamper the Nazi’s war fighting abilities” or “discourage future attacks” - our goal was their complete destruction. We too often expect our military (and currently the Israelis) to get into the ring with boxing gloves – while our enemy uses a shotgun. Unfortunately, too many Americans (i.e. liberals) live in a “what should be” world and not in reality.

Liberals believe that “compassion and understanding” will end all disputes and that “we must have done something wrong” to create this situation. Read your history! This is not a new conflict – the same people have been trying to kill us and our ancestors for thousands of years. When your enemy’s only goal is your death, no amount of “compassion and understanding” will improve the situation. Unfortunately, this conflict may never go away; we can only kill or remove as many as possible and make state-sponsors pay an extremely high price for their support. We can all debate the “perfect solution”, but until, and if, that solution is found we must all be on the same side.

I would love to live in a perfect world, in which we all get along. However, the reality is that someone will always want what you have or disagree with your ideals and believe violence is the only answer. You can defend yourself or die – it actually is that “black and white”.
-by Icedog01

Let's not forget Ann Coulter forgot Yasser Arafat's involvement in the 1973 murder of the late U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel Jr.
-by Shovav

Of course, Democrats controlld the White House for six of the 27 years Ann mentioned. Not a good scorecard for Republican's protecting us from terrorists.

When the Islamofascists killed 241 of our US MArines in Lebanon, what did Ronald Reagan do? HE CUT AND RAN.

When Ayatollah Khomeni turned Iran even more nutty extremist, what did Ronald Regan do? He sent Khomeni a birthday cake and more guns to use to take hostages in Lebanon.
When those nuts took hostage after hostage in Lebanon in the 1980's, what did Ronald Reagan do? NOTHING.

ETC, etc, etc. And when Bill Clinton tried to do something, what was the Republican response? "Wag the dog! Wag the dog!" Stop distracting us from the really serious issues of the day, like the President having a girlfriend.

Maybe if the Republican controlled Congress had spent the CLinto years oing after Bin Laden as hard as they went after President Clinton, 9/11 might have been prevented.
I also don't recall George Bush once saying terrorism was much of a threat when he ran for President in 2000.
-by jsh

Great post jsh.

You complain that most presidents during that time frame were Republican but then whine about the GOP congress not doing anything prior to 9/11 under a Dem president. Might I point out that it was a fully Dem controlled congress for 40 years prior to 1996. Doesn't seem like they accomplished a whole lot in regards to terror in that time.

Besides who was in control, the whole point of the article is to show that Osama is not the only terrorist out there as Dems seem to think. And one of the first things you reply with is why didn't the Republicans get Osama?!

Besides pretty much validating everything Ann said, you also seem to leave out the fact that Clinton was offered Osama and declined. You also leave out the fact that his attempts to "stop terrorism" involved the brilliant strategy of bombing pharmaceutical plants in the Sudan. Quite a success that was.

But you're right about that Reagan guy, he really did nothing at all. That whole economic boom in the 80s that tripled our output, stopping communism (I know, I know, it was actually Truman even though libs didn't believe in communism until it was defeated), and shutting up Qadafi are all meaningless I suppose.

But hey, you raised some great points about how Republicans let 9/11 happen and how all they care about is Monica Lewinsky. Quite impressive and thanks for the two cents but I'd say its back to basic arithmetic for you.
-by neocon

jsh, I was gonna answer your rant but I had to stop laughing first.

Your cherry-picking argument is so full of bullsh*t I'll start with Iran. You may remember a President in need of a spine who allowed the Ayatollah to GET CONTROL of Iran because Carter felt the Shah violated human rights. Well LA-DI-DA, the Iranians today STONE people to death.

Reagan was well-advised to use the Contras to fight the Sandinistas, another kill as you go Commie group. Nicaragua is a free country today thanks in part to that.

The 80's burst of terrorism was due mainly in part to the ineptitude of the Carter regime whose spinelessness in dealing with 52 hostages that the Ayatollah held for 444 days led many Islamfascists to think that we were a paper tiger. Hence, the explosion of terrorism that Reagan had to deal with. In the same manner that Bush as to clean up Clinton's mess due to Bubba's lack of response.

You say Bubba was doing something about it? What pray tell? He shot missiles at an empty aspirin factory in the Sudan three hours after he gave them warning. He did nothing about the Khobar Towers. He did nothing but send an FBI investigation team to the USS Cole disaster. [explitive deleted], I could go on and on.

As I have stated elsewhere, Bubba and company were very effective in attacking Americans trying to practice their freedom of religion but to the left, that's okay, they're evil right-wingers huh?

Three more points. One, it wasn't about his bj in the Oral Office, it was about LYING UNDER OATH to a Federal grand Jury. Why do you libs have such a hard time understanding that PERJURY is a crime, a FELONY.

Two, if Bubba was so concerned with fighting terrorism why did his administartion overrirde FAA concern over Atta and his nutjobs being trained at a flight school in Florida?

Three, Sudan offered OBL to Clinton three times. Clinton refused all three times. Too bad, if he'd have bagged him, maybe 9-11 could have been averted.
-by GunnyG

You are asbsolutely correct: the Democrats controlled COngress for most of the period in question. I did not mean to absolve them of responsibility. I was just rying to point out that up until Sept. 10, 2001, neither party took this threat particularly seriously.

My statement "Reagan did nothing" was to the question of his repsonse to the ongoing abduction and humiliation of American after American in Lebanon in the 1980's. (It had nothing to do with the economy or any other factor.)

My overall point is that both parties have failed to see the real threat to America. Ann Coulter claims only Republicans will protect us.

The record shows otherwise. When the terrorists blew up the marine barracks in 1983 in Lebanon, killing 241 Americans, Reagan cut and ran. That sent a powerful message to the terrorists which we are still paying for.
-by jsh
See, the problem is that the Islamic extremists are becoming bolder and more active recently - after being cowed and crushed for a few years by successful coalition efforts in the War on Terror. But the question that isn't asked is "would they be doing this if they weren't attacked by the US?" And the answer is obviously, yes, they would have, because this has always been their goal. If there has been any motivation from the War on Terror, its come from appeasement and frightened leftists and European nations capitulating to demands by Islamofascists and echoing their rhetoric in trying to bring down the President.

TybeeFlip above is like many liberals today, who decry the use of violence and call for a "better solution" while simulntaneously unable to offer that better solution and rejecting President Bush's plan as unfeasible, warmongering, and imperialistic. President Bush wants to establish democracy in the Middle East, causing the ideals of liberty to flourish in the region and over time eliminate the radical extremist terrorists by showing them a better way... while fighting them to stop them from taking action elsewhere.

It's "a combination of discourse and military force" that TybeeFlip mentions... but he'd likely consider President Bush a horrible, evil man. And an idiot. And a super genius bent on ruling the world. All at once, somehow. Or maybe he's not so inclined and is more thoughtful and rational - some such modern liberals do exist. I'd like to think he's not but the more thoughtful kind are few and far between these days it seems.
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there is more evidence of an Islamization of democracy in the West than of any spread of democracy in the Islamic world.

Europe has managed to set up and is working on the final details of the European Union, which is intended to make the continent (at least the members they'll accept) a stronger economic power in the world and function as a sort of aggregate superpower - without a military to speak of. But in Brussels Journal, Fjordman expresses a concern over how the European governments work and what is happening to the region:

At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama pronounced that we had arrived at “The End of History”, and that capitalism and liberal democracy would now be the only global system left. But when I look at Europe today, I see democracies under threat because of an elaborate Eurabian bureaucracy and Islamic fanaticism. I see countries unwilling or unable to defend themselves against massive immigration/colonization.

Has democracy become too soft to function? Have we arrived at “the End of Democracy” rather than “the End of History?”

Fjordman goes on to examine the new rise of communism and a strange nostalgia for the crushing tyranny and misery of Eastern Germany, but notes that the real threat to Democracy in Europe is not neocommunism, but rather "transnational progressivism."

Transnational progressivism is undemocratic and authoritarian to its core. It presupposes the rule of enlightened “experts” and élite groups over the ignorant masses, who are stupid and should not be permitted to make important decisions without supervision. Its goal is to establish a benign oligarchy, where power will reside within smaller groups which will conduct their affairs out of the public view.

Churchill the FraudIn essence, a wiser, more enlightened few will rule over the idiot masses in layers of bureaucracy that insulate them from the people they are in power over. As John Fonte of the Hudson Institute points out, “transnationalism” and “Multiculturalism” are presented as unstoppable forces of history, but in reality they are “ideological tools, championed by activist élites.” Fjordman then goes on to point out that a key factor assisting this effort is immigration, which he describes:

One of the most serious challenges to democracy in the 21st century is the unprecedented pressure from migration, and the fact that certain groups can decide to permanently change the entire demographic make-up of a country without public debate and without public consent, by simply refraining from upholding its borders. It has been called “the greatest demographic experiment ever forced onto a people politically.”

Muslim ImmigrantsEven in the USA, the most astonishing aspect of the immigration debate is that the élites “think they can override the clear and huge resistance of the American people.” As columnist Tony Blankley wrote, the Senate was prepared to “legislate into the teeth of the will of the American public.” Eight out of ten Americans wanted the borders closed to millions of illegal immigrants, yet nothing substantial has been done. There has to be a reason for this.

In Europe, Fjordman points out, immigration policy is being influenced by forces outside individual nations, to the detriment of liberty and democracy within those nations:

It cannot be dismissed as Leftist parties being merely “naive.” After a narrow election victory, Italian Socialists in 2006 almost immediately embarked upon expanding immigration and granting citizenship to tens of thousands of Muslims already in the country.

Fjordman asks the most pertinent, key question that is being deliberately avoided in any discussion: is democracy compaitible with multiculturalism? His conclusion is it is not, and I share that concern. It simply pits groups against each other in a constant struggle for power that requires an authoritarian government to control and stabilize. In essence, it creates a problem in a previously peaceful society that requires the transnational progressivist tyranny to deal with.

Political correctness and multiculturalism has a side to it that is more than annoying and foolish, it is actually sinister:

Noam ChomskyWhat should we label such undemocratic, top-down planning? The Rule of Experts, or the Tyranny of Experts? Or what about the Rise of Transnational Anti-Democrats and Stealth Fascism? I have warned against “Stealth Socialism,” Marxism masquerading as something else. Perhaps we should also look out for “Stealth Fascism,” the authoritarian rule of a small group of individuals, hailing the glories of an invented past as the path to a powerful future. All possible only if we give up our freedoms in favor of their enlightened rule, of course.

Commenters replied to this very lengthy, but highly recommended essay:
The final nail in the immigration coffin was nailed in by Labor/Democrats. They didn't want competition for union labor so in the name of fairness and tolerance in 1965 Ted Kennedy introduced a bill that essentially gave equal treatment to african goatherders as to european engineers. The only way to immigrate across the Atlantic US <---> EU is to apply for asylum or marry a citizen. Yes, there are a very few exceptions that I won't go into detail with but the current system insures that the vast majority of immigrants are unskilled and largely unwanted by their new host country. It is not an accident that there are problems now because the system made it INEVITABLE.

Giving priority to skilled immigrants needs to be done immediately and stop the insanity of allowing arranged marriages to be used along with family reunification as a valid criteria for immigration. Denmark is moving in the right direction. If Lena goes to Egypt and falls in love with Ahmed she can move to Egypt and get married and enjoy living under Islamic totalitarianism rather than the Swedish method of bringing Ahmeds entire family to Sweden for a marriage that probaly will only last 2 or 3 years at most. Insanity.
-by Amsterdamsky

Thank you for the excellent post. We are increasingly governed by elites who, no matter which country they come from, have far more in common with one another than they do with the people who they supposedly represent. They have been conditioned to believe that they are some kind of artist and the common people are just the canvas upon which they can paint their visions of utopia. The trouble they face in democratic countries is that there are not just mechanisms for organized opposition to their artistic endeavors but cultural resistance as well, which could, if offended deeply enough, result in them being thrown out of their positions of power. And the best way to cut this off is to dilute the culture by allowing mass immigration of people whose own culture is incompatible with the local one. Its happening in much of Europe, and its happening in the US.

The worst thing of all is the unshakeable confidence that the elites have in themselves. The countries that relied on central planning of the economy and society were abysmal failures, which in large part is probably due to the fact that, in mathematical terms, they are "complex systems." But in their arrogance the ruling elites think that they can accomplish what no one has ever been able to do before.

In your essay you had some question as to what such people should be called. Perhaps the best answer is a very old label indeed: the Kakistocracy--rule by those who are least fit or principled.
-by tcobb

The technocrats of the world seek to escape accountability, which democracy requires. And they can't stand being judged by "the people".

The escape route: bury accountability behind numerous layers of indirection so there is no way for them to be monitored by anyone who actually would risk firing them. To relate this to another thread: another trick is to figure out ways to get access to taxes, ideally those you can easily raise, without needing to consult the people. Or you can organize an NGO and raise money from "beautiful people" and be truly unaccountable, as long as you're working for a "good cause".
-by Foobarista

The difference between euroland and the USA is the difference between hume/kant/adam smith and dualism and Hagel/marx and monism.

the question is not islam yes or no? its what kind of islam, a secualar, dualistic islam might in fact be good for euorland just as a dualistic christdom is good for america.

If american wins and the islamists are beaten, the the winner is euroland, who will have to alter their monist ways to accomodate the islamic diaproa.

The problem for euroland is that america can afford to lose,and retreat to its side of the world and rebuild from there.

the trouble is the euors are too stupid to see the error of thier monist progressive ways.
-by Owls001

"the trouble is the euors are too stupid to see the error of thier monist progressive ways."
I don't know. Judging from the anger here I would say they are not as stupid as their leader. Bashing Bush used to be a certain conversation starter but now its bashing anything about the EU or Dutch government especially since the Hirsi Ali trainwreck. In typical eurowanker fashion the VVD chose a safe a boring leader despite the fact that Rita Verdonk could have led them to a near majority. Reminds me of Dole vs. Clintoon....yawn.....Rome is burning but I made good money this year.....yawn.....
-by Amsterdamsky

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Crying 7 year old
OK this is a topic that is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. If you have a little girl reading this or are one, I'd suggest you send her away or read something else. Here's a better link for you to peruse.

In Europe, there is a crime which holds a sentence of up to 14 years in prison for it's commission, a brutality that is difficult to write about let alone read. This crime is specifically targeted against women, usually girls under the age of 16. So far, nobody has been convicted of this crime, despite an estimate by UK-based Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (Forward) that 279,500 women living in Britain alone who have suffered this brutal crime.

Reuters has the story of one such crime:
Sacdiya Hussein Ali was 7 years old when she was taken to a stranger's house in her native Kenya and held down on a mat by 10 women who pulled her legs apart while a woman cut her with a razor blade.

"The lady who was doing the circumcision came between my legs and she started cutting my private parts," Ali, now 34 and living in London, told Reuters.

"After the cutting I was screaming. They had put some clothes in my mouth so I couldn't shout, but they could still hear me screaming."

Ali is one of an estimated 3 million women and girls who suffer female genital mutilation (FGM) each year.
Seven years old.

7 Year old GirlFemale Genital Mutilation is a real fact in Europe, despite laws against it. Hamilton, Detective Inspector from London police's Child Abuse Command, says "It's not something you can stamp out in two seconds -- it's been going for thousands of years." I imagine it is "difficult to combat" as she says in the Reuters story, if you don't bother convicting anyone of the crime. One would even say you're not even combatting it at all.

7 Years oldBut what really struck me when I read this article - and it upset Michelle Malkin as well - is the PC euphemism that Detective Inspector Hamilton used: "crime of love." She used this term because she believes the people doing this think it's the right thing to do. Which is likely an accurate depiction of the situation. But I'm curious, would she have described Idi Amin's cannibalism as a "Gourmet Crime" or the systematic murder of Gypsies in Nazi Germany as a "Crime of Love" because the Sonderkommanden thought they were doing the right thing?

7 Years OldWhy this euphemism at all, is it squeamishness on her part or a deliberate attempt to cast something in a multicultural light, to seem understanding and tolerant, while yet finding some way to condemn it? When you see the term Crime of Love, does that have the same visceral, powerful impact as Female Genital Mutilation" or is it a noted reduction in the horror of the crime? Shall we come up with a PC version of the word Rape so as to not offend the rapist culture? Crime of Desire!

7 Years oldThis kind of thing is repulsive to me on the most basic level, it fills me with a violent, red haze that makes me reach for the nearest weapon. I cannot comprehend standing by, let alone assisting the horrific carving up in the most painful possible manner of a helpless, terrified, confused little girl. Every girl I've posted pictures of in this story is seven years old, according to Google's image search. Think of her held down and attacked with a razor. Think of her stitched up, without anesthesia, with a thorn.

7 Years OldThis is the kind of thing that real men read about and feel a burning need to take action about, to deal with, to end. Something worth fighting for, a hill worth taking. But what can I do? What impact can a man have over an event taking place around the planet? Some days I wish I didn't read the news, didn't see this kind of thing, didn't know what was happening.

This is not a religious issue, despite it's practice in Europe being exclusively among Islamic peoples. This is not a mandate of the Koran, this is not required by Sharia law. It is a horrific, evil, barbaric, and hateful crime against little girls. This must be stopped, and the lack of any convictions in Europe does not strike me as a positive sign that the European government is particularly concerned about the issue.

Michelle Malkin also has a story up about a grotesque exhibit of "art" consisting entirely of children who have been deliberately driven to tears by the "artist," then photographed. Why would someone do this to toddlers and little children?
"The first little boy I shot, Liam, suddenly became hysterically upset," the Los Angeles-based photographer said. "It reminded me of helplessness and anger I feel about our current political and social situation."
He started crying on his own, and I shot that, and when I got the contact sheets back I thought, "This could go with a caption, 'Four More Years,'" like he was appalled at George Bush's reelection...
Some days I just want to go hiking in the Jefferson Wilderness area and forget the world. Forever.
Three Finger JackMarion Lake
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Quote of the day

Words matter. Words convey moral clarity. Without moral clarity, we will not succeed in Iraq. That is why the terms the press uses to cover this conflict are so vital. For example, take the word "guerillas." As you noted, mainstream media sources like the New York Times often use the terms "insurgents" or "guerillas" to describe the Sunni Triangle gunmen, as if these murderous thugs represented a traditional national liberation movement. But when the Times reports on similar groups of masked reactionary killers operating in Latin American countries, they utilize the phrase "paramilitary death squads." Same murderers, different designations. Yet of the two, "insurgents" and especially "guerillas" has a claim on our sympathies that "paramilitaries" lacks. This is not semantics: imagine if the media routinely called the Sunni Triangle gunmen "right wing paramilitary death squads." Not only would the description be more accurate, but it would offer the American public a clear idea of the enemy in Iraq. And that, in turn, would bolster public attitudes toward the war.
-Steven Vincent (author: In the Red Zone)
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Thursday, July 27, 2006


One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this.

Spanish Talibani
Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmad was captured by coalition forces in Pakistan in 2001 and after spending three years in the Guantanamo Bay facility where terrorists and suspects are being held, was extradited to Spain. He was convicted there of being part of a Spanish al`Qaeda cell like the one that blew up a train in Madrid in 2004. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

However, the Spanish Supreme Court recently ruled that there was a lack of evidence against the man, and that he must be immediately set free:
The Supreme Court said the High Court had not considered Ahmad "innocent until proven guilty" and used evidence collected at Guantanamo that "should be declared totally void and, as such, non-existent."

They went on to describe the Guantanamo Bay facility as "impossible to justify on either legal or political grounds."
Now, however you feel about the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, their status there does not negate the evidence that is gathered. Spanish prisons are no picnic - far worse than Guantanamo Bay (as are French jails) - and evidence gathered in a prison is hardly inadmissible in any court, no matter what you think of the prison.

As Barcepundit reports:
Actually, there was plenty of evidence against the man whom the Supreme Court declared had not been considered "innocent until proven guilty." But it came from the United States, a country that is always guilty until proven innocent.

Chavez and ZapateroSpain has been leaning more and more away from the west and more toward Islam in the war on terror, and this latest stunt by a court less interested in jurisprudence and more in political correctness is not a good sign. Recently the president of Spain showed up in public wearing the palestinian khaffiyeh, and PSOE [the political party President Zapatero is a member of] official José Blanco recently said that Israel is engaging in "indiscriminate attacks against the population of Lebanon." He went on to state that "the civilian deaths are not collateral damage, they are an objective."

The Spanish people have a long heritage of noble honor and dignity, a culture of fierce allegiance to right and wrong, and a laudable desire for justice. Has this all been lost in a sea of relativist socialism? Has Spain taken the route of France to abandon reason and bright tradition for a gray haze of political correctness? Or, like France, is this largely the big cities where the people in the country are less inclined to be this silly?

I have a theory that in two world wars the bulk of the noble, heroic, honorable, and traditional people of Europe were killed off, leaving the weak, the ignoble, the cowardly, and the politically correct in enough numbers to be in power. In the schools, the churches, the government, the media, these festered and grew, teaching and guiding society into what Europe now suffers from. Maybe this is unfair, but to me it explains a lot of what happens.
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"If I can paddle out and get one can I keep it?"

The Cougar Ace
The Cougar Ace out of Singapore was transporting Mazdas when it had a mishap. The ballast of the huge cargo ship was adjusted in deep blue and off the shore of Alaska, one side took on more water than it should, resulting in a dangerous list to one side. Now the entire keel and propeller are out of the water, and everything inside took a predictable tumble. All 23 crew members were saved - if battered and bruised - but the damage to the 4700 Mazdas inside is unknown at this time.

The ship is rather remote, as this line from the AP report helps to illustrate:
Crowley tug Sea Victory left Seattle Tuesday night and was expected to reach the Cougar Ace Aug. 2, according to Beuerman.
That's a week's travel, in which we can only hope no inclement weather causes more damage or the sinking of this vessel. As Autoblog reports:
Mazda does not know the extent of the damage to its vehicles and will refrain from further comment until it has more solid information, but based on photos of the ship, it looks like it's safe to assume that the conditions in the hold are, at best, a gigantic mess.

Commenters at Autoblog honked:

Cougar Ace
I'll take three of any model and make one good one out of it.
-by The other Bob

Look for a Mazda "scratch and dent" sale.
-by Gardiner Westbound

How are the cars shipped? Are they in bubble wrap or that styrofoam popcorn? Are they strapped down super tight?
-by CJ

CJ, based on photos I've seen of that ship being loaded, the cars are lined up and driven on and off.
-by Alex Nunez

For you freaks who enjoy this kind of images, checkout . They have up to the day pictures and detailed description of cargo losses around the world.
-by Cacho

I've been on one of these ships. The vehicles are strapped down tight to avoid movement in rough sea. If a car moves even slightly it would take out all of the surrounding vehicles. So my guess is that if the straps held (which they should) then the vehicles might be ok. It would be interesting to see the vehicles on their sides.
-by Mike

That much of a roll is probably caused by more than just the ballast imbalance...that's cargo shift too. The tie-downs likely aren't designed to support nearly full weight of the vehicles.
-by Matt
According to Mazda's press report, about 60% of the cars are MAZDA3s, headed to the ports of Vancouver (Canada), Tacoma and Hueneme in the USA. The Mazda3 is a very popular model, and from the pictures it looks like one of those little street racer cars made popular in movies like The Fast and the Furious.
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"I think what is happening is that Hezbollah deliberately provoked Israel in order to start a war, in which it would be the underdog and therefore the subject of worldwide sympathy."

Andrew Bolt at the Herald Sun has a blog where he points out an error in judgment:
The truth is - let me say this clearly - we didn’t even expect (this) response (to kidnapping two Israeli soldiers).... That (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us. (Hezbollah expected) the usual, limited response. -Hezbollah spokesman Mahmoud Komati.

Much, much worse than idiots.

Wasn’t World War 1 started by exactly this kind of stupid miscalculation by terrorists?

Mr Bolt is referring to how Arch Duke Ferdinand was assassinated by Bosnian terrorists, using explosives and guns. From this event, alliances and anger built into a war that engulfed much of the world and resulted in millions dead. Apparently Mahmoud Komati expected Israel to simply sit back and take its punishment without retaliating, to be rocketed and have soldiers captured without taking action. Mr Komati was wrong.

Meanwhile, after years of building outposts next to UN buildings and attacking Israel from beside them, Israel fired back and four UN workers were killed. While I mourn the loss of these hapless "peacekeepers" I do wonder what the expected when even the UN report mentions this (highlighting courtesy Little Green Footballs):
Hezbollah and UN FlagsAnother UN position of the Ghanaian battalion in the area of Marwahin in the western sector was also directly hit by one mortar round from the Hezbollah side last night. The round did not explode, and there were no casualties or material damage. Another 5 incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side were reported yesterday. It was also reported that Hezbollah fired from the vicinity of four UN positions at Alma ash Shab, Tibnin, Brashit, and At Tiri. All UNIFIL positions remain occupied and maintained by the troops.
Commenters at Andrew Bolt's blog responded:

The aphorism that comes to mind is careful what you wish for because you may just get it. I find it most unbelievable that there are no death tolls for Hezbollah “fighters” in this war. According to the media all of those killed are civilians in Lebanon. Now how can that not be spin from Hezbollah?

Why do we not hear any condemnation of Hezbollah for their tactic of launching their attacks from within the civilian areas when they know that doing so puts civilians into the line of fire? We only seem to get condemnation of Israel when the blame for both the start of this conflict and the deaths of civilians lies with those who use women and children as human shields .
-by Ian Hall

During the first world war, there were Australian protestors who refered to the conflict as “Some silly European Civil war”. Now the same thing is happening in the Middle East, predominately because two cultures choose not to live together. Lets hope that this “Silly Midlle Eastern Civil War” doesnt spread, because for one of those cultures, that is the aim. I was wondering, Andrew, When will we see Australian Government sponsored evacuations from Isreal, or dont their lives count too?
-by Jason MC

John A of Melbourne (26/7/06 4.23pm)wonders if it is all worth it for two kidnapped soldiers. He conveniently forgets to mention the eight that were murdered in the same raid and that it was across Israel’s border. If Israel does not eliminate these terrorists permanently then who else will ? The UN are toothless.
-by Nigel Linnell

To John & Dave of Cheltenham, If you read the paper today, you would see the article showing the UN’s condemnation of Hizbollah tactics.

It’s convenient you two forget that Hamas and Hizbollah hide within civilian populations (the tactic condemned by the UN chief of relief operations). Also, keep in mind that Hizbollah cowards ("warriors", “soldiers”, etc wouldn’t hide behind women and children like they do) don’t distinguish themselves from the civilian population, so who knows how many of those “civilans” are actual terrorists.

And you’re right Dave - why all this aggression against “one small bit of land”? I mean, cmon, Israel has no oil or anything besides dirt. And where could the Israeli’s go? It was the same situation back at the start of WW2 for the Jews fleeing the Holocaust - nowhere.

Like what’s been said before, this isn’t about conquest or superiority - its about the continual survival of Israel as a nation and as a people.
-by Dave L

”...That (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us...”

What a ridiculous thing to say. Israel exploiting the situation to make war with Lebanon? I think what is happening is that Hezbollah deliberately provoked Israel in order to start a war, in which it would be the underdog and therefore the subject of worldwide sympathy. This war would enable Hezbollah to attack Israel with little or no international backlash, while hiding behind Lebanon. The only loss to Hezbollah are Lebanese civilians, a commodity it obviously cares very little about.
-by Sasha

Surprised indeed must the hezbollah Andrew stated in the cover, this is not the normal response Israel employs. No wonder hezbollah and their “gang” are enraged, Israel changed the rules of the game. Instead of hezbollah raving about violations of muslim rights [because they sure dont worry about Israel’s or anyone else’s] to the UN, and the UN bowing to them, pressurising Israel to relent to the hezbollah’s demands, in return for promises that both the UN and hezbollah know they will never uphold...the Israelies have decided to play for keeps.

I mean...since the days of the Yom Kippur war 1973 - this has always been the accepted protocol (adaptable to any situation) and worked a treat!

The current rules are:hezbollah (terrorists} sends in human bombs, some get caught, most dont - fire rockets to add confusion - kidnap some Israelies and use them for ransom for those caught - Israel responds with bombardments and imprisonment of members of hezbollah - hezbollah plead to the UN about muslim rights - Israel releases those caught under pressure and promises from the UN - hezbollah (terrorists) go back to start of game without ever conceeding a thing - Israel are condemned by the west and remains the antagonist of the middle east.

This method has been used many times in the past very successfully. If it wasn’t for the fact that innocent lives are used as payment for this game, it would be almost humorous.
-by CharlesM

I’m surprised no one has pointed this out; Israel targeted the UN outpost because it was used by Islamic terrorists Hezbollah. The UN were photographed sipping tea with them, some say the UN people were colluding with them.

I blogged it here
-by Dan_W

It is quite obvious that the UN’s belated & token condemnation of Hezbollah acts has been made only because the US refused to play ball with Kofi Anan on “restoring peace” unless the terrorist-loving UN at least pretended to be even-handed.

Plus, I am sure Bush wanted to see some terrorist bleed, and I believe their bleeding is just beginning. Good.

“Restoring Peace” means protecting a civilian population who predominantly support the Hezbollah terrorists.
Why bother ?

Anan’s initial condemnation of Israel was blatantly biased and ignored that it was Hezbollah who started this fray; Hezbollah who chose to establish their strongholds amongst ‘innocent’ civilians. A nation’s right to protect itself against attack is above its responsibility to avoid civilian deaths.

Anan is no longer fit to hold his job and should be replaced. He has now proved to be a mouthpiece for a terrorist organisation, in my view, because the vast majority of those ‘poor’ civilians support Hezbollah, and because he did not at first condemn Hezbollah, who were the instigators of this conflagration.

While I am sure that the Israelis did not deliberately target the the four UN personnel they killed, you could hardly blame them if they had, because Anan’s first outrageous attack on Israel came close to being a UN Declaration of War on the brave and tiny state of Israel.

God help us if we ever get a real World Government led by a pinko creep like him.

As for the Red Cross vans which were hit, I ask the following - 1/. Does anyone seriously believe that these vehicles would not be made available to Hezbollah, given that most of the civil population regard them as heroes? 2/. Is anyone actually claiming these vehicles were being driven by members of the International Red Cross? No - you would hear the Red Cross screaming its lungs out from here if that was the case - so locals, almost certainly supportive of Hezbollah were driving them. Handy mini-buses for Hezbollah...valid targets for Israel. Even arrived with nice clear aiming marks on them.

As for the four UN personnel who were killed, I think it is very likely that Hezbollah were deliberately firing rockets from the vicinity of the UN tower, in the belief they would not be struck back at so close to the UN post. (The UN post has been there for a long time).
And,(of course) the good old even-handed neutral UN people would have kept that to themselves, knowing they were tacitly providing cover for terrorists. Seems it was a costly exercise for them.
Too bad - war is hell.

I hope the US stalls long enough to ensure that the Israelis have at least another week of bombing practice, and I hope neither Australia nor the US send troops. Raise troops from Sierra Leone or Nigeria, and set them loose in the streets of Lebanon to ‘keep peace’.
The less disciplined the better.

When a UN force does arrive in Lebanon, what will happen when Hezbollah fire some more rockets into Israel? ....and Israel responds, which it certainly will?

Hard to imagine the UN forces being able to do much against Israeli forces, because the UN always operates on a shoe-string.

Anyway, Israel will then be free to vent its spleen & its frustrations on the Palestinians, who have not yet paid a sufficient price for their crimes.
-by Pale Criminal

and to PALE_CRIMINAL...I think you went a bit too far blaming the Lebanese people and UN forces on the ground.

While I agree with most of your argument, you seem to have a lot of anger/hatred against the UN and Lebanese that doesnt do your otherwise impressive argument any good. Nice work predicting the UN accident would be due to Hizbollah operating within the compounds tho!

I’m sure most of the civilians in the region want peace. And the only way to do that is for Israel to prove to Hizbollah and Hamas that violence will never work to bring peace. It’s like poking a lion with a stick and screaming in surprise when it turns around and mauls you!

What you need to solve this is (unfortunately) force and strong leaders...unlike Annan who needs a complete spinal replacement. Wasn’t it his son who was caught doing shady deals with Hussein under the pretext of the Oil-for-food program?
-by Dave L

Yes, Dave, it was.

Something I wish would stop is the bizarre arithmetic that some use in regard to war. If a Western power kills any civilians (or those portrayed as such), then the effort is condemned as brutal and out of control. If the bad guys kill entire cities of civilians, they say "oh, they are bad" but seem to think nothing ought to be done about it. In war, it is impossible not to kill civilians, particularly when the enemy hides among them and refuses to wear uniforms.

As Bill Whittle points out in Eject Eject Eject! the reason for uniforms is to protect the populace, to protect civilians. If you dress just like everyone else, then anyone can be the enemy and the population you allegedly are defending suffers from your cowardice:

What is the obvious difference between an enemy Prisoner of War, and an Unlawful Combatant? Suppose two of them were standing in a line-up. What one glaringly obvious thing sets them apart?

That’s right! One is wearing a uniform, and the other isn’t.

And why do soldiers wear uniforms?

It certainly is not to protect the soldier. As a matter of fact, a soldier’s uniform is actually a big flashing neon arrow pointing to some kid that says to the enemy, SHOOT ME!

And that’s exactly what a uniform is for. It makes the soldier into a target to be killed.

Now if that’s all there was to it, you might say that the whole uniform thing is not such a groovy idea. BUT! What a uniform also does -- the corollary to the whole idea of a uniformed person – is to say that if the individual wearing a uniform is a legitimate target, then the person standing next to him in civilian clothes is not.

By wearing uniforms, soldiers differentiate themselves to the enemy. They assume additional risk in order to protect the civilian population. In other words, by identifying themselves as targets with their uniforms, the fighters provide a Sanctuary to the unarmed civilian population.

This is why the Geneva Conventions on war do not protect people who fight like this. This is why civilians get killed in this kind of conflict, and what's more it's difficult to defend civilians who support, assist, and harbor the enemy in any case. Are they really innocent when they take these steps? In criminal law this is called "aiding and abetting" and it can get you thrown in jail just as soon as theft or murder. John Hawkins has more to say on this idea at Human Events online.

Another point of annoyance for me is the kneejerk assumption that if someone is the underdog, then they must be right, or at least the target of sympathy. Was Pol Pot being brutally oppressed by a tyrranical superior power when Vietnam ended his evil regime? If Hitler had been the weaker power, would that have made him any less evil or it wrong for the allies to crush his evil regime? Size does not confer moral superiority.

*UPDATE: By way of comparison, Hezbollah has attacked and wounded UN observers in Lebanon twice this week (both PDF files). Both attacks were directly and intentionally on UN personel and not on Israeli sites which were next to UN personel. I don't seem to recall that being reported by the legacy media.

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Quote of the day

"The greatest concentration of wealth in America is not with big corporations or with private citizens. It is in Washington, D.C. and the people that have it take it through the force of law."
-Rush Limbaugh

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Songs I Like - The Thing (Phil Harris)

"Oh, get out of here with that <bumpadump> And don't come back no more!"

Phil Harris was a songwriter, band leader and comedian. He was a fixture on the Jack Benny program for over 20 years, and one of the songs he wrote was a humorous bit called "the Thing." What exactly this Thing was nobody knew, and it wasn't ever explained. Part of the charm is imagining what on earth this poor sap found on the beach, because in place of the name was a bumpadump from the drums.

The version I have is sung by Vaughn Monroe, a terrific singer in the 30s, 40s and 50s with a great baritone voice and tremendous talent. The Thing was a top 40 hit in 1951, getting all the way up to number 29. It's just a fun song that is easy to sing along with, like most at the time. This was back when you had to be clear and easy to understand on low-quality radios, and couldn't rely on videos or slick production tricks to cover up your lack of talent and originality.

While I was walkin' down the beach
One bright and sunny day
I saw a great big wooden box
A-floatin' in the bay
I pulled it in and opened it up
And much to my surprise
Oh, I discovered a...
Right before my eyes
Oh, I discovered a...
Right before my eyes

I picked it up and ran to town
As happy as a king
I took it to a guy I knew
Who'd buy most anything
But this is what he hollered at me
As I walked in his shop
"Oh, get out of here with that...
Before I call a cop"
"Oh, get out of here with that...
Before I call a cop"

I turned around and got right out
A-runnin' for my life
And then I took it home with me
To give it to my wife
But this is what she hollered at me
As I walked in the door
"Oh, get out of here with that...
And don't come back no more"
"Oh, get out of here with that...
And don't come back no more"

--- Instrumental Interlude ----

I wandered all around the town
Until I chanced to meet
A hobo who was lookin' for
A handout on the street
He said he'd take most any old thing
He was a desperate man
But when I showed him the...
He turned around and ran
Oh, when I showed him the...
He turned around and ran

I wandered on for many years
A victim of my fate
Until one day I came upon
St Peter at the gate
And when I tried to take it inside
He told me where to go
Get out of here with that...
And take it down below
Oh, get out of here with that...
And take it down below

The moral of this story is
If you're out on the beach
And you should see a great big box
And it's within your reach
Don't ever stop and open it up
That's my advice to you
'Cause you'll never get rid of the...
No matter what you do
Oh, you'll never get rid of the...
No matter what you do

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