September 26, 2003



Al Qaida has warned its agents that they have been infiltrated by the United States.

An Al Qaida spokesman said the infiltration had been conducted by the United States in cooperation with unspecified Arab intelligence services.

Sounds good to me.

This was the first time Al Qaida has acknowledged that its forces have been penetrated by Western agencies. Until now, Western intelligence analysts said the United States and its allies have failed to infiltrate the middle and senior ranks of the Islamic movement.

Maybe we learned something from Johnny bin Walker and Jose Padilla--if al Qaeda will take those guys, they'll take anybody.

The story also indicates one possible reason we haven't paved over the Saudi entity just yet:

The latest appearance of spies in Al Qaida came from an unidentified Arab ally and neighbor of Iraq, the statement said. The Al Qaida infiltrators were detected several months ago and have infiltrated organization cells in Iraq.

Islamic sources close to Al Qaida said the reference was to Saudi Arabia. Over the last few months, thousands of Islamic volunteers have left Saudi Arabia for Iraq to participate in the Sunni insurgency war against the United States.

The United States was said to have placed tracking devices on the infiltrators to target Al Qaida cells in Iraq. The Al Qaida statement warned against accepting Islamic volunteers without screening them to ensure that they do not contain U.S. agents. Al Qaida said all Islamic volunteers must demonstrate a background in insurgency activities.

So the Saudis have become useful, and al Qaeda is having to put its thugs through background checks. Progress! We have to take off our shoes to get on a plane, al Qaeda has to strip search its recruits and make sure they're not wired to a GPS receiver.

How does one go about checking the background of a potential terrorist, anyway? It's not like you can have prior experience in suidice bombing.

The story ends on a happy note:

The Islamic sources said Al Qaida had suspected that the United States tried to infiltrate the upper echelons of the group after the suicide strikes in New York and Washington in September 2001. The sources said a U.S. air strike against the Al Qaida leadership in the Afghan city of Kandahar in October 2001 stemmed from information by a spy within Taliban.

Speaking of spies, it seems one of the Gitmo turncoats may have been an al Qaeda plant. If so, he'll probably find himself in a cell next to Jose Padilla pretty soon.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Caterpillar. You know, the bulldozer people. Not Arafat, or even "academics" like the late Edward Said, who thought Arafat gave up too much in the Oslo accords. Honest Americans who make heavy equipment half a world away--they're the problem, by gum!

You really can't parody America anymore. Reality is far more absurd than anything you can dream up.

(via, which is pushing this idiocy as though it was received wisdom from the Dalai Lama)

Posted by B. Preston at 04:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I refrained from piling on to that new girls' tattle-rag version of the Bible, called Revolve, mostly because I try not to just be a knee-jerk critic of everything new. I like new stuff generally. I like to stay somewhere within earshot of the cutting edge of societal evolution. So I waited, tended to other issues, etc.

I should've just let the knee jerk until it broke off and careened through a plate-glass window though--Revolve is one wacky tome, written by some Biblical illiterates:

In a sidebar titled "Top Ten Things to Know About a Revolve Girl," rule number one is that "Revolve girls don't call guys." In a September 14 interview in The New York Times Magazine, [Laurie] Whaley [one of its authors] tried to defend this rule by saying: "There's no indication from Scripture that Mary Magdalene ever picked up the phone and called Christ."

Um, right. She was among the first to visit Him at the tomb, though, and among the first to figure out what had happened to Him. Surely that should count for something.

The press folks assigned to write stories about this gem aren't exactly theologians either:

But interviewer Deborah Solomon [of the New York Times, no less] outdoes Whaley's anachronistic phone analogy. In an unmistakable sign that she got her Bible knowledge from that reliable historical source The Last Temptation of Christ, Solomon tells Whaley: "But Mary Magdalene, who was Christ's girlfriend, favored low necklines and loads of jewelry," and "You could argue that Christ was drawn to [Mary Magdalene] precisely because of her flamboyant clothing."

The paper of record employs a dunderhead who thinks Jesus had a girlfriend, to whom He was drawn because she wore slutty clothes, based on a heretical film? The mind reels--what sort of qualifications does one need to work for the Old Gray Liar nowadays? A PhD in Utter Cluelessness, with a prior Masters in Fabricating for Fun and Profit?

Whatever, Revolve ain't your daddy's Bible. Instead of no graphics, or a bunch of maps of the journeys of Paul or the boundaries of the Davidic kingdom of Israel, Revolve is full chicks?

Wait a minute! What then are all these cute girl models—some of them braless, some baring their midriffs, some pouting their lips, a few striking provocative poses, a few in bikinis, all with seemingly spotless complexion, only one of them with braces, 98 percent of them skinny—doing in the photos adorning Revolve? Since Revolve blurbs praise "modest," "conservative," and "classic" style, one has to wonder. Telling girls that their body type doesn't matter also seems to contradict the impression they might get from the photos. And the drawings of women in the Bible bios—images over which the magazine had more control than the stock model photos—show them as very thin, with disproportionately tiny, sometimes bare, waists. What's with that?

Whaley pointed to two photos in which the girls don't look like models, adding that, "what we've done is scattered realistic images of people having fun." As for the artwork, done by one of Transit's designers, "it's very hip, it's very in touch with what girls like and gravitate toward, and they're all the same size. Since you say they're disproportionate, then they're all equally disproportionate. We've successfully shown girls as being really happy in life."

Gives the phrase "adoration of the babe" a whole new meaning.

I'm a pretty modern guy, don't get me wrong, who appreciates an attractive female as much as the next straight guy (though inserting pictures of them into my Bible isn't a good idea). And I realize that Revolve isn't targeted at my demo. But it seems to me these people have gone too far for a good cause.

As for the Times, it just needs to hire writers with two brain cells to rub together.

Posted by B. Preston at 03:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Robert Palmer is dead at age 54.

Rep. Barney is trying on a new role--voice of reason.

Wesley the Pooh--the candidate stuffed with fluff--was apparently little more than a coathanger during yesterday's Democrat debate. It was pile on Howard time!

And I actually saw a balanced story about a recent bombing in Iraq. NBC News HQ got bombed, killing a security guard. After showing the damage and telling viewers a little bit about the man who died (and he sounded like a very decent man), MSNBC's Bob Arnott proceeded to go on at length about how stories about bombings tend to overshadow all the good news that's going on around Iraq. He talked about rebuilt schools and re-opened hospitals--already more operational hospitals in post-war Iraq than during Saddam's days--and provided some nice balance to what was a sad story about a pro-American Iraqi who died at the hands of terrorists. We are making a difference by pushing the media to balance their reporting. The big media is getting the message.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 25, 2003


What to make of this:

During extended remarks delivered at the Pulaski County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas on May 11, 2001, General Clark declared: "And I'm very glad we've got the great team in office, men like Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Paul O'Neill - people I know very well - our president George W. Bush. We need them there." (emphasis mine)

Never mind the lavish praise he heaped on the president he's now running to unseat, Clark thinks Condi Rice--whom he claims to know "very well"--is a man. That's just scary.

I mean, does this look like a man to you?


As we often explain about such matters in my native Texas, Wes Clark ain't right in the head if he thinks that's a man.

UPDATE: Due to popular demand, I give you Condi Rice's legs:


Posted by B. Preston at 04:48 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


Talk about blaming the victim. Those wacky nuculear-ambitious North Koreans are blaming Japan for, get this, the programmatic abduction of Japanese civilians--including a school girl on the way home from badminton practice--by North Korean agents. Who then turned said abductees into slaves of the state.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Did the CIA create Osama bin Laden?

No, according to the CIA--and the late terrorist himself.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Here's a new meme: I disagree with everybody on whether Gen. Shelton smeared Gen. Clark.

Context: At a forum Shelton was asked about Clark. Shelton said Clark was removed from command in Kosovo for "character and integrity" issues, but didn't specify what those issues were. He added that he would not support Clark's run for president.

Ramesh Ponnuru wondered whether Shelton is trustworthy, because he didn't specify his problems with Clark.

Spoons agrees, and piles on NYT reporter John Burns for complaining about reporters who sucked up to Saddam without naming names.

InstaPundit says Burns should name names but should not be connected to Shelton, because they're not the same thing.

Well, okay I don't disagree with everybody. I largely agree with Glenn. I'm not so sure that Burns should have to name names--ever heard of Elia Kazan? Burns would get blackballed by his fellow reporters for "naming names" in a nanosecond. But Ramesh and Spoons are misunderstanding the Shelton situation, I think.

I think the misunderstanding on Spoons' and Ramesh's part have to do with the nature of the military. Military officers don't rat on one another. It's part of the code. In the face of hostile fire, military types are trained to stand together as a unit and repel that fire. Any disagreements with strategy should be ironed out before or after engaging the enemy, but not during. That code spills out into everyday life, especially in dealings with the media. The military knows that most of the media hates it, and thus tends to see media types as low-grade enemies.

Clark has by and large broken that faith, by trotting on to CNN and wherever there was a camera and waffling more than Waffle-Powered Howard on whether we should be in Iraq, how many casualties we would suffer, whether we could handle the post-war situation, etc. Clark was criticizing the Commander in Chief and by extension the military itself while it was engaged in a war, and as it has picked up the pieces afterward. He broke the code.

It's the kind of thing Gen. George McClellan did during the Civil War, and was the reason Generals Grant and Sherman so despised him. They pushed so hard for battlefield victories in 1864 in part to squash McClellan's campaign against Lincoln. Sherman's victory at Atlanta sealed the deal.

But I digress. Military types who disagree with Clark (and here I'm speaking primarily of the retired cadre that reached the lofty heights of Shelton, Clark and so forth, not little schmuck enlisteds like myself) have largely remained silent about this. That's also part of the code. I can tell you they don't like it, though. Whatever they may think about the war itself, I can't imagine they liked seeing Clark's mug on TV questioning the war at every turn, especially as it seemed designed to promote Clark's own career at the possible expense of morale and victory.

Shelton hadn't said anything publicly about any of this, but was asked about it in a public forum. The article indicates that he took a drink before answering, noted by the moderator as an indication that Shelton was reticent to answer directly. Shelton then followed with a brief sketch of his opinion of Clark:

"I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote."

It's clear to me that Shelton didn't want to answer, but saw no way out of it. He's probably wrong about that--he may have been able to wiggle out without having to say anything substantive, but he's not a slickmeister pol and I've seen little evidence that he could believably spin away from such a direct question off the cuff. But even if he had, that would have been taken as a veiled criticism too. Anything less than undying, carry the flag to the top of the hill enthusiasm for a fellow soldier and former subordinate would probably have been taken as an attack of some sort on his fellow West Point grad. Shelton didn't want to do that. He's a straightforward man, but didn't want to drag all the old ghosts out in detail. So he outlined his problems with Clark, undoubtedly wanting to move on to other topics. He was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on 9-11. The bulk of the article is about that experience. As bad as that day was, Shelton probably preferred talking about it to talking about Clark, a man he clearly doesn't like.

So I don't think Shelton was under any obligation to specify his problems with Clark at that moment. A follow-up couldn't hurt, though. Some Dean-sympathizing interviewer should try and sit Shelton down, pronto.

UPDATE: Ramesh is right about Arianna Huffington, though. She was very hard to take seriously as a "conservative," and even more so as a "progressive" or whatever. She's just loopy. In fact, that's the only thing she manages to be consistently--loopy.

Speaking of Arianna, at the local Halloween store you can buy a whole assortment of fun wigs--wigs that make you look like Ozzy or whatever. They're next to the political masks, of which the GWB one is probably the best. It's not flattering, but it looks like him. The Clinton one is a hoot--he has this weird, slightly inebriated grin. Anyway, one of the wigs is a "glamour wig," and the photo on the package shows some poor woman sporting a red wig that very obviously doesn't fit her head. She looks exactly like Arianna Huffington. That has nothing to do with Arianna as a politician or anything. It just struck me a funny when I saw it.

UPDATE II: On a more serious note, what is Shelton talking about? Well, to put two and two together, Clark became famous during the war in Kosovo, of which he was Supreme Allied Commander (what a cool title, btw). He was on TV quite a bit from the war zone and became something of a talking head at the time, and he was pretty obviously an ambitious sort. It's very possible that this overexposure was part of what Shelton disliked. It's fairly uncouth to unilaterally go on TV while you're in the middle of a campaign unless it's in the proper setting, such as a Pentagon-sanctioned press conference. Clark also advocated things that were beyond Clinton admin policy, of which Shelton was the guardian to an extent. Clark wanted a ground force threat to back up the air campaign (and he was right about that, actually, as it probably would have shortened the war), and was somewhat public about his wishes as I recall. Did Clark have clearance to go on TV as much as he did? Beats me, but if he didn't or if he end-ran restrictions, the brass would rightly squash him for it. He had an obligation to follow the orders from his chain of command. By contrast, Gen. Tommy Franks shunned the limelight during most of the recent war, and Gen. Schwartzkopf was visible before and after, but not during, the Gulf War's Hail Mary maneuver that won it and the 100 hour interrupted ground campaign that followed. Neither ever appeared on camera during their wars without Pentagon approval as far as I know. That may be one of Shelton's problems with Clark--a kind of soft insubordination coupled with a tendency to be a glory hound.

Add to that the whole business with the Russians at the airfield and its aftermath, and it's not too hard to see why Shelton might have legitimate reasons to dislike Clark. And it's not too hard to see why he'd have trouble explaining them off the cuff without sounding petty.

UPDATE III: A commentor at Spoons' site agrees with me--Clark's omnipresence on TV is at least a big part of the equation here.

UPDATE IV: I probably should've added that most of the commentors at Spoons don't agree with me. But the last two do, and to me they make the most sense. [Because they agree with me? Of course!] At any rate, the Minute Man adds some grist to the mill, and it all seems to tilt in my direction at least as regards the substance behind Shelton's remarks. Clark's persistent use of the media to air his gripes with the Kosovo war strategy was a major irritant, to the point that Gen. Shelton eventually told Clark to "Get the f--- off of TV." In the big leagues of four-star generalship, when your commander issues you such a direct and blunt order, and it becomes public, you're toast. No two ways about it. Especially if your actions could be construed as insubordination in a time of war, as Clark's actions could have (whether he was right or wrong on the actual issue of ground troops, where I would side with Clark, doesn't really matter).

So all this has solidified, in my mind anyway, that Shelton was referring to Clark's wartime star turns when he dissed the guy's character and integrity. Which in turn strengthens my opinion that Shelton wasn't smearing Clark. He just didn't want to dive into the issue but wasn't slick enough to weasel out of it.

UPDATE V: This getting worse than the Rocky films. Are Shelton and Burns obligated to spill the beans? Are you curious and want them to spill the beans? Does curiosity on your part create moral obligation on their part?

Posted by B. Preston at 09:07 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack


Rush Limbaugh is pushing the Clark-as-McClellan meme.

Josh Claybourn is pushing the Hamas terrorist-as-Saruman meme.

Jeffrey Collins is pushing the remake-the-UN-as-a democracy-club meme.

All of those memes first saw the light of day here at the humble JYB.

Clark/McClellan meme: here.

Hamas/Saruman separated at birth meme: here.

Dump/remake the UN as a democracy club (one of the JYB's oldest memes): here, here, and here.

I can't decide whether it's frustrating or gratifying that so many are picking up my schtick and making it their own.

Eh, who cares? It's not like I'm getting paid by the hit or anything.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 24, 2003


Jeffrey Collins is proposing a bizarro-world UN--one that's actually, you know, united, and one that actually fosters things like freedom and democracy. It's a good idea--so good I've been tinkering with it for a while myself.

Call it the Council of Democracies, call it the Nations United, call it Shirley, as long we scrap the odious UN and reduce the vestigial influence of France while promoting more reasonable states like Japan and Australia.

Posted by B. Preston at 02:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Tell me this Hamas terrorist leader doesn't look like Saruman.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Marc Herold, the man who inflated civilian casualties by several orders of magnitude during the Afghan war, is coming out with a book about that war-torn place. If this preview is any guide, he's written an anti-American screed dressed up as non-fiction:

Another Kuchi mused, "we had a good life under the Taliban. There was security and there was peace, and we could go anywhere with our animals...we were not people of any Government. We were only busy grazing our animals."


U.S. cluster bombs and other kinds of unexploded ordnance should be considered 'pollution' as they render soil useless for agriculture and pasture. The burden of landmines and cluster-bombs has been especially heavy for Afghanistan's nomads. Over a hundred Kuchi nomads were directly killed by U.S. bombs at Karam, Chowkar Karez, Kandahar, Shawalikot, Helmand, and Maiwand. For example, on December 5, 2001, U.S. bombs mistook a Kuchi camp in Shawalikot for a Taliban position - killing 12 people from two Kuchi families. Kuchi encampments have been raided by U.S. troops, e.g., on
January 25, 2002, thirty U.S. soldiers backed up by jets and helicopters descended upon a 100 tent camp in the Bak district 28 kms. north of Khost. On September 17, 2003, U.S. Apache attack helicopters fired upon "a tent" in the Shinkay district of Zabul, killing 8-10 sleeping nomads including women and children.

The drums are silent, the sheep sold. Kuchi nomads have little left to sing about.

That might be because they're pining for the Taliban, but you'll never hear that from Herold. And given the fact that he wildly overestimated civilian casualties in the war generall, I'm suspicious of any numbers Herold throws around. It's also worth noting that though Herold does mention the Soviet war in Afghanistan which lasted a decade, he spends the bulk of his war talk at least in the preview on the recent American-led campaign, not yet two years old.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


General Henry Shelton won't cast his vote for General Wesley Clark:

"What do you think of General Wesley Clark and would you support him as a presidential candidate," was the question put to him by moderator Dick Henning, assuming that all military men stood in support of each other. General Shelton took a drink of water and Henning said, "I noticed you took a drink on that one!"

"That question makes me wish it were vodka," said Shelton. "I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote."

Which probably means Clark's stock with the left just went up a notch.

Posted by B. Preston at 10:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I have a few questions for the Democrats in the audience.

When the Clinton administration understood that Russia would block any UN sanction of military action in Kosovo, the administration simply did an end-run around the UN and took action anyway. It gathered up an alliance and moved militarily. Most of you folks supported that action.

When the Bush administration understood that France and others would block any UN sanction of military action in Iraq, the administration simply did an end-run around the UN and took action anyway. It gathered up an alliance and moved militarily. Most of you folks denounced that action.

In both cases, the US acted to save innocent civilians from war criminal regimes. In both cases, the US acted primarily to save Muslims from violence, though the action in Iraq also benefited America's long-term strategic interests. Kosovo offered no such long-term strategic benefit.

My question is, why do you support the one action while opposing the other? Upon what principle are you operating to make your decision? And why, after four years of continuous occupation, Kosovo isn't a quagmire while in your minds Iraq is a quagmire, after just a few months? Especially when you consider the fact that violence continues, to this day, in both operations?

Posted by B. Preston at 08:27 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

September 23, 2003


Very disturbing story from Guantanamo:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Air Force enlisted man has been charged with spying and aiding the enemy while working as an Arabic translator at the U.S. base in Cuba where hundreds of suspected al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners are jailed, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Senior U.S. Airman Ahmad al Halabi of Detroit, Michigan, is in jail at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where he is charged with 32 counts, including espionage and other criminal violations, according to the Pentagon.

Defense officials said al Halabi, a 24-year-old Muslim, was found to have classified information on a computer in violation of strict security rules at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The announcement came as the Pentagon also investigated possible espionage charges against Army Islamic chaplain James Yee, held in a military jail in South Carolina since Sept. 10.

No charges have been filed against Yee, who this year ministered to many of the 660 prisoners at Guantanamo.

Air Force Maj. Michael Shavers, a Pentagon spokesman, said al Halabi knew Yee, but it was not clear whether the two arrests were linked.

Let me venture a guess--they're linked. Let me also venture another guess--there will be more arrests, if there haven't been already.

Looking at our armed forces today, it's clear to me that we have an interior vulnerability. John Mohammed, one of the Beltway snipers, attempted to frag superior officers during the first Gulf War. We had another successful frag during the most recent war in Iraq. And now, if it turns out to be true, we have two and maybe more military personnel spying for terrorists while serving on active duty in a very sensitive installation. The one thing linking them all is the fact that they are all Muslim. They are also all male, incidentally, which is probably just evidence of the sexist attitude that dominates radical Islam.

Add to this the Oregon cell that was busted last year. One of its members tried to join the Army to learn its doctrines with the hope of using that knowledge against us later. And then there's the Egyptian-born terrorist Ali-Mohamed, who took part in the 1998 African embassy bombings. He had previously served in the US Army.

We may have a very serious problem on our hands. Between 4,000 and 10,000 practicing Muslims serve in the US armed forces today, roughly a dozen of which are chaplains. While the bad actions of a few should by no means besmirch all who serve honorably, it might be time to ask a few hard questions and, as much as I hate to say this, to look carefully into the backgrounds of all Muslims currently serving in the US military.

Al Qaeda certainly has a motive for placing its operatives in our ranks. It evidently has had the means, and it definitely has the opportunity--the military asks fewer and fewer background questions of its new recruits. That needs to change.

UPDATE: The Pentagon apparently relies on three groups tied to radical Islam--three groups that the State Deparment has been raiding over the past year or so--to vet potential Muslim chaplains. Unbelievable. They're putting Wahhabi mullahs in US military uniforms.

Posted by B. Preston at 09:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


The late Mike Kelly was one brilliant writer and reporter, probably my favorite columnist over the past couple of years. He was in Iraq during the Gulf War and died in Iraq during this year's war to liberate it from Saddam. In an interview shortly before his death, Kelly explained the corrupt relationship between Saddam and CNN:

[Interviewer]What we saw, video wise, pretty much came from your hotel. But we had no sense of the context or volume. What could we not understand from watching it on TV?

[Kelly]I don't know, because I don't really know what you saw.

You know what one sees on TV.

There are a lot of individual stories from that night that you can't see because they're not what TV shows—how people react to things. Some of that I wrote about, some of that I didn't. Some people had reactions to that night that I didn't want to write about. There were a lot of people there who were mad at CNN—you didn't see that on TV.


Well, because CNN had this special relationship with the Iraqi government that they had earned, in part, through what I thought was corrupt reporting.

Sort of the mouthpiece for Saddam

More than that. Specifically, they were allowed to fly on Iraqi planes to go into Kuwait City when it was occupied, and they were taken there by the Iraqi government for the specific purpose of shooting down the story that the Iraqi occupiers had killed babies in incubators. And they did shoot that story down for the government. As [Robert] Wiener, the producer for CNN, has written for his book, which has recently been made into a movie, they acquiesced to the Iraqi government's demand that they not tell the world the rest of the stuff they saw in Kuwait City. They did that to protect their special standing. Their special standing was not only access to interviews that nobody else could get, but they also had this land line that allowed them twenty-four-hour open telephone.

So in effect, they were enabling.

Well, I didn't blame them politically for that. But I thought the decision to suppress what they knew they had seen in Kuwait City was wholly corrupt and wrong and indefensible. That night, the people who were there—we all passed the same night. They passed it in glory on TV. But everybody was in the same hotel. In the morning—I was talking the other day to a guy I had spent a lot of time with that night, a reporter from a Sydney paper— and he reminded me that he and I had gone up to CNN's suite at dawn and knocked on the door. They had locked the door so nobody could get into their suite, because they had the only working phone line and they wanted to protect it, of course. I knocked on the door and slipped them a note asking them if they would, not file our stories for us, but if we could give them a list of phone numbers of wives and others that they would call and tell everybody we were okay. They pushed the note back under the door and said, "Haven't you ever heard of competition?" So a lot of people who were there have never forgiven them for that.

I realize this isn't news--CNN's own Eason Jordan said much the same thing a few months ago, and the New York Times' John Burns recently wrote that many other reporters did similar things. But this passage shows that Kelly really was one of the good guys, and that CNN actively helps our enemies if it maintains their "access."

They're probably still doing it, elsewhere. In Cuba, in China, throughout the Middle East, wherever CNN has a bureau and the local warlord or tyrant has an anti-American axe to grind, CNN is there to be their global megaphone.

Posted by B. Preston at 01:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Never worth listening to, but always worth keeping an eye on, serves up another pile of interesting headlines in today's email newsletter. I'm not making up any of the following:

Clark Declares 'I Would Never Have Voted For This War, Never'

Except that he said the exact opposite the day before, which fails to mention for some reason...

A Complete Catalog of Bushit on the Costs of Conquering Iraq

See my post below on the debasement of the Democrats...

Iraq to Open Economy to 'Free Market' - Let the Privitization Begin! sounds awfully pink on that one...

Abandoned by BushBlair, Afghanistan is Rotting

Or not.

Another US-Backed Venezuelen Coup in the Making? Chavez Warns Foes after Barracks Blast

So...they're now taking a dictator with al Qaeda sympathies at face value, against the US. Lovely.

Poor's Hopes Take Root under Chavez

More pink, turning red...

They may call themselves the "Patriotic Progessives," but the stories they highlight say something else. Given the chance, they'll take anyone's side against America. Given the chance, they'll offer swearing instead of substance. And given the reins of power, they'll lose the war and endanger the republic.

It's that simple.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


In other words, it's back on--the Ninth's original idiotic decision has been overturned.

Posted by B. Preston at 11:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Democrats, what in the world does your party stand for?

One day, you're going further left than Mao, following the glorified former mayor of an inconsequential northeastern state. Wherever Dean takes you, you all seem ready to go. Forfeit the war? Done. Undo all free trade pacts? Consider it done. Upend the basic foundations of our culture on a whim? Goody. Whatever the hardest lefty wants, you're ready to do.

Now some southern general jumps into the race, and you're all hot and bothered to follow him. He doesn't even know whether he'd have supported the Iraq war or not. One day he's all for it, the next day he's not. We report, and then apparently he'll decide. He also says that but for a couple of unreturned phone calls to Karl Rove, he'd have come out as a Republican. You mean Darth Vader himself created the Democrat that's now leading the pack? Actually, no. That seems to be yet another weird tale from the old soldier. And yet the Donks are all for him taking the party nomination and going up against Bush next year. What for? What does he stand for? Doesn't matter--he's not Bush, and for most Dems that's apparently good enough. Behold this exchange:

Indeed, after caustically comparing the actions of the Bush administration to what he described as the abuses of Richard M. Nixon, he said that he voted for Mr. Nixon in 1972. He also said he had voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984.

The general's remarks in a free-rolling 90-minute airborne interview suggested the extent of the adjustment he faces in becoming a presidential candidate.

"Mary, help!" he called to his press secretary, Mary Jacoby, at the front of the plane, as he faced questions about Iraq. "Come back and listen to this."

At one point, Ms. Jacoby interrupted the interview, which included four reporters who were traveling on the general's jet, to make certain that General Clark's views on the original Iraq resolution were clear.

"I want to clarify — we're moving quickly here," Ms. Jacoby said. "You said you would have voted for the resolution as leverage for a U.N.-based solution."

"Right," General Clark responded. "Exactly."

Meanwhile, over the weekend the Dems seemed to drag lots of worms out from under rocks to put them on stage at campaign rallies. Moby called President Bush an "evil f---" at a Kerry rally. At a Dean rally, Al Franken launched into a rant so foul and mentally off that the networks had to bleep most of it. Neither candidate protested, neither seemed terribly disturbed.

And then you have the champion swimmer of Chappaquiddick accusing the president of bribing other countries to support the post-war effort in Iraq. Even Time magazine protested that bit of lying.

And then there are the cheap shots. Not long after hurricane Isabel passed, Maryland Democrat spokesman David Paulsen slapped at Gov. Ehrlich for, well, something. Not acting to prevent a force of nature, I guess. And last night on MSNBC I happened to catch a few minutes of some Democrat taking pot shots at President Bush's foreign policy. He mentioned that Bush had run on a platform that promised a humbler foreign policy, but that his actualy foreign policy has been anything but.

I pause here for a sec to talk about that "humbler foreign policy" line. It made no sense to me when Bush kept using it. It still doesn't. But I think it's fair to say that those of us who lent him our support in 2000 didn't do it because we longed for a humble foreign policy. We liked him for other reasons, and we disliked Gore for lots of reasons. And it's fair to point out that prior to 9-11, Bush seemed content to be known as the Double T President--Tax cuts and T-ball. Then 9-11 came along...

And apparently that's what the Democrat spinner, and the Democrat party as a whole, missed--9-11. You know, the day that changed everything. Or maybe he doesn't think a few foreign policy adjustments were warranted by the mass murder of 3,000 on our soil. Or he doesn't think we should be disappointed when countries we twice saved stab us in the back when we need them to back us up. Or that somehow those countries' corrupt deals are preferrable and more worthy of support than a president who is doing the hard work of defending this country from a clear and present threat.

So I ask again, what do you Democrats actually stand for? The rabid left as represented by Howard Dean? Or the nebulous whatever represented by Gen. Clark, a man who think yes or no questions are too complicated to answer (imagine if Quayle had used that one...)? Do you stand for defending the country, or letting the French dictate our foreign policy?

I don't actually expect a coherent answer to these questions, by the way. I expect some vitriol, some heat, but very little light. You've provided exactly zero photons of enlightenment since 9-11, and I can't imagine you starting now.

(many links thanks to Hanks, as always)

MORE: Speaking of cheap shots, Bush is now to blame for making hurricanes worse? How dumb is that? Very dumb. Uh, and I wonder if Mr. Cole noticed that Isabel wasn't as bad as predicted, and certainly not as bad as Andrew a few years back, and thanks to better prediction models and longer warning times, wasn't as deadly as earlier hurricanes.

Of course not. Those are called facts, those stubborn things that get in the way of a timely, if stupid, argument. And arguing that dropping out of Kyoto makes hurricanes worse is a stupid argument indeed. Mr. Cole blithely asserts all sorts of meterological suppositions as fact, apparently uninformed that much of what we believe about weather is tied to flawed climatology models. The models are getting better, but they're still deeply flawed. And Kyoto was so bad that even the Clinton administration wouldn't sign on to it. They just gave it a cowardly cold shoulder.

(link courtesy Jeff Jarvis, who seems to think the accusation is valid)

MORE: A.M. Siriano takes a swipe at the foul-mouthed Franken, whom he says should never be compared to the right's bad girl, Ann Coulter. And though I hadn't thought about it much, he's absolutely right. Say what you want about Coulter, but she never stoops to the kind of juvenile, toilet level style of attack that Franken uses with abandon. Coulter sometimes goes over the top, but she always maintains a sense of decency and is always sharp.

Yes, even when she accuses the left of treason. What else would you call giving the bomb to the Russians? What else would you call accepting money from Soviet fronts during the Cold War? I'd call it treason.

Posted by B. Preston at 08:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2003


The power is back on--our path to world domination may continue! Um, actually, my path to Monday Night Football continued, until the Raiders decided they'd rather play pattycake. They made Jake Plummer look like a real quarterback. I fear a collapse for the silver and black is imminent, age (and the theft of Jon Gruden) finally having caught up with them. Then my path to Ebay continued, followed by my path to the blogosphere. It's good to be back--and thanks for the linkage, Instaman. Also, thanks for letting me into the Axis, Meryl. I'm happy to hear you survived Isabel too.

Noting Meryl's much harder life than mine post Isabel, I have to say that I do disagree with her assessment of the government's disaster preparedness efforts. It may be that I'm just not a big government guy, or it may be that I lived through enough tornadoes during my Texas years to know that pretty much any big storm that you've been warned about for days may well wipe you out, or it may just be that I'm a contrarian son of a gun who's suddenly happy to be able to walk around my house without a flashlight, but I don't think the government rates a D for this storm. Fact is that at least in Maryland we got days of warnings, we had days to watch the storm come in on the Weather Channel's radar views, and days to ponder what it would mean if Isabel lived up to the hype and actually wreaked havoc for a while. And she did. She moved too fast to dump much rain on us, but brought enough winds and storm surges to devastate much of the Mid-Atlantic in a few short hours. In short, Isabel was a natural disaster. Having been sufficiently warned, people either took the necessary steps to make their post-storm lives bearable or they didn't. The JYB family did a partial job at preparedness--we had the wind-up radio which was indispensable. We had plenty of food and water on hand, and we were either smart or lucky enough to have gas appliances. And we don't live anywhere near the water, and that's by choice. I love the water most of the time, but don't want to depend on structures near the water when little things like hurricanes blow through. But we didn't have a generator, so when the storm took our power down we were stuck.

But about that power outage. Word on the street is that it was mostly caused by falling trees, which makes perfect sense. Yes, I heard transformers popping on the night of the storm, and such events can be caused by any number of things, but I also saw lots of broken trees and branches after the storm, a few of which rested on or cut through power lines. That's not good for the grid. So why doesn't the power company or the government or whoever just cut the darn trees and keep them away from the power lines? People won't let them. Property owners get mad when the power company sends out a crew to trim their trees. Environmental groups pressure the power company to leave the precious trees alone. And so in many areas, rural and urban, the trees grow wild or at least aren't pruned properly, and when you have a storm you have nature pruning the trees the hard way, causing many trees and parts of trees to cut lines, and you get power outages. It's simple, really. The more trees you have near power lines, and the less pruning you're allowed to do on those trees, the more likely said trees are to cause outages when the wind blows hard enough. Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina have lots and lots of trees, many of which aren't pruned until it's too late. How, exactly, is that the government's fault? I don't see it.

What I do see is that in my county alone the powerful people set up 92 storm shelters. I did see and hear the powerful people warn everyone to take the storm seriously, stock up on necessary stuff, if you live near the water to run inland, and if you decide to stay put to stay put. After the storm, I heard about a massive effort to rescue people from flooding homes and an even more massive effort to get the power back on. Maryland's first storm death occurred because a man decided he was better off driving in the middle of a hurricane than listening to the constant stream of warnings not to. He lost control of his car and smashed into a tree, dead because he chose poorly. How, exactly, is that the government's fault? I don't see it.

I suppose the powerful people could've done better. They could've sent out crews to cut back the trees before the storm, but how should they have decided which trees to cut? They could've anticipated that Isabel would break all state records for flooding. They could've guessed that some idiots wouldn't listen no matter how many times they got on the air to say what to do and what not to do before and during the storm. But I really do think that, for once, the government at all levels acted responsibly and actually reasonably. Isabel was a nasty storm, not the nastiest we've ever seen but certainly worse than most expected. That's not anyone's fault, and I have a hard time seeing how terrorists can learn much from this. Sure, they could run around popping transformers here and there, and that would surely be an irritant. But you're not going to see terrorists cutting an island in half the way Isabel did in North Carolina, and you're not going to see terrorists creating the next 100-year flood on the Chesapeake's western shore. And sure, terrorists could create havoc by knocking off a nuclear power plant, but isn't that what the war is intended to prevent? And what's that kind of attack got to do with a hurricane? I don't see it.

If the terrorists could learn anything from Isabel, it's that we're not an easily shaken people. We find out a huge storm is coming our way, and we shrug it off for a day or two. Then we run around buying stuff and getting ready, then we ride it out, assess and repair, and move on. We don't riot because the power's out fora while. We help our neighbors. We get our government to give us some of our money back to rebuild our smashed towns. We learn how to make the next storm less deadly, and then we get on with our business. Yes, the terrorists could learn much from Isabel--just nothing that they'd want to learn, and nothing they learn should comfort them. We're not a perfect people by any means, but we're tough. Tougher than any storm, tougher than any terrorist.

So I'd give the government, at least in my neck of the woods, a solid A. It didn't do anything stupid or counterproductive. It warned us well in advance and suggested ways to prepare. It declared the legal emergency status early enough afterward to give some comfort. It kept us informed around the clock, and has stayed on the power situation making sure that the utilities don't take too long to get the power back on. And though I wouldn't be able to say this if my power was still off, I'd still be thinking it. We spent four days without power almost down to the minute. I'm over it. I was over it before the power came back on.

Anyway, I'll get back to normal blogging fairly soon. The storm's over and there's still a war to win, and there's still a media and its political party to overcome in winning that war.

Anyhow, what follows is the result of having too much time on my hands as a hurricane bore down on my humble abode:

Top Five indications that you’re hurricane obsessed

5. You wonder what they’ll name the next three hurricanes, and you hope they name one after you
4. You start sorting your batteries, classifying them by brand, by color and by taste
3. You know the serial numbers and manufacturer’s suggested retail price for more than four types of generators
2. You know your Hazel from your Agnes
1. You mentally undress the Weather Channel babes

MORE: By the way, Chief Wiggles is running a toy campaign for Iraqi children. Building our empire the hard way, American style--our fierce interrogating fighters give toys to the kids in the countries we take over. Or something like that, if you're looking for the nonsensical left-wing conspiracy angle. Check out the Chief's laudable effort here. And give, if you can. It's for the Empire, by gum!

Posted by B. Preston at 11:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


For the foreseeable future, blogging will be sporadic. At best.

Thursday evening around 5:45, we lost power at JYB World Domination Headquarters. We've been without electricity ever since.

Welcome to the life of a country gentleman, circa 1870. No lights, though we do have a gas stove and water heater, so we're not totally uncivilized. And the phones still work. The phones always work, those 48 volts the only electricity that have entered our house by normal means since last week.

But other than the power outage, Isabel wasn't that bad to us. Our house still stands. It never flooded. Our wind-up radio kept us informed during and after the storm, telling us where we could stand in line for two hours for a 10-pound bag of dry ice (we opted for no line and $2.50 bags of wet ice, a couple of times), and which towns and neighborhoods had it worse than us. Most had it worse than us.

Much of Baltimore's downtown was underwater Friday. The Inner Harbor was just, for a while, the harbor. Trendy Fell's Point looked like Venice until Sunday. Several towns along the Bay got swamped in the storm surge. Thousands of people across Maryland lost their homes, to say nothing of the worse damage done in Virginia and North Carolina. We at JYB WDHQ were lucky--we just lost power. But our nextdoor neighbor never lost power, and allowed us to use an outlet on her patio, so we have a working fridge, a lamp, and a little tv set again. I can recharge my PDA. Life's not so bad at all for us.

I guess the worst part was, shortly after our power went dead, hearing radio reports of a tornado in Delaware that was moving at 75 mph. I haven't heard anything about that since, so it must have turned out false. I can't imagine a tornado moving at that speed.

No, the worst part, or maybe the coolest part, was hearing the power grid die. Thursday night around 9 I went out to sit on the porch, just to listen to the wind. The rain was surprisingly light, but the winds were gusty and occassionally ferocious. As I sat listening and watching the branches in a nearby oak, deciding which one would break off first, I heard a loud explosion off to the north. Transformer, I thought, and as I looked in the direction of the sound I saw another transformer die in a hail of blinding sparks. In the two or so minutes I remained outside, I heard half a dozen more transformers pop out. I figured that I'd been listening to the entire chain linking my house to the power plant go offline in succession. Thus far that intuition seems to have been proven right.

No, the worst part of Isabel must have been the whining, which continues. Almost as soon as the storm had passed, people began to call in to the local talk radio stations (talk and news radio was our only source of information for days) to whine that the power company hadn't already been to their house, apologized for the three or four hours they'd been without, reconnected them, given them a voucher to pay for the next month's bill and pledged to rebuild the entire power grid so that in the future no hurricane could ever again make them miss more than one nanosecond of the nonsense they were watching on tv when the lights went out. Sheesh. As Isabel left town to head north, Democrat party spokesman David Paulsen started launching cheap shots at Gov. Ehrlich, though the gov had literally been updating the state all night via the local media (I know, because I was listening), and had been warning us for days prior that this was a storm to be taken seriously. Officials from both sides of the political aisle worked hard to get people prepared, keep people informed and help clean up afterward. Mouthpieces without consciences serve no purpose in a crisis, and should be muzzled. Some people must think that government can actually control forces of nature. They should change the state's motto from the "Free State" to the "Me State."

Within 24 hours BGE brought in crews from several nearby states and Canada, which they had planned to do before the storm, and has had those 4,000 hard working crews going around the clock to fix the grid as soon as humanly possible. Two of those out-of-state workers were electrocuted over the weekend, dead trying to give people their Jerry Springer fix. Yet much of the state whines and complains about the loss of electricity, when just a few miles down the road some poor schlub is looking at the pile of wood and rubble that used to be his house, which is next to the useless hunk of metal that used to be his car, which is underneath a big white pile of something that he suspects was once his boat. Or maybe it was his neighbor's boat--who can tell? Some people around here lost everything. A few days without power is no big deal.

Suck it up, Maryland. Just suck it up and deal with it.

And that's where we are. Good neighbors who let us use their electricity while delivering a crop of kayenne peppers. A family intact, healthy, and with a new appreciation for simple things like lamps.

So as I said at the top of this post, blogging will be less than constant for a while. Can't post from my PDA. Can't run the computer on wishful thinking.

Posted by B. Preston at 12:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack