Open Topic Sunday ... Grilling The MindsWelcome to another Open Topic Sunday, and this Sunday we're switching things up a little. This Sunday (and hopefully subsequent ones to follow) we are "grilling the minds" of the bloggers here. This is real simple. I have composed a series of questions and each of us will answer them. There is no time constraint (DUH! We're not on the radio here, or iPodding this), and there is no "length" constraint. But the answer will be no longer than one paragraph from each of us. This is also why I've tried to limit the questions. The questions will deal with topics of the week gone by. It's sort of an intra-site talking heads show, only without the smug host. There's nothing smug about this idea. Marcie and I have done collaborative blogs before. Our collaborative columns appear on the first of every month on Common Conservative. (Tomorrow is the first, and the new column will be up there.) Doing things together isn't hard with either of us. With Sabrina added to the mix, that's a bit different and slightly trickier. But it doesn't change the professionalism of the participants. We will address each issue accordingly, and we won't chastise one another. We offer, at times, differing views on things. So, if you enjoyed past endeavors like this, sit back and relax. Iran has announced that they want to share nuclear technology with Sudan. Sudan is a nation that this past week had sanctions slapped on four key people in the regime, and all for their participation in human rights abuses. Sudan's record on human rights is as open as Rwanda's and Zimbabwe's are now. The IAEA has also stated that Iran isn't being cooperative in regard to their nuclear programs. Thoughts, ladies?Personally speaking, this move by Iran does make me a little nervous. But my apprehension doesn't come from their desire, but rather the world's refusal to see what is going on. We have the UN twiddling it's thumbs, and the IAEA reporting that they're not cooperating, as you pointed out, Thomas. So, what do we do? While pundits spin that Iran is between a rock and a hard place, I contend it's the US that is in that position. No one seems to see what we do, or our allies do. Remember, France was one of the first nations to come out, and state they believed Iran was working towards nuclear weapons. But the UN is essentially defanged thanks to the complicity of Russia and China--two nations who have deep, deep business dealings with Iran. I have no clue as to what our next step should be.I share Sabrina's feelings regarding Iran. They are working their way towards the ends they believe they need. Those ends, of course, being the possession of nuclear weapons. Now none of us can state, for certain, that Iran's prospects on this issue are peaceful only. We can cite chapter and verse of Ahmadinejad's record showing that he has the intention to use nuclear weapons against other nations. He has cited, with glaring specificity, that Israel will be target number one when they complete their nuclear ambitions. With that in mind, the world must realize that Iran is a growing threat. Their regional threat is growing even more with their announcement of wanting to share that technology with a known human rights abuser. OK, you both have put together excellent points. But here's my take on this. Iran is not complying with the IAEA or the UN. So what do we do? We could slap sanctions on them, but Russia and China don't want that. I agree with Sabrina that the heat is more on us, and less on Iran right now. What this will eventually come down to is whether or not we have the intestinal fortitude to take out their nuclear facilities. We can't ask Israel to do this. That strike would end up being a suicide mission; their planes won't make it back. This fiasco will have to be cleaned up by us, and that's a risky proposition as it is. Iran has proclaimed that if we hit their nuke sites, they'll "unleash" 40,000 suicide martyrs to strike us and our interests abroad. I disagree with the people who toss aside the comparisons between Ahmadinejad and Hitler. Both had similar goals (though Hitler wanted the world and Iran simply wants its empire restored before embarking on the mission to make a worldwide caliphate). We can't simply turn a blind eye to this, nor can we allow the world to do so. 1 May, rallies are scheduled around the nation in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dalla, and Chicago in favor of illegal aliens in the United States; mostly Hispanic, though others have announced their plan to march with the illegals in solidarity. They are calling for a boycott of their jobs--the precious jobs the government claims they have--and a boycott of shopping. At all. Any such. We've not discussed this at length. We have touched on it. I'd like some feedback.As I live in Chicago, I don't see the immigration problems that Marcie and Thomas see. It's not as prevalent. I stand on the side of the law, and the law states that these people--those here illegally--are breaking the law. They should be held to account for that crime, and deported if possible. I know the idea of immediate deportation for all of them is virtually impossible. But there has got to be some way to "normalize" these people. And I did see that some Muslim groups are going to join them. That is irrelevant in my eyes for the simple fact that if any Muslims are here illegally, they, too, are breaking the law. As I said at the beginning, this issue for me revolves around the law, and the fact that these people are breaking it.I think we will all agree that for the three of us (and a great deal of people around the nation) this is a simple issue on the face of it. These people are, indeed, here illegally, which means they broke the law to get here. I think we also agree that there must be some sort of accountability for them. Like Iran, we cannot turn a blind eye to this, and serious reform must be done to our immigration policy. I stand by the fact that, for our own security, a wall must be built on our southern borders. To date, no confirmed entry of al Qaeda people through our southern border has occurred. I know that statement is a point of contention with many people, but what I stated is the truth. All of the incursions supposedly made by al Qaeda through the southern borders is speculation alone. But we must get a handle on this, and soon.I could not agree more with the ladies. I've got the idea for normalization of these people, and it carries a heavy weight with it. We order them to register with the government, hand them counterfeit-proof ID cards showing their status here in the country--whether it is a guest worker, a student, or otherwise--and the ID must be with them at all times. If it's asked for, it must be produced. For children, parents will obviously be in charge of their children's cards. But they must register. ANYONE who is located by law enforcement that doesn't have a card, it's instant deportation, and that deportation should be a cost passed onto the relevant government. The "fee" for the deportation can be pulled from any sort of financial aid provided by the government. But, yes, Marcie is correct: WE must get this situation under control. BUT before anything is done internally, we must have the frontline defense of a wall. We're not becoming isolationists in doing this; we are protecting our nation from illegal incursions (which applies to aliens and military forces; the Mexican military has operated in the US before). If this ticks off Vincente Fox, oh well. Like I care. Fox is just as corrupt as his predecessors, so I really feel nothing for a man who believes he can flout our laws--encouraging that breaking of ther law. And he can say what he wants, but the Uited States belongs to us. NO AREA of it belongs to Mexico. Push that envelope, and watch the US push back.Late last week (21 April, to be exact) the CIA announced it was firing Mary McCarthy for leaking classified government secrets. Now there is contention as to whether or not the CIA prisons are real. The EU says no, but the administration hasn't confirmed or denied it. She passed this information onto Dana Priest of the Washington Post. I'd like to know: A) Should Mary McCarthy be charged, and will she be charged? B) Should Dana Priest be charged, will she , and if not, why? C) What steps should the CIA take to eliminate this internal threat?
Mary McCarthy should be charged. To that there should be no argument because she knew what she was doing. She knew the information she was passing on was designated as "classified," and she knows the rules regarding such materials. The question regarding Dana Priest is predicated on whether or not the CIA prison story is true; the EU states they have found no evidence of such prisons. Someone can't be prosecuted for peddling a phony story. As for what the CIA should do, I have no idea. I never worked for the CIA. I worked out of Justice, but even there we had materials that weren't to be released except to the appropriate people. I think the CIA is doing a decent job of finding the leakers, I just wish they would hurry the process along. As long as they have people like Ms. McCarthy working for them--people who have no problem with telling people without a need to know about things they shouldn't know about--the CIA will be working at less than optimal performance. These people present as much a threat to our war efforts as al Qaeda does.
Of course Mary McCarthy should be charged. She broke the law. She told a reporter about a supposedly classified operation in progress. While it is not directly giving the information to our enemies, it is a serious crime nonetheless. Dana Priest should be charged, as well. While I do respect Sabrina's opinion, it changes nothing. When Dana Priest was handed this information, she believed it to be a classied operation, and she still did the story. The Washington Post still published it. Their crime is not nearly as grave as Mary McCarthy's but it is not an excusable offense. The CIA should continue with the steps they have taken thus far, and expand their search. It should include ANY and ALL CIA employees. There are no exceptions to who the leakers could be, and no chances can be taken.
If it were up to me, I would have already tossed Mary McCarthy's butt in jail. There is no excuse, on God's green earth, that she can offer in her defense. She doesn't have the authority to choose what will be and won't be declassified. And Marcie is correct when it comes to Dana Priest, but she backed off. Her crime is no less damaging than McCarthy's. If the WaPo or Priest even try to defend their actions, that defense should be destroyed. They know that our enemies pay attention to our news, or did the Newsweek Flushed Koran story slip their feeble minds? If it did, they may want to remember it. It caused a helluva uproar half a world away, and had Muslims here in the US demanding answers. McCarthy's crime and Priest's crime are virtually one in the same. They both revealed classified material. The CIA, on the other hand, has had a lot of problems since the politicos in DC held their infamous Church Committee hearings back in the seventies, which served to defang the CIA. While I concede that the CIA had it's problems (private little wars, gun and drug running), they are a key cog in the war machine of this nation, and we need them frosty. What should they do to hunt down further leakers, and stop up those pipes? Three words, people: WHATEVER IT TAKES."United 93" came out this past Friday. Reviews were interesting of it, to say the least. Many papers (including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Arizona Republic, and Washington Post) were extremely respectful of the film, it's content, and public sentiment about it. Most reported that 10% of the opening box-office weekend take would go to the United Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania; for a much more proper memorial to be made than the pitiful excuse first offered. I want thoughts on the movie. A) How will it do? B) Will you go see it? C) How powerful of a movie will this be for moviegoers? D) Some in the media claim it's too soon for it's release. Do you agree?
I saw the preview in the theater. It was the quietest moment I have ever endured in a theater. I think the movie will do well, and I predict a total box office take of around $100 million; possibly a little more. I do want to go see it if for nothing else than to remind myself of what forty people did on that day. Not only did they save countless thousands of lives on the ground, but they stood up and fought back. We are a nation born of combativeness, and they embodied it. The movie, if it is as good and accurate as reviewers claim it is, will be an extremely powerful movie. I am happy to see that some of the money generated this weekend will go to the memorial. I think I share the ire of a nation that found out that the initial concept would have seemed more of a tribute to the terrorists than to the heroes of that flight. I disagree that it is "too soon" for this movie to come out. I think it is right on time. Right now, there is waning support for the war, as a whole. People need this to be reminded of why we're fighting; why we decided we had to fight in the first place. And, I expect the MSM to either ignore the movie completely, or we will have some nuts, like CNN's Jack Cafferty, ripping it to shreds; an attempt to revise history, and question the authenticity of the movie.
Thomas and I have seen the movie twice now. We saw it at an advance screening, and we paid to see it Friday night. The movie will do fine at the box office, and I concur with Sabrina's box office assessment. I agree because this movie is heavy and emotional. Twice seeing it already and I was crying at the end both times. The emotions it brings back from that day are unavoidable. It is powerful in the same sense that The Passion Of The Christ was. Will we see groups going out to see it like they did for The Passion? Possibly. If word of mouth gets around fast enough, we could see that. And if that happens, both of our predictions for the box office take are dead. As I stated in my posts earlier this week about United 93 this movie is long overdue, in terms of it's release. People started forgetting about 9/11 by 2003/2004. And that day should never be forgotten.
That is true, we did see it twice, and if I get my way (though I doubt there will be much argument) it will be seen again. Box Office Mojo has it tracked, as of 10:30 this morning, at around $11 million, trailing RV by $5 million. If their take for the weekend can reach $13 or $14 million, it has a chance to reach the bar set by the girls. I'd go off on a limb and state the take at a much higher amount because I believe EVERYONE in America should see this movie, but I don't think it has the drive that the Passion had. For The Passion, Mel Gibson was fighting against Holly-weird insiders who said the movie would flop, and he was fighting against a host of Leftist mongrels that wanted the movie to fail. It didn't because of the deep-rooted Christain faith of the nation. Just because we have politicians and media people who have lost their morals doesn't mean the country has. But I do agree with how powerful this movie is. Sabrina stated that during the trailer, she was in a silent theater. That is exactly how the theater was, both times, when we saw the movie. And Marcie did cry, but so were a lot of other people in the theater. And because of the reaction of the moviegoers I can say, with certainty, that this movie isn't too early. I agree that this is about the right time to do it. I would have preferred it a bit earlier than now, but 2006 will be the year we were reminded of the worst attack on America since 1941.Michael Hiltzik, former "blogger" on the LA Times website recently made a "boo-boo." He was caught utilizing pseudonyms in the comments section of his site, and other non-affiliated websites. The LA Times revealed that their Code of Ethics dictates that pseudonyms aren't allowed. The blog was suspended, as was Michael Hiltzik. Some in the blogosphere have argued that he should simply be kept; a constant reminder of the ideological bend the paper has. Agree? Disagree? Irrelevant altogether?I'll be honest. I rarely read the LA Times unless a blogger picks up on something from the paper. I had never heard of Michael Hiltzik until Thomas eviscerated him, twice. He claims he is a blogger. Goodie for him, but I doubt it based on the pieces he has written that were highlighted by others like Hugh Hewitt and Patrick Frey. What I can't believe is that the Times actually abided by their own code, and held him accountable for violating that code. That is a surprise from any media source when they do decide to act like responsible adults, rather than children who cry "It's not my fault."As for his suspension, does anyone ever really care? It's not like he's an important member of the media.
I hit the LA Times site a couple times a day, as our schedule dictates, but I rarely read his pieces. To me, he is boring, ill-informed, and his analysis lacks any solid ground. He has always used speculation and innuendo rather than facts, and the facts he does cite have a tendency to not be as exact as the facts truly are. His suspension, while welcomed because of his violations, is completely irrelevant as long as that paper refuses to acknowledge it's deep-seeded ideological bias.
OK. I'm with Hewitt on this. I wasn't originally. I wanted him fired for what he did. But, after removing the initial reaction from the equation (one laced with emotion rather than logic), I can't say I see a reason to be rid of him. I mean, unless you count the fact that he's a terrible writer. Marcie is correct in stating he's boring. He's worse than boring. He's stereo instructions set on 33 1/3 speed. He's a printer that has smeared ink popping out of the machine. If I were as bad a writer as he was, we would still be hovering around 100 hits. What's worse than his style is the fact that he has a bias and refuses to admit it. In the interview with Hugh Hewitt, he was very offended by the questions he was asked regarding that bias. Hugh's right. As long as the paper continues it's ideological bias, suspending him and the site is a bit hypocritical.
The Bunny ;)