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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Female Pundits, And The Rudeness Of Moonbats

It is a rather slow day today for news. Thus far, while meandering around the news wires and blogosphere, nothing has really caught my eye. Of course, I am also trying to study here while doing all the work on the computer. I came across this post from See-Dubya @ Hot Air,and I was intrigued.

The WaPo notices that people are sometimes rather rude to women who write online. They write in depth about the death threats against Kathy Sierra, and even make it around to mentioning Michelle’s unpleasant history of threats and slurs.

Some female bloggers say their colleagues just need thicker skin. Columnist Michelle Malkin, who blogs about politics and culture, said she sympathizes with Sierra but has chided the bloggers expressing outrage now. “First, where have y’all been? For several years, the unhinged Internet underworld has been documented here,” she wrote, reposting a comment on her site that called for the “torture, rape, murder” of her family.

Report the serious threats to law enforcement, she urged. And above all: “Keep blogging. Don’t cut and run.”

But Herring said Malkin is in a minority. “There’s a whole bunch of women who are being intimidated,” she said. They include academics, professional programmers and other women normally unafraid to speak their minds.

Saying your colleagues “just need thicker skin” sounds a little brutal under the circumstances, and that’s not what Michelle said. “Expressing sympathy” for the victim and urging her to keep blogging is supportive, not dismissive. It doesn’t minimize the threat or Sierra’s reaction to it; the threats are outrageous and shouldn’t have to be tolerated by anyone.

Luckily, I have never had to deal with any sort of threats. That is not to say that we do not get our share of "fan mail" from unhinged mmonbats and trolls. We receive that daily, and it is always filled with the vitriolic hate and fould language we have become accustomed to. There are rare instances where one or two pieces come through that are not like that, and the writer truly wishes to have an open, civil dialogue. But as I said, those are rare instances.

I did not start blogging until 2004 when Thomas (in an effort to curb my continued e-mails that were about the size of a blog post) encouraged me to start my own site. In January of 2005, Thomas and I joined our two sites together to create this one -- The Asylum. During that time, I have been critiqued by a host of individuals. I have been defamed and called all sorts of names. I have not, however, been threatened. (This is due, in no small part, to Thomas keeping us where we are in the blogosphere; small fish rarely have big fish problems.)

The point is that if you decide to stick your neck out here, for all the world to see and read, then you do so with the understanding that this is not an echo chamber. The people will be nasty and vile if they dislike what you have to say. Ann Coulter famously remarked in her book "Slander" that "political debate in this country is insufferable." Indeed it is, and it has rapidly devolved into nasty snarking fests and one-upmanship contests. Very rarely can we come across a debate on the Internet where one side or the other does not hurl a slur before the debate is over.

"Grom ticker skin" is a point that is well-founded. In the realm of politics, you cannot take every little slight and blow it completely out of proportion. You have to learn to roll with the punches, and pick yourself back up if you get knocked down. However, if it comes down to threats that you feel are significant and serious, then take Michelle's advice, and contact the authorities. Contact your Internet service provider and let them know that you are experiencing physical threats.

I know it sounds stupid and childish, almost like "tattling," but there have been reported cases where some people have lost their monds, and gone hunting for some bloggers because they just do not like their opinion, analysis, or what have you. They are rare (as rare as a civil dialogue in our e-mails with some on the Left), but it does not make them any less dangerous when the unhinged decide to take out their frustrations on an unsuspecting person. Anonymity within the Internet is a good protective resource. It, however, does not always work as there are ways to locate and track people across the Internet.

I thanks God and my husband that we have yet to face any sort of threats like those that the big fish have had to endure. And I hope we never do.


Hey Rosie! Google This! Fire DOES Melt Steel

Is Rosie O'Donnell returning any phone calls today? I wondered that after I saw this story today. See Rosie went on a 9/11 Truther rant not too long ago. (Ian @ Hot Air picked it up.) Even the people @ Popular Mechanics had to go back to the debunking side of things in her small minded debate.

Remember, she said in those rants on The View that "for the first time in history, fire melted steel," or something to that effect. That was not true then, and sure as heck was not true yesterday when this accident occurred:

Bay Area residents began potentially their worst commute in almost two decades Monday, a day after one of the region's most traveled sections of freeway melted and collapsed following a fiery crash.

An elevated section of highway that carries motorists from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to a number of freeways was destroyed early Sunday after heat from an overturned gasoline truck caused part of one overpass to crumple onto another. ...

The crash occurred around 3:45 a.m. on the MacArthur Maze, a network of ramps and interchanges at the edge of downtown Oakland and about a half-mile from the Bay Bridge toll plaza. Witnesses reported flames rising up to 200 feet into the air.

Heat exceeded 2,750 degrees and caused the steel beams holding up the interchange above to buckle. Bolts holding the structure together also melted, leading to the collapse, California Department of Transportation director Will Kempton said.

Here, we will let the engineering guys explain it:

Jet fuel burns at 800° to 1500°F, not hot enough to melt steel (2750°F). However, experts agree that for the towers to collapse, their steel frames didn't need to melt, they just had to lose some of their structural strength--and that required exposure to much less heat. "I have never seen melted steel in a building fire," says retired New York deputy fire chief Vincent Dunn, author of The Collapse Of Burning Buildings: A Guide To Fireground Safety. "But I've seen a lot of twisted, warped, bent and sagging steel. What happens is that the steel tries to expand at both ends, but when it can no longer expand, it sags and the surrounding concrete cracks."

"Steel loses about 50 percent of its strength at 1100°F," notes senior engineer Farid Alfawak-hiri of the American Institute of Steel Construction. "And at 1800° it is probably at less than 10 percent." NIST also believes that a great deal of the spray-on fireproofing insulation was likely knocked off the steel beams that were in the path of the crashing jets, leaving the metal more vulnerable to the heat.

But jet fuel wasn't the only thing burning, notes Forman Williams, a professor of engineering at the University of California, San Diego, and one of seven structural engineers and fire experts that PM consulted. He says that while the jet fuel was the catalyst for the WTC fires, the resulting inferno was intensified by the combustible material inside the buildings, including rugs, curtains, furniture and paper. NIST reports that pockets of fire hit 1832°F.

"The jet fuel was the ignition source," Williams tells PM. "It burned for maybe 10 minutes, and [the towers] were still standing in 10 minutes. It was the rest of the stuff burning afterward that was responsible for the heat transfer that eventually brought them down."

Rosie, meet the truth. And if truth is to be told here, Rosie O'Donnell's a nut who has no clue what she is talking about. To take her word on 9/11 is to take Al Gore's word on global warming. He is not a scientist or a climatologist. She is not an engineer, and the people she cites as "knowing what they are talking about" have been debunked and embarrassed by a host of real engineers that there was no sort of "inside job" for 9/11.

Just remember who these people are accusing. They are accusing the United States federal government of committing one of the worst acts of mass murder in this nation's history. How many times have we said that if you want something done right then do not put the government in charge. They will only screw it up. Besides it boggles the mind as to how much work and time would have gone into preparing both buildings.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

WAAAAAAAHH!!!! We're not getting our way!

No offense, but I've about had it with the Democrats and their ideas regarding impeachment. Today, as Ian observed over at Hot Air, that Jack Murtha is the newest nutter in the caucus to call for it. He did so this morning on Face the Nation. Here's the key excerpt of the transcript:

SCHIEFFER: What are Democrats going to send back to the White House? Will it be a bill that has some kind of conditions? Because, in the end, aren't you going to have to fund these troops to keep from putting them in harm's way?

Rep. MURTHA: Well, in the first place we gave the president everything he asked for and then some. We gave him $4 billion more. We gave him for PTSD, we gave him for brain damage, all those kind of things, more money for Walter Reed to take care of those problems. But what--if he vetoes this bill, he's cut off the money. But obviously we're going to pass another bill. It's going to have some stringent requirements. I'd like to see two months. I'd like to look at this again in two months later...

SCHIEFFER: Just fund it for two months, rather than a year.

Rep. MURTHA: Fund it for two months, instead of a year, and then look at it again.

SCHIEFFER: White House says no.

Rep. MURTHA: White House says no. But the White House has said no to everything. They say we're willing to compromise, and then we don't get any--we've compromised on waivers for the requirements of the troops, which is their own requirements, and also goals instead of requirements for the benchmarks. So we've already compromised, and we need to make this president understand, `Mr. President, the public has spoken.' There are three ways--four ways to influence a president, and one is popular opinion, the election, third is impeachment, and fourth is--and fourth is tighten the purse.

SCHIEFFER: Are you seriously talking about contemplating an impeachment of this president, congressman?

Rep. MURTHA: Bob, what I'm saying is there's four ways to influence a president.

SCHIEFFER: And that's one of them?

Rep. MURTHA: And one of them's impeachment...

SCHIEFFER: And that's one option--that's an option that's on the table?

Rep. MURTHA: ...and the fourth one that is on--I'm just saying that's one way to influence the president. The other way, is your purse. And the purse is controlled by the Congress, who's elected by the public. In the last election, public said we want the Democrats in control.

As Ian pointed out, and as any sane, common sense, intelligent American knows, Congress can't impeach the president because they don't agree with him or get along with him. It's called checks and balances, and it's clear to me now that Murtha is anything but sane or balanced. He's completely looney tunes. Impeachment is not a charge to be taken lightly, or threatened because some people don't get along with the commander in chief. Impeachment is instituted when a crime has been committed. In short, and for those sitting in the cheap seats here, THERE IS NO HIGH CRIME OR MISDEMEANOR THAT'S BEEN COMMITED. That's in Article II, Section 4 if Jack's forgotten his junior high civics classes.

This is more BS from the Democrats. More whining. More crying. More LYING about their intentions regarding this war supplemental. They could give a rip less about the troops. They're working as hard and as fast as they can to lose this war, and force our retreat. What's worse is that they're not even bothering to listen to those in the intelligence field telling that it's not a smart move to do this; that our enemies will visit the mistake back on us worse than what was delivered to our doorstep on 11 September.

With information coming out now that Iran does have ties to senior al Qaeda terrorists, and they're working with them, the threat now faced by our enemies is worse than ever. The president didn't cause this. The terrorists did. We responded, and Jack Murtha -- like the majority of the Congress in 2003 -- gave him the authorization to go into Iraq. (What's sad is that wasn't even needed. We had the regime change aurthorization still in hand from 1998.) Now, they want to call no joy, and leave. Leaving right now would not only signal to the terrorists that they only need to kill a few of our soldiers to force us to submit to their whims, but we would watch a nation of 25 million people suffer at the hands of a bunch of barbaric animals.

The Left may want to see that. Maybe they forgot the aftermath of Vietnam, and what Pol Pot did to his people. We don't, and we can't forget that now with the Democrats playing these kinds of games. If I were the president, I'd call ol' Jack into my office, and ream his @$$ so bad that he'd think twice about opening up his uneducated yap again. Enough of this garbage, and shame on the media for giving idiots like Murtha the mouthpiece to spew their BS from.

Publius II

Turkish Unrest Over Next President; Military Issues Promise And Threat

From Captain Ed this morning and the BBC:

Hundreds of thousands of people have rallied in Istanbul in support of secularism in Turkey, amid a row over a vote for the country's next president.

The protesters are concerned that the ruling party's candidate for the post remains loyal to his Islamic roots.

The candidate, Abdullah Gul, earlier said he would not quit despite growing criticism from opponents and the army.

Mr Gul failed to win election in a first round parliamentary vote which opponents say was unconstitutional.

Opposition MPs boycotted the vote. They are also challenging its validity in the Constitutional Court.

An army statement on Friday accused the government of tolerating radical Islam and vowed to defend secularism.

Business leaders have also issued a statement calling on the court to annul the vote, paving the way for early elections.

The influential TUSIAD association said a vote was necessary "to preserve the inseparable principles of democracy and secularism".

Mr Gul has steered Turkey's European Union accession talks as foreign minister and is seen as less confrontational than Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development (AK) party.

"The president must be loyal to secular principles. If I am elected, I will act accordingly," he said after his nomination for the presidency.

But some analysts say he is closer to his religious roots, and his wife would be the first First Lady to wear a headscarf, a deeply divisive statement in Turkey.

No one trust Gul, except his backers. The people look at him as a "friend" to radical Islam, and in that he is a threat to their secular way of life. For the people of Turkey, since the end of World War I, the separation between religion and politics is what has made life good for those that live in Turkey. Now, they see it threatened by this man.

Worse, if he were to become the new president, he could ratchet up pressure on the Kurds in Nothern Iraq. The Turks and the Kurds have collided before, and Turkey also has a decent amount of Kurds in the southeast. the Kurds in Turkey, for a long time, have refused to fully assimilate to Turkish life. For the past four years, the Turks have been complaining of cross-border raids done by Iraqi Kurds. The Kurds, of course, deny such a thing.

But getting back to Mr. Gul, he is a potential nightmare waiting to happen. The military is not fooling around when it warns those supporting him that they will defend a secular government, and they will fight an Islamicist one. As Captain Ed reminds us, the military pulled off a coup in 1997 to remove an Islamicist ruler. They can do it again, and seem perfectly willing to execute the plan.


The Taliban Is Still Taking A Licking

We love to see stories like this one because it is showing the world that we are not even close to done in this war, and we will not simply give quarter where none is deserved:

Caught in the middle of the Helmand river, the fleeing Taliban were paddling their boat back to shore for dear life.

Smoke from the ambush they had just sprung on American special forces still hung in the air, but their attention was fixed on the two helicopter gunships that had appeared above them as their leader, the tallest man in the group, struggled to pull what appeared to be a burqa over his head.

As the boat reached the shore, Captain Larry Staley tilted the nose of the lead Apache gunship downwards into a dive. One of the men turned to face the helicopter and sank to his knees. Capt Staley's gunner pressed the trigger and the man disappeared in a cloud of smoke and dust.

By the time the gunships had finished, 21 minutes later, military officials say 14 Taliban were confirmed dead, including one of their key commanders in Helmand.
The mission is typical of a new, aggressive, approach adopted by American forces in southern Afghanistan and particularly in Helmand, where British troops last year bore the brunt of some of the heaviest fighting since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

American commanders believe that the uncompromising use of airpower in recent weeks has been a key factor in preventing the Taliban from launching their expected full-scale spring offensive against coalition forces and forcing them to rethink their tactics.

Aircrews say they have been told to show no mercy, but to press home their advantage until all their targets have been destroyed. The Apache attack was one of five in three days in -Helmand, where British troops operate alongside a much smaller contingent of American infantry and special forces. ...

American intelligence named the dead commander as Mullah Najibullah, who, they said, had been responsible for leading attacks against British forces in and around the town of Sangin, in Helmand.

See-Dubya @ Hot Air gives us a little background on our big fish; surprise, surprise that the coward has lasted this long:

The article says one of the dead Taliban in the raid was bigshot Mullah Najibullah. If not a big fish on the order of Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, he’s certainly a keeper, since he was part of the original Old Skool Taliban, fighting us in November 2001. According to Robert Fisk (warning–icky Counterpunch link), he was a member of the Taliban’s Foreign Ministry–in fact the consulate general of their consulate in Peshawar.

Another big fish bites the dust, and we show no mercy. That is what this war is about, and how it must be fought. Our enemies will not give us quarter. We should not be giving them any either.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Big Fish Caught; Been In Custody For Months

This comes from Captain Ed and Allah @ Hot Air. We have a senior al-Qaeda commander in custody, and it is apparent that we have had him for awhile. From Breitbart:

The United States has taken into custody a top al-Qaeda operative who plotted to assassinate Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and other officials, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.

Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi, who was taken to the US navy prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba about a week ago, was intercepted while trying to reach Iraq to take over Al-Qaeda operations and to plot attacks from there against western targets outside Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

He is "one of Al-Qaeda's highest ranking and senior operatives at the time of his detention. He is associated with leaders of extremist groups allied with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and including the Taliban," Whitman said.

From ABC's "The Blotter":

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured by the CIA as he was attempting to travel back to his native country, Iraq. He was going to Iraq, officials say, to "manage" al Qaeda's operations, including plots on Western interests outside of Iraq.

He was captured by the CIA in late 2006 and held at a secret CIA detention facility until this week, when he was transferred to Gitmo and Department of Defense custody.

During his time with the CIA, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was interrogated and revealed useful information about al Qaeda plots, which, officials say, have been disrupted as a result.

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi had met with al Qaeda members in Iran, officials also said.

His capture late last year was likely kept on the hush-hush while we worked what intelligence we could out of him, and then set about disrupting al-Qaeda with that information. What is even more important is the last line there; that he has been working al-Qaeda elements in Iran. Of course the "nuanced" among the "experts" will click their tongues and say that is not possible because Sunni and Shi'ites do not work together.

Yes, these were the same fools saying that al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein would not work together because their differences set them apart. What these so-called "experts" forget is the one thing that bound them together, and it is the same thing that is binding Iran and al-Qaeda together:

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Al-Qaeda and Iran may not see eye to eye on a lot of things, but they do appear to be on the same page when it comes to their hatred of the United States. The "experts" seem to miss this point. And it is a good thing that we now know that al-Qaeda has turned to Iran for assistance. We are breaking their back around the globe. Recent victories in Afghanistan are showing the world that al-Qaeda is ineffective there, and is on the run. After all, why else would they ally themselves with Iran? If they think they will weasel a nuke away from Pres. Ahmadinejad, they may want to rethink that. Ahamdinejad is perfectly willing to let them be a proxy for him for the time being, but he is not going to give an organization ideologically opposed to his regime a weapon of mass destruction. For Ahamdinejad, that proposition is simply too risky.

Yes, I am aware that the above makes little sense to many, but I would be more worried about al-Qaeda getting a nuke from North Korea than from Iran. (Besides, I ran does not have any nukes right now, and if they did develop them, I am certain their ties to al-Qaeda would siappear very quickly. Who needs a proxy in a nuke fight?) But, getting back to the serious side of this story, we have a senior bad guy in custody. The announcement today from the Pentagon signals they have probably gotten all from him that they are going to, and they are letting al-Qaeda know that he is officially out of commission for them.


Dan Simpson Wants All The Guns Seized

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, the emem of gun control has once again seeped itno the collective societal conscience with fools like Dan Simpson offering up utterly ridiculous ways to take our guns. Bryan @ Hot Air shows us his startling example:

Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.

Hunters would be able to deposit their hunting weapons in a centrally located arsenal, heavily guarded, from which they would be able to withdraw them each hunting season upon presentation of a valid hunting license. The weapons would be required to be redeposited at the end of the season on pain of arrest. When hunters submit a request for their weapons, federal, state, and local checks would be made to establish that they had not been convicted of a violent crime since the last time they withdrew their weapons. In the process, arsenal staff would take at least a quick look at each hunter to try to affirm that he was not obviously unhinged.

It would have to be the case that the term “hunting weapon” did not include anti-tank ordnance, assault weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, or other weapons of war.

All antique or interesting non-hunting weapons would be required to be delivered to a local or regional museum, also to be under strict 24-hour-a-day guard. There they would be on display, if the owner desired, as part of an interesting exhibit of antique American weapons, as family heirlooms from proud wars past or as part of collections.

Gun dealers could continue their work, selling hunting and antique firearms. They would be required to maintain very tight inventories. Any gun sold would be delivered immediately by the dealer to the nearest arsenal or the museum, not to the buyer.

The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.

Clearly, since such sweeps could not take place all across the country at the same time. But fairly quickly there would begin to be gun-swept, gun-free areas where there should be no firearms. If there were, those carrying them would be subject to quick confiscation and prosecution. On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for “carrying.”

I would like to address his third idiotic paragraph. Assault weapons such as an AK-47, or an H & K MP5 rifle may be legally purchased by firearms owners only if they have the appropriate license. Furthermore, those types of firearms are usually purchased by enthusiasts and collectors, and when they take them out to shoot them, they abide by the regulations under the license that allows them to have them. Do we think this is "right" in our society? To each their own as the Second Amendment does not exclude any such firearms, and specifically states that the right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed." Gun grabbers always miss that last part.

Secondly, no one in America is allowed to own the other weapons he lists or the ordnance he cites. Even if you do have the license to own an assault rifle, that does not give you the legal ability to own a grenade launcher. What sort of nutty ideas does Mr. Simpson live under? Does he have a neighbor who owns one or something? I have never seen a private citizen own such a weapon UNLESS it is non-working. (We have a friend here in Arizona that has a .50 machine gun from a B-17 bomber that is encased in glass, and serves as a coffee table. That is about as rare a weapon as we have ever seen in someone's possession.)

Moreover, Mr. Simpson is demanding that every domicile and building in America be searched for firearms. No warrants. No probable cause. And all a direct violation of our rights. This is typical Leftist thinking, and it is reminiscent of the gun grab in Nazi Germany in 1935, which left a nation defenseless against a madman.

Lastly, this is Americ. This is not Australia, England, or even Canada. Does Mr. Simpson really think that the firearms owners in this country (according to Hugh Hewitt's book "If It's Not Close They Can't Cheat," there are approximately 235 million homes with guns in them) would willingly give up their firearms? Better question, does Mr. Simpson think that there would be enough people in Congress to pass such a nutty piece of legislation, and not have it overturned by the Supreme Court? Or is Mr. Simpson preparing for the first dictator of this nation to be sworn in as president?

The gun grabbers will never understand it. They see guns as evil rather than the ones pulling the trigger in a crime. Firearms are used more often in this country to prevent crime than to commit crime. The very presence of a firearm usually can deter crimes. The Appalachian Law School incident back in 2005 is a perfect example of what happens when a criminal is met with equal force in return. The criminal in question got down on the ground, held there by a couple of students with firearms, until police arrived.

Mr. Simpson can come up with all the ideas he would like when it comes to grabbing guns. The part of his plan that will always fail is when it comes around to making that decision, and having the force of law to back it up. No politician worth their salt would sign onto a total firearms ban in America. They would like to keep their jobs, and calling for an all-out ban will get them thrown out of office quicker than being caught with a dead hooker in a hotel room.

No, I am sorry to say that the gun grabbers will simply have to deal with the fact that we are an armed nation. That is the primary reason why we are still a free nation. If they would rather live amongst a disarmed citizenry, I suggest moving to another country. There is no shortage of such countries around the globe, and their moving would be a win/win.

They would not be in a nation that is armed, and we would be rid of their meddlesome attempts to take from us that which is guaranteed.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lynne Stewart Disbarred

Do we remember Lynne Stewart? She was the radical civil rights attorney convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States, providing and concealing material support, and making false statements. She has now been officially disbarred:

A civil rights lawyer convicted of helping an imprisoned terrorist sheik communicate with his disciples was disbarred Tuesday.

The New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division denied Lynne Stewart's request to voluntarily resign from the practice of law.

Stewart was convicted in 2005 of providing material support to terrorists. She had released a statement issued by one of her clients, Omar Abdel-Rahman, a blind sheik sentenced to life in prison for plotting to blow up five New York landmarks and assassinate Egypt's president.

The appellate panel said Stewart became subject to losing her law license immediately upon being convicted of a felony.

Her request to resign was in a letter dated Nov. 14, 2006, after she was convicted, and therefore could not be accepted, the court said.

Stewart was convicted of one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorist activity and providing and concealing material support to terrorist activity. She also was convicted of two counts of making false statements.

The state appellate court said the federal convictions of making a false statement were analogous to a state felony statute against filing a false written statement.

"Accordingly, the federal convictions provide a proper predicate for automatic disbarment," the appellate judges wrote.

Stewart's appellate lawyer, Joshua Dratel, declined to comment on the disbarment ruling. But, he said, if a lawyer's felony conviction were reversed the disbarment could be vacated and the lawyer reinstated to practice law.

Stewart was sentenced to 28 months in prison. Government prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 30 years. Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl has permitted her to remain free pending federal appeal.

As Thomas would say, "this warms the sub-cockles of my heart." I could not agree more. She broke the law, knowingly and willfully, and not only deserves the time in federal prison, but it did demand the revocation of her to practice law. Unethical and illegal practices should not be rewarded. Let her contemplate that while she is waiting for her appeals to run their courses. Then she can enjoy her time in jail.


The Five Myths Of Harry Reid: Captain Ed Spells Them Out, And Debunks Them

Captain Ed Morrissey has a handy-dandy list of these myths; the definitive guide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- The Democrat's rebel without a clue:

These have floated in and out of the blogosphere in various forms, but I thought it would be useful to CQ readers to see the counterarguments to Harry Reid's assertions in one easy format. I asked for some research from a friend connected to Capitol Hill on rebuttals, and he put together the resources on this. Enjoy.

MYTH #1:General Petraeus Says The War Is A “Lost Cause”

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): Gen. Petraeus "Told" Our Troops That "They’re Fighting For A Lost Cause." CNN BASH: "Is there something to that, an 18- and 19-year-old person in the service in Iraq who is serving, risking their lives, in some cases losing their life, hearing somebody like you back in Washington saying that they're fighting for a lost cause?" REID: "General Petraeus has told them that.” BASH: "How has he said that?" REID: "He said the war can't be won militarily. He said that. I mean he said it. He's the commander on the ground there." (CNN's "The Situation Room," 04/23/07)

FACT:General Petraeus Sees “Positive” Signs in Iraq

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: "While It Is Too Early To Judge The Success Of The Surge And The Emphasis On Population Security In Iraq, We Have Seen Some Positive Results – Though The Enemy Has Certainly Sought To Overshadow Our Achievements By Carrying Out Sensational Attacks." "… Your visible presence alongside Iraqi soldiers and police has begun to restore a sense of normalcy to many areas that have seen little other than violence over the past year. Your hard work ahs also led to the uncovering of sizable weapons caches, the detentions of a number of death squad and car bomb network members, the bringing to justice of a number of militia extremists, a decrease in the number of sectarian killings, and a renewal of commerce in many markets and neighborhoods." (Gen. David Petraeus, Letter To Soldiers Serving In Multi-National Force-Iraq, 04/14/07)

MYTH #2: General Petraeus Does Not Know What Is Happening In Iraq

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “I Don’t Believe Him.” Q: “…General Petraeus is going to come to the Hill and make it clear to you that there is progress going on in Iraq, that the so-called surge is working. Will you believe him when he says that?” SEN. REID (D-NV): “No, I don't believe him, because it's not happening. All you have to do is look at the facts.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 04/23/07)

FACT: David H. Petraeus:Four-Star General, Commander, Multinational Forces-Iraq

Harry Reid:Senator Who Doesn't Listen To Commanders of Military Forces

MYTH #3:General Petraeus Says There Is No Military Solution

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “…There Is No Military Solution In Iraq. General Petraeus, The Commander On The Ground, Has Said So Himself.” (Sen. Reid, “Reid: As Situation In Iraq Worsens, America Can And Must Change Course,” Press Release, 04/22/07)

FACT:General Petraeus Believes “Improv[ing] The Security” With “Additional Forces” Is Necessary To Achieve A Political Solution

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: “I want to assure you that Lieutenant General Odierno and I would not have asked to maintain the surge force levels in Iraq – a request that led to your tour extensions – if we did not view the additional forces as being absolutely necessary to our ability to accomplish our mission. That mission – to help Iraq improve the security for its population – is intended to provide Iraqi leaders with an opportunity to begin to tackle the crucial issues that must be resolved to achieve a sustainable outcome in Iraq." (Gen. David Petraeus, Letter To Soldiers Serving In Multi-National Force-Iraq, 4/14/07)

MYTH #4:General Petraeus Does Not Support the Surge

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “Those We Trust The Most Do Not Believe Escalation Is The Right Way Forward. America’s Generals Don’t Support This.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S. 2507, 02/5/07)

FACT:General Petraeus Testified In His Confirmation Hearing That ‘The Additional Forces’ For The Surge Were ‘Essential’

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: “The additional forces that have been directed to move to Iraq will be essential.” (Gen. Petraeus, Armed Services Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 01/23/07)

MYTH #5:General Petraeus Does Not Need Immediate Funding

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): The President's "Own Generals Have Said [Funding] Will Last Until The End Of June." (Sen. Reid, Press Conference, 04/3/07)

FACT:The Army Chief Of Staff Stated ‘Draconian Measures’ Will Begin Without Funds In April

ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. PETER J. SCHOOMAKER: "We are particularly concerned as Congress is set to recess until mid-April without enacting this essential legislation. Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, we will be forced to take increasingly draconian measures which will impact Army readiness and impose hardships on our soldiers and their families." (Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Letter To Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, 3/28/07)

The simple fact that the moonbats jump on political talking points and fire them off in debates as if they were Gospel truth is indicative of their inability to reason or recognize facts. The surge is working, but complete results will not be instantaneous. This will take time. As Arthur Herman observed in his Wall Street Journal op-ed piece in March, anti-insurgency startegies take time and patience.

In 1956, after a series of brutal defeats took place against Frnech troops in Algeria, Lieutenant Colonel David Galula took command of the French forces, and instituted an effort that is similar to the sort that General Petreus is exeecuting today. Colonel Galula's efforts switched the balance of power from the guerillas in Algeria to the French, and Colonel Galula's plan to exploit the weakness of the guerillas through the populace worked. The populace slowly turned against the guerillas and they began helping the French colonel's efforts. By 1960, a war that many thought was lost was virtually won.

General Petreus needs the same leeway in Iraq that the French gave to Colonel Galula if we are to succeed. If the Democrats in Congress and the antiwar moonbats get their way, they will handcuff him to the point where we might as well leave because he will not be able to act effectively. That is what they are trying to do.

As Captain Ed points out in his piece, Harry Reid is a liar, and he is playing politics with the lives of our troops. This is not going to score his side any points. People are getting very angry over this because it is their son's, daughter's, husband's, wive's, brother's and sister's lives on the line in a warzone. I would like to add that I support Duncan Hunter's call for Harry Reid to resign his position in the Senate. He is not leading by intelligence. He is leading by demagoguery.


Giving credit where credit's due: Michael Ware seems to understand, and that's a surprise

Regular readers know that we've handed out licks on Michael Ware in the past, but being intellectually honest bloggers we'd be remiss in not pointing out the intelligent things that he does. Case in point: Allah at Hot Air and Newsbusters picked up the fact that he sees the war in the right frame of mind.

After Phillips talked about how U.S. General David Petraeus is “a straight shooter” who has admitted difficulty in some provinces in Iraq, Ware focused on the fighting northeast of Baghdad:

“Diyala is now the new frontline against al-Qaeda. I mean, to be honest, it’s a tragically bloody affair. The brigade that was there last year lost 19 troops in 12 months. The brigade there now has lost 50 in six months.

“And you listen very carefully to what General Petraeus says, he says ‘This is what we would like to see, a representative government.’ When I was in Diyala province, I interviewed a two-star general on camera for CNN, and he admitted for the first time from anyone in the military that they’re now prepared to accept options other than democracy.

“Now this is what this war was sold to the American public on, yet they’re now saying democracy isn’t mandatory, it’s an option, and that they’re prepared to see a government that can protect itself, give services to its people, and it doesn’t have to be democratic. In fact, the general said, most of our allies in this region are not democratic. So that fundamentally addresses the root cause of why America says it went to war, and now the military is saying, well, we may not get there.”Then, after talking about the difficulty of daily life in Iraq, Chetry asked the pair “would all of us, all the American troops pulling out, help the situation?”

Phillips and Ware both loudly protested: “Oh, no! No. No way!”

Phillips zeroed in on the problems a U.S. withdrawal would cause for the Iraqis: “It would be a disaster. I mean, I had a chance to sit down with the Minister of Defense, to General Petraeus, to Admiral Fallon, head of CENTCOM. I asked them all the question whether Iraqi or U.S. military — there is no way U.S. troops could pull out. It would be a disaster. They’re doing too much training, they’re helping the Iraqis not only with security, but trying to get the government up and running. I mean, this is a country of ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ there’s so much corruption still. If the U.S. military left — they have rules of engagement, they have an idea, a focus. It would be a disaster.”

Ware agreed, but argued that winning the war was in America’s best interest: “Well, even more than that, if you just wanted to look at it purely in terms of American national interest, if U.S. troops leave now, you’re giving Iraq to Iran, a member of President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil,’ and al Qaeda. That’s who will own it. And so, coming back now, I’m struck by the nature of the debate on Capitol Hill, how delusional it is. Whether you’re for this war, or against it; whether you’ve supported the way it’s been executed, or not; it doesn’t matter. You’ve broke it, you’ve got to fix it now. You can’t leave, or it’s going to come and blow back on America.”

I sure wish those on Capitol Hill would finally get this. Look, we're not fond of Michael Ware. There are somethings we have taken issue with, and most of it has come in interviews he's had with Hugh Hewitt. He's hung himself with his own words. But the point that he makes is well-founded. We can't afford to leave now. If we do, it'll spell disaster for this nation, and it'll hurt the efforts in Afghanistan. If we withdraw from Iraq, we will be handing the nation over to two factions we can ill afford to embolden. Not only will al Qaeda have a semi-stable foothold int he country, but Iran will flood Iraq with it's fighters, and the body count that will result could rival that of the one that occurred after our withdrawal from Vietnam.

Additionally, it will give our enemies a country that they can launch attacks from. It would also provide them training grounds for future jihadis. Those people would slowly be sent to Afghanistan to engage US, coalition, and NATO forces there, as well as a fledgling Afghani military that is not close enough to prepared yet. The repercussions of withdrawal would not just be a disaster for our nation, basically giving our enemies the green light to come after us, but it'll bring doom to the efforts in afghanistan. And when things start to go south in Afghanistan, will the Congress push for a withdrawal there, too? You bet they will, and our predictions on this will come to fruition.

I do posit this question in closing though. With all the liberal blogs out there hailing Michael Ware's past statements that were less than friendly with regard to the war, will they pick this statement up, and recognize it's authenticity, or will there be a meme spread around that Karl Rove and the other Bush administration "Sith Lords" got to him?

Publius II

Congress Votes For Defeat; Veto Assured

It is done. The Democrats have decided to play the game, and they are about to lose very badly. Today the Senate passed the withdrawal bill that the president has vowed he will veto:

A defiant Democratic-controlled Senate passed legislation Thursday that would require the start of troop withdrawals from Iraq by Oct. 1, propelling Congress toward a historic veto showdown with President Bush on the war.

At the White House, the president immediately promised a veto.

"It is amazing that legislation urgently needed to fund our troops took 80 days to make its way around the Capitol. But that's where we are," said deputy press secretary Dana Perino.

The 51-46 vote was largely along
party lines, and like House passage of the same bill a day earlier, fell far short of the two-thirds margin needed to overturn the president's threatened veto. Nevertheless, the legislation is the first binding challenge on the war that Democrats have managed to send to Bush since they reclaimed control of both houses of Congress in January.

"The president has failed in his mission to bring peace and stability to the people of Iraq," said Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He later added: "It's time to bring our troops home from Iraq."
The $124.2 billion bill requires troop withdrawals to begin Oct. 1, or sooner if the Iraqi government does not meet certain benchmarks. The House passed the measure Wednesday by a 218-208 vote.

Now I want readers to ask themselves a simple question. If you are in Congress, and you are facing a vote on this bill, would you vote in favor of it knowing that a veto awaits it from the president AND that you lack the two-thirds majority to override it? This was a crap shoot that the Congress lost. Not only do we still have the pork in this bill -- the bribes handed out to those needed to approve the bill -- but the timetables are still within it. The Democrats do not want to compromise with the president.

They have moved forward with the misnomer that the midterm elections gave them a green light to pull troops from Iraq, and that could not be further from the truth. The Democrats won because the Republicans twiddled their thumbs, accomplished little compared to their 2004 promises, and the people -- especially the GOP base -- got fed up with it. The base stayed home, refusing to vote for people that they believed wasted time and money doing nothing. And those not along partisan lines (moderates, independents, etc.) were sick of the Republicans inability to locate their spine, and fight back against emboldened, extremist Democrats.

So, the Democrats decided after the elections that they would do the best they could to lose this war as quickly as they could. In the meantime, they are acting no better than the Republicans did. Republicans in congress had a serious problem with pork spending, and the Democrats did precisely that in the bribe-laden withdrawal bill. The Democrats are not moving forward with any sort of new domestic agenda. There is no Social Security reform on the table. There is no legislation upcoming that would make the tax cuts permanent; the same cuts that are driving a record setting economy.

It seems that the only thing the Democrats are going to do with their power for the next two years is try to lose this war, hound the administration with meritless subpoenas and investigations, and possibly even an attempt to impeach the president. (I cite the last item because there are some rumblings on Capitol Hill about the possibility of beginning such proceedings; a proposition that is not only worthless, but without any hard, solid evidence of crimes having been committed.)

This is sick and disgusting. It is sending the wrong message to the world, especially to our enemies, and it is an embarrassment to the nation.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Protests Over Petreus Briefings; This IS The Unhinged Left That Democrat Leaders Are Pandering To

This sickens me. I cannot believe that the Democrat party has fallen so far from their legacy during World War II; further than anything they did during Vietnam's waning months. General David Petreus was giving briefings today to those in Congress wanting to hear "news" rather than Harry Reid's idiotic beliefs. According to The Politico's resident "Crypt" keeper, John Bresnahan, this is what it was like:

Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, said the American military campaign in Iraq is "making progress," but admitted there have been setbacks amid a highly complex political environment among the various factions within the Iraqi government.

Petraeus also denied that he has come under pressure from President Bush or other political leaders to paint a false or skewed picture of the U.S. military campaign in Iraq.

"I am not being pressured by the president to say anything," Petraeus told reporters after 3 hours of back-to-back briefings of House and Senate members on the situation in Iraq. "I am not going to be pressured by political leaders of either party."

Petraeus, who was confirmed by the Senate in late January to take over command of U.S. forces in Iraq, also declined to be dragged into the controversy over the $124 billion Iraq funding bill being debated by Congress this week. The legislation includes a "goal" of having most American forces out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. Bush has threatened to veto the legislation, although Democratic congressional leaders have refused to back down in the face of Bush's position, saying the majority of the American public is on their side in seeking an end to the war.

"I am not going to get in the middle of discussion about various legislative proposals," Petraeus said.

Petraeus said he "tried to give an accurate assessment of the situation in Iraq" to lawmakers. He reported that sectarian murders were down significantly inside Baghdad itself, while adding that the security situation in Anbar province, the heart of the Sunni insurgency, is also improving.

He rattled off a list of insurgent "networks" that have been rounded up, including some responsible for IED attacks and car bombs.

But Petraeus also acknowledged that there have been significant problems with the U.S. campaign in Iraq. "In some other areas, we obviously have some work to do," Petraeus said.

Petraeus added that the U.S. military commanders "have learned a great deal more about Iranian involvement, very nefarious involvement" inside Iraq, including funding and training for insurgent forces. Petraeus made no further comments on what efforts he recommends for countering the Iranian activities he described.

Professional, to the point, and bluntly honest. He is giving the same lawmakers deliberating over a withdrawal from Iraq that the surge is showing a great deal of success. They choose, like Harry Reid, to disbelieve what General Petreus says and, as they say, ignorance is bliss. It is clear to me now that the Democrats are willfully ignorant on the surge, and that is something that shoul be waved like a banner by any and all serious GOP contenders for 2008. As a matter of fact, Mayor Rudy Giuliani made that point succincly clear in remarks at a campaign stop:

Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped.

“If any Republican is elected president —- and I think obviously I would be the best at this —- we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said.

The former New York City mayor, currently leading in all national polls for the Republican nomination for president, said Tuesday night that America would ultimately defeat terrorism no matter which party gains the White House.

“But the question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have?” Giuliani said. “If we are on defense [with a Democratic president], we will have more losses and it will go on longer.”

“I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense,” Giuliani continued. “We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.”

He added: “The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”

After his speech to the Rockingham County Lincoln Day Dinner, I asked him about his statements and Giuliani said flatly: “America will be safer with a Republican president.”

Giuliani, whose past positions on abortion, gun control and gay rights have made him anathema to some in his party, believes his tough stance on national defense and his post-Sept. 11 reputation as a fighter of terrorism will be his trump card with doubting Republicans.

“This war ends when they stop coming here to kill us!” Giuliani said in his speech. “Never, ever again will this country ever be on defense waiting for [terrorists] to attack us if I have anything to say about it. And make no mistake, the Democrats want to put us back on defense!”

Giuliani said terrorists “hate us and not because of anything bad we have done; it has nothing to do with Israel and Palestine. They hate us for the freedoms we have and the freedoms we want to share with the world.”

Giuliani continued: “The freedoms we have are in conflict with the perverted, maniacal interpretation of their religion.” He said Americans would fight for “freedom for women, the freedom of elections, freedom of religion and the freedom of our economy.”

Addressing the terrorists directly, Giuliani said: “We are not giving that up, and you are not going to take it from us!”

The crowd thundered its approval.

Giuliani also said that America had been naive about terrorism in the past and had missed obvious signals.

“They were at war with us before we realized it, going back to ’90s with all the Americans killed by the PLO and Hezbollah and Hamas,” he said. “They came here and killed us in 1993 [with the first attack on New York’s World Trade Center, in which six people died], and we didn’t get it. We didn’t get it that this was a war. Then Sept. 11, 2001, happened, and we got it.”

Democrats are bombarding Mayor Giuliani with boos and hisses. Sens. Obama and Clinton have both fired off comments about his statement, and witrh the venom fired back it is quite obvious that Mayor Giuliani struck a nerve. Of course the Democrats fell back on the tired, old "you are questioning our patriotism" straw man. Mayor Giuliani is not doing that at all. He is, however, utilizing history to illustrate the point that when it comes to national security, the Democrats do not understand the idea of being pro-active. He is wrong on one point, and it was the crux of his argument.

During the 1990s, America was not on "defense." America was stuck in a respond and prosecute (via courts) cycle regarding terrorism. We were simply not taking it seriously, and the administration in charge did not accept its inherent danger to the nation. Half-hearted efforts conducted by that administration (such as bombing Iraq over supposed WMDs they possessed -- those were the ones President Clinton cited in 1998 -- but additionally the strikes on Afghanistan that did not come close to taking out bin Laden) brought the '93 attack to our door. It left us with chaos in the wake of the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The bombings in Riyadh should have gotten the president's attention. As we learned in 2000, not even an attack on a US warship -- the USS Cole -- could get his attention. And what I mean by getting anyone's attention is that equal reciprocity was delivered in response. It was not. It was respond, investigate, and seek out subpoenas.

Terrorists, ladies and gentlemen, could give a rip about being indicted in US courts. We saw how effective it was in the nineties. A Democrat president represents a return to that sort of mentality. But it would be worse because they will withdraw, eaving this nation vulnerable, and our allies in the cold.


"Sometimes you have to slap them in the face just to get their attention!"

Heh. File this under "success" and "progress" in Iraq ... From Allah hanging out over at Hot Air:

Gooood stuff here from Totten and Lasswell, fresh off their trip to the crucible of Kirkuk. You can watch the clip at either site but I recommend reading both posts. Totten is a tad more Sullivan-esque, shall we say, in his reaction to the violence, but he’s also got the better quotes ...

We toddle over to Michael Totten's site first:

Kirkuk, like Baghdad, is one of the most dangerous places in the world. Car bombs, suicide attacks, shootings, and massacres erupt somewhere in the city every day. It is ethnically divided between Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmens, and is a lightning rod for foreign powers (namely Turkey at this time) that interfere in the city’s politics in the hopes of staving off an ethnic unraveling of their own.

The city’s terrorists are mostly Baathists, not Islamists, and their racist ideology casts Kurds and Turkmens as enemies. They’re boxed in on all sides, though, and have a hard time operating outside their own neighborhoods. In their impotent rage they murder fellow Arabs by the dozens and hundreds. They have, in effect, strapped suicide belts around their entire community while the Kurds and Turkmens shudder and fight to keep the Baath in its box.

Kurdish and Turkmen neighborhoods are safer than the Arab quarter, but the city is out of control. Car bombs can and do explode anywhere at any time.

I spent the day with Peshmerga General “Mam” (Uncle) Rostam and Kirkuk’s Chief of Police Major Sherzad at a house Mam Rostam uses a base in an old Arab neighborhood that now belongs to the Kurds. Just after lunch Major Sherzad’s walkie-talkie began urgently squawking.

“There has been a shooting,” he said. “Two men on a motorcycle rode down the street and fired a gun at people walking on the sidewalk. One of the men was apprehended. They are bringing him here.”

For some reason I assumed when the chief said “here” he meant the police station. He did not. He meant Mam Rostam’s.

“They will be here in two minutes,” the chief said.

“Here?” I said. “They’re bringing him here? To the house?”

“They will bring him here before taking him down to the station,” he said. “I’ll interrogate him here. I’m not going to feel good until I slap him.”

Go there. Read the rest. Rostam's not BSing anyone on this, and he fully explains why this sort of a tactic is being used. Now, from Mr. Lasswell:

When we got outside the truck was just pulling up and smack was about to be laid down. After a brief conversation with his officers to ascertain specifics, Iraqi Police Chief Sherzad directed that the suspect be brought out. The brief interview that followed with the young man was distinctly unsatisfactory, and Chief Sherzad slapped the young man. Michael Totten and I were stunned but not threatened. Of course we had not been running around on a motorcycle shooting up Kirkuk.
The situation was puzzling for Michael and me because while obviously intimidating, the police officers were not menacing. For people unaccustomed to law enforcement in the middle east or even in their own towns, this must seem from the photographs to be the worst kind of police brutality imaginable. But it was all very measured and intelligently controlled. If this was Egypt, I would have been sick to my stomach because the police there are deeply corrupt, insufferable thugs in filthy uniforms who view menacing coercion as the high point of their days. These Iraqi Police (of Kurdish ancestry) were clean and fit in uniforms that would be perfectly acceptable in the United States. These are the kind of armed security people from Kurdistan that I am perfectly comfortable getting in a car with after just meeting and going for a drive in the country with. These people are protectors, not violators and abusers. There were other things out of place, though.

In my military capacity I deliver violence at the maximum effective range available to me, my primary training is in directing weapons to target thousands of yards away and underwater. Without compromising national security, I can reveal that I've never had to sink a submarine in a bar fight. Even without a sonar or weapons control computer, I could tell that the blows being landed on the young man were measured. After getting a close up look at the young man's face, I was surprised to see that he wasn't bleeding. If I had been hitting the drive by shooting accomplice, I am certain that I would have done some damage...and I would have been wrong to do so. The Iraqi Police were slapping the young man in a very precise manner, and only Chief Sherzad was doing so...until Mam Rostam came up.

Even before one of the most distinguished of all people in Iraq confronted the drive by accomplice, the young man was having just about the worst day of his life. The story coming out is that he gave a friend a ride on his motorcycle and the friend got stupid and started shooting. This is not an auspicious beginning to one's day, and then he got caught. Hauled away to what is obviously a big shot's house, he is getting smacked around by a police chief who is both extremely competent and seriously pissed off. Two Americans are going nuts getting him on film, one of them is even taking stills with one hand and shooting video with the other. Then in walks somebody who could give Dirty Harry lessons in being a badass and he's not taking any excuses. The smack Mam Rostam gave that kid made a sound like his brains had popped out of his head and dented the truck.

The Iraqi Police are not just giving the young man a hard time for entertainment's sake, they are sweating an accomplice to get a shooter off the streets as soon as possible. When his phone rang, Chief Sherzad made the young man answer it in handcuffs so he could talk his friend into turning himself in. With obvious authority, the chief took the phone and gave orders. Our translator tells us that the deal is that if the shooter doesn't come in, the driver will spend time in prison for him. Some things are still not adding up, though. A lot more made sense when we were told that the accomplice and the shooter were Kurdish and that nobody had been killed. The lack of injury and conversational tone were better explained by that circumstance. Further updates indicated that the accomplice had family connections that are protecting him. Michael and I were happy, if still a bit confused, because we got to record actual security operations in Kirkuk and neither of us were even a little bit blown up.

Why post this stuff? Two very, very important reasons. First, some may recoil at such actions carried out by the Kirkuk police, but as Michael Totten pointed out, Kirkuk isn't exactly the safest place to be in Iraq. One of the ways to end this sort of violence, especially for those contemplating assistance of the insurgents, or even the general troublemakers, is that if a little knocking around can bring them in line now, skulls won't literally need to be cracked the next time around.

The second reason is simply succinct. The media portrays the Iraqis as unwilling or unable to to what's necessary to curb the chaos and violence, and that little good is really being accomplished. The fact that Kirkuk has a police force is an accomplishment. It's a serious one at that, and the media and the Democrats would prefer to ignore it all, and proclaim the war as being lost. They're wrong.

Publius II

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Interesting ... Two Sides Of The Same Coin: Slant, Anyone?

I know the idea sounds weird, but so did this story when I first spotted it. It was not in it's presentation, but rather it's, shal we say, uncanny observance after the Virginia Tech shooting:

Students wrested a gun away from a University of Southern California student who had been asked to leave an off-campus party after threatening a young woman, police said Tuesday.

Zao Xing Yang, 19, was arrested early Sunday and is being held without bail, Chief William Bratton said at a news conference.

Some students at the party, held at a student's home, overheard Yang making intimidating statements to the woman and threatening her with violence about 3 a.m. Sunday, Bratton said.

Yang began arguing with the host, who noticed Yang was holding a gun, he said.
"Several students wrestled the gun away from Yang and held him until campus security and then LAPD officers arrived," Bratton said.

Detectives searched Yang's off-campus room Monday and found a safe containing methamphetamine packaged for sale, a .44-caliber Magnum revolver and several hundred dollars in cash, Bratton said.

Yang is charged with making criminal threats, assault with a firearm and personal use of a handgun. If convicted, he faces up to 18 years in prison.
Defense attorney Nina Marino declined to comment.

I would like to chalk this incident up to national attention. No one in their right mind would try something like Mr. Cho's rampage from last week right now. Too many people are paying attention to things like this right now. (It does not help with the name of the alledged accoster, either.)

But this was a party where USC students were present, right? So, what precisely did the LA Times have to say about the incident? Can you say "scrubbed?"

A 19-year-old University of Southern California student was tackled by students and arrested by police after displaying a handgun during a party near campus over the weekend.

Zao Xing Yang was arrested early Sunday and is being held at the Twin Towers jail in downtown Los Angeles without bail, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department jail records.
He is expected to face charges of making terrorist threats against others, law enforcement sources said today.

Yang, according to the sources, had the .25-calibre handgun on him at the party in the 2300 block of Portland Street when other partygoers saw the weapon.

A struggle then ensued with the armed student, police said. Other students forced Yang to the ground and held him until police responded shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.

Why did the LA Times feel it necessary to omit the fact that he also possessed a .44 magnum at his home? Why did they opt out of telling readers that meth was found there, as well?

There is a theory WE are hearing that it is a distinct possibility that Mr. Cho might have been misdiagnosed, or been taking the wrong medication. Meth can produce a similar rage in an individual. We have seen stories in the local newspapers about such things. So why did the Times omit these two key facts? The Boston Globe report was an AP report -- wire services. The Times not get the memo?

Personally, finding the story so soon after on where several people killed by a gunman, and few actually tried to prevent as much death possible (for a better explanation of this point, refer to this WaPo piece) surprised me a great deal. Not for any other reason than the media's leap to the gun control issue the day of the massacre. So, a paper like the Globe picking up the story surely surprised the heck out of me.

But what surprised me more was the scrubbing the Times gave it. Key facts omitted, and no real explanation for it; it makes me question where the Times' agenda of supposedly "reporting news" to the people of California lies. This could have been a potentially explosive situation. Those that confronted him, and wrestled him to the ground should be commended highly. They did not stand there and wait for the bullets to come. They took command of the situation, ensuring no one would be visiting the hosptial that night.

But I guess the LA Times does not understand the gravity of things. At the very least, they miss the two obvious parts of this story. Not only was a tragedy likely prevented, but the Times seems content by covering up facts very relevant to the stuation.


ADDENDUM: I just found this on LAPD blog about the incident:

(Google blog search located the story)

On Sunday April 22, 2007 officers with the Los Angeles Police Department arrested and booked a 19-year-old University of Southern California student for illegal possession of a firearm.

Zao Xing Yang, a five-semester undergraduate at USC was attending a student party at a home in the 2300 block of Portland Street, near the USC campus.
Around 3 A.M., some students at the party overheard Yang talking to a young woman. At one point the host of the party asked Yang to leave after he was heard making intimidating statements to the co-ed, and then threatening her with violence.

Yang began arguing with the host and that's when the host noticed Yang holding a gun in his hand. Several students wrestled the gun away from Yang and held him until Campus security and LAPD officers arrived.

Early Monday, April 23, 2007, Southwest Area Detectives obtained a search warrant for Yano's home, which he shares with other roommates. In Yang's room Detectives discovered a safe. Within the safe they found methamphetamine packaged for sale, a .44 caliber magnum revolver, and several hundred dollars in cash.

Yang was booked on the firearm charge and is being held without bail. When Detectives present their case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, they plan to seek charges including; making terrorist threats, possession of unregistered firearms and possession of illegal narcotics for sale.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call Southwest Area Detectives at 213-485-6571.

What, the LA times no longer has a police beat reporter? The LAPD blog here gave a heck of a lot more information than the Times did? Again, I ask anyone out there if they see the slant we do?


Cool discovery for us geeks

Hat-Tip: Glenn Reynolds.

I think I should explain why this is cool, to me, personally. Before becoming a blogger and a columnist (as well as being quite married now) my writing was purely in fiction. I wrote all sorts of stories and to be honest, in my opinion, they weren't that good EXCEPT for a sci-fi series I was working on. I had been working on it for years (going all the way back to high school; the story started out as a short-story in a science fiction class). Most of the people who have had a chance to read some it, liked it a great deal. (To prove this, Marcie has been hounding on me to finish it, and she has read nearly every piece of it; someday I just might.)

A new planet being discovered -- especially one with the possibility of being habitable -- intrigues the Hell out of me, and could be enough to get those creative juices flowing again. (Again, being honest, I've tried jump-starting them, but for too long I've been commenting on politics, current events, etc., that I feared I might have lost that.)

Enough yacking. Read it for yourselves. Yeah, in the end there is a voice of reason that sort of dampens the enthusiasm, but everything up to that point is excitingly positive. We very well may have discovered a world that we may be able to inhabit someday in the far future. Glenn Reynolds had this to say at the end of his synopsis:

I suspect that we'll find more. Now for some progress on getting there. Warp drive, anyone? Faster, please . . .

Warp Drive, Professor Reynolds? A good suggestion, but I'd really like to locate a wormhole, or have the ability to fold space and time to get there. It sure beats coach class, but hey, I'll take the warp trip if someone can make one. I'm not picky ...

For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe."

The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.

There's still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it's worth noting that scientists' requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth's with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.

"It's a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe," said University of Geneva astronomer Michel Mayor, one of 11 European scientists on the team that found the planet. "It's a nice discovery. We still have a lot of questions."

The results of the discovery have not been published but have been submitted to the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Alan Boss, who works at the Carnegie Institution of Washington where a U.S. team of astronomers competed in the hunt for an Earth-like planet, called it "a major milestone in this business."

The planet was discovered by the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile, which has a special instrument that splits light to find wobbles in different wave lengths. Those wobbles can reveal the existence of other worlds.

What they revealed is a planet circling the red dwarf star, Gliese 581. Red dwarfs are low-energy, tiny stars that give off dim red light and last longer than stars like our sun. Until a few years ago, astronomers didn't consider these stars as possible hosts of planets that might sustain life.

The discovery of the new planet, named 581 c, is sure to fuel studies of planets circling similar dim stars. About 80 percent of the stars near Earth are red dwarfs.

The new planet is about five times heavier than Earth. Its discoverers aren't certain if it is rocky like Earth or if its a frozen ice ball with liquid water on the surface. If it is rocky like Earth, which is what the prevailing theory proposes, it has a diameter about 1 1/2 times bigger than our planet. If it is an iceball, as Mayor suggests, it would be even bigger.

Based on theory, 581 c should have an atmosphere, but what's in that atmosphere is still a mystery and if it's too thick that could make the planet's surface temperature too hot, Mayor said.

However, the research team believes the average temperature to be somewhere between 32 and 104 degrees and that set off celebrations among astronomers.

Until now, all 220 planets astronomers have found outside our solar system have had the "Goldilocks problem." They've been too hot, too cold or just plain too big and gaseous, like uninhabitable Jupiter.

The new planet seems just right - or at least that's what scientists think.

"This could be very important," said NASA astrobiology expert Chris McKay, who was not part of the discovery team. "It doesn't mean there is life, but it means it's an Earth-like planet in terms of potential habitability."

Eventually astronomers will rack up discoveries of dozens, maybe even hundreds of planets considered habitable, the astronomers said. But this one - simply called "c" by its discoverers when they talk among themselves - will go down in cosmic history as No. 1.

Besides having the right temperature, the new planet is probably full of liquid water, hypothesizes Stephane Udry, the discovery team's lead author and another Geneva astronomer. But that is based on theory about how planets form, not on any evidence, he said.

"Liquid water is critical to life as we know it," co-author Xavier Delfosse of Grenoble University in France, said in a statement. "Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life. On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X."

Other astronomers cautioned it's too early to tell whether there is water.

"You need more work to say it's got water or it doesn't have water," said retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran, press officer for the American Astronomical Society. "You wouldn't send a crew there assuming that when you get there, they'll have enough water to get back."

The new planet's star system is a mere 20.5 light years away, making Gliese 581 one of the 100 closest stars to Earth. It's so dim, you can't see it without a telescope, but it's somewhere in the constellation Libra, which is low in the southeastern sky during the midevening in the Northern Hemisphere.

Before you book your extrastellar flight to 581 c, a few caveats about how alien that world probably is: Anyone sitting on the planet would get heavier quickly, and birthdays would add up fast since it orbits its star every 13 days.

Gravity is 1.6 times as strong as Earth's so a 150-pound person would feel like 240 pounds.

But oh, the view. The planet is 14 times closer to the star it orbits. Udry figures the red dwarf star would hang in the sky at a size 20 times larger than our moon. And it's likely, but still not known, that the planet doesn't rotate, so one side would always be sunlit and the other dark.

Distance is another problem. "We don't know how to get to those places in a human lifetime," Maran said.

Two teams of astronomers, one in Europe and one in the United States, have been racing to be the first to find a planet like 581 c outside the solar system.

The European team looked at 100 different stars using a tool called HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity for Planetary Searcher) to find this one planet, said Xavier Bonfils of the Lisbon Observatory, one of the co-discoverers.

Much of the effort to find Earth-like planets has focused on stars like our sun with the challenge being to find a planet the right distance from the star it orbits. About 90 percent of the time, the European telescope focused its search more on sun-like stars, Udry said.

A few weeks before the European discovery earlier this month, a scientific paper in the journal Astrobiology theorized a few days that red dwarf stars were good candidates.

"Now we have the possibility to find many more," Bonfils said.

Can't wait to find out more about this puppy.

Publius II

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