September 2005

I thought I’d have to miss Karol’s blogger bash, but plans have changed and I’ll be there. Can’t wait!

Judith and Alcibiades have lots of new posts over at Kesher Talk – with news about summers’ end at the Jersey Shore.

Eric Deamer (the Young Curmudgeon) has has become the Blatherist. He changed the name but kept the great photo of himself in New Orleans..

Thanks to Zelda for asking me to guest blog at Urban Grind along with Vilmar of Ranting Right Wing Howler, Scott Sela of Slantpoint and Urban Elephants, Dave of Garfield Ridge, John of Wuzzadem and Bob, who is new to blogging.

Did you know that NYC is the home of the Great Pointed Archer?

I can’t figure this out – is this site is a parody of PETA/Disney style anthropomorphism or are these people for real?

[link thanks to Zelda at The Urban Grind]


WHO expert urges world to prepare for anticipated outbreak

A global influenza pandemic could come at any time and claim anywhere between 5 million and 150 million lives, depending on steps the world takes now to control the bird flu in Asia, the United Nations said.

Additionally, the bird flu virus is likely to mutate into a strain that can be passed person to person, Dr. David Nabarro of the World Health Organization told reporters at a Thursday news conference at the United Nations in New York.

“We expect the next influenza pandemic to come at any time now, and it’s likely to be caused by a mutant of the virus that is currently causing bird flu in Asia,” Nabarro said in a report from The Associated Press…

Nabarro said he hopes to persuade governments that “the U.N. system is actually going to help keep their people alive,” and to generate political support for a three-pronged strategy focusing on prevention, preparedness, and response to a potential pandemic.

How are they going to convince anyone that the UN system cares about keeping people alive when the UN runs like a rabbit from the government sponsored violence in Darfur?

This potential pandemic scares me, but the fact that the UN is handling it scares me more.

…not with leaflets, with bombs.

The nursery responded by giving in to their demands.

Hey, appeasement worked with Irish terrorists – and the Germans, and the jihadis..

..oh, wait, maybe it didn’t.

Giant Squid Photographed for First Time

giant squid

The team led by Tsunemi Kubodera, from the National Science Museum in Tokyo, tracked the 26-foot long Architeuthis as it attacked prey nearly 3,000 feet deep off the coast of Japan’s Bonin islands.

“We believe this is the first time a grown giant squid has been captured on camera in its natural habitat,” said Kyoichi Mori, a marine researcher who co-authored a piece in Wednesday’s issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

The camera was operated by remote control during research at the end of October 2004, Mori told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Mori said the giant squid, purplish red like its smaller brethren, attacked its quarry aggressively, calling into question the image of the animal as lethargic and slow moving.

“Contrary to belief that the giant squid is relatively inactive, the squid we captured on film actively used its enormous tentacles to go after prey,” Mori said.

“It went after some bait that we had on the end of the camera and became stuck, and left behind a tentacle” about six yards long, Mori said…

They don’t mention what kind of “bait” or “prey” was used. I hope it wasn’t a photographer.

..Jim Barry, a marine biologist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, has searched for giant squid on his own expeditions without luck.

“It’s the holy grail of deep sea animals,” he said. “It’s one that we have never seen alive, and now someone has video of one.”

Let me get this straight – scientists have been telling us that the giant squid is “relatively inactive” but they’ve never seen one in action before? Maybe those old sailors’ tales weren’t myths after all…


After five days managing near-riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Following days of internationally reported killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, the doctor from FEMA – Beron doesn’t remember his name – came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies.

“I’ve got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome,” Beron recalls the doctor saying.

The real total was six, Beron said.

Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the turning over of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice. State health department officials in charge of body recovery put the official death count at the Dome at 10, but Beron said the other four bodies were found in the street near the Dome, not inside it. Both sources said no one had been killed inside.

Link thanks to Dean Esmay, who says “I guess we can now put that in the bin of discarded Katrina news hype like “tens of thousands dead” and the rumors of cannibalism.”

Will this news make the covers of Time and Newsweek with a headline saying “Hype, the Media, Hysteria & Katrina; Lessons of a National Shame!”?

I doubt it.

..but I’m just an old-fashioned liberal.

Unfortunately, since “liberal” is often defined these days as “anti-war activists to the left of Stalin who only support wars against imperialist Amerikkka”, I won’t be joining these “liberals” any time soon.

You are a
Social Liberal
(80% permissive)

and an…
Economic Liberal
(36% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

[Link thanks to Double Plus Ungood]

WASHINGTON (AP): The nation’s crime rate was unchanged last year, holding at the lowest levels since the government began surveying crime victims in 1973, the Justice Department reported Sunday.

Since 1993, violent crime as measured by victim surveys has fallen by 57 percent and property crime by 50 percent. That has included a 9 percent drop in violent crime from 2001-2002 to 2003-2004.

The 2004 violent crime rate — assault, sexual assault and armed robbery — was 21.4 victims for every 1,000 people age 12 and older. That amounts to about one violent crime victim for every 47 U.S. residents.

Many explanations have been advanced for decline in violent crime, including the record prison population of more than 2 million people, the addition of 100,000 police officers since the mid-1990s and even a deterrent effect that terrorism might have had on street crime.

["the deterrent effect that terrorism might have on street crime?" - you know you're reading an MSM article when you see things like this..]

–Blacks, men (except in cases of sexual assaults) and young people were victimized most often.

–Nearly two-thirds of women knew their attackers, while men were just as likely to be attacked by strangers.

–In 2004, just under one-quarter of all violent crimes were committed by an offender armed with a gun, knife or other weapon.

–The rates of rapes and robberies have dropped by nearly two-thirds since 1993…

The United States is in sharp contrast with Britain, where laws against self-defense combined with the toughest firearm restrictions of any democracy coincide with a rapidly rising crime rate:

The illusion that the English government had protected its citizens by disarming them seemed credible because few realized the country had an astonishingly low level of armed crime even before guns were restricted. A government study for the years 1890-92, for example, found only three handgun homicides, an average of one a year, in a population of 30 million. In 1904 there were only four armed robberies in London, then the largest city in the world. A hundred years and many gun laws later, the BBC reported that England’s firearms restrictions “seem to have had little impact in the criminal underworld.” Guns are virtually outlawed, and, as the old slogan predicted, only outlaws have guns. Worse, they are increasingly ready to use them.

Nearly five centuries of growing civility ended in 1954. Violent crime has been climbing ever since. Last December, London’s Evening Standard reported that armed crime, with banned handguns the weapon of choice, was “rocketing.” In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.

Gun crime is just part of an increasingly lawless environment. From 1991 to 1995, crimes against the person in England’s inner cities increased 91 percent. And in the four years from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. England’s rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America’s, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police. In a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world’s crime league, with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people.

This sea change in English crime followed a sea change in government policies. Gun regulations have been part of a more general disarmament based on the proposition that people don’t need to protect themselves because society will protect them. It also will protect their neighbors: Police advise those who witness a crime to “walk on by” and let the professionals handle it.

This is a reversal of centuries of common law that not only permitted but expected individuals to defend themselves, their families, and their neighbors when other help was not available…

Given these facts, it’s clear that the anti-defense Left is basing their ideas on wishes and dreams, not reality.

“For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for the want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for the want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for the want of care about a horseshoe nail.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Perry de Havilland at Samizdata says what I was thinking:

Some of Britain’s problems right now in Basra are a consequence of the absurdity of Muqtada al Sadr still walking around when killing him last year would have been clearly legitimate and just a damn good idea. At the very least he should be sitting in a prison cell. This is not an election campaign, it is an insurgency and the US missed a big opportunity to ‘retire’ Sadr when his militia previously fought against the allied armies.

When I called for ‘no pussyfooting around’, I was just suggesting that when an Iraqi faction shoots at British soldiers or throws petrol bombs at them, the responce should not be to just ‘contain’ it or to ‘negotiate’ with the faction responsible (at least not until much later after it has been suitably knocked down to size), no, it should be to use all the force at their disposal to try and cut that faction to pieces. Moreover, it should result in significent reinforcements being sent to give UK forces more options.

As a result of the freedom they’re enjoying due to this policy of containment and negotiation, certain militia members appear to be carrying out a vendetta against the New York Times.

Three days after his editorial was published in the New York Times, Steven Vincent was murdered.

Now, Iraqi reporter Fakher Haider has been murdered

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 19 – An Iraqi journalist and photographer working for The New York Times in Basra was found dead early Monday after being abducted from his home by a group of armed men wearing masks and claiming to be police officers, relatives and witnesses said.

..The reporter, Fakher Haider, had been handcuffed and taken from his home Sunday night by four masked men who said they wanted to interrogate him, his family said…

..Mr. Haider is the second journalist to be killed in Basra in the past two months. In August, Steven Vincent, an American freelance reporter who was writing a book about the city, was abducted along with his Iraqi interpreter, and he was later found dead. The interpreter remains hospitalized.

Days earlier, Mr. Vincent had written an Op-Ed article for The Times in which he criticized the British security forces in the city for failing to act against the Shiite militias’ growing power within the local police force…

..On Sunday, Mr. Haider filed reports about angry demonstrations that had broken out after the arrest by British forces of two high-ranking members of the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to the renegade Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr…

When Michael Moore made his famous Minutemen statement, he was criticizing Bush for oppressing al Sadr’s free speech by closing Sadr’s newspaper:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush? You closed down a friggin’ weekly newspaper, you great giver of freedom and democracy! Then all hell broke loose. The paper only had 10,000 readers! Why are you smirking?

Why was Smirky McChimp picking on poor minuteman al Sadr? It might be because al Sadr had just destroyed a town for the crime of not being Islamic enough. From the Telegraph:

It was this brutal display of Mahdi Army muscle last month – combined with the increasing power wielded by its Islamic sharia law courts – that finally persuaded Paul Bremer, chief US administrator of coalition forces, to declare al-Sadr an outlaw, The Telegraph has been told. … Coalition officials see the Qawliya attack as a watershed event which gave a disturbing foretaste of how Iraq might develop if religious extremists such as al-Sadr gain the upper hand.

Officials have also received reports of illegal arrests and torture conducted by Mahdi Army militiamen on behalf of al-Sadr’s sharia courts. US intelligence sources believe al-Sadr is funded by “donations” from pilgrims – not all of them voluntary – and from hardline ayatollahs in Iran.

“Al-Sadr is a thief who steals from pilgrims and he is a murderer,” said a member of a prominent Najaf family. “His people will kill anyone who speaks out against him.” In one of the few stores still open there [Kufa] is a pro-Sadr tract for sale entitled A Muslim Woman’s Education. It forbids women to dance, even with their husbands, and says young girls should not learn nursery rhymes as they must not sing. It is the type of Islamic zealotry which the Mahdi Army brought to Qawliya, and which al-Sadr hopes to enforce across more of Iraq if coalition forces leave the country.

Of course, Moore and his slimmer but dumber doppelganger, Juan Cole, are urging Britain to leave Basra. I’ll bet the New York Times will agree. When containment and negotiation are the only tools you posess, every problem looks like an opportunity to appease.

Yesterday, I said:

I wonder if al Sadr spokesman Cole will make a few broad hints about these soldiers’ personal lives. That method of distraction worked the last time.

Cole, like a fly-bitten old nag in a high-stakes race, comes through with his predictable performance. Today, he says:

Some kind readers have been asking me if it is possible that the British SAS operatives captured by the Iraqi police on Monday were agents provocateurs planning to blow things up and blame some Iraqi group. My answer is that while it cannot be absolutely ruled out, the theory has almost no facts behind it. It is not even clear if the British agents had a bomb in their car, and they may not after all have killed Iraqi police who came to grab them. Wittgenstein said that about that which we do not know, we must be silent. That’s my policy, anyway. I’d need way more evidence than now exists to charge the British military with such a dastardly policy.

I wonder if those kind readers asked if the soldiers denied beating their wives.

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