Monday, February 27, 2006

Proviso Probe

Carl Nyberg's doing a fund raising for his Proviso Probe blog.

My step-dad kept reading the Cicero Life long after leaving Cicero for Westchester. He told me that was the only real news.

That's how I feel about Carl's blog. He covers politics in the inner ring suburbs and that's still the real news. So give him a try.

Besides politics he post train pics too, so he's really my kind.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ed Burke on George Ryan

Rick Kogan quoting Chicago's elder statesman: Ed Burke,
"The law business is good," he says. "I have been fortunate to have the best of both worlds. I have enjoyed the political side of it and also enjoyed my private legal practice. Yes, there have been temptations, [but] if you try to conduct yourself under the rules, in the long run you are better off. But sometimes those rules are changed in the middle of the game."

For example?

"I see some of that in the Ryan case. Frankly I don't see that what George Ryan did was a great deal different than what every other governor has done for the last 100 years."
I'm guessing the jurors agree and Ryan walks.

Comments?

cross posted at Illinoize

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Think Spring II - West Side's Garfield Park Conservatory








Self-exculpating dismissal of will and discipline

I sometimes chuck will and discipline out the door. More so when I was younger. Now I'm just addicted to blogging and trains.

Here's the biting the logic I find so appealing from some Catholics though... Richard John Neuhaus writing on Gene Robinson,


Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, has been in alcohol rehab since February 1. There is this in his letter to his diocese:

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am writing to you from an alcohol treatment center where on February 1, with the encouragement and support of my partner, daughters and colleagues, I checked myself in to deal with my increasing dependence on alcohol.

Over the 28 days I will be here, I will be dealing with the disease of alcoholism–which, for years, I have thought of as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop drinking altogether.


One has the greatest empathy for people afflicted with alcoholism, but the logic is intriguing. It is not a matter of will or discipline but a disease of his particular body over which he has no control.

One might imagine a person severely afflicted with same-sex desires writing something like this: “I thought of it as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop having sex altogether and live a chaste life.”

The self-exculpating dismissal of will and discipline as irrelevant to disordered desires is always a morally dubious step. Bishop Robinson will now be a recovering alcoholic. Good. If only he were also a recovering gay.
Sometimes it makes more sense Bishop to just say,

... sorry, I goofed up and need to dry out for a while.

and just let everyone figure out for themselves if it's nature or will because we all wrestle with mother-nature.

Everybody believes

Three quotes from Richard John Neuhaus writing in First Things in a review of Adam Kirshs's review of Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell.

These are thoughts I save and thing about for months. But for me, believe isn't too important; the response to truth claims... a person's actions are though.
Everybody believes. It is a question of what they believe, and why. The atheist makes a breathtaking leap of faith in believing there is no God, since he could not possibly have all the evidence pertinent to arriving at that conclusion.
[***]
One need not go so far as the early Karl Barth who insisted that Christianity is not a religion, but it is obvious that one is not, or should not be, a Christian because he believes in religion. Rather, he has by reason, authoritative testimony, and the gift of faith, accepted the claim that God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ.
[***]
The question is not whether one believes in believing or believes in religion. The question is how one responds to the truth claims proposed by traditions of thought–Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, etc.–that are conventionally called religions.


cross posted at Pfarrer Streccius

A Congregation of Vapours: Black Bart

Traditional African sculpture with Bart Simpson heads added; found in Cape Town. I can't imagine The Simpsons in translation in Zulu or Xhosa. What must Africans think of America from that? I guess they enjoy it. Bart must translate well.

A Congregation of Vapours: Black Bart

TigerHawk: CBS News has altered another document

via PJ Media

Most Bloggers have higher ethical standards. Or at least they know how easy it is to get caught and don't do it. We still don't know who typed up the faked Bush memo either.

TigerHawk: "CBS News has altered another document in the production of a news magazine show. This time, '48 Hours Mystery' manipulated the front page of the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune in an episode about a murder trial. This offense is trivial in its consequences compared its previous attempt to throw a presidential election, but it does suggest that CBS News can still make big improvements in the control of its internal processes. It is particularly ironic -- almost hilarious -- that in this case CBS News manufactured an 'exhibit' in a documentary that alleged that its subject, Ryan Ferguson, may have been wrongly convicted of murder."

Friday, February 24, 2006

The most coddled oppressive class by the international community ever

The Officers' Club: I Don’t Need Your Civil War!:
"They say that the problems in the 20th century were –isms. Fascism, Communism, etc. However, another –ism has been much more effective in uniting people, even in the Arab world: Nationalism. We are about to see if the Iraqi people have gone through enough of a collective experience for a nation to be born out of the ruins of the past 50 years. Repression, a war with the Persians, invading a neighbor, getting crushed by the international community, more repression, sanctions, exploitation, bombings, gassings, and finally an invasion that took power from a repressor and handed it to the people. We’ve stepped aside now, and its time for the Iraqi people to step up.

We’re at the brink in Iraq now, with chaos down one road and people power down the other one. Civil war, if
it comes to Iraq, will be nasty, brutish, and short. The Sunnis, the most coddled oppressive class by the international community ever, will be crushed in bloody short order by the Shiite militias if we do not intervene. The Kurds will likely do nothing, and continue to pursue their future of an autonomous Kurdistan. "
I'm betting on people power.

Church of England's Synod votes to disinvest from Caterpillar because its machines have been used by Israel to bulldoze Palestinian homes

And Melanie Phillips links and excellent response to the decision in an Editorial from Church of England Newspaper,
No wonder many in the UK and Europe were distinctly queasy at this foray into international politics by the members of General Synod. Is this assembly really equipped to make judgements on such very complex problems? The motion would be better placed in a university or school debating chamber rather than a Church. What has emerged looks one-sided and simplistic, possibly hindering Israeli efforts to make a stable peace. Again, Synod has lived up to a reputation for shadowing the Guardian newspaper in its political orientation and preferred topics of condemnation. Has Synod pronounced on Zimbabwe, genocide in the Sudan, persecution and oppression in China and the Middle East? Indeed Anglican dignitaries rushed to the letters columns after the murderous attack on the twin-towers on 9/11 to exculpate the bombers by seeking the reasons for their hatred of the West. No great rush by our new-found experts on global politics to express exculpatory reasons for Israeli bulldozing is evident. If Synod wants to become a sort of amateur United Nations body, it might investigate the misuse of cash poured into the Palestinian Authority, maintaining abject poverty for many.

Kudlow's Money Politic$: Jesse Jackson’s Worst Nightmare

From Kudlow's blog... 136 comments on Blackwell and the whole group of African American Republicans campaigning this season. More tomorrw,

Kudlow's Money Politic$: Jesse Jackson’s Worst Nightmare:

"A recent article called 'Ronald Reagan's Unlikely Heir' had this to say about Blackwell:

'Ken Blackwell has so many people worried because he represents a new political calculus with the power to shake up American politics. For Blackwell is a fiscal and cultural conservative ... who happens to be black with the proven power to attract votes from across a startlingly wide spectrum of the electorate.

Born in the projects of Cincinnati to a meat-packer who preached the work ethic and a nurse who read to him from the bible every evening, Blackwell has rejected the victimology of many black activists and opted for a different path, championing school choice, opposing abortion and advocating low taxes as a road to prosperity. The 57-year-old is equally comfortable preaching that platform to the black urban voters of Cincinnati as to the white German-Americans in Ohio's rural counties or to the state's business community.'"

Crunchy cons

Will have to read this one,
What do you call people who vote for Bush but shop at Whole Foods? Crunchy cons. And according to Dreher, an editor at the Dallas Morning News, they're forming a thriving counterculture within the contemporary conservative movement. United by a "cultural sensibility, not an ideology," crunchy conservatives, he says, have some habits and beliefs often identified with cultural liberals, like shopping at agriculture co-ops and rejecting suburban sprawl. Yet crunchy cons stand apart from both the Republican "Party of Greed" and the Democratic "Party of Lust," he says, by focusing on living according to conservative values, what the author calls "sacramental" living.
But I'm certainly not one of them. At least not the organic food part.

Thanks to The Buck Stops Here.

24 Steps to Liberty on the Askariyah Shrine and Civil War in Iraq

24 Steps to Liberty

You guys always said you don’t get all the news from Iraq. And I always agreed with you!

I was shocked today when I read the news in the foreign newspapers. No one emphasized the marvelous cooperation and solidarity between the Shiites and the Sunnis in Iraq yesterday after the bombing of one of the most respected and visited holy sites in Islam, the Askariyah shrine, which is in Samarra city north of Baghdad.
[***]
I was amazed how only the provocative and civil-war-style quotes were published today in the newspapers. Almost no newspaper showed how great, it appeared to us, the solidarity among Iraqis was yesterday. It is true that Sunni mosques were attacked by unknown men yesterday, and some Sunnis were killed. But that wasn’t the only thing happened as a reaction. Newspapers should have been neutral, as we were taught, and show both sides. Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Arabs, Christians, Sabians, Turkumans, and others publicly condemned the attack, but no one wanted to show the truth. I am not saying there will be no riots in Iraq to react to the shrine attack. I am not saying there weren't mosques that were attacked yesterday and burned down. I am not saying that Shiites and Sunnis kissed and hugged after the attack yesterday. All what I am saying is that the news made Iraqis look like if they were fighting each other widely in the streets, which is not true. The news only made Iraqis sound like barbarians killing each other. There are barbarian Iraqis, like other people in the world, I am not saying all Iraqis are perfect and compete with angels in their manners. But why when anything good happens, they show the bad side of it too in their stories, but when any bad thing to happen, they only write about it and not the good sides around it?

Congressman Danny Davis: We won't do a thing till it's over over there

Danny Davis speaking at the Columbus Park forum as reported in the Austin Weekly.
Robert Dallas, a former political advisor for Harold Washington and Jesse Jackson, and a former Republican candidate for office, said he would propose turning the old downtown post office at 420 W. Van Buren into a complex with a shopping mall, hotels, schools and a high-speed rail system. He said he would lobby Congress and the city for funding.Davis said the U.S. first has to get out of Iraq before funding new projects."The United States is broke," said Davis. "We just spent $256 billion on the war. Anything is a good idea --as far as an idea-- but we don't live off ideas."
Bin Laden's target is our Economy. Read his Sermon for the Feast of the Sacrifice,
They carried out the raid by means of enemy planes in a courageous and splendid operation the like of which mankind had never before witnessed. They smashed the American idols and damaged its very heart, the Pentagon. They struck the very heart of the American economy, rubbed America's nose in the dirt and dragged its pride through the mud. The towers of New York collapsed, and their collapse precipitated an even greater debacle: the collapse of the myth of America the great power and the collapse of the myth of democracy; people began to understand that American values could sink no lower. The myth of the land of freedom was destroyed, the myth of American National security was smashed and the myth of the CIA collapsed, all praise and thanks to Allah.
[***]
To sum up: America is a great power possessed of tremendous military might and a wide-ranging economy, but all this is built upon an unstable foundation which can be targeted, with special attention to its obvious weak spots. If it [America] is hit in one hundredth of those spots, God willing, it will stumble, wither away and relinquish world leadership and its oppression.
Thumb your nose at Bin Laden Congressmen Davis and revnovate the darn Post Office. It's sat there empty long before this war. Bin Laden's goal was to drive us into an economic depression and he's failed. Let's keep building.

After thought: My wife sang in a Christmas pageant with Congressman Davis. He read from the Bible and I'm certain he sounds exactly like God. His voice fills a Church. But reading him here and he sounds like one of the weakest of those weak spots Bin Laden sees in us.

PS: This was held at the Columbus Park Field house. I tried to take some pics Monday but there was some big event going on inside. It looks great and the Parks been renovated too.

cross posted at Illinois

To the Illinois Democratic Party: rebuke Lindy Scott for his comments on Military Service

We've been having some give and take on Capital Fax over this comment reported in the Daily Herald by Lindy Scott running as a Democrat for Congress in the Illinois 6th District's primary.

“Tammy has sacrificed a lot for her country. So perhaps in a general election there would be some support there because of her patriotism,” said Scott, when asked if Duckworth’s stint in Iraq is a liability among liberal voters in a suburban Democratic primary. “In the primary, perhaps it is a liability.”[Baar's emphasis]
I happen to think Scott spoke from the heart and was --sadly as someone who once voted Democratic regularly-- right about a growing chunk of the Party's primary voters. They do view a Candidate's Military Service as a problem.

If Scott's wrong and slandering Democrats, then the Party should rebuke him for uttering an outlandish and disgraceful comment.

Maybe they already have.

Or maybe Scott's apoligized recalling Eugene Sawyer's wise recollection of Mayor Daley's rule: you never have to take back things you don't say.

But I 've yet to see it.

Correct me if wrong.

I'm confident Andy McKenna would have been out with a press release by now if a Republican candidate talked like this.

cross posted at Illinoize

more on Dome of the Golden Mosque

Haider Ajina writing in PowerLine,
Most of our news reports on the bombed shrine and all the damage sustained physically and emotionally. The news further reports on sectarian attacks and demonstrations. While this is true and accurate what is not being reported is the calling for calm and cooperation by all Sunni & Shiite religious leaders (except the young Alsadar who remains a thorn). The demonstrations of national unity. The mullahs in Sunni & Shiite mosques calling for support for injured brothers and sisters, national calm. They do not report on the Shiites standing guard outside of Sunni mosques in the south. Etc...There are two sides to this incident. The side of revenge, anger and the much larger side of unity and support. This bombing in Samarah has brought more unity amongst Iraqis than any other incident since the stampede on the Kahdumiah bridge (when Felujans [mostly Sunni] donated blood for the wounded in Kahdumiah [mostly Shiite] in Baghdad). Iraqi political parties, community leaders, religious leaders, political leaders all are strongly condemning this bombing and asking for national support and help for the people of Samarah. This outpouring of compassion, support and help is what is not being reported.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Newsweek and the Cheney hunting story, and Arab Journalists

I get our latest issue of Newsweek and it's devoted to Cheney's Hunting accident including a picture labeled dying quail (page 31 and it looks darn healthy) and then there is so little coverage of fellow journalists doing serious work to advance freedom and liberal ideals.

MSM has really gone to hell save a piece once in a while as found here by Big Pharaoh in NYT.
The Big Pharaoh: The New York Times has an excellent piece on those Arab journalists whodared to ask the smart question of 'What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras, or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony?'

Unfortunately, these very few brave men are waiting for their trial. This is why ladies and gentlement we're going to stay in this pit of darkness for a very very long time.
No one at Newsweek particularly concerned about the Arabs in the pit of darkness; just the darn quail.

The Fourth Rail: Dome of the Golden Mosque Destroyed

The Fourth Rail on destruction of the Golden Mosque. I'm betting (praying) it's an opportunitythat becomes a tipping point.
The Byzantine political situation in Iraq has just become more chaotic with the destruction of the Golden Mosque, but it also may provide an opportunity for Sunnis and Shiites to see just how close to the abyss they are with respect to a civil war, and work towards avoiding such a situation through political means. The Shiites currently control the levers of power in Iraq, including the military and police apparatuses, and could easily decimate Sunni mosques and cities if they so desired. The Sunnis have far more to lose by a sectarian war than the Shiites, and they know this. al-Qaeda may have scored a short term gain with yet another shocking display of violence, but this could be another miscalculation that further alienates them in the eyes of the Iraqi people. If the Shiites and Sunnis play their cards correctly.
A large part of the credit will go to this man, mentioned earlier in the post,
Ayatollah Sistani is often accused as being an agent of the Iranians, however this representation is far from accurate. He stands in direct opposition to the Khomienist mode of Shiite governance, and believes in a strict separation between the civilian government and religious institutions. He has rarely weighed in on political matters, but would be wise to maintain a visible presence on this issue and continue to call for restraint and reconciliation via religious fatwas.

The Christian Evangelical Left on a Veteran's sacrifice as seen in the Democratic Party

Wheaton College's cruel pacifist Lindy Scott on Major Tammy Duckworth and how a Veteran's Service a liability in today's Democratic Party.

Through Rich Miller's Capital Fax.
“Tammy has sacrificed a lot for her country. So perhaps in a general election there would be some support there because of her patriotism,” said Scott, when asked if Duckworth’s stint in Iraq is a liability among liberal voters in a suburban Democratic primary. “In the primary, perhaps it is a liability.”
[***]
Scott, a Wheaton College professor, called Iraq an “immoral war,” noting he’s running as an anti-war candidate.

Bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra

Iraq the Model on shrine bombing via PJ Media.
From where I'm sitting now I can hear both Sunni and Shia mosques are condemning the attack through their loudspeakers.

I believe there are foreign terror groups behind this attack and I don't think local insurgent would do such a thing, simply because this particular shrine had been in Sunni territory for a thousand years and the residents of Samarra had always benefited from the movement of religious tourism and pilgrimage.

Things look scary here in Baghdad and I hope there won't be more updates to report as I can't see a positive thing coming out of this.
Maybe Sunni and Shia mosques jointly condemning an attack by foreign terrorists will be the good thing to come of it.

Thy people shall be my people and their God my God

Few dramatists could match the poignant scene when Britain stood alone against the Nazi power that dominated a conquered or fawningly neutral Europe. Roosevelt sent his envoy Harry Hopkins to Churchill. At dinner Hopkins quoted from the Book of Ruth: "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people and their God my God," softly adding, "Even to the end." --From Meachem Franklin and Winston
Picture of the Golden Dome of the al Askariya mosque destroyed yesterday by terrorists via The Stupid Shall Be Punished

Teamsters join Wash DC protest in support of Iranian Bus Drivers

via Kesher Talk,
We call on the Iranian government to recognize the bus drivers’ right to form a union,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “We demand that the Iranian government release imprisoned union members and return all fired drivers to work immediately and unconditionally.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bruna's at 24th and Oakley

Bruna's restaurant at 24th and Oakley. Bruna's was the headquarters for strikers at the near by McCormick Reaper Works in 1886.An Italian sandwich...
...and here is fettucini with scallops.
La Fontenalla is a few doors down. My mom and step-dad took me here for dinner when I graduated from DePaul.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A surgeon doesn't leave in the middle of the operation!

Tom Rick's writing in the Washington Post on The Lessons of Counter Insurgency,
Even now, McMaster said, he understands that his success is "fragile." The city's mayor, Najim Abdullah Jabouri, is unhappy that McMaster and his unit are leaving Iraq this month. "A surgeon doesn't leave in the middle of the operation!" the mayor said intently to McMaster over a recent lunch of lamb kabobs and bread. He waved his finger under the colonel's nose. "The doctor should finish the job he started."

McMaster and Hickey tried to calm him down. "There's another doctor coming," Hickey ventured. "He's very good."

The mayor wasn't mollified. He said he has seen other American units here before, and they didn't coordinate with Iraqi forces like McMaster's has. "When you leave, I will leave, too," the mayor threatened. "What you are doing is an experiment, and it isn't right to experiment on people."
At a far bleaker moment in History, Harry Hopkins told a friend of America we had yet committed to standing along side with this,
Few dramatists could match the poignant scene when Britain stood alone against the Nazi power that dominated a conquered or fawningly neutral Europe. Roosevelt sent his envoy Harry Hopkins to Churchill. At dinner Hopkins quoted from the Book of Ruth: "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people and their God my God," softly adding, "Even to the end."
It's not an experiement. It's a huge struggle and we can't let the Iraqi's down.

Think Spring

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rails to Exurbia: Metra's New Station at La Fox Illinois

Some pictures of the New Metra Station at La Fox, Illinois.
And a great shot of an ex C&NW SD40-2s. Look behind them and you can see there's plenty of space in La Fox. It won't stay empty for long.

Pete's Hot Dogs in Lily Lake, Illinois

Pete's is in Lily Lake at the interestion of routes 47 and 64.
Pete has hot pickles and hot pickled eggs. He also makes his own hot saunces and Bar-B-Q sauce.
I had a polish with everything, fries, and a lemonade for lunch.Pete's a protectionist, and also wants US out of the UN.

Poor People as Battle Shields

From Today's Trib's endorsement of Claypool,
Instead, Stroger uses poor people as battle shields, pretending that criticism of the payrollers he employs is an attack on the impoverished citizens they're supposed to serve.

During a telling moment in January 2005, Stroger let slip his vision of how to cover the county's exorbitant personnel costs. At the time, he wanted authority to levy new taxes on cell phones, pagers and other telecom devices. Asked if Cook County provides any services whatsoever to the citizens he was seeking to gouge, Stroger replied with welcome candor: "We would like to get their money from a tax."

That's what it's all about at Cook County: We would like to get your money from a tax. Because we have more cousins to employ. Because our campaign donors need more contracts.
I knew Ubi Est Mea was the slogan on the shield but didn't realize poor people were the shield. Makes sense though.

Cross Posted at Illinoize

UUA Washington Office for Advocacy: 0% of African Americans surveyed supported the confirmation of Samuel Alito

That's what Office of Advocacy is quoting from Zogby. Zogby sure didn't survey Sowell but maybe who ever defines who's what didn't count him as African or American.

The Christian Evangelical Left: Lindy Scott's Incarnation of Christ at the Office of Management and Budget

Unitarian Universalist Denominational leadership and clergy have a pretty monolithic and predictable set of political beliefs. Just check the polling over at Philocrates.

Evangelicals and theologically conservative Christians have always seemed more politically mixed and open to me.

For example in Illinois we have Liberal-Democratic Congressman and ordained Baptist-Preacher Bobby Rush .

Now the Evangelical's Vatican: Wheaton College offers Prof Lindy Scott running as a Democrat in Illinois's 6th District congressional primary against Maj. Tammy Duckworth and Christine Cegelis.

Political Analyst Rich Miller profiles the candidates here. (Includes a link to a lengthy Chicago Trib interview with Scott.)

I was startled to see Scott may well come in second in the race because of a well funded grass-roots base of leftist evangelicals from Wheaton.

That's exactly the kind of political diversity and openness I expected from Evangelicals. It would be unheard of to see the same kind of breadth of political thought at Unitarian Universalist seminaries of Starr King or Meadville Lombard.

I find the Evangelical Left invokes Christ into a secular political argument in a way seldom seen among politically conservative Evangelicals.

Here's Lindy on the Implication of the Incarnation where he drags Christ, with Bible cites and all, into the Federal Budget.

Scott tells us Federal Budgets are moral documents. I want to agree with him but a little put off by the direct intervention of Christ and the Bible. After all, it's an immoral world often requiring compromise with the immoral.

I can't imagine George Bush or any Conservative Evangelical using God on my side quit like this..

There certainly is an Evangelical Left and it's social gospel often mixes God and State in a very direct way.

Conservatives will draw on their faith to form a political statement, but they way Lindy writes this stuff, it almost seems conversion to Christianity is a prerequisite. I never get that feeling from the right.

Cross Posted at Illinoize

Bush: Time to provide muscle to Darfur operations

MSM focused on Cheny's shootout when we should have been talking this on Secular Blasphemy via PJ Media,
President Bush signaled a new American commitment on Friday to addressing the crisis in Darfur, saying he would support an expanded role by NATO to shore up a failing African peacekeeping mission there.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Nick Cohen on Ethical Consumption

We have stacks of ethically consumable coffee beans at church. I should post this by Cohen too. Not that anyone is doing coke, but worth noting the consequences from those who do.
IT WAS GOOD to see Bod Geldoff coming out so strongly against cocaine. On the rare occasions I’ve been to fashionable clubs, I’ve always been astonished by the hypocrisy of London’s media elite. Their drug of choice fund gangsters who terrorise Latin America. In Colombia alone, a civil war that is mainly about control of the cocaine trade has produced 400,000 refugees.

Yet none of the suffering bothers the allegedly ethical consumers at the end of the smugglers’ routes. They take care to choose GM free and organic food for their dinners. Then they complement the environmentally friendly meal with a sip of fair trade Colombian coffee and a sniff of foul-trade Colombian cocaine.

A year of blogging and a thousand posts

An email Friday Morning,
Good morning bill. Thought you'd like to know that since I didn't buy a ny times this morning, I am reading your blog as I drink my morning coffee.
Thanks to many...

Scoring points against Islam: Baar's two cents on the cartoons.

It's sleazy and dangerous for politicians to be scoring points against Islam in a continent where Bosnian Muslims were being put in concentration camps until America intervened.

--an advisor to Jordan's King Abdullah quoted page 28 of The Economist of Feb 11, 2006. My emphasis added.

Thank God for American intervention.

Picture downloaded from the BBC.

Amensty International on Iran: urgent investigation required into security forces violence against Sufi Muslims in Qom

via NormsBlog
Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to order an immediate, independent investigation into the violent suppression of an apparently peaceful demonstration by Nematollahi Sufi Muslims in Qom on 13 February, 2005. Hundreds of demonstrators, including women and children, were injured when police, and the Hojatieh and Fatemiyon groups (organized pro-government groups), broke up the protest, apparently using excessive force, and as many as 1200 are believed to have been arrested. Most have now been released, but some 200 of those detained are still being held. Amnesty International is calling for them to be released immediately and unconditionally unless they are to face recognizably criminal charges and to receive fair and prompt trials in accordance with their rights under international law.
Pictures here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Fatima's Fiancé: Saudi Terrorist Abu Mu'awiya Al-Shimali Preparing for Suicide Bombing in Iraq

Watch the video here.

Tyrants and apostates sprung from apes and dogs... it's amazing stuff.

These aren't opprossed people. This isn't the Viet Cong. These are pathologicaly sick people targating Americans and other Muslims. We don't have a choice but to destroy them.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cartoon Wars come to Champaign-Urbana

via Hugh Hewitt

Looks like the Cartoon Wars have reached Champaign-Urbana and the Daily Illini. Illini editor Acton Gorton published a few of them and the board suspeneded him over it. Here's the start of Hewitt's interview with him,

HH: Joined now from Illinois by the editor, or at least the former editor, of the Daily Illinis, that is the student newspaper at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Acton Gorton. Acton, welcome to the program. I gather you are suspended?AG: That's true. Suspended for two weeks, pending an internal investigation.

HH: Not suspended from the school, but suspended from the newspaper, from your editorial duties?

AG: That's right. The newspaper's independent from the university.

HH: All right. Now who made the decision to suspend you, and why did they suspend you?

AG: Well, it appears that it was a decision made by the board of directors, in conference with the publisher, Mary Cory. And the reason that I'm being told I'm suspended is for it to allow for a two-week cool-down period, pending an internal investigation made up of senior students in the newsroom. However, I'm not allowed to step foot on the property, and I had to clear my office out.

HH: And the fact that this is all occurring after your decision to publishe six of the twelve Danish cartoons, including the one with the prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb as part of his turban.

AG: That's right.

HH: Why do they think it's necessary to suspend you? Have they given you
any indication?

AG: Well, they just say that...it seems a lot of people in the newsroom are very upset with my decision to this, is my opinion. And I think that from everything I understand from talking to people is that they're major concern was that I've put everybody's life at risk by having published these cartoons, because they are afraid that Muslims were going to come into the newsroom and start shooting people, and blowing bombs up, or something else.

My first reaction to this cartoon business was to recall Alderman Dorthy Tillmen storming the Art Institute over the painting of Mayor Washington in Lingere. The same Art Institute that sponsed the exhibit where patrons could walk over the American Flag. My thought then was good for Tillmen.

Watched the Arab reaction to this though and realize modern people just need to toughen their hides about insults. It's not worth a riot over.I'm not sure how I would react if I was on the board here though.

Should Blagojevich or the Legislature get involved?

cross posted at Illinoize

Samantha Power: "Bystanders to Genocide"

From Samantha Power's Bystanders to Genocide on the Hutu dominated Rwandian Governments genocide of 800,000 Tutsis in 1994,
One U.S. official kept a journal during the crisis. In late May, exasperated by the obstructionism pervading the bureaucracy, the official dashed off this lament:

A military that wants to go nowhere to do anything—or let go of their toys so someone else can do it. A White House cowed by the brass (and we are to give lessons on how the armed forces take orders from civilians?). An NSC that does peacekeeping by the book—the accounting book, that is. And an assistance program that prefers whites (Europe) to blacks. When it comes to human rights we have no problem drawing the line in the sand of the dark continent (just don't ask us to do anything—agonizing is our specialty), but not China or anyplace else business looks good.

We have a foreign policy based on our amoral economic interests run by amateurs who want to stand for something—hence the agony—but ultimately don't want to exercise any leadership that has a cost.

They say there may be as many as a million massacred in Rwanda. The militias continue to slay the innocent and the educated ... Has it really cost the United States nothing?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Desecration at Chicago's Agudas Achim Synagogue

Agudas Achim is an historic Chicago Synagogue. Vandels systematically desecrated it Sunday night.

The Congregation's website has a guided tour of the building.

And here is a link with a reproduction of one the tile mosaics.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Blogger profile: Levois of It's My Mind

Norman Geras of NormBlog does a profile once a week of blogger he reads. I like the idea so copied his questions and sent them around to some bloggers I read. Tells you a little more about people you spend time with every day, who otherwise you know surprizingly little about.

Levois of It's My Mind kindly agreed to respond. So allow me to introduce him to you here with his replies. I did have to change Norm's English Football team to one about American Baseball and you'll see Levois a Cubs fan.

Read him and leave some comments. He covers local Chicago events including Healthcare on Chicago's West Side.

Why do you blog? > I started with the idea to inform and to affect some form of change. Mainly to put my thoughts on issues that I care about out there. As well as my own point of view.

What has been your worst blogging experience? > I can't say I have had one yet. I'll just say that the worst that has ever happened was silly grammar mistakes and posted things that I would regret later.

What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Have something to say even if your blog is mostly about your daily life.

Who are your intellectual heroes? > I don't have many. I'll have to think about that one.

What are you reading at the moment? > I'm not a voracious reader and I wish I was. I would go through several books and never finish reading them. Mainly though I'm reading Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery. The last book I've actually completed was the Mayor Richard J. Daley biography American Pharoah.

Who are your cultural heroes? > I'll have to think about this one too. Honestly I'm big on the civil rights activists and the black power activists from the 1960s

What is your favourite song? > Don't know any off the top of my head

Who is your favourite composer? > George Gershwin, Eminem, Erykah Badu, the list would have to be endless.

Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Perhaps the issue of government assistance. And economic issues the idea that government can't nor shouldn't provide jobs.

What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > I'd have to think about that some more.

What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > I'd have to think about this some more too.

Who are your political heroes? > FDR, Harry Truman, George W. Bush, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Harold Washington, Adam Clayton Powell, Mayor Richard J. Daley, there are a few others I'm sure

What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > Good government is good politics. Apparently attributed to the last of the big city bosses Mayor Richard J. Daley. Then there's also all politics are local.

If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Perhaps the issue of the role of government in people lives.

What would you do with the UN? > Reform it make it an organization more dedicated for spreading democracy and freedom around the world and to combat those who don't support democracy and freedom.

What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Terrorists and those who support them.

Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I'd like to think the best is yet to come.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Keep moving forward

Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > Unlikely though I would entertain the thought of a relationship with someone who was liberal but only if they weren't totally closeminded. Hopefully I won't be as closed minded but firm in my views.

What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Surfing the internet when I should be studying.

What, if anything, do you worry about? > I try not to worry about much.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > I wouldn't mind living in the south either Tennessee or where my parents came from Mississippi

What would your ideal holiday be? > It would always be Christmas or Thanksgiving. I like New Years but as exciting as it is, it's also depressing.

What is your most treasured possession? > I'll have to think about that one or I'm not there yet.

Who are your sporting heroes? > Their mostly teams. I like the Red Sox and the White Sox. How they went to the world series is almost how I view life they were the underdogs. Sometimes I may admire Isiah Thomas and his Detroit Pistons when they won their two NBA Titles. They were an aggressive team.

Which American Baseball team do you support? > I'm a Chicagoan so I root mostly for the Cubs with a secondary interest in the White Sox. Then I may also root for the New York Yankees.

How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > This is money I can use for the other things I want in my life. Then what ever else I have left over could go to investments and then savings.

Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey: more warrentless search cases

Captain's Quarters reflects on another one from 1977 that went to court as a fourth amendment violation. CQ quoting from the Wash Times,
But in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam.

The men, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, challenged their espionage convictions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which unanimously ruled that the warrantless searches did not violate the men's rights.

In its opinion, the court said the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when surveillance is "conducted 'primarily' for foreign intelligence reasons."

John Kanaley: Unreported History in Baghdad

From RCP Blog on the Feb 10th press conference to offically announce the Iraqi election results. A conference unattended by Western media.
The true significance of this announcement is the underlying theme which the anti-war crowd refuses to recognize: the war has been successful and there is verifiable progress within the country of Iraq. Not only did we defeat a murderous despot, we have gained an ally in the war against terrorism. Just three short years ago, these same people were being terrorized by a vicious regime whose primary responsibility was supposed to be to protect its own citizens. After being victims of this brutal state, free Iraqis are now fighting their former oppressors who consist of remnants of the Ba'ath Party and the foreign terrorists who have taken it upon themselves to determine what is best for the Iraqi people.

Complex Issue with enormous moral consequences

Posted yesterday on Illinoiz

That was Blagojevich's comment in response to a question to himself and Eisendrath on whether they would support a statewide referendum on the future of the death penalty in today's Herald,
Neither candidate supported a statewide vote on the future of the death penalty.

“It’s too complex an issue with enormous moral consequences to be left to a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question on the ballot,” Blagojevich said.

Only Oberweis among the GOP bunch agreed with them saying
“The legislature and the governor have the ability to express the will of the people on this issue”
I feel competent to tackle the big moral issues. I trust my neigbors too. I'd vote against death penatly but I read about sexual sadist and murderer Paul Runge and I might change my mind.

Put it do a vote though. It's complex. Voters know it. But bottom line is it is a simple yes or no question. The hard ones often are.

Cook County's second jail break

Posted yesterday AM on Illinoiz.

My teenaged step-son picks up the Metra Train at Marion street in Oak Park to ride home to Geneva Sunday mornings. Wife trying to call him now to tell him to stay put until the cops get the second round of escapees from Cook County.
Six inmates, including two charged with murder, overpowered guards and escaped shortly before midnight from the Cook County Jail.Two were recaptured in Oak Park about 6 a.m., but the others were the subject of an extensive manhunt, authorities said.The escape was the second in as many days from the jail. The latest escapees are believed to have a contraband knife made inside the jail and are considered extremely dangerous, said Bill Cunningham, a spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan. He said they escaped from a unit where inmates with discipline problems are housed.
Stuff hits close to home.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Nick Cohen: Why striking bus drivers in Tehran are the real defenders of Muslim rights

Nick Cohen writing on MSM's ignoring of Teheran's Bus Drivers strike.
The media have barely mentioned the story, even though it cuts through the nonsense about a clash of civilisations between the 'West' and the 'Muslims'. The Muslims of Tehran are proving themselves to be anything but a monolithic bloc happy to follow the orders of the ayatollahs and their demented President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are huge class divisions to begin with, and close to the bottom of the heap are the city's bus drivers. The authorities refused to allow them an independent trade union and ruled that an 'Islamic council' in the offices of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company would represent their interests. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pious have not proved the doughtiest fighters for better pay and conditions. The bus drivers claimed that managers were stealing money from their pay packets. They formed their own union and threatened to strike at the end of January.
I've blogged on it before here and here.

Stuart Dybek returns to Chicago

I caught Phil Ponce's interview with Stuart Dybek a few days ago and thought I heard Dybek would be returning to live Chicago and working full time over at Northwestern.

Dybek told Ponce about hopping frieght trains as a kid. Ponce asked where to? Dybek said it wasn't where, it was until. You hop frieghts until you can get off them. You've have to haved hop one to appreciate that.

Dybek's Coast of Chicago's been made into a play over at the Looking Glass Theatre.

Cross Posted at Illinoize.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Composite Drawlings: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is growing on me, too

It's easy to be a Religous Liberal in the United States. Takes some guts to talk like this in the Arab world.
Composite Drawlings: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is growing on me, too:

Via Mickey Kaus and Instapundit comes a good reason to respect at least one powerful Muslim cleric:

'In Iraq, the country's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, decried the drawings but did not call for protests.

'We strongly denounce and condemn this horrific action,' he said in a statement
posted on his Web site and dated Tuesday.

Al-Sistani, who wields enormous influence over Iraq's majority Shiites, made no call for protests and suggested that militant Muslims were partly to blame for distorting Islam's image.

He referred to 'misguided and oppressive' segments of the Muslim community and said their actions 'projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood.'

'Enemies have exploited this ... to spread their poison and revive their old hatreds with new methods and mechanisms,' he said.'"

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Daily Briefing on Iran: US Official: Iran Now Has Capability To Make Nuclear Arms

A Daily Briefing on Iran: US Official: Iran Now Has Capability To Make Nuclear Arms: "Iran used negotiations with the European Union to play for time and has now achieved the 'capability to develop nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them,' a senior Bush administration official said Monday. At a news conference at the Foreign Press Center, Robert G. Joseph, the undersecretary of state for arms control, cited 'tremendous resources' as well as a 'very sophisticated, a very advanced scientific and technical community' as helpful to Iran."

Dick Durbin meets Pajama Media

In PowerLine Today,
I then asked why, if the Democrats disagree with the administration's understanding of what AUMF authorizes, they don't present clarifying legislation telling the administration that its interpretation is incorrect. This would enable the Senate to vote on whether it thinks listening to calls from al Qaeda to the U.S. is a necessary and proper measure to prevent another attack.

Apparently peeved at the thought of having to vote on that issue, Senator Durbin asked what organization I was with. I told him I was respresenting Power Line and Pajamas Media. Durbin said he wasn't familiar with this group, and then proceeded to address my question. His answer was (I quote from memory) that "this is not how things work" and that (if I understood him correctly) the issue is whether the president's actions are constitutional.

I attempted to follow-up by noting that if the administration is right about the interplay of FISA and AUMF, there is no serious constitutional question because the president is acting with the permission of Congress. Durbin made it clear, however, that questioning was over. His parting shot was that he would try to check out what I write for "Pajama Line." My parting shot, that Dan Rather knew something about the outfit, drew laughter. [Baar's empahsis] Afterwards, Debra Burlingame, sister of the captain of American Airlines flight 77 and a strong proponent of the NSA surveillance program, complimented me on my questioning.
Both of our Senators sound like goofs this morning.

UPDATE: PJ Media has the video here.

What George Bush and Rod Blagojevich share

From a speech by Edwin Eisendrath at Chicago City Club
GEORGE BUSH AND ROD BLAGOJEVICH HAVE A COUPLE OF SHARED HABITS WE NEED TO SHED.

FIRST, THEY NAME THEIR LAWS. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. ALL KIDS. THIS IS A SURE SIGN THAT SOMETHING’S AMISS. A LAW ISN’T A LIKE A DOG THAT YOU ARE GOING TO CALL WHEN IT’S TIME FOR A WALK. IT IS A FACT THAT THE ALL KIDS LAW CONTAINED FEWER WORDS THAN THE PRESS RELEASE THAT ACCOMPANIED IT. WHEN MORE TIME GOES INTO THE MARKETING OF A LAW THAN INTO ITS SUBSTANCE THEN GENUINE AND IMPORTANT GETS REPLACED BY BLOW DRIED AND INEFFECTIVE.
It's a pretty good speech. My ideal would be a Brady Eisendrath match up. Here's some more,
BECAUSE THINGS ARE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, WE SOMETIMES FORGET THAT ILLINOIS SITS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST MARKETPLACE. IT MAINTAINS ONE OF THE MOST MAGNIFICENT TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURES EVER CREATED BY MAN. WE HAVE SOME OF THE FINEST RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES IN THE WORLD, CREATING THAT RAREST OF COMMODITIES, NEW KNOWLEDGE. OUR DIVERSE WORKFORCE MEANS THERE IS LITERALLY NO POSSIBLE CALCULATION OF THE NUMBER OF IDEAS AVAILABLE TO MANAGERS. WE HAVE SO MANY STRENGTHS.

AND YET WE ARE HELD BACK. HELD BACK ARTIFICIALLY BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT AND THE PETTINESS OF OUR POLITICS.

OUR ECONOMY IS 35TH IN GROWTH. WE ARE FALLING BEHIND ALL OUR NEIGHBORS. WISCONSIN, INDIANA, IOWA, MISSOURI AND KENTUCKY ARE GROWING FASTER THAN ILLINOIS. WE ARE FALLING BEHIND THE OTHER LARGE STATES - NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA, NEW JERSEY, TEXAS, AND PENNSYLVANIA.

NOT ONLY ARE WE GROWING MORE SLOWLY THAN OUR NEIGHBORS AND PEERS, WE CONTINUE TO DIG DEEPER INTO FINANCIAL PERIL. DESPITE 10 CONSECUTIVE QUARTERS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH IN AMERICA, GROWTH THAT HAS RESULTED IN SURPLUSES IN SEVERAL STATES, ILLINOIS HAS THE NATION’S LARGEST UNFUNDED PENSION LIABILITIES AND A GROWING PERSISTENT STRUCTURAL DEFICIT.

THE PLAIN FACT IS OUR STATE IS BROKE, BUT OUR PEOPLE ARE NOT.
I just wish we could call him Ed but I guess that's an example of my pettiness.

cross posted at Illinoize

Sowell's Point of No Return

Thomas Sowell writing in Real Clear Policits. He's pretty clear today.
Terrorists and terrorist governments are giving us almost daily evidence of their fanatical hatred and violent sadism, as the clock ticks away toward their gaining possession of nuclear weapons. They not only hold a harmless young woman hostage in Iraq, they parade her in tears on television, just as they have paraded not only the terrorizing, but even the beheading, of others on television.

Moreover, there is a large and gleeful audience in the Arab world for these gross brutalities, just as there was glee and cheering among the Palestinians when the televised destruction of the World Trade center was broadcast in the Middle East.

Yet what are we preoccupied with or outraged about? Whether the American government should intercept the phone calls of these cutthroats to people in the United States.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Arnaud de Borchgrave, Lloyd Bentsen, and Iran

I remember during the ramp up for the first Gulf War, hearing Lloyd Bentsen on one of the Sunday talk shows. He got serious in a way you don't often see politicans do. He was talking from his soul and not talking politics. He said he remembered how the United States anniliated the cities of Japan and Germany and someone needed to tell Saddam this could happen again. Bentsen flew 35 missions including over Ploesti. He knew what he was talking about.

Borchgrave talks writes today in a piece called Later than we think and tells how the Iranian leadership may be looking for a cataclysmic confrontation because it will hasten the return of the 12th Imam,
"The ultimate promise of all Divine religions," says Ahmadinejad, "will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being [the 12th Imam], who is heir to all prophets. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace. Oh mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one." He reckons the return of the Imam, AWOL for 11 centuries, is only two years away.
Borchgrave tells Bush,
President Bush says all options are on the table. But the military option is probably the one the "twelvers" would look forward to. Some Washington think tank strategists argue if Iran's Dr. Strangelove attacked Israel with a nuclear weapon, five Iranian cities would be vaporized next day.

It might behoove the United States to sit down with "axis of evil" Iran to find out if the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) doctrine that kept the Soviet Union and the U.S. at peace for a half-century could still be made to work.
There is no invasion option with Iran. The United States isn't going to march in there. Unless sanctions work some miracle, or there is a Democratic revolution, there is nothing for Iran but anniliation before they anniliate an American city, or Israel, or a a city in Europe. It's time maybe Bush spelled out what a catastrope is upon us and that the Iranian people are going to foot the butcher's bill. The world won't tolerate a MAD scenario with a country lead by men already mad with perverted religion.

From The Guardian's Editorial on London's cartoon protests

Muslims protesting the cartoons in London described in a Guardian editorial:
One man was dressed in the garb of a suicide bomber, arguably an overt attempt to terrify of the kind that has been illegal in this country since at least the Statute of Northampton in the time of King Edward III, in the 14th century. Others carried placards demanding "Massacre those who insult Islam", "Butcher those who mock Islam", "Europe you'll come crawling when Mujahideen come roaring", "Britain you will pay: 7/7 on its way", several of which appear to breach the law dating from Victorian times that outlaws soliciting to murder. A toddler on the march was dressed in a hat that said: "I love al-Qaida."
And The Guardian concludes with a pretty tough stance,
So far the police appear to have held off taking stronger action against the fanatics because of the fear, which may have been well-judged, that it would make an already ugly situation even worse. But no society can allow the threats that were made on Friday's march to pass without further action. Those who threatened to kill should answer for their threats. They should be arrested, cautioned and placed under surveillance. If appropriate, the authorities must not be afraid of bringing charges. Those who are eligible for deportation should be deported. There must be no witch-hunt to feed further the ugly and exaggerated sense of victimhood surging through the otherwise legitimate protest against the cartoons' gratuitous insult. But public order and confidence require stronger recognition that limits of acceptable protest and public discourse have been crossed. White racists are rightly arrested and charged for their hate campaigns. Muslim fanatics have to face similar severity for their no less repulsive actions. Ours is a tolerant way of life; we must be robust in defending it against its enemies.
About time The Guardian figured out the West needs to be roboust.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Spanky's Gyros, Elgin, Illinois

Had lunch at Spanky's yesterday. They're in Elgin's Watch Tower Mall. That's the site of the now long gone Elgin Watch factor. The old Chicago & North Western's Watch Factory station is just to the left of this photo. The old rail road righ-of-way to lake Geneva is the slightly elevated ground behind Spanky's. It wasn't a bad sandwich by the way. Good spot for lunch.

Old First Universalist Church of Elgin is for sale

Was driving by yesterday and noticed it was for sale by owner. It must be a fortune to maintain and not sure what one could do with it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Killing inferior "black" Africans

Norm's Blog calls our attention to a Guardian editorial on Darfur,
The risk still exists that we may eventually look back on the present decade and conclude to our shame that its greatest scandal was not who did what to whom in Iraq, or even in Palestine, but the way the world ignored genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Perhaps, but signs are now brighter for effective international action. It is not as if world public opinion was ignorant of what began developing in the mid-90s when a forerunner of the Janjaweed militia, acting at the instigation of the government of Sudan, first started killing what it regards as inferior "black" Africans in this long-neglected land. Sudan's British rulers neglected Darfur too. So do the global media, governments and even sections of the left today. If the outside power with important oil interests in Sudan was the United States, not China, there might be greater outrage.[Baar's empahsis]

Frank Gaffney's War Footing

Frank Gaffney's third proposal to put the US on correct War Footing,
...is to "provide for U.S. energy security" and it is drastic. "It will be extremely difficult to win the war against Islamofascism as long as we continue to
send huge amounts of petrodollars to those who wish us harm," Gaffney asserts.
He's referring to Saudis and Iranians who fund anti-American terrorists. They
have the power to devastate the American economy instantly by cutting off
oil.

What to do? All new cars, Gaffney argues, should be flexible-fuel vehicles that run on both gasoline and alcohol-based fuels. Hybrids with electric-powered batteries that dramatically increase mileage should be through tax credits and rebates. These would "reward consumers for reducing consumption of petroleum-based fuels and emissions.

"The technological transformation of the transportation sector will take roughly 15 to 20 years, as new vehicles replace old ones," Gaffney says. "That is why it is imperative to begin the process without delay." The president is said to be sympathetic to this.
It's time to do this. Extractive economies seem dysfunctional from the get-go. Oil production a dying a business and it's time to accelerate its demise.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Vilsack on NSA wiretaps

From WorldWide Standard and the Des Moines Register. They're really not wiretaps. The technology is all different and far different then when the FISA law written; but that's another post. At least Vilsack understands the principle and the politics.

Vilsack: Opposing wiretapping dangerous for Democrats


Gov. Tom Vilsack said Monday that Democrats risk political backlash if they object to the Bush administration's wiretapping but cannot show that Americans' civil liberties are at risk.

The Democratic governor, who is weighing a 2008 presidential bid, said the party will suffer if it continues to be perceived as weaker than Republicans on national security....

"If the president broke the law, that's unacceptable. But I think it's debatable whether he did," Vilsack told Des Moines Register editors and reporters.

"And I think Democrats are falling into a very, very large political trap," he said. "Democrats are not going to win elections until they can reassure people they are going to keep them safe."

Bush has said the practice is limited to people suspected of terrorist ties and is necessary to conduct the war on terrorism.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has compared the practice to President Nixon's practice of monitoring his political adversaries' communications.

Hamas and Bin Laden - Rami G. Khouri

I don't exactly agree with the Dick Cheney characterization, but I don't doubt the dynamic of the pragmatic journey described by Rami G. Khouri here. (Written before the Hamas election victory.)
Once seen primarily as an extremist, violent, militant armed group, Hamas' migration toward the political mainstream of Palestinian politics is why it swept many municipal elections in Palestine last year, and is poised to win a quarter or more of parliamentary seats this week. Hamas' pragmatic journey towards the political center of Palestinian life has been well documented in a report published earlier this week by the respected International Crisis Group . This is must reading for anyone who seeks to grasp the facts and actual trends of Hamas' place in Palestinian politics, which in turn mirrors the broader transformation taking place among mainstream Islamists throughout the Middle East.

Here's where the Osama and Dick Horror Show comes in again. A new pragmatic center is starting to take shape in many Arab lands. It articulates the sensible aspirations and solid values of ordinary citizens who reject Osama- and-Dick-style political extremism, intemperance and sustained violence. These two fellows represent dark political underworlds inhabited by frightened people who spend much of their time hiding in caves and bunkers, deprived of natural light, unaware of the moral and political trajectory of normal human beings. Give me a televised political debate from Rafah any time.
Peace talks between the PA and Isreal can wait. What we need is a Democratic consolidation in the PA. We need to see if Hamas can run a stable government and ween themselves off the Western dole. Force them to rebuild the devasted tourist industry to support themselves instead. Peace talks are the last thing we need now. Peaceful intent will speak for itself. Let the pragmatic journey continue a while more because it's a journey away from Bin Ladenism.