March 29, 2007
— Ace Allah doesn't buy it, and I guess I don't either. When you're down to such low numbers the MoE is pretty big compared to the number itself.
6% of the country isn't reading independent political blogs, bit they are reading gossip blogs, pseudoblogs like Television Without Pity, TechBlogs, blogs connected to major publications, etc.
Political blog readers? Eh, probably 2 million or so. Which is kind of low, but not when one excludes anyone in college or younger (very young people don't care about politics, and most collegians already know everything they need to know), and those who are simply too old to have really jumped on to this internets dealio, and those who simply are too poor to have a computer and a hook-up -- well, it's a small but nontrivial swath of those who could conceivably be expected to be reading blogs. It's, um, kind of huge when you think where it was four years ago.
I think people may be claiming to be reading political blogs because it sounds a little bit better than saying "I'm spending upwards of six hours a day arguing about Lost on Television Without Pity."
Dean Barnett guestimatess 300,000 as to the total number of conservative political blog-readers out there. I'd guess it's higher -- 500,000 or 600,000 or so.
But there doesn't seem like much room for the entire blogosphere to grow. Instapundit is the biggest right-leaning blogger, but his traffic really hasn't grown much over the past couple of years. Well, from about 100,000 uniques a day to 170,000. Not really the sort of explosive growth one might have expected. LGF has grown (based on memory) from about 80,000 per day to about 120,000.
Actually, putting those two together gives you around 300,000, which is Barnett's estimate, but I'd guess there's an equal number of conservative blog readers who don't read either. Andrew Sullivan is a fairly big blogger, but when I mention him, a lot of people are like "Who?" And some mean that seriously.
Even those who get the biggest traffic aren't attracting a majority of the potential market.
Except for Kos. Because liberals, you see, are very lemming-ish.
— Ace He really flipped on Gonzales.
It's like Fitzmas came twice in one year!
Goldstein note he did say something that cast Gonzales in, as the New York Times says, "an unflattering light." To wit, that a Gonzales statement that he had never read memos about the Sacred 8 was "not entirely accurate" in the sense that he was aware of the basics of the plan to fire them. (Sampson himself noted that Gonzales had already clarified this statement; Schumer, of course, insisted on reading to him an already retracted-and-corrected statement.)
Meanwhile, Val Plame is yet to be investigated for her mistatements about her not being "involved" in "discussions" regarding sending her unqualified, hyperpartisan husband to Niger.
— Ace Dirty, dirty, dirty.
Dianne Feinstein steered business to defense contractors heavily invested in by her husband's big-ass investment companies for years and only now she steathfully resigns from a key military appropriations committee?
WHERE IS THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA?
WHERE ARE THE DEMOCRATS TO CONDEMN AND ASK FOR HER RESIGNATION? WHERE IS NANCY PELOSI? WHERE IS HARRY REID? WHERE IS CHUCK SCHUMER?
More importantly, WHERE THE HELL ARE THE REPUBLICANS?
This is genuine news. Political corruption on a scale as big as Duke Cunningham, and the mainstream press is worried about 8 US attorneys losing their jobs in a completely legal hard-ball political axing-session.
The Culture of Corruption has 'returned' - bigger and better than ever before!
Well, I can tell you where the MSM is: investigating Republicans. Which is where they always be. The only way to even get a story like this cursorilly covered by the MSM is for Republicans to push it, hard.
Which they probably won't.
Correction: I first wrote her husband owned "big ass military companies." He doesn't, he just invests heavily in them.
— Ace The Republican Party sucks. It consists almost entirely of morons, hypocrites, sell-outs, phonies, racists, and fag-haters.
But we do have one group that sustains our political viability.
— Ace Nice work, Elizabeth. You got her to say it. You also got this moron to promise to invite scientists on to the show to discuss her lunacy.
Rosie actually says she "doesn't know" who destroyed WTC 7. She's just sure it wasn't due to the 9/11 attacks. Given that no one else had access to the building except for Americans, obviously a "controlled demolition" can only have been conducted by the US Government.
As Allah says, the great fat lunatic -- pretty much the Kathy Bates character from Misery except unencumbered by a passion for reading -- has virtually demanded that Barbra Walters fire her.
And Jack Cafferty, of course, joins in with the conspiracy-talk, becoming the "male Rosie."
Not sure about that. Rosie's got bigger testicles than Jack Cafferty.
Rosie or Elizabeth? The fact that Rosie's "interesting theory" hasn't been aired on the show previously suggests that Barbara Walters laid down the law that Rosie's 9/11 Truthiness was not to be brought up by anyone.
So it might be that Elizabeth was the one who broke Walters' embargo on the subject, and got Rosie to admit what she believes.
Ah, well. The girl's built up an awful lot of goodwill dealing with these disgusting old yentas. She'll fail upwards. It will be delicious if Walters' fires Elizabeth for exposing Rosie's insanities.
Rosie's promised it -- so let's have it. Let's have the crew from Popular Mechanics on the show to discuss WTC 7's collapse for a full hour.
— Ace Ba-zing:
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act of 2007, a bill to restore Second Amendment rights in Washington, D.C.
The constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens do not end when they cross into the borders of the District of Columbia, said Sen. Hutchison.
The gun ban has been proven ineffective by the trend of increased violent crime in the District. The citizens of Washington, D.C., deserve to have the same right to defend themselves and their families in their homes that lawful Americans enjoy.
This requires both a legislative and judicial remedy. I hope the Parker case goes before the Supreme Court and that the court asserts that the right to bear arms is an individual, and not a collective, right as the D.C. Circuit and Fifth Circuit Courts have affirmed.
Instapundit snarks that perhaps Jim Webb will consider cosponsoring the legislation. Can his executive assistant cosponsor? He already seems to be observing the not-yet-passed law.
— Ace If KC Johnson is married, I feel sorry for his wife. This is guy who's like a chick, only ten time worse: He forgets nothing. He forgives nothing.
Selena Roberts forgot his anniversary, and man, does he let her have it. Scroll down to "Selena vs. Selena" for a good start, and then watch the snowball roll.
In her screed against the lacrosse team in Sundays New York Times, Selena Roberts positioned herself as an aggressive champion of diversity, while also appealing to class-based sentiments by taking a negative tone to former lacrosse players' Wall Street jobs.
Such a figure, no doubt, practices what she preaches, and demonstrates a deep commitment to diversity in her personal life, correct?
According to her Times bio, Roberts is a resident of Westport, Connecticut, a suburb in Fairfield County. The US Census Bureau's fact page reveals that Westport is a bastion of neither racial nor economic diversity. Of its 25,598 residents, 24,560, or 95.5 percent, are white. Westport has a grand total of 292 African-American residents. Barely 1 percent of Roberts' fellow townsfolk, in other words, are black.
What about economic diversity? The median family income in Westport is $153,131, more than $100,000 greater than the median family income for the United States as a whole. And a grand total of 104 families live below the poverty level. Barely 1 percent of Roberts' fellow townsfolk, in other words, are poor. The town website has forms for people who need to store their boats--either on water or on land--and for residents-only tennis and golf facilities.
And then that causes him to remember Selena Roberts once got drunk and made a pass at his sister, and then, well. It just gets worse. He's about two posts away from a guest appearance on COPS.
Come now. You tellin' me she hasn't molested a couple of strippers in her time? Betcha $50 she's got her own table with her name on it down at the Westport Hooters.
— Ace Getting a little Churchillian:
Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that Britain would not negotiate over British sailors and marines held hostage by Iran. In an interview with ITV News, Blair again called for the unconditional return of the 15 Royal Navy personnel who were seized by Iranian authorities last week.
Britain's Sky News meanwhile said Iran had released another letter by captured sailor Faye Turney, this time calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq
"The important thing for us is to get them back safe and sound, but we can't enter into some basis of bargaining," Blair said. "What you have to do when you are engaged with people like the Iranian regime, you have to keep explaining to them, very patiently, what it is necessary to do and at the same time make them fully aware there are further measures that will be taken if they're not prepared to be reasonable.
"What you can't do is end up negotiating over hostages; end up saying there's some quid pro quo or tit for tat; that's not acceptable," he said.
That's the official position, and I'm surprised at the toughness of it. I still expect there actually is some "negotiating" going on backstage.
Let me channel Andrew Sullivan and say it reflects well on Blair's character if he chooses to negotiate for the freedom of the 15 seamen, but it also refelcts well on his character if he chooses not to.
I don't think that's quite it. Blair is choosing his words carefully, obviously. He just promised "a different phase" in the crisis should the seamen not be released promptly; now he says the Iranians must be made "fully aware that further measures that will be taken if they're not prepared to be reasonable."
Sure, spokesmen immediately rush out to say he's not talking about military options. But the words themselves suggest the possibility of a military option, and they have been selected to as to imply just that.
The Rules say that Britain cannot go to war, except reluctantly. He's abiding by The Rules.
America just sent a fairly impressive tidal wave of naval might into the Persian Gulf. While some officials say off the record it's a show of force hastily ordered in response to the kidnapping of the British seamen,
the Bush administration would not say publicly that this is the case.
So we're doing the same thing, sort of. A big part of diplomacy is just plain old lying.
Also from Hot Air -- the female sailor's letter didn't just claim Britain had strayed too far into Iranian waters. It also went on to opine that Britain had strayed too far onto Iraqi soil:
Iran has published another letter allegedly written by Leading Seaman Faye Turney in which she supposedly calls for British forces to withdraw from Iraq.
Well! She's certainly become a little chatterbox, hasn't she? Suddenly deciding to announce it was time for Britain to withdraw from Iraq. And she came to this conclusion without being coerced by the Iranians at all, whom she claims are treating her quite nicely.
I guess she just needed some time off to really think about the issues, huh?
So the Mullahs are now bullying a woman into propagandizing for them.
That should win them friends -- on the left, that is. Amanda Marcotte, I'm sure, will praise the Iranians for helping this misguided woman finally "find her voice."
— Ace A little supply-side somethin'-somethin':
Republican ex-mayor of New York City Rudolph Giuliani won backing for his 2008 presidential bid from billionaire publisher Steve Forbes, who will also help lead his campaign, Giuliani's team said.
"Steve and I share an economic vision that embraces supply-side economics, tax relief, and spending restraint," Giuliani said in a statement released by his campaign team.
"As mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani showed how exercising fiscal discipline, including tax cuts, lowers deficits, spurs economic growth, and increases revenue," Forbes was quoted as saying in the statement.
"It is time the rest of the country benefit from a true fiscal conservative leader who gets real results."
Weighing against this is a New York Sun editorial knocking Giuliani for opposing a cut in the "commuter tax" levied on workers who work in, but do not live in, NYC.
And it wasn't. For one thing, Giuliani was mayor of New York City, not mayor of Jersey City or Greenwich, Connecticut. Between cutting taxes on New York City residents or residents of New Jersey, Connectucut, or up the Hudson New York, which do you think he favored?
For another, there's actually some justification for a commuter tax. Taxes are generally levied according to where one lives, rather than where one actually generates the income being taxed. So New York City suburbs could get fat on taxing income actually generated in New York City -- Giuliani (and pretty much every New York City politician) figured they ought to have a cut of that.
Finally, those who don't live in NYC, but are working there, do benefit from a lot of the services the city provides. Not all of them, of course, and not to the extent that a resident does, but it's not obviously unfair that a commuting NYC worker should pay a bit to the city, if only to keep up the surface roads he uses and pay the police and fire departments which protect him.
The tax was eventually repealed.
The result was an instant $200 million hole in the New York City budget. In effect, Albany was challenging Giuliani to raise taxes in New York City on his own constituents to make up for the shortfall it had caused to curry favor with voters in Rockland and Dutchess Counties. Giuliani reacted as any politician would react in such a situation. He got really mad, and did what little was in his power to do which is to say, almost nothing to get Albany to change its mind.
In short, the Giuliani opposition to the commuter-tax repeal tells you nothing about his view of taxation generally. As mayor, he did what he could to cut some of the most onerous taxes in the nation that had been imposed specifically by the City Council and previous mayors. His City Council wasn't all that high on doing a lot of it, but he muscled some of it through and that was more than anyone who preceded him had done.
It also tells you that given the choice between taxing people whose votes he relied upon and taxing people whose votes he didn't rely upon, he was more in favor of taxing the latter. Which is hardly revealing, now is it?
— Ace Pot, meet kettle.
Will Kurtz now write a screed about the vile commenters at the Washington Post?
Sloppy of Me: Christopher Fotos did what I hadn't -- read Kurtz' original piece. Which is also excerpted at LGF.
Kurtz does acknowlege such comments appear at the WaPo:
No corner of the Net is safe from this bile. The Washington Posts Web site has been grappling with a surge in offensive and incendiary comments.
The really gruesome stuff represents a tiny minority of those online. But is there a way of policing the worst stuff without shutting down robust debate?
The comments about Cheney at the Huffington Post included: You cant kill pure evil. If at first you dont succeed . . . Dr. Evil escapes again . . . damn. Founder Arianna Huffington wrote that no one at HuffPost is defending these comments they are unacceptable and were treated as such by being removed.
The comments about Mohammed and Carter at Little Green Footballs included: Can we furlough him just so he can realize the Carter plot? Please? and Even this schmuck had some good ideas.
The sites founder, Charles Johnson, wrote on Little Green Footballs that such comments reflect only the opinions of the individuals who posted them and doubted that they rise to the level of hatred that showed up in Ariannas readers Cheney-related comments.
Some conservatives and liberals seized on the incidents to denounce the other side, but no conclusions should be drawn from wackjobs on the fringe.
So bad on me. With all due respect, however, Kurtz has clearly been mau-maued by the Greenwald Leftist Apologism Machine. The piece is practically lifted from Thomas Ellensberg's rantings about this.
Kurtz attempts to mitigate the assassination and cancer death-wishes spewing out from the left by quoting a few similar, but nowhere near as toxic, comments about Jimmy Carter on LGF. The comments concerned a "planned" assassination on Jimmy Carter by Al Qaeda which apparently never really made it very far into the even the planning phase. So this was entirely hypothetical, and pretty far in the past to boot.
To that revelation, some LGF commenters said stuff along the lines of "Well let's trade Jimmy Carter's life for the lives of those lost on 9/11." Pretty weak tea.
Compare that to the hundreds of pro-assassination comments on the HuffPo and the various other blogs of the Toxic Left.
Speaking of Bad Behavior: It's not just commenters, it's particularly sick internet crapmerchants and left-wing bloggers celebrating the cancer of Tony Snow and cancer-caused death of Cathy Seipp.
And it's also not merely political bloggers and commenters engaging in bad behavior. Kathy Sierra, who I think must have started the Sierra Games company, is now getting death threats over her blogging comments about the... game industry.
Apparently she was too "optimistic" about it -- seriously -- and hence the death threats.
I'd hoped that we wouldn't need a law, but I have a feeling a law will be passed. Or applicable laws will start being enforced. Make a death threat, spend six or nine months in jail. Why people think they can do this on-line when doing it over the phone or in person would get them locked up or shot is beyond me, but there you go. The rise of the Internet SuperMouse, a take-no-prisoners tough guy and threatener of women so long as he believes (mistakenly) he's annonymous behind his screen-name/Superhero Handle.
Nope! Kathy Sierra has nothing to do with Sierra games, commenters tell me. I remembered it was a husband-wife team, but apparently they're named Roberts or something. The game was named after the mountains.
I guess I should have picked up on the fact that no one was reporting she was the creator of a huge computer game business as reason to disabuse me of my kneejerk assumption.
— Ace If you're denying it, you've already got a PR problem on your hands.
The head of a Plano school district facility that houses exotic animals said Monday he fears for his professional future there after saying he believed that a local pet owner was having sexual relations with his rhesus macaque monkey.
The Plano Star Courier in Saturday's edition quoted Plano ISD's Jim Dunlap as saying a man was having relations with the monkey seized last month by authorities. The head of PISD's Living Materials Center said the pet owner, Bobby Crawford Jr., sent a box of toys for Darwin the monkey to play with while he was kept there. In that box was an audiotape.
"After listening to the tape, Dunlap said Crawford made references to Darwin and himself engaging in mutual stimulation," the story read.
In an interview Monday with The Dallas Morning News, Mr. Dunlap said he had been going through "holy hell" over the story. He said the Star Courier reported information that was "off the record and not to be printed."
"I've been expecting any moment to get a phone call from my supervisor saying, 'You've been put on administrative leave,' or from somebody saying, 'I'm suing,' " Mr. Dunlap said.
Rick Mann, managing editor of the Star Courier, said, "I'll simply say the story speaks for itself."
The monkey and a tarantula were returned to Mr. Crawford on Friday.
Mr. Crawford said he did send a tape for the monkey to listen to, but that he was probably crying when he recorded it and that it contains nothing but comforting baby talk. He said there was nothing sexually suggestive on the tape and called Mr. Dunlap's initial conclusion "ridiculous."
"I don't have sex with my monkey. That's absolute crap," Mr. Crawford said. "Why would I do that? I gave him an audiotape, but it didn't have anything like that on it. It said, 'I'm coming home, I'm coming to get you. Daddy's coming, he's coming to get you,' " Mr. Crawford said.
Mr. Dunlap said that he made a "gross error" and that his interpretation of the tape was just that his and no one else's.
"I interpreted what I heard and saw in my own way, and I can't say that's correct. It's just me, what I think. I can't argue with Mr. Crawford about what he meant," Mr. Dunlap said. "I took it on surface value about what he said. I just don't want to deal with it anymore. He may be totally honest and right in what he thinks about the way he sounded."
Police say they have no reason to believe any crime was committed.
Because -- is it really a crime to be in love?
Just kidding. The guy was just doing some baby-talk with his monkey (how else are you supposed to talk to a monkey?) and this other guy seems to have been dirty-minded in interpreting that "Daddy's coming to get you" stuff.
Musical Accompaniment: from Slublog. Well, really from the Beatles.
— Jack M. Sadly, I believe Tom Daschle's claim that McCain was considering "jumping ship" in 2001 over the Arizona Senator's denials.
I was working in the Senate in 2001, and gossip concerning McCain's impending jump to "Independent" (a move which would have delivered operational control of the Senate to the Democrats) was all too common. In fact, many of my contemporaries in the Senate were surprised that Jeffords jumped before McCain did so.
Now gossip alone isn't a very good indicator of a claims veracity. Which is why I wanted to add a little backstory that may not be well known, so that you can factor this in as you judge these claims for yourself.
John McCain's cheif political advisor is a man named John Weaver. John Weaver is a brilliant campaign strategist, and is easily the "Darth Vader" to Karl Rove's "Emperor Palpatine". The power of the Sith flows freely through Weaver.
In fact, Weaver and Rove, who developed their political skills in the world of Texas politics, were partners in a political consulting/direct mail firm at one time. The partnership was successful, but ultimately self-defeating. For reasons I am still uncertain about, Weaver and Rove became vicious enemies. This blood fued lasts to this day.
Weaver and Rove went their seperate ways, but both continued to manage GOP campaigns into the late 1990's. And then Rove signed on with Bush 2000 and Weaver signed on with McCain, and the two went head to head for all the marbles.
Bush, and Rove by extension, won.
To the victors go the spoils. One of Rove's first acts (according to John Weaver) in 2000 was to contact GOP candidates who had used John Weaver's services in the past to inform them that the White House would not play ball with anyone associated with Weaver from that day forward.
I believe this happened. At one time, I worked for a candidate who had employed John Weaver, and was present for a discussion in which John Weaver's continued association with the candidate was discussed. Weaver was dismissed.
In fact, this happened so frequently that Weaver changed his party alignment. Having been a Republican consultant he became a Democrat as Republican officials and office seekers, wary of offending the White House, would not employ him.
To this day, Weaver is now predominantly a Democratic Campaign operative, McCain being the sole (as far as I know) exception.
I asked Weaver about this the last time I saw him (which was several years ago) because I like the guy. He is among the best there is at what he does. In conversation with him I suggested it "must be difficult to work against all those people you once worked with, and on the opposite side of the causes you believe in".
His semi-snarking response to me was "I've elected a lot of Republicans. That's a lot of mistakes I have to atone for."
Is it likely that John McCain, stung bitterly from his loss in 2000, and his chief political strategist, who had already been forced out of the party, discussed going the 3rd party route in 2001? I think so. In fact, knowing both of these men, I think it more likely than not.
In fact, I continue to hear rumblings that McCain is actively considering a 3rd party bid in this election should it become apparent that he will not win the nomination. Ironically, one of McCain's chief "lieutenants" in the Senate, Chuck Hagel, is crowding him out on this decision now.
I hope this helps add a little additional context to what has been posted so far about the McCain/Daschle claims. Most of this is inside baseball junk and personal recollection, but I think it adds a little more substance to the story.
So, take it for what it's worth. Your mileage may vary.
— Ace Steyn:
William Wilberforce,'' writes Eric Metaxas in Amazing Grace, "was the happy victim of his own success. He was like someone who against all odds finds the cure for a horrible disease that's ravaging the world, and the cure is so overwhelmingly successful that it vanquishes the disease completely. No one suffers from it again -- and within a generation or two no one remembers it ever existed.''
What did Wilberforce ''cure''? Two centuries ago, on March 25, 1807, one very persistent British backbencher secured the passage by parliament of an Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade throughout His Majesty's realms and territories. It's not that no one remembers the disease ever existed, but that we recall it as a kind of freak pandemic -- a SARS or bird flu that flares up and whirs round the world and is then eradicated. The American education system teaches it as such -- as a kind of wicked perversion the Atlantic settlers had conjured out of their own ambition. In reality, it was more like the common cold: a fact of life. The institution predates the word's etymology, from the Slavs brought from eastern Europe to the glittering metropolis of Rome. It predates by some millennia the earliest laws, such as the Code of Hammurabi in Mesopotamia. The first slave owners on the North American continent were hunter-gatherers.
As Metaxas puts it, ''Slavery was as accepted as birth and marriage and death, was so woven into the tapestry of human history that you could barely see its threads, much less pull them out. Everywhere on the globe, for 5,000 years, the idea of human civilization without slavery was unimaginable. . . . What Wilberforce vanquished was something even worse than slavery,'' says Metaxas, "something that was much more fundamental and can hardly be seen from where we stand today: He vanquished the very mind-set that made slavery acceptable and allowed it to survive and thrive for millennia. He destroyed an entire way of seeing the world, one that had held sway from the beginning of history, and he replaced it with another way of seeing the world.'' Ownership of existing slaves continued in the British West Indies for another quarter-century and in the United States for another 60 years, and slave trading continued in Turkey until Ataturk abolished it in the '20s and in Saudi Arabia until it was (officially) banned in the '60s, and it persists in Africa and other pockets of the world to this day. But not as a broadly accepted "human good.''
There was some hard-muscle enforcement that accompanied the new law: The Royal Navy announced that it would regard all slave ships as pirates, and thus they were liable to sinking and their crews to execution. But what was decisive was the way Wilberforce ''murdered'' (in Metaxas' word) the old acceptance of slavery by the wider society. As he wrote in 1787, ''God almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.''
More on Wilberforce's campaign for better manners and a stricter public morality at the article.
But continuing with the campaign that would end Western slavery -- forever -- within sixty years, Joesph Laconte notes that some take this anniversary as a (yawn) excuse to damn Britian all the more.
Theres a lesson for politicians and clerics alike: Great social evils are not defeated by mere talk. In the case of abolition, new laws demanded not only diplomacy but the threatand the useof military power. Without it, the proclamations and legislative victories might have come to nothing.
To this observer, many Britons seem to harbor a deep and nagging guilteven self-loathingfor their days of empire and the brutalities that sustained it. Americans could probably benefit, at least on occasion, from a stronger sense of shame. But, facing the post-9/11 threat of Islamic fascism, Britain (and America) cannot afford to indulge in self-flagellation. There are too many cheerless voices eager to demean British identity for their own craven reasons.
This danger is not new; Great Britain faced similar criticisms during another season of national testing. In the darkest hours of 1941as the British people stood alone against the Nazi juggernauta fresh generation of cynics and appeasers condemned the nation for its historical sins. American observer Lynn Harold Hough, a gifted preacher and theologian, took umbrage at them. Houghs critique, published in April of 1941, is worth quoting at length:
He [the cynic] reminds us of every evil thing he can find in the history of England since the Norman Conquest After his best efforts, Britain remains a dull grey against the bitter black of Hitlers Germany. The history of parliamentary democracy is ignored. The broadening liberties of the British Empire are forgotten. The word imperial is used in such a fashion as to black out intelligence and to set every fact in a false perspective. Nobodyleast of all the Britishwould deny the dark spots in British history. But they do not represent the defining matters in the British tradition.
Perhaps Andrew Sullivan should ponder the example of Christianist, morally-convicted Wilberforce when he rails against "certainty" and in favor of "doubt." If Wilberforce had any doubt that slavery was a purely evil insitutition without redeeming qualities, we would still would have had it for one hundred or more years.
Michael Gambon, Albert Finney (anyone get those actors confused, or is it just me?) and the persistently good but persistently unknown actor who played Horatio Hornblower so well. (It would help if his name weren't some hodgepodge gibberish of Welsh/Celtic/Retardese.)
Plus villainous actor par excellence Rufus Sewell. I don't know if he plays a villain, but I hope so. He's so good at being a dick.
Looks good. Finally a PC-themed movie I can get behind.
— Ace No, not Baghdad. Rio de Janiero. Which may not technically be Brazil's capital, but come on, who's zoomin' who?
A decorated police officer was sitting behind the wheel of his Toyota pickup truck here last month when a group of men surrounded the vehicle and pumped more than 40 bullets into him.
Such execution-style killings are not unusual in a city where police and gang members routinely battle for turf in the shantytowns, but this one sent ripples through Rio. The slain officer, Felix dos Santos Tostes, had been moonlighting as the leader of a militia unit -- one of the well-armed groups that have multiplied throughout the city's slums in recent months, complicating an urban conflict that has defied solution for decades.
The militias have wrested control of nearly 100 of this city's 600 slums, or favelas, from the drug gangs that have long held sway, according to police and nongovernmental organizations. Tostes's murder showed why the shift worries so many people here: Although the militias profess to make the neighborhoods safe, violence is following them. And the deep connections some of the groups maintain to police and political circles make monitoring and controlling them extraordinarily difficult.
Law enforcement and government officials have traditionally advocated a hard-line stance against the easily vilified drug gangs, but Rio's new governor, Sergio Cabral, is urging his colleagues to reject the notion that the militias are the lesser of two evils. He has compared the recent rise of the militias to the situation in Colombia, where the involvement of paramilitary fighters has further muddied that country's long-running battle against Marxist guerrillas. Cabral visited Bogota this week to discuss methods of controlling violence with his Colombian counterparts.
"The government says the militias should be investigated, but the situation is almost comical," said Rodrigo Pimentel, a former military police officer who is now a security consultant. "A lot of people inside the police intelligence units in charge of investigating them are involved with the militias themselves. That's why when the police give the government a list of suspected militia members that should have 700 names on it, there are only 40 or 50."
The militia groups controlling the various neighborhoods are not affiliated with one another. Some were started by residents of the favelas themselves, but many are led by off-duty or retired police officers, firemen and private security workers.
Interesting article. The government maintains its monopoly on the use of force only so long as the public perceives it as exercising that monopoly wisely and justly. When the government fails to do so -- as here, where straight law enforcement is ineffectual against drug gangs -- extralegal vigilantism inevitably ensues.
— Ace Seems to me this is something of a fold. Britain doesn't want to "apologize" when it did no wrong, but I imagine they and their Iranian kidnappers can negotiate some language that gets the sailors freed. No one will put much stock in an "apology" extracted by threats against innocent sailors and marines.
It can always be taken back once the hostages are freed. I realize that's appeasement of a minor sort, but Britain will fold on this to get its men back.
And what will Iran have accomplished? Not very much, except for guaranteeing that its ships will be fired upon if they close on any coalition ships.
Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday that Britain must admit that its 15 sailors and marines entered Iranian waters in order to resolve a standoff over their capture by the Mideast nation.
Manouchehr Mottaki's statement in an interview with The Associated Press came on a day of escalating tensions, highlighted by an Iranian video of the detained Britons that showed the only woman captive saying her group had "trespassed" in Iranian waters. Britain angrily denounced the video as unacceptable and froze most dealings with the Mideast nation.
The Iranian official also backed off a prediction that the female sailor, Faye Turney, could be freed Wednesday or Thursday, but said Tehran agreed to allow British officials to meet with the detainees.
Mottaki said that if the alleged entry into Iranian waters was a mistake "this can be solved. But they have to show that it was a mistake. That will help us to end this issue."
"Admitting the mistake will facilitate a solution to the problem," he said late Wednesday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he was attending an Arab summit.
They want "help" ending "this issue." Sounds like they know they've stepped in it and are merely seeking some face-saving.
Britain of course sought help from the United Nations:
At the United Nations in New York, Britain asked the Security Council to support a call for the immediate release of detainees, saying in a statement they were operating in Iraqi waters under a mandate from the Security Council and at the request of Iraq, according to council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the text was not released. The issue was expected to be debated Thursday.
Which is even more futile a gesture than usual, because the Russians, apparently, are willing to give Iran the benefit of the doubt as to the boats' location upon capture.
But of course the ship wasn't in Iranian waters at all:
In London, British military officials released new information about the seizure, saying satellite positioning readings showed the vessels were 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi waters.
Vice Adm. Charles Style gave the satellite coordinates as 29 degrees 50.36 minutes north latitude and 48 degrees 43.08 minutes east longitude. He said that position had been confirmed by an Indian-flagged merchant ship boarded by the sailors and marines.
He also told reporters the Iranians had provided a geographical position Sunday that he said was in Iraqi waters. By Tuesday, he said, Iranian officials had given a revised position 2 miles to the east, inside Iranian waters.
"It is hard to understand a legitimate reason for this change of coordinates," Style said.
Iran, being Iran, has reneged on its promise to release the female sailor they coerced into "admitting" they strayed into Iranian waters.
Iran on Thursday rolled back on a pledge to release a female British sailor, and a top official said the 15 captives may be put on trial.
Iran's foreign minister had said Tehran would soon free Faye Turney, the only woman among the sailors and marines seized last week while searching a merchant vessel in what Iran says were its territorial waters near Iraq.
But Gen. Ali Reza Afshar, Iran's military chief, said that because of the "wrong behavior" by the British government, "the release of a female British soldier has been suspended," the semiofficial Iranian news agency Mehr reported.
Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani also told state television that British leaders "have miscalculated this issue" and if they follow through with threats, the case "may face a legal path"presumably putting the Britons on trial.
Britain has circulated a draft press statement to the Security Council, asking it to "deplore" Tehran's action and demand the immediate release of the captives.
The video showed Turney in a head scarf and her uniform eating with other sailors and marines. Later, wearing a white tunic and black head scarf, she sat in a room before floral curtains and smoked a cigarette.
Turney was the only detainee shown speaking, saying she had been in the navy for nine years.
"Obviously we trespassed into their waters," Turney said at one point. "They were very friendly and very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people. They explained to us why we've been arrested. There was no harm, no aggression."
Britain angrily denounced the video as unacceptable and froze most dealings with Iran.
For what it's worth, the Briish press seems to be reflecting a lot of public anger at the Iranian regime.
Reminds me of a line from The Dirty Dozen. The psychiatrist notes the convict-commandos have a deep-seated hatred of the American military. "That's because they only know the American military," Lee Marvin replies. "Wait 'till they meet the Germans."
The British public seems to be finally discovering there is more than one world leader out there besides George Bush.
Hot Air notes Iran once again makes a stink about its own captured spies and terrorists, and seems to be directing its thuggish young male supporters to rattle the sabers, um, posters, to frighten the Brits:
The Iranians say Britain has gravely "miscalculated" on this.
Somehow they misspellled "Our psychpoathic death-cult theofascist leaders" as "Britain."
— Ace Eh.
Funnier were Bush's jokes, starting with a "Thank you to Senator Webb for providing security."
"Well, where should we start? A year ago, my approval rating was in the thirties, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just been withdrawn, and my Vice President had just shot somebody... (pause for laughs) Ah, the good old days."
— Ace Drudge hyped it as taking on Hillary, but the Hillary jokes were either juvenile ("This snizz hasn't seen action in over 30 years!") or weak (a too-subtle parody of her doing a southern drawl when she speaks at the white-bread redneck town of South Park).
But the spoof of 24 was good. They spoofed most of 24's cliches, including the inevitable plot of it looking like the Muslims are behind this, but really it's the Russians, no wait, really it's an unlikely third power pulling all the strings.
Cartman's Bauer-like interrogation of the Muslim "terrorists" was pretty funny.
It's on again at 12:00 ET tonight if you want to set your DVRs.
This clip isn't the best part of the episode, but it's all I see on Daily Motion. Content warning, as the clip explains why the episode is called "The Snuke," which involves an obscenity for a woman's, um, ladybusiness.
— Ace Almost jumped with -- or even before -- Jeffords in 2001.
Old-ish news, but it's largely from Tom Daschle's book, which no one read, including Tom Daschle. And we've known for a long time that John McCain flirted with the idea of joining John Kerry's ticket in 2004.
This guy is going to win the Republican nomination? I don't think so.
He almost bolted because of his anger with elements of the Republican Party which fought (dirty) against his candidacy in 2000. He quite clearly despises most of the party. He barely can manage to pretend otherwise. How can we imagine he'd govern as a Republican if elected President?
March 28, 2007
— Ace At least according to his hacked MySpace page.
That's not half as embarrassing as the real page, which just said "FREDDIE PRINZE JR. IS TEH ROXXOR!!!!111!!" repeatedly in different color fonts.
— Ace Lot of the same stuff, but a new crack about the Duke "rape" "victim."
Thanks to Rodney.
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