Archive for July, 2007

World Nut Daily Strikes Again

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

File under ‘things that don’t pass the laugh test’:

The planned crescent-shaped “memorial to heroes” of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania is nothing less than a huge outdoor mosque that pays homage to Islam, charges the author of a new book.

Alec Rawls’ “Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93,” published by World Ahead, documents a long list of Islamic and terrorist memorializing features in the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The primary feature, he says, is the giant central crescent of what originally was called the “Crescent of Embrace” design. A person facing into this half-mile wide crescent – still present in the superficially altered “Bowl of Embrace” redesign – will be oriented almost exactly at Mecca.

The Winners

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

The numbers are in on the CNN-YouTube Democratic debate. The big winners? Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

GOP Strong in the Bayou

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

The GOP has found a bright spot in Louisiana:

In Lousiana’s gubernatorial race, a new poll commissioned by the leading Democratic candidate shows him getting crushed by Rep. Bobby Jindal (R). Jindal leads Walter Boasso (D), 52% to 21%.

One day Jindal might become president.

Trust and the Federal Government

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

While we’re looking at polls, take a gander at this one about Americans’ level of trust for the federal government. The results are very bad for the government, which means it’s good news for America.

Globalization and its Discontents

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

It’s been hotly debated whether globalization is good or bad for the developing world. The consensus in the wealthy nations seems to be that it is bad for the developed world, as the chart below shows:

The U.S. isn’t quite as anti-globalization as Europe, but the results here aren’t too great either.

Harry Potter

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

So I made the mistake of going to Borders at about 10 PM; the latest Harry Potter book was set for release at 12 AM. It was not a pleasant experience. Lots of kids in bizarre costumes there. But the strangest had to be a girl with a crutch; on the crutch a poster was attached which read “Harry Potter must die” and included a crudely drawn picture of a dead Harry Potter. She also wore a shirt which read “Harry Potter = The Devil.” Very, very strange. I don’t know if she was for real or just trying to be funny, but I am afraid it might have been the former.

Fred Thompson Isn’t Perfect

Friday, July 20th, 2007

You might have heard that the alleged great conservative hope Fred Thompson did in fact lobby on behalf of an abortion-rights group:

Billing records show that former Senator Fred Thompson spent nearly 20 hours working as a lobbyist on behalf of a group seeking to ease restrictive federal rules on abortion counseling in the 1990s, even though he recently said he did not recall doing any work for the organization.

I’m not particularly surprised. Everyone who has seriously looked at Fred Thompson knows he is not as conservative as his supporters would have you believe. Don’t misunderstand; he IS a conservative. But, like all the other candidates (and ever living person) he has his flaws.

In the long run, I don’t think this will hurt him too much. He does have a pro-life voting record, and the amount of time he spent lobbying for this group is minimal. But it might remove some of the edge he has over the other candidates, namely Giuliani, McCain, and Romney. He is no longer the “perfect conservative,” but instead, like the others, a “flawed conservative.”

Ultimately, we’re going to have to decide which candidate provides the best mix of conservative ideology and electability. Fred Thompson is still strongly situated to provide the best mix, but look for more revelations about his “moderate” (and possibly “immoral”) past to surface.

Atomic City Spy

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

This isn’t good:

One person has been arrested at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for attempting to sell nuclear secrets, federal law enforcement officials told FOX News Thursday.

The person, who was not identified by officials, was named in a yet-to-be unsealed indictment and worked at the Tennessee facility, FOX News has learned.

The suspect is expected to appear at a federal court in Knoxville, Tenn., at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, WATE-TV reported.

At least he apparently didn’t get away with anything. Here’s hoping they throw the book at this traitor.

UPDATE: The Knoxville New-Sentinel identifies the would-be spy as “Roy Oakley, 58, of Harriman,” who was attempting to sell nuclear secrets to France. WBIR, however, reports his age at 67. Oakley has pleaded not guilty.

Most reports identify Oakley as a low-level maintenance worker for Bechtel Jacobs Co., a cleanup contractor. I wonder what secrets he would have had access to. Of course, the French embassy reportedly declined his offer to spy, suggesting he may not have had much of value to offer them.

Gill’s Idiotic Analogies

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Steve Gill is all animated, as he often is, about former Border Patrol agents Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, now spending a decade in the slammer. He compares their conviction to another famous case:

The truth will out [sic], just like it did in the Duke Lacrosse case. Once again, it is the PROSECUTOR who belongs in jail!

All hyperbole aside, and regardless of whether Compean and Ramos belong in prison, this comparison is not valid. In the Duke Lacrosse case, a rogue prosecutor accused innocent players of a crime of which there was not nearly enough evidence for a conviction. In the case of Compean and Ramos, there obviously was enough evidence for a conviction. Both were, after all, convicted by a jury of their peers.

These two agents have been made into heroes. I tend to agree that their sentences are overly harsh, but to say that they deserve no punishment is to completely ignore the rule of law. Compean and Ramos clearly committed several crimes, as Andrew McCarthy (writing in National Review, hardly a pro-illegal immigration magazine) points out:

Here’s the dirty little secret the agents’ partisans never tell in their relentless media rounds. You want to be mad about a miscreant like Aldrete-Davila getting away with importing scads of marijuana into Estados Unidos? Then be mad at … the “heroes.”

The rogue duo had two easy opportunities to arrest Aldrete-Davila: First, when he attempted to surrender and Compean decided it would be better to smash him with the butt of a shotgun than to put cuffs on him, as it was his duty to do; and then, when the “heroes,” having felled the unarmed, fleeing suspect with a bullet fired into his buttocks, decided to leave him there so they could tend to the more important business of covering up the shooting.

Since it’s hard to decipher the facts amid the noise, it’s worth remembering that a jury of twelve impartial Texans convicted the agents of almost all the charges, beyond a reasonable doubt, after a two-and-a-half week trial. Many complain, with some force, about the aggressive charges brought by the government against Compean and Ramos, but you don’t have to like this case to understand that — barring some demonstration of irrationality (and there has been none) — the factual findings necessary to that verdict merit respect. They are certainly more reliable than hype from those with an ax to grind.

Indeed. What happened to Steve Gill’s highly principled belief in upholding the rule of law?

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.

For Once, We Are United

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

It pretty much sucks to be a politician these days:

Eighteen months before Bush leaves the White House, nearly two-thirds of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction and give the president negative marks for his job performance.

An even bigger majority, 83 percent, say the Democratic-controlled Congress is doing only a fair or poor job — the worst mark for Congress in a Zogby poll.