As If Nothing Happened
Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened--- Churchill

Monday, June 30, 2003  

U.S. loses its taste for French wine


New book outlines drugs, violence in JFK Jr.'s marriage


US 'imperialism' is best hope for unstable world
The Scotsman
he important question is: what does the US do with the power thrust upon it? Neo-conservatives in the US talk of a Pax Americana, whereby it will use its dominant military power to maintain global order and discourage any rivals who might threaten its interests.

At the same time, the US will work to spread democracy and liberal values (as it aims to do in Iraq) as a way of constructing a lasting, stable international order. Call this a rationalisation after the event, rather than its cause.

This viewpoint is amazingly reminiscent of the discussion in Britain after Napoleon, where there was much talk about a Pax Britannica. An early form of UN had been invented called the Congress System, whereby the big powers of the day (Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria) got together to thrash out common problems. But liberal opinion in the United Kingdom decided that doing deals with these corrupt autocracies was not in our interests. Instead, Britain adopted a unilateralist approach - shades of the US today, and with the same idealistic thrust.

For instance, Britain unilaterally decided to outlaw the trade in slaves and its navy hunted foreign slave ships off the high seas (remembered here in New Haven, where the blacks, who seized their slave ship, the Amistad, were tried and freed). At the time, the slave traders claimed this was a cynical ploy to remove competition to Britain from free slave labour - shades of the Iraq oil debate - but public opposition to slavery in Britain was very real...


Sick, Sick, Sick

Spectre of babies from the unborn

Women seeking fertility treatment could one day be offered donor eggs grown from the tissue of an aborted foetus, researchers said yesterday.

In an experiment that raises the prospect of babies with "unborn mothers", ovarian tissue was removed from seven dead foetuses and kept alive in a laboratory for four weeks.


David at Bernstein Blog makes a great point about Clarence Thomas's record.
Eugene over at the Volokh Conspiracy notes the tendency of many Justice Thomas critics to claim that Thomas is basically Scalia's stooge. I ran into this argument a few years ago on an African American studies listserv, and pointed out that Thomas votes with Scalia far less often than Thurgood Marshall voted with William Brennan, but no one accused Marshall of being Brennan's lap dog. I was challenged for exact statistics. I provided them from the Harvard Law Review's annual Supreme Court survey. But I was still met with the argument that Scalia must be dictating Thomas's opinions.

This issues reminds me of when Thomas was first nominated to the Supreme Court, and a raft of biographical sketches appeared, many with the theme, "how did Thomas come to such conservative views." The articles typically tried to assess the effect of various biographical or psychological idiosyncracies on Thomas. None gave any serious weight to Thomas's own explanation, which is that he read a lot, ranging from Ayn Rand to Thomas Sowell, and concluded that libertarianish conservatism made sense. I thought those articles were insulting to Thomas and to blacks in general, and still do. If whites can read and be influenced by Ayn Rand and Thomas Sowell, why can't blacks? And if Scalia can win grudging praise for the sharpness of this legal writings, why can't Thomas, who, if anything, is a bolder and more original thinker than is Scalia?


Armavirumque has a
jaw dropping inquiry from an American librarian
Subject: librarian with question

Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 12:11:08 -0400
Dear ____

I am a librarian trying to answer a reference question from a student. I found on the Web reference to a book you have written on the history of Australian philosophy and thought perhaps you could assist me. Could you provide a name(s) of any ancient Australian philosophers or educators pre-200 B.C.? The student is looking for information on ancient philosophers or educators that impacted modern education.

With a name, perhaps I can find more information in other sources.

Thank you very much for your help.

Link from Pejmanesque


Is Lawrence worse than Roe?
New Republic
Link from Pejmanesque

posted by Renee | 11:05 PM

Sunday, June 29, 2003  

High court's race ruling affects K-12: Schools given path for using diversity as admission factor
Boston Globe
The US Supreme Court's decision last week to uphold race in university admissions also gives a green light for K-12 school systems with magnet programs or student-transfer policies to take children's race into account, as long as it is not the primary factor in admissions.


Characteristic #7 of a failed culture in action:
Hospitality Found Wanting at Two Riyadh Supermarkets
Arab News

A young Saudi cashier at a major supermarket chain on Dhabab Street created a scene on Wednesday night when he refused to move the items from an expatriate’s shopping basket onto the counter for scanning.

Instead the cashier asked the expatriate — from the Subcontinent — to do the unloading himself. The expatriate refused on the grounds that it was the duty of the cashier to place the items on the scanner.

When the cashier remained adamant, the shopping supervisor, also a non-Saudi, was called to discipline him. When his words fell on deaf ears of the Saudi cashier, a Bangladeshi employee of the supermarket came forward to do the job.

Last week, this correspondent happened to be at the Hail Al-Wizarat branch of another supermarket chain. Long queues had built up at three counters, while three others remained unmanned.

Checking out after a 45-minute wait for some minor shopping, the Arab News correspondent suggested to the shopping supervisor, an Asian expatriate, that it would make sense to open all the counters to customers during peak hours to clear the growing queues.

He replied: “What to do? The counters have to be manned by Saudis under the new law. But they did not show up.”

These two instances provide a glimpse of Saudization at work in the supermarkets. The Saudis who have replaced the expatriates at the cash counters think it beneath their dignity to serve expatriate shoppers, especially if they happen to be from the Subcontinent.

A senior manager of one of the oldest supermarkets on Takhassusi Street said the store had to fire 20 out of 50 new Saudi recruits within a short period due to frequent absenteeism, lack of punctuality and excessive use of mobile phones at counters. He added that the decision was taken on the basis of complaints from the customers due to billing errors.

Saudization of jobs in the supermarkets along with IT, health care and construction sectors are part of the comprehensive strategy drawn up by the Human Resources Development Fund to create 20,000 jobs for Saudis this year.

To meet the target, it has compelled the private sector to fall in line.

“We are hiring Saudis, but they don’t stick around for long,” said the administration manager of a multinational construction company.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said that many played truant or reported sick very often.

“We have three gates to be manned by 10 Saudi guards. This is just to fulfill the requirement for Saudization, as we have been taken to court by the Labor Office for non-compliance with the five percent annual Saudization rule. But the caliber of the Saudi manpower is such that we have no alternative but to fire them and again place ads for fresh recruits,” he added.

Link from Somewhere on A1A...

posted by Renee | 5:26 PM

Dispute over Iraq trailer labs denied

RESPONDING TO THE report, in Thursday’s editions of The New York Times, the officials confirmed that the internal State Department memo dated June 2 warned that it was “premature” to conclude that the mobile trailers were biological labs.
But the intelligence officials, who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said the memo, which was only two paragraphs in length, was drafted by “uninformed” State Department experts who did not have access to intelligence available to the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The officials also said the memo did not offer an alternative explanation as to the use for which the mobile labs were intended and noted that, several days after the memo was circulated, Secretary of State Colin Powell said publicly that the trailers were apparently part of Iraq’s biological weapons program.


Counting on diversity in court
Mark Steyn


10 things to celebrate
Dinesh D'Souza

1. America provides an amazingly good life for the ordinary guy.
2. America offers more opportunity and social mobility than any other country, including the countries of Europe.
3. Work and trade are respectable in America. Historically most cultures have despised the merchant and the laborer, regarding the former as vile and corrupt and the latter as degraded and vulgar.
4. America has achieved greater social equality than any other society.
5. People live longer, fuller lives in America.
6. In America the destiny of the young is not given to them, but created by them.
7. America has gone further than any other society in establishing equality of rights.
8. America has found a solution to the problem of religious and ethnic conflict that continues to divide and terrorize much of the world.
9. America has the kindest, gentlest foreign policy of any great power in world history.
10. America, the freest nation on Earth, is also the most virtuous nation on Earth.

More on the same theme from Dinesh
The Real Appeal of America


Now doesn't this just inspire confidence in government healthcare programs?
UK to outsource heart operations to India
Economic Times of India


Just another minor error from the NYT:
An article last Sunday about President Bush's truthfulness on the war in Iraq and on tax cuts misstated the timetable for a tax reduction affecting the richest 1 percent of taxpayers. On average, their taxes will be reduced by nearly $100,000 over four years, not over one year.


Dean of the Democrats: He appeals to the party's rotten mood.

Mr. Dean doesn't merely want to raise taxes on "the rich"; he wants to repeal every tax cut passed during the Bush Presidency. Asked last Sunday by Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether he "would consider increasing the payroll tax," Mr. Dean replied: "Absolutely. You don't have to increase the amount of the payroll tax, you increase the salary that it's applied to." Applying the same rate to more income is still a tax increase, and in this case on anyone earning more than $87,000 a year.

In Mr. Dean's wake, every Democratic candidate is now proposing some kind of tax increase. It's become the price of Iowa admission. John Kerry once talked about repealing the double tax on dividends, but not any longer. Even Joe Lieberman, once a capital-gains rate cutter, now wants to restore the highest Clinton rates.



Day by Day by Chris Muir

What are the chances that the Greens are on Rove's payroll, too?
Greens spurn Democrats, hope for another Nader run


A child needs a father like a fish needs a bicycle.
Do-It-Yourself babies now come via Internet
Hindustan Times

Fourteen lesbians in Britain have become pregnant with sperms sold to them by a company through the Internet. And Britain's first online "Do-It-Yourself" baby is expected within a month, it has revealed. has its offices in London's Harley Street, and started selling sperms last year to single women and lesbians.


Strikes demanding more entitlements failed last week. Now deep tax cuts and supply side economics are announced. What is going on in Germany?


posted by Renee | 4:19 PM

Saturday, June 28, 2003  

Aging Europe Finds Its Pension Is Running Out


The New Gloomsayers: Thinkers again predict American decline. Is there any reason to think they'll be right this time?


Why hasn't this gotten around?
Poliblog has an important post about Dr. Dean
And speaking of controversial issues, is the Democratic Party ready to unite behind a leader who, as a med student, performed his ob-gyn rotation at a Planned Parenthood clinic? Vermont magazine reported on this in 1998, adding: "While he has never performed an abortion himself, he is strongly pro-choice and certainly understands the medical procedures involved." This rates as the medical equivalent of not inhaling.

The question is, why didn't Dr. Dean, at one time on the board of Planned Parenthood, ever perform an abortion? And how does Dr. Dean, who is also an opponent of parental notification, explain Vermont's status as one of a handful of states in which abortions may be performed by non-doctors? In 1998--the last year the state released data--183 girls under the age of 18 had abortions, more than half of them performed by non-doctors: Morality aside, is this even the healthiest option?


No, there's no anti-semitism in the EU, huh-hu, no siree, not a bit
From Merde in France:
Le Parisien on June 8 published a crossword puzzle that must have been written by one of those French donors to Hamas (or a Mecca-Cola drinker, but then again they are the same thing). 'Wholesale meats' was the definition given for 'genocide'. 'Taken far from home' was the definition for 'deported' and 'Pejorative for Jewish girl' was the definition for 'kike-ette'. When questioned by the AFP, Christian de Villeneuve, Managing Director of Le Parisien, admitted 'that there had been a lack of vigilance'.

Little Green Footballs found some at Oxford.
From: "Andrew Wilkie"
To: "Amit Duvshani"
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2003 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: PhD application

Dear Amit Duvshani,

Thank you for contacting me, but I don't think this would work. I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because they (the Palestinians) wish to live in their own country.

I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army. As you may be aware, I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I'm sure you will find another suitable lab if you look around.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Wilkie

Nuffield Professor of Pathology,
Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine,
The John Radcliffe,
Oxford OX3 9DS,

Tel (44)-1865-222619
Fax (44)-1865-222500

Doya think he knows that military service is universal in Isreal? An educator who feels so passionately about an issue would surely have such rudementary knowledge, right?

The Telegraph picks up the story.


posted by Renee | 9:48 PM

Israel breaks links with BBC in anger at ‘demonisation’
Mr Seaman, 42, said the sanctions had been decided at an angry meeting of representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Ministry and the government press office because of what was seen as an overall BBC attitude towards Israel “verging on the anti-Semitic”. They were in reaction to a series of programmes which had sought “to delegitimise Israel and showed some of the attitudes once familiar in Der Stürmer (the Nazi journal).”

Mr Seaman added: “Our complaint is with the BBC as an organisation rather than its bureau here, which does try from time to time to rectify its mistakes. The weapons programme, which contains the ridiculous false assertion that we used nerve gas against the Palestinians, was the last straw.

“We decided that we had to draw a red line rather than just complain about a consistent attitude in which successive BBC programmes attempt to place us in the same context as totalitarian, axis-of-evil countries such as Iraq and Iran.”

“The attitude of the BBC is more than a pure journalistic matter; it is dangerous to the existence of the state of Israel because it demonises the Israelis and gives our terrorist enemies reasons to attack us. There is no dialogue between Israel and the BBC and no recognition inside the corporation of the sensitivity of a people who have faced attempted annihilation. The questions about nuclear weapons asked by the BBC are never directed against the US or Britain. Mr Sharon is never mentioned without some critical reference to his alleged right-wing tendencies or military past, while Islamic terrorists are politely referred to as ‘militants’ out of a reluctance by the BBC to upset Muslims by telling the truth.”


From the evil empireto the empire for liberty
New Criterion
The Bush administration is only beginning to grasp the implications of the course on which it has embarked. It still, albeit with growing difficulty, speaks the language of anti-imperialism. But that is the jargon of the twentieth century, or its second half; who says it will be the prevailing discourse of the twenty-first? As it happens, in America?s own parlance, imperialism became a derogatory term only during the Civil War, when the South accused the North of behaving like a European empire. It then became politically correct to speak only of ?American exceptionalism.? But it is worth recalling that up to 1860 ?empire? was not a term of abuse in the United States. George Washington himself spoke of ?the rising American Empire.? Jefferson, aware of the dilemma, claimed that America was ?an Empire for liberty.? That is what America is becoming again, in fact if not in name. America?s search for the security against terrorism and rogue states goes hand in hand with liberating their oppressed peoples. From the Evil Empire to an Empire for Liberty is a giant step, a contrast as great as the appalling images of the wasted twentieth century and the brightening dawn of the twenty-first. But America has the musculature and the will to take giant steps, as it has shown in the past

Link found at Common Sense and Wonder


Wouldn't you know...
You are EVE!
Beautiful and innocent, you were literally God's
gift to man! But your curiosity, disobedience
and gullibility in the face of serpents caused
you to break the big rule, and since that time,
it has been one big drag.

What Beautiful and Tragic Mythic Woman Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Diversity? That's a New One
Washington Post

The immediate reaction from most commentators and political leaders has been tepid, as though the court had decided in favor of keeping things the way they are. Some of the headlines, for example, have declared that the court upheld "affirmative action." No, it didn't. What it did was invent a new constitutional principle, "diversity." In her opinion for the majority in the University of Michigan Law School case, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote that "Today, we hold that the law school has a compelling interest in attaining a diverse student body."

This is mild phrasing for a radical change. "Diversity" has never before been officially recognized as a compelling government interest, and making it into one will make America significantly less true to its deepest principles and stir profound resentment, animosity and conflict for years to come...


posted by Renee | 8:27 PM

As if Nothing Happened is entered in this week's New Weblog Showcase. To cast your vote for this blog, just link this post to your web log.

Here are some other interesting new blogs to explore:

Occasional Subversion

Bob's Bits and Bites

Web Dawn: Rebirth of the Social Marketplace

posted by Renee | 5:33 PM

Behavior May Leave a Mark on Genes
LA Times

After a century of false starts, the effort to dissect human nature is entering a new era, said Yale University science historian Daniel Kevles. It may be only a matter of time before genes involved in human behavior can be identified, patented and, perhaps, altered.

Research is revealing that the workings of genes are more complex than scientists had thought, that the brain itself is more open to change, and that the effects of everyday experience are more powerful.

Indeed, growing evidence suggests that what happens in life controls the activity of many genes.

"The new way of looking at this is that different experiences turn different genes on and off," said psychologist Seth Pollak at the University of Wisconsin. "Experience matters..."

Love is in some measure the influence of a brain chemical called oxytocin and fluctuating levels of vasopressin. Aggression and depression are a measure of serotonin levels.

By altering a single gene that affects vasopressin, scientists can turn philandering mice into faithful, devoted mates.

Eliminate four genes that affect levels of oxytocin and estrogen, and mice cannot recognize their friends or their enemies.

Make just one genetic change in how a brain hormone such as serotonin is controlled and researchers also can eliminate or elevate some kinds of aggression — at least in mice...

If genes bind family members to one another, the nuances of experience are what set families' members apart, according to the American Society of Human Genetics.

The way a mother holds and strokes her child can chemically alter the expression of some of the child's genes and temper their effects, said psychiatrist Glen Gabbard at Baylor College of Medicine, who studies how biology and the environment affect personality disorders.

"The quality of maternal interaction may override the genetic predisposition to criminal behavior," Gabbard said.

Such biochemical changes in how a gene behaves can, in turn, be inherited, even though they do not actually change the structure of the gene itself...

posted by Renee | 5:14 PM

GOP Outpaces Dems in Contributions from Small Donors
LA Times
Republicans raised far more than Democrats from small donors in the 2002 election, suggesting that the GOP may enjoy a significant advantage from the new ban on unregulated "soft money" contributions to the parties, a nonpartisan study has found.

With those large soft money contributions from wealthy individuals, unions and corporations now barred by the campaign finance law President Bush signed last year, the parties will be more dependent in 2004 on smaller contributions ? the kind of donation where the study found that Republicans hold their largest advantage.

The study found that the GOP attracted almost 50% more contributors than Democrats during the 2002 election, and significantly outraised the Democrats among every level of donor who gave less than $100,000 to the parties...

That disparity was evident in one striking finding in the new study: Democrats raised as much as Republicans in 2002 only among the largest donors. Those who donated between $100,000 and $999,999 to the two parties split their contributions almost exactly in half; Democrats attracted 92% of the money from the 23 donors who contributed at least $1 million.

By contrast, Republicans dominated among smaller and mid-sized donors. Republicans garnered 64% of the total contributions from those who donated $200 or less; 61% from those who gave between $200 and $999; 55% from those who gave between $1,000 and $9,999; and 53% from those who gave up to $99,999.

Mc Cain Feingold is exacerbating Dems fundraining troubles
Democrats Discovering Campaign Law's Cost
Washington Post

The evidence is growing that Democrats shot themselves in the foot by forcing passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law restricting what had been unlimited "soft money" donations to political parties..

And from the same article, here's another nice little statistic to remember:
The study also found that only one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans gave $1,000 or more.

posted by Renee | 3:34 PM

Muslim prayer leaders in U.S. at a crossroads: Role of imams is changing to meet community needs
Desert News


Howard Dean

Howard Dean is a top-tier candidate for the Democratic nomination. So it's time the press started treating him like one--by taking his "straight talk" seriously
Fred Barnes
HOWARD DEAN has fashioned a reputation as the straightforward Democratic candidate for president. And the media has bought the idea. Joe Klein writes in this week's Time that Dean, the former Vermont governor, has already "won the Straight Talk primary." He did this chiefly by loudly and unequivocally opposing the war in Iraq while some of his Democratic rivals waffled.

But the press is wrong about Dean. He appears to be no more straightforward or candid than most national politicians and less so than some. An hour-long grilling by Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" on Sunday should put the rest any notion of Dean's unique straightforwardness. Instead, he waffled on numerous issues and made wild or false statements on others...

Absolute Howard: Dean's national security problem
For months, I've been scratching my head over the Howard Dean problem. On domestic issues, Dean beats the rest of the presidential field hands down. He knows the nooks and crannies of all the policy debates. He's been an executive. He's principled where he ought to be principled and pragmatic where he ought to be pragmatic. He hurls fire and brimstone with the best of them. He isn't one of those wishy-washy liberals who inspire contempt on both the left and the right. And he states his views in a way that everyone can understand and most people can support.

The problem is national security. It isn't just Dean's opposition to the war in Iraq, which is eminently defensible. It's subtler and broader. Every time Dean talks about foreign affairs, he gives off a whiff of hostility or indifference to American military power...

Link from Andrew Sullivan


Yourish is still challenging Indymedia on their lack of support for democracy in Iran.


A bad way to dispose of a bad law

The Texas law banning homosexual sex was a disgrace, and in writing a majority Supreme Court opinion that struck it down, Justice Anthony Kennedy was eloquent about the terrible ways in which it was demeaning. If he were a legislator trying to persuade other lawmakers, he might well have carried the day.

But, of course, he isn't a legislator, at least not technically. He is a judge, and he failed to do what he was required to do: find some basis in the Constitution for his decision. Instead, he relies on "substantive due process," which is a means of twisting constitutional language about due process to mean what it does not mean in order to invent rights that do not exist.


posted by Renee | 2:35 PM

Exposing Eco-Hypocrisy
National Review

Eugene Lapointe has unique credentials to write a book on sustainability. He is the current president of IWMC World Conservation Trust, a global coalition of experts and wildlife managers promoting sustainable resource use guided by science. An attorney who grew up in the woods of Quebec, Lapointe served fourteen years in the Canadian government before becoming the Secretary General of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, from 1982 to 1990. CITES is the international trade commission overseeing the multi-billion-dollar-a-year commerce in wild animals and their products.

Lapointe left his post at CITES dramatically on November 2, 1990, when he was dismissed by UNEP executive director Mostapha Tolba. The campaign to remove him was led by a handful of U.S. officials and 28 major NGOs, who, according to Lapointe, ?claimed I had become the worst criminal on the planet.? His crime was advocating a sustainable-use philosophy that allowed for scientifically directed hunting of whales, elephants, and other animals, especially in situations that respect local cultural values.


In 167 passionate pages, Lapointe lays out his pragmatic philosophy of sustainable use, and he also presents considerable data on the actual state of many wild animals ? data that seldom appear in the media. His defense clearly shows why poverty is the biggest force working against conservation.


Lapointe?s book harpoons myths. What is the biggest threat to blue and right whales? Lapointe suggests it may not be whalers, but an overabundance of minke whales that compete with blue and right whales for the same food, as well as killer whales, which ruthlessly prey in packs, or pods, on young leviathans.

Lapointe also points out that tooted and baleen whales consume three-to-six times the combined 90-million ton annual seafood catch of all the world?s commercial fisheries. How often have you ever heard the media suggest that an overabundance of some species of whales is a contributing factor to the decline of some stocks of fisheries? Lapointe argues that controlled whaling, for meat, could help restore ailing fisheries.

posted by Renee | 12:56 AM

The Baathists' Blundering Guerrilla War
Washington Post


The Poor Like Globalization
Yale Global Online


Texas to Restore Race in Admissions

Six years after dropping affirmative action in favor of a 10 percent solution, Texas' public university system will work to restore race as a factor in admissions, with the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Court.


Delhi rich girls sell sex
Unlike in the past, when girls from poor families were forced to take to prostitution, more and more models and even school girls have joined the profession, the authorities say.

The police say prostitution has become a huge organised business in the capital.

"These girls are all from rich and good families and they took up this profession to earn some quick money," says deputy commissioner of police, Sanjay Beniwal, reflecting on one recent operation against Delhi prostitutes.


Vegetarians are destroying the rainforest
Amazon Destruction Jumps, Shocks Environmentalists

Most of the deforestation takes place due to burning and logging to create farms, and the jump in 2002 suggests soy farming is growing rapidly in the area.

Brazil is expected to overtake U.S. soy production in a few years, making it the world's No. 1 producer of a crop that offers large profits for farmers and gives a sizable boost to Brazil's trade accounts.


Old and in the Way: The American Street has sized up best the new paradoxes of foreign policy.
Victor Davis Hanson


Landmark Studies Reveal Virtually All Of California's Population Explosion Due To Immigration: While Native-Born Californians Are Leaving The State


Crumbling U.N. Seeks $1 Billion for Renovation

The U.N.'s two 50-year-old buildings in New York City are basically falling apart — decaying pipes and crumbling ceilings are now commonplace — and the U.N. is seeking an interest-free loan worth more than $1 billion to renovate its headquarters.

Who will pay to fix the 1952 original plumbing, get rid of asbestos and raise security fences? Repairs would cost U.S. taxpayers about $600 million over 30 years...


The Burnt Orange Report is on top of Texas redistricting.


Man Gets Prison in Stabbing that Killed Woman's Fetus


Rapper to perform despite rape charges
Grammy Award nominated artist Mystikal will perform today at the Kuumba Festival despite pleading guilty on Thursday to charges that he forced his hairstylist to perform sex acts on him and two bodyguards.

Festival organizer Nkechi Ajanaku said Friday that Mystikal will be allowed to perform as part of the events at Chilhowee Park because the festival's backing organization had signed a contract and would "lose a big chunk" of money if his appearance was canceled.

Ajanaku also said she had received calls of support for Mystikal. "The hip-hop constituency wanted to see this particular artist," she said.


The Politics of Mass Destruction
Frontpage Magazine
Even as evidence is uncovered that Saddam Hussein was planning to revive his nuclear-weapons program at the earliest possible date, politicians and pundits alike lament the failure of coalition forces to find a "smoking gun." Despite the recent discovery of plans and parts for a uranium-enrichment centrifuge, some presidential candidates have accused the Bush administration of lying about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to justify the war with Iraq.

Such assertions ignore all that has been learned and has transpired during the last 12-plus years...


posted by Renee | 12:35 AM

Friday, June 27, 2003  

Geddes v. Texas

Supreme Court strikes down Texas sodomy law: Ruling establishes new legal ground in privacy, experts say

The Supreme Court Thursday struck down a Texas state law banning private consensual sex between adults of the same sex in a decision gay rights groups hailed as historic.

The 6-3 decision by the court reverses course from a ruling 17 years ago that states could punish homosexuals for what such laws historically called deviant sex.

Best of the Web,

Civil laws prohibiting consensual sodomy were an anachronism, and the country is well rid of them. Yet we'd say the court got it right in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), when it ruled that the U.S. Constitution is no bar to such laws. At the time the court decided Bowers, 24 states had sodomy laws; by yesterday only 13 did. By short-circuiting the political process, which seemed to be moving in the right direction anyway, the Supreme Court took away a little bit of Americans' democratic freedom.

At the same time, one can't really accuse the court of making up a new right out of whole cloth--at least not in this case. The court's "privacy" jurisprudence, which has no basis in the text of the constitution, goes back nearly four decades, to Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which established a constitutional right to marital privacy (specifically, for married couples to use contraceptives). In 1973, Roe v. Wade established a right to reproductive privacy, and although the court acknowledged that "a State may properly assert important interests . . . in protecting potential life," in practice this hasn't amounted to much. The establishment of a right to sexual privacy, which is effectively what Lawrence does, seems a natural, perhaps even inevitable, progression from Griswold and Roe.

Analysis from:
George Will
Given the Supreme Court's 6 to 3 ruling yesterday that Texas's anti-sodomy law violates the constitutional privacy right, lap dancing -- like prostitution, for that matter -- looks like a fundamental constitutional right. Consider the discontinuities in the evolution of that right, which the court first explicitly affirmed in 1965, more than 17 decades after the Constitution was ratified.

In 1965 the court said a Connecticut law banning the sale and use of contraceptives violated a constitutional right of privacy. But the court connected this right to society's stake in an institution -- marriage, "an association that promotes a way of life." Marriage is grounded in nature, in the generation and rearing of children, a matter about which every society legislates.

The privacy right is most famously associated with Roe v. Wade, the 1973 abortion decision. But the radicalism of that decision was in severing the privacy right from any relationship with any social institution.

David Frum
Lawrence v. Texas does more than strike down an archaic and unenforceable law. It does more than stretch the Constitution in directions unintended and unimaginable to the Constitution’s authors. It is above all things a case that opens the way to a wild new era of judicial activism. Here’s why.

You have to read Lawrence in conjunction with another case, Romer v. Evans, decided in 1996...

As Justice Scalia pointed out in his dissent, it would have been perfectly constitutionally OK in 1996 for the state of Colorado to criminalize homosexuality altogether by passing a sodomy law. The effect of Romer was to offer states a stark choice: Either you treat homosexuality as a crime, as Georgia does, and as we upheld in Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986. Or else you treat it is a protected category. There’s no in-between. Neutrality is not allowed.

See where this takes us? This week, the Supreme Court overturned Bowers v. Hardwick. States will no longer be permitted to treat homosexuality as a crime. By the logic of Romer that leaves them (as this Supreme Court sees it) no option but to treat it as a protected category.

Dean's World
In issuing his (quite thoughtful and reasonable) dissent on yesterday's ruling on sodomy laws, it appears that Antonin Scalia was Dowdified. He was quoted several places as saying "I have nothing against homosexuals," which makes it sound like he was being defensive. But what he actually said was, "Let me be clear that I have nothing against homosexuals, or any other group, promoting their agenda through normal democratic means."

In other words, he was taking the quite reasonable position that this was not a Constitutional matter, and should be dealt with democratically. Now, why is it that I suspect he will continue to be pilloried as a horrible backward mean-spirited jerk, and that few corrections and retractions will be issued?

Family Scholars Blog
In The American Prospect, E.J. Graff wonders at some length why the U.S. is so "backward," compared to many other countries, on the issue of legal recognition for same-sex couples. Her self-righteous tone -- her whole style says, "only a moron or a Baptist could fail to agree with every point I make" -- is pretty hard to take, but she does have a lot of interesting information about what's happening in other countries.

And she also writes:

In the 1970s, as different-sex couples started shacking up in massive numbers, Canada, Australia and New Zealand decided to make marriage automatic -- lest women get exploited, tossed aside and land on the dole. No need to sign in: Should you and your honey dally more than a few months at the same address, the state automatically treats you as married, with or without your consent.

Amazing to me how she is apparently willing to toss aside, without so much as a backward glance, the venerable idea that part of the very definition of marriage, part of its essence, is that it is a relationship entered into freely, deliberately, and voluntarily. Graff seems perfectly content to let the state effectively "marry" couples without their knowledge or consent.


posted by Renee | 9:52 PM

Thursday, June 26, 2003  

UN concern for Norwegian rape victims

Lawyer Hege Salomon said the criticism was completely justified.

"It is almost impossible to convict someone of rape in Norway," Salomon said, and believes prosecution and police have simply become used to the current situation.


U.S.: Nuclear components in Iraq: Pre-Gulf War plans, parts found hidden in residential backyard


Family of woman who died at abortion clinic files lawsuit

A report by the state Department of Health Services concluded that the clinic did not follow established medical procedures during the abortion and it did not report Lopez's death within a required 24-hour period.


Racism at the Times? It sure sounds like it
Andrew Sullivan calls Maureen Dowd on it.

The good negroes, in Dowd's liberal-racist world, are those grateful to their massas in the liberal hierarchy: they are grateful to Howell and Gerald and Arthur; and they know their place. For them to express the psychological torment of being advanced for racist reasons, to explain in graphic, brave and bold terms the complexity of emotions many African-Americans feel as 'beneficiaries' of racial preferences, is unacceptable.


Swiss reveal illeagal organ trade
Swiss Info
A Swiss parliamentarian has revealed evidence of human organ trafficking in one of eastern Europe's poorest countries.

Growing concern over the illegal trade has prompted the Swiss authorities to consider new legislation outlawing the sale of organs, tissues and cells.


GM food safety fear 'based on distortion'
New Scientist


Big Brother in action in the UK
Couple's TV licence trick foiled
The Scotsman

A COUPLE IN Aberdeen wrapped their television in a parcel of tin foil to try to avoid paying their licence.

The believed the silver foil would make their set invisible to hi-tech detector vans.

But the couple got a shock when a TV licensing squad came knocking on their door after their state-of-the art equipment picked up the set.


posted by Renee | 3:33 PM

Dr. Dean gives himself a lethal injection
Houston Chronicle

This bit of political sausage-making came into public view on Sunday, a day on which Dean would have profited from not getting out of bed.

Dean appeared on Meet the Press. It was a disaster, in a league with Teddy Kennedy's inability during a 1980 television interview to quite say why he wanted to be president. On Sunday, Meet host Tim Russert was at his prosecutorial best, gnawing and snarling at Dean's inconsistencies, incongruities and flip-flops. You could hear transcripts of the NBC show pouring out of the printers at the headquarters of gleeful Democratic rivals before Russert even signed off. The White House has probably had its copy bronzed...

Meet the Press transcript


States who sponsor terrorism are ceding their own sovereignty
Anatomy of an Ambush
Austin Bay

This war escapes traditional political boundaries. Scholars argue "pre-emptive war" undermines the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), the ur-document of the nation-state system. Contemporary transnational terrorists, however, have already exploited the system's weaknesses. Failed states (e.g., Somalia) can't police themselves and thus cede sovereignty to terrorists; terror is their bane. Rogue states (e.g., Syria) support and promote terrorists; terror is their business...

From Instapundit

NATO tracking 20 ships 'linked to terror'


Vatican puts art collection online

The Sistine Chapel is now online. The Vatican put its enormous art collection on the Web on Tuesday, launching a new site for the Vatican Museums that it hopes will attract more tourists while also disseminating the church's message around the globe...

[V]isitors can view entire galleries of the Egyptian and Etruscan museums, the Pinacoteca painting gallery, the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel — part of a collection that the U.N. culture agency, UNESCO, has recognized for its place in the world's cultural patrimony...

Still under construction is a part of the Web site dedicated to the Vatican's Secret Archives, including documents concerning the Vatican's disputed role in World War II.

Celli said that site would be ready in "the near future" but he noted that the museum site had been in the works since 1998.

Vatican Museums Online


posted by Renee | 3:13 PM

The pot is still boiling at the New York Times

NY Post

The latest dirty trick is an anonymous letter to PAGE SIX which claims a petition is being circulated "to remind [publisher] Arthur Sulzberger Jr. that several editors who remain on West 43rd Street were enthusiastic henchmen of the Raines era and would be unacceptable in a new editing team."

The only "enthusiastic henchman" named, however, is Andrew Rosenthal, the assistant managing editor and son of former Times executive editor Abe Rosenthal. The supposed petition urges Sulzberger to "either demote or preferably dismiss Andy, who is as responsible as Howell and Gerald for our current plight."

"Arthur, if Andy remains in place, you will never be rid of the poison in the atmosphere here," it continues. "For many of us, Andy was the poison, since Howell and Gerald mostly hid themselves away from the newsroom staff and Andy was their public face. Andy treats colleagues with contempt. His editing is both capricious and dishonest . . . He was Howell's lapdog."

Co-workers point out that Rosenthal is a product of nepotism. Max Frankel, who succeeded Abe Rosenthal as executive editor in 1986, wrote in "The Times of My Life" that, "Abe had left with only one request: that I hire his talented son, Andrew."

Rosenthal made a name for himself covering the 1992 election with a front-page story asserting that President Bush (the elder) was so out of touch with the everyday world that he'd never seen a supermarket bar-code scanner. In fact, the president had examined a state-of-the-art prototype on display at a National Grocers Assn. convention.

Bush sent a note to his press secretary Marlin Fitzwater saying: "Once again my ire turns to Rosenthal . . . what a terrible little guy he is turning out to be."

The White House demanded a correction. It didn't get one, but it did get an apology from Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Sr., who admitted Rosenthal's story was "just a teeny-weeny bit naughty."

2. Embedded Reporter's Role In Army Unit's Actions Questioned by Military
Howard Kurtz

New York Times reporter Judith Miller played a highly unusual role in an Army unit assigned to search for dangerous Iraqi weapons, according to U.S. military officials, prompting criticism that the unit was turned into what one official called a "rogue operation."

More than a half-dozen military officers said that Miller acted as a middleman between the Army unit with which she was embedded and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, on one occasion accompanying Army officers to Chalabi's headquarters, where they took custody of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law. She also sat in on the initial debriefing of the son-in-law, these sources say.

Since interrogating Iraqis was not the mission of the unit, these officials said, it became a "Judith Miller team," in the words of one officer close to the situation.

In April, Miller wrote a letter objecting to an Army commander's order to withdraw the unit, Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, from the field. She said this would be a "waste" of time and suggested that she would write about it unfavorably in the Times. After Miller took up the matter with a two-star general, the pullback order was dropped.

Times Assistant Managing Editor Andrew Rosenthal dismissed the notion that she exercised influence over the unit as "an idiotic proposition."

Miller's role with MET Alpha was controversial within the Defense Department and among some staff members at the Times, where one reporter was assigned to check up on whether other embedded journalists followed similar procedures.

The MET Alpha team was charged with examining potential Iraqi weapon sites in the war's aftermath. Military officers critical of the unit's conduct say its members were not trained in the art of human intelligence -- that is, eliciting information from prisoners and potential defectors. Specialists in such interrogations say the initial hours of questioning are crucial, and several Army and Pentagon officials were upset that MET Alpha officers were debriefing Hussein son-in-law Jamal Sultan Tikriti.

"This was totally out of their lane, getting involved with human intelligence," said one military officer who, like several others interviewed, declined to be named because he is not an authorized spokesman. But, the officer said of Miller, "this woman came in with a plan. She was leading them. . . . She ended up almost hijacking the mission."

Said a senior staff officer of the 75th Exploitation Task Force, of which MET Alpha is a part: "It's impossible to exaggerate the impact she had on the mission of this unit, and not for the better." Three weapons specialists were reassigned as the unit changed its approach, according to officers with the task force.

Several military officers say Miller led MET Alpha members to Chalabi's compound in a former sporting club, where they wound up taking custody of Sultan, who was on the Pentagon's "deck of cards" of the 55 most wanted Iraqis. The April trip to Chalabi's headquarters took place "at Judy's direction," one officer said.

On April 21, when the MET Alpha team was ordered to withdraw to the southern Iraqi town of Talil, Miller objected in a handwritten note to two public affairs officers. It said:

"I see no reason for me to waste time (or MET Alpha, for that matter) in Talil. . . . Request permission to stay on here with colleagues at the Palestine Hotel til MET Alpha returns or order to return is rescinded. I intend to write about this decision in the NY Times to send a successful team back home just as progress on WMD is being made."

One military officer, who says that Miller sometimes "intimidated" Army soldiers by invoking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or Undersecretary Douglas Feith, was sharply critical of the note. "Essentially, she threatened them," the officer said, describing the threat as that "she would publish a negative story."

An Army officer, who regarded Miller's presence as "detrimental," said: "Judith was always issuing threats of either going to the New York Times or to the secretary of defense. There was nothing veiled about that threat," this person said, and MET Alpha "was allowed to bend the rules."

3. points out that the NYT is continueing to shape the news to their liking starting with this misleading headline in today's Times Expert Said to Tell Legislators He Was Pressed to Distort Some Evidence which implies that the 'expert' was referring to Iraqi intelligence. Furthermore, it is not even until paragraph 6 that we learn that he didn't change the report in question which was actually about Cuba and not Iraq. And they save the following bit of infomation which suggests that Westermann's testimony might be self-serving for the very end of the article.

An administration official said that Mr. Westermann had clashed repeatedly with Mr. Bolton.

A State Department official sympathetic to Mr. Bolton's views said of Mr. Westermann, "He doesn't have anything that he can point to, and he doesn't have anything more recent than Cuba." That official added, "We're in a period where people are looking for particular evidence of intelligence being altered, and he's talking about mood swings."

But other administration officials said there had been ongoing tensions between the two since the Cuban issue first came up, to the point that Mr. Bolton has unsuccessfully sought to have Mr. Westermann reassigned.

posted by Renee | 3:08 PM

Wednesday, June 25, 2003  

Mass. teens' HIV cases up: `Epidemic' numbers alarm state officials
Boston Herald

New HIV cases among those in the 13-to-24 age group rose by more than 40 percent over a four-year period, jumping from 6.1 percent of the total new cases reported in 1999 to 8.7 percent in 2002.

In actual numbers, it means about 87 new cases in that youthful age group last year, compared to 61 four years ago...

The trend was similar among those over age 50, with this group accounting for 12 percent of newly reported HIV cases in 2002, compared to 9.2 percent in 1999, a hike of 31 percent. Officials said they aren't sure why cases are rising in those age groups, but said prevention programs in the past have focused on those in their 20s and 30s.


Security checks ground air marshals: Others flying without final clearances

More than 100 federal air marshals have been fired or stripped of their flight status in recent weeks for problems stemming from their security clearance background investigations, has learned. In addition, some air marshals are flying without having received their final security clearances, Transportation Security Administration sources said. The revelations fuel critics’ charges that a key element of post-9/11 airline security is being poorly managed.


GOP Votes To Break Nominee Filibusters: Democrats Appear Able to Block Plan
Washington Post


The Gullible Mr. Kerry: The senator gets fooled again.
Christopher Hitchens


posted by Renee | 12:22 PM

Tuesday, June 24, 2003  

What are people thinking #1
Judge: Marshall violated woman's right to `dirty dance'
U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. said the town violated Willis' First Amendments rights by barring her from dancing.

Yes, the town went a little overboard banning one particular citizen from dancing, but for heaven's sake, what else do you do about a 58 year old woman who dances like a flopping fish in a skirt so short you can see something you reeeaaally don't want to.

What are people thinking #2
The breast feeding while driving story just went off the bizzaro meter:
Man uses strict faith as defense: Husband says woman shouldn't be defendant in breast-feeding
Be sure to read the whole story; it just gets better and better. Sheesh

What are people thinking #3
Nine-day-old baby gets an earful at AC/DC gig
Other fans at Sunday's gig at the Hockenheim Formula One motor-racing ring in southwest Germany warned police after seeing the 41-year-old mother in the spectators' seats holding the baby.

The couple only agreed to leave after a doctor at the scene warned them of the danger of exposing a nine-day-old baby to such noise levels.

These two remind me of the aging hippie couple I encountered in the early eighties at a Fleetwood Mac concert. After smoking pot and drinking beer thoughout the first half of the concert, the woman had an violent and protracted vomitting episode. When we became concerned, her partner assured us that she was really fine and that this had been happening all the time lately because she was pregnant.

posted by Renee | 7:36 PM

Boys' violent tastes harmless: psychologist
National Post

The author who raised the first alarm about boys and violence in North America says we should stop worrying about boys indulging in war games, wrestling and fantasy play and begin embracing their low-brow tastes.

Michael Thompson, the psychologist who wrote the groundbreaking book Raising Cain and several other best-selling books about boys, told a gathering of librarians from across North America that ''snobbery and elitism'' are too much a part of the prevailing attitudes toward boys.


Andrew Sullivan praises Slate's affirmative actions supporting commentators on their intellectual honesty about yesterday's SC decision.

Dahlia Lithwick notes:
Like you, I was terrified that today might have seen a thick dark cloud blot out all the good that affirmative action programs have achieved over the decades. But intellectual honesty doesn't let me accept O'Connor's basic ends-justifies-the-means approach to upholding the principle. And so much of your analysis today suggests that this is what's best about O'Connor's opinion: She got it morally right, even where she's logically wrong. As you put it: Powell's opinion in Bakke is riddled with logical flaws but is nevertheless "wise." Why? Because we need affirmative action. And so even if a program singles out only three traditionally underrepresented races, and offers them special advantages under the fiction of fostering "educational diversity," we'll laud it because the alternative — doing away with such programs — is intolerable to us. But then, let's be honest. Justice Thomas is correct in his dissent when he argues that "diversity" means nothing and can't be the cornerstone of affirmative action jurisprudence. And Justice Scalia is right when he says (or rather bellows … ) that today's decisions in Gratz and Grutter will do nothing but further cloud and confuse the affirmative action debate for years to come.


Instapundit notes that France seems determined to keep peace from breaking out in the ME which is, afterall, the same game they have played in Algeria for years.
Hamas' French Funds?


Ack! How did this happen? I missed Andrew Sullivan's milestone yesterday of living 10 years with HIV. He's an inspriation to everyone living with a life threatening illness and a much needed vocal supporter not only of new drug therapies but also of the pharmaseutical companies which make them possible.


A genealogy of anti-Americanism
The Public Interest


You really gotta wonder what Gephardt really thinks about the American public when he makes such an asinine statement as he did about correcting any mistakes the SC might make. Eugene Volokh has a good post on the subject. Evidently Dennis Kucinich has said similar things. While these statements should ring alarm bells with any American who has graduated from high school, I'm really not surprised by a not-ready-for-prime-time-candidate like Kucinich shooting his mouth off like an idiot, but Gephardt can't get by with that excuse.


posted by Renee | 1:27 PM

Monday, June 23, 2003  

I've always considered it a sign of real womanhood to eat red meat, so taking on a 4 1/2 lb. steak must be down right heroic.

Hat tip to Instapudit for turning me on to American Digest


Court OKs Anti-Porn Filters in Libraries


If this letter turns out to be real, ya just gotta wonder what Sadaam has been smoking
Troops handed 'Saddam letter'
Evening Standard

American soldiers have allegedly been handed a letter from Saddam Hussein offering his terms of surrender...Saddam passed the handwritten document to Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti shortly before the former aide was captured by US forces last week, it has been claimed.

In the letter Saddam called for "fair treatment" by the allied forces for himself and that his family be allowed safe passage from Iraq to another Arab country.

In return he promised order an end to the rebel attacks on the occupying American soldiers, which have claimed 40 lives since the official end of hostilities.

Saddam also offered to help build links between the Iraqi people and the Americans.


Mysterious Net traffic spurs code hunt


posted by Renee | 2:31 PM

Iran Students Warn Clerics Over Protest Crackdown

Iranian student leaders said Sunday a crackdown on protests against Islamic clerical rule could make them adopt more radical and violent methods.

The warning was made as the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog called on Iran to ease concerns about its atomic program. Washington accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its program is only for electricity.

The student leaders gathered outside parliament to protest against what they said were the arrests of hundreds of colleagues after a wave of demonstrations, hailed by the United States as a cry for freedom.

"Even if they send us to prison and take us to solitary confinement there are others who have more daring slogans than us and they will confront the system with more violent methods," Saeed Razavi Faqih, one of the student leaders, told Reuters.

"Today we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Anyone who wants to play with this fire will be burned."

The protests began in Tehran two weeks ago and spread to other cities in the most outspoken demonstrations since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. Officials say 500 "hooligans" were arrested during recent protests in Tehran but only a handful of students were among them...


No, Mr Galloway, you're not in the clear yet

Yesterday the Christian Science Monitor in Boston confirmed that papers it published purporting to show that Mr Galloway accepted Iraqi largesse running into millions of dollars were "almost certainly" fakes. The Mail on Sunday has already exposed as crude forgeries further papers from the same source.

These revelations have no bearing whatsoever on our story, but in telling Sky News yesterday how the Monitor's experts had unmasked their documents as forgeries, Mr Galloway promised that ours too would "meet the same fate". He was ignoring the fact that those experts went on to say they believed ours to be consistent with genuine Iraqi documents...


It's a good day for all Americans at the Supreme Court
A disadvantaged minority candidate may get a helping hand up the ladder of success, but a wealthy minority candidate will not take precedence over a disadvantaged candidate who isn't a minority simply because of the shade of his skin.

Court issues split decision on affirmative action: Law school policy upheld; undergrad program overturned


Studies shatter myth about abuse
USA Today

It is not just men who hit women. Women hit men, too. And the latest research shows that ignoring the role women play in domestic violence does both women and men a disservice.

There is little doubt that women get hurt more than men. She may slap him. But then he may hit her harder or more often.

By not understanding the mutual role they often play, women are at great risk for injury, new studies show...The number of women who hit first or hit back is "much greater than has been generally assumed," Capaldi says. She says she is surprised by the frequency of aggressive acts by women and by the number of men who are afraid of partners who assault them...

I'd really like to know how these statistics break down between short-term non-maritial relationships, long-term ones, live-in ones, and married ones:
*On average, three women a day are murdered in the USA by husbands or boyfriends.
*31% of U.S. women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend.
*30% of Americans know a woman who was physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.


May the ayatollah go the way of Saddam

. The only question is which of the European models applies: the Czech version, where the old monsters are civilized enough to perform one real service for their people by handing power over peacefully; the Romanian version, where the saner elements in the ruling party decide to remove the leadership and hope that's enough to assuage their subjects; the Bulgar version, where the former Royal Family returns from exile to spearhead a new democracy . . .

I'll wager there are more than a few quiet-life mullahs weighing the options. Iran is not a one-man cult like Saddam's Iraq, and many imams, whether ''conservative'' or ''liberal,'' can recognize the smell of death percolating from the head office. The regime begins this year's riot season see-sawing between savage but ineffective crackdowns and humiliating but insufficient concessions. Tipping point beckons...


Blogger Tom Sylvester posts about what same sex marriage really means to alternative lifestyle activists in their own words. He quotes Sheeri Kritzer of the Bisexual Resource Center:

Same-sex marriage is great; and I feel that after that battle has won, polyamorists and people who are happy being single will speak out. It's a progression; just like gay rights had to be accepted as real issues before lesbian rights (before bi and trans and kinky rights, blah blah blah). It's how we can subvert the system, USING the system.
Hat tip: The Corner

The NYT also ran an article on Saturday about same-sex marriage that I missed the first time around.
A Too-Hot Topic
Hat tip: Family Scholars Blog


The 57 varieties of John Kerry
Wesley Pruden

You have to feel a spot of sympathy for someone who looks as French as John Kerry. But he's sometimes got a mouth like Jacques Chirac, and he leaves a lurid paper trail.


"For the sake of argument," jibes James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal Online, "let's say Kerry is right and Bush perpetrated a sham. In a hypothetical general-election matchup, who would you rather choose to deal with hostile foreign leaders: a guy who's capable of pulling off such an elaborate deception, or the sucker who fell for it?"


posted by Renee | 1:15 PM

The most plausible explanation
Clue offered in mystery of the missing jet


Hundreds jailed as Iran rounds up protesters


posted by Renee | 12:26 AM

Sunday, June 22, 2003  

Hehehe...Ann Coulter owes a big thanks to lefties who are spreading news of her new web log far and wide. I didn't even know that she would be publishing one on Monday until I accidentally stumbled across a new blog that isn't even political, but it did include the comments that the blogger would not be linking to it, referring to it, or reading it and advised others to do the same.
Thanks for the info, hon.

Then I found out that Outside the Beltway discovered Ann's blog the same way from another leftist blog urging others to ignore it.
Are those Dems great at following the party line without considering the consequences, or what? I know...I know; it's nothing new, but still guaranteed to put a smile on my face.

posted by Renee | 7:55 PM

Chirac threat to veto reform of farm subsidies


Greek Forces Find 680 Tonnes of Explosives on Boat


Straddling Sexes: Young lesbians transitioning into men are shaking the foundation of the lesbian-feminist world
SF Chronicle
A boom in the number of people transitioning from female to male (referred to as FTMs) has been stirring up controversy, even within the lesbian community. There are those who are feeling curiously uncomfortable standing by as friends morph into men. Sometimes there is a generational flavor to this discomfort; many in the over-40 crowd feel particular unease. Having lived through the fiery feminist years, when challenging male power was central to a particular agenda, some lesbians have gone so far as to say they feel betrayed by those "transitioning" - the street parlance for crossing genders. Twenty years ago life as a butch lesbian seemed the obvious path for a masculine- identified gay female. Now, young lesbians immediately enter a community in which the option to change genders is readily available - an option that some say they might be taking up too lightly, injecting their bodies with testosterone and having radical breast-reduction surgery before they've had time to explore who they might be as adults. (Very few FTMs undergo genital reconstruction: The operations are costly, painful and have yet to produce a fully functional penis.)


PA paper makes racist, sexist remarks about Condoleeza Rice
Jerusalem Post

In an article entitled "Beware of the Lady of Steel," prominent Palestinian columnist Hasan al-Batal describes Rice as a "black widow" and a "single black lady."

Earlier this year, al-Ayyam launched a similar attack on Rice, dubbing her a "black raven." Then, she was targeted for accusing the Palestinian Authority of supporting terrorism.

Sunday's article also included insults directed against former US Secretary of State "Henry [Kissinger] the Jew."

"She (Rice) is as pretty as supermodel Naomi Campbell and much more intelligent than the iron woman Margaret Thatcher," the communist, who writes on a regular basis in al-Ayyam, said.

"She is the most powerful National Security Advisor in the US administration since "darling" Henry Kissinger. The White House has seen some women with strong personalities, such as the 'dominant' wife of Ronald Reagan, the 'bright' and 'ambitious' wife of Bill Clinton, and the 'beloved' wife of John F. Kennedy. But Condoleeza Rice, the first black woman to serve in the most serious post in the White House, is the brains of the [US] President."

posted by Renee | 6:22 PM

Homing pigeon flies to US, not UK
A HOMING pigeon who took a wrong turn on his return to Britain from France, ending up in the United States, would be flown home by British Airways, the airline said.


She added that Billy had become a star in America and had been renamed Tony Blair, after the British Prime Minister, "for his guts and determination".


posted by Renee | 1:02 PM

Saturday, June 21, 2003  

Belgium acknowledges that they aren't the world's moral police
Belgium close to deal to amend controversial war crimes law


No, Support the Freedom Fighters
Michael Ledeen


One more try for the big fish
DNA tests after missiles strike 'Saddam convoy:' Human remains removed after US Hellfire missiles target source of dictator's satellite phone call

If we got him this time, it was probably due to these guys
'Grey Fox' closes in on prize scalp--Saddam: Peter Beaumont examines the new role of a secret unit that worked in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Colombia


posted by Renee | 6:07 PM

Ice storm babies have lower IQ scores: Researchers also found a greater incidence of premature births due to natural disaster


Dad uses Internet to rape daughter

A father used an Internet "chat room" and e-mail to lure his own daughter into having sex with him.

Adopting a false personality, the man convinced the 11-year-old girl that having sex with her father was not wrong. She eventually succumbed, and he went on to sexually abuse her for four years.


If this wasn't a Benny Hill sketch, it should have been.


Mutated monkey viruses gave us Aids - study


Glen Reynolds turns up the heat on John Kampfner and posts about the last remaining part of his BBC story of Jessica Lynch's rescue that hasn't been refuted. Evidently that ambulance drive wasn't a foiled attempt to turn her over to the the US

The hospital staff also said that on the night of March 27, military officials prepared to kill Ms. Lynch by putting her in an ambulance and blowing it up with its occupants — blaming the atrocity on the Americans. The ambulance drivers balked at that idea. Eventually, the plan was changed so that a military officer would shoot Ms. Lynch and burn the ambulance. So Sabah Khazal, an ambulance driver, loaded her in the vehicle and drove off with a military officer assigned to execute her.

"I asked him not to shoot Jessica," Mr. Khazal said, "and he was afraid of God and didn't kill her." Instead, the executioner ran away and deserted the army, and Mr. Khazal said that he then thought about delivering Ms. Lynch to an American checkpoint. But there were firefights on the streets, so he returned to the hospital. (Ms. Lynch apparently never knew how close she had come to execution.)

posted by Renee | 4:43 PM

U.S. aims to lower Iraqi child death rate
Washington Times

The United States aims to cut the death rate of children younger than 5 in half within a year, primarily through far better water supplies, said Andrew Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
"That's an objective, not a promise, but we're confident we will achieve it because we're dealing here with a major Saddam-imposed scandal," Mr. Natsios told The Washington Times yesterday.


Don't kiss off marriage
Globe and Mail


The objections to Harry Potter have mainly come from individual parents and not religous institutions or organizatoins.
Full coverage of Harry Potter by Christianity Today

Christian symbolism in Harry Potter


Maybe the French raid on that Iranian opposition group was really about fighting terrorism:
Group planned attacks: France


Ick--The latest version of the new man: The only clue to his sexuality is who he is holding hands with

Metrosexuals Come Out
America may be on the verge of a metrosexual moment. On July 15, Bravo will present a makeover show, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," in which a team of five gay men "transform a style-deficient and culture-deprived straight man from drab to fab," according to the network. Condé Nast is developing a shopping magazine for men, modeled after Lucky, its successful women's magazine, which is largely a text-free catalog of clothes and shoes.
There is no end to the curious new vanity products for young men, from a Maxim-magazine-branded hair coloring system to Axe, Unilever's all-over body deodorant for guys. And men are going in for self-improvement strategies traditionally associated with women. For example, the number of plastic surgery procedures on men in the United States has increased threefold since 1997, to 807,000, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
"Their heightened sense of aesthetics is very, very pronounced," Marian Salzman, chief strategy officer at Euro RSCG, who organized the gathering at Eleven Madison Park, said of metrosexuals. "They're the style makers. It doesn't mean your average Joe American is going to copy everything they do," she added. "But unless you study these guys you don't know where Joe American is heading."


posted by Renee | 2:36 PM

Raid Turns Up Intelligence Equipment, Documents in Iraq

The documents, which were handed over to senior intelligence analysts, mentioned Iraq's nuclear program and may possibly contain information regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction...


Abortion ship denied entry to Poland

The ship, which offers abortions in international waters to women in countries where the procedure is more restricted than in the Netherlands, was forced to anchor offshore after being turned away from Wladyslawowo on Friday...


Last night after reading Matthew Parris's diatribe in the Times of London about the German (read facist Nazi) influence in the US, I decided not even to post a link to it because, while amusing, his knowledge of history and analysis is so either so faulty, that I decided that no one on either side of the Atlantic with a basic cultural knowledge of either Britain or the US couldn't take it seriously.

Innocents Abroad has done what I neither have the patience or the measured tone for and has spent a good deal of time and no doubt effort responding to Parris's pile of garbage. While I don't think the orignial article was worthy of a response of this calibur, the response is

Hat tip: Instapundit


Merde in France gets news through the baguette curtain that McDonalds is feeding French students who were at the mercy of striking cafeteria workers and had to go through angry teachers in solidarity with the strikers to do it.

What did the students learn from this experience?

*Micky Ds & the school administration that met their responsibilty of feeding their students are the good guys
*The work ethic, identifying & meeting needs, taking initiative, & thinking creativity are good
*Free enterprise & private industry is good

*Unions who want to use others (especially hungry children) to further their own agenda are bad
*Harming innocent victims is not the way to gain sympathy or support for your cause
*Government workers care more about themselves than those they serve and, unlike private workers, have little incentive to put the needs of those they serve over their personal agenda
*Teachers with strong allegience unions are not on their side
*Government institutions & unions have fossilized outdated socialistic ideology

Hat tip: Instapundit


Kennedy Going His Own Way on Medicare (Dems Outraged)


Sky News

Aaliyah Hart was born at City Hospital, Birmingham, three months prematurely and weighing just 12oz.


Is Eric Rudolph a Christian Terrorist?
Christianity Today


posted by Renee | 1:43 PM

Ever heard of a ''Danish-made transcranial magnetic stimulator?''


Democrats vie in Internet ‘primary’

[S]ome strategists see it as skewed toward Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who shares the group’s antiwar views. “It appears to be rigged,” said Erik Smith, a spokesman for Rep. Dick Gephardt’s campaign.


One less thing for the anti-American & anti-Bush crowd to bitch about
Looted Iraqi uranium 'found'


Riddle of Colossal flooding solved

THE mystery of the flooded amphitheatre has puzzled historians and scientists for almost 2000 years. But now an Edinburgh engineer has come up with a theory for how Emperor Titus flooded the Colosseum in Rome at its opening in 80AD.

A crowd of 87,000 cheering citizens and slaves had watched gladiators battle to the death in the arena that stood at the heart of the Roman empire. More than 5000 animals had been killed for sport.

But the highlight of the 100-day inauguration was a series of naval battles re-enacted in the Colosseum, according to Cassius Dio, chronicler of ancient Rome, who said: "Titus suddenly filled this same theatre with water and brought in horses and bulls and other domesticated animals that had been taught to behave in the liquid element just as on land. He also brought in people on ships, who engaged in a sea-fight there, impersonating the Corcyreans and Corinthians."

His account left historians with a colossal question, only now answered by Martin Crapper, lecturer in civil and environmental engineering at Edinburgh University : Was the giant arena flooded to stage the mock sea battles - known as naumachiae -or were the naval re-enactments actually staged elsewhere in Rome?

Academics have long argued that holding sea battles at the Colosseum was impossible due to the underground tunnels used to spirit wild animals, slaves and gladiators to different parts of the arena.

Tales of thousands of slaves and convicts drowning in the sea battles with ships built to scale were told by Latin poets such as Martial, but were dismissed as sycophantic works of fantasy written to enhance the reputation of the emperor.

However, Dr Crapper believes he has solved the puzzle of the flooded Colosseum...


"I'm not so sure we can call ourselves a civilized society when stuff like this happens."
Judge calls slaying 'out of the Dark Ages': Philadelphia teen lured by girlfriend to his death; the motive was robbery


NY Post

Despite the obvious sexual overtones, Stan Lee says "Striperella" is not Playboy Channel material. "They [the network] know that I am a man of impeccable good taste and would never do anything that would be offensive," says Lee.

Yeah, right.

Anderson plays an exotic dancer named Erotica Jones whose alter-ego is Stripperella, secret agent 0069, who works for a top-secret anti-crime organization.

She's tipped off about trouble when her belly ring vibrates and swings into action against villains like Cheapo (a bad-guy so cheap he and his henchmen share one gun), a diabolical fashion designer Pushy Galore and the evil plastic surgeon, Dr. Cesarean (played by "Star Wars' " Mark Hamill).

Striperella's most dangerous foe is a villain whose name is so X-rated it can't be printed here (Hint: it rhymes with the name Queen Dolores.


posted by Renee | 12:45 AM

Friday, June 20, 2003  

Hehehe...I'm starting to wonder if the RNC has hired a SNL writer.


French translation

Hat tip: Polipundit


Why the EU (and the UN, for that matter) will never be effective:
Mr Blair said: "I would like us to commit to matching the $1bn." But he added: "We have got 25 countries sitting around the table and the decision has got to be unanimous.

EU will not match US Aids donation


The seeds of freedom start to bloom: U.S. teams helping neighbors to create municipal councils


Today's must read:
U.S. Military -- Back to the Future!
Winds of Change


Democrats Go Off the Cliff
Weekly Standard

It's mystifying. Fury rarely wins elections. Rage rarely appeals to suburban moderates. And there is a mountain of evidence that the Democrats are now racing away from swing voters, who do not hate George Bush, and who, despite their qualms about the economy and certain policies, do not feel that the republic is being raped by vile and illegitimate marauders. The Democrats, indeed, look like they're turning into a domestic version of the Palestinians--a group so enraged at their perceived oppressors, and so caught up in their own victimization, that they behave in ways that are patently not in their self-interest, and that are almost guaranteed to perpetuate their suffering...


posted by Renee | 4:49 PM
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