December 07, 2002


Iran's ruling radical clerics tried to get the country's students to march in an anti-US rally to commemorate a 1953 Shah atrocity. And thus the rally began, but it ended up in a mass call for the clerics themselves to shut up and release political prisoners. The rallying point--the Shah's troops killing a few students who protested his decision to confer an honorary doctorate on then Vice President Richard Nixon--surely reminded today's students of present circumstances:

Students left their classes Saturday, carrying pictures of those killed in 1953, but soon their slogans turned against the Iranian clergy, particularly the religious courts for sentencing Aghajari to death.

They demanded the resignation of all religious judges and the immediate release of Aghajari and other prisoners detained on political charges.

This led to a scuffle with the police who prevented the students from leaving the campus.

"Aghajari" is Hashem Aghajari, the radical cleric-turned-professor who's under a death sentence for calling on the mullahs to divest their power and democratize the nation, as well as calling for an "Islamic Prostestantism" to reform their faith.

I'm sure the mullahs will be more careful in choosing the students' protest topic next time.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Is China's story of economic progress a gigantic fiction? According to Joshua Kurlantzick, China may be cooking its books.

Wouldn't surprise me a bit.

(thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 09:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Yasser Arafat says the Mossad set up a fake al Qaeda cell in the West Bank so that Ariel Sharon could justify occupying it. The last two years of suicide attacks had nothing to do with it--it's all a Zionist plot!

Interestingly, and tellingly, no evidence to back up this allegation is forthcoming. So...what about al Qaeda then? Is there a cell on the West Bank? Tell us what you know, Yasser.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Even gay men, apparently. Sullivan's back and forth with her is, well I can't say "enlightening" because I already knew most uber-fems hate men deep down. I guess it's "confirming."
Posted by B. Preston at 09:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I paint a thousand pictures here
on the inside of my skull.
Sometimes I'll crack it open,
though my instruments are dull.

For some odd reason, I'm having real trouble getting my thoughts together and making something approaching a useful post out of them. It makes no sense, with so many wild, scary and interesting things going on right now.

To start with, there's the outcome of the Miss World Pageant--tell me it's not a political thing that Miss Turkey won the thing. Don't get me wrong, she's attractive and all, but on the heels of Muslim rampages in Nigeria, and with the pageant blaming the violence on the columnist who wrote the bit about Mohammed making the winner his bride, it's only natural that they'd put in a fix to choose the winner from, you guessed it, an Islamic state. A moderate one, the only real democracy among the Middle East's Islam-oriented states, but nonetheless a state where Muslims heavily outnumber all others. It was rigged, I tell ya.

Then there's the Louisiana senate race. The month-long runoff between Dem incumbent Mary Landrieu and GOP challenger Suzanne Terrell has been a nasty one. In impolite circles it might be called a catfight, but these aren't impolite circles. The blowdried network heads have been out and about saying that a Dem win means the President isn't as strong as he thinks, that the Dems can still win a big one in the increasingly Republican South, while a Terrell win means the Dems are dead below the Mason-Dixon (except Maryland, naturally), and the President's coat-tails are broad and long. I don't really think a win for either side means any of these, to be honest. Louisana is in some ways the last real stronghold of the Dixiecrats--no republican has won statewide, ever. It'll go GOP eventually, maybe tonight. But the Pachs will take it over, as they have nearly all the other territories around the Bayou State. If Louisiana wants a glimpse of its political future, look west. A couple of decades ago, Texas was also a Dixiecrat state. Today, the Dems are in full retreat there from the rural ranches to the sprawling suburbs to the mega metropolises. The GOP is doing well in the South, and all signs point to continued Republican dominance, until something happens to upset the trend. Which could also happen tonight, though that's very unlikely.

Several names have come into the mix after Treasure Sec Paul O'Neill and White House advisor Larry Linsdey resigned, either on their own (not likely) or at the President's request. I like retiring Sen. Phil Gramm, who'll bring a real tax-cutting bent to the job if he gets it. He's a PhD in Economics, a supply-sider with a long record of favoring the market and fighting to shrink the size of government. Steve Forbes, who also seems to be in the running, would also make a good choice. I think the markets will like either Gramm or Forbes should they be chose. President Bush is also reportedly considering Don Evans. Evans is a Bush confidante and friend, and a decent guy, but I think he comes in well behind Gramm and Forbes in terms of impact, and is even behind the other big name that's currently in the mix, Charles Schwab. Yeah, the no-load investmen guy.

Iraq has finished its US and UN mandated homework assignment, delivering a 12,000 page tome with CD ROMs that purports to show that it has no weapons of mass destruction. Which is odd, when you consider the fact that every time President Bush has called for regime change in Baghdad, Iraq has replied with threats to use all kinds of weapons against us, Israel, and any other state that sides with us, to destroy us, make us weap, wipe out our armies, and so forth. About the only way Saddam could make good on that threat is to use a WMD of some kind--his SCUDs won't get job done conventionally, and if he ever tried a land invasion of Israel he'd find out in a hurry what a mistake that is. Ask all of Israel's neighbors, who've tried it themselves only to get a sound thumping for their efforts. But leaving aside that rabbit trail, today has turned out to be a dud of a trip-wire. Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector, basically let the steam out a day or two back, declaring that only the inspectors (and presumably their translators--the documents are mostly written in Arabic) will see the report at first, and they'll report on it to the UN Security Council when that report is ready, which could be weeks from now. So we're left waiting on the inspectors to handle the Iraqi report. Presumably the report is so long because Iraq wanted to try the old trick of burying your enemies in paperwork.

In the mean time, Iraq apoligized today for invading Kuwait in 1990. Sort of like saying "I'm sorry for invading your country, raping your women, killing your young men, driving you all out of your homes and seizing your oil fields." Kuwait isn't impressed, and neither it seems is anyone else--Saddam didn't even read the statement to the Kuwaitis himself, opting instead to have some pitiful underling do it. Sheesh, what class. Next, Saddam will probably figure that it's all the underling's fault that Kuwait didn't accept his sincere apology, and have the underling executed--by another pitiful underling. What a place, but it's apparently a place the hard left here and elsewhere continues to believe should be left alone.

We shouldn't be surprised--the hard left in the West defended (and continues to defend to some extent) Soviet Communism. The hard left continues to think China isn't so bad, with Hillary Clinton once all but endorsing the ChiComs' one-child policy which results in forcing women to abort their children. The hard left preferred the awful Sandanista regime to its less awful (and democratic-leaning) Contra opposition in Nicaragua, and hobnobs with Cuba's Castro on a regular basis. The hard left likes hard men who rule harshly, and has for a long, long time. Some of them like tyrants so much that they're en route to Baghdad to voluntarily become human shields. Though one suspects that should they prevent war, these human shields won't become permanent residents. They don't like tyrants enough to live under them, just help them stay in power.

So why can't I think of something to say about all this?

UPDATE: Dang! Landrieu won.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:10 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 06, 2002


Fisk's latest offers more of his usual nonsense--America-bashing, Osama-loving, irritating noise. But Kevin Drum thinks Fisk is actually weaving quotes out of thin air:

He interviews an anonymous "American intelligence officer just back from Afghanistan" who not only has nothing very original to say but also has an odd way of saying it. Here are three sentences from the first paragraph:

"We didn't catch whom we were supposed to catch." Does that sound like someone actually speaking? It doesn't to me.

"Al-Qaeda are very smart." No American would say "Al-Queda are." It would be "Al-Qaeda is."

"Our intelligence is high-tech — they went back to primitive methods that the Americans cannot adapt to." Again, an American wouldn't say "the Americans." He'd say "we" (as he did in other sentences).

Something seems a little odd about this interview. Maybe it's just sloppy note-taking, but it might be something worse.

Now, I've never been a fan of Mr. Fisk. He's a bad writer, for one thing, and he's constantly cheering for murderers. But having read his piece, I think Kevin is on to something. Check out this paragraph:

"We didn't catch whom we were supposed to catch," the officer told me. "There was an over-expectation by us that technology could do more than it did. Al-Qa'ida are very smart. They basically found out how we track them. They realised that if they communicated electronically, our Rangers would swoop on them. So they started using couriers to hand-carry notes on paper or to repeat messages from their memory and this confused our system. Our intelligence is hi-tech – they went back to primitive methods that the Americans cannot adapt to."

First, Kevin's right about the syntax here: An American officer doesn't refer to his bretheren and sisteren as "the Americans." And few Americans use "cannot." We say "can't." And what's with all the passive grammar? "There was an over-expectation by us..." Who really talks like that? People write like that (badly, since it's so passive), but they seldom talk like that. And look at the officer's logic: Al Qaeda used electronic comm gear early on, but figured out that the US could use it to track them, so they resorted to "primitive methods the Americans cannot adapt to," which means writing out notes on paper and passing them around the country. Why exactly can we Americans not adapt to this? Fisk never says, because either he never bothered to ask or his "officer" has no tactical mind whatsoever. If we know for sure that al Qaeda is passing notes junior high style, wouldn't we have some idea of the routes those notes travel along? Wouldn't our robotic eyes in the sky--Global Hawk and Predator--catch some of this activity once in a while, and either interdict it or, more likely, just follow it around and see where the messenger comes and goes? Of course we would. And we have ground operators--those now famously anonymous special ops types riding on horseback, fiddling with GPS sets, squawking on comm gear, coordinating Northern Alliance troops and calling in US close-air support simultaneously--all over Afghanistan. If Johnny Taliban is passing paper notes to Jimmy al Qaeda, these special ops guys stand a good chance of figuring it out. There are also thousands of allied troops all over Afghanistan as well.

Besides, there's little evidence that the splintered al Qaeda and Taliban forces remaining in Afghanistan have the ability to communicate and coordinate among themselves. We've seen dozens of small group attacks on our bases in Bagram and elsewhere in the year since the liberation of Kabul, but nothing sustained and nothing requiring even the most basic level of coordination. It just appears to be small gangs of guys with rockets popping off at our guys, hoping to get lucky and hit something.

It's a serious thing to accuse a journalist of manufacturing quotes, but Fisk's blind-quoted "officer" requires a closer look. I don't think his story stands up too well.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


The NY Times now says it will run those two columns it spiked over the Augusta National flap. They'll apparently run tomorrow or Sunday. That "damage control" memo must surely go down as one of the least successful PR spin efforts in recent history--its intent having been to help justify the Times' editorial decision, while the effect has been to reverse it.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Via Diane E. over at Letter from Gotham (welcome back to the sick habit, Diane), I find out that some uber-fem blogger has me listed under "Prostitutions" on her blogroll. So I go to look, turns out it's one of those Blogsnob ads. For you non-bloggers in the crowd, Blogsnob is a way to get your site randomly linked on others' sites while they get randomly linked on yours. Sort of a way to get the word out in a pure dice-rolling kind of way. The Blogsnob code on her site constitutes the "Prostitions" section (mine's over on the left where all the other links are, pretty far down, noted by a tiny dark square with the initials "BS" in it). So while Brooke (the uber-fem) isn't calling me a prostitute by name, she is implying that trying to let people know you have a blog is an act of prostitution. If that's the case, then why is she a member of Blogsnob in the first place? Bogsnob's entire raison d'etre is to help people get links to their blogs on more sites. And if getting the word out is prostitution, why blog at all, since for most people blogging is a way to get your point of view before 10 or 20 eyeballs that have no other way of hearing you rant? One thing you can almost be sure of--since the blogger in question here is one of those high-strung feminoids of the "we're fierce, we're feminist, and we're in your face" variety, the "Prostitutions" bit has some sort of deep meaning or significance--it's no joke.

Whatever, in any case. Whether I'd made a mint of this junk yard (which I haven't), it wouldn't be prostitution. It would be individual success based on one guy's ability to write his tail off, never sleep, wander through the waking hours with bleary red eyes, and once in a while write a post that's worth a darn. But hey, if you want to be a part of making that success happen, I won't stop you.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


According to one former weapons inspector, the answer is "yes." And since that inspector isn't Scott Ritter, I'm inclined to believe him.

(thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Well it was the former--a suicide, in fact. But a group of visitors to the museum where she chose to end it all took a while to figure out that she wasn't "playing possum".

What does it say about the state of modern art when a dead woman can be confused for an artwork?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Peggy Noonan. Do I need to say more?
Posted by B. Preston at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The Germans are looking into possible connections between the 9-11 hijackers and some Saudi ambassadors.

The business card of a member of staff at the Saudi embassy in Berlin was found among the possessions of Mounir al-Motassadeq, the Moroccan student charged with having helped plan the September 11 attacks, when he was arrested last year, a spokeswoman for the chief federal prosecutor said yesterday.

Mr Motassadeq is also thought to have made telephone calls to Saudi Arabia dating back to December 2000, according to German media reports.

Notebooks and computer files seized from Mr Motassadeq's Hamburg flat contained many Saudi Arabian telephone numbers. Telephone records indicate he called the numbers many times. Mr Motassadeq has admitted knowing the Hamburg hijackers involved in September 11, but denies involvement.

All of this could have an innocent explanation...
Posted by B. Preston at 01:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


...into the federal reserve bank building. Hmmm....
Posted by B. Preston at 12:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 05, 2002


Cal Thomas gets it right: it's not America's job to clean up for the messes made by Islamist fanatics. That job should be handled by the moderate Muslims who supposedly vastly outnumber them.

Of course, America will have to do it anyway, but as Thomas says, pressuring the moderats to get busy and help out will either actually get them more involved, or expose any hidden agendas. We should start with CAIR.
Posted by B. Preston at 07:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The Blog Basher guy is apparently set to bash me, since I came in second in his latest poll and he's already bashed the winner and a couple of others. But he says the JYB doesn't display properly on his machine. Anyone else out there having the same problem? I do use tables extensively, and a dash of Java, but those are pretty standard things to embed in a page. Maybe the Basher needs to upgrade to something newer than Webcrawler on a 486 with that 12" black-and-green display? Or maybe he's gone too far the other way, and his little Nokia cell phone/PDA/GPS doohickey just doesn't have enough pixels to handle me?

Anyhow, if anyone else is having some difficulty with the JYB (other than my views, or just because you don't like the layout or pittly stuff like that) drop me a line. I've been thinking of redoing the whole thing lately, and if enough people are having trouble with the current look this might motivate me to get off my duff and do it.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:40 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack


The questions that arise from the recent trip include: who paid the bill, and what was Mr. Gore up to while he was there? He apparently spoke before a group closely tied to the ChiComs--a stupid move for lots of reasons, not least of which is the fact that he and his old boss took piles of money from groups connected to the ChiComs back in 1996. The man's judgement seems to be as sound as ever.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


We got a good dusting today, 7 or 8 inches, pretty much shutting down the entire city (and giving me an unexpected day off). Thankfully, we've had power all day--usually when winter hits Maryland in earnest, BGE takes a big hit somewhere and a big chunk of the power grid goes black. Blogging had been light today because, honestly, I've just wanted to hang out with the family and enjoy the snow.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2002


A judge rules the feds can hold him as an "enemy combatant." But, he gets to talk to his attorneys now. A mixed day on the Abduyah Padilla front, I guess.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Iraq is already playing the "inspectors are really US spies game. Again. Last time around, this gambit eventually led to Iraq's expulsion of the inspectors. This time around it should lead to the "expulsion" of Saddam Hussein.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


How's that for a mental image? Doug Turnbull analyzes Sulli in reference to a hit on Paul Krugman.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Stephen Q. wonders why I got all excited about computer models that suggest gas giant planets may form more quickly than we currently suspect:

"Still, it's cool to think that something as big as Jupiter may get cranked
up within a few human generations in terms of real time. "

Why is it?

I saw this story when it first came up a week or ten days ago and said, "Ho,
hum." And then it stayed and stayed. I didn't get the draw of the story then
and still don't. They don't have "real" data and I can "prove" with
statistics that I will be more rich than Bill Gates by selling pencils on a
street corner in a year. Is it just the idea that excites the masses? It
just looks like bad science to me.

It's not bad science. Bad science is taking erroneous data, or even good data, and making it say something that it doesn't (insert picture of Darwin here). This story is about refining a model of how planets form. I guess I find it interesting because the whole subject of planet formation is intriguing, and this refined model may represent a new way of looking at the process. Models work like this: scientists come up with an idea that they can't physically test in any way (can't very well go out and try and replicate the formation of our solar system). So they work along two threads--real data and computer modeling. The real data, from Hubble and elsewhere, is great but incomplete in that it gives us snapshots of epochal events but doesn't show much of the dynamical processes at work. Computer models, which are highly detailed simulations using gravity and momentum and which often take supercomputers to calculate, can help shed light on some of the dynamics, and to the extent that they can get the models to mimic the real data they believe they're on to a line toward figuring out how the whole thing works. So the data is by itself useful but incomplete, and the models without the data aren't of much use either. But taken together, they can strengthen the picture scientists can put together about how solar systems are born. Thus, we understand the universe a little better.

As far as gas giants go, they're necessary parts of any healthy solar system. Jupiter, for instance, is our big brother, its gravitational field acting to keep large objects from hitting us very often. Without Jupiter, it's fair to say that we'd get bombarded by big comets and other nasty things regularly enough to stifle life here. But a big debate has long raged over how and where Jupiter formed, and whether its formation period leaves enough time under current models to allow earths to form. Most of the the solar systems we see out beyond ours have Jupiter-sized planets much closer to their host stars than ours, which makes forming earth-like planets all but impossible. And with earlier models positing that it takes Jupiters a long time to form, it made figuring out the timing of earth's formation more difficult. If Jupiters can form quickly, though, they'll have time to form just about anywhere in a solar system and, if conditions are right, get to a decent spot to allow and assist earths to form.

The other interesting factor is that if it's true that Jupiters form quickly, a new range of telescopes currently in development may be able to catch a decent run of the process in real time in infant solar systems, by observing for a few decades. That data will test this newer computer model and ones yet to be developed, and may give us some really cool things to see and incorporate into Star Trek plots.

Of course, being a computer model, it could all be a big pile of hooey. Modeling isn't an exact science yet, but the search will be interesting.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


The August National dustup has caused yet more shenanigans at the Rainseian NY Times. Sheesh.

I hate to break it to Raines and Co., but whether or not Augusta lets women in is of no concern to the 99.9999 percent of Americans who'll never be invited to the august club regardless of gender and all that anyway. We don't care. It's a private club, with a right of association, and the Times under Howell Quixote's rule is mounting one attack that just won't resonate no matter what he does.

And spare us the drivel about Tiger Woods and symbolically backing out of the Masters and all that. Tiger's the greatest golfer in history. Let him be that, and stop trying to turn him into some kind of racial card you lightheaded liberals can play.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

VANITY FAIR SHOULD HAVE A BETTER ONLINE PRESENCE... we bloggers could dissect David Rose's upcoming article spelling out 100 contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq. That's right--100 known contacts, in the past decade. Rose squared off against the increasingly obnoxious Chris Matthews on Goofball last night, and previewed his article, which hit the streets today:

MATTHEWS: The January issue of “Vanity Fair” magazine hits newsstands tomorrow. In it, contributing editor David Rose writes a feature on Ahmad Chalabi, the leader of the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congress. According to Rose, “Chalabi has been supplying the CIA with information that links Iraq to al Qaeda, but the CIA has all but ignored it.”
Rose reports-quote-”According to a senior administration official, there are almost 100 separate CIA reports of Iraq, al Qaeda cooperation going back to 1992, including a claim that Farouk Hijazi, one of the Iraqi intelligence agency’s most senior agents traveled to Afghanistan in 1998 to meet with Osama bin Laden.”
David Rose joins us now from London, and MSNBC terrorism analyst, Steve Emerson is in Washington. Let’s go first to David Rose. Based upon all of your reporting, sir, what would be-what would lead someone to justify a U.S. action-a military action against Iraq?
DAVID ROSE, VANITY FAIR: Well it’s not for me to make that decision, but I think...
MATTHEWS: Well what can be used in your reporting that’s information of validity importance to our military and to our president?
ROSE: Well I think there are two things in my report, which could be of considerable value. The first is that the Iraqi National Congress has been running what amounts to its own, if you like, freelance independence intelligent service with agents right inside Iraq’s own security and intelligence agencies, and has been doing so for some time.
And yet, despite the fact that they have proven to have acquired both individuals and information of high value in the recent past so far, the west official intelligence agencies, the CIA and the British MI6 have taken very little notice of what the INC have had to say and indeed, have deliberately downplayed the importance of their possible contribution.
The second important thing...
MATTHEWS: Let me stick to that point just for a minute, David. The U.S. intelligent service for overseas, matters of the Central Intelligence Agency, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency is George Tenet, who works directly for the president, is loyal to the president. The president trusts him. Why would he be deceitful and not tell the president the al Qaeda connections with Iraq? Why would he not do that on purpose?
ROSE: Well, I think you possibly exaggerating a little bit. I mean George Tenet certainly did sign off on recent speeches by both the president and by Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, in which they both set out some details of the Iraq/al Qaeda connection. But I think it’s fair to point out that Mr. Tenet occupied that post for a number of years before 9th of September 2001, and if ever an intelligence failure can be found in history, it was September the 11th last year.
To put it at its crudest, neither the CIA nor any other western agency saw it coming. Now, I don’t think there was any country in the world that was more intensely spied upon than Iraq in the 1990s. And it’s quite clear from this new analysis, which is being done of the CIA’s own reports, the material which the CIA has produced and graded as belonging to its most reliable counterintelligence, it’s quite clear from that material that the CIA knew of quite a large number of connections between Iraq and al Qaeda going back 10 years, nearly 100.
Now, as one agency-as one, I’m sorry, administration official told me in reporting this article, in the Cold War, people made very important policy decisions on the basis of four or five intelligence reports. Here we have nearly 100 and yet it seems to be new that there’s actually all this evidence of an Iraq/al Qaeda connection.
So you have to ask why. Well I think it’s because for many years the CIA and indeed the State Department have been laboring under the completely mistaken belief that the so-called secular dictator, Saddam Hussein, would not get into bed with an Islamist fundamentalist group, i.e. al Qaeda...
ROSE: That’s just wrong, and the fact is they failed to take notice of this information, which their own sources, their own agents and singles interceptions have been producing, and you have to ask the question, well if they had properly analyzed that material, if they had realized...
MATTHEWS: Right...
ROSE: ... its significance during the 1990s, could they have...

And there, Matthews spit and spat and interrupted his guest just he gets to the salient point--that had Tenet's CIA been up to its task, it might have caught 9-11 and stopped it. I especially love Matthews' assertion that Tenet is loyal to Bush. Tenet is one of many Clinton picks still working in Washington, and is hardly loyal to Bush. In fact, Tenet has publicly contradicted Bush, on this very question, at lease once. Tenet is indeed loyal, just not to Bush.

And the big question...Iraq and 9-11...

MATTHEWS: ... between-do you believe based upon your reporting, which is extensive, and you’re quite a reporter, Mr. Rose, do you believe that your reporting supports an Iraqi involvement in 9/11? That’s so important to the American people watching this show. Was Iraq involved in what happened to us 9/11 based upon your reporting? Bottom line it.
ROSE: I think the bottom line is this, that there is some evidence of logistical and other support by the Iraqi intelligence service for the 9/11 hijackers. There is both the connection between Ziad Jarrah and al-Shehhi and Iraq and the UAE, which I’ve already referred to.

100 contacts, since 1992. That's after the Gulf War, folks, when Saddam was supposedly getting comfy in our containment box. And as Rose points out, 100 contacts is far more than the threshold usually employed during the Cold War. Interesting. Looks like I'll be picking up VF on the way home.

(thanks to Chris for tracking down this transcript)
Posted by B. Preston at 03:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


So what else is new, right? Well, Jeff at OpinionsGalore (is this a microcosmic description of the blogosphere, or an intellectual dressing-up of a Bond Girl?) takes them to task eloquently:

What GOOD are journalists, if they ignore the worst human rights abuses, the worst examples of genocide and religious persecution and tyranny, the worst of these so called "governments" that are either (a) too weak to prevent, or (b) in league with, criminal elements who use their sovereign territory as breeding grounds for horror and terror? What GOOD are journalists if the whole sordid story of Saddam Hussein and his minions, who rape women and girls and torture children in front of their families, who routinely murder anybody guilty of even the mildest lack of enthusiasm for Saddam, is not presented to our country? How can we expect to build public pressure, first in our country, then around the world, without this crucial information? What GOOD are journalists if they are oblivious to the conflict of interest that exists when they use sources such as the the UN and Department of State, or locals in countries that kill those who are viewed as traitors, such as Palestinians in the West Bank, Afghans sympathetic to the Taliban, and Iraqis who fear torture or death?

For you real journalists out there reading this, Jeff has just described why there are 100,000 blogs out there with writers working for gratis to ask the questions you guys get paid to fail to ask. We're tired of waiting on you.

By the way, give Fox its due here. This morning Steve Doocey and Brian Kilmeade grilled that Saudi shill who's been making the rounds on the Wahhabi entity's latest attempt to deflect criticism. They specifically asked him who was behind 9-11, and he unequivocally said that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda planned and executed it, and admitted without much relunctance that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Yeah, the House of Sod is still playing games, but at least Fox asked them some of the big questions they should be forced to answer.

Oh, and for you real journalists reading this, that's why Fox rules now. They actually, you know, dig a little bit now and then--and ask the kind of questions most Americans actually want answered as opposed to asking the questions big journalists think Americans should want answered.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley isn't yet widely known outside Maryland, but thanks to Esquire, which recently named him the nation's best young mayor, and his high profile at this week's DLC meeting, he will be soon. He's a Dem, under 40, telegenic and a real law-and-order warrior. But he takes some stands sure to appease the Donks' left flank: for instance, he opposes the death penalty. He hasn't said much about the war yet other than to criticize the Bush Administration for not giving local cops enough high-grade info to allow them in on the domestic anti-terror campaign--a sensible criticism, actually--so he has the chance to position himself to the right of Bush on the war (like Sen. Schumer has been attempting recently) while tracking left on some social issues. O'Malley is, in short, a canny animal:

O'Malley is neither an "old" nor a "new" Democrat. He's of a younger generation than the baby boomers who dominate the Democratic Party and founded the DLC. As his supporters often point out, O'Malley is a post-civil rights era Democrat who is not replaying the riots of 1968 in his mind and is not locked into the racial and ideological clashes of that period.

In addition to opposing the death penalty, the mayor strongly supports affirmative action and opposes state tax cuts - all orthodox liberal positions.

But he has also privatized city jobs, angered local unions and approved tax breaks for developers to stimulate business.

"O'Malley is very difficult to categorize," said Carol Arscott, an Annapolis-based pollster. "His opposition to the death penalty clearly doesn't fit into the DLC mold."

He's an admirer of Bill Clinton's political instincts but doesn't have anywhere near the personal baggage of the "big he." He's a straight shooter who'll actually call himself a "progressive liberal" in public while taking on the wackier lefties in Maryland's political apparatus. That's a target-rich environment, and has served him ample opportunities to show that he may be liberal, but not of the San Francisco variety. He's not a race-baiter, or at least hasn't become one yet. He's also very difficult to dislike on a personal level, and seems to be a principled sort. There are some knocks against him, to be sure--his early days running Baltimore were marked by charges of nepotism and other similar practices; and he's another in a long line of pols who seem to have just fallen into politics as the family business as opposed to politicking for any more core reason--but so far they're minor compared to most of the major Democrat hopefuls' well-catalogued problems.

Martin O'Malley is a man to watch in the next few years.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


According to a newly refined model of planetary formation, gas giant planets like Jupiter may form in as little as a few hundred years. The prevailing idea up to now is that they take a million or more years to form; if this model holds up, it essentially means entire solar systems may get up and running faster than previously suspected. It may also mean that places we now think are somewhat hostile to planet formation, such as the Orion Nebula with its hot central stars that essentially boil off the gases needed to make giants, may not be hostile enough to halt planet formation. Which means a news piece I worked on last year was probably wrong. Oh well. A cautionary note, though--this new time scale is based on the improvement of computer simulations, as opposed to image or spectrographic data. Models are fine and useful tools, but can only take you so far. We have no real way of knowing just how many variables to account for when programming models of such complex phenomena as planet formation, or global weather patterns, or anything of that scale. So this updated and refined model should be taken for what it is, and really what science in general is--the best guess the scientists can make today. They'll probably guess better tomorrow, and even better the day after that, and the next best guess may overturn today's best guess. Happens all the time.

Still, it's cool to think that something as big as Jupiter may get cranked up within a few human generations in terms of real time.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Check out this nauseating online petition supporting Robert Fisk's nonsensical drivel. Then, let's take a sampling of some of the statements accompanying the signatures:

4609. Safar Media needs honest people to face the fake of the Jews media.
4565. Henry Noble The Freedom Socialist Party values your voice
2452. ali Donot worry GOD will take care of them
2416. abo alfeda All muslims Support You
2765. bob blane Keep speaking the truth, matter what flak you get from the Zionist/USA camp.
6388. J B Campbell Zionist parasites out of Palestine and back to Russia whence you came!
5862. FARID The Internationale League for Defense of Islam and Muslim's support ROBERT FISK!

As you can see, Fisk's supporters have a distinctly Arab caste. And what's with the people claiming to speak for GOD, and "all Muslims." Arrogant, no? Chock full of anti-Jew rhetoric, too.

As for Fisk himself, what is it that he really expects of us? We were attacked, savagely, and ever since he has gone to great lengths to defend the attackers and accuse the attacked. What he seems to be offering us is a bargain of sorts--a Fiskian bargain, as reader Chris R. calls it--in which he offers you the apparent chance to get out of having to fight a brutal war for survival. He warns you of untold horror should you fail to heed his warning. But it's a trap--if you listen to him, you'll only be attacked again, and probably more brutally next time. Fisk seems to offer peace, but on the terms of the terrorist and with their knives at your throat. Accepting his bargain to avoid death, you meet it all the same.

A Fiskian bargain.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Lately I've seen a number of blog roundabouts on the subject of faith, to the point where I more or less party-crashed such a discussion a few posts back. But I have to say that the whole debate over faith is amusing to me. Paul described faith as the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Makes sense, right, when you think about it. For the Christian, faith is indeed the tangible thing we can cling to that represents our great hopes--of reconciliation, of unconditional love, of peace, of redemption. And it's also obviously the evidence of things we can't see--I have faith because I know my Redeemer lives, despite the fact I've never come literally face to face with him.

But Christians aren't alone in living by faith. Far from it, actually.

Do me a favor. Take our your wallet, open it up and take out any bill you happen to have in there. Now mail it to me. Just kidding. Actually, just look at it. What is it? Say it's a $20 bill. What makes it become something you can hand over in exchange for a certain amount of goods or services? It's just ink on paper, no more or less significant really than the stuff we all print out at work or at home every day of our lives. Just ink on paper. But if you tried to print some kind of personal $20 bill yourself, you wouldn't fare too well in the economic system. Eventually, you'd wind up in jail. So what makes the real $20 so special?

Faith. Our money these days isn't backed by a gold standard the way it used to be, and it isn't backed by any other hard method either. It's worth is derived purely on the basis of faith--faith in our republic, faith in our economic system, faith that tomorrow will bring more or less what yesterday and today have already brought us. If enough people lost faith in our system tomorrow, that $20 bill couldn't buy you a pack of gum.

So those of you who like to discuss issues of faith as though you are entirely, resolutely, absolutely above the "irrational" world of faith, and always demanding of only the hardest of facts, think about what makes your money worth anything. Next time you wander up to the counter at Starbucks and plop down your hard earned cash for a latte, think about why that transaction is possible. It isn't because the rest of world operates the way you think it does, or should. It's because the entire economic system of the United States of America, and therefore the rest of the world, rests on the faith you and I place in it everyday. Without our faith, the system would collapse.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:03 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 03, 2002


2002 is looking more and more like 1937. Or maybe 1938. It's getting ugly, fast, on the continent that's constantly sneering at us backward hayseeds and our cowboy president:

On Saturday, unknown assailants hurled a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue in the Belgian port city of Antwerp, where riots by Arab immigrants began a week ago following the shooting of a 27-year-old Moroccan immigrant. About 30,000 people of Arab origin live in Antwerp. It is also home to a long-established Orthodox Jewish community of about 20,000.

Several weeks ago, Germany announced a decision to stop all arms sales to Israel. This comes at a time when attacks on memorials to Nazi-era victims are on the rise. In at least seven attacks this year, extremists destroyed a memorial plaque at Raben-Steinfeld, vandalized a memorial in Woebbelin and a memorial column in Lutterow, and drew a swastika on the grounds of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the Nov. 9 anniversary of Krystalnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, when Nazis targeted Jewish businesses and synagogues in 1938.

German police are investigating an incident last month where anti-Semitic disruptions occurred at a Berlin ceremony to restore a street name referring to Jews that was erased by Nazi officials in 1938. Hecklers at the event booed, whistled and shouted slogans including "Jews out" and "The Jews crucified Jesus," according to Germany's Central Council of Jews. Paul Spiegel, the group's head, said he was horrified and that the incident "reminds us painfully of the late 1920s," when the Nazis began their rise to power in Germany. The event re-established Juedenstrasse – an old German word for Jews' Street – in the western district of Spandau after years of deliberations by local officials. The name, dating back to the 16th century, recalls Spandau's former Jewish community. Under Nazi rule, the street was renamed for Gottfried Kinkel, a 19th-century poet and art historian who was once imprisoned in Spandau.

Fiona Macaulay, public affairs director of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, says incidents of anti-Semitism have increased 400 percent in Britain since the start of the intifada in the fall of 2000.

A one-day international conference on sanctions and divestment in London last week called for a boycott of Israel "not dissimilar to the campaign which contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa."

Sick stuff, and not nearly the full extent of what's going on out there. It's global, it's urgent, and it has one aim--the eradication of the Jews. Nazism by another name--that's our enemy. And it's taking hold in places where the people know full well what they're doing, because they've done it before. Or their parents and grandparents did. Or, in Britain's case, their parents and grandparents fought against Nazism. I'd be real interested to know who's behind the anti-Semitic incidents in Britain. It's likely not native-born Brits.

(thanks to Chris)
Posted by B. Preston at 06:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Al Qaeda played no role in the downfall of the USSR (it didn't even exist when the USSR fell), yet somehow it thinks that because some of its guys were involved in the Afghanistan meat-grinder back in the '80s, they're invincible. I guess it still hasn't dawned on them that their little jihad hung on for so long because we were using them as proxies in our struggle against Comintern, the evil empire and all that. Without our Stinger missiles, the Afghan jihad would've been ground to dust in short order most likely. Their battefield skills have proven to be only slightly sharper than the average paintball team.

So anyway, flash forward to the present, and al Qaeda has now managed not only to irritate beyond all hope of reconciliation the world's lone superpower (and a military power that's roughly half a century ahead of all its competitors, technologically and tactically), but now with last week's Kenya attacks has the Israelis on the warpath against them too. Stupid. Really stupid.

Israel now is not only threatening nukes, but plans to send out its own hit squads to get al Qaeda ops one by one. They can do it. They have a long history of doing just that, actually, and with style and aplomb to boot. Think about what happened to the Black September killers who kidnapped and murdered Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972:

According to a well-informed source, the service has alerted sleeper agents in Saudi Arabia and Yemen to hunt down the planners of the attacks on the Israeli-owned tourist hotel and Israeli passenger plane at Mombasa.

Codenamed Warriors, these highly trained agents who volunteer to live under cover in Arab countries normally remain dormant except in wartime, when their mission is to undermine Arab preparations for strikes against Israel.

The last time such a serious order was given was in 1972. The then prime minister, Golda Meir, ordered Mossad to kill the Palestinians involved in the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. All but one were eliminated over six years.

Al Qaeda, you boys already had yourselves in some serious hot water with that stunt you pulled on us last year. Now you're just plain screwed. Stupid. Really stupid.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


The Saudi entity is finally beginning to try and stem the flow of its money to terrorists. Or so they say, anyway, with the usual caveat that they never supported terrorism in the first place:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The Saudi government Tuesday announced a number of legal and regulatory measures to control charity funds, some of which is alleged to have found its way to terrorist outfits.

A Saudi official said the announcement was made to correct what he called misconceptions about Saudi cooperation in the worldwide attempt to choke the flow of funds to groups such as Osama bin Laden's al Qaida network.

"For too long, Saudi Arabia has been wrongly accused of being uncooperative or ineffective in combating terrorism," said Adel Al Jubeir, foreign policy adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. "The unfounded charges against Saudi Arabia have gotten out of control. We recognize that it is now incumbent on us to more openly articulate our anti-terrorism policies and actions."

While announcing the new measures, the Saudis acknowledged some of the billions of dollars that annually flow through Saudi charitable organizations might have ended up in the hands of terrorists.

So...let me get this straight. Even though you folks have been "wrongly accused" of uncooperativeness, yada yada yada, you're acting today to do what, exactly? Oh, stop funds from going to terrorists. Which, correct me if I'm wrong here, you pledged to do over a year ago. But you failed to do, just as you've continued to issue payments to Palestinian killers in Israel. It's shocking that some call you uncooperative. Wherever would anyone get such an idea?

Of course, it's obvious what's going on here. The whole flap with Prince Bandar and Princess Whatshername and their cash ending up in the hands of a few of the 9-11 killers stirred up just a little more heat than the Saudi entity could stand. It's a PR disaster for them, and that's the one thing they can't countenance. Support a fanatical Islamist cult bent on world domination and conversion by the sword which kills and enslaves thousands around the world every year--fine. Spawn killers and terror masters--fine. Killers attack the Saudi's great patron, killing thousands--fine. But kick up a PR fiasco for the Saudis, and they get right on the terror war bandwagon.

Useless, pathetic parasites.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:28 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Yeah, I'm still pointing out how utterly slippery and dishonest the "aggressive progressives" really are. Case in point: Today coalition aircraft (which means US and British) attacked a site in one of Iraq's no-fly zones. It's a common thing, has been for a decade, and nearly always occurs when Iraq lights up a radar site and paints one of our birds as a target for anti-aircraft fire. We respond by taking it out. The Washington Post reported the attack amid a story about the ongoing weapons inspections. When quoting that story in today's email briefing, here's what had to say:

UN inspectors returned to Iraq on November 27, and were welcomed with open arms
- and weapons facilities. For four straight days, Iraq has given complete
cooperation to UN inspectors. This is obviously humiliating Bushfeld & Co., who
"bombed an oil company office building in the southern port city of Basra,
killing four people and wounding 27 others. An Iraqi military spokesman said two
rockets hit the offices of the Southern Oil Co. this morning. The company
supervises the country's oil exports under a U.N. program that allows Iraq to
sell oil for food and humanitarian supplies... An Iraqi military spokesman said
coalition planes staged 62 'armed sorties' over southern Iraq this morning."
Impeach Bush Now!

The "complete cooperation" line is debatable; we'll know in a few days how cooperative Iraq is being when they declare the status of their weapons programs and we can compare that declaration against our own intel. But the "..." after the line about humanitarian supplies is there for one purpose--to leave out the American response to Iraq's charges that we killed civilians. Here's what the Post has in place of the "...":

U.S. officials confirmed an attack occurred, but they said U.S. and British planes, which police "no-fly" zones in southern and northern Iraq, hit air-defense facilities near Basra in response to Iraqi antiaircraft artillery fire.

So not only doesn't believe what the US says about what's going on in Iraq, but doesn't even report it and attempt to refute it. They just leave it out, apparently hoping no one follows their link to the story to check it out for themselves. In so doing, betrays itself. It's an Iraqi fifth column, pure and simple. I know, I know--Andrew Sullivan got himself into all kinds of hot water for saying that anti-war activisits amounted to a fifth column. Before you accuse me of going over the top, find some innocent way to explain what is doing.

To recap, they're reporting on action within Iraq, quoting the Iraqis' official story (generated by a tyrannical government that does all sorts of horrible things on a minute-to-minute basis), and doesn't even dignify the US position with so much as an acknowledgement that there's even a disagreement about what happened. I can't think of an innocent explanation for this. It's lying, and lying with an agenda.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I'm a Christian of the very conservative sort, theologically. Virgin birth, resurrection, Jesus is who He says He is, the works. That's what makes you a Christian. I'm a Creationist in every sense of the word. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and so forth and so on. Yet I believe in the Big Bang, too. Cognitivie dissonance? Nope. And I don't buy the bang because it's hip or trendy or so I can avoid having to defend some difficult scriptural passage or another, but because the data supports it and scripture allows it. For Christians, and especially Creationists, the Big Bang isn't a threat to our faith when properly understood. It was in fact such a threat to the nihilistic tendencies of much of the scientific community that it was hotly fought for years, yet the data won out, and today's scientists largely acknowledge that the universe did in fact have a discreet beginning though they quibble endlessly about the mechanics of the whole thing. On the big picture though, they have come around to our way of thinking. Took 'em long enough.

I'm saying all this in response to a little dustup between Susanna Cornett and John Scalzi. Mr. Scalzi seems to like to attack Christians made of straw, as opposed to debating those made of flesh and blood.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:05 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 02, 2002


Mississippi's Democrat Lt Gov, Amy Tuck, has switched to the GOP.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:47 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


I'm a little tired of hearing newsies say that so-and-so terror group has "admitted responsibility" for a terror attack. What such groups do is not take responsibility, which assumes some measure of reprisal or restitution, but admit guilt--saying that they did it and nyah-nyah to the world. So, al Qaeda seems to have admitted its guilt in the Kenyan attacks against Israeli targets. The world should, if it understood basic morality, act accordingly now and help us hunt down every last al Qaeda op.

Responding to the attacks and the broadening of scope that they represent, the head of Israel's National Security Council says Israel will respond to any mega-attacks with levels of force that were hitherto unthinkable. Nukes, in other words.

Note first who is escalating things. For you lefties (and some righties too) out there who still think Bush is the greater evil, al Qaeda keeps upping the ante with each attack. By now wielding missiles against civilian aircraft, they threaten all of us. It's no longer really even a question of keeping hijackers and bombers off our planes, when some whack-job can just sit along the normal flight paths near airports with a shoulder-fired missile and blow planes out of the sky. And in attacking hotels in far-flung vacation spots, it's al Qaeda that keeps saying that though we have them on the run (and we do), there will always be a target soft enough for them to hit. They're trying to bring down civilization, folks, and we have to stop them. It really is that simple.

The one problem Israel, and the US and the rest of our allies, face even though we have the nuke card to play, is where do you drop the nuke? It isn't as though al Qaeda has a sprawling industrial complex we can target, and it isn't as though al Qaeda has a political nerve center that we can flatten. A thousand nukes probably won't do much good against an enemy that keeps fighting on though its leader is increasingly likely a dead man, and an enemy that's as diffuse as al Qaeda is. We could turn the desert sand to glass tomorrow if we felt like it, but al Qaeda cells in the Philippines, in Indonesia, and in Europe and the US would still try to find a way to hit us. We're shadow boxing with modern Nazis hell-bent on converting us to their quasi-religion by the sword.

What we need is cooperation, from everyone. Stopping al Qaeda is about more than killing off Osama bin Laden or his top lieutenants, more than capturing Mullah Omar, though those are goals we should pursue and in fact are pursuing. As long as the Saudis keep bankrolling terror on the sly and get away with it, and as long as the Syrians, the Iranians, the Iraqis and the Palestinians are allowed to keep playing their double game, we won't win. It's that simple. It's high time our leadership here in the US spoke plainly again about the evil we fight, and it's high time the rest of the world took heed.

I don't really know what I'm trying to say here, except that I'm a bit frustrated by the apparent lethargy of the civilized nations of the world in dealing openly and honestly with the problem at hand. We face a determined enemy, one that's crafty, wealthy and cunning--and deadly serious about killing us if we don't capitulate to their irrational demands. It seems to come down to the hijacking of the word "peace," and the twisting of its meaning by people who actually have no interest in making the kind of sacrifices that peace sometimes requires. Peace is not man's natural state, and is best secured and maintained by eternal vigilance. These people who keep opposing any and all action in the name of "peace" think only of the horrors to come in the near term, not aware that still greater horrors await us if we don't just go ahead and get the immediate battles behind us. War is a horrible thing, but sometimes we just have to do what we have to do. I think it's a willful ignorance at work--these people somewhere deep inside are aware that great sacrifice was required to grant them the freedom they enjoy, and that others even today continue to sacrifice to maintain their freedom. And with that freedom, these people denounce their protectors, decry their leaders and coddle their killers. They're fools, and they endanger us all.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Oriana Fallaci passionately describes the situation she finds in Europe, regarding terror, the plight of the Jews, and her nation's tolerance for murderous fanatics. It's an astoundingly honest piece, and worth a read. It's difficult to pull a quote--the whole thing is such a seamless whole--but here's one:

I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new nazism. A fascism, a nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth. I see it, yes, and I say the following. I have never been tender with the tragic and Shakespearean figure Sharon. ("I know you've come to add another scalp to your necklace," he murmured almost with sadness when I went to interview him in 1982.) I have often had disagreements with the Israelis, ugly ones, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal. Maybe more than they deserved. But I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews. I stand just as I stood as a young girl during the time when I fought with them, and when the Anna Marias were shot. I defend their right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let themselves be exterminated a second time. And disgusted by the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that dishonors my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States, but a pit of Pontius Pilates. And even if all the inhabitants of this planet were to think otherwise, I would continue to think so.

She's right. Absolutely right.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 05:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Remember that Presidential straw poll I mentioned a few days back? Well, I never got around to messing with it and I suspect not many of you did either. Which makes the current tally, courtesy their daily email update, all the more entertaining:

The second weekly poll is over, and Al Gore wins again, with Howard Dean second.
Al Gore 1243; Howard Dean 907; Ann Richards 787; Robert Byrd 726; Ralph Nader
662; Wesley Clark 643; Jim Hightower 623; Gary Hart 567; Molly Ivins 555; Martin
Sheen 554; John Kerry 521; Hillary Rodham Clinton 474; Bill Bradley 473; Dick
Durbin 441; Warren Beatty 437; Bill Richardson 432; Paul Begala 430; Greg Palast
424; Paul Krugman 411; Gray Davis 398; Jon Corzine 361; Bob Kerrey 328; John
Edwards 296; Dennis Kucinich 246; Jimmy Carter 231; Nancy Pelosi 214; Tom
Daschle 201; Dianne Feinstein 183; Bill Moyers 158; Michael Moore 151; Maxine
Waters 121; Joe Lieberman 112; Dick Gephardt 100; Susan Sarandon 87; Jesse
Jackson Sr. 84; Barbra Streisand 52; Al Sharpton 34. As last place finisher, Sharpton is removed
from this week's poll. We've added Russ Feingold, Tom Harkin, Jesse Jackson Jr.,
and George Mitchell. Vote today!

Al Gore heading the pack is no surprise, but Ann Richards polls third? Huh? She's been on the GWB early retirement plan since 1994. And ex-KKK hoodwearer Robert Byrd polls in fourth. Wow. Imagine if, say, David Duke polled as well in a GOP straw poll. The roar from the left would burst the ear drums. And Martin Sheen polls ahead of Hillary Clinton by nearly 100 votes? Do these people know he's not an actual politician--that he's a ficticious President? HRC can't like these results.

This poll is in some ways a good little glimpse into the minds of lefties. Roughly a quarter of the field consists of Hollywood limousine liberals--not real policiticians, but camera hounds--with Molly Ivins apparently there to entice the annoying faux-hillbilly set. Ominously for Sen. Joe Lieberman, crank film maker Michael Moore is a couple of slots ahead of him, while Al Sharpton, who's actually running in 2004, polled so poorly that he's getting the boot for the next round.

Posted by B. Preston at 05:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 01, 2002


Salman Rushdie, himself a potential victim of Islamist violence for more than a decade since he got slapped with a fatwa for The Satanic Verses, says it's time for moderate Muslims to reclaim their religion. He said this in response to the latest fatwa, this one against the Nigerian journalist who opined that Muhammed would probably have approved of the Miss World pageant, and may have chosen a bride from among its beauties (Muhammed was the husband of at least 9 wives, one of which was 9 years of age at the time of the wedding; the journalist probably has a point).

“Where . . . is the Muslim outrage at these events?” he wrote in The New York Times. “As their ancient, deeply civilised culture of love, art and philosophical reflection is hijacked by paranoiacs, racists, liars, male supremacists, tyrants, fanatics and violence junkies, why are they not screaming?”

Indeed. Where is the outrage?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:55 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Yup, at 11:23 pm, Dec 1, 2001 I posted my first entry on this here blog. I have to say that I'm surprised I've kept at it for a year, and surprised that it's amounted to much. Truth is, after the first six months of gimping along at barely 100 visits on a good day, I'd thought numerous times of just hitting the "Delete This Blog" button in Blogger and moving on to, well, probably more computer games. But a certain blogger encouraged me to keep at it, while another blogger's blogwatch kept a steady flow of readers coming my way, and then this little post happened, and then coincidentally within the same day I got my first article published at National Review Online, and suddenly this obscure blog that hardly anyone read was being read by lots of people. That notoriety was short-lived, and within a couple of weeks the JYB settled in at a comfortable readership level that it has maintained ever since.

It's been an interesting year, one in which writing has forced me to refine my views, change a position or two when the evidence warranted, and defend that which I saw being mistreated last year--my faith. It was that mistreatment, or rather mischaracterization, of my Christian faith in the blogosphere that sort of forced me into the game. I just couldn't sit idly by while so many lumped myself and my fellow Christians in with the murderers of 9-11 and those hoping to follow in their bloody footsteps. So I had to get in, offer what I could, counter what I knew to be false and clarify what I saw being misunderstood. I hope I've done that, and with grace and humility.

I also got in to battle the idiotarians, and I hope I've done that with the humor and brutality that such miscreants deserve. Ditto for the terrorists the idiotarians support, knowingly or otherwise. It's impossible to be too harsh when discussing terrorists, as I hope I've proven in the past 12 months.

Finally, I just got in to have fun and meet interesting people. I've met many online, a few offline and fewer still in person. I feel like I know many people who do little more than leave comments or link to this site from others, and I'd probably never have run across any of you if not for this blog. For that alone, blogging has been worth it this past year.

To Chris R. and Dave (and Stephen Q. and a few others as well), thanks for continuing to send me so many good ideas, story leads, angles I hadn't thought of, and more grist for the mill than I can possibly grind on the average day. You guys are the gas in the tank here. Hey, it's a better metaphor than calling you the "junk in the yard." Isn't it?

UPDATE: Yeah, I've been tempted to break the blogging habit numerous times, but can't. It seems I'm not alone in my addiction...
Posted by B. Preston at 11:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack