Carol Platt Liebau: August 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Democrats Hit By Hsu-nami... Hillary Donor Case Goes to Court!

It all started this week with Ma and Pa Paw's little green shack...

And, it's turned into a democratic donations fraud Hsu-nami.
Earlier today democratic mega-donor and fugitive Norman Hsu turned himself in to the authorites.
Hsu is no longer on the lam- free to float $1,368,055 to his favorite democrats.
Here is a memorable line from the LA Times report on Hsu:

In 1990, Hsu was kidnapped by Chinese gang members in San Francisco and rescued when police in suburban Foster City stopped their car for running a red light.
Hillary’s boy Hsu is kidnapped by gangstas!
Sounds like a good movie… Give Hillary the part of gangsta #1 driving the getaway car.

The New York Times has this on the mysterious Hsu:

People who met him said they knew only that he ran an apparel business. Efforts to learn more about his trade hit dead-ends yesterday. Visits to companies at addresses listed by Mr. Hsu on campaign finance records provided little information. There were no offices in buildings in New York’s garment district whose addresses were given for businesses with names like Components Ltd., Cool Planets, Next Components, Coopgors Ltd., NBT and Because Men’s clothing — all listed by Mr. Hsu in federal filings at different times.

At a new loft-style residential condominium in SoHo that was also listed as an address for one of his companies, an employee there said that he had never seen or heard of Mr. Hsu. Another company was listed at a condo that Mr. Hsu had sublet in an elegant residential tower in Midtown Manhattan just off Fifth Avenue, but an employee there said Mr. Hsu moved out two years ago, after having lived there for five years. The employee, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about residents, said he recalled that Mr. Hsu had received a lot of mail from the Democratic Party.
Sounds like a great movie!

Macranger has more on the curious Mr. Hsu.
Kurt Hoglund built a Google Notebook of "All Things Hsu".
Don Surber reports- Hillary Hears a Hsu
Clarice Feldman- Left Hand Meet Right Hand
Captain's Quarters questions Hillary.

But, it's not just Norman Hsu-
Hillary's donor case goes back to court next week!
Hat Tip Juandos
The Hillary Project is reporting:

On Sept. 7, 2007, the California Appellate Court will hear arguments regarding bringing Senator Hillary Clinton back into court as a defendant in the Paul vs. Clinton case.

An appeal was filed by Clinton donor Peter Paul's attorneys in March, 2007 seeking reversal of an order granting Senator Clinton first amendment protection for her illegal campaign solicitations under California's anti-SLAPP law that stems from her 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. Her Finance Chief David Rosen, was indicted and tried for causing false FEC reports to be filed by Senator Clinton's campaign.

U.S. Justice Foundation, submitted to the California Court of Appeal a five minute videotape (which can be viewed at, of a July 2000 phone call it claims shows Sen. Clinton – despite denials throughout six years of investigation – taking an active role with Paul in the production of the largest fundraiser of her 2000 Senate campaign.

Paul contends Sen. Clinton's participation directly and through her designated White House staff assistant Kelly Craighead in directing expenditures, soliciting contributions of performer's services, and planning the event would make his more than $1.2 million in contributions a direct donation to her Senate campaign as a matter of law rather than being attributable by Senator Clinton to a joint fundraising committee, violating federal statutes that limit "hard money" contributions to a candidate to $2,000 per person. Knowingly accepting or soliciting $25,000 or more in a calendar year is a felony carrying a prison sentence of up to five years.

The videotape was held since May 2001 by the New York Eastern District U.S. Attorney and released only on April 12 of this year after 2 years of requests made by Paul's attorneys.

"The evidence is of that rare type that captures the very commission of a crime, namely, that of knowingly soliciting, coordinating and accepting federal campaign contributions far in excess of the legal limit of $2,000," according to a case brief filed back in July.
Don't look for much media coverage on that case!

Michelle Malkin reports that the Justice Department is looking into Norman Hsu's possible straw campaign donations as a result of the Wall Street Journal report.

This is cross posted at Gateway Pundit.
This will be it for me--
It was a pleasure to fill in for Carol while she was away.

Going to the Dogs

Here, Deroy Murdock objects to a lot of the excuse-making that has issued in the Michael Vick case.

In my view, perhaps the most pernicious claim is that dog-fighting -- cruelty to dogs -- is simply part of "black culture." How insulting to try to tarnish all African Americans with the implication that the culture they have created and maintained would sanction such behavior.

But the claim is a savvy one in a multicultural world. Part of the pernicious legacy of the determined "non-judgmental" multiculturalism that's been bred into the marrow of American society is the ridiculous idea that, if it's part of another's "culture," behavior of an objectively objectionable nature has to be tolerated, if not condoned. Asserting that the criminal behavior is simply indigenous to black culture is a little bit like playing the race card; the defenders who employ that argument are attempting to justify his behavior in a way that defies rebuttal.

Karl Rove's Kool Aid Stand

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

An OpEd by Karl Rove in the National Review Online extols the Bush administration's achievements.

Now, for those bloggers who take a less laudatory view of the Bush Administration, this is your chance to provide facts, figures and analysis to counter Rove's assertions. No ad hominem attacks or bombast. As they said in Dragnet, "Just the facts, ma'am."

Have at it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Palestinians Plow Gaping Hole In Temple Mount- Find 2nd Temple!

In their outrageous demolition work on the Temple Mount this week the Palestinians may have accidentally uncovered a section of the Second Temple.

These are never before published private photos taken by Yisroel Caspi, an archaeologist who was present during the work done at the Temple Mount. They were sent to me earlier today:

The Muslim Religious Authority (aka the Waqf) received permission recently to dig a narrow channel on the Temple Mount to lay a small pipe that houses electrical wiring because there had been a power failure.

These photographs demonstrate the extent of unnecessary damage being done to this key religious site. Rather than digging a narrow channel by hand (as is done in every archaeological dig), they brought in a large tractor that is breaking far more ground than necessary and is literally ruining precious antiquities.

These are pictures from the work being carried out since yesterday at the Temple Mount.

We demand to stop immediately the work with tractor which ruins the antiquities, and to work carefully by hands, as is done in every regular archaeological dig.

We need your help to talk with Olmert as soon as possible.

Could you imagine the international uproar if this would have been the Jews blasting through the Temple Mount instead of the Palestinians?

Later this news was reported by the AFP on the destruction:

Remains of the Jewish second temple may have been found during work to lay pipes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, Israeli television reported Thursday.

Israeli television broadcast footage of a mechanical digger at the site which Israeli archaeologists visited on Thursday.

Gaby Barkai, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, urged the Israeli government to stop the pipework after the discovery of what he said is "a massive seven metre-long wall."

Television said the pipework carried out by the office of Muslim religious affairs, or Waqf, is about 1.5 metres deep and about 100 metres long.

The compound, which houses both Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is located in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and then annexed. It is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

For Jews it as known as the Temple Mount, which they revere as the site of the King Herod's second temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. It is the holiest site in Judaism.
Cross-posted at Gateway Pundit.

So Much for "Consensus"

Despite the left's insistence that "scientific consensus" has come squarely down on the side of environmentalist claims that global warming is manmade, it turns out that fewer than half of all published scientists actually endorse the theory of manmade global warming.

Sorry, Algore.

Craig audio.

You can listen to the audio of Senator Larry Craig's conversation with his arresting officer here. Be warned, the link goes to a somewhat large MP3 file -- and it's a tremendously squirm-inducing and disappointing conversation.

The convert.

I am interested in religion in public life, and so I was pleased to come across the ReligionWriter website, which is, as far as I can see, filled with decent pieces on religion and journalism. It's not the equal of the incredibly good GetReligion, but for a one-woman show, it's worth a read. It's that woman who is the truly interesting bit: Andrea Useem has an impressive portfolio of mostly freelance religion-journalism -- and she is a convert to Islam. As her biography explains it:

After reporting first-hand on the 1998 embassy bombing in Nairobi, Andrea became intrigued by Islam, a religion she knew little about. She studied informally with Muslim leaders in Kenya, Egypt and Sudan, and what started as a journalistic interest gradually became a personal conviction. Just before leaving Africa for good in the fall of 1999, she formally embraced Islam while in Zimbabwe.

This is, to put it kindly, strange. And this is not to pick on Andrea Useem -- her story pales beside the bizarre journey of Yvonne Ridley, who converted to Islam after a fairly awful experience at the hands of the Taliban. These women are not alone: since the present campaign of Islamist terror began -- dated from 1979 or 1998, depending upon whom you ask -- there has been heightened interest in Islam, and consequently, a growing cadre of persons who convert to Islam. This is wholly counterintuitive from a moral standpoint: having come to examine a faith as a consequence of that faith's bloody commandments -- in Islam's case, the doctrine of jihad -- the embrace of that faith can only take place as a result of moral abdication. The convert must either assent to the commandment, or willfully ignore it. Whatever is done, the initial act of terror, slaughter, murder, etc., thus wins -- not only are unbelievers killed, converts are made. In this light, we must ask: is violence truly the most effective proselytization of all?

The Unwelcome Candidate

Here, Bob Novak discusses John Edwards' widespread unpopularity among Democratic Party regulars -- a sea change from earlier in his career, when he was seen as a great hope for the party.

Given the authenticity questions that dog Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney, it's noteworthy that many of the same concerns haven't been raised about Edwards. After all, for a long time, he was perceived as a Southern moderate/centrist -- and now he's on the left side of the Democratic spectrum on just about every issue. How'd that happen? Of course, there's always the argument that he was always a liberal, and that he needed to seem moderate in order to defeat incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth for his US Senate seat . . . but it's remarkable that the press reports so little about his volte-face on so many issues.

What's more, Edwards has now become not just a left-liberal, but a "people vs. the powerful" populist, as well. That can be problematic, in my view, for a self-made man. People like Al Gore and Teddy Kennedy -- born into great wealth and/or stature -- can get away with it, as long as their expressed concern for the "common man" comes off as compassion, not condescension. But someone like John Edwards, who became enormously wealthy through the employment of his own talents alone, may have a harder time credibly claiming that the system is stacked against "the people." After all, look what he's done himself . . . is he really claiming that others can't do the same thing? And doesn't that come off as an implicit assertion that he was able to succeed in the current "system" because he's just cleverer than the average Joe?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

AHMADINEJAD Gives Oliver Stone Thumbs Up to Film Him!!

So, are you sick of liberal Hollywood yet?

Film director Oliver Stone, who has compared President Bush to Ahmadinejad, was not taking "no" for an answer this time.

Director Stone reached out again to genocide-promoter Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week to film his life story.

Fars News just reported that Iranian President Ahmadinejad has given Oliver Stone approval to film his biography:

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed his approval of acclaimed director Oliver Stone's plans to make a film about him.

"I have no objection, generally speaking, but they have to let me know what are the frameworks. They should talk to my colleagues. Principally speaking, I have no objection," President Ahmadinejad told reporters during a press conference here in Tehran on Tuesday.
This was probably the kicker that pushed Mahmoud over the top:

"Stone’s publicist referred to the bad image that the U.S. media has given to Islam and Islamic countries and said that the documentary could assist in countering such negative propaganda.
IANS has more on Mahmoud's decision.

This is cross-posted at Gateway Pundit.
As one commenter said, "Would hollywood've done a bio-pic of hitler in 1940!?!?"
I doubt it.

The rate at which elephants learn.

For reasons unbeknownst to ordinary people of ordinary sense, the GOP leadership has been incredibly slow to distance itself from the bizarre crop of corrupt, criminal, and otherwise tarnished persons who have come to public attention in the past several years. Tom DeLay came inexcusably close to overturning the Rostenkowski Rule upon his indictment; Mark Foley transgressions were known by several members of the House GOP leadership before his scandal broke; and as has been mentioned in this space, David Vitter will apparently suffer no long-term repercussions within the Senate for his solicitation of prostitutes. In an amazing display of incompetence, former Speaker Dennis Hastert even tied himself to the cause of corrupt Democratic Congressman William Jefferson, when the latter found himself the target of a well-deserved FBI raid. These were the major reasons for the Republican defeat in 2006, and they will doubtless be major factors in 2008 -- hypocrisy may be the tribute that vice pays to virtue, but given the choice, the voters will pick the party that does not practice it.

All this is prelude to saying: that Larry Craig is being stripped of his Senate leadership posts is good news indeed. It's taken them a long while and a bad election -- but the lumbering party apparatus may be learning.

More Dirty Clinton Money

It's funny how these stories (about numerous people like these) seem to follow the Clintons.

Of course they know nothing about the wrongdoing. They never do, do they?

Something about Septembers.

The second anniversary of the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina is upon us, and it is commemorated about the leftosphere in the same manner that 9/11 is commemorated around the rightosphere. Indeed, it is now their touchstone catastrophe, as much as the slaughter four years prior somehow became ours. One's outlook toward Katrina and its aftermath is telling: if you think it's an example of a failed community under duress, it's one thing; if you think the failures of government demand more government, it's another. The latter is, of course, entirely absurd -- and the equivalencies drawn between Katrina and 9/11 are obscene. The sad reality is that New Orleans, rather than the Bush Administration or FEMA -- though both were shown utterly incompetent -- ultimately did itself in. If, as H.L. Mencken said, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard," then the leadership of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco delivered in full. Casual observers elsewhere knew what Katrina's approach portended: but the local worthies either did not, or did nothing. Upon them rests the obloquy of history, if not of the electorate. When we look to the disaster of Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans, we extend our sympathies and our helping hands to all afflicted by it -- even as we acknowledge that the stricken city should never be rebuilt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The new normal.

Michael Crowley's TNR piece on the personal and social woes of homosexual Republicans in DC is pathetic in the literal sense -- it evokes pathos for the poor souls who suffer under tremendous burdens, self-inflicted and otherwise. But what's important here is that it quotes a homosexual former Clinton staffer as having shrieked at some Republican counterparts: "What you do for a living is hurting me, and my family, and my daughter I have with two lesbians." Crowley writes that "the former Clinton aide's 'little screed is legendary.'" For my part, I call it pure comedy gold.

Born losers.

Fake-conservative Andrew Sullivan stand-in Hilary Bok on Iraq: “Grit and resolve would be appropriate only if success were possible, and it is not clear that it is.” Well, there you go. Thank God we weren't afflicted with such professional academics in 1777, 1862, and 1940: all years of distinctly unclear possibilities of success.

Anti-war bloggers viciously attack vets & mothers!

Hello! This is Jim Hoft. I run the blog Gateway Pundit.
Carol told me a while ago that she may need some help this week. I said I would be glad to do what I can while she is away.
I just got this in my email earlier today and believe it is timely and worth sharing:

Anti-war bloggers viciously attack vets and their mothers!
August 28, 2007

Dear Friends,

When I started two weeks ago, I could not imagine the out pouring of support you would give to this mission and how quickly everyone would unite - so thank you!

One of our partners, Freedom's Watch, recently began airing ads with Gold Star Mothers and Iraq War veterans. These people are real heroes who have sacrificed everything to defend our freedoms and they deserve our respect and honor.

Unfortunately, the anti-war bloggers on are now personally attacking these loving mothers and wounded vets with the vilest comments ever imaginable.

In response to Laura Youngblood, who lost an uncle in 9/11 and her husband in Iraq, a blogger who identifies himself as, "thewarden70" wrote this, "This lady, if she can be called a lady, is completely incapable of telling the truth, any use of simple logic, and devoid of a soul."

It gets worse! Another blogger naming himself as, "Thrashaero" penned this after watching vet John Kriesel who lost both legs in Iraq, "Aww poor thing. has no legs and still is too proud to figure out that he screwed himself over by joining to support a ridiculous war.your sacrifice is meaningless."

The comment left on that makes me most sick is the one directed at Gold Star Mother, Vicki Strong. Ptboy90210 wrote this, "Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Vicki Strong is a terrible person. Her son is spinning in his grave."

We cannot stand for this. These radical anti-war members need to know their comments are unacceptable!

Please, call 1-877-222-8001 today. An operator will connect you to your Member of Congress. Please tell them what the anti-war crowd is saying about our brave American troops and their mothers! Tell them they must distance themselves from these cruel anti-war people!

If you still haven't seen Freedom's Watch video, you can watch them by clicking on this link or visiting Freedom's Watch.

Please remember that our message is silent unless you act!

Megan L. Ortagus

Love and politics.

Just under one year ago, this Anne Kornblut NYT piece addressed the phenomenon of loves and friendships fraying over politics. The noteworthy thing about it was that, in the end, Kornblut could only come up with Democrats rejecting friends and family over political matters: for whatever reason, Republicans and conservatives seem to have a much easier time maintaining relationships with their ideological opposites. (Yes: it's because we secretly know you guys are so right.) This is all anecdotal, of course -- is it even possible to quantify this sort of thing? -- and it should be taken as such.

Still, when you see a Salon reader corresponding with Cary Tennis about his inability, on political grounds, to love his own parents, you must wonder whether this set is indeed truly insane. "How can I love my parents," asks "A Bad Son," "when they are supporters of the most corrupt, willfully ignorant, deceitful, lying administration in our nation's history?" How indeed? My father phone-banked for Jimmy Carter, and we've not spoken since. The milquetoast Tennis makes a stab at the right answer: "[F]amily love is an unbreakable connection. It isn't an idea. Love is not approval or agreement. It's a bond." Precisely -- but who needs clarification of this these days excepting, well, angry Democrats? Less stupefying, but still pathetic, is James Kirchick's tale of woe on being romantically ostracized as a homosexual conservative.

The root of the trouble here is the belief that politics are an expression of fundamental values. They often are, of course, but not always, and not in the same way for each person. My stance on the recent levee bonds in Sacramento expressed precisely nothing about me except, perhaps, that I'm against drowning, and that I am not terribly informed on local infrastructure issues. Similarly, being for the Iraq war does not make you a monster -- and being against it does not make you a fool. The qualities of monstrousness or foolishness come in the circumstances and details. Furthermore, people are holistic beings, irreducible to discrete parts indicative of the whole. When I married, I promised to spend the rest of my life with my wife -- not an aggregate of opinions on SCHIP and arts funding. Why do we find so many stories of leftists failing to grasp this, and so few anecdotes of conservatives rejecting love and friendship on the same grounds? There's something there, I think, that's intrinsic both to the type of person who adheres to each ideology, and to the ideologies themselves. The irony lies in who is tolerant -- and who is not.

Our two terrible Senators.

Echoing what both Carol and Hugh Hewitt have said, Senator Larry Craig of Idaho ought to resign from office immediately. So should Senator David Vitter of Louisiana.

From a partisan standpoint, of course, this represents a net loss for the Republicans in the Senate, as Louisiana's Democratic Governor will assuredly appoint a Democrat to replace the Republican Vitter. But Louisiana is trending Republican, so the seat will be made good in time; and more important, it's the right thing to do. One of the many baleful effects of the Clinton years was the promulgation of the idea that character, and especially sexual propriety, is irrelevant to one's public life. This is utterly false, and it is profoundly disappointing to see Republicans, caught in scandals of their own making, resorting to this left-wing trope.

This does not mean that we ought to be dour, relentless, unforgiving, or prudish in our assessment of public figures. People err, people sin, and yes, people break the law. (I'll admit to all three, although not all at once!) This is merely to be human: even if my mistakes differ in kind, I cannot claim to be a better man than our two terrible Senators. But when we sin, we are called upon to repent, to confess, to make amends, and to accept consequences. We are furthermore liable for the offices and the stations we seek. There is no evidence that Craig or Vitter have done any of these things, and certainly not by the lights of a United States Senator. It is, admittedly, a lot to ask of a man to do them in public -- but we know that Craig, at least, sought to use his office to avoid the law, having shown his Senatorial business card to the arresting officer, so our sympathy should be limited on that count.

In the end, these are men to whom we entrust a Constitutional office, and those offices should be filled by men of character. If Craig and Vitter were truthful, forthright, and penitent, it would be one thing. But they are not. And thus, they should go

Guesting, for a bit.

Greetings, loyal readers -- my name is Josh Trevino, and I'm here as an occasional guest poster for the rest of this week. Carol has been kind enough to invite me to sub for her for a bit, but it looks like she doesn't need the help at all! So I'll just be infrequent, posting items of interest and bolstering the offerings here. If you want to know more about me, check out my site; in brief, I'm a former GWB appointee, I co-founded, and I met Carol when we were both Lincoln Fellows in August 2006.

Thanks to Carol for having me on board!

Time to Resign, Senator

It's time for Senator Larry Craig to resign, in light of this story. Not only does the behavior itself (credibly alleged to have occurred more than once) require resignation, so does Craig's apparent failure to alert any members of the Republican Senate leadership that an embarassment like this would be coming down the pike.

It's a difficult situation for the senator's family, and it's obvious that only his resignation will stem a tide of salacious stories.

Deja Vu All Over Again

What a surprise. There are some compelling questions being raised about Senator Clinton's fundraising, outlined in this piece from The Wall Street Journal (subscription only).

Here's a brief excerpt:

Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show.

What's interesting is this:

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative.

Oh, and this, too:

The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records.

Does it ever end with the Clintons? John Edwards and Barack Obama must be licking their chops. A story like this one reminds everyone of the tedious Clinton years, with the sale of the Lincoln bedroom, the Chinese fundraising scandal, Clinton White House staff soliciting and accepting donations on the job and so much, much more.

Of course, this isn't the first time questions about laundered contributions have been raised in the context of Clintonian fundraising.

Monday, August 27, 2007

AG Gonzales Resigns

The Attorney General has resigned. Like many conservatives, I've been critical of the Attorney General, although personally, he seems like a good man -- and Mark Levin is quite right to point out that, compared to Janet Reno, AG Gonzales was John Marshall.

The problem now is that a new attorney general must be confirmed, and it will be interesting to see what concessions the Democrats attempt to extract from the nominee in exchange for their votes -- a promise to appoint an Independent Counsel to investigate the US attorneys non-scandal, perhaps?

Clearly, the Bush administration expects the process to be a lengthy one, which is why they've named Solicitor General Paul Clement to the post of interim attorney general.

Paul is one of my closest friends from law school; he is a brilliant, even-handed legal mind and a fine person. The country is lucky to have him.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Symbols and Celebrities

In this piece, the famously partisan Washington Post writer Robin Givhan takes it upon herself to pen an ultimately indecipherable column discussing Jenna Bush's engagement in the context of celebrity and symbolism.

She seems to believe that, by formally announcing the engagement, The White House made it everyone's business, entitling everyone to an opinion on it. Or something like that.

But it's not clear how the information should have come out if not through the First Lady's office. Perhaps in People magazine or a supermarket tabloid (where the latter might well manage to allege that her fiance is a space alien, or something of the sort)?

If anything, Jenna and the Bushes have made it clear that they're not trying to capitalize on the wedding for PR purposes -- in fact, the bride has announced that she prefers to be married in either Maine or Texas, rather than in The White House. It's rather refreshing that she prefers a private place with special meaning for her throughout her life -- and something of a contrast to the Clinton years, when The White House was used as a wedding venue open even to the President's in-laws. But of course Givhan never had anything to say about that.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

How Revealing

Sometimes an off-hand remark really says it all. As The New York Post points out, Hillary Clinton admitted to dreading another terrorist attack, not because it would kill Americans, cripple the economy or embolden our foes . . . but because it nmight offer Republicans a political advantage.

In truth, however, it's not fair to single Hillary out. She's hardly the only Democrat who sees the war on terror through little more than a political lens. Harsh as it is, the truth is that many Democrats couldn't care less about defeating Al Qaeda -- terrorists matter only insofar as they represent a political advantage (if the war isn't going well) or a political detriment (if there's an attack, or if the war in Iraq begins to turn around).

That's why so many lefties -- with, admittedly, a few honorable exceptions -- are so reluctant to concede that Iraq might be winnable.

Then again, this kind of evidently crass opportunism and profound lack of seriousness when it comes to national security issues may be the one reason why, despite all the circumstances working against them, there's still a good fighting chance that American voters will elect a Republican Commander in Chief next year.

Attn: Dems & John Warner

Michael O'Hanlon -- a liberal scholar at the Brookings Institute -- explains why it would be ridiculous to declare defeat in Iraq now.

The "Whore Wars"

This piece takes note of the really inappropriate "fashions" made available for tweens and teens.

It's a topic I cover in my upcoming book -- "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)" -- due out on November 1.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Think Pink?!

News flash: There are biological differences between male and female brains. What's more, the more female the brain, the more it likes pink.

Oh, and shopping may be the 21st century equivalent of the "gathering" from primordial hunter-gatherer societies.

Things Are Improving; Let's Surrender!

That's what John Warner seems to be saying in his widely publicized call for troop withdrawals from Iraq.

Here, however, a general in charge of one of the more troubled areas of Iraq explains why Warner's "symbolic" gesture is a profoundly bad idea.

In a word, it's because such tactics only slow the pace of political reconciliation, both because some Iraqis conclude it's unwise to work with the new government, which will be targeted by terrorists when the US withdraws, and because some Iraqis conclude that reconciliation isn't really necessary to effect a US withdrawal.
What's more, buried deep in a story replete with the trademarked LA Times agenda pessimism about the war is another clue to why all the vaporing politicians -- from Hillary Clinton to Carl Levin, John Warner and the rest -- might be well-advised to stop threatening an immediate pullout of US troops:

The report identifies two new elements that are further complicating political and military developments: expanded Sunni Arab opposition to Al Qaeda's affiliates in Iraq, and the widening expectation in the country of an eventual U.S. troop withdrawal.

The latter development is prompting local leaders to take it upon themselves to provide security in their areas, intelligence officials said. That could lead to a reduction in violence if the Maliki government can enlist their support.

But intelligence officials said that prospect is uncertain, and that more heavily armed and autonomous local groups could challenge the authority of the central government and further destabilize the country.

That's right -- the withdrawal threats are destabilizing Iraq.

Oh, and one more nugget hidden at the story's end: [T]he report concludes that the ability of groups affiliated with Al Qaeda to move and mount attacks in parts of Iraq has been significantly eroded by cooperation among Sunni Arab tribal leaders, who have been emboldened by successful U.S.-led operations and are increasingly dismayed by the bloody tactics of the Al Qaeda in Iraq group.

Helloooo? That's right, lefties -- Iraqis are emboldened by US military successes. How's that jibe with your plan to draw down our military forces?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gwen Stefani Dresses Down

In my new column at Townhall I address Gwen Stefani's recent wardrobe change in response to complaints from Muslims in Malaysia.

Recently pop singer Gwen Stefani made news by making what she referred to as a “major sacrifice” by performing her concert in Malaysia with shoulders, legs and belly completely covered. The reason for ditching her usual attire, which often consists of short skirts and midriff-revealing halter tops, was in reaction to protests from the 10,000-member National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students who said such clothing would clash with Islamic culture and values and provide a poor role model for Malaysian youth. The revealing costumes routinely worn by Stefani and other performers are not only found offensive by Muslims. There are many Jewish, Christian and other religions and cultures that discourage immodest clothing, too. Some groups representing those religions have even complained in the past about the bad example being set for girls and young women by so many in the entertainment industry.

So why would Stefani respond to the protests from a Muslim group, while ignoring similar complaints from Christian and other groups? About 60 percent of Malaysia's population is Muslim, while those in the United States identifying themselves as Christian is over 75 percent. The reason Stefani would bow to Muslims protesting her dress therefore could not be about numbers.

Read the rest at Townhall.

Placing Politics Above National Security

This article highlights the difference in approach between the American politicians who actually care about the nation's security and those who care about nothing more than gaining and maintaining political power.

Contrast the statements of President Bush and Senator Clinton about the leadership of Prime Minister al-Maliki. Clinton has called for his ouster, but while President Bush has admitted to frustration with the pace of political change in Iraq, he has pointed out that, as a democracy, Iraqis have the right to choose their own leaders.

Think about what all this means. Clinton is willing to play to the hometown crowd for political advantage, even though any thinking person would recognize that loud and widespread denunciation of Maliki is hardly likely to bring about welcome political change in Iraq -- given the reluctance of many Iraqi politicians to seem as though they are America's lapdogs. Surely she knows that; it seems that she simply doesn't care.

President Bush has hardly defended Maliki on all fronts, understandably, because the pace of progress has been agonizingly slow. But in any case, at least he recognizes that the best way to win the hearts and minds of Iraqi politicians is through persuasion rather than showboating rhetoric. Clinton's kind of oratory may play well at home among the left, but is almost guaranteed to raise hackles among the very people who need to start making headway in the process of political reconciliation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Magnificent Speech

President Bush finally took the fight to his domestic political adversaries with a truly magnificent speech about Iraq.

We need more of this -- and with quantifiable facts, such as the one that we have been killing 1500 terrorists in Iraq each month since January, when the surge began.

The College Class of 2011 Mindset

This is guest blogger, Ruth Anne Adams, "The Maternal Optimist."


Beloit College was always a conference foe of my alma mater. But for the past 10 years, they've published this mindset list to clue in the staff and faculty about the new freshman entering college.

Here are some examples:
~Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the public.
~They never “rolled down” a car window.
~Eastern Airlines has never “earned their wings” in their lifetime.
~Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.

Read the whole list.

Cross-posted at "The Maternal Optimist."

Democratic patriotism defined and questioned

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

Main Entry: pa·tri·ot·ism
Pronunciation: 'pA-trE-&-"ti-z&m, chiefly British 'pa-
Function: noun
: love for or devotion to one's country

A regular commenter to this blog writes: "the Democrats, as a group, are just as patriotic as the Republicans."

I am not so sure.

There are, I believe, prominent constituencies within the Democratic party which have supernational loyalties along class, cultural/ethnic or gender lines, which believe that the United States has been a force for evil in the world, and that the straight-white-male "system" that gave rise to and ran the country for so long is exploitative and illegitimate.

In England, these constituencies are known as the loony left (now with a large dose of Islamists thrown in). I have heard the term Nutroots thrown about here, but elements of the above philosophy underlie what have become mainstream Democratic positions.

One might question whether the patriotism of the Republicans finds expression in wise policies, or whether patriotism is a good thing, but I believe the GOP has greater love for or devotion to our country.

Changing the Plan, Stan

Reading the subtext of this article from the Washington Post is quite revealing. In essence, it says that, given the successes of the surge in Iraq, Democrats are being forced to switch their "strategy" -- their strategy for defeat, that is -- by changing their line of attack on the war.

Now that it's more difficult for them to demoralize Americans about the military side of the war effort, they're going to try to talk down the Iraq enterprise by disparaging the political progress.

Quite remarkable, isn't it, that you have one political party in America that accepts progress in Iraq only reluctantly, and immediately goes searching for other grounds upon which to cry surrender?

The Fine Print

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

This article by John Stossel peels back the onion on a World Health Organization report ranking the US healthcare 37th internationally, behind such countries as Morocco, Cyprus and Costa Rica.

Those interested in the substance of the article should check out the link. What interests me is how the New York Times picked up the story without delving into the methodology and weightings (some might say bias), the report's authors used to rank the countries. Bear this in mind when someone quotes opinion surveys to you.

Doubly interesting is how the Internet provides a forum for questioning and fact-checking the mainstream media. As Erwin Kroll said, "[e]verything you read in the newspaper is absolutely true except for the rare story of which you have first-hand knowledge."

Except for this blogsite, of course.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Throw the bums out (and bring in some new bums)

This is guest blogger Wile E. Coyote.

Morning headlines could be reading: President's Approval Rating Seven Points Higher Than Congress's."

In other words, Congress's approval rating is 18%.

If you look at the data in the article, Congressional approval has been on a slide for five years. If we threw the bums out in 2006, why did we get another bunch of bums? And what will happen in 2008?

You make the call.

A Little Too Much Overinterpretation

This item about Michelle Obama speculates that her remark, asserting that ""if you can't run your own house, you can't run the White House," was perhaps aimed at Hillary Clinton.

As tempting as it would be to try to elicit a Clinton-Obama smackdown, this strikes me as a bit of wishful thinking and overinterpretation. After all, one could argue just as plausibly that the remark was perhaps aimed at Rudy Giuliani.

It's not clear yet whether Michelle Obama will be a strong and interesting voice on the campaign trail, or something of a strident annoyance. But it does seem unfair on the part of the press to gin up a controversy by extrapolating from a statement that could be interpreted any number of ways.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Some Questions for Hillary

James Carroll raises a good point: What does Hillary Clinton think of her husband's record on foreign policy?

The Rove Interviews

Here, the NY Times' Alessandra Stanley covers Karl Rove's appearance on the Sunday shows yesterday.

I didn't see Bob Schieffer's interview (although Stanley does amusingly characterize him as one "who conducts interviews on 'Face the Nation' on CBS as if they were chats over predinner drinks at the Metropolitan Club"). But the Chris Wallace and David Gregory discussions were notable in that they seemed to attribute to Rove the blame for the partisan divisions in this country.

Please. President Bush actually ran on a platform of being a "uniter, not a divider" in 2000. Remeber how he tried to pal around with Teddy Kennedy during his early days in The White House, and even gave Teddy his way on the No Child Left Behind legislation?

The "division" in this country surrounding the Bush presidency actually stems from the disputed election of 2000, and the Democrat/MSM willingness to try to convince Americans -- African Americans in particular -- that there was a systematic effort to disenfranchise certain segments of American voters.

Nor does the myth of bipartisan unity in the wake of 9/11 -- cruelly shattered by the evil Svengali in the Bush White House -- hold water. In the days before the United States launched strikes on Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, Democrat Senate minority leader Tom Daschle was complaining that not enough was being done to retaliate for the 9/11 attacks. Is that bipartisanship?

What's more, in the year after the 9/11 attacks, Democrats supported legislation that would have unionized the Department of Homeland Security -- putting partisan political advantage above national security. Yet for some reason, it wasn't that behavior that was faulted -- just Rove and Republican willingness to point it out in the 2002 elections.

And surely everyone remembers what happened by 2004, as soon as there were difficulties locating WMD in Iraq. The Democrats conveniently shed their "hawkish" wolf's clothing, and simply disclaimed any responsibility for authorizing, and indeed supporting, the war in Iraq. Now, to hear some of the war's erstwhile strong Democratic supporters, one would think that they had denounced the removal of Saddam Hussein all along, even as they have accused the Bush Administration of "tricking" the country into war. But again, apparently that kind of destructive political posturing somehow passes without comment in the MSM.

How strange that no one in the press characterizes all the behavior above as "divisive." Ultimately, Rove surely realized that the country was already divided, and crafted an electoral strategy that would take this sad but obvious fact into account.

On a Possible 2008 Wave Election

Pat Hynes has a really interesting post about many Democrats' belief that 2008 will be another "wave" election.
It is virtually unprecedented for two “wave” elections to occur back-to-back. But that’s what Democrats are hoping to affect with a wave of advertising and voter contact programs that are intended to “define” the current Congress; well, okay, the ads are really intended only to “define” vulnerable Republicans as pro-war Bush drones and/or heartless fatcats that don’t want children to have health insurance. Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post has the details.

But the Democrats certainly have the numbers to backup their belief that 2008 could be another pro-Democratic wave election. According to Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, “[i]f you look at nothing but the numbers, in terms of mood of the country, the popularity of the president, there’s no question the environment has eroded for Republicans since November.”

But if another wave is coming and the data prove it, why the need to flood the zone with ads, auto-dial calls, direct mail, etc? There are three things going on.
Read the rest at ABP.

Crossposted at Wizbang.

Karl Rove and Lazy Journalists

Ed Morrisey comments on Howard Kurtz' latest on Karl Rove with an interesting post about how Rove's elevation to the role of Bush's brain by many journalists was partially the result of lazy reporters not doing the work to get past their preconceived ideas about Bush.

Ever since then, and ever since the book Bush's Brain got published, Rove has served as the center of all misery for the Democrats. The news media simply got lazy and followed suit. To some extent, it helped Bush to have a lightning rod for the lunatic fringe, but instead of people recovering their senses, the madness spread. Everything became all about Rove, and even Kurtz still hasn't recovered enough to quit connecting the Harriet Miers debacle to Rove rather than George Bush himself.

The President sets policy. He has close advisors, such as Rove and Dick Cheney, but in the end he has the authority and the choices are his...

Rove's brief dabble in policy matters lasted less than two years. For the most part, Rove focused on electioneering. He built a Republican realignment that only collapsed when voters got tired of the corruption and free spending of consecutive Republican-led Congresses. Rove got an inordinate amount of blame for 2006, perhaps because he remained defiantly optimistic when all indications of a major loss could be seen, but Rove didn't lose that election -- the Republican incumbents lost it themselves.

Rove has been an easy target, and the media and Bush critics have elevated him to the level of puppetmaster. Now he's gone, and Bush will continue to be President. It may turn out to be Rove's revenge on lazy journalists and paranoid conspiracy theorists.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Surge in foolishness

Tom Friedman has an article in today's New York Times declaring that "[i]f it takes a Middle East expert to explain to you why... [a surge] is working, it’s not working." Therefore, he has no interest in what Petraeus or Crocker will say in September.

Having been disastrously wrong on the Oslo process over a period of years, among other things, Friedman demonstrates that if one spouts nonsense with enough self-importance, some will take it for wisdom.

The surge presumes that political accord will follow, not precede, physical security. To understand whether security is being achieved and how it ties into the process for achieving political accord, you need to hear from the people charged with implementing the policies. Otherwise, CNN is setting your military and foreign policy, and CNN is in business to make money, not promote US interests.

I am not saying here that the surge will establish security or that it will lead to political accord, but shutting our eyes and ears is foolish. Isn't this the complaint that many make of how the White House handled pre-war intelligence?

Saturday, August 18, 2007


This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

An article in today's New York Times reports that recent success in pacifying and providing security to Sunni areas of Iraq may not survive the withdrawal of US troops because of indifference or hostility from the Shia-led Iraqi government.

A rational Iraqi government would know that Al Qaeda will rush to fill any security vaccuum. A competent Iraqi government would do something about it.

This government may be one of the other, or neither. The surge's success will create the conditions for a political accord. Whether this means a pluralistic Iraq, or partition into three states remains to be seen. Iraq is a state made up after World War I of three provinces of the Ottoman empire. Partition would be the pattern of the former Yugoslavia. But, given the neighbors of the three new states, long-term positioning of US, NATO or other troops is highly likely.

Stop Whining

I love this quote from Kathryn Lopez directed to Ellen Goodman (link via Michelle Malkin):
My reaction to Goodman-like complaining is: It's 2007, you live in the United States. You have a pen, phone and Internet connection. Stop whining. It's unattractive. If you want to have an impact, just work. That's how the guys do it. That's how we gals do it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

WH press secretary Tony Snow to step down 'before the end of Bush's presidency"

Via AP:

WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Tony Snow said Friday he'll leave sometime before the end of the Bush presidency because of financial pressures.

He declined to say when he would depart, but that, "I'm going to stay as long as I can."

The 52-year-old Snow, the father of three children, earns $168,000 as an assistant to the president but made considerably more as a conservative pundit and syndicated talk-show host on Fox News Radio. He was named press secretary on April 26, 2006.

The White House has been shaken by the resignations of some of President Bush's closest aides. Political strategist Karl Rove announced Monday that he would leave at the end of the month. Longtime Bush adviser Dan Bartlett left earlier this year and Andrew Card left earlier as Bush's chief of staff.

Bush's term ends on Jan. 20, 2009.

"I will not be able to make it to the end of this administration, just financially," Snow said. "This job has been such a pleasant surprise in how much I like it. I love it."

Snow has been undergoing chemotherapy after doctors discovered a recurrence of colon cancer in March. He said the last of eight scheduled chemotherapy treatments would be on Friday. On Monday he will have a CAT scan to evaluate his progress.

I, for one, will be sad to see him go.

And speaking of going, this is my last official day of helping to guest blog while Carol's away - maybe some will be sad to see me go, while others may not be ;) Thanks again to Carol for asking me to help out here. If she ever needs me again, I'm just an email away :)

You can read more of my work by visiting the Sister Toldjah blog.

Waiting for the Apology

Remember how the left attacked John Ashcroft repeatedly when he was nominated to be Attorney General?

Perhaps some of those who lambasted Ashcroft's supposed resistance to enforcing civil rights might want to offer an apology, now that they are trying to capitalize on reports that Ashcroft resisted some initial Administration initiatives on warrantless wiretapping.

So who's the civil libertarian hero now?

Not giving Bush a break

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

The SF Chronicle carries an Op/Ed ridiculing Bush for taking too much vacation.

Given the paper's dislike of what Bush does while on the job, the Chronicle should be encouraging the fellow to take more time off.

Whenever Congress goes on recess, for example, I consider my wallet temporarily safe from further harm.

Let's give the guy a break.

CNN's Poll on Petraeus

There is no doubt there is a war being waged on General Petraeus by some on the left in anticipation of his September report. It is not all occurring on leftwing blogs either -- some of the activity is a little more nuanced. Radio Blogger takes a look at a CNN poll about the public's trust of Petraeus.
CNN released a new opinion poll today, and it appears that the slime campaign on General David Petraeus has now officially begun with a month to go before his report to Congress. CNN claimed on their Situation Room that only 28% of responders would be more likely to support the war if Petraeus reports the surge is showing signs of progress, 72% wouldn't. And worse news, if one were to believe this poll, only 43% of those polled trusted Petraeus to give an accurate report in September, while 53% said they don't trust the top U.S. military commander in Iraq.
Read it all.

Cross-posted at Wizbang.

John Edwards' Mortgage Meltdown

A new report asserts that presidential contender John Edwards has investment ties to subprime lenders -- and that's not all. These are the same entities who are foreclosing on the victims of Katrina.

Two Americas, indeed.

More on Vouchers

Coyote here.

Schooling, like other service-intensive businesses, has high fixed costs. This means a small decrease in sales leads to substantially worse economic performance.

This is relevant to a blogger's recently expressed concerns that many failing public school parents are so hopeless that they will not use the vouchers and that the programs will therefore not have any meaningful effect.

If only 10%-15% of voucher-eligible parents move their children to different schools, the school experiencing the departure will suffer a disproportionately large economic shock. (For example, if three children in a class of 25 leave, revenue goes down 12%, but the cost of the teacher, space, utilities, etc., remains the same. Likewise, the school enjoying the influx will get a large economic boost. If class size goes from 20 to 23, revenue goes up 15%, but costs largely remain the same. (There are refinements to this argument since the supply curve is "lumpy": at some point the successful school will have to hire another teacher and expand to keep class-size reasonable, but I stand by the basic point)). A market punishment/reward, therefore, need not involve a large number of students to be effective.

In addition, the outflow will demonstrate to the hopeless that there is hope. People will see where the grass is greener and start to follow.

I also believe the poor do understand and respond to economic signals. Witness what happened to birthrates in the relevant demographic with the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.

The teachers' union must certainly believe vouchers will have a meaninful effect or the unions or they would not fight the programs so hard.

Finally, what's wrong with experimenting with different types of voucher programs if the schools are failing and the parents currently hopeless?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stay cool

The heatwave in the south is being blamed for the deaths of 33 people:
The heat wave sweeping through the South has been blamed for at least 33 deaths this month and created potentially ruinous drought conditions.

Relentless sunshine has sent temperatures to record highs across the region, topping 100 degrees in some areas for the 10th straight day. Temperatures soared in Tennessee, where late-afternoon readings reached 109 in Smyrna, 105 in Clarksville and 103 in Nashville. Huntsville, Ala., North Little Rock, Ark., Bowling Green, Ky., and Woodward, Okla., also hit 103.

A 53-year-old man was found dead in his apartment Wednesday in Memphis, raising the number of heat-related deaths in that city to eight, officials said. One of them was a 67-year-old woman who was visiting the city for the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. She died Wednesday at a recreational vehicle park near Graceland.

It's been crazy-hot here in Charlotte, as well, and some nearby cities are starting up with the mandatory water restrictions. I wouldn't be surprised if we soon followed suit. Outside of some very sporadic rain we had a couple of weeks ago, it's been bone dry here since.

Padilla Guilty

In a victory for common sense in the war on terror, Jose Padilla was convicted of federal terrorism support charges.

Not only is this a welcome development generally, its significance lies in the fact that the defense tried to turn the trial into a referendum on the Bush administration's approach to fighting the war on terror.

The jury was having none of it, and a terrorist sympathizer will now be spending a nice long time behind bars -- where he belongs.

Best Wishes, Jenna and Henry

This is guest blogger Ruth Anne Adams, "The Maternal Optimist."

I was beginning to despair about a White House wedding recently on this blog. Today, Jenna Bush's engagement to Henry Hager [of the Virginia Hagers] was announced. My mother taught me that you welcome engagements with Best Wishes and weddings with Congratulations. Similarly, news of pregnancies are Best Wishes and births are Congratulations.

Dust off your Emily Posts. Bring out Letitcia Baldridge. This could be fun.

School vouchers, revisited

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

We received this comment on school vouchers from a fellow blogger:

"[O]ur public schools would be in much better condition if we just banned all private education (because then the parents who cared about their kids and had cultural, economic and educational resources would have no option but to participate in the public system.)"

Parents who send their children to private schools already fully support the public system financially, so the blogger must mean that it is the supervisory and execution capabilities of these parents that will make a difference.

The blogger must first consider whether other environments of state monopoly in which there is no opt out yields satisfactory service. Imagine the post office before FedEx or any motor-vehicle-licensing bureau.

The blogger should also consider that if he admits that the supervisory skill and execution abilities of these parents make the difference, then he should not complain when, as a result of applying these skills and abilities, these parents recommend improving and particpating in the public system through a voucher program. In fact, the logic of the blogger's reasoning should cause him to embrace such a recommendation.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back on the Air

After a few weeks off, I'm returning to my weekly debate slot with Al Rantel on AM 790, KABC in Los Angeles.

The "Right" Man?

Michael Medved waxes enthusiastic about the promise of a Huckabee candidacy; among the reasons is Medved's belief that he may be uniquely qualified to hold together the Republican coalition.

But isn't Medved forgetting Huckabee's problems with fiscal conservatives?

Why is Mary Winkler free?

Is this an example of justice served? I think not:
(CNN) -- After spending a total of seven months in custody, the Tennessee woman who fatally shot her preacher husband in the back was released on Tuesday, her lawyer told CNN.

Mary Winkler, a 33-year-old mother of three girls, was freed from a Tennessee mental health facility where she was treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, lawyer Steve Farese said.

"She is out," Farese said.

Farese said his client will not talk to the news media because she continues to wage a legal battle to win custody of her girls and faces a $2 million civil suit filed by the parents of her slain husband, Matthew Winkler.

Except for her oldest daughter's brief testimony at her trial, Winkler hasn't seen her children in a year, the lawyer said.

Winkler will return to work at the dry cleaners in McMinnville, Tennessee, where she worked before the trial, Farese said. She is living with friends.

Winkler served about five months in county jail as she awaited trial, then spent two months undergoing therapy at the mental health facility following her conviction for voluntary manslaughter.

Winkler never denied shooting her husband, Matthew, the popular new preacher at the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, a town of 4,500 people about 80 miles east of Memphis.


Mary Winkler was charged with murder, which could have sent her to prison for up to 60 years, but a jury found her guilty of voluntary manslaughter following an emotional trial in which she testified about suffering years of verbal and physical abuse.

In a statement to police after her arrest, Winkler said she didn't recall pulling the trigger .She said she apologized and wiped the blood that bubbled from her dying husband's lips as he asked, "Why?"

Prosecutors and Matthew Winkler's family members said he was a good husband and father.

But on the stand, Mary Winkler described a hellish 10-year marriage during which, she said, her husband struck her, screamed at her, criticized her and blamed her when things went wrong. She said he made her watch pornography and wear "slutty" costumes for sex, and that he forced her to submit to sex acts that made her uncomfortable.

She testified she pointed the shotgun at her husband during an argument to force him to talk through their problems, and "something went off."

A defense psychologist testified that she was depressed and showed classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mary Winkler initially received a three-year sentence in June. But Circuit Court Judge J. Weber McCraw required that she serve only 210 days, and allowed her to serve the rest of the time on probation.

She also received credit for five months she spent behind bars awaiting trial, which left only about 60 days to her sentence. McCraw ruled she could serve the time in a mental health facility.

I want you to imagine the situations reversed, where the man went through emotional and physical abuse for years from a dominating wife and then one day just snapped and killed her. Do you think the justice system would have shown as much leniency for him? It sounds like Mary Winkler went through hell (assuming what she testified to was true) but that is no excuse for her only serving seven months (67 days to be exact) in police custody for the murder of her husband.

Now she's getting ready to return to her old job, and wants custody of her kids again, almost as smoothly as if she had never fired a shot.

Tammy Bruce writes:
I remember to good ol' days when a normal person's response to things like that would be called "getting a divorce." Men, of course, usually don't have the luxury of using the "she deserved it" excuse to get away with murder, but I'm sure we're not too far away from days like that if we continue on this path. It's possible to reverse the moral relativism gripping our society, but we've got to reverse the left's impact on the academy, the media, and the justice system. Tall orders, I know, but the future of our nation is worth it.


Cross-posted at the Sister Toldjah blog.


Name: Mr Jack Kelly
Company/ Organization: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
E-mail address:
Details of your request: I'm writing with regard to the remarkable photo you transmitted Tuesday at 6:58 p.m. EDT of the elderly Shiite woman in Iraq holding up two bullets that obviously have not been fired. Questions: Who was the photo editor who put this photo with its blatantly false caption on the wire? Is he/she so stupid that he/she cannot tell whether a bullet has been fired or not, or does he think we are? Is any disciplinary action contemplated for the photographer, Wissam al Okaili, who obviously is a propagandist for the Jaysh al Mahdi? Is any disciplinary action contemplated for the photo editor who put this blatant piece of propaganda on the wire? Why don't your people in Washington D.C. answer the telephone?

High caliber journalism

Agence France Presse has distributed worldwide a photograph of an elderly Iraqi woman holding up two cartridges. The photo caption says "An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she said hit her house following an early coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite suburb of Sadr City."

It is evident from the photo that the bullets have never been fired. They're both still in their cartridge casings. The bullet tips haven't been deformed, and there are no rifling marks on them.

Are the photo editors at AFP so stupid they can't tell the difference between a bullet that's been fired and one that hasn't, or do they think we're too stupid to notice?

"Of course, the French can hardly be expected to know what happens to a bullet that's actually been fired," noted Morganfrost, a commenter on the Hot Air blog.

Since AFP's photo editors can't tell the difference between a bullet that's been fired and one that hasn't, It would be unreasonable to expect them to notice that the bullets the old broad is holding appear to be 7.62 mm , not the 5.56 mm that is the standard ammunition for the rifles and carbines carried by U.S. troops.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wanting It Both Ways

This story illustrates why Hillary Clinton annoys so many Americans.

Even though Senator Clinton is running on the basis of her "experience" -- most notably her tenure as First Lady -- archivists at the Clinton Library are refusing to release relevant records that would enable scrutiny of those years.

Obviously, it's an example of wanting it both ways, a sense of entitlement that has marked Clinton's entire career in public life. It's of a piece with her refusal to sit down for questioning on any of the Sunday morning shows during her 2000 run for the Senate and her willingness to use her Secret Service detail to keep reporters at bay. It's even similar to the conflicting impulses America saw on display during her husband's White House years, when half the time she claimed the mantle of policy expert but then hid behind traditional First Lady trappings when the going got tough.

Her own ambivalence and shape-shifting, coupled with her prominent sense of entitlement when it comes time for difficult questions and accountability explain why so many Americans simply distrust Hillary Clinton.

Don Imus poised for a comeback?

Looks like it:
NEW YORK (AP) - Don Imus has reached a settlement with CBS over his multimillion-dollar contract and is negotiating to resume his broadcasting career.

Imus and CBS Radio "have mutually agreed to settle claims that each had against the other regarding the Imus radio program on CBS," the network said in a statement Tuesday.

The terms of the settlement will not be disclosed, according to CBS, which confirmed only that the settlement had been reached.

The settlement pre-empts the dismissed radio personality's threatened $120 million breach-of-contract lawsuit.

Meantime, Imus is taking steps to make a comeback with WABC-AM, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details had not been announced, also said the deal with CBS calls for a "non-disparaging" agreement that forbids the parties from speaking negatively about each other.

The settlement and possible comeback come more than four months after Imus created an uproar over his racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

I was never a big fan of Imus, but like many, was disgusted by the overhyped response to the derogatory remarks he made by flaming racist hypocrites like Rev. Al Sharpton, who've said much worse many times over and gotten away with it. I'm not making excuses for Imus, of course, but Al Sharpton accusing anyone of racism is like Mike Nifong expressing public outrage over another district attorney's declaring the accused guilty before the trial even starts, and using the media to his advantage.

I think there's little doubt that Imus' new show won't be the same, as I doubt you'll have a politician who will come within ten feet of him ever again. But he'll be back in the biz again and at this point for him, that's probably all that matters.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The 2008 Presidential Race: Eat Your Vegetables

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

Here is an article about the "surprising strength" Guiliani is showing among Republicans, as well as an article on Democrats concerns over Hillary Clinton's high negative ratings.

I think America is looking for a Presidential candidate who will make us eat our vegetables.

Giuliani made New York City eat its vegetables. He was good at it. And they worked.

I will venture a contrast between Giuliani and Hillary. Giuliani knows we don't like vegetables. He doesn't like vegetables. But he knows that we all have to eat them. That's life.

I think Hillary likes to eat vegetables. This is not the same as liking vegetables. Think of the people who derive a perverse pleasure from wearing hair shirts. Hillary feels good about being the kind of person who eats vegetables. She feels even better about being the kind of person who makes other people eat vegetables. In fact, she figures if she makes enough people eat their vegetables, she won't even have to eat any herself because she has been responsible for so much vegetable consumption. Then, she and Bill can go have Big Mac and large fries, swim in Al Gore's heated outdoor pool (carbon offsets) and hang out in John Edward's 10,000 square foot, air conditioned house set on three acres of clear-cut forest.

When Giuliani makes us eat our vegetables, it's so we can feel better. When Hillary does it, it's so she can.

UPDATE: Wiley--I embedded the links. Ruth Anne :)

If a surge succeeds in the desert and nobody reports it...

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

Here us a lengthy piece on Iraq from a German magazine. The article praises the US military and recounts both Surge successes and failures.

On balance, the article appears hopeful, I think. The article also implies a political compromise that liberals might be able to live with: win the war, but give somebody other than Bush the credit.

UPDATE: Wile E.: links again. Those long links bump Carol's picture down to the bottom and that upsets my aesthetic sensibilities. Ruth Anne :)

Roving thoughts

This is guest opiner Jack Kelly.

I wasn't surprised, pleased or dismayed by the news today that Karl Rove will leave the White House staff at the end of the month. Rove is President Bush's political guru, and Bush has had his last election. It's time for Rove to move on. I'd rather live in the Texas hill country than in Washington D.C., and I'd rather be closer to my children than far from them. Rove has earned the right to shorter hours and more bucks.

Rove has achieved mythical status chiefly because of BDS. It is an article of faith among the moonbats that Bush is a stupid hick. Yet that stupid hick kept beating really smart people like themselves. It couldn't be because Bush was smarter than they thought or --heaven forfend! -- that they weren't as smart as they imagined. Some Svengali had to be pulling the strings behind the scenes. The Legend of Rove was born.

I never bought into it. I think Rove is a really smart guy, the best political mind of his generation, but hardly infallible. I think Michelle Malkin and Newt Gingrich are excessively harsh in their criticism, but I tend to agree with their points if not their tone. We don't know the extent of Rove's involvement in the making the decisions to blow Bush's political capital on Social Security reform and "comprehensive" immigration reform, but those weren't the smoothest political moves ever made.

I don't think Rove will play an active role in 2008. He's now so much of a lightning rod that the publicity he'd attract would cause a GOP candidate more harm than his advice could help. And as I said above, he's entitled to a rest.

Some of the moonbats are hailing his departure; some wonder what they'll do without their favorite punching bag. But they'll still have Dick Cheney to accuse of pulling Bush's strings.

The Abortion Obsession

Mitt Romney appeared on Fox News Sunday and predictably once again was asked about his shift on abortion. It seems that the abortion question has become an obsession with almost every reporter out there covering Romney.

What's remarkable is that a pro-life conversion is deemed worthy of almost constant questioning. Even if one conceded that Mitt Romney had decided to become pro-life in order to render himself more palatable to religious conservatives (not necessarily true, but even hypothetically), why does he face so much more scrutiny and question than pols for whom the door swung the other way?

A number of prominent Democrats -- including Jesse Jackson and Dick Gephardt -- were notably pro-life before becoming pro-choice, presumably to remain competitive in Democratic politics. Yet neither has ever faced the skepticism and second-guessing reserved for those who move the opposite way.

Why is it, in the media universe, that support for abortion is deemed to be the norm -- and any deviation from it suspect -- while support for life opens a candidate to constant scrutiny and attack?

Reality Denial

This piece attempts to pathologize one of the most brutal and despicable crimes known to man: The killing of one's own newborn child, or neonaticide.

Rather than calling it what it is -- an act of horrendous evil -- the author attempts to explain it, introducing the concept of "pregnancy denial": The murderers were simply in denial about their pregnancies. Please. What we have here, on the author's part, is an enormous case of reality denial.

No doubt there are some people who try to convince themselves that they are not pregnant, and that they therefore didn't kill the child they killed. But most of the time, young women kill their children not because they don't realize they're pregnant, but because of the reasons the author offers for "pregnancy denial," i.e., "shame over having intercourse, anxiety about enraged parents, fear of giving birth, or resentment about ruined future plans."

There is, however, one particularly noteworthy characterization in the piece. It notes that "'Edna,' a college freshman, was so indecisive about ending her pregnancy that she suffocated her minutes-old baby in an act of delayed abortion."

What a revealing euphemism for murder -- a "delayed abortion." Right. In fact, it's the culture of abortion that has made infanticide less unthinkable than before. After all, what is neonaticide but "delayed abortion"? What is refusing to take responsibility for the life one has created but "pregnancy denial"?

How can this happen?

Charlotte, NC's own WSOC-TV reports that a father left his 8-month old in his van while going to a doctor appt:

SALISBURY, N.C. -- During the hottest part of Thursday's 104 degree record breaking heat, someone walking through a Salisbury parking lot couldn't believe what was in the backseat of a van.

Police say a father went to a doctor's appointment and parked in the lot on West Innes Street, leaving his 8-month-old daughter in the family vehicle.

The person who saw the baby in her car seat called police. The child was in the hot van for 15 minutes before being rescued, but fortunately she was not harmed.

Robert Altemare, the baby’s father, was arrested and charged with child abuse.

Salisbury Police Deputy Chief Steve Whitley said the child is lucky to be alive.

“The 8-month-old is pretty fortunate. It’s an act of God that child is not dead – period,” he said.

Whitley said Altemare told police he forgot the baby was in the van.

“It’s absolute lunacy to leave a baby in a car. Forget about it? It’s crazy. You don’t do that,” he said.

Thank God the baby is ok.

It just baffles me everytime I hear a stories like this one - and there are alot of them, unfortunately. Now, I don't have children myself, but I can't conceive of any possible situation where I would forget that I had a child in the car, whether it was my own or someone else's.

Anyone ever witness this first hand and have to report it, or read about it happening in your hometown?

You can view more of my rantings at

The Modern Plantation, revisited

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

Frederick Douglass wrote, "Knowledge unfits a man to be a slave".

Here is a Wall Street Journal editorial on the efforts of the Atlanta government-school bureaucracies to quash charter schools and to keep affected communities enslaved. the

As the African American community continues its political maturation, look for charter-schools/vouchers as a wedge issue that will either pry African Americans from the Democrat Party or the Democrat Party from the government-education unions.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Being kind to be cruel

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

I took the family to a local park today. In turned out that a theater company was giving a free performance of "Romeo and Juliet" .

Two things about the play struck me.

First, when we are rash, we can do as much damage acting out of love as out of hate.

Second, Shakespeare never would have made it in Hollywood, because in killing off his main characters, he precluded a sequel.

The First Law of Holes

is that if you find yourself in one, stop digging. New Republic editor Franklin Foer has instead rented a steam shovel.

This is Jack Kelly, and I'll be fascinated to see how TNR's Baghdad Diarist flap ends.

When a New York Times reporter called the Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb last week (whose skepticism sparked this controversy), she said "this is the story that just won't die." It won't die because TNR will not let it rest in peace.

It's now pretty plain that Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the Baghdad Diarist, at a minimum greatly embellished the incidents he described in his three articles for the New Republic, and may have made up most of them entirely. The Army says it has interviewed every member of his platoon, and that all denied that the incidents Beauchamp describes ever took place. But maybe the best evidence that Beauchamp's story has fallen apart is that the trolls on the Web sites discussing the latest on the story are trying desperately to change the subject.

If TNR's editors had acknowledged early on that they'd goofed on their fact checking, this story would be over. But TNR's editors implied that Goldfarb was lying when he said he had confirmation Beauchamp had recanted his stories, or, alternatively, the Army had pressured Beauchamp into signing a statement that wasn't so. TNR acknowledged Beauchamp had signed a statement, but said it was "not inconsistent" with his stories for the magazine. But if Beauchamp's statement merely supported what he'd said in print, why would he feel pressure about signing it? TNR's own investigation -- which they said had been impeded by the Army -- supported the original stories, the editors said.

Two huge gusts of wind blew down TNR's house of cards this weekend.

First, over at Confederate Yankee, Bob Owens tracked down one of the experts TNR claims substantiated their story, and found he had done no such thing.

Second, the indefatigable and invaluable Bill Roggio received an email from Col. Steve Boylan (the top Army public affairs officer in Iraq) refuting TNR's claim that Beauchamp is being held incommunicado. Beauchamp is free to talk to TNR or any other media outlet, Boylan said, but has chosen not to.

Let's step back for a moment and assess why so many veterans are upset with Beauchamp and TNR. I'm sure that anyone who has read this far into this post already is familiar with the details of the controversy. But to summarize, in his July 13 commentary, "Shock Troops," describes three incidences of casual cruelty. In the first, Beauchamp makes fun of a woman who had been badly disfigured by an IED, to the amusement of his buddy. In the second, a soldier puts part of a child's skull on his head and prances around with it. In the third, the driver of a Bradley fighting vehicle runs over dogs for fun.

No one who was ever in the military doubts that there are within the ranks soldiers who are capable of such shocking and juvenile behavior. Soldiers and Marines have committed murder and rape in Iraq. What Beauchamp described is much less serious than that,or of what happened at Abu Ghraib. All of us have known soldiers like Beauchamp and his friends. There is a specific name for them, which I cannot repeat on the blog of so fine a lady as Carol, but it is the combination of a vulgar word for excrement, and a common name for fowl.

So none of us doubted that a excrementfowl like Beauchamp might have made fun of a woman whose face had been disfigured by an IED. What we found incredible is that he could have done so in a crowded mess hall on a small base without instantly having his attitude adjusted by officers and ncos present.

Similarly, it isn't hard for veterans to believe that there could be a jerk who would clown around with a piece of a child's skull. What we find incredible is that he could wear it "all day and all night" without being called on it by officers and ncos in his unit.

Finally, it's easy enough to believe that a soldier would be cruel enough to deliberately run over a dog with a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. What we find incredible is that a Bradley driver would be permitted to take out stalls in the market, corners of buildings, etc. without having the vehicle commander all over him.

Vets know there are excrementfowl in the ranks. The difference between most veterans and many liberals is that vets know the excrementfowl are the exception. Liberals -- those at TNR, anyway -- think the Army is made up of stupid rednecks (except, of course, for aspiring novelists married to TNR staffers), and that such behavior is typical of soldiers.

Because no one at TNR has worn a uniform since the Cub Scouts, the editors missed errors in Beauchamp's stories that made veterans wary. It is very difficult to believe that a woman who had been injured as badly as Beauchamp describes would still be at a forward operating base, and inconceivable that even as bad a soldier as Beauchamp would not be able to tell whether the woman sitting next to him was a soldier or a civilian. While there definitely could be a soldier cruel enough to deliberately run over a dog, it couldn't possibly be done in the manner Beauchamp described. The driver of a Bradley could not have seen a dog to his immediate right (the cooling vent of the engine blocks his view, even when traveling hatch open), and a dog struck by a Bradley could not be "cut in two." The part of the dog that got hit by the Bradley would be squashed flat.

Unlike my email buddy Dean Barnett at, I don't blame TNR's editors much with going with Beauchamp's fables to begin with. He was their kind of guy -- a twenty something liberal with literary pretensions -- who'd been vouched for by his wife, TNR staffer Elspeth Reeve, who apparently is well liked and well respected at the magazine. Because Beauchamp's stories fit their own views of what the military is like, they wouldn't have thought anything odd about them. And because they know nothing about the military, they wouldn't have noticed the red flags veterans saw popping up all over.

But once TNR's editors had the inconsistencies in Beauchamp's stories brought forcefully to their attention, they should have backed off. Instead, they themselves have engaged in dissimulation and deception to try to maintain the illusion the original stories were true. As Richard Nixon could have told them, it's the cover up that gets you.

Dean Barnett thinks the story will end with the dismissal of editor Franklin Foer, and has established a "dead pool" to pick the date when he'll be fired. I agree that Foer ought to be fired, but I doubt that it will happen. The reason is liberals today prefer their narratives to the truth. If what they want to believe is at odds with the facts, they'll ignore the facts and stick with the narrative. If Foer admitted error, he'd be in danger of losing more of TNR's dwindling readership than he will by sticking with Beauchamp's factually untenable stories.