Friday, December 19, 2003

AP poll finds strong war support 

Seven in 10 said they believed the Iraq war was an important part of the campaign against terrorism rather than a distraction, as some critics have charged. And by more than a 2-1 margin, people said the war was the right decision and not a mistake.

Full article here.

Note to Democrats running for President: You won't win by telling over 2/3 of the voters that, on the biggest issue of the day, they're wrong.
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Thursday, December 18, 2003

A-Rod talks killed by Selig 

Is this the end of the story? It would seem rather hard to work out a trade when the Red Sox and Alex Rodriguez are no longer allowed to talk about restructuring his contract. I'm not sure why Bud Selig stepped into this one.

The Boston Dirt Dogs site has plenty to say about the deal. Mostly directed toward the Players' Association's general counsel, Gene Orza (with contact info for Mr. Orza, if you're so inclined...) They have no comment yet concerning Selig, but I'm sure it's coming soon.
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Detainees and the law 

Today's court decisions regarding American detainees are, in my opinion, positive developments. I'm all for aggressively tracking down terrorists and bringing them to justice. But justice does not entail open-ended imprisonment without granting the detainees a clear legal status.
The U.S. Second and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals agree:

A federal appeals court has ruled US authorities do not have the power to detain a US citizen seized on US soil as an "enemy combatant".

And a court said detainees being held by the US military at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba should have access to lawyers.

No U.S. citizen should be denied the Constitutional rights that are accorded to all citizens, no matter what the case. That's just not the way we should be doing things. If the allegations against Padilla are proven, then he should be given a long prison sentence. He should be treated as any other criminal suspect, brought to a speedy trial, and if guilty, locked away. Hopefully the Padilla decision will be upheld upon appeal. I think Padilla is on very solid legal ground in this case, but courts can surprise sometimes.

As for the detainees, whatever the final resolution of their detention, they should at the very least be given legal representation. This case is not as clear cut as the Padilla case, simply because they were taken into custody outside the country, and are being held outside the country. Federal law normally applies on military bases and on naval vessels, but the international element of the detentions makes it a little murkier. But these people should at least be allowed to speak to lawyers to better understand their legal status, whatever that may be. Bravo to these two courts for doing the right thing today.

UPDATE: Smash disagrees with the Guantanamo decision on jurisdictional grounds. I'm not so sure, but it's certainly one element of the case. Stay tuned.
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The stupidity defense 

It goes without saying that robbing a bank is stupid. But this guy tried to use the stupidity of his crime as a defense.

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. - A bank robber has lost his bid to overturn his conviction by arguing the stupidity of the crime proved he was too drunk to be responsible.


Hernandez, 57, argued in his failed appeal that trying to rob the same teller who, moments earlier, had refused to cash his check was stupid enough to show he was inebriated.


Hernandez also argued on appeal that there was no robbery since he made no threat.

To an additional charge of disposing of property, Hernandez argued that money is not property, so he couldn't have been disposing of it.

Okay, I'm convinced. You ARE stupid!

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South Africans, take heed 

Your president thinks your country can learn from Zimbabwe's example.

"Our countries have shared common problems. As they shared the common problems of oppression, they share common problems today," Mr Mbeki said on arrival at Harare international airport.

"President Mugabe can assist us to confront the problems we have in South Africa so that we can assist you to solve the problems that face Zimbabwe."

Eh... I hate to break it to you, Thabo... but your boy Bobby here is good at only one thing, and problem solving ain't it.
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Now that's progress 

Saudi Arabia has found the remedy for all that ails them: Banning dolls and stuffed animals. The corrupting effect on Saudi youth of these evil toys is well documented, so this is definitely a step in the right direction.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Mugabe's latest trick, and Mbeki to the rescue 

The Independent reports the latest on the theft redistribution of private property the means of production in Zimbabwe:

White farmers who have been forced from their land in Zimbabwe will now have their farming equipment confiscated by the government under a new decree passed by President Robert Mugabe.

Farmers are banned from selling, damaging or immobilising their farm machinery.

Those who defy the decree, which has been enacted under Mr Mugabe's wide-ranging presidential powers, face two years in jail or a fine.

Two years in jail or a fine for not letting thugs steal the only things of value you have left. But they just need the equipment to farm the land, according to The Independent:

Vast tracts of the land seized are now idle, either because the beneficiaries do not have equipment to farm or because they are too poor.

Hmm. Those poor people would transform Zimbabwe from the basket case of Africa into the breadbasket of Africa, if only they had the right gear!

But most of them aren't poor, and most Mugabe cronies (the ones who have been given the confiscated land) have no interest in farming now that they've gotten their share of the "land reform" windfall.

Samantha Power, in her December article in The Atlantic Monthly, claims that

About 130,000 formerly landless peasants helped the ruling elites to take over the farms, but now that the dirty work is done, many of them are themselves being expelled.

Yep. Give the ruling elites a few tractors, and the economy will be humming again. Right. Except they have expelled the people they would need to do, you know, actual farming.

But none of this is stopping Thabo Mbeki (remember him?) from kissing up to Mugabe on a one day visit, per the BBC:

Mr Mbeki has pursued a conciliatory approach towards Mr Mugabe, whose regime has been widely criticised.

Presidential spokesman Bheki Khumalo said Mr Mbeki had no plans to meet officials from Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mr. Mbeki says he is consulting with Mugabe on solutions to economic and political problems in Zimbabwe. Well, refraining from causing new problems would be a great start...

UPDATE: I don't know why this didn't occur to me before... but all that's going on in Zimbabwe is not front page news, and I haven't seen a single mention of it on any evening news broadcast. Now let's play a game. Reverse the skin colors so it's whites stealing farms and homes and property from black families. Think that would get a little more exposure? Where is Jesse Jackson on this one?
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Who says ignorance is bliss? 

Try telling that to this guy who thought herbs could protect him from bullets...and then tested his idea, with predictable results.

Remember, kids. Only buy your magic bullet-stopping charms from a reputable dealer.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Here they come 

It was only a matter of time...

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., told a Seattle radio station Monday the U.S. military could have found Saddam "a long time ago if they wanted." Asked if he thought the weekend capture was timed to help Bush, McDermott chuckled and said: "Yeah. Oh, yeah."

The Democratic congressman went on to say, "There's too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing."

When interviewer Dave Ross asked again if he meant to imply the Bush administration timed the capture for political reasons, McDermott said: "I don't know that it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they've been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was. It was just a matter of time till they'd find him.

"It's funny," McDermott added, "when they're having all this trouble, suddenly they have to roll out something."

This goes into the file right next to Howard Dean's "Bush knew about 9/11" theory.
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Digging out 

Slow day, no posts. My apologies... I was busy dealing with the 21 inches of snow that fell in the last 24 hours. Plenty to come on Tuesday, so no worries.
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Monday, December 15, 2003

Yeah, okay, we gotcha. Now shut up. 

Various groups are warning the coalition against triumphalism. It's amazing the lengths people will go to, in order to apologize for Saddam Hussein. Human rights groups, my ass.

Want to see what kind of twisted logic they are going through? Look no further:

Human Rights Watch said Saddam's apprehension was a "welcome development", but stressed how important it was for the Iraqi people to have "ownership of his trial".

"But it's equally important that the trial is not be perceived as vengeful justice.

"For that reason, international jurists must be involved in the process."

Goodness gracious, make up your damn minds! Do you want the Iraqi people to have ownership of the trial, or do you want international jurists involved? Can't have both. Think long and hard, HRW, because people will be looking for you to take some kind of rational stand on this. Not expecting it, but one never knows.
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A toast 

To the 4th Infantry Division - May they celebrate their achievements; may they continue to accomplish great things; and may they come home safely to their loved ones.

To all coalition troops - May they serve their countries and the people of Iraq with ferocity in battle, humility among the people, and honor in all that they do.

To the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council - May they strive tirelessly to build a sovereign, prosperous, and free Iraq.

To the Iraqi judicial process and those who serve it - May they perform their solemn duties with righteousness, integrity, and justice; may they serve the people of Iraq and the will of God faithfully.

To the Iraqi people - May they be ever free--free to live, to think, and to speak as they choose. Free to reach the full potential of their great nation... May they be the shining light of hope in a troubled region; and may they forever know not fear and tyranny, but peace.
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Sunday, December 14, 2003

Anti-war bloggers react 

HipperCritical has a great roundup of reactions from the left side of the blogosphere.
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Saddam's first conversation in captivity 

Time has some information about it.
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Ace of spades 

Saddam loyalists: You can stop fighting now.

Those villains are not within one hundred miles of Saddam! Heh.

And this is to be expected, of course.

Sadly, so is this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this...

"I had a horrible feeling in my stomach this morning when I saw that Hussein had been captured."
Someone at Democratic Underground actually said this. Good grief.

It just goes on and on. I like this particularly reasonable and lucid post from DU:

Bush just played another hole card in order to keep halliburton's raping off the front page. think about it... Bush is still a nazi this was was still illegal and now Halliburton can jack up the price of everything.

It was all staged. Come on... he had a gun and wouldnt use it? Hiding in a hidey hole? Give me an effin break.

Im glad Hussein is captured, but this was another timed political stunt by Rove and Bushco just so they can rape billions and billions and even trillions if possible from Iraq and the US.

While we celebrate the fictitious capture of this Bush crony, we're getting raped and pickpocketed and having our civil liberties destroyed by the evil BFEE!!!!!

I don't know what this BFEE is. I guess I'm not up on my tinfoil hat lingo.

I have been informed that BFEE means "Bush Family Evil Empire." I get it. Very clever. Hat tip to Calvin Dodge in comments and e-mail from Joseph.

Kimberly gives me "Kudos ... for having the stomach to invade DU and read their sickening comments." I want to point out that not all of the links above are from Democratic Underground. Most are, but I have included a post from Atrios, one from the People's Republic of Seabrook, and a Reuters wire story from Yahoo! News. I could post links all day, from notables such as Steve Gilliard, Kos, and others. Heck, there's plenty of entertaining reading in the comments section of the offficial Howard Dean blog, for that matter.

But I have more important things to worry about right now. The Patriots are on.
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