The Prowler(s) will be back in force after the New Year, with breaking news about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. John McCain, the NSA spy investigation, and a few other goings-on that have been playing out over the Christmas Break.
Thirty-three London Underground stations are closed for New Year’s Eve due to a strike. The BBC reports that this bites.
Nothing surprises us about government employees dropping the ball or overlooking something, even at the NSA.
Of course, our friends at the ACLU believe nothing is by accident, and that all federal employees operate at genius level so as to better perpetrate the numerous plots their overlords, the evil cabal of neocons, are perpetrating on the world.
I’ve got my hand way up. Sorry, Congressman, but if cookies shock you, you don’t what they are. It makes perfect sense that the default system would include persistent cookies; they’re extremely common. And as Ed Morrissey notes, it’s really hard to think of any pernicious use that the NSA would even have for cookie data.
By the way, I’ve got a cookie from spectator.org on my system that’s set to expire in January 2038, so you’d better disable cookies on your browser right now if you’re paranoid.
According to an AP report, a Freemont, California police officer got the same treatment the president does at press conferences. There is no mention of the names of the Chihuahuas involved, but our agents on the scene believe at least three of the names are John, Helen and David.
In the AP article linked above, a representative of the Center for Democracy and Technology, Ari Schwartz said,
Considering the surveillance power the NSA has, cookies are not exactly a major concern… But it does show a general lack of understanding about privacy rules when they are not even following the government’s very basic rules for Web privacy.
In other words, the evidence indicates a dumb mistake.
I’d like to see a show of hands — anyone who believes the NSA, the world’s premier surveillance organization, which employs the top computer minds in the world, and enjoys a budget in the billions, left “cookies” on its website by “mistake.” No hands? I thought so.
In case you missed it on the John Batchelor show last night, guest Malcolm Hoenline broke the news that Japanese prime minister Koizumi is making a trip to Israel in the early spring. He’s expected to meet with Ariel Sharon and make several other stops in the region, including with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president. Koizumi will pressure Abbas to act more directly against terrorism and will condition Japanese aid to the PA on it. That’s a very bold step by Koizumi, and will put Japan at odds with the EU and Russia.
This comes soon after Koizumi’s government announced it would deploy a ballistic missile defense in cooperation with us. Japan’s emergence is, as my next book will show, a direct result of China’s massive military buildup. But instead of following in the EUnuchs’ steps, Japan is responding in its own defense and in defense of freedom.
Someone get this kid a job. Skipping high school to try your hand at journalism in Iraq… completely boneheaded, but I have to admire the grit.
Those naming the mainstream media as their Enemy of the Year (below) won’t be dissuaded after learning about Primetime’s segment tonight. Diane Sawyer will “report” (read: speculate) about a Pope Joan, a rumored female pope in the ninth century.
In a Video on Demand preview at the ABC News website, the anchorette asks the segment’s producer, Ann Reynolds, what evidence exists of Pope Joan. Reynolds responds, “You’re talking about the dark ages. t is almost impossible to prove anything. There’s no sense of history as you or I would accept it. There’s no sense of proof as a news person would accept it. But it’s an amazing mystery.” Hmmm… tabloids usually run their gossip yarns with more evidence than that.
But what do historians say? Reynolds answers, “They argue back and forth. There’s so little hard evidence that I don’t think anybody can say it’s true. There are people who can say they believe it because of the preponderance of evidence. But we talked to all sorts of them and they have arguments back and forth.”
In an email release, the Catholic League details Diane Sawyer’s presentation:
Sawyer tells us that Pope Joan gave birth while processing. Pope Joan, she says, dressed in male garb, but this is not an historical anomaly: Sawyer shows us a picture of a woman dressed as a soldier in the U.S. Civil War and then proclaims, “Which brings us back to Joan.” But of course. Another segue could have been little girls dressed up as GI Joe on Halloween, but that might have unsettled the sure-mouthed Sawyer.
Sawyer does not interview either Paul Johnson, the world renowned historian and author of “The Papacy,” nor does she interview Eamon Duffy, the brilliant historian from Cambridge and author of the magisterial volume, “Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes.” Had she done so they would have laughed in her smug face. So who does she rely on? Donna Cross and Mary Malone. Cross wrote a novel about the mythical Pope Joan and has no standing among scholars. Malone is an ex-nun who lost her faith and hates the Catholic Church. “I can no longer pray,” she said in 1996, “because of the language, and because it seemed so essential as the core of the tradition that God be male.”
Maybe next week we’ll get a segment about mainstream media integrity and how bloggers rely on shoddy sources.
It’s a shame the Media Research Center has already compiled its media quotes of the year. Add these to the ballot for 2006.
Something about the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board Decision didn’t sit right with me. Okay, a few things: the huffy tone, the clumsy history and connections between the 1920s creationists and present-day intelligent design crowd.
But U of Chicago law prof Al Alschuler nails it:
If fundamentalism still means what it meant in the early twentieth century, however — accepting the Bible as literal truth — the champions of intelligent design are not fundamentalists. They uniformly disclaim reliance on the Book and focus only on where the biological evidence leads. The court’s response — “well, that’s what they say, but we know what they mean” — is uncivil, an illustration of the dismissive and contemptuous treatment that characterizes much contemporary discourse. Once we know who you are, we need not listen. We’ve heard it all already.
Guinness has just certified a British man as the world record-holder for longest time spent on a gurney waiting for a hospital bed to open up.
There’s an old story about three libertarians — a historian, a philosopher, and an economist — discussing how much they all admire Murray Rothbard. (I’m forgetting some of the details, but I think the economist was David Friedman.) The historian says he loves Rothbard on philosophy and economics, but that his understanding of history falls short. The philosopher says that, though he loves most of Rothbard’s work, he has some problems with Rothbard’s philosophical writings. The economist adds that, truth be told, he’s not a big fan of Rothbard’s economic writings.
There’s been a multi-blog debate going on over Jeffery Hart’s essay on American conservatism in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, and it’s gone something like that. Hart gets so many things not-quite-right that the critiques of his essay make up a sort of mini-course in conservative political thought. Happily, Marc Comtois has collected most of them in one place.
Hugh Hewitt is on the case related to the dumping of Federal Circuit Court nominee in limbo Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh was nominated to sit on the DC Circuit back in 2003 and has been held now in all that time. His name was intentionally excluded from the negotiations by the Gang of 14, though in private sessions, sources have told us that Sen. John McCain had offered up Kavanaugh’s nomination for sacrifice in order to get other nominees through.
Hewitt points out what a number of other people have posited: that because of Kavanaugh’s role in the investigation of former President Clinton’s (he was a Ken Starr deputy), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has had a hold on the nomination.
Kavanaugh is but one of several important nominations that Democrats are holding. Sen. Arlen Specter could easily push ahead on Kavanaugh’s, while other committee chairmen, Sens. Lugar and Stevens, to name two, could push the White House for more aggressive movement on other nominations they have dealt with, and which are now on “rolling holds” by the full Senate.
Hewitt is right, Sen. Bill Frist could create a great deal of trouble for Democrats if he — or a minion — would pull the curtain on the “hold” process so there was a bit more political accountability in this important election year.
Forgive me if I don’t blog much for the rest of the week. I’ll be subbing for John Batchelor on his ABC Radio Network show tonight thru Friday night. John’s hours are late: 9 pm - 1 am EST, so I’ll be dragging in the early hours.
Hope you can catch the show. We’ll be keeping John’s usual fast pace, talking about the global news with people all around the world.
The Chicago Tribune editorial page takes an honest stab at re-assessing the Bush administration’s prewar arguments for invading Iraq. One could quibble with their conclusions here and there, but they do a very good job of disaggregating the issues. Well worth a read.
In an update to the post mentioned below:
At the American Spectator blog, John Tabin defends high-interest lending as if it’s the only way for people ignored by banks to get credit. Nonsense. Here in North Carolina, Martin Eakes has shown that “unbankable” people and businesses can participate in the credit market without the “help” of predatory lenders.The funny thing about “predatory lenders” is that it’s awfully hard to get a handle on just who they are. That’s because “predatory lending” is an advocacy term, like “extremist judges,” meant to evoke something bad without defining it. Get into the weeds, and it turns out that a predatory loan is a loan that seems expensive to the speaker — take a look (.pdf) at the APR triggers for several bills floating around Capitol Hill to get an idea of how the definitions can vary. What all these bills have in common is that they amount to a price control on credit. Price controls lead to shortages — and one gets the sense that that’s sort of the point. For all the talk of predators, borrowing money is a voluntary transaction; the unspoken assumption behind the push for tougher regulations is that there exists a class of people so prone to falling hopelessly into debt that they need government to protect them from themselves. This form of paternalism isn’t cost-free.
Eakes wants to extend North Carolina’s regulatory regime to the nation. Like Michael Greve, I’d rather stick to the status quo of regulatory federalism, especially given the inconclusive verdict on the effects of the North Carolina regulations.
You know, I’m trying to sing that, but having a lot of trouble (more than usual). It doesn’t really go with Jingle Bells at all. I know this is just nitpicking, but this must have been hammered out in a hurry. Next thing we know, NOW will have a bake sale.
This is what passes for the Christmas, er, holiday spirit from liberal activists. No “peace on earth and good will to men” here. Rather, National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy has rewritten some Christmas Carols with a sophistication and maturity that reminds me of elementary school bus diddies (you know, “Jingle Bells, Batman smells…”):
(to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)
Dashing through the snow
On our way to Capitol Hill
NOW rounds we will show,
And we won’t stop until
We save the Su-preme Court
‘Cause it protects our rights
We’ll protest any nominee
Who won’t support our fights.
Oh! Not the church, not the state,
We’ll decide our fate
Oh what fun it is to plan
For the 2006 debates
(Now, Dick Cheney only!)
Oil, oil, oil,
Oil, oil, oil,
We drill it out of clay,
And if there’s more in Iraq than here
Then we’ll go there today,
The fun doesn’t stop there. For Sen. Trent Lott, Gandy recommends, “I’m dreaming… of a WHITE Christmas…”
Bing Crosby, there’s a new lyricist in town.
A mediator in the strike approached Mayor Bloomberg about
Now, the workers will enjoy raises of 3, 4 and 3.5 percent
during the next three years. But hey, it’s not Bloomberg’s
So the UMass student and the media members (Molly Ivins, the Drudge Retort, NewsMax) who claimed that a book on a domestic security “watch list” had triggered intimidation of the student turned out to be lying.
The hysteria over this story was absurd, and the story itself was so absurd as to have been unbelievable on its initial presentation. Yet everyone bought into it. Why? The Prowler personally blames those folks who are on the payroll of the ACLU and those feed into the pathology of the MoveOn.org types. The years of lies and misrepresentation are clearly paying off. Why the Attorney General specifically and the Administration in general don’t focus on ensuring Americans understand the laws that are protecting them is beyond us.
According to an Agence France Press report yesterday, five Pakistani immigrants living in Greece have filed legal charges of abduction and torture against Greek and British intelligence agents whom they allege kidnapped and interrogated them after the July bombings in London. We are shocked, shocked to find intelligence gathering going on in Europe. Surely the EUnuchs’ human rights court won’t permit this sort of thing to continue. It might actually prevent future attacks.
Glenn Reynolds links to liberal blogger Ed Cone slagging the Reverend Freddy’s Fashion Mart for endorsing LoanMax, an outfit that provides high-interest loans to high-risk borrowers. What would Cone prefer? That poor people just not be allowed to borrow money? Or that banks be required to float risky loans (which would, of course, just raise interest rates for everyone)? See Mike Lynch in the April 2002 Reason for a fuller discussion of the misguided attack on those who provide financial services to the poor (Lynch focuses on the check cashing industry, but his argument applies here, too).
As for Cone’s approving link to a neo-Prohibitionist rant against the Malt Liquor industry, I’ll just suggest that when men have nothing to do but spend all afternoon getting blitzed, to blame the bottle is a rather facile way of not dealing with an underclass culture that devalues work and family, developed thanks in large part to a devasting legacy of liberal social programs (and I won’t defend Sharpton for supporting those).
Saturday’s Seattle Post Intelligencer — not known as part of the vast right wing media conspiracy — reported that the FISA court — supposedly the speedy authorizer of intelligence surveillance warrants — was holding up and ordering “substantive modifications” to search warrant requests.
Interestingly, the report says that in the first 20 of the court’s 21 annual reports, none of the requested warrants were turned down or even modified. But since 2001, at least six warrants were turned down and 173 subjected to substantive modification. So much for the speed this court issues warrants. Now the Bush administration is offering to brief the court on the warrentless NSA searches. Why now? Here’s the money quote:
“The Bush administration, responding to concerns expressed by some judges on the 11-member panel, agreed last week to give them a classified briefing on the domestic spying program. U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard, a member of the panel, told CNN that the Bush administration agreed to brief the judges after U.S. District Judge James Robertson resigned from the FISA panel, apparently to protest Bush’s spying program.”
Maybe Robertson was the problem. And his resignation is the solution.
We’ll be back with a daily lineup on Wednesday, December 28, leading up to a farewell of sorts to 2005 on Friday. Meanwhile, nominations are being accepted for Enemy of the Year. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone is eligible, if you catch our drift.
When Ted Koppel signed off from ABC’s Nightline after more than a quarter century of high-toned service, no one except a few dutiful liberal TV critics paid note. Even fewer viewers are probably even aware that Koppel’s show has survived him in some form.
A much greater national tragedy is the demise of ABC’s “Monday Night Football” after tonight. It will survive, yes, but on ESPN, thus depriving all owners of portable TV’s of easy access in the future whenever they are beyond reach of cable. Of course, some might say “Monday Night Football” was never the same after Howard Cosell’s departure. (At least those of us who still remember the obnoxious Howard.) Maybe Dennis Miller should have been kept on longer. And remember the brief time when it appeared Rush Limbaugh might join the Monday night announcing team? Unlike over-the-hill John Madden, he would have saved the show.
Seems like only yesterday when the UN’s disaster relief chief was chastising America for being too stingy in our efforts to aid tsunami victims last January. Now we know why, thanks to the Financial Times.
According to a report in today’s FT, the UN received about $1.1 billion. Of that, some $590 million has been spent. But it seems about a third of that expenditure, some $193 million, was absorbed by UN overhead. And if we weren’t so stingy more could go for UN expense accounts and dinners at Delmonicos instead of for relief to disaster victims. Heartless of us, ain’t it?
At least most of what we did send to Southeast Asia, including thirty-plus navy ships, tens of thousands of men and thousands of tons of food and water coulcn’t be deposited in UN accounts. The UN: always there when they need us.
How better to celebrate Boxing Day than with the Media Research Center annual awards for the year's worst reporting? This is an hilarious — and, unfortunately, entirely accurate — summary of the year's worst media nonsense. Take the time to read it all, and brace yourselves for the onsluaght in '06. Hard to see how anyone will be able to top this year's worst: NBC's Brian Williams. This is the money quote from an exchange he had in June with Andrea Mitchell:
Andrea Mitchell: "It is an iconic picture: American hostages, hands bound and blindfolded, being paraded outside the
Brian Williams: "Andrea, what would it all matter if proven true? Someone brought up today the first several
Mitchell: "Indeed, Brian."
Indeed? In fact? In the fevered brains of the hyperliberal media. NBC: we distort, you comply.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?