Right Thinking From The Left Coast
We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time. - Vince Lombardi

Friday, July 29, 2005

Frist Versus Bush
by Lee

Frist has taken on Bush over stem cells.

In a rare break with President Bush and Christian conservatives, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Friday endorsed legislation to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

“The federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research” that uses leftover embryos from fertility clinics, said the Tennessee Republican, a surgeon who may run for president in 2008, in backing legislation already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would overturn the limits imposed on the research by Bush in 2001.

Bush has threatened to veto the stem cell legislation on the grounds that it would involve the destruction of human embryos.

Frist said he will support the House bill, even though he wants to clarify in the bill the ethical framework for donating the frozen embryos for research.

“I also strongly believe, as do countless other scientists, clinicians and doctors, that embryonic stem cells uniquely hold specific promise for some therapies and potential cures that adult stem cells just cannot provide,” Frist said, explaining why he believes it is time to change Bush’s policies.

I’ll tell you what this is.  Frist is considering a presidential run.  Stem cells are a winning issue with much of the country.  In fact, the only people who are staunchly opposed to stem cell research are fundamentalist Christians.  So it’s a trade off for Frist.  He might lose the support of the extreme religious right, but he’ll pick up votes in the center from moderates, independents, and some libertarians.  This is a smart move on Frist’s part.  He has to try and distinguish himself from Bush if he hopes to try and win the White House in 2008 and this is a good way of doing so.

Posted by Lee on 07/29/05 at 11:11 AM in Politics  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Borderline
by Lee

A porous border that the US cannot control, through which all kinds of people stream through to wreak havoc.  Texas/Mexico?  Syria/Iraq?  Nope, Iraq/Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again warned he could take action against Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq if U.S. forces did not stop the rebels infiltrating across the border into Turkey. “At the moment, frankly speaking, we do not see the efforts by the U.S. that we expect to see. We have expressed our views to that effect to the Americans,” Erdogan said in an interview yesterday with Britain’s Times newspaper. “There is a time limit. There is a limit to our tolerance,” said Erdogan.

He said Turkey was within its rights under international law to defend itself from attack and drew a comparison with U.S. action against Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“That mandate is provided for in international law,” he said.

“If a country, if a people, if a nation are under threat, that country can do what is necessary under international law ... we would exercise that right in the same way as any other country could, would and did exercise that right.”

Turkey has blamed the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for a rash of violence in the southeast of the country and says the guerrillas use bases in northern Iraq as a launch pad for attacks.

Perhaps if Turkey had, you know, let us use their country as a forward staging base before the invasion of Iraq, this might have a little bit more of a priority than it does now.

Posted by Lee on 07/29/05 at 11:08 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hey Spider, This Is For You
by Lee

We haven’t had a good creation vs. evolution flame war debate around here in a while, so it was with great amusement that I read this article called Things That Make Evolutionists Look Stupid (Spiders).

Spiders are able to make seven different types of webs, which they use for different purposes, such as for catching prey, for walking on, for anchor points, for wrapping prey, and for other functions. It is ridiculous to suggest that a creature could randomly develop the irreducibly complex apparatuses to make and eject one type of webbing, but to make seven types is mind-boggling. An irreducibly complex apparatus is something that could not operate if even one of its components were missing. The chances of something of this nature to appear by accident with all of its necessary parts intact are essentially zero.

Note the conspicuous lack of any actual mathematics to support this claim, it’s just taken as an article of faith.  The author then goes on to list a whole slew of really snazzy things that spiders are able to do, really amazing nature-show type stuff that you’ve probably never heard of.  He continues:

A very lengthy book could be written on the miraculous nature of spiders, but I’ll stop here for now. Spiders are amazingly sophisticated creations, and give us many reasons to stand in awe of God’s creativity.

In other words, look at all these cool things spiders can do.  Since these things are impressive, it’s obviously evidence of creation.  Oddly enough, the fact that lichen are relatively simple from a biological standpoint is not evidence of the opposite position.  Complexity shows evidence of creation, but simplicity also is evidence of creation.  It’s almost like this isn’t actually science!

Oddly, one of Kent Hovind’s video debates was against a woman professor from Augusta University whose area of expertise was, of all things, spiders. All of this incredible evidence lay before her, and she was probably aware of all of it (I say probably because she was an incompetent scientist even by evolutionist standards), so she should have known better than anyone that spiders are evidence of intelligent design. In spite of this, she defended a nonsensical and irrational theory called the theory of evolution.

Which this entire article does nothing to discredit.  They use a nonsensical and irrational philosophical argument to try and disprove a scientific argument.

It was, however, clear that her hatred for God’s people overruled any standards of scientific objectivity that she might have had. Her hatred and hostility toward Christianity and Christian values were not hidden during the debate.

Ah, Christian victimhood.  This woman wasn’t merely opposed to creationism because it’s an asinine, unsupported, unscientific piece of faith-based philosophical drivel, it’s because she “hates Christianity.”

I saw a magician once.  He reached into my ear and pulled out a quarter.  It was amazing!  I have absolutely no idea how the quarter got there.  I didn’t put it there, and even if I did, how did the magician know it was there?  Besides, a quarter is too big to fit into my ear.  Yet there it was!  The very fact that this quarter was in my ear clearly defies the “laws” of physics.  “Science” tells us that there is no way that this quarter could have fit into a hole with a smaller dimension, but there it was!  So much for “science” having all the answers! 

Obviously this is proof that the magician who pulled the quarter from my ear has divine powers, and is able to transcend the immutable laws of the universe.  I hereby propose that we all unquestioningly accept his divinity, and worship him as our God.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 08:14 PM in Science and Technology  • (3) TrackbacksPermalink

Manufacturing Outrage
by Lee

Having run out of pointless incidents to whip up into racial infernos, America’s most prominent racial arsonist has branched out into shaking down cable networks.

Now Jesse Jackson is involved in trying to convince ESPN that its 50-state tour of sporting events should include a stop in the nation’s capital.

The activist and former presidential candidate says it’s insulting that the cable network left D.C. out when it came up with its plans. Jackson says he’ll go to the network’s Connecticut headquarters if they don’t change their tune.

He also might picket the ESPN Zone bar in the city that’s home to the Nationals, Wizards, Mystics, United and Capitals. Plus there’s the Redskins, if you want to figure Landover into the mix.

The network says it’ll mention D.C. when broadcasting from Virginia and Maryland.

This is how he shakes down corporations.  He finds any angle he can, no matter how weak, to protest.  Then he goes to the corporation and threatens to stage a huge public protest.  Of course, he’ll gladly halt the protest plans if the corporation (a) concedes to his demands, and (b) gives his Rainbow/PUSH coalition a huge “voluntary donation.”

When the mafia does this the government calls it extortion and prosecutes the offender.  When Je$$e Jack$on does it he gets a free pass.  Why?  Because any attempt by the GOP to audit him and expose his methods will make him a martyr against the racist Republican hate machine, and the Democrats play suck-boy to him because they need him to shuck and jive and get blacks to go and vote for them.  Jesse knows this, and thus he operates above the law.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 06:41 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Law Is Not A Suicide Pact
by Lee

Here’s a study of liberal idiocy in action.

The sentence itself was fairly straightforward: An Algerian man received 22 years for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium. It was what the judge said in imposing the term that raised eyebrows.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.

“We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel,” he said Wednesday. “The message to the world from today’s sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart.”

He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe “this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.”

It’s worth noting here that the ONLY reason this guy was caught was because a guard at the Canadian border had a hinky feeling about him and decided to search the man’s car.  This wasn’t a triumph for law enforcement, it was nothing but sheer luck and good old-fashioned police work (with a smattering of racial profiling thrown in). 

And now, the other side of the story.

A month before the London bombings, British authorities denied a request by their counterparts in the United States to apprehend a man now believed to have ties to the July 7 bombers, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Haroon Rashid Aswat, 30, of Indian heritage, is currently in custody in Zambia, U.S. and Zambian officials told CNN.

U.S. authorities wanted to capture Aswat, who was then in South Africa, and question him about a 1999 plot to establish a “jihad training camp” in Bly, Oregon.

According to the sources, U.S. officials had Aswat under surveillance in South Africa weeks before the July 7 attacks that killed 52 commuters and the four bombers.

U.S. authorities had asked Britain if they could take Aswat into custody but they refused because he was a UK citizen, the sources said. Later British authorities said they suspected Aswat lent support to the July 7 bombers.

Here we see the end result of diplomacy and being beholden to the rule of law over any other concern.  People are dead, and the mass transit systems of every city in the civilized world are on high alert.  But hey, at least we followed the letter of the law, right?  Look, I’ve stated my position on this subject many times.  I’m not thrilled about the idea of holding these men indefinitely without trial or access to counsel, either.  But I’m also willing to give the government wide latitude to fight an unconventional war against an unconventional enemy.  If this Aswat character had been kidnapped months ago and was safely ensconced in a CIA safehouse somewhere, maybe those Londoners would have gotten to work alive that day.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 04:29 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (6) TrackbacksPermalink

Fatwa Bastard
by Lee

I’ve been calling for it for three years, and it’s good to see them finally do it.

Top U.S. Muslim scholars issued a “fatwa,” or religious edict, against terrorism on Thursday and called on Muslims to help authorities fight the scourge of militant violence.

The fatwa was part of efforts by U.S. Muslims to counter perceived links between Islam and terrorism and avert any negative backlash after this month’s bombings by suspected Islamic extremists in London and Egypt.

“Having our religious scholars side by side with our community leaders leaves no room for anybody to suggest that Islam and Muslims condone or support any forms or acts of terrorism,” said Esam Omeish, president of the Muslim American Society, one of the groups which announced the fatwa.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said it was the first time Muslims in North America had issued an anti-terrorism edict, although they had repeatedly condemned such acts of violence. … Hooper said Thursday’s religious ruling, issued by the Fiqh Council of North America, said: “We clearly and strongly state (that) all acts of terrorism targeting civilians are ‘haram’ (forbidden) in Islam.”

“It is ‘haram’ for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence, and it is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians,” he quoted the ruling as saying.

The Fiqh Council is an association of Islamic legal scholars that interprets Islamic religious law. Hooper said it was the only one of its kind in North America.

I specifically like the part which calls on Muslims to help law enforcement.  That’s been the gaping hole in previous edicts of this type, which just called on Muslims not to participate in terrorism.  Now we just have to wait and see if anyone listens to them.  Nonetheless, this is a good sign , and should be supported.

Let’s see if the Religion of Peace™ can actually be the religion of peace.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 03:27 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Boxing Helen
by Lee

Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease…

Veteran wire reporter Helen Thomas is vowing to ‘kill herself’ if Dick Cheney announces he is running for president.

The newspaper HILL first reported the startling claim on Thursday.

MORE

“The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I’ll kill myself,” she told the HILL. “All we need is one more liar.”

Thomas added, “I think he’d like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does.”

Here’s what Cheney should do.  He should stand up, announce his candidacy, and wait for Helen Thomas to kill herself.  Then he should announce that he’s not going to run.  Of course, if Alec Baldwin won’t move to France, we wouldn’t be able to get Thomas to commit suicide.  But, seeing has how she’s 146 years old, we’re only going to have to wait a few years for nature to take its course.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 03:19 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (10) TrackbacksPermalink

Brazil Nut
by Lee

If these claims turn out to be true then things for Scotland Yard have just gone from worse to really worse.

Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian shot dead in the head, was not wearing a heavy jacket that might have concealed a bomb, and did not jump the ticket barrier when challenged by armed plainclothes police, his cousin said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with the Metropolitan police, Vivien Figueiredo, 22, said that the first reports of how her 27-year-old cousin had come to be killed in mistake for a suicide bomber on Friday at Stockwell tube station were wrong.

“He used a travel card,” she said. “He had no bulky jacket, he was wearing a jeans jacket. But even if he was wearing a bulky jacket that wouldn’t be an excuse to kill him.”

It’s worth making clear that these are just claims by the family, but if any of this is true I don’t see anything but a world of hurt for these cops.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 02:06 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Gulf War Legacy
by Lee

We’ve all heard a lot about Gulf War Syndrome.  Usually it’s drug out by opponents of any military action, and while there is no doubt that there is something going on, there’s never been any real scientific explanation.  But there’s been an intriguing development using two things that the left usually ignores, facts and science.

For the first time, a study has found an increase in brain cancer deaths among Gulf War veterans who potentially were exposed to the nerve agent sarin by the destruction of Iraqi weapons in 1991.
About 100,000 of the 350,000 Army soldiers in the Persian Gulf may have been exposed to sarin and other chemical weapons after soldiers blew up two large ammunition caches in Khamisiyah, Iraq, in March 1991, according to a study commissioned by the military and performed by the Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on health policy.

At the time, the military didn’t believe the Iraqi rockets that were destroyed contained any chemical weapons, and no one showed signs of chemical warfare exposure, says Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director for the Deployment Health Support Directorate in the Department of Defense.

Later, however, United Nations inspectors found that some of the weapons contained sarin, a nerve agent that can cause convulsions and death. The military has since contacted about 300,000 veterans to let them know whether they may have been exposed.

Soldiers in the “hazard area” — a region that includes anywhere that winds might have carried chemical weapons — were about twice as likely as those outside it to die from brain cancer, according to the new article, published in the American Journal of Public Health.

So, how bad is it for those exposed?

Among unexposed soldiers, researchers found a brain cancer death rate of 12 deaths per 100,000 people between 1991 and 2000, says William Page, director of the study. Over the same period, researchers found 25 brain cancer deaths per 100,000 veterans who were exposed.

“It’s a doubling of risk, but it’s still a pretty small risk,” says Page, a senior program officer at the IOM.

So, it doesn’t go all the way towards providing an explanation, but it does show that there may indeed be some kind of physiological cause.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 12:41 PM in Science and Technology  • (4) TrackbacksPermalink

One Down, One To Go
by Lee

It took 30 years, but one group of terrorists has realized that terrorism doesn’t work.

The IRA has formally ordered an end to its armed campaign and says it will pursue exclusively peaceful means.
In a long-awaited statement, the republican organisation said it would follow a democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the move was a “courageous and confident initiative” and that the moment must be seized.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was a “step of unparalleled magnitude”.

“It is what we have striven for and worked for throughout the eight years since the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.

Are you listening, Palestinians?  Are you listening, al-Qaeda?  You’ll be able to score the occasional victory against us, but you’re going to lose the war.  Unfortunately, it might take 30 years for you to realize it.

This happened not a moment too soon, either.  The UK has a whole new slew of terrorist vermin to deal with.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 12:34 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Allah’s Blow
by Lee

I’ve written a number of posts regarding the use of the PATRIOT Act to prosecute other kinds of crimes.  While I’m of the opinion that the act should be used specifically to prosecute terrorism cases, and that “terrorism” should be as tightly defined as possible, there are definitely other avenues where it is appropriate.  In this post about gang prosecutions under the PATRIOT rubric I wrote:

I remember a few years back there was a prosecution of an interstate cigarette smuggling operation which was funneling money to Hamas.  And think of the DC Sniper case.  That was definitely a form of terrorism, yet it doesn’t fit a traditional terrorist-style operation. So I don’t think that prosecutors should be limited in how they apply these laws, provided they don’t overstep the laws’s boundaries.  If lawmakers want to revise the laws to limit how prosecutors may use them then that’s the appropriate process.

I think my views on this subject ha thus been vindicated by this report.

OSAMA bin Laden tried to buy a massive amount of cocaine, spike it with poison and sell it in the US, hoping to kill thousands of Americans one year after the September 11 attacks.

The evil plot failed when the Colombian drug lords bin Laden approached decided it would be bad for their business - and, possibly, their own health - US law enforcement sources familiar with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s inquiry into the aborted transaction said.
US authorities were told of the plan this year, but its existence had never been made public.

The New York Post has reviewed a document detailing the DEA’s findings in the matter, in addition to interviewing sources familiar with the case.

Sources said US officials were told that bin Laden personally met leaders of a Colombian drug cartel in 2002.

This was to negotiate the purchase of tonnes of cocaine, saying that he was willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to finance the deal.

So there you have it.  Another example of how something as general as drug smuggling can be totally intertwined with a major terrorist attack.  I stand by what I wrote earlier, we should more clearly define the scope of the PATRIOT Act, but its use in investigations that might not initially appear to be terrorist investigations seems, to me, to be completely reasonable.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 02:12 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Hafta Pass CAFTA
by Lee

Score one for the free market.

The House narrowly approved the Central American Free Trade Agreement early Thursday, a personal triumph for President Bush, who campaigned aggressively for the accord he said would foster prosperity and democracy in the hemisphere.

The 217-215 vote just after midnight adds six Latin American countries to the growing lists of nations with free trade agreements with the United States and averts what could have been a major political embarrassment for the Bush administration.

It was an uphill effort to win a majority, with Bush traveling to Capitol Hill earlier in the day to appeal to wavering Republicans to support a deal he said was critical to U.S. national security.

The vote, supposed to take 15 minutes, dragged on for an hour as negotiations swirled around the floor among GOP leaders and rank-and-file members reluctant to vote for the agreement. In the end, 27 Republicans voted against CAFTA, while 15 Democrats supported it.

I’ll bet that the Republicans who voted against it were all from states with heavy manufacturing bases.  I’ll check the roll call tomorrow.

Democrats, who were overwhelmingly against CAFTA, also argued that its labor rights provisions were weak and would result in exploitation of workers in Central America.

Democrats don’t give a shit about “exploited” workers in Central America.  In their parlance, exploited means “willing to work shit jobs for less than Americans.” They opposed this because the big unions were all opposed to it.  And I’ll be willing to bet that the Democrats who voted for the bill are all from states with very little manufacturing, and thus much less beholden to their union overlords than the rest of the party.

Besides, exploitation of foreign labor is why I can go to Old Navy and buy as pair of cargo shorts for $17, and Old Navy still makes a profit from it.  That’s capitalism, Jack, and nothing in human history has ever worked better.  This is a big win for Bush.

Posted by Lee on 07/28/05 at 12:42 AM in Politics  • (5) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hoser Shoots Hoser
by Lee

When will America learn to follow Canada’s lead with strict gun control laws and outrageous social spending, so that we are not subject to violence like this?

Shots rang out across Toronto overnight—sending at least seven men to hospital.

For the second day in a row, Toronto police found themselves investigating a shooting near Allen and the 4-0-1. On Sunday, shots rang out during a memorial for two murdered members of the community. And last night—more gunfire. A man said to be 31 years old was left with a gunshot wound to the hand, and one to the groin—but they’re not life-threatening injuries. There’s word police are looking for 8 suspects in that case.

Also last night, bullets flew at Finch and Weston, leaving one man in critical condition and another with less serious injuries. The two men were shot behind a diner there, in what police say was an attempted robbery.

Last night’s violence began around 10:30, near Church and Dundas. One person suffered non-life-threatening injuries when they were shot at a telephone booth.

Then around midnight, a man was shot twice while leaving a restaurant near Islington and the Lakeshore.

Shots rang out again near Birchmount and Finch. Apparently someone drove up beside the victim, got out of their vehicle, and started shooting. He’s apparently not co-operating with police—but should be just fine.

Then around 2 a-m, a man was shot in the leg near Allen Gardens.

No arrests have been made in any of these incidents.

As Michael Moore tells us, this is a symptom of America’s “Culture of Violence™” and could be avoided if we were only more “Canada-like.”

Posted by Lee on 07/27/05 at 08:22 PM in Michael Mooron  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

We Have A Problem
by Lee

I wonder how you are able to clean yourself up when you shit your pants in zero gravity.

NASA officials said Wednesday they would ground future space shuttle flights because foam debris that brought down Columbia is still a risk.

A sizable chunk of foam insulation flew off the shuttle Discovery’s fuel tank during liftoff on Tuesday, NASA officials said. They do not believe it hit the orbiter, posing a threat to the seven astronauts when they return to Earth. But they plan a closer inspection of the shuttle to be sure.

The loss of a chunk of debris, a vexing problem NASA thought had been fixed, represents a tremendous setback to a space program that has spent 2 1/2 years and more than $1 billion trying to make the 20-year-old shuttles safe to fly.

“We won’t be able to fly again” until the hazard is removed, Bill Parsons, shuttle program manager, told reporters in a briefing Wednesday evening. “Obviously we have some more work to do.”

Perhaps the “Damn the torpedoes” attitude they took forcing the launch at all costs wasn’t the brightest idea after all.

Posted by Lee on 07/27/05 at 06:37 PM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Nature Versus Man
by Lee

There’s a great article up over at Reason Online making the case for one of my favorite causes, rolling back the Endangered Species Act.

Since 1973, only 40 species have been removed from the endangered and threatened species list and only 15 of those have been de-listed because their populations had recovered. The other de-listed species either went extinct (nine species) or shouldn’t have been listed in the first place (16 species). Only about one percent of listed species have been declared no longer in endangered or threatened by extinction. Despite this sorry performance, the activist group Endangered Species Coalition hails the ESA as “one of our nation’s strongest environmental laws.”

They also cover the virtual theft of private property that the act mandates.

The Fifth Amendment also guarantees that private property will not be taken without just compensation. In other words, cities, states, and the federal government can’t just take someone’s property to build worthy projects like schools and roads without paying them for it. And while it would be far cheaper if the land were just seized, we don’t do that and claim that such payments would “bankrupt” government agencies.

Why should the case be any different for protecting endangered species? The draft revisions of the ESA would partially right this current wrong, but why should landowners be compensated for only 50 percent of their losses? We would all think it unjust to give people whose land is taken to build roads and schools only half the value of their property. If the public values endangered species (and most of us do), then it seems only fair that we fully compensate the people on whose land they live for taking care of them for us.

Absolutely.  The ESA, while noble in intent, is an abominable piece of legislation, and it should be reevaluated and significantly changed to better protect the rights of taxpaying landowners over flies, insects, birds, and other animal life.

Posted by Lee on 07/27/05 at 12:03 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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