Saturday, March 22, 2003

The Bigots Among Us

Glenn Reynolds, a professor of law at a state university, is approvingly linking to someone who believes that the recent alleged actions at the101st, lead us to suspect the "loyalty" of all Muslim Americans.

I wonder if the professor has any Muslim students. If so, I hope they have good lawyers.

(via O. Dub)

US Soldier in Custody

over grenade attack. Holy crap. No link yet, but prime suspect in is one of ours. It's in the breaking news headlines up top at MSNBC, but no story yet.

:Link here.

(CBS) An American Muslim soldier is among three people being questioned in connection with a grenade and small-arms attack that injured at least 10 U.S. soldiers at Camp Pennsylvania in northern Kuwait, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassman.

Strassmann said three grenades were rolled into three officers' tents at the camp. When officers ran from the tents, they were hit by small arms fire.

George Heath, spokesman at Fort Campbell, home base of the 101st, said 10 people were wounded, six seriously.

Strassman said three suspects were being held for questioning: two Kuwaitis who served as translators and an American soldier described as a black Muslim.

Civilian Casualties

You know, I'm quite happy to give the pentagon the benefit of the doubt when it comes to civilian casualities, but they shouldn't be saying stupid things. I mean, sure we're bombing military targets, so sure we can argue that if civilians in those targets are getting killed it's because Saddam is putting civilians in harm's way. But, the claim that this must be so because all of our missiles and bombs are precision guided is a bit meaningless given the fact that so far 3 of them have landed in Iran.

Note To Sully

Mentioning two things in the same piece does not automatically mean you're making a moral equivalence between them.

New Wave Order

What the hell is this?

...The Agonist has a caption contest.

Oh's worse than I thought!

Okay, here's my caption:

Hey, Tori, Kajagoogoo called and they want their clothes back in time for the reunion tour!

100,000-200,000 March in New York

AP article here, and pontificator has a report.


Sneaky Wolf just put up a question. Have fun.

Clear Channel

UggaBugga provides the diagram.

Eschaton Assignment Desk

Some enterprising journalist should find out how the FBI knows how to find all of these Iraqi-Americans.

Know Your Rights

National Lawyers' Guild Hotline # for Americans born in Iraq: (415) 285-1055.

"Everybody has a right not to talk to any government agent. And we recommend that everybody talk to an attorney before talking to any government agent," said Riva Enteen, program director for the Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild. The guild has set up a 24-hour hotline that potential interviewees may call for free legal advice.

Advocates stressed that they wish to cooperate with federal officials. But they question national policies that, post-Sept. 11, have led to the questioning and detention of thousands of Arab and Muslim men.

"The problem is, these interviews are based on race and ethnicity, not on any suspicion that anyone has done anything wrong," said Jayashri Srikantiah, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

Advocates are concerned that people who consent to interviews could see some of their information passed to immigration officials. But FBI spokeswoman LaRae Quy said the agency's intent is not to find immigration violations but to gather information to help the country fight Iraq.

She said her office has not arrested anyone in the course of the interviews, and that people here legally have no reason to fear the FBI.

FBI officials have been granted the power to detain people on alleged immigration violations if they can't press criminal charges, advocates said. And the agency is working with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find Iraqi nationals who are in the country illegally, according to a press release BICE released Thursday.

Advocates said they have heard from a handful of the 125 people FBI officials said they have interviewed so far. Some said they were called a half-dozen times in one day by an agent.

Some interviewees were asked questions, including whether they had family in Iraq and whether they communicate with anyone there frequently, said Helal Omeira of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Also:ACLU Hotline:(415) 285-1055

Alshahwany, an American citizen, said the visit was courteous and quick. She was still in her pajamas and robe when she greeted the agents, whom she did not let in.

``I was startled,'' she said Friday.

The agents wanted to know the whereabouts of her two brothers, one a physician, the other a software engineer. Both are green-card holders, or permanent residents, and emigrated from Iraq three years ago.

She declined to give the agents her brothers' addresses and phone numbers. But after the interview, she called her brothers and they called the FBI agents. Their interviews went without problems, she said.

``I've lived here long enough to know that I have rights. I said this is a voluntary interview but they didn't tell me that,'' said Alshahwany, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1979.

In recent weeks, the FBI met with various community groups to inform them that agents will question Iraqis as part of a national security plan.

``No one should be shocked when we show up,'' Quy said.

For some Iraqi-Americans, including those who were not interviewed, the FBI visits are a reminder of the repressive nation they fled.

Nazar Alquroaishi, 59, who owns a San Jose Internet business that sells computers, was not interviewed by the FBI. Alquroaishi said agents are singling out ``Iraqis, and to me that's a sad story. We hate Saddam and his Iraq because he persecuted us. And we love this country because you can live the way you like and speak out freely

Pro-America and Anti-War

A disturbing development has been the way the media has been willing to contrast being "pro-america" with being "anti-war." This manifests itstelf in the way Bush administration supporting Clear Channel's corporate sponsored "pro-America rallies" were set against the "anti-war" rallies. It also has manifested itself in the way that there are no longer "critics" of the policies of the Bush administration - there are now only "dissenters." This word marginalizes and confers minority status on those who are against the way the Bush administration has pursued this war, even though while the majority may have supported some war, a majority were against this war (before the inevitable 'support the troops' mentality took hold after the war started).

And, it is manifested by something just heard on ABC:

"While the flag wavers are in the majority, the flag burners are making their voices heard."

It's the people saying things like that who are anti-American, not me. And the fact that I even have to make this point - not to the drooling fascists over at Der FreiRepublik, but to the stars of the Fourth Estate - is scary indeed.

The Peace Movement's Worst Nightmare

Contrary to the theories about what this is being communicated by certain law professors from Tennessee, the Mighty Reason Man notes correctly that our worst nightmare is actually the pointless deaths of soldiers and civilians in an unnecessary war.

Up to Date War News

Probably everyone knows this by now, but the Agonist is your best source for up to the minute news reports distilled from sources all around the world.

We'll Put You On The List

And not one of you will be missed.

FBI identifies 217 Iraqi-Americans in East Tennessse.

FBI canvassing Iraq-Americans in Connecticut.

100 Iraqi-American under constant surveillance.

Not My Problem

I'm tired of the latest rash of columns by well-meaning liberal do-gooders, and their enablers on the right, who are pleading for the anti-war left (ignoring, as the rest of the media does - the rather sizeable anti-war right), to change their focus to ensuring that that post-war Iraq is a pleasant place.

Wake the hell up - in case you haven't noticed this is the Administration That Can Do No Wrong - criticizing the post-war reconstruction is going to be just as unpatriotic and treasonous as criticizing the war has been. The same people who embraced humanitarian reasons to sell this war are going to be sneering at any human rights concerns once Great Satan Saddam is gone, once again labelling human rights and aid organizations as America haters every time they point out that things aren't going quite as swimmingly as we hoped.

I'd rather spend my time on things I might be able to influence.

FBI Looking for Iraqi-Americans

Not only is this wrong on so many levels, it's just fucking stupid and I'd think that the FBI would have better things to do with their time.

The Rules of War

I guess directly targetting civilian leadership - all of it - is now the first step.

Friday, March 21, 2003


So, it seems pretty clear that Turkey intends to occupy Northern Iraq. What then?


The host was talking to some other guy about a woman of Pakistani origin who the FBI is currently looking for in relation to terrorism. After some discussion of women and terrorism, such as female suicide bombers in Israel, the host ended with a "joke" where he said something like "It really seems like they're into women's rights. I mean, not about everything, you know, not the cooking and cleaning, but that other stuff." The guy he was talking to just stared at him, absolutely speechless, and then the host muttered "uh..I guess that didn't work.."

Can't Even Pretend

Minutes before the speech, an internal television monitor at the White House showed the President pumping his fist.

"Feels good," he said.

It's like executions... supersized!

If Only He Had Enlisted

He could've seen the good stuff up close.

To: Enemy Of The State


I have been watching Fox almost non-stop (save for 20-30 minute 'naps') since Wednesday nite! I even took off work yesterday. So this morning I'm on my way into work, and Rush starts reporting that sirens going off in BaghDAD (thanks for the pronunciation, Shep)! I have THE WORST luck ever!

Someone should post screen captures from Fox for those of us cubicle bound saps.

42 posted on 03/21/2003 9:27 AM PST by dware (ingredients include mechanically separated chicken and beef parts)

If anyone wants to know what a wargasm looks like, click that thread then go weep for your country.

Support the Troops

by cutting Veteran's Benefits.


More on ClearChannel

This is pretty unbelievable:

Her sense of a country wanting to shut people up was confirmed last night at an Ani DiFranco concert in New Jersey. The concert took place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and was put on by radio and concert behemoth Clear Channel. The company barred political groups from setting up tables at the concert and, according to progressive radio host Amy Goodman, who introduced DiFranco, company officials threatened to cut the microphones if there was any political speech onstage. The show was delayed as DiFranco fought with Clear Channel.

Apparently, they never pulled the plug.

CNN Expelled from Baghdad

Don't know about the other networks.

The Shrill One


The Onion describes itself as "America's finest news source," and it's not an idle boast. On Jan. 18, 2001, the satirical weekly bore the headline "Bush: Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over," followed by this mock quotation: "We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

Here's the original.

Moonies Revolt

TAPPED informs us that "ur-wingut" Paul Craig Roberts has an anti-war view as extreme as anything you'll find hanging out with loonie lefties such as myself. They say:

Overweening concern for poor Iraqis at the expense of Americans? Check. Bush as war criminal? Check. Expectation that U.S. troops will "slaughter" Iraqis? Check. Implicit comparison of Bush to Hitler? Check. This belongs in Workers World, not the Times. How interesting.

This will be sure to cause some unhappiness in the West Wing.

As, I'm sure, will the Reverend Moon's upcoming Good Friday press conference where he plans to call on all Christians to take down the cross.

Get Your War On

echoes the sentiments below (no I hadn't seen it yet).

Shock and Awe

Literally every broadcast "journalist" should be ashamed of him/herself. I never talked much about shock and awe here because I assumed it was probably a scare tactic - something we could do, but not something we would necessarily do. But the whores on TV are pissed. They were promised their shock and awe and they aren't getting it. Literally every report wonders when it is going to happen.


Thursday, March 20, 2003

More Perle Conflicts of Interest

From the New York Times.

WASHINGTON, March 20 — Even as he advises the Pentagon on war matters, Richard N. Perle, chairman of the influential Defense Policy Board, has been retained by the telecommunications company Global Crossing to help overcome Defense Department resistance to its proposed sale to a foreign firm, Mr. Perle and lawyers involved in the case said today.

Mr. Perle, an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, is close to many senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who appointed him to lead the policy board in 2001. Though the board does not pay its members and is technically not a government agency, it wields tremendous influence in policy circles. And its chairman is considered a "special government employee," subject to federal ethics rules, including one that bars anyone from using public office for private gain.

Libel suit to follow, I'm sure.

Quark Soup

What he says:

Troops are marching north through Iraq and its capital is being bombed into submission, and Glenn Reynolds still can't stop taking potshots at the antiwar movement. What's the matter, Glenn, worried that there might be one or two Americans somewhere who haven't yet knelt in complete deference to the new American empire?

There's something fundamentally disgraceful about a professor of law who can't see the value of dissent--or at least its honest respectability--whether it's one person, a hundred, or a hundred thousand. Without dissent we'd probably still be mired in Vietnam, only with a body count five times higher.

Of all people, a professor ought to be able to see the gray between the black and the white.

I think Digby's post here explains things.

The Republicans have the strange habit of getting manic and agitated just after they win a battle. They become enraged when they find that winning didn't result in unconditional surrender by the political opposition.

Mass Arrests in SF

Hard to know what went on there, but over 1000 arrested.


Moron-Americans attack.

FRESNO, Calif. (March 20, 2003 8:29 p.m. EST) - Pierre Frik feared if the country went to war in Iraq, he might be targeted by zealots because of his Middle Eastern background.
He never imagined he'd be vulnerable because his chain of stores was named French Cleaners.

The Lebanese native said he only picked the name on a whim, making the Eiffel Tower the stores' logo. But as relations between the United States and France soured over war with Iraq, Frik said he was hit by the backlash.

Customers have spit on checks and passers-by make obscene gestures, he said. On Wednesday, his Modesto store was damaged in a fire. He said he later learned his two other stores had been vandalized.

"We're very concerned about French-bashing going on across the country," French consulate spokesman Yo-Jung Chen said Thursday, in the aftermath of France's threat to block a U.N. resolution authorizing force against Iraq.

Authorities estimated the damage to Frik's Modesto store at $500,000 but declined to classify the blaze as suspicious.

Stop With the Protest Etiquette Talk

I'm a bit tired with all the hand-wringing about what the anti-war people should do. Aside from not elevating the degree of civil disobedience above the slightly annoying, I think contuing to protest is just fine. The reason people protest in the first place is because they feel it's their only avenue of political expression. Their elected representatives aren't providing a voice, the media isn't providing a voice, so the only possible way to register objections to the current war is public protest. In addition, as many people can attest, the state and local democratic parties are largely in shambles and/or unwelcoming to new participants.

If it was wrong two days ago it's wrong today. This is my last obligatory "I support the troops and hope they come home safely." That's a given, and there's no conflict between wanting them to stay alive and not wanting there to be a war.

I don't think any anti-war protesters are under the illlusion that they're going to change any minds this week. That isn't the point - the point is to register objections the only way they can.

What Digby said, too.


12 U.S. and 4 U.K. Helicopter down.

Arguing With Monkeys

I guess this will provide some comic relief for the evening.

So, I receive this email earlier:

Atrios, you may be the dumbest person outside of Canada.

Here's the text of the letter sent by Bush:

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the Un! ited Stat

I'll be watching for a retraction. I know you're a stand-up guy.

The email was in reference to the report by CBC in this post.

So, first I respond with this:

I'm not sure what it is you want me to retract. You mocked the canadian news for saying that bush claimed the constitution gave him the authority. In fact, in the letter, Bush is claiming just that?

(he had basically posted the content of his email, plus the bit I mentioned, in the comments for the post linked above)

Then, thinking that maybe CBC had really gotten the story totally wrong, I tracked down the text to the original letter and sent it to this guy.

I get another reponse:

Here's what the CBC said:

"The Constitution gives Bush authority to "take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001," the note said."

I've given you the letter. It doesn't say anything like that. It merely has a finding that the war in Iraq is consistent with the war against bin laden.

You would know that it doesn't say anything like that if you had investigated a little bit, which investigation would seem to be required when (a) the domestic news media haven't given this item this particular interpretation, (b) the resources are readily available on line, and (c) the particular interpretation is so far fetched. You didn't investigate. I guess that makes you a sick bastard, right?

To which I reply, excerpting the relevant part of the letter Bush had sent to congress:

can you read?

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.



your letter is cut off.
(italics not in original email)

I then receive:

Are you out of your mind? The authorization to use force doesn't cover actions against terrorists. That's covered by an entirely different resolution.

When will you admit your mistake, you sick bastard?

To which I reply, including the entire text of the letter which was sent:

This is the letter Bush sent to congress:

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.



This part in bold is what was quoted [by the CBC] . I ask again, can you read?

Just another day on the internet, I guess.

Andrew Sullivan's Meta Tags

I think this says it all:

"META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="andrew sullivan, book club, war, terrorism, culture, politics, faith, homosexuality, people, abortion, presidential, scandal, campaign, american, constitutional, clinton, offenses, attitude, dubya, george bush"

Optimus Prime

is headed off to war.

CUYAHOGA FALLS -- A member of Ohio's 5694th National Guard Unit in Mansfield legally changed his name to a Transformers toy.

Optimus Prime is heading out to the Middle East with his guard unit on Wednesday to provide fire protection for airfields under combat.

Actual Media Criticism

The Oregonian does the job Howie Kurtz pretends to do.

Wonder Twins

Tbogg informs us that Levin and Stabenow are blocking all of Bush's Michigan judicial nominees. You go!

POZ on Herb Ritts

The media silence about the HIV status of recently deceased photographer is disturbing. The current media myth portrays the idea that AIDS is no longer the killer it once was. While it is true that drugs have made things much much better for the HIV+ people who can get access to them, the failure to report that people - particularly high profile people - still die from this deadly disease is a troubling development.

The POZ article on this is here.

Radio Ga Ga

My piece is up at the Daily Billboard.


CNN's showing some good war porn.

War Blogging

Journalist Kevin Sites is actually there.

New Jobless Claims Still High

at 421,000.

Oil Wells on Fire

in Southern Iraq. Someone had better make sure Dick Cheney's okay.

Election Games

The Liquid List informs us that a judge in Berks County, PA is requiring that ballots be printed in Spanish. Hopefully it will help to remedy the illlegal and racist tactics of poll workers who:

[T]urned away Hispanic voters if the workers couldn't understand their names, demanded photo identification even though it is not required by law, and made inappropriate or racist comments.

Liberal Media Plot

Eric Alterman gets not one but TWO NYT reviews.

NSC Director Resgination

Monkeytime provides some interesting context.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


Soundbitten explains.

Raw Feed

The latest buzz is that the BBC showed Bush doing the pre-speech 3 minutes of mugging for the camera. Someone has to have taped this...

Quote of the Day

From Tom Brokaw (approximate) - "We don't want to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq because in a few days we're gonna own that country."

(sent in by Industrial Park.)

Monica Madness

Ms. Lewinsky to host reality show on Fox.

Clear Channel

There's much to be looked into here, but just a reminder. The Vice Chair of Clear Channel is one Tom Hicks. Tom Hicks is the guy who bought the Texas Rangers from the investment group Bush was a part of, and is a University of Texas regent - another institution with close ties to the Bush clan. He was part of a minor (should have been major) scandal with the U of T investment group UTIMCO - was handing out lucrative contracts to connected people.

Google away....

This War is Boring

MSNBC's countdown clock hit zero and nothing happened.

I'm just glad Angel is on the WB, and is therefore unlikely to be pre-empted.

Mental Illness

There is no other explanation for this:

"I plan to be blogging around the clock during the war," he said, "though I do agree that, in some ways, blogs are more important in the run-up to war. From now on, it's tanks and missiles. But the blogs will be right behind."

And some people wonder why I call him Crazy Andy...

9/11 is the Justification

Sick bastards.

WASHINGTON - U.S. President George Bush on Wednesday sent Congress a formal justification for invading Iraq, citing the attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.

Bush will make a televised speech if the U.S. attacks Iraq, a spokesperson said.

RELATED: Troops move to Iraqi border for quick invasion

The three-paragraph note justifying war said diplomacy has failed to guarantee America's security.

The Constitution gives Bush authority to "take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001," the note said.

White House spokesperson Sean McCormack said the reference is to Iraq. Bush has said Iraq has links with al-Qaeda, the organization blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

War Blogging

Everyone should go read Neal Pollack's guest blogger for the day.

Back to Normal

The folks at Haloscan say the comments should be working now. Let's hope.

...seems like the comment counter is busted, but the comments still appear.

Alaska Drilling Fails

Poor Dick.

These people are in Congress?


Last week, 12 Republican congressmen, including Duncan Hunter, the Californian who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, signed a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, raising pointed questions about his policy of allowing journalists to travel with American troops.

The congressmen said journalists — specifically Peter Jennings, the ABC News anchor — were asking soldiers "inappropriate" questions, like what anxiety they had about fighting. The congressmen asked Mr. Rumsfeld to explain why he was not imposing "censorship."

Spam from Hell

You've been discovered! Tim Rutten's Media column in today's edition of The Los Angeles Times is the latest example of the traditional media's newfound appreciation of the growing influence of bloggers on America's public policy debates.

Our job at The Heritage Foundation is to provide useful resources - objective data and conservative analysis and commentary - to journalists, analysts and commentators of all stripes. But we aren't quite sure how to do this with the blogger community.

So this email is an invitation for you to participate in an experiment. For the next month, we will periodically email to you short notices about significant Heritage studies, publications and events. At the end of the month, let us know if these notices were helpful. If not, tell us at any time, and you won't get any more. If you find you only want those notices regarding specific issue areas - foreign policy, welfare reform, etc. - we'll limit our future emails to you thusly. If you want to continue receiving all of the notices, let us know that, too.

Regardless of your perspective on the issues of the day, we are confident you will find Heritage materials useful in your effort to provide the kind of incisive, immediate and thoughtful commentary and analysis made possible by blogging.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts.



Yet another round of "if only feminists would be more concerned with THIS particular issue..."

Turks Gonna go to Iraq


The United States and the main Iraqi Kurdish groups failed Tuesday night to persuade Turkey to keep its troops out of northern Iraq.

The Washington Post

ANKARA, Turkey -- The United States and the main Iraqi Kurdish groups failed Tuesday night to persuade Turkey to keep its troops out of northern Iraq if a war begins, winning only a promise from the Turks to participate in a committee that would try to minimize the risk of clashes between their forces.

War Rumors

I'm not gonna do the war beat for the most part. Not that I won't talk about it, but I'm not gonna have this be all Iraq all the time. Hesiod has a good rundown of the latest stories. Short version - lots of stories about Tariq Aziz either defecting or being shot or both, and the war has basically started. So much for the 48 hour countdown.

Unbalanced War Coverage

We knew that of course. But, Chris Carbone points us to this FAIR study about it. Pretty grim.

Unhinged, too.

FBI to detain 'sympathizers'

Oh lovely.

Talk Left has a related story.

Justice Bans Media From Free Speech Event

Some headlines just write themselves.

EU Bugged

Now who would do that I wonder.

Red Alert

So, what would it mean anyway?

If the nation escalates to "red alert," which is the highest in the color-coded readiness against terror, you will be assumed by authorities to be the enemy if you so much as venture outside your home, the state's anti-terror czar says.

"This state is on top of it," said Sid Caspersen, New Jersey's director of the office of counter-terrorism.

Caspersen, a former FBI agent, was briefing reporters, alongside Gov. James E. McGreevey, on Thursday, when for the first time he disclosed the realities of how a red alert would shut the state down.

A red alert would also tear away virtually all personal freedoms to move about and associate.

ah. Martial law. Gotcha.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Constitution Just Sets Minimums

Says Fat Tony:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Tuesday night that government has room to scale back individual rights during wartime without violating the Constitution.

"The Constitution just sets minimums," Scalia said at John Carroll University. "Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires."

Scalia was responding to a question about the Justice Department's pursuit of terrorism suspects and whether their rights are being

The conservative justice did not discuss what rights he believed are constitutionally protected.

Not the right to vote, in any case.

Arthur Silber has more.


I think it's time for basically everyone to boycott O'Reilly's show. His "turn off the guest's microphone" schtick is well-established by now, so why would anyone actually want to go on that show?

An Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly

(excerpts) March 17, 2003
March 17, 2003
Dear Bill:

I am writing about my appearance on your show last Friday. As you know, After five or ten minutes of heated debate, during which I gave as good as I got, you cut off my microphone and spent the next five minutes attacking me and my family. What I was amazed to learn was that YOU CUT OFF MY MICROPHONE WITHOUT INFORMING ME OR YOUR LISTENING AUDIENCE THAT YOU HAD DONE SO.

A few folks in my office tuned into your show when it ran on WOR in New York later that afternoon. We learned that after your cut me off you made an outrageous allegation to the effect that "guys i like Bill Hartung" would probably let a situation arise where their iown kidswere poisoned with anthrax and just sit back and hope for "the French" to deal with the situation.

In lieu of an apology, I propose the following: a one hour debate, Bill O'Reilly vs. Bill Hartung, in a neutral
format. The topic: how best to defend the United States of America in an age of terrorism.

If my idea for a debate doesn't appeal to you, how about this: have me on for ten minutes a week for ten weeks. The segments will be timed, and everyone will know exactly when I go off the air (no funny business with the microphone). At the end of the ten weeks, we do a survey of your listeners (a professional survey, not a self-selecting internet poll). If a majority of your listeners think I have something worthwhile to say, you have me on for another ten weeks. If they say "we're sick of hearing from that guy," you pull the plug.

Is it going to be the "no spin zone," or the "no integrity zone," Bill? I await your response.

Yours truly,
Bill Hartung

Netscape 4.7

A bunch of people have written in complaining that suddenly Netscape 4.7x has super-sized all the fonts. I don't know why this has happened - I didn't make any recent major changes that should have done this. I'm sympathetic to 4.7x users - I still use it for a lot of things. So, if anyone can spot the problem in my template I'm happy to fix it.

What Liberal Media Jumps to #9

on Amazon.

Eric's daughter may get to go to college after all.


I've always been pretty bad about responding - but lately I've been getting *a lot* of email (i've gotten about 80 today so far - and only a couple of those were from Nigeria, and that doesn't include email for my "real life."). I read it all, but if I don't reply please don't be offended.

And, particularly for people who ask for links - I really try and make sure to read and verify everything I link to, so whether or not I do so more often than not simply depends on whether I have time to check out what you're sending me when I happen to come across your email. That doesn't mean I have to agree 100% with everything I give a plug to, but I at least try and make sure it doesn't come from outer space.

Busy Day

Bit behind on everything...

Blitzer Time


Media Power

Clearchannel bans Dixie Chicks from its playlists.

Ah, just like the good 'ole days. Remember the Smothers Brothers?

UPDATE: Various people have stated that this isn't coming from Clearchannel headquarters, but from the local programmers, and a statement from them seems to confirm this.

Fair enough, no big deal then.

Signorile Attacks!

Goes after the loathsome Howie Kurtz in a great column.

Why haven’t we seen a thorough and incisive critique of this guy from those supposedly edgy, weary warriors at Salon since the onset of the Bush II years? What about the haughty crowd at Slate, where seemingly intrepid media critic Jack Shafer and resident wise-ass Mickey Kaus leave no stone unturned in bringing forth every boring bit of minutiae about goings-on at the New York Times? They’ve thrown a couple of softballs at Kurtz about his conflicts—and Shafer once wrote a short, defensive response to a Kurtz slap at Slate—but I’ve not seen any major piece about either Kurtz’s conflicts or his political agenda. Alterman notes that only the New Republic, in a 2000 piece by Franklin Foer headlined "Howard Kurtz and the Decline of Media Criticism," has substantively taken on Kurtz—and it appears that the magazine paid a price for that in the form of repeated whackings by Capo Kurtz in the Washington Post.

Kaus, in an off-the-cuff but quite honest remark at a conference not long ago, admitted the reason why he often refrains from criticizing rabid sensation-stalkers such as Matt Drudge or Andrew Sullivan, even when he disagrees with them: He might not get linked to their websites, which bring Kaus traffic. A similar fear perhaps explains why the wannabe dragonslayers don’t go after Kurtz. The guy spends almost every day copying and pasting large chunks of their and a few other peoples’ work (complete with links to it) in his online column on the Washington Post’s website, and often writes them up positively for his column in the dead-tree version of the prominent newspaper, which can certainly help their careers. He’s highly selective about whom he quotes and whom he doesn’t. Kurtz’s online column in particular is not about the media in the broadest sense of the word; it’s rather about Howie’s World, a small handful of online magazines, newspapers and bloggers who are, for the most part, centrist to far right, with a few left-of-center tokens. He drives traffic to them, not to mention that he might have them on his CNN Reliable Sources show, which can also boost their careers and their publications.

From their perspective, why should they piss him off, even if he represents everything that is troubling about the media today—and media criticism—and even if they do consider themselves trouble-exposing journalists and commentators? Rationalizing, they’d probably tell you privately that Kurtz is not taken very seriously by the true players in the media and politics, so there’s no significant reason to make him an enemy. Though he’s problematic, they might tell you, the exposure he gives them helps them in taking on what they see as much bigger, more influential transgressors—sort of like looking the other way of Iran’s nuclear program in order to get its help in going after Iraq.

After I wrote a widely linked column last year about Washington Post gossip columnist Lloyd Grove’s furthering of cybergossip Matt Drudge’s smears against Blinded by the Right author David Brock—a column in which I also criticized Kurtz for not being more critical of Grove—I received a voicemail message from an editor at one of America’s largest daily newspapers (no, not the New York Times), who got my phone number through my editor. This individual didn’t send me an email, nor even say on voicemail what the call was about, perhaps fearful of leaving any trail. When I called back, I was told: "I just want to say thank you for taking on Grove and Kurtz. They are accountable to no one. It’s terrific that you did that."

Never mind that this editor’s paper has the power to make them "accountable" if it chose to expend some capital. Never mind that the paper’s own columnists, if they weren’t so focused on sucking up, could actually take a few shots at these guys. Never mind that I’m writing for a small alternative weekly and that Kurtz and Grove, let alone their bosses, couldn’t care less what I have to say.

Click the link for the rest...

Dick Cheney, on Meet the Press

From penalcolony in comments:

1. Saddam will try to get nuclear weapons: "I think that would be the fear here, that even if [Saddam] were tomorrow to give everything up, if he stays in power, we have to assume that as soon as the world is looking the other way and preoccupied with other issues, he will be back again rebuilding his BW and CW capabilities, and once again reconstituting his nuclear program."
-- Cheney, three or four minutes into Meet the Press, 3/16/03

2. Saddam is now trying to get nuclear weapons: "We know he’s out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons . . ."
-- Cheney, less than two minutes later

3. Saddam has succeeded in getting nuclear weapons: "He’s had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
-- Cheney, less than two minutes later

4. It's only a matter of time until Saddam succeeds in getting nuclear weapons: "We’re now faced with a situation, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, where the threat to the United States is increasing. And over time, given Saddam’s posture there, given the fact that he has a significant flow of cash as a result of the oil production of Iraq, it’s only a matter of time until he acquires nuclear weapons."
-- Cheney, less than two minutes later

Negroponte Money Quote

From Josh Marshall:

There's no 'automaticity' and this is a two-stage process,and in that regard we have met the principal concerns that have been expressed for the resolution. Whatever violation there is, or is judged to exist, will be dealt with in the council, and the council will have an opportunity to consider the matter before any other action is taken.

Poets for the War

This is truly brilliant.

All those smelly liberals
Dancing in the park
For Saddam, Satan
And Karl Marx

They hate their country
They hate their God
If you offer them steak
Then they ask for cod

They'll never be happy
Til we all speak Iraqi
And all our kids
Smoke wacky baccy

I wish they'd all
Go and live in Cuba
Liberals stink more
Than a man I know who plays the tuba
Very badly

Demonstrating, once again, that the hate that motivates this war has little to do with Iraq and everything to do with the "enemy within."

Would You Sleep With This Man?

I wouldn't, but this speech made me want a cigarette.

Text is here.

Monday, March 17, 2003

The Bowler

Gets a buzzflash interview.

Alterman on Daily Show

Went pretty well. Worth a watch.
The sun on the meadow is summery warm.
The stag in the forest runs free.
But gather together to greet the storm.
Tomorrow belongs to me.

The branch of the linden is leafy and green,
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea.
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen.
Tomorrow belongs to me.

The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
The blossom embraces the bee.
But soon, says a whisper;
"Arise, arise,
Tomorrow belongs..."

Audacious Watch

Tom Friedman
Wall Street Journal
Judy Woodruff
Aaron Brown
Washington Post

keep the reports coming in....


God, it's GOP TV.

In Other News...

Gateway eliminating 1900 jobs. Ouch.

The Speech

It was bold. It was audacious. It was masterful.

Bush presented his cunning plan. He is my commander in chief, and I will follow.

An Exquisite Tension

says Aaron Brown. I'm glad Aaron, Glenn, and I all have the fortitude to withstand the pressure of this coming war. The three of us will tirelessly bring you the news, undeterred by tension, exquisite or otherwise.

Civil Disobedience

Coming home tonight I noticed that about 30-40 protesters had blocked the streets in front of City Hall, causing the shutdown of the streets in the entire area. The police, thus far, hadn't knocked any heads or dragged anyone away, and in fact had used city buses and their own cars to block off the surrounding streets.

Here's a link. Good for the cops.

Alterman on Daily Show Tonight

Assuming it isn't pre-empted by, well, you know.

MSNBC Countdown

I've been informed that MSNBC TV has a timer counting down 'till Bush's speech.

At a loss.


Make sure to check out the Fascism finale (Scroll down), etc..

The Majority of Americans Oppose This War

This war, being one without a UN vote.

Let's Roll

Glenn's ready for what's next. So am I. It will take great courage to Blog through the coming war, but I promise you dear readers, we are up to it.

(I think Neal Pollack should just give up.)


I've taken them down for a bit as the server is screwy. This way the page should load faster, at least.

In any's Blitzer Time!

Andrew Sullivan's Jewish Problem

SullyWatch alerts us to Andrew Sullivan's latest Times column. Wow. He refers to the "Jewish lobby." He seems to think American Jews are "Middle Eastern immigrants."

I'll be generous and chalk it up to utter cluelessness, but this is far more generosity than someone on the left would ever get.

Robin Cook Resigns


(can anyone track down the infamous "Would You Sleep With This Man?" cover from the Sun?)

I Hate Nat Hentoff

Seriously. I know he's a civil libertarian, yada yada yada, but he's also a bigot and a homophobe and frankly I can do without him. Here he is being deliberately deceptive in the Moonie Times:

Favoring affirmative action — as pursued by the University of Michigan and other colleges and universities — is Harvard law school professor Randall Kennedy, whom I usually agree with on constitutional issues. He writes in the American Prospect Magazine that "white 'victims' of affirmative action occupy the ranks of the unintentionally injured."
First of all, the standard rationale for colleges giving a "plus" to black and Hispanic applicants is that they must intentionally be admitted in enough numbers to provide a "critical mass" in the student body so that the other students will benefit from a diversity of views and backgrounds. But poor qualified white Appalachian applicants don't figure into that ideal of diversity, thereby intentionally injuring them.

Actually, according to the University of Michigan's undergradute admissions policy, all students can receive the same 20 points that minority students can receive for "socieconomic disdvantage." Kids from mostly white rural Michigan can also get additional bonus points on top of this. His poor Appalachian kids could also potentially get points for being from underrepresented states.

Only the Good Die Young

Joseph Coors, dead, age 85.

Coors and his brother worked in the same office, their desks not more than a foot apart. But Bill Coors said their politics were quite different.

"He was very principled and dedicated. But we got along a lot better if we didn't talk politics," Bill Coors said. "He was conservative as they come. I mean he was a little bit right of Atilla the Hun.

Calling Tom Ridge

Israelis suffocate in war-proof room.

An Israeli woman and two of her teenage sons have died from measures designed to protect them from the looming Gulf war.

They suffocated while sleeping in a room sealed against chemical and biological weapons.

The tragedy happened in the Israeli Arab town of Kafr Qassem.

Like many families worried about the threat of an attack on Israel by Iraq the family had sealed a room in their house using plastic sheeting and duct tape.

Can You Say Audacious Boys and Girls?

I knew you could.

bloody hell. Something tells me this is word of the week. I challenge every pundit and journalist to make it through without using it.

David Limbaugh


Protesting against America is not 'very pro-American.' Being pro-America is pro-American. Defending one's right to protest is celebrating America's freedoms. But the act of dissing America while exercising those freedoms is not pro-American.

Fair enough David, I'll exercise some of my freedoms by talking about you later today.

(via Soundbitten, who has a whole piece worth reading).

Things Getting Ugly


When Thomas took out the garbage Saturday morning, she saw red letters spray-painted on the garage door of her townhouse.

"Scum go back to France," it read.

The Long Term Damage

Matthew Yglesias is rather sanguine about the effect of Bush on our long term international relations. He's right, in a way - that since Bush is the problem, once Bush goes away the problem will go away.

Sadly, it isn't as simple as that. I think Matthew, like many people I've known, underestimates the power of the executive branch. In addition to the long-lasting effects of judicial appointments, presidents have the power to mold and shape the various cabinet agencies for years after they've departed. And, while democratic presidents can't even seem to fire Travel Office employees who were engaged in all kinds of unethical behavior, this administration seems to have been pretty good at the purging-and-stuffing of important places like the State Department. Jeebus willing, Negroponte and Pointdexter will be gone 2 years from now, but they will have left their legacy behind them.

Unearthing the Story

Jim Henley finds the real story buried in this LA Times Article:

The CIA first heard allegations that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger in late 2001 but did not obtain the documents until about a month ago, and it promptly turned them over to U.N. inspectors, the official said.

Initially, the existence of the documents "was reported to us second- or third- hand," the official said. "We included that in some of our reporting, although it was all caveated because we had concerns about the accuracy of that information."

What interesting timing. The CIA got the documents "about a month ago." The President gave his State of the Union address, where he brought up the Niger claims, two months ago. So the President was selling Congress and the American people information that "was reported to us second- or third- hand."

Poor Dixie Chicks

3 CDs in Amazon's Top 50.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Soulmates with the Gipper

According to this quiz. Who knew?

Candlelight Vigil

Went to the local one here in Rittenhouse Square. I'd guess close to 1000 people were there - surrounded the whole square.

Neal Pollack Has Returned

Allah be praised.

Coalition of the Willing

As Tom Spencer points out, who the hell cares that Aznar thinks this is a great idea if he isn't committing a single troop to this endeavor?

So, Thomas Friedman

How about Newt Gingrich for Lord High Emperor of Iraq?

NYT on What Liberal Media

Good review.

More of this Please

New Mexico's throwing around some of them "states' rights."


A. affirm its strong support for fundamental constitutional rights and its opposition to federal measures that infringe on these rights and liberties;

B. affirm its strong support for the rights of immigrants and oppose measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based on their country of origin;

C. direct the New Mexico state police to:

(1) refrain from participating in the enforcement of federal immigration laws;

(2) seek adequate written assurances from federal authorities that residents of the state of New Mexico and individuals in the custody of the state who are placed in federal custody will not be subjected to military or secret detention or secret immigration proceedings without access to counsel and, absent such written assurances, refrain from assisting federal authorities to obtain custody of these individuals;

(3) refrain from engaging in the surveillance of individuals or groups of individuals based on their participation in activities protected by the First Amendment to the United States constitution, such as political advocacy or the practice of a religion, without reasonable and particularized suspicion of criminal conduct unrelated to the activity protected by the First Amendment to the United States constitution;

(4) refrain from using race, religion, ethnicity or national origin as a factor in selecting who is subject to investigatory activities unless race, religion, ethnicity or national origin is part of the description of a specific suspect to be apprehended;

(5) refrain, whether acting alone or with federal law enforcement officers, from collecting or maintaining information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activity and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct;

(6) provide advance or simultaneous notice of the execution of a search warrant to any resident of the state of New Mexico whose property is the subject of the search and refrain from participating in a joint search with any law enforcement agency absent assurances that such a notice will be provided;

(7) refrain from undertaking or participating in any initiative, such as the terrorist information and prevention system, also known as TIPS, that encourages members of the general public to spy on their neighbors, colleagues or customers;

(8) refrain from the practice of stopping drivers or pedestrians for the purpose of scrutinizing their identification documents without reasonable and particularized suspicion of criminal activity; and

(9) report to the legislature and the interim corrections oversight and justice committee, any request by federal authorities that, if granted, would cause agencies of the state to exercise powers or cooperate in the exercise of powers in apparent violation of a city ordinance or the laws or constitution of this state or of the United States;

D. direct public schools and institutions of higher education to provide notice to individuals whose education records have been obtained by law enforcement agents pursuant to Section 507 of the USA Patriot Act;

E. direct public libraries to post in a prominent place within the library a notice as follows: "WARNING: Under Section 215 of the federal USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56), records of books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. This law also prohibits librarians from informing you if records about you have been obtained by federal agents. Questions about this policy should be directed to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530."; and

F. direct the state official in charge of homeland security for New Mexico to seek periodically from federal authorities the following information in a form that facilitates an assessment of the effect of federal anti-terrorism efforts on the residents of the state of New Mexico and provide to the legislature and the interim corrections oversight and justice committee, no less than once every six months, a summary of the information obtained:

(1) the names of all residents of New Mexico who have been arrested or otherwise detained by federal authorities as a result of terrorism investigations since September 11, 2001, and:

(a) the location of each detainee;

(b) the circumstances that led to each detention;

(c) the charges, if any, lodged against each detainee; and

(d) the name of counsel, if any, representing each detainee;

(2) the number of search warrants that have been executed in New Mexico without notice to the subject of the warrant pursuant to Section 213 of the USA Patriot Act;

(3) the extent of electronic surveillance carried out in the state pursuant to powers granted in the USA Patriot Act;

(4) the extent to which federal authorities are monitoring political meetings, religious gatherings or other activities within New Mexico that are protected by the first Amendment of the United States constitution;

(5) the number of times education records have been obtained from public schools and institutions of higher learning in New Mexico pursuant to Section 507 of the USA Patriot Act;

(6) the number of times library records have been obtained from libraries in New Mexico pursuant to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act; and

(7) the number of times records of books purchased by store patrons have been obtained from bookstores in New Mexico pursuant to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici and Representatives Tom Udall, Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce, with a letter urging them to monitor federal anti-terrorism tactics and to work to repeal provisions of the USA Patriot Act and other laws and regulations that infringe on civil rights and liberties; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this memorial be transmitted to the state official in charge of homeland security for New Mexico; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the New Mexico state police and to all public schools, institutions of higher education and public libraries within the state of New Mexico.

Boots and Coots

Major Barbara is on the increasingly bizarre Halliburton money trail.

French Multiculturalism

There's probably a lot more that has/will/should be written about this issue, but here's just some idle commentary on a Sunday afternoon.

One issue that can generally unite the warbloggers is their hatred of their latest caricature of 'multiculturalism,' their hatred of France, and their belief that France/Europe is going to be overtaken by fundamentalist Muslim hordes which will use their electoral power to institute a fundamentalist theocracy.

Interestingly, it's probably the failure of countries like France to embrace U.S. style multiculturalism which probably gives their "concerns" some legitimacy. France's popular myth about itself, which has been communicated to me with a pretty high degree of sincerity by every French friend/acquaintance I've had, is that racism is not a problem in France. This is because everyone can become French, regardless of skin color or background, as long as they can assimilate and "be French."

Now, this is ridiculous for a variety of reasons. First, it simply assumes away the problem - and, if there is a problem it's the victim's fault. It isn't that you're of African or Arab descent, it's that you aren't French enough. Simple! France already follows the model desired by Ward Connerly - it is illegal for the government to collect racial statistics - which makes it quite difficult to actually demonstrate any racial biases.

But, more to the point it sets up a dichotomous system in which you are either "French" or "not French." Until you are "French" - have assimilated completely - you cannot expect to be a full and normal participant in society. For immigrant communities, this attitude inevitably leads to an increase in their ghettoization. Even if the ideal of full Frenchification is in reality achievable, it isn't easy or realistic for first or even second generation immigrants. So, these communities will stick to themselves, reinforcing their "differences," as well as helping to cultivate and breed resentment.

The much-derided U.S. version of multiculturalism tends to encourage soft assimilation by allowing differences to persist, at least within some fairly broad parameters. There isn't an attempt to quickly eradicate cultural, religious, and ethnic differences and because of that, perhaps paradoxically, a greater degree of assimilation is likely to occur. By allowing people to maintain their cultural identities and simultaneously participate as full members of society (in theory), some degree of conforming to established cultural norms inevitably results.

Anyway, this has all been written in overly simple terms - this is a blog after all - but let me conclude by saying:

Hurray Multiculturalism! Down with the French!

Why do they Hate America so Much?

A letter to the editor:

If I were given a choice of pressing one of two buttons - one to do away with terrorism or another to do away with those Democrats up in Washington - I wouldn't even have to think about it. I would do away with the Democrats, and do this country a favor.

William G. Koehlke

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Saturday, March 15, 2003.

More from the William G. Koehlke Lunatic Files.

You know, if I wrote a letter like that about Republicans or Bush I would expect - and deserve - a little visit from the FBI.

More Rally Pics

It's amazing how many people in the rally aren't demonstrating against Saddam,* but rather their fellow Americans.

*This, of course, was one of the many intellectual bankrupt, morally corrupt, and utterly anti-American criticisms of anti-war protesters - that they were protesting against Bush instead of calling for Saddam to disarm. As I said, at least the anti-war people were demonstrating against the policies of their government, a truly patriotic act, and not against their fellow Americans.

(pictures taken down - bandwidth limit reached).

There is No Reason For This

Imagine if the FBI were going around to Christian Groups collecting membership lists from their leaders?

WASHINGTON --First, the FBI wanted a count of all the mosques in their regional field offices. Now, according to the Islamic Society of Frederick, Md., FBI agents who recently requested a meeting with their leadership "mentioned casually" they would be asking for a list of the society’s members.

(via Interesting Monstah)

My Brain is Going to Explode

Rittenhouse Review continues to tell us about the age of unseriousness. It looks as if Tom Ridge screwed up on his first duty, which was to spend 8 months designing the rainbow of terror. You see, the problem is that Mr. Ridge didn't think to add a color between "red" and "orange" which is where the administration feels we should be when we attack Iraq.

The grownups are indeed in charge.


Frankly, the fact that we're even having this "conversation" means we've lost the argument. Mark Kleiman has a lot to say on this, but I'll add just a little bit.

We are not living in the world of '24' or a James Bond movie. There is never going to be a situation in which the noble CIA agent knows that the red digits on the timer of the nuclear bomb are counting backwards and he has 90 minutes to determine the location and disarm the thing before Los Angeles blows up. However, if there is such a situation no law enforcement agency or court in the country will prosecute Kiefer Sutherland for saving us all by whatever means necessary, and he would have my full blessing to pull out the thumb screws and go to work.

What we're talking about is torturing innocent people based on what they maybe possibly might be able to tell us. Innocent people? Yes. Last time I checked people were innocent until proven guilty, and frankly our intelligence agencies haven't exactly proven their ability to perform their stated job description, let alone assume the role of judge and jury too.

This Should Excite the End Times Crowd

Israel vows to retaliate if Iraq attacks.

Don't get me wrong, Israel is of course entitled to defend itself against foreign attacks. But, if events play out that way Tom Friedman's silly dreams go from absurd to impossible.

Miss Bulgaria

Demonstrates for peace.


Fun with matches and crosses:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Four members of a Kirtland Air Force Base security squadron are accused of burning a cross in the back yard of a southeast Albuquerque home.

The men, who are on paid leave, also are accused of participating in supremacist activities.

Kirtland's public relations director, Ralph Francis, said the men had Ku Klux Klan literature and Nazi swastikas.

(via Ailes)

Police in S.F.

Reader P.J. writes in:

Today in San Francisco there was an anti-war rally. I didn't go; I was at work.

Aftermy grueling Saturday shift, I was wandering around aimlessly downtown trying to de-stress. This was at around 4:00 PM, I had assumed the anti-war rally was over.

It wasn't. There was a sudden commotion around me, and I turned around to see gang of rebel protesters running down the middle of a busy street. (Fourth St between Mission and Market). I didn't know they were anti-war protesters at first. But there were maybe six, maybe eight of them, and they were being chased by no less than twenty police officers on motorcycles.

The protesters ran out of breath at the corner and I watched as the cops stopped their motorcycles, got out their batons and proceeded to attack the protesters. The protesters didn't make the first move, though they may have said something snide or somesuch, they were far enough away that I couldn't hear them. But the point is they didn't resist. They didn't resist and the cops beat them down with their batons.

I didn't know what to do. One of the protesters made it farther than the others and was standing right next me. "Christ, what did you guys do?" I asked.

"Nothing," he said. "We just deviated from the designated route or whatever."

I suppose running down the middle of a busy street is disruptive, but it's a valid act of civil disobedience as far as I'm concerned. In fact it's a valid act of civil disobedience as far as the damn police are concerned. There's a group here called Critical Mass, they're bicyclists, once a month or so they completely shut down all automobile traffic on Market Street, because there's a thousand cyclists in the group and they ride down Market Street as a single unit. The cops do not chase them down and knock them off their bikes.

There's another group, I forget what it's called, but there's a hundredor more rollerbladers who do a long, twisted route all over San Francisco EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT. This disrupts traffic left and right and the cops hate them and will yell at them to quit it already, but they don't trip them and beat them.

Furthermore, there are parts of Market St that are temporarily disabled on a daily basis, dozens of times per day. There's a trend among homeless people to wait for traffic lights to turn green before walking out in front of oncoming traffic. (Um, meaning that the homeless wait for the same light that the traffic was waiting for). The police harass the homeless on a regular basis but they don't tackle them in the middle of the street and club them.

So it's only when you disrupt traffic in the name of peace that you get physically assaulted by the public defenders.