Saturday, November 12, 2005

Break up the Ninth Circuit?

Jeffrey Fieger debated John Eastman on Fox News this evening on that question. Fieger sounds angry and full of contempt. He says it's court-packing and animated only by politics.

Eastman points out that this has been proposed for the past 30 years and that the Fifth Circuit was divided and it doesn't make sense to have more judges than any other circuit.

From what I could find on it, the main reason it is wanted and the main reason it is opposed are the same: politics. The numbers seem to break in favor of the bill to create a new circuit and appoint new appeals court justices around the country. The growth in court cases makes it inevitable. If Hillary! gets elected, she'll be all for it because it would allow her to appoint the new judges, but if the Democrats don't control Congress as well, I imagine it will go nowhere.

Terror and Torture

More sanctimony on torture. I have to say that this assumption that the administration condones torture as a policy is baloney, but at the same time, I see no reason to promise terrorists that they'll be treated with dignity and given every opportunity to continue their war while in custody.

If a prisoner spits on a guard, or throws feces, urine, etc. I'm all for punching his ticket. Most of them could have been shot justifiably, and the only reason to detain them is to try to get information from them. Real torture tends to elicit false info and it degrades the person who inflicts it, but trying to polish our image in world opinion is a losing game. I'm sure that the people who are being injured by these individuals wonder what the fuss over torture is all about. It certainly doesn't confirm our own sense of justice to see them given better treatment that their own associates give to their prisoners.

Where is the line to be drawn. I don't think it can be drawn, because each case is different. There are variables, such as the degree of certainty that the subject is a terrorist, his depth of involvement, his position in the organization, etc.

If a prisoner knows where a team is setting a dirty bomb or a nuclear one, how can anyone say that it's inhuman to pressure him or treat him like the vicious scum he is? If someone had squeezed the 9/11 plot out of a prisoner, he would be a hero, even if he left the prisoner crippled or dead.

That being said, what made the behavior of the guards at Abu Ghraib was the fact that they didn't really know anything about these prisoners. They were just prisoners. Their meek submission to this sophomoric treatment suggests that they weren't the vicious characters we think of when we hear reports of Zarqawi or Saddam, or the others.

My point is that we don't tolerate abuse, but what that term means varies with the circumstances. If we're not going to treat terrorists as they deserve once we catch them, we should just kill them on the battlefield and forget about trying to get information out of those we capture.

The real issue is whether we've got the right guys. If we capture people who are small fish, who don't know anything they should be held long enough to punish them and let go. With the McCain amendment, I'm afraid we'll end up rendering more and more of them to nations who don't have such scruples. That's one of the reasons I think it's an idiotic thing to add. I'd rather see that bill vetoed. If we're so worried about our image that we can't stand up to the media or the terrorists, we're playing defense and we've been beaten again.

Howard Hughes, back in the news

New evidence about the billionaire's last days give a boost to the story of Melvin Dummar, who claimed that he found Hughes in the Nevada desert and drove him back to Las Vegas.

That disputed "Mormon" will may have been wrongly refused probate. It's a compelling story, made more so by money, weirdness and sex.

It's still a mystery

Why the media chatterers are so upset with the New York Times over the Judy Miller matter when they've said nothing about its fraudulent stories and its political slant. What passes for reporting today is thinly veiled editorial writing and practice for the novel they intend to write someday.

Jack Shafer wrote a review of Pinch Sulzberger's appearance on Charlie Rose. Anybody who can get to Rose in spite of his generally fawning interviewing style has got to be pretty vapid. But he's no different from nearly everybody else in the "news community." They arrogantly dismiss their critics but it's pretty obvious that they don't understand what's happening to them. They're rearranging the deck chairs, and refusing to lower the life boats.

The ANWR vote

Hugh Hewitt has declared war on the Anti-drilling Republicans in the House. There are times when you have to go with your party. I hope Hastert remembers this. I'm all for voting one's conscience, but anybody who gives in to environmentalist pressures shouldn't be re-elected. Even worse are those who will give up their pork barrel projects when they are pried from their cold, dead hands. The problem is that voters aren't serious enough about decreasing spending.

I was on our city council for several terms, and it always annoyed me that we had to go seek grants from the state or feds to build a park or a fire station. The big boys occupy the entire tax base and leave local government the crumbs. Instead of being grateful, we ought to start telling these clowns we don't appreciate the waste at the top.

People criticize Bush for the deficit, but it's really Congress' fault. They appropriate, Bush spends. The only way I can see to stop it is for the voters to do their job.

The test say I'm Rohirrim

Take the test. I took it twice and it told me I'm Rohirrim both times. Even when I changed some answers.

I don't really see myself as a mounted warrior. I think of myself more as an Ent, but I do tend to be impulsive.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bush is back.

His response to the Democrat's favorite bit of disinformation seems quite civil to me.

My favorite paragraph of the NYTimes' story was this:
Today's remarks by the president, which painted his critics as hypocrites, drew quick and angry responses from Democrats, and quickly led to a back-and-forth with Republicans about who was exploiting Veterans Day by using it as a forum to voice their views on Iraq.
They are hypocrites. Look at the video clips. They jumped on the WMD business because it gave them a way to back out of what they supported at the beginning, but the intel was and is defensible. They're playing the scandal card, projecting their own dishonesty and cynical politics onto Bush.

The Democrats and and MSM have repeated this "Bush lied!" lie so often that they know longer remember anything else. How can an honest person deny that Saddam Hussein was a threat when he used WMD against the Kurds in Halabja? Anyone who would set oil fields on fire, declare unprovoked wars on his neighbores, murder his own people, fire rockets at the population of Israel in a time when they were not at war, and a host of other brutal and mad actions cannot ever be said not to be a hazard to world peace.

The purpose of the war was not just to rid the world of this criminal, though, it was to strike at the roots of terrorism by giving them hope through democracy and helping them to build a modern economy. It was a bold strategic move. Bush told us that it would take years and predicted just about everything else that has happened since. Why the press keeps telling us that its a failure, is beyond me. It's going as he said it would, and it's succeeding. Well done, Mr. President.

Now about that deficit . . .

Update: Glenn is getting hate mail for dissenting from the Democrat line. The Moonbats don't like it when you point out that they're lying. The "Bush lied!" pile of horse pucky was pretty clearly that when they first used it and it hasn't turned into anything better. To paraphrase the cowboy poem Reincarnation, it ain't changed all that much. And neither have they. Harry Reid seems to be shrinking like that general in Mars Attacks! who was hit with the shrinking weapon. He seems to get smaller and shriller everytime I see him. I've tried to cut him a break since he's a fellow Mormon, but he's a twit.

I beg to quibble

For the record, I think Scott Ott is wrong. The Democrats did have intelligence at the time they voted to support it. It's today that they no longer have intelligence.

Veteran's Day

I have an uncle who died before I was born, when his plane crashed in the South Pacific during WWII. His brother was a captain of a coastal battery in Corregidor and was captured when the Japanese conquered the Phillipines. He was in the Bataan Death March and spent the rest of the war at the POW Prison Camp at Cabanatuan. I didn't understand what that meant when I met him or I'd have kissed his feet. He died at the end of the 70s. I wish I could go see him or send him a card and thank him for his service. He came home and became a college professor and an agricultural expert. I didn't see him after I was a boy, but he's a hero to me as is his brother.

To my Uncles Stewart, Warren, Frank, Fred, my brother-in-law Robert, my brothers Wayne and Paul and my nephew Stuart, and all who have fought for this country and served in the armed forces, this is my salute and tribute. That tradition of service and pride in defending our country is taking a beating in the media these days, but I wish I could have done it too. We have a number of young men in our area who are overseas. I pray for them and their success. Those who serve well and honorably deserve the best we can do for them.

Along comes Mary

I saw Mary Mapes on Neil Cavuto's show on Fox News Channel. If MSM wants to know why it's polls are so low, all it has to do is look at her arrogant attitude and refusal to admit what is obvious to anyone else. She asked Cavuto what he knows about typesetting and kerning and typefaces, etc. It just doesn't hold up. He asked her why she felt she had to push that particular story so close to the election. She snootily replied that she was "covering" George Bush. But that doesn't explain why she thought that a 30 year old claim that had been covered over was so urgent. She was so overheated in her desire to defeat him, that she still doesn't seem to understand that even if the memos put on the air were real, nobody really cared, and that her explanations for their having been produced on Microsoft Word and copied a zillion times so that they couldn't really be authenticated just make her look loony to anybody but another member of the "60 Minutes" team like Mike Wallace, who also came across as a naif when he asked his son on Fox News Sunday "do you really believe . . ." in a tone that suggested people who question Rather's and Mapes' good faith are fools.

Sorry, Mike, Dan and Mary. We weren't born yesterday, and the burden is not on us the viewers to disprove what you tell them. In Dan's words, "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, . . . It's a duck!" And if it's as obvioulsy phoney at those "Memos" were, don't insult our intelligence!

She should be banned from the news industry, but she probably won't need to work any more.

That was then. This is now.

That's regular language for what most embarrassed celebrities and politicians say when they realize they've said or done something they wish they hadn't: "It was taken out of context!"

How do you say that answering the question, "Do we have any idea how widely known it was in Washington that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA?" with
It was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger.
is taken out of context? Here's the "context""
So a number of us began to pick up on that. But frankly I wasn't aware of her actual role at the CIA and the fact that she had a covert role involving weapons of mass destruction, not until Bob Novak wrote it.
The problem is that she didn't have a "covert role."

All that last bit amounts to is a fig leaf disclaimer. It reminds me of a scene from a W. C. Fields where he's bragging to some one about knocking down "Chicago Molly." He shrimpy sidekick reminds him that he, not Fields, knocked her down. "Oh, yeah," says Fields, "But I was the one who started kicking her."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Intelligent Design or Intelligent Existence?

I think the terms need to be redefined. I don't say that the evidence proves that there was an intelligent design behind life on earth, although I believe it to be true. And I don't want the schools to teach I.D. as science. I just want to teach kids the objections to evolution as it is generally presented, and to ask intelligent questions. When people get angry about being challenged on stuff like this, I begin to wonder why. For instance, global warming, mass extinctions and the origins of life.

There's a story on Panspermia in the new Scientific American, filled with "could have" and "might have" clauses about the idea that life or the necessary ingredients for it came from space, maybe from Mars. Why do we need this? I thought everybody knew that life crawled out of the primeval goo that was all over the early earth.

I would be happy if schools would just say, We don't really know this, but here's the evidence and here's a theory that may explain it, but here are the gaps in the evidence.

It seems to me that all science can really do is push the ultimate questions back one level. Why is everything the way it is? As every parent knows, there is no final answer to that question except "That's just the way it is," which is an unsatisfactory answer and always will be.

Update: Not even Instapundit thinks that the hostility is justified. I wouldn't have supported the Kansas rule, because intelligent design is not an alternative to natural selection.

All that serious Intelligent Design advocates say is that the claims of evolution exceed the proof. The random combination of elements to create living organisms out of background chemicals, even given billions of years, certainly don't appear probable, and it's not an answer to say that the fact that its here shows that living cells evolved from primordial soup. The evidence certainly supports the natural selection model, but all that says is how remarkable and elegant the original cell must have been. It's as though we found a 3-billion-year old molecular computer program or flipped a coin trillions of times and had them all come up heads. That's the real problem I and many others have with the idea that life just happened by chance. It almost certainly didn't occur on the earth alone.

I might support teaching kids something like these quotes, just to warn them that there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of by science.

I know from my own experience that God lives. I know that faith can work miracles. But my proof is dismissed as "anecdotal" evidence by science. Karl Popper wrote: ""...There will be well-testable theories, hardly testable theories, and non-testable theories. Those which are non-testable are of no interest to empirical scientists. They may be described as metaphysical." But there are ways of testing faith in God. The problem is that it requires something that scientists can't measure and describe in the language of science. It deals with feelings, and metaphysics, and such questions as "How do I know that my experience of tasting salt is the same as yours?" We can measure the nerve impulses and the brain activity, but that won't tell us how to explain what sight is to a man blind from birth, or music to a deaf person. Faith is in the feelings of one's heart. How do I know what love is? It's like the Turing test or the issues about what mind and consciousness are.

I think most people understand all this, but why does science have to be so hostile toward the experiences it can't measure and reproduce?

Why Republicans will lose the House

The cowards who insisted they drop the ANWR drilling and those who wouldn't let go of the pork should be defeated. This kind of idiocy is what you expect from Democrats, but if Republicans can't be counted on to stand up to environmental absolutists and cut spending, what good are they?

We have met the enemy and he is us.

Eating the seed corn

Mickey Kaus asks a telling question about Times Select. I saw Maureen Dowd on Fox News this morning to talk about her new book, Are Men Necessary?. I refuse to link to it until she sends me $50.

She looked like she couldn't wait to get out of their studio so she could go shower. None of the charm of, say, Mortitia Addams. Who ever thought you could be looked down on from a television screen?

Is Bush tired?

I just saw a clip of him campaigning against Gore. He looked fifteen years younger.

Now he's getting more grief from his supporters. I think his belief in avoiding braggadocio and contention, both basic Christian teachings, may be putting him at a disadvantage.

Politics is not an area where you can turn the other cheek. If you don't answer, they take it as confirmation.

Still, he can't do everything himself. It's not his fault that the House Republicans can't keep their members together, or that the CIA is trying to undermine his presidency. Or that the news media in only slightly less crazy than John Hinckley.
Or that his own "friends" turned on him and ripped him to shreds over a nominee who didn't meet their expectations. As Karl Rove noted, Harriet Miers vetted over a hundred judges appointed by President Bush, none of whom were attacked by the right. So when he decides that she knows better than anybody else what he wants and is going to vote that way, George Will sneers and denounces and all the intellects on the right charge right after him like NPR following the NYTimes. Now they're bellyaching that he isn't effective.

When you've fragged your leader, don't expect him to save your bacon when you get surrounded.

I hadn't realized they were mutually exclusive.

Mormons and Hispanics, that is.

Having set the standard for Supreme Court Justices, George should be more careful.

I just saw a touching commercial

It was a message of thanks from Kurdish Iraqis. It's sponsored by the Kurdish Development council, which is probably interestes in investment and spending there.
Nevertheless, it was touching and heartwarming. How long has it been since someone thanked you for giving them freedom and democracy? I didn't do anything to earn their thanks, but it made me feel good about my nation.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Now I know what they mean by "moonbat."

Hugh Hewitt had a caller today who claimed that Howard Dean's campaign failed because a reporter at Fox News kept referring to him as "John Dean." When asked why Bush got re-elected the caller confided that it was because the electorate are "stupid." Cue The Twilight Zone music. Apparently more Americans are tuned into the substance of the candidates than are sold by the MSM characterization of them. The fact is that John Dean scared his own party. He got a lot of dough from people like Hugh's caller, but when he went on the road with his bitter, angry, paranoid routine, those people in the heartland just got nervous. That redfaced yell of his wasn't the cause of his decline, it was a symptom of the wildeyed manic nuttiness that endeared him to the crowd. People couldn't just sit next to others out in the farm country and get enthusiastic about a nutcase.

John Kerry won the primaries because he seemed normal compared with Dean, but once the campaign was on he was so boring, and such a Munchhausen about his war record, and such a buffoon with Freudian slips like "I voted for the $80 billion, before I voted against it" accidentally admitting what everybody in Congress knows and counts on but doesn't ever acknowledge publicly.

How do you fix a rogue intelligence agency?

Since it now appears that the CIA bureaucracy has declared war on the President, I say investigate their leaks like the one in WaPo about "black" prisons and this one and subpoena every journalist involved until America realizes the nasty game that these people and the media are playing to undermine democratic government.


Florida is sponsoring a contest where kids who read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It's a tie-in to the new movie. However,
An advocacy group claims a Florida reading contest involving the classic novel and upcoming film "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" violates the role of religion in the classroom.

Attorneys for The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), however, say they will support in court any school threatened by the claim free of charge.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) group has demanded Gov.
Jeb Bush's statewide contest stop using C.S. Lewis' Christian allegory as the only book for the contest.
Schools across this country are cowed by the threat of lawsuits from groups like the ACLU and the AUSCS, and that intimidation has leveraged the influence of these groups to a far greater degree than most of us realize. We have this strange new disease, where nobody wants to mention Christmas, the Ten Commandments, but somehow the Koran is fine. Schools are caught between parents agree over what they see as assaults on their faith in the curriculum, while others with the backing of liberal advocacy groups want to teach children about sex, including homosexuality, and the recent questionaire decision in the Ninth Circuit holding that "Parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students."

Well, that ought to shut the troublemakers up. But it won't. The schools are stuck in the middle trying to satisfy those who want them to shape society and those who want them to teach basic skills and leave the parenting to parents. I suspect that they will tend to lean in the direction the best funded lawsuits are aimed.

It's like Cold Fusion all over again

This Mills guy has created $25,000,000 out of nothing but water. That's more than Pons and Fleischman ever did.

Conventional Pressdom

Mickey Kaus explains. Joe Klein is writing fiction again.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Three Tin-Ears

That would be the team of Reid, Schumer and Durbin, who today bet the party's pot on paranoia. They repeated the claim that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify the Iraq war (The Joe Wilson syndrome), accused Dick Cheney for being behind every evil since the Fall of Adam (the Great Satan syndrome) and demanding that Bush promise not to pardon Scooter Libby (the syndrome). This is the fundraising-letter level of madness.
"Being a high official in the White House should not entitle you to a get-out-of-jail-free card, plain and simple," said Sen. Charles Schumer
And all the dogs begin to howl, but don't expect anybody to call that singing.

Good luck bringing up pardons with only 5 years since Bill Clinton's last night in office. Do they really want to remind people of Marc Rich, et al.? Bush should promise to use a higher level of discretion than his predecessor, but he's probably too decent. I'd give Scott McClellan permission to use it though.

It seems that, by now, people would begin to realize that a lot of this Second Term Scandal stuff is being driven by the press, although the Monica Lewinsky story could not be ignored. (Republicans should have let that lay there in the sun and ripen, without touching it.) This Libby story is so full of holes it will end up blowing back on the people driving it, but I think Republicans need to make it an issue.

Texans bans gay marriage

76% voted for a measure prohibiting the practice. Apparently straight Americans don't care to know what gays do in private, but they don't want what they don't want what they do in their bedrooms devalued.

More Sorry

Terrell Owens apologizes after being dropped from the Eagles' roster. No word as to whether they'll take him back.

Owens is a brilliant receiver who motivates himself with egotistical little stunts when he scores a touchdown, making up a new one for each game. I can understand that, but he needs to understand how it looks to his opponents, to the fans and, most of all, to his teammates and coaches. It's one thing to celebrate with your teammates, and another to grab the spotlight and pretend you did it all yourself. If Owens' peformance depends on being the center of everything, the Eagles can do without him. If he wants to celebrate an accomplishment with the guy who threw the ball, who blocked to give that guy time to throw it, or with the guys who rushed to set up passing plays, he should get his satisfaction out of that. He'll find it's a lot more rewarding and the praise a lot more sincere. And the other side can take it easier. And a lot of people will remember him affectionately when he can't play.

He should talk to Jerry Rice about the difference between pride and arrogance.

The Internet Red Shift

Lately I've been noticed a strange phenomenon. I check a newspaper's site and wonder, for example, why the statement by the Senate Democrat leadership, if you can call it that, Moe, Larry, er Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin isn't there. Then I realize that just happened today, since the paper went to press. Between talk radio and the internet, it seems like I've been hearing about it longer than I actually have.

I'm glad I'm not in the newspaper business.

l’insécurité, les violences urbaines, les incivilités

Theodore Dalrymple comments about how the violence came to France. Liberal thinking has a lot to do with it.

It's one thing to say that the government should eliminate poverty; but I'm unaware of any society where the poor are satisfied with what government is doing for them.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Torture or not to torture?

Do I favor torture? Not really. I just don't want to give terrorist prisoners the assurance that we won't treat them rough, or to be able to sign on the ACLU to represent them.

Glenn give qualified support to McCain's "anti-harsh-treatment" bill. It looks to me as though this amendment just erased the distinction between a legal and an illegal combatant. So will this bill mean that the CIA has to invite the Red Cross to come and interview the terrorists it in black custody?

How about limiting it to innocent captives only?

Here's the text of the amendment:
* (a) IN GENERAL.--No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

* (b) CONSTRUCTION.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose any geographical limitation on the applicability of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under this section.

* (c) LIMITATION OF SUPERSEDER.--The provisions of this section shall not be superseded, except by a provision of law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act which specifically repeals, modifies, or supersedes the provisions of this section.

* (d) CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT DEFINED.--In this section, the term ''cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment'' means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984.
BTW, if you want to know what that last reference is, you can't get it from the U.N. without paying. But I did find it here.
United States of America

Upon signature:


"The Government of the United States of America reserves the right to communicate, upon ratification, such reservations, interpretive understandings, or declarations as are deemed necessary."

Upon ratification :


"I. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following reservations:

(1) That the United States considers itself bound by the obligation under article 16 to prevent `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment', only insofar as the term `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' means the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

(2) That pursuant to article 30 (2) the United States declares that it does not consider itself bound by Article 30 (1), but reserves the right specifically to agree to follow this or any other procedure for arbitration in a particular case.

II. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following understandings, which shall apply to the obligations of the United States under this Convention:

(1) (a) That with reference to article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.

(b) That the United States understands that the definition of torture in article 1 is intended to apply only to acts directed against persons in the offender's custody or physical control.

(c) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that `sanctions' includes judicially-imposed sanctions and other enforcement actions authorized by United States law or by judicial interpretation of such law. Nonetheless, the United States understands that a State Party could not through its domestic sanctions defeat the object and purpose of the Convention to prohibit torture.

(d) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that the term `acquiescence' requires that the public official, prior to the activity constituting torture, have awareness of such activity and thereafter breach his legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity.

(e) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the Unites States understands that noncompliance with applicable legal procedural standards does not per se constitute torture.

(2) That the United States understands the phrase, `where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture,' as used in article 3 of the Convention, to mean `if it is more likely than not that he would be tortured.'

(3) That it is the understanding of the United States that article 14 requires a State Party to provide a private right of action for damages only for acts of torture committed in territory under the jurisdiction of that State Party.

(4) That the United States understands that international law does not prohibit the death penalty, and does not consider this Convention to restrict or prohibit the United States from applying the death penalty consistent with the Fifth, Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, including any constitutional period of confinement prior to the imposition of the death penalty.

(5) That the United States understands that this Convention shall be implemented by the United States Government to the extent that it exercises legislative and judicial jurisdiction over the matters covered by the Convention and otherwise by the state and local governments. Accordingly, in implementing articles 10-14 and 16, the United States Government shall take measures appropriate to the Federal system to the end that the competent authorities of the constituent units of the United States of America may take appropriate measures for the fulfilment of the Convention.

III. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following declarations:

(1) That the United States declares that the provisions of articles 1 through 16 of the Convention are not self-executing.
Got that?

Maybe interrogating them is more bother than its worth. It's tempting to just quit taking prisoners and shoot them all. There's a good reason why the Geneva Accords don't apply to illegal combatants. These are people who send their dupes out to blow themselves up to kill fellow Muslims and target people at wedding celebrations and outside mosques.

The trouble with all this is how we define torture and inhumane treatment. A lot of these people have lived their whole lives under conditions we would consider to be inhumane. A lot of the madrassahs use brainwashing techniques to indoctrinate young boys. Would we be allowed to use the same techniques for deprogramming them?

Would we punish our military interrogators for exposing these prisoners to the same kind of treatment our troops undergo during boot camp, or in Special Ops training? How about survival training? How about making them watch reruns of our television incessantly?

I don't know how we can ever establish workable standards. Everybody was offended by the humiliating treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, but it wasn't torture. What annoyed me most about that episode was the casual way American troops engaged in personally degrading conduct, but I have few qualms about firing a firearm near a prisoner's head to scare him into talking. I certainly wouldn't be giving these prisoners any cushy treatment, and that would probably offend a lot of Americans accustomed to a higher quality of life than these guys.

It depends on what the meaning of "Cheer" is.

Two cheerleaders of the Caronlina Panthers (Panthies? Panthettes?) arrested in Tampa for having sex with each other in a bar restroom. I liked this part:
Witnesses said the women were having sex in a stall with each other, angering patrons waiting in line to get into the restroom at the club in the Channelside district.
If they'd only used the mens room.

Straining at Plames and Swallowing Real Violations

Bush denies a policy of torture. We do subpoena journalists, however, in connection with leaks of classified information. When does Dana Priest get hers?

The MSM and the Riots in France

Newspaper circulation continues to slide.

From the AP, here's a possible reason why. Read the headline: "French Youths Say They're Marginalized". No mention of their Arabic and African roots until the fourth paragraph. No mention of "Muslim" or "Islam" in the entire article. How PC is that?

Roger L. Simon was just on the Hugh Hewitt Show and pointed out that every window in the Les Tilleuls housing project north of Paris has "a satellite dish aimed at Al Jazeera." He described being warned not to speak English when visiting the area. It's like a pocket of the Middle East in France. No assimilation. Multiculturalism and all that.

Archeological Find in Israel

A prisoner trustee digging to prepare a site for a new prison wing in Megiddo in Israel, turned up the mosaic floor of the earliest Christian Church ever discovered.
Two mosaics in the church - one covered with fish, an ancient Christian symbol that predates the cross - tell the story of a Roman officer and a woman named Aketous who donated money to build the church in memory "of the god, Jesus Christ."

Pottery remnants from the third century, the style of Greek writing used in the inscriptions, ancient geometric patterns in the mosaics and the depiction of fish rather than the cross indicate that the church was no longer used by the fourth century, Tepper said.

The church's location, near the spot where the New Testament location for the final battle between good and evil, also made sense because a bishop was active in the area at the time, said Tepper, who works with the Israel Antiquities Authority.

This was dated to around 300 C.E. so it was after the apostasy of the original church which happened when the Apostles ceased to be, and the single church became a collection of individual churches governed by their own bishops. This denunciation of this find by Islamics as "a monophysite blasphemy." Illustrates how the church was being split by arcane doctrinal issues espoused by contentious intellectuals within it. Later the groups which came to be the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox movements emerged and declared all the others to be heretics.

If all they find is potsherds and mosaics, this is interesting. If they find any scrolls or codices, it would really rock. I like that fish symbol rather than the cross, but I'm not sure how it relates to Christ unless it ties into Peter, the first President of the Church after Christ ascended, being a fisherman.

The Book of Mormon and Terrorism

Any active member of the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be familiar with the story arc of The Book of Mormon. It tells the story of a people who were led to the American continent by the Lord in about 600 b.c.e. how they flourished and were destroyed by warfare and wickedness, leaving only a remnant behind who no longer remembers its origins. There were three states in this society: righteous prosperity, warfare, threat of destruction by "secret combinations." Shortly after their arrival the descendents of the original leaders, a prophet named Lehi and another man named Ishmael, divided into those who were led by the oldest of Lehi's sons, Laman, and those led by his younger brother, Nephi. The Nephites kept the records of their people, while the Lamanites "dwindled in unbelief" and became warlike and lost their civilized roots. When the Nephite people obeyed their religion, which was Christian, they were blessed and prospered, but they were continually being attacked and warred against by the Lamanites who served as a kind of scourge to keep them in remembrance of their duty toward God. At a certain stage, these people became so wicked that the threat changed from an identified body or national enemy, to organized crime, a secret society which lived among them and attacked them from within.

The Book of Mormon was hidden and was brought forth by a young man of 20 years, who was called as a prophet and given the gift to translate it. It says that it was kept over a period of about 1000 years to come forth in our time as a testimony of Christ and a warning about the path to destruction. The parallel between our own history, first our Cold War with the Soviets which has now been replaced with secret group of enemies seeking to kill us, is hard to miss. The secret society in the Book of Mormon was a type of organized crime called the Gadianton Robbers, whose goal was to rob, steal and murder for gain, and it became so powerful, like the drug cartels in Columbia, that it threatened the government itself. But terrorism is worse because the goal is different, murder for ideological or religious reasons. If the pattern holds, the "advanced nations" of the world are going to be tested severely. I'm not sanguine that we will prevail against terrorism. Neither, apparently, is Victor Davis Hanson, who probably knows nothing about the Book of Mormon.

End of an Era, or Restoration of a Free Press?

Howard Kurtz:
The journalism business is suffering from a double-barreled depression that stretches far beyond the travails of a single paper. If the industry were a person, a shrink would prescribe Prozac.
Meanwhile, advertisers are boosting internet advertising. If I owned a newspaper, I'd be worried too.

Here's what I'd do. Cut all the highly-paid showboats, and hire a bunch of young people who haven't been contaminated by Journalism Schools. Train them from the bottom up. Do it now, while there are some of the old timers around who had to learn their craft on the job. Go out of your way to find reporters with political positions different from the mainstream in New York City, who represent all the demographic groups you can find. Quit trying to tell everybody what to think and just stick to facts. Add comments to the Wire Service stories you use, to give a little more balance. The WaPo online has begun to do this, featuring quotes from bloggers, who don't generally ask to be paid. A link makes most of them happy. The problem with the news is that it is packaged and delivered by a group of elites who write for each other rather than for the populace. There's plenty of questioning of politicians they don't like, but generally the press acts and sounds like the left wing of the Democrat Party. The reason that Rush Limbaugh became rich was because he and Roger Ailes saw an unserved market for political commentary and started serving it. That's why Air America is foundering, it's market is already served by three major broadcast networks and every big paper except the Wall St. Journal.

I think that even if they do all this, most newspapers will have to quit publishing on newsprint and begin publishing online exclusively. They'll have to find some way to make people pay for their content, since there is no longer any need to read local papers for national news. You can get it all from Yahoo!. What people will pay for is business and investing news. Who knows whether people will support the NYTimes Op-Ed lineup? I can't believe that anybody thinks the drivel put out by Kruman, Dowd, Herbert, et al. is worth $50 a year. Time will tell.

This change, whatever it is, is likely to make printing news on paper a losing proposition. Broadcasting will continue. The internet will grow. Will we see a day when publishers start giving away laptops and internet connections with a subscription? Who knows?

One think is certain, the uniformity in media slant that has existed all of my life and has hardened into
an almost admitted bias toward the Democrat Party will no longer hold sway. Free speech is returning to mass communications. Someday we may even see a day when the favor of the MSM won't be worth any points in a national election.