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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Perspective 

According to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of Iraqis, 55 percent of the respondents have an unfavorable view of the United States.

That sounds bad, right? No. If only 55% don't like us, break out the champagne, because we're setting records for U.S. popularity in a Muslim country.

Check out this Pew poll from a month or so ago.

In Turkey, 63% had an unfavorable view of the United States. In Pakistan it was 61%; in Jordan, 93%; and in Morocco, 68%.

In other words, Iraqis, the ones who should be angriest about any U.S. misbehavior because they have to live with it every day, are the least angry. Maybe the occupiers are doing some good, and Iraqis know it. Hmm?
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Counterinsurgency 

Mystery group wage war on Sadr's militia

FOR the past month they have been the rude young pretenders, a rag-tag slum army ruffling the quiet dignity of Iraq’s holiest city.

For every day that the United States army fails to act on its threat to crush them, the Shiite militiamen of the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have grown in confidence in their stronghold in Najaf.

Now, however, a shadowy resistance movement within might be about to succeed where the 2,500 US marines outside the city have failed.

In a deadly expression of feelings that until now were kept quiet, a group representing local residents is said to have killed at least five militiamen in the last four days.
It's good to see the people taking matters into their own hands. Of course, if it's any kind of organized group, it may have to be dealt with later. But it sounds like it's simply an anti-extremist movement. If so... hey, they can't hurt. Maybe their example can lead other Iraqis to resist the handful of thugs in their midst.
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Blogs as open-source intel 

Investor's Business Daily (via Yahoo) brings us the unsurprising (to me) news that the U.S. intelligence community might be starting to keep an eye on blogs as they gather information. It makes sense, because there just may be a piece of information on a blog that they aren't aware of. And if that can help to enhance national security, good on 'em. The article starts out with a dumb intro,

People in black trench coats might soon be chasing blogs
but it quickly settles into a discussion of why the intel community is considering blog-watching. Really, most of the people doing this work are sitting in a cubicle in a shirt and tie. But anyway...

Some blogs are whimsical and deal with "soft" subjects. Others, though, are cutting edge in delivering information and opinion.

As a result, some analysts say U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials might be starting to track blogs for important bits of information. This interest is a sign of how far Web media such as blogs have come in reshaping the data-collection habits of intelligence professionals and others, even with the knowledge that the accuracy of what's reported in some blogs is questionable.

Still, a panel of folks who work in the U.S. intelligence field - some of them spies or former spies - discussed this month at a conference in Washington the idea of tracking blogs.
Like I said, it's a good idea. If it helps them to find and analyze information, or fills them in on events they might not have been aware of, it could be a great addition to their traditional collection methods. One thing people need to realize is that if they post something on a blog, anyone can read it, and has the right to do so. The intelligence community pays a lot of attention to foreign print and broadcast journalism, and blogs are a similar medium. It's all out in the open, so anyone can access it. That's one of the things that makes journalism and blogging so important.

A few bloggers think this is some kind of invasion of privacy, or they attribute any number of dark motives to the intelligence interest in blogs. But it's just another tool in their bag of intelligence collection tricks, and nothing to be feared. (And for those few people who think their blogs are part of some "underground" network... hello, it's the web, stupid.)

Heck, I've gotten a few visits from the Open Source Information System myself. While I doubt there's anything particularly helpful to them here, who knows? And if there is, good for them, for paying attention to the extensive global information repository (and firsthand reporting system) that is the blogosphere.
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Peace in Fallujah? For now, anyway 

Agreement reached to end Fallujah siege

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) U.S. Marines announced Thursday an agreement to end a bloody, nearly monthlong siege of Fallujah, saying American forces will pull back and allow an all-Iraqi force commanded by one of Saddam Hussein's generals to take over security...

The Fallujah deal came after intense international pressure on the United States to find a peaceful solution to the standoff that killed hundreds of Iraqis and became a symbol of anti-U.S. resistance in Iraq, fueling violence that made April the deadliest month for American forces.
First off, international pressure doesn't necessarily mean "words of wisdom from statesmen who mean well." In this case, international pressure means hurting the cause of peace by falsely assuming that the Fallujah insurgents are dealing honestly. This agreement is absolutely not a "peaceful solution to the standoff." It's a break in the action. It is simply a delaying tactic by the thugs who gather like cowards in mosques and then hide behind civilians when attacking our Marines.

You want a Vietnam analogy? Today, you finally have one. The only valid comparison between Iraq and Vietnam is the use of "peace agreements" to resupply for the next fight, and the gullibility of the international community in believing that such agreements serve the cause of peace.

Exhibit A:

''Violent military action by an occupying power against inhabitants of an occupied country will only make matters worse,'' U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned. ''It's definitely time, time now for those who prefer restraint and dialogue to make their voices heard.''
And I bet he assumes that the insurgents of Fallujah are among "those who prefer restraint and dialogue."

Annan is dead wrong about that and about one other thing. When he says that violent action by the U.S. against the inhabitants of Iraq will only make things worse... he's right. But letting them get away with murder will make things worse, too, and for a longer period of time. And notice Annan's language? We're taking "violent military action" against "inhabitants." Uh huh. If your local police department shoots a guy who fires at them first, do the headlines read "Police attack inhabitants of town?"

You're dealing with a group of people who do not represent the will of the Iraqi people and who will only stop fighting when they are all dead, so if we really want peace, we should just finish the job.

The Marines know all of this. Maybe they're entering this agreement knowing that it will fail, so next time the international community won't be so willing to put its faith in the word of terrorists.

UPDATE: I disagree with Rusty Shackleford that restricting the press and imposing a Dresden-like solution on the Fallujah problem is the way to go. But he's right on with this point:

We assume that our holding back will be received as some sort of gesture of magnanimity. It will not. For Arab nationalists it will be seen as proof of superior Arab will.
As he says, the Arab world considers the Six Day War as a victory! (And I'll add the Yom Kippur War to the list. Not to mention Desert Storm.)

They live in a world where anything short of complete and utter destruction is seen as a victory.
He's right about that. So, the only solution is to actually defeat the insurgents, to the point where they, and the Arab street, has absolutely no doubt that they were good and properly ass-kicked in combat. Anything that even remotely resembles a pullback will be seen by the insurgents as a cowardly retreat in the face of brave, manly Arab resistance.
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Unequal treatment 

Washington Post, today:

SEATTLE, April 28 -- The Bush administration has decided to count hatchery-bred fish, which are pumped into West Coast rivers by the hundreds of millions yearly, when it decides whether stream-bred wild salmon are entitled to protection under the Endangered Species Act...

Word of the new policy was greeted by outrage from several environmental groups.

"Rather than address the problems of habitat degraded by logging, dams and urban sprawl, this policy will purposefully mask the precarious condition of wild salmon behind fish raised by humans in concrete pools," said Jan Hasselman, counsel for the National Wildlife Federation.
Next is a WaPo article from 1998. Stay with me here. Just read the passage, and then I'll explain my point.

The Clinton administration will announce plans today to remove dozens of once-rare creatures from the government's official "endangered" list, declaring victory in staving off extinction for such powerful symbols as the peregrine falcon and the bald eagle.

From the fearsome gray wolf to the obscure Missouri bladder-pod, a total of 29 formerly threatened animals and plants are likely to be declared fully or partly recovered within two years in what officials describe as the biggest such "de-listing" since the Endangered Species Act was adopted 25 years ago...

News of Babbitt's decision was generally welcomed by environmentalists, who said the proposed "de-listings" were a vindication of the Endangered Species Act. "These species are genuine success stories," said Christopher E. Williams, policy analyst for the World Wildlife Fund.
So... today, the Bush administration is "greeted by outrage" for counting hatchery-bred salmon in order to determine endangered status.

So why didn't the Washington Post (and the environmentalists) greet the Clinton administration with outrage for counting captive-bred Gray Wolves when delisting the species?

Why didn't we see a representative of the National Wildlife Federation quoted in 1998 as saying "this policy will purposefully mask the precarious condition of wild gray wolves behind wolves raised by humans in fenced enclosures?" Hmm? Why did they praise one administration roundly for its actions while framing another's similar actions as a controversial and radical departure from past policies? It's a fair question, and I think we all know the answer.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Good news from Iraq 

And it involves the Maine National Guard's 133rd Engineer Battalion. The Portland Press Herald's Bill Nemitz opens a window into a part of Iraq where, like most of the country, good things are happening.
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I feel better already 

UN bans WMD sales to terrorists

You mean to tell me it was okay until now?
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Do they expect people to believe this? 

Via The Command Post, via Fark, via Reuters:

Many North Koreans died a “heroic death” after last week’s train explosion by running into burning buildings to rescue portraits of leader Kim Jong-il and his father, the North’s official media reported on Wednesday...

“Many people of the county evacuated portraits before searching after their family members or saving their household goods,” KCNA said in a report with a Ryongchon dateline.

“Upon hearing the sound of the heavy explosion on their way home for lunch, Choe Yong-il and Jon Tong-sik, workers of the county procurement shop, ran back to the shop,” KCNA said.

“They were buried under the collapsing building to die a heroic death when they were trying to come out with portraits of President Kim Il-sung and leader Kim Jong-il,” it said.
North Koreans have always been intensely loyal to the Kims, in the same way that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

Does anyone in North Korea buy this stuff? Do they know any better?


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Who needs Boudreaux? 

The LCPL Boudreaux affair is still an open matter. Whether the Marine really posed for a picture with two Iraqi boys and an insulting sign has yet to be resolved by the Marine Corps.

But with more serious things going on, who needs to worry about a stupid photo?

(CBS) A few weeks ago, the U.S. Army announced that 17 soldiers in Iraq had been removed from duty, and six of them were facing court martial for mistreating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the infamous prison where Saddam Hussein and his henchmen tortured and executed Iraqis for decades.

60 Minutes II has obtained photographs of what was happening in Abu Ghraib. The photos show American soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners.
I agree with General Kimmitt when he says,

"We're appalled...these are our fellow soldiers, these are the people we work with every day, they represent us, they wear the same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down....We expect our soldiers to be treated well by the adversary, by the enemy...and if we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with dignity and respect, we can't ask that other nations do that to our soldiers."
Absolutely. And I hope that these particular people won't be wearing this country's uniform for much longer. They're a disgrace to the millions who serve and who have served with honor. And I really hope that the media highlights the difference between the way this kind of behavior is handled on our side versus how it is glorified on the other.
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Follow up to below post 

UPDATE: Okay, I misplaced a couple of zeros somewhere in the calculations... but the end result, the number of 1-megaton nuclear bombs required to melt all the ice near the earth's poles, will still be well into the millions.

"The Day After Tomorrow," the movie that has drawn Al Gore's attention as an environmental rallying point, supposedly tells the story of a new ice age starting "three days after the polar ice caps melt."

There's a lot of ice in those caps, but let's do the math just for fun, shall we?

There is approximately 32.3 million cubic kilometers of ice in the Antarctic sheet, the Greenland sheet, and in Arctic sea ice. At an average ice density of 900 kilograms per cubic meter, that's 29,070,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms total mass.

29.07 quintillion kilograms...

It takes about 370 joules of energy to melt one gram of ice at -10 degrees Celcius. Actual polar ice is slightly colder than that on average, but it's close enough.

Given that ratio, it would require:
333 million joules per cubic meter, or
333 quadrillion joules per cubic kilometer, or, with 32.3 million cubic kilometers of ice to melt,
10,755,900,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules of energy, in a very short period of time, to melt the ice caps and make this movie realistic.

That's five orders of magnitude larger than the annual U.S. energy consumption, for those keeping score.

Put another way, it's the same as the energy released by 2,560,928,571 nuclear bombs of one megaton each.

In other words, the sudden melting of the ice caps is a fantasically ludicrous scenario.

But it's not stopping Al Gore from rallying his environmental nutjobs.
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It's fiction, people, fiction! 

Drudge:

FOX’s global warming thriller THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW is turning into a political lightening rod.

A rally featuring former VP and environmental advocate Al Gore will be held a couple of blocks away from the pic’s May 24 preem in Gotham and hosted by MoveOn.org, DAILY VARIETY is reporting on Wednesday.

Helmed by director Roland Emmerich, DAY follows the onset of a new Ice Age just three days after the polar ice caps melt. With Emmerich’s penchant for onscreen destruction, the pic includes catastrophic tornadoes touching down in Los Angeles, giant hail in Tokyo and the flooding and freezing of New York.
Which makes the movie about as realistic as "Armageddon" or that one with volcanoes in downtown LA. Let's see a rally outside NBC headquarters on the night of "10.5." Because, you know, I'm sure earthquakes are Bush's fault too.

But it should come as no surprise that these people won't let the fact/fiction divide limit them. A made-up, totally unrealistic movie? No, they know that it's something that could really happen if Bush wins in November! They'll just bring out "the real president" and have a rally that gets lots of "news coverage!" The Village Voice and Indymedia will be there! People (in the Village and Frisco and perhaps the Rive Gauche) will care about their rally!

Al Gore, gotta give him credit, is absolutely visionary when it comes to selecting backdrops for environmental activism. First he speaks against global warming on New York's coldest day in 50 years, and then he does it near the premiere of a silly made-up movie. Genuis, pure genius. Come on, Al... You seemed like a pretty smart guy the one time I heard you speak in person. What happened?

Oh, right.
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We'll hold you to it 

In this poll, I find hope. Maybe we won't have to deal with the crazy left fringe for much longer.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The military wants to kill liberals! Gaaah!!!! 

Okay, sorry for the alarmist title. But it's the essence of this Democratic Underground discussion. I always leave that place feeling a mixture of pity, fear, and, well, smugness.

I've heard tell that we shouldn't blame US troops for the Iraq slaughter

And generally, the reason that's given is that "they're just following orders."

Yet, with Bush and Ashcroft wanting to push us toward a police state, a part of me can't help but wonder how many of these troops we're supposed to be supporting would turn their guns on us if they were "just ordered" to do so.
I don't know how much paranoia it takes to ask that question, but it takes a staggering amount to answer it thusly:

geez, this is a given. this is their training.
Or:

I have no doubt that troops or Police, or Militia would take us out if ordered.
That last poster expresses a wish to die soon so he/she won't see it happen. How sad is it that someone is that messed up mentally? There's gotta be a diagnosable disorder there...

And of course, it didn't take long for the Nazis to make an appearance. (After all, there are direct historical parallels between the Nazis and conservatives, didn't you know?)

Well the Vehrmacht were following hitlers orders.
More:

I agree, not all would go along

But if Bush was to say "kill the liberal traitors" I'm sure there are plenty who would happily gun down every last one of us.
And then, just to demonstrate the complete ignorance of this crowd, someone asks a question:

Isn't it in their oath when they join? that they will be willing to fire on US citizens if so ordered?
And nobody answers it correctly. In fact, we get another ignorant question:

Does the UCMJ require that you disobey an unlawful order? In other words, if a commanding officer told you to shoot an unarmed civilian, could you refuse?

And if so, what would constitute an unlawful order? Are you taught what the boundries are in your basic training?
No, nobody tells you a damn thing in training. Officers especially spend no time studying military law, or reading the exact text of military regulations, or being tested on their knowledge of the various international agreements on armed conflict. We don't learn the targeting restraints placed on us by international law. And we certainly don't spend hours discussing the nature of lawful and unlawful orders, or participating in workshops to debate ethical questions. Nope, none of that... they just hand you a gun and say "shoot that sumbitch!" I probably shouldn't write that... if the DUers find this they'll probably believe it and spread it like wildfire. I can see the boldface DU headline now. "Military shuns law and ethics!"

Followed, of course, by mindless idiots typing out the electronic version of a head nod.

UPDATE: While I'm beating up DU, this will surely do wonders for all the unemployed that liberals pretend to care about so much.
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So long, scumbag 

Foe of Somalis in Maine guilty of murder plot

CHICAGO — White supremacist leader Matthew Hale, who helped organize an anti-Somali gathering in Maine last year, was convicted Monday of trying to have a federal judge killed. Hale, 32, was found guilty of four of the five charges against him...

His arrest in January 2003 prevented him from attending the anti-Somali gathering in Lewiston a few days later, where he was scheduled to give a speech titled "The Invasion of Maine by Somalis and How We Can End It." Only 32 people showed up, while more than 4,000 gathered at a counter-rally urging Mainers to reject racism and embrace the state's new wave of immigrants...

Solicitation of murder carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Hale could also get a maximum of 10 years on each of three counts of obstruction of justice.
May the jury give him the maximum and keep this prick from ever antagonizing another community again.
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Doubts about the press 

Patrick Belton finds two major U.S. newspapers a little lacking in the getting-the-facts-right department.

My, with this degree of neglect for detail in just one small matter of British parliamentary history I happen to know something about, I must say I'm starting to have some doubts about these people. Or as a reader rather eloquently puts it: "Whenever I read anything in a newspaper about which I know something, I find they get it wrong. So why should I believe them on subjects about which I know very little?"
This realization came to me during the Bush National Guard service flap. Most of the media were asking the wrong questions, and then getting the wrong answers for the wrong questions. They didn't even know what the right questions were.

Josh Marshall continues that ignorance today. Right off the bat, he admits,

I've never quite understood all the arcana of the Bush Air National Guard story, so I never know quite what to make of new reports.
Then he goes on to say, in essence, I don't know how to analyze this story, but here's a really good article about it! I think. Maybe.

The Salon article which Marshall calls "straightforward" is anything but.

The mandatory written report about Bush's grounding is mysteriously not in the released file, nor is any other disciplinary evidence. A document showing a "roll-up," or the accumulation of his total retirement points, is also absent, and so are his actual pay stubs. If the president truly wanted to end the conjecture about his time in the Guard, he would allow an examination of his pay stubs and any IRS W-2 forms from his Guard years.
Well, since I know a thing or two about official military records (there is one being kept on me right now), let me address a couple of false assumptions.

First, the "mandatory written report about Bush's grounding." Guess what... I've been grounded. For medical reasons. Bush was also grounded for medical reasons, by way of letting his flight physical lapse. (When he knew his flying days were over anyway.) That would not be in his service record. It would be in his medical record.

Second, The "roll-up" (first time I've heard the term) of retirement points is also not (at least here in 2004 and in the Navy) part of the official military record. It's kept somewhere, sure, but it does not go into the official record of an officer. (At this point, some of you are saying "but how can that be?" Well, it is. If I knew how to redact pdf files, I could show you the sum total of everything in my official record. It's a fairly small record, even with 6 years of active service and one of reserve service. Everyone seems to think a military record is some huge stack of documents.)

Third, pay stubs and W-2 forms. This part is just silly. Those are definitely not part of the official service record. (In today's day and age, the only people who see them are the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the servicemember, and the process is completely electronic. No hard copy exists until the individual prints it out.) And let's have a show of hands here... how many of you still have your pay stubs and W-2s from 30 years ago? Anyone? What the hell for?

Anyway, enough ranting, 'cause I'm outta time. Gotta go provide military honors at the funeral of a retired Navy officer. Not looking forward to presenting the flag to the widow...
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Monday, April 26, 2004

WMD 

"Gee, you sure have got a lot of pesticides stored in ammo dumps."

Hmm... interesting point. Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip: soundfury.)

I'm hearing stuff from within the military that the WMD story is far from over. It's coming to me third-hand so you're getting it fourth-hand from me. Take that as you like.

UPDATE: Smash finds what is surely a coincidence concerning recent news in Jordan and Sudan.
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So much for keeping secrets 

A-Zahar replaces Rantisi as Hamas leader in Strip

Dr. Mahmoud A-Zahar has been elected political leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, say Palestinian sources familiar with the inner workings of the movement. He fills the job held by Abdel Aziz Rantisi until his assassination nine days ago.
This was supposed to remain a secret to hamper Israeli efforts to target the new leader. What a shame that his identity is known now. And how come these terror leaders are always doctors?
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The Arab way 

Ah, of course... if only we had forked over massive baksheesh, Iraq would be stable by now. So says Prince Bandar.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration might have avoided a deadly insurgency in Iraq by buying the loyalty of its former military for about $200 million, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said on Sunday.
So that's how it works in that part of the world, huh?
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Gooey goodness 

On a lighter note, the delicious Quebecois treat called poutine finally gets the recognition it deserves. And it's spreading!

Quebec's signature dish, made of fried potatoes covered with melted cheddar cheese curds and gravy, is slowly spreading beyond Canada and winning fans as far away as New York City and Florida. But the really big culinary news is that poutine is becoming haute cuisine.

Martin Picard, the owner of the popular bistro Au Pied de Cochon, known by local critics as the enfant terrible of the Montreal food scene, has begun adding foie gras to the dish. He has also reinvented poutine sauce with a blend of pork stock, egg yolks, still more foie gras and a touch of cream for texture.
Eh... I'm not so sure about that last part. Foie gras? I tend to be a traditionalist when it comes to poutine (or anything involving fried potatoes). But hey, if its gets poutine some exposure, then I guess it's okay. Just give me the plain old, gooey, cheesy, yummy poutine and I'm happy, though.
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CNN on the cutting edge of news 

A CNN Breaking News email alert went out at about 2 PM Eastern time today. The full text of the alert was:

Jordanian authorities say they broke up alleged al Qaeda plot to unleash deadly chemical cloud in heart of Amman.
Really, I had no idea... It's not like this was news A WEEK AGO or anything.

(Hat tip: Reader Chris.)

UPDATE: Here's CNN's front-page headline story as of right now (5:20 PM Eastern.) Why is this being treated as breaking news worthy of top billing? This was news a week ago today, April 19th. Link dump follows to prove my point:

New York Post - Philadelphia Inquirer - Long Beach Press-Telegram - Contra Costa Times

Dozens more on the 20th.
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Sudan admits rights violations in Darfur 

Just three days a day after the U.N. Human Rights Commission refused to condemn Sudan for the atrocities going on in the Darfur region and in fact expressed solidarity with the government, Sudan admits that violations are occurring.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail on Saturday acknowledged that human rights abuses have taken place in the western Darfur region, where an estimated 10,000 people have been killed, but denied allegations that "ethnic cleansing" has taken place.

"Yes, human rights violations have occurred in Darfur, but one cannot in any way talk of ethnic cleansing or collective extermination," Ismail told journalists as a U.N. team previously barred from Darfur arrived in the area to investigate reports of atrocities committed by government-allied Arab militias against black Africans...

Ismail also made what Associated Press called "a rare admission" about the government's relation to the militias. "The government may have turned a blind eye toward the militias. This is true. Because those militias are targeting the rebellion," he said.
But nope, the U.N. Commission on Human Bleeping Rights--I'll say it again--expressed solidarity with Sudan.

Every day seems to bring yet another farcical U.N. story. Why isn't the media taking this organization to task for being the sick joke that it is? If President Bush expressed "solidarity" with genocidal regimes, it would provoke a media feeding frenzy, harsh statements from every imaginable humanitarian group, and cries of "Nazi!" from the radical left. And yet there is virtual silence when it's the vaunted United Nations, safekeeper of global morality, that's doing it. Why the double standard?

UPDATE: A WaPo editorial has some mild criticism of the Human Rights Commission's response to the Darfur crisis.
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Staying the course 

Cyprus Rejects Annan Reunification Plan; U.N. To Withdraw

Greek Cypriots on Saturday soundly defeated a U.N. reunification plan proposed by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, scuttling the possibility that a unified Cyprus will join the European Union on May 1 and angering EU leaders, who promised the Turkish Cypriots that their approval of the reunification plan would not go unrewarded.

Official results of the referendums on Saturday showed Turkish Cypriots favoring the plan, 64.9 percent to 35.1 percent. Greek Cypriots voted against reunification — 76 percent had voted "no" with 96 percent of the votes counted...

[U.N. Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro] De Soto also announced the closure of the U.N. office on the island on Saturday, saying that "a unique and historic chance to resolve the Cyprus problem has been missed" and that Annan would be giving "careful thought to the implications" of the poll.
Now that's real commitment on the U.N.'s part, huh? That'll show 'em! The U.N. doesn't get what it wants, so it grabs up its toys and runs away like a toddler having a temper tantrum. Nice.
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Yankees suck 

It's not just a t-shirt any more, it's a verifiable statement of fact.

Some numbers:

The Yankees, as of today, are batting .217 as a team, the lowest team batting average in the Major Leagues. They are a game and a half out of the American League East cellar.

Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams are suffering the worst slumps of their careers, each going 0-for-25 lately and batting .175 and .167 respectively.

They are under .500 in winning percentage.

And they have lost six of seven games to the Red Sox so far. :)

I would try to explain how happy this makes people in Red Sox Nation, but unless you're a part of it, you won't understand.

You know how it feels when bad luck befalls someone who really deserves it? It's kind of like that.

And have you ever patiently waited while someone struggles to figure something out, and then finally, it clicks, and you're really proud of them? It's kind of like that too.

Have you ever looked skyward and smiled as the sun shines through the clouds after a dark, rainy day? Yeah, it's also kind like that.

It's like all of those things combined.
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