Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Don't stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed. - George Burns

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Defending the Dictator
by Lee

Someone needs to call Johnny Cochran.  A bunch of Jordanians are muscling in on his turf.

More than 600 lawyers have signed up to defend captive Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the head of Jordan’s Bar Association told the Jordan Times newspaper on Sunday.

Hussein Mjalli said the volunteers had signed up at the association’s offices in Amman and that by late Friday 600 lawyers indicated their readiness to be part of a defence team for the former president of Iraq.

“The intention is to form a higher committee for the defence of Saddam, one which will include legal experts from all over the world,” Mjalli said.

The general secretariat of the Arab Lawyers’ Union was, meanwhile, due to meet on Sunday in Cairo to discuss plans for setting up the defence team, he added.

Earlier this month the Jordanian association sent letters to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and Arab League chief Amr Mussa urging them to ensure that Saddam would be handed to a neutral country or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The barristers have argued that Saddam should not be put on trial because ‘a head of state is immune from prosecution’ and that in any case he should be protected from retribution by the United States.

This is why the International Criminal Court is such an abysmal idea.  This is the type of crap we would have to deal with on virtually a daily basis.  Saddam will be tried by the very people he oppressed, raped, killed, tortured, and murdered, after which he will be—insh’Allah—executed.

Posted by Lee on 12/28/03 at 04:34 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

History’s Greatest Monster
by Lee

Is anyone here surprised by this?

Seven years after Habitat officials launched the only sizable Indiana subdivision made up exclusively of Habitat homes, Barrington Gardens is an experiment some residents say is struggling.

Four of the original 47 families have moved out or are trying to sell their homes—a rate nearly eight times the norm for a local affiliate of the non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry.

Residents like the Camaras say the subdivision’s new, vinyl-clad houses and multicolored playground mask an undercurrent of more unsavory elements: crime that has made the neighborhood far from an ideal place to raise children, and declining property values that mean many residents owe more on their homes than they are worth.

“The house looks great, but it is not worth anything because of where it is located,” said Camara, whose family in 1998 moved into a home sponsored by Oprah Winfrey and built by volunteers from Kroger.

Habitat officials acknowledge that the neighborhood isn’t perfect. But they say the development has lifted many families out of substandard living conditions, enabling them to fulfill their dreams of home ownership, while helping revitalize the Eastside neighborhood.

“I think Barrington Gardens turned out pretty well,” said Jeffry Carter, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis. “When you drive around that neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods, those houses look pretty good.”

This is the same kind of story we’ve all heard time and time again.  One of the reasons that the street gang movement from LA has grown into every large city in America is because of people taking their gang-affiliated kids and moving away to allow them to grow up in a gang-free area, when the actual result of the move was the gang kid ended up spreading the gang ideology to the city where he moved.  This is undoubtedly the same type of dynamic going on in this Habitat community.  Not all poor people are criminals buy any means, but it is a fact that crime and poverty go together.  So when you move a whole bunch of poor people into an area, is it any wonder that the criminal element also moves in with them?

Oh, and get this.  When you think of someone moving into a Habitat home you think of a dirt poor family, no education, no job skills, single mother with kids, that sort of thing.  Take a look at this guy.

Guy and Leslie Camara had high hopes when they moved to their new Habitat for Humanity home in Barrington Gardens five years ago.

They envisioned a place where their children could romp in their own yard, with a mortgage they could afford on Guy’s income as an independent video and film producer.

This guy is a film and video producer?  He obviously has marketable job skills, why is he in a Habitat house?  I guess he likes to suffer for his art, which is why he’s an “independent” producer.  This guy could probably buy his own house if he would “sell out” and use his job skills to earn more money, but that is apparently out of the question.  Why make a difficult decision to leave a job you love to take another that pays better when you can get a free house from Jimmy Carter?


Posted by Lee on 12/28/03 at 12:54 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Blame Canada (Again)
by Lee

Back in Augist I blogged on Canada’s mad cow outbreak.  At the time, it was assumed that the American beef supply was safe from mad cow, because we had stopped the agricultural practices that cause it many years ago.  When I heard of the mad cow outbreak here in the United states my first thought was “I bet that cow came here from Canada.” I wish I had done a blog post about it so that my thoughts were on the record, because it looks like I was right.

The Holstein diagnosed with mad cow disease may have entered the United States from the Canadian province of Alberta in 2001 with 73 other cows, an official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Saturday.

Ron DeHaven, the USDA’s chief of veterinary medicine, said Canadian records show the herd would have entered the United States at Eastport, Idaho. The cow was part of a herd in Washington state before being sent to slaughter.

He said investigators have matched an ear tag retrieved from the sick cow at the slaughterhouse to records from a Canadian cow.

So, this is good news.  Canada has, I am assuming, taken steps to deal with their mad cow outbreak, as small as it was.  And if it turns out that the American mad cow was of Canadian origin, then our food supply down here is as safe as it ever was.  So, the disease will most likely remain an isolated incident, and people from both countries can one again safely eat each others’ beef products.

(Not to mention the fun we can all have once again making Canada our scapegoat.)

Update: Canada is getting upset.

We used to laugh when Blame Canada was the name of a popular American song.

Now that it’s a political reality, the tune is bitterly off-key.

On Saturday, the Americans were quick to make a “tentative” statement that a diseased dairy cow came from Alberta.

They may be right—but friends don’t make such claims until they’re certain, and questions remain about the identity of this animal.

I could make a comment about how “friends” help out when one asks another for help with a difficult task, like, oh, deposing Saddam Hussein and securing Iraq, but that would be beneath me.

Posted by Lee on 12/28/03 at 12:24 PM in Those Wacky Canadians  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, December 27, 2003

by Lee

Hey, I have a question for you bloggers out there who use Movable Type.  Exactly how does a trackback work?  If I link to a trackback URL I usually get a page like this.  I don’t get how it’s supposed to work.  Can someone explain it to me?  Thanks.

Update: I guess I should have been clearer in my original post.  I use pMachine, not MT, so I don’t have trackbacks.  I know conceptually what a trackback is, I just don’t understand what I am supposed to use the trackback URL for.  For example, if I want to link to a post on someone’s MT blog, at the bottom of their post is a trackback URL.  What am I supposed to do with that URL?  If I’m not supposed to link to it, why is it there?  That’s what I’m wondering.

Posted by Lee on 12/27/03 at 03:59 PM in • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Mad Dean Disease
by Lee

Once again, gentle reader, Howard Dean demonstrates to all why he is unfit to be president.

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said he wants Osama bin Laden to get the death penalty, seeking to minimize fallout from a New Hampshire newspaper story in which he was quoted as saying the terror leader’s guilt should not be prejudged. ...

The former Vermont governor, who solidly leads the field of Democratic presidential candidates in both polls and money, said he was simply trying to state in The Concord Monitor interview published Friday that the process of trying bin Laden needs to be fair and credible.

In that interview, Dean was quoted as saying, “I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials.”

Dean told the AP in a phone interview that sentiment doesn’t mean he sympathizes in any way with the al Qaeda leader. “I’m just like every other American, I think the guy is outrageous,” he said.

“As a president, I would have to defend the process of the rule of law. But as an American, I want to make sure he gets the death penalty he deserves,” Dean told the AP.

This guy is a lunatic.  He’s planning on following exactly the same foreign policy that worked so well for Bill Clinton.  When terrorists bombed the World Trade Center, what did Clinton do?  He treated it as a law-enforcement matter rather than as an act of war levvied against the United States.  September 11 showed us just how sucessful this policy turned out to be.  How pathetic that Dean seems to wish to follow down the same Clinton bike path.

Dean also couldn’t resist trying to pin the mad cow incident on Bush.

The former governor, whose state has a large dairy cow population, said the Bush administration failed to aggressively set up a tracking system that would allow the government to quickly track the origins of the sick cow, quarantine other animals it came in contact with and assure the marketplace the rest of the meat supply is safe.

“What we need in this country is instant traceability,” he said.

Dean said such a system should have been set up quickly after the mad cow scare that devastated the British beef industry in the mid- to late-1990s. The Bush administration was still devising its plan when the sick cow was slaughtered Dec. 9, and on Friday the government still hadn’t determine the infected animal’s origins.

“This just shows the complete lack of foresight by the Bush administration once again,” Dean said. “This is something that easily could be predicted and was predicted.”

Ah yes.  Because of one incident—which has not been confirmed yet, mind you—Bush is to be blamed for not setting up a massive beef-tracking bureaucracy.  This is the typical socialist mindset.  There is not a solution too large for a problem too small.  Let’s take a look at some of the figures on mad cow from the UK.

Let’s consider some facts. BSE has killed 143 people in Great Britain, the country hit hardest by BSE. That’s about 20 people per year since the outbreak began. Compare that total to these figures from the WSJ: “In 2001 Britain recorded 140,000 deaths from cancer, 3,000 from vehicle accidents and 185 from accidental drowning.”

Puts BSE in a bit of perspective, doesn’t it?

Of course.  Mad Cow is much like the flu, a media-driven hysteria with very little basis in fact.  Your chances of contracting mad cow disease are infinitessimal when compared to your chances of, say, falling down the stairs in your house and breaking your neck.  But which one are the media hyping?  Which one is Dean hyping?  Coindicence?

Posted by Lee on 12/27/03 at 03:45 PM in Election 2004  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Howie and the Lord
by Lee

Good old Howad Dean.  He knows how to pander to the Southern Redneck vote.

Howard B. Dean, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination who had said little about the role of religion in politics, yesterday told the Boston Globe that he is a committed follower of Jesus Christ and suggested that this would be a winning campaign issue.

Mr. Dean said he will start mentioning God and Christ as the campaign moves into the South. After the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 19 and the New Hampshire primary a week later, South Carolina and five other states Oklahoma, Arizona, Delaware, Missouri and New Mexico will hold primaries on Feb. 3. The South Carolina primary, the first test in the Deep South where history suggests that the Democratic candidate must perform well if he is to win the presidency, is particularly important.

The 55-year-old physician, who is a member of the Congregationalist Church, said he does not attend church often, but prays daily. His wife is Jewish, and their two children adopted the Jewish faith.

Let us not forget that this is a man who left his church over a property dispute.

Dean’s own conversion to Congregationalism was a more mundane political affair. He’d been christened as a Catholic and was raised Episcopalian. But he converted to the local Vermont religion as a consequence of his battle to make over the shoreline. “I had a big fight with a local Episcopal church about 25 years ago over the bike path,” he told This Week with George Stephanopoulos in September. “We were trying to get the bike path built. They had control of a mile and a half of railroad bed, and they decided they would pursue a property-rights suit to refuse to allow the bike path to be developed.” Dean eventually talked church leaders out of the lawsuit, recalls Sharp, but other railroad neighbors refused to budge and litigated the case all the way to U.S. Supreme Court.

Ah, yes.  A dispute over a bike path.  Roughly on par with Saul on the road to Damascus, isn’t it?  And I would be remiss in not linking to Mark Steyn’s brilliant dissection of what he terms the “bike-path left.”

Ask [Dean] serious questions about the president’s key responsibilities--national security and foreign policy--and the passion drains away as it did with Chris Matthews. David Brooks, visiting Burlington in 1997 in search of what eventually became his thesis “Bobos in Paradise,” concluded that the quintessential latt burg was “relatively apolitical.” He’s a smart guy but he was wrong. All the stuff he took as evidence of the lack of politics--pedestrianization, independent bookstores--is the politics. Because all the big ideas failed, culminating in 1989 in Eastern Europe with the comprehensive failure of the biggest idea of all, the left retreated to all the small ideas: in a phrase, bike paths. That’s what Bill Clinton meant when he said the era of big government was over; instead, he’d be ushering in the era of lots and lots of itsy bits of small government that, when you tote ‘em up, works out even more expensive than the era of big government. That’s what Howard Dean represents--the passion of the Bike-Path Left.

As with everything Steyn writes, read the whole thing.

Posted by Lee on 12/27/03 at 03:00 PM in Election 2004  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Prepare Your Coffins
by Lee

Here’s the latest in radical Islamofascist hyperbole.

A London-based Arab magazine said on Friday that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has vowed to launch a “back-breaking attack” on the United States by February, confirming an earlier message by the militant network.

The weekly al-Majalla said it received an e-mail from Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, a little known al Qaeda member, saying bin Laden would release a video tape in which he affirms his group’s determination to fight the United States.

“A messenger of bin Laden informed him (Ablaj) that the al Qaeda leader will appear on a televised tape after the execution of an operation which bin Laden described as back-breaking and which would change the order of things,” al-Majalla said in a report in its latest edition, a copy of which was sent to Reuters.

“They (Americans) should prepare...their coffins, hospitals and graves. The coming days will be full of surprises and great events which will make them a historic example,” the magazine quoted Ablaj as saying.

The report came after U.S. officials ordered their color-coded alert system raised to orange, the second highest level, citing possible year-end attacks.

Air France canceled Christmas flights to Los Angeles on Wednesday after U.S. officials relayed information that extremist groups were planning “near-term simultaneous attacks that would rival September 11.”

Here’s my prediction: no back-breaking attack will take place by February.  It’s either a hoax, or the US will foil it—perhaps this is the Air France plan?  Nonetheless, I also predict that OBL will not appear in any videotape, unless one of his henchmen has stuck his hand up Osama’s ass and is working his corpse like a puppet.

Posted by Lee on 12/27/03 at 02:54 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Missing Thirteen
by Lee

You know those Air France flights into LA that were cancelled earlier this week?  Apparently some of the passengers didn’t show up.

U.S. officials say investigators would like to talk to people who did not show up for the postponed Air France flights—and are still interested in 13 passengers who were interviewed by French authorities.

A senior U.S. counter-terrorism source says investigators are “actively interested” in questioning some of those who did not show up.

French sources have told CNN they believe the names of all 13—interviewed by French law enforcement—were on U.S. terror watch lists. American authorities have not confirmed that, but one senior U.S. counterterrorism official tells CNN that most of the names of those interviewed and those of interest who did not show up for their flights were on watch lists.

This official says some of the passenger names were not previously on watch lists but came up in recent intelligence.

A U.S. official told CNN on Thursday that one of those who did not arrive for his flight had a commercial pilot’s license.

Tipped off by a French authority, perhaps?  Considering how anti-American France is, and how Muslim it is becoming, I wouldn’t think it out of the question.  But at least this shows that our government, no matter how much I usually think so, isn’t sitting around with its thumb up its ass waiting to respond to the next attack.  And kudos to Air France for for cancelling their flights on two of the busiest travel days of the year.

Posted by Lee on 12/27/03 at 02:46 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Friday, December 26, 2003

Whole Lotta Shakin’
by Lee

There’s been a massive earthquake in Iran.

Entire blocks of buildings lay crushed and survivors lined up blanket-wrapped bodies in the street after a devastating earthquake leveled nearly three-quarters of the Iranian city of Bam on Friday, killing at least 5,000 people and injuring 30,000 others.

The quake also destroyed much of Bam’s historic landmark—a giant medieval fortress complex of towers, domes and walls, all made of mud-brick, overlooking a walled Old City, parts of which date back 2,000 years. Television images showed the highest part of the fort—including its distinctive square tower—crumbled like a sand castle down the side of the hill, though some walls still stood.

Local officials said the death toll could reach up to 12,000, though the deputy governor of Kerman province said an accurate count was impossible with many victims still trapped under the rubble. “Rescue operations are going slowly because of darkness,” deputy governor Mohammad Farshad said.

“The disaster is far too huge for us to meet all of our needs,” President Mohammad Khatami said. “However, all the institutions have been mobilized.”

The government asked for international assistance, particularly search and rescue teams. The United States promised to send aid, as did numerous European nations.

It’s a shame that the Iranian people are still ruled by the theocrats.  I would love nothing more than to have a free, open Iran as our ally, and see the US doing all we can to help its people out.  As it is now we’ll send assistance through the Red Cross (or Red Crescent, I suppose).

Since the invasion of Iraq much has been written about how emasculating the liberation has been for Iraq’s males.  They could not (or would not) free themselves, and it took the United States and its allies to do it for them.  Well, look at Iran.  They have an earthquake, and they have to appeal to the Great Satan for humanitarian aid.  How humiliating is that, especially when we had a massive earthquake in California just a few days ago and there was not anywhere near the death and devastation that Iran has experienced?  It’s got to be a bitter pill to swallow, that Allah would protect the infidels and slaughter the faithful.

Posted by Lee on 12/26/03 at 05:30 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Going It Alone
by Lee

A unilateral decision that inflames the Middle east, sparks global demonstrations, and divides the West from the east.  George W. Bush?  No, Jacques Chirac.

President Jacques Chirac of France last week lent his support to a proposed ban on the wearing of Muslim headscarfs, or hijab, in state schools. A law banning “conspicuous’’ religious insignia from the classroom will now be put before the National Assembly in February and should come into effect by September, the start of the next academic year.

While the hijab was the main reason behind such a ban, President Chirac also includes a ban on the Jewish kippa, or skullcap, and “large crucifixes’’, although he has not said exactly how large is “large’’. Mr Chirac’s decision has led to thousands marching in French cities in protest and sparked fiery debate throughout the world.

So much for European sophistication.

Posted by Lee on 12/25/03 at 04:24 PM in Europe and the UK  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Thank Bill!
by Lee

I wasn’t planning on blogging much today, if at all, but I saw this story linked by Andrew Sullivan and it’s just too good to pass up.

Democratic presidential hopeful Gen. Wesley Clark said Sunday that his old boss Bill Clinton - not President Bush - deserved credit for forcing Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to abandon his weapons of mass destruction programs, even though Gadhafi’s turnaround came nearly three years after Clinton left office.

“It’s a program of squeezing Libya that’s gone on for more than a decade,” Clark told a Derry, N.H., audience, according to the Concord Monitor. “The Clinton administration was very much involved with this.”

In a slap at Bush, Clark said, it “shows that you don’t need to use force to get your way in world affairs,” adding that Prime Minister Tony Blair deserved credit for the Ghahafi [sic] breakthrough as well.

Well, Wesley, allow me to retort.

“A spokesman for [Italian Prime Minister Silvio] Berlusconi said the prime minister had been telephoned recently by Col Gaddafi of Libya, who said: ‘I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.’”— The Telegraph

“Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, in an exclusive interview with CNN, acknowledged Monday that the war in Iraq may have played a role in his decision to dismantle his country’s weapons of mass destruction programs. ...  Asked about his decision, Gadhafi acknowledged that the Iraq war may have influenced him, but he insisted he wanted to focus on the ‘positive.’”— CNN

So, it seems that, despite Clark’s pathetic election year pandering, Clinton’s diplomatic efforts accomplished exactly dick, while Bush’s show of American force and resolve has achieved significant results.

The retired general added new details to his charge that President Bush was responsible for leaving America vulnerable to the 9/11 attacks, saying that President Clinton tried to warn Bush about Osama bin Laden but Bush wouldn’t listen.

“He wasn’t paying attention,” Clark complained. “He didn’t do his job as commander in chief.”

Odd, isn’t it, that President Clinton, who did virtually nothing to confront the growing threat of Islamic terrorism during his two terms in office, suddenly had lots of advice for the incoming president.  Methinks Clark is playing to his base and being less than forthright with the facts.

The former NATO commander said that Bush deserves to be “fired” for not doing more to prevent 9/11.

Kind of like how you were “fired” from your job at NATO, right Clarkie?  Let us not forget Gen. Hugh Shelton’s comments about your early dismissal.  “I’ve known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I’m not going to say whether I’m a Republican or a Democrat. I’ll just say Wes won’t get my vote.”

He won’t get mine, either.

Posted by Lee on 12/25/03 at 03:41 PM in Election 2004  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Pop Goes the Georgie
by Lee

Check out what I got for Christmas.

Posted by Lee on 12/25/03 at 02:34 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

All the Best
by Lee

It’s Christmas Day.  I hope you are celebrating with your family somewhere nice.  May the food be succulent and the wine be plentiful.

Thanks to everyone who participates in this blog, you give it the spirit that makes up its soul.  And a big special thanks to everyone who has hit the tip jar recently.  That money goes straight to server fees, and it is really appreciated.

So, it’s Christmas Day.  Turn off the computer, go spend time with your friends and family.  Have the merriest of Christmases, and we’ll start preparing for New Year. :)

Posted by Lee on 12/25/03 at 03:05 AM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Trees for Votes
by Lee

Bush is just creating jobs wherever he goes.

The Bush administration opened up undeveloped areas of the largest U.S. national forest to logging on Tuesday, scrapping a Clinton-era rule aimed at protecting the wilderness.

The U.S. Forest Service announced that it will exempt the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska from a national rule prohibiting timber cutting in roadless areas. The decision means about 300,000 acres of dense, old-growth rain forest will be available for logging.

The forest covers nearly 17 million acres.

So, out of 17,000,000 acres we’re going to open for logging 300,000 acres.  Someone do the math, I’m tired—but this seems like a fair trade off to me.  Loggers get jobs, the economy gets a boost, and some useless trees get turned into luxury furniture. 

Where’s the problem?  Go Bush Go.

Posted by Lee on 12/25/03 at 02:43 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The Season of Giving
by Lee

Looking for that last-minute Christmas gift for the boyfriend, husband, or lonely blogger?  How about a Britney Spears life-size sex doll.  Just like the real thing, the head is empty.  Perhaps someone should buy one for this guy.

Posted by Lee on 12/24/03 at 04:12 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink
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