February 22, 2006

A Political Issue, Not A Security Issue

Rich Galen weighes in on the situation. The biggest problem that he sees (and I tend to agree with him) is that the President failed to adequately prepare the public for this announcement, thereby letting the media and the Democrats frame it to their advantage.

- Robert Menendez (D-NJ), according to the Liberal website Democratic Underground said, "We wouldn't turn the border patrol or the customs service over to a foreign government, and we can't afford to turn our ports over to one either."

- This is the key to the problem. None of these goofballs knew that the ports of New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami, and New Orleans were ALREADY run by a foreign-owned company.

- The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, a British outfit, has the contract to operate these ports. P & O (as it is known to those of us well-schooled in the port-operations game) is being sold to another company - Dubai Ports World (DP World) which will take over P & O's existing contracts.

So, just like the media innaccurately designated the terrorist surveillance program as "domestic spying", the reports now are all about "port security". And once again, this is disingenuous.
- This is like saying the company which operates your local airport - which is to say it decides how much you pay for parking and where in the terminal the Starbucks will be located - is responsible for airline security.

- It isn't.

- Nor will DP World be responsible for port security. That remains with Customs and the Coast Guard.

- The reason the President bristled about this today is because he doesn't think he deserves to be doubted on his commitment to the national security.

- It is one thing for Chuck Schumer or Hillary Clinton to complain. It is something else again for Dennis Hastert or Bill Frist to doubt whether the President is strong enough on terrorism.

- The Left has been wailing about George W. Bush being, if anything, TOO aggressive on his anti-terrorism efforts using the NSA intercepts as their example. Now those same people are complaining the President is not being tough enough.

- Want to know what's really behind all this?

- It's an even numbered year and we are 253 days from election day.

- It's not about port security; It's about incumbent security.

Which goes to my point in an earlier post. The President - who is focused like a laser beam on the overall safety of the United States - didn't see this issue as political. Democrats - who are so wrapped up in trying to claw their way back into power that national security takes a back seat in their minds - did. And many Republicans who seem to care more about holding on to their offices than about Homeland Security have become cowed by their colleagues across the aisle. Uncharacteristically, the White House miscalculated this reality.

UPDATE - 8:45am:
The editors at OpinionJournal.com also question the timing of this "outrage":

The timing of this sudden uproar is also a tad suspicious. A bidding war for the British-owned P&O has been going on since last autumn, and the P&O board accepted Dubai's latest offer last month. The story only blew up last week, as a Florida firm that is a partner with P&O in Miami, Continental Stevedoring and Terminals Inc., filed a suit to block the purchase. Miami's mayor also sent a letter of protest to Mr. Bush. It wouldn't be the first time if certain politicians were acting here on behalf of private American commercial interests.

Critics also forget, or conveniently ignore, that the UAE government has been among the most helpful Arab countries in the war on terror. It was one of the first countries to join the U.S. container security initiative, which seeks to inspect cargo in foreign ports. The UAE has assisted in training security forces in Iraq, and at home it has worked hard to stem terrorist financing and WMD proliferation. UAE leaders are as much an al Qaeda target as Tony Blair.

As for the Democrats, we suppose this is a two-fer: They have a rare opportunity to get to the right of the GOP on national security, and they can play to their union, anti-foreign investment base as well. At a news conference in front of New York harbor, Senator Chuck Schumer said allowing the Arab company to manage ports "is a homeland security accident waiting to happen." Hillary Clinton is also along for this political ride.

So the same Democrats who lecture that the war on terror is really a battle for "hearts and minds" now apparently favor bald discrimination against even friendly Arabs investing in the U.S.? Guantanamo must be closed because it's terrible PR, wiretapping al Qaeda in the U.S. is illegal, and the U.S. needs to withdraw from Iraq, but these Democratic superhawks simply will not allow Arabs to be put in charge of American longshoremen. That's all sure to play well on al Jazeera.

In other words, Dems can "sound" tough on national security without actually having to do anything to prove it.

UPDATE DEUX - 9:15am:
Dafydd at Big Lizards has an idea that would alleviate security concerns and still allow the deal to go through (with the only losers in the mix being Democrats who would come away looking like hysterical nincompoops).

h/t: Captain Ed

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February 21, 2006

RINO Sightings

Posted this week by Jen of...All Things Jen(nifer). In haiku form, no less.

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Port Showdown

I'm kind of scratching my head about this one from a political perspective. And when viewed within that prism, this whole business seems kind of stupid. So why push this? Why, after five years of not issuing one single veto, does the President threaten to use one against any legislation aimed at blocking this port deal?

The answer is that to this President it really isn't a politically-oriented move. The Financial Times lays out some compelling arguments as to why the concerns flying around the 'sphere today are baseless. Unless of course you just don't trust anyone from the Middle-East. I find it hard to believe that a President who has gone to such great lengths to protect the United States from further attacks after 9/11 - including open himself up to criticism and political attacks - would so strongly back this deal if he felt it would increase the country's vulnerability one tiny bit.

I also find it strange that the Democrats, who are so vehemently against racial profiling individuals, are so adamant about profiling a company. Their use of this issue to try and appear "tough" on national security is nothing short of laughable. Are they actually acknowledging that there is a terror threat out there? That's a first.

That being said, it's obvious that the fallout over the proposed deal is one that will cause many an American to be concerned. The President will need to do more than use his veto power. He'll have to address the nation and lay out his justification for it. I'm not saying whether this deal definitely should or shouldn't happen, but I suspect that the ferocity of the opposition is driven more by emotion than logic.

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Gunfight at the T.P. Corral

OK, normally I reserve way-out stories like this for Fridays, but this is unbelievable. A guy actually beat his roommate to death because they ran out of toilet paper.

[Paul] Crow told investigators that the men were fighting about the toilet paper over the weekend when Matthews pulled out a rifle. Crow said he then began beating Matthews with the sledgehammer and claw hammer, according to an affidavit.

Matthews was beaten so badly he had to be identified through his fingerprints, detectives said.

So who's crazier? The guy who commits homicide with a claw hammer or the one who brandishes the rifle in the first place? It's only toilet paper, guys! You could always just use a copy of the New York Times.

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Tolkien Geek Update

Appendices B & C are posted.

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Inspirational Poster Of The Week

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Heh.

H/T: mfsil

UPDATE, 4:30PM:
It occured to me that there might be someone out there who would comment that Al Gore won in 1992 and 1996. To this I would respond by saying that to designate Al Gore as the "winner" of the Vice-Presidency would be like saying that France "won" WWII.

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The Port Bruhaha

I haven't looked at this story in depth yet, but I ran across a post by A.J. Strata that takes a much calmer look at what this all means. Some good points to keep in perspective as most of the blogosphere is reacting much in the same way the passengers did in the movie "Airplane" when it was announced they were out of coffee.

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Al Qaeda And Saddam

...Perfect Together. Ray Robinson at The American Thinker examines recently released documents that detail a solid link between the terrorists and the Butcher of Baghdad.

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February 20, 2006

Google Hit Of The Week

Interesting. Somebody doing a search for "men with donkey sized genitals" found his way to my site. Why? Because apparently I'm result number 8 for that particular search.

Never would have guessed.

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Bush Announces Energy Breakthrough!

President Bush announced that the U.S. in on the verge of technology breakthroughs in energy that would "startle" most Americans.

One of Bush's proposals would expand research into smaller, longer-lasting batteries for electric-gas hybrid cars, including plug-ins. He highlighted that initiative with a visit Monday to the battery center at Milwaukee-based auto-parts supplier Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI)

During his trip, Bush is also focusing on a proposal to increase investment in development of clean electric power sources, and proposals to speed the development of biofuels such as "cellulosic" ethanol made from wood chips or sawgrass.

This is really something. If we can develop this kind of techno...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

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An Oldie But A Goodie

An SNL goof depicting auditions for parts in the original "Star Wars" film featuring Darrell Hammond doing Richard Dreyfus doing C-3PO and Kevin Spacey doing Christopher Walken doing Han Solo.

"Ah-ha...Fast ship?...You've...never...heard of...the...Millenium FALcon?

I always break up when I watch this bit.

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Why Does Jimmy Carter So Love Dictators And Terrorists?

That's the question that BullDogPundit examines. Whether it's Kim Jong Il or Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez or the death-cult of Hamas, this ex-President keeps showing up like the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. And it always has the effect of undermining the nation he once took an oath to defend.

When will someone in the Democrat party have a "Sister Souljah moment" and call out Carter for what he is - a friend to America's enemies? Could it be because the base of the Democrat party today shares the same beliefs as Carter? How sad is it that a Democrat wanting to be President can't stand up to the lunacy of Jimmy Carter for fear of alienating the party faithful? I think that in and of itself explains why the American people don't trust Democrats on national security.
A well-researched and well-written post, it needs to be read in full.

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Happy Presidents Day

Actually, happy Lincoln's birthday (late) and happy Washington's birthday (early). The whole idea of creating one municipal holiday to honor not just these two greats but all 42 men who've held the office - even the lousy ones like Carter, Buchanan and Harding - has always bugged me.

Anyway, I have today off from work (and didn't even realize it until the end of last week) but I'll be working nonetheless. I have a "honey-do" list a mile long and, believe me, I've got my work cut out for me. The rest of the crew is off on a day trip and my success or failure will be judged exclusively on how "neat, tidy and organized" the house is on a surface level only (i.e., if it looks clean, it is clean). No "deep" cleaning exercises today. It's all quantity over quality. And no questions asked.

Over the years this kind of domestic whitewash has become my specialty, going back to the days before the kids when the Mrs. had to work every third Saturday.

Today's agenda is daunting, but I'm up for it. And may even have time for the occasional post.

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February 19, 2006

For Lack Of A New "Anti-Bush/Cheney" Meme

It's been over a week. The case is closed. Harry Whittington has recovered. The country has moved on.

But the Left side of the blogosphere is still beating the dead horse. It shouldn't be all that surprising. Until something else comes along, the moonbats will continue to spin their Oliver Stone-esque conspiracy theories about Dick Cheney.

Mark at Decision '08 takes a sniff at this sad phenomenon and finds "The Smell Of Desperation".

As a Republican partisan, however, I’m more than happy to let the opposition fritter away their little remaining credibility over a story that is (literally, in this case) yesterday’s news…it’s the Democratic Party that needs to go hunting - for a message, if they care at all about about winning elections…
I second that one.

As for the Old Media, Drudge is reporting that Time and Newsweek are actually planning cover stories on this dead horse for this week's issues. Matt gets a good dig at the weekly news rags mags:

NEWSWEEK editor Mark Whitaker defends his decision to push for another week of Cheney-Shooting coverage: "The reason we ultimately decided to stick with a cover is not because of the hunting incident itself-although we did turn up some new details that you might not have read elsewhere-but because of what it says about the mysterious world of the most powerful vice president of recent times."

...Or what it says about the timing and state of print publications in the Click Age of news cycles.

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February 18, 2006

80's Crush Of The Week

This week's 80's Crush is: Kim Basinger

Birth Name: Kimila Ann Basinger
Birth Date: 12/8/53
Age Today: 52
Birthplace: Athens, GA

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80's Crush Because: Kim first caught my eye in the 1983 non-franchise James Bond film, "Never Say Never Again" with Sean Connery. The film was a re-make of the 1965 film "Thunderball" and she played the role of Domino, which was played by French actress Claudine Auger in the original. She went on to sizzle the screen in the erotic "9 1/2 Weeks" and her "breakout" role came in 1989 when she starred in the first "Batman" film. She was hired at the last minute to replace Sean Young for the role of Vicki Vale.

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Other Notable Roles: Kim won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1998 for her role in "L.A. Confidential", a part she almost didn't take because she was tired of playing prostitutes. In fact, the award makes her the first woman to win an Oscar after having posed in "Playboy" magazine.

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Most Recent Media Appearance: The 2004 film, Cellular. She played a kidnapped woman who manages to contact an unsuspecting stranger via her cell phone with a dying battery. The catch? She has no idea where she is being held.

KBasinger Cellular.jpg

First Real Acting Gig: Kim did a guest starring role in a episode from the first season of "Charlie's Angels" where the angels find themselves in an all-woman prison. I'd love to go back and watch that one on DVD!

kim_basinger.jpg

Career Moment She'd Probably Like To Forget: The not-so-funny 1988 Dan Aykroyd comedy "My Stepmother Is An Alien". Guess who she played?.

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Interesting Factoids: Kim suffers from agoraphobia (the fear of wide-open spaces), is a vegetarian and, in addition to her German, Swedish and Irish ancestry, is 1/8th Cherokee Indian by way of her grandmother. And, for the record, it's pronounced BAY-sing -ger with a hard "g" (like in "schwing").

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Still Crushin'?: Yes, even at 52 Kim still projects the youthful radiance and winning smile that made me wish I was Batman.

Crush Meter: 9 out of 10

For past entries, go to the 80's Crush Vault

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February 17, 2006

Fantasy v. Reality

The latest Moonbat.org email plea:

An internal review at the Justice Department is an important development but it's not enough. With reports of wider abuses in the National Security Agency and growing concern from leading conservatives, it's obvious that Congress needs to do its job, enforce the law and fully investigate the president's dangerous power grab.

Momentum is turning against the president and it's clear that he's worried about it. Until this week, a full Congressional investigation seemed certain—-but the Bush administration is nervous about what an investigation will find. So, they've been running a full-blown campaign to get Republicans to back off. According to the Washington Post, it's been "full court press," and even Dick Cheney has personally lobbied out-of-line Republicans.4

We can't let them get away with this.

Okay, kids. Let's take a valium and chill a bit, shall we?

Here's the real story: Democrats (and certain Republicans), despite knowing full well the details of the NSA surveillance program - because they have been briefed about it all along - have seen the polls and understand that the MSM's attempt to paint this program as "domestic spying" has failed miserably.

Without having either a legal or Constitutional basis for challenging its validity, they realize that it's time to back off. The White House, in an attempt to allow some of these Senators to save face in light of their embarrassing position, has extended an olive branch to their legislative critics by allowing them to say that they forced a "change" when in reality this "deal" changes nothing. This bogus investigation now falls by the wayside and lets the President get back to the business of protecting the American people. Remember back in December when this was supposed to be the death-knell of the Bush Administration? So much for that fantasy, huh?

I must say, I'm a bit disappointed that the Administration has given these political opportunists a way out. I think that the Justice Department should have pushed back on this issue as much as possible to see just how far these Left-wing terrorist-coddlers were willing to go.

But Moore-On.org is trying to organize "Constitutional Vigils" in the wake of their loss. The email begs:

"By attending a vigil on the 22nd, you'll be sending a clear message to your elected officials: they need to do their job, defend the Constitution and hold the president accountable, and you're watching to make sure they do."
Actually, by attending one of these "vigils" their anti-victory-bots around the country will further remind average Americans how out of touch with reality these kooks really are. Go for it, dudes!

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BSG Tonight!

kara.jpg

Starbuck's a girl? Frakin' "A"!

Episode #32: "The Captain's Hand"
Apollo assists in the search for a missing Raptor team as the new commander of the Pegasus grows increasingly unstable.

10pm Sci-Fi

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This Is The New Bond Girl?!?

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You've got to be kidding me. French actress Eva Green (who?) has been tapped to be in the new James Bond film, "Casino Royale".

"Eva is one of France's most accomplished young actresses, now receiving international acclaim," producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said Thursday in a statement. "She brings to the complex role of Vesper an exciting combination of enigmatic and seductive beauty."
Ahem. Guys, the audiences for these films don't want to pay good money to see some "accomplished young actress" that looks like the angel of death! They want hot babes that look good in tight-fitting costumes and can credibly look like they know how to shoot a gun.

Does the script for "Casino Royale" call for a Goth chick or something? I had to reduce the picture size because she's so ghastly. What the hell has this franchise come to? First a blonde Bond, now this?

The movie takes place on the Riviera, right? Well, if she's got to be French, I'd like to offer a much more palatable alternative:

melissa theuriau should be new bond girl.jpg

Hey, you want a Bond girl? Tune in tomorrow for the "80's Crush Of The Week" and I'll show you a real Bond girl.

UPDATE - 4:00pm:
In the meantime, they've also announced the new actress to play Lara Croft: Tomb Raider:

new lara croft2.jpg

Oh yeah, THAT'S more like it. Guess which ticket I'm gonna buy? Face it, Lara Croft is the new James Bond.

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Proof That Pot Kills Brain Cells

Here's a pretty good "Friday WTF?". A guy in Germany who bought some lousy weed took his purchase to the police to complain that he'd been the victim of fraud.

Hans-Juergen Bendt, 52, from Darmstadt, lodged a complaint about his dealer with police after he sold him seven ounces of "completely un-enjoyable" hash.

Bendt complained the dealer refused to refund him the £270 he had paid for the drugs.

It was clear that the guy was really "bummed" over the whole matter because he told the officer that the dope in question was of "absolutely mediocre quality". Absolutely, dude.

Naturally, the police ignored the complaint and arrested Bendt for illegal purchase and possession. Maybe the guy thought he was in Holland. Then again, maybe what he scored turned out to be a lot more potent than he thought.

Say it with me folks: DUMB...ASS!

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Kofi Calls For Closing Of Gitmo

Sec. General Annan says the U.S. should close down it's terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba based on a UN report's "findings".

The panel's report, released Thursday in Geneva, said the United States must close the detention facility "without further delay" because it is effectively a torture camp where prisoners have no access to justice.

Annan told reporters he didn't necessarily agree with everything in the report, but "the basic premise, that we need to be careful to have a balance between effective action against terrorism and individual liberties and civil rights, I think is valid."

As expected, the United States told the UN to go pound sand. The fact is that these "findings" are based on nothing but heresay and what the lawyers of the detainees tell them. The five UN "experts" have never even been to Gitmo!
In a response included in an appendix to the 54-page report, the United States noted that the investigators had turned down an invitation to visit Guantánamo Bay. It rejected the findings and accused the investigators of selecting information to support their conclusions. The investigators declined to go to the camp after being told that they would be denied the opportunity to interview the prisoners.
Give me a break. They don't need interviews with the detainees when the charges of abuse and unfit conditions have already been made by their attorneys. An inspection of the facility is more than sufficient to support or refute these allegations. But why refuse to even go there because of that one condition? They could certainly cite a refusal for detainee interviews as a qualification to their findings.

No, the UN doesn't want to go to Gitmo because they already know that they'll find conditions better than most prisons throughout the world. This is not some gulag. The military personnel who run the Gitmo facility bends over backwards to ensure that the treatment of detainees is as humane as you can get in a prison. Conditions that are far more humane, certainly, than they deserve. When a Congressional delegation - with members of BOTH parties - visited the facility earlier this year, they confirmed the situation there. "The Guantanamo we saw today is not the Guantanamo we heard about a few years ago," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif. On top of that, representatives from about 400 news organizations have also toured the prison, including Con Coughlin from the British newspaper The Telegraph. Of his recent visit, he writes:

Each cell has its own primitive lavatory and wash basin. The inmates are issued with tan-coloured prison clothing, are provided with a range of toiletries, games such as backgammon and chess - which they play by shouting moves to inmates in neighbouring cells - and a copy of the Koran. Each cell has an arrow pointing in the direction of Mecca to enable them to conduct their daily religious devotions.

They are allowed two hours' exercise a day and to choose their three daily meals from a prison menu that includes ice cream, cookies and peanut butter. A fully staffed and equipped military hospital is available to treat any illness or medical condition, and the detainees have been treated for anything from wounds sustained fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan to cancerous tumours.

Oh, the humanity!

So the United States is supposed to close Gitmo based on a report of five UN "experts" who've never even been there? On who's authority? The United Nations? An organization where half the member nations are ruled by dictators, thugs and criminals? We're talking about enemy combatants united in their desire to kill Americans - military AND civilian. If the decision ever comes to close down this prison, it will be made by the military of the United States, not some bureaucrats at the UN.

I've got a better suggestion. How about we close down the UN?

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