I hesitated to post about the two failed car bombings in Britain; terrorist attacks in Britain could well be Irish rather than Islamist. A day later, the British papers are reporting that the suspects are Middle Eastern. According to the Times of London (H/T), the two car bombs were linked in a particularly vicious way:
One car, a pale green Mercedes, had been left outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in Haymarket. A second, a blue Mercedes, was left a few hundred yards away in Cockspur Street, a busy thoroughfare close to Trafalgar Square. This vehicle was towed away at 3:30am on Friday to an car pound on Park Lane by unsuspecting parking officials.
Had either device gone off it would have generated a huge fireball and a shockwave spreading over 400 yards in all directions. If, as suspected, one had been primed to detonate before the other, people fleeing the first blast could have been caught by the second.
Patrick Ruffini has an interesting hypothesis:
I’m sure this has already been remarked upon in the coverage of the London carbomb plot, but there’s an eerie parallel between today and the 7/7 attacks. Today was the first week of Gordon Brown’s premiership. 7/7 was the first day of the Gleneagles G8 summit. They seem to have a habit of planning to strike when Britain is in the headlines around the world.
My own hunch is that terrorists are trying to repeat the success of the 3/11 bombings in Spain. They turned the election a few days later around, and though the pro-American government of Jose Maria Aznar had been leading in the polls, they were tossed out and replaced with the pro-appeasement government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
Back to Britain. After the 7/7 bombings, we learned that Tony Blair wouldn’t chicken out. The terrorists were probably trying to test new Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Since those two bombings were blocked before they happened, and since nobody’s reported any arrests yet, I think Britain should stay on high alert. The terrorists want the kind of intelligence you can only get with a terrorist attack: how does Brown react to pressure?
Corollary to this grim theory: will terrorists attempt an attack on America in 2009 to see how the new president reacts to assaults?
Hubbard posted this at 12:53 PM CDT on Saturday, June 30th, 2007 as Global War on Terror, Walking the Cat Backwards
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The more I read Linda Chavez these days, the more grateful I am that she didn’t become Secretary of Labor in the Bush administration. Today’s column has several badly thought through statements. First:
Immigration reform is dead. But before conservatives who killed this bill start popping champagne corks, they ought to consider the following.
Before considering what follows, remember that most conservatives aren’t popping champagne right now. They’ve been one Bush speech short popping an artery.
Our borders will be less secure, not more. Employers who want to do the right thing and only hire legal workers won’t have the tools to do so. The 12 million illegal aliens who are here now will continue to live in the shadows, making them less likely to cooperate with law enforcement to report crimes and less likely to pay their full share of taxes. In other words, the mess we created by an outdated and ill-conceived immigration policy 20 years ago will just get worse.
Under current law, an illegal alien can present a fake Social Security number and a fake identity card with a photo so long as it reasonably looks legitimate. If the employer is suspicious about the authenticity of the documents, there is little he or she can do now. Questioning the prospective employee could lead to a civil rights law violation – such objections are now one of the largest sources of civil rights complaints filed with the Justice Department.
Then why not drop the Z-visa mess and just focus on making it easier for employers to check false social security cards? And why not have Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stop prosecuting employers on bogus civil rights charges? Chavez ignores other solutions to the problem that make more sense and have more popular support than her own solutions.
What you won’t hear is that liberals are just as relieved that this bill didn’t pass as conservatives — and they know time is on their side. Their plan is to wait until January 2009, when they expect bigger Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and a Democrat in the White House, and then reintroduce immigration legislation. They know that the present laws can’t be enforced, not because of lack of will but because the laws themselves are inadequate and contradictory.
Waiting for the clock to run out frequently backfires in sports. It’s also dumb politics, because situations are so fluid. Unlike Chavez, most conservatives aren’t giving up. We can’t outpander liberals to try to win the Hispanic vote. So let’s focus on maintaining the voters we have rather than throw their concerns overboard in hopes of (maybe) attracting some new ones. The goal is to get through the Bush presidency with as few blunders as possible so we can get a decent president with a Republican controlled congress in 2008.
Meanwhile, the real majority of Americans will have to wait for genuine immigration reform. And Republicans who believe this is going to help them at the polls in 2008 may well find themselves sitting on the back benches for years to come.
Chavez’s own prescription would be political suicide for Republicans. What Chavez calls “the real majority of Americans” hated the proposed amnesty, and would have punished Republicans for letting it go through; remember that Bush won’t be on a ballot again but one third of the Senate and 435 congressmen will be in 2008. One law of business is never to screw current shareholders to attract potential shareholders. President Bush doesn’t get this, but most Republican Senators do.
Hubbard posted this at 10:10 AM CDT on Saturday, June 30th, 2007 as Politics, The Melting Pot Boils Over
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Few things are richer than Mexico getting pissy over us seizing roughly .000852 square miles of worthless scrubland. Though there is one exceptionally interesting bit in the story:
New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman asked Customs and Border Protection officials to build a new fence on U.S. soil before the old one is torn down.
Bingaman said he was concerned about security issues in Las Chepas, the small Mexican village where most area residents live. New Mexico once sought permission to raze the community because it was known as a popular staging area for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.
I can’t find anything online about this, but I find the idea fascinating. To whom would New Mexico address such a request? Surely they can’t have independent dealings with Mexico, but just as surely there’s something not-quite-right about asking the United States government for permission to burn down a town in a non-belligerent foreign country.
Anyone know about this?
Update: Actually, it seems as though New Mexico negotiated with Chihuahua. It doesn’t sound quite as glamorous as my testosterone-addled imagination had me believing.
Apollo posted this at 12:28 AM CDT on Saturday, June 30th, 2007 as Those Wacky Foreigners
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Tom Coburn praises John McCain’s “courage” in standing up for an unpopular bill while running for the presidency. Other words come to my mind.
Yet as we’re looking to select a new president who will not make the same mistakes as the present one, isn’t “unflinching stubbornness in pursuit of grandiose schemes without feeling the need to build consensus” near the top of our list of things to avoid? Unflinching stubbornness can be a good quality, and not feeling a need to build consensus can be a good quality, but when combined they are the traits of good emperors, not good presidents or senators. In a democracy, courage is standing up in front of hostile people and persuading them you are right. Sneaking a bill that people hate through the senate without debate is not courage. Indeed, it might be the opposite.
Apollo posted this at 4:57 PM CDT on Friday, June 29th, 2007 as Audacity of Hype, The Melting Pot Boils Over
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It has long been apparent that conservatives and liberals were fighting bitterly over Supreme Court appointments. The warfare reached perhaps its lowest point when Ted Kennedy, knowing that being on the Senate floor gave him immunity from a slander lawsuit, said this of Robert Bork:
Robert Bork’s America is a land inwhich women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.
Still, even as politicians threw off the veneer of civility, most mainstream liberals attempted to find some polite justification. It looks like E.J. Dionne has just removed even that fig leaf:
Just say no.
The Senate’s Democratic majority — joined by all Republicans who purport to be moderate — must tell President Bush that this will be their answer to any controversial nominee to the Supreme Court or the appellate courts.
The Senate should refuse even to hold hearings on Bush’s next Supreme Court choice, should a vacancy occur, unless the president reaches agreement with the Senate majority on a mutually acceptable list of nominees.
Dionne’s justification for this, however, is much more interesting:
If another conservative replaces a member of the court’s moderate-to-liberal bloc, the country will be set on a conservative course for the next decade or more, locking in today’s politics at the very moment when the electorate is running out of patience with the right.
Did Dionne complain when Bill Clinton replaced the conservative Byron White with the left-wing Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Wasn’t the electorate running out of patience with the left then? It’s refreshingly honest, I’ll admit, to see him assume that the court will be “locking in today’s politics,” but if you admit that, you’re assuming that the court is not about principles but power.
Dionne also throws out this inflammatory accusation:
And if conservatives claim to believe the president is owed deference on his court appointees, they will be — I choose this word deliberately — lying [emphasis added]. In 2005 conservatives had no problem blocking Bush’s appointment of Harriet Miers because they could not count on her to be a strong voice for their legal causes. They revealed that their view of judicial battles is not about principle but power. When they went after Miers, conservatives lost the deference argument.
Er, no. The right, from Pat Buchanan to Virginia Postrel, opposed Miers on the grounds that she had no clear principles. And conservatives didn’t block her appointment with a filibuster or by voting her down on the Senate floor or in commitee. They argued, on talk radio and in the blogosphere, against the appointment, and Bush withdrew the nomination. Dionne doesn’t so much argue as steal bases. He thinks that the court is not about principles but power, and so assumes that his opponents think that way, too. If he’s still wondering why Americans hate politics, he should reflect on his column—after he’s calmed down a bit.
Hubbard posted this at 12:01 PM CDT on Friday, June 29th, 2007 as I, For One, Welcome Our Judicial Overlords!, Politics
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Bradley Birzer has a nice quote from Russell Kirk:
At the back of every discussion of the good society lies this question, what is the object of human life? The enlightened conservative does not believe that the end or aim of life is competition; or success; or enjoyment; or longevity; or power; or possessions. He believes, instead, that the object of life is Love. . . .He has learnt that Love is the source of all being. . . .He understands that Death, when we have finished the part that was assigned to us, is the reward of Love.
Hubbard posted this at 11:33 PM CDT on Thursday, June 28th, 2007 as Conservatism, Philosophy
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Over at Slate, Matt Freeny writes on people glibly tossing around the word “homoerotic”. He concludes thus:
Now, 300 has earned more than $200 million in America alone, from an overwhelmingly male audience. What more plausibly accounts for this? That 20 million closet cases snuck off to see an illicit fantasy about bare-chested men in Hellenic Speedos, or that young men from the vast heartland of this very conservative, Christian, pro-military country flocked to see an unabashedly heroic tale of Occidental, republican military glory? To believe the latter, all you have to accept is that, in imagining the sort of heroic figures they themselves would like to be, straight men would project onto them not just excellence but physical beauty. Shouldn’t a guy be able to do such a thing without being called gay?
I think he’s correct on this, and I normally roll my eyes when people use the word. Sometimes men smoke cigars because they enjoy smoking cigars, and sometimes they watch good-looking men kick the asses of bad guys because men want to beat up bad guys and look good doing it. Moreover, homoeroticism is an uninteresting comment on a film. “I thought the movie had homoerotic undertones” ranks well below “Did you see the frame in the Lion King where the sand spells ‘sex’?” in terms of interest to me. Both say more about the viewer than the movie, but at least the bit about the Lion King told me that Disney’s animation department had a perv with a sense of humor.
But to get to Freeny’s paragraph on 300, you have to wade through about 500 words on surfing movies. The best line in the whole piece is this description of a movie Freeny recommends: “Keanu Reeves plays hotshot FBI agent and ex-college football star Johnny Utah, who takes up surfing in order to investigate a string of theatrical bank robberies.”
Plus it stars Patrick Swayze. Why can’t Hollywood make movies like that anymore?
Apollo posted this at 4:14 PM CDT on Thursday, June 28th, 2007 as Pop Culture Is Filth
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It appears that Mitt Romney has a pet problem:
Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family’s hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.
Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.
The ride was largely what you’d expect with five brothers, ages 13 and under, packed into a wagon they called the ”white whale.”
As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ”Dad!” he yelled. ”Gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.
As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.
Who leaves a poor dog on the roof of the car for hours on end? It’s not as bad as Bill Frist picking up cats from animal shelters and then experimenting on them, but it’s still not good.
Hubbard posted this at 2:54 PM CDT on Thursday, June 28th, 2007 as Animal Kingdom Strikes Back, Audacity of Hype
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Angry over gasoline rationing, Iranians are now torching gas stations:
At least 12 petrol stations have been torched in the Iranian capital, Tehran, after the government announced fuel rationing for private vehicles.
Windows were smashed and stones thrown at the stations, and there was traffic chaos as motorists queued to buy fuel.
Iranians were given only two hours’ notice of the move that limits private drivers to 100 litres of fuel a month.
Despite its huge energy reserves, Iran lacks refining capacity and it imports about 40% of its petrol.
And let’s remember that Iran has the best educated population in the Middle East. . .
Hubbard posted this at 12:45 PM CDT on Thursday, June 28th, 2007 as Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!, Those Wacky Foreigners
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We won. On both of them.
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you very much.
And go to hell.
Your former friend,
Apollo posted this at 11:30 AM CDT on Thursday, June 28th, 2007 as Conservatism, George Bush Rules!, George Bush Sucks!
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Before noon on Thursday, we will know whether the senate amnesty plan is defeated, and the results of the race-balanced school cases. Normally politics don’t affect my mood, but if we lose on both of those fronts, I see myself getting quite pissy.
Apollo posted this at 11:53 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 as Uncategorized
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Normally I don’t listen to Sean Hannity, but he just flat out embarassed George Voinovich on his radio show. Maybe the most embarrassing media appearance I’ve ever heard from an office holder. I hope there’s an audio clip online later. (UPDATE: Here’s Voinovich’s rhetorical pantsing.)
It started off with Hannity, off-handedly, as though to point out some common ground, asking whether Voinovich supported the Fairness Docrine. Paraphrasing: “Why sure. I believe everyone ought to have their say. That’s what let’s you people like you have radio shows.” It was apparent that he had no clue what he was talking about, but “Fairness Doctrine” sounded good, so he was for it. (I guess that’s why he’s for the “Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act of 2007“)
Shortly thereafter, Voinovich said he was happy that Kay Hutchinson’s amendment passed today, and that the Hutchinson’s amendment was one of the strong points of the bill. But, um, it didn’t pass. Voinovich then argued with Hannity that it did, until Hannity read him the AP story. Voinovich then complained about people calling his office to “intimidate” him. “You can’t intimidate George Voinovich.” Hannity asked whether he was intimidating the senator. Voinovich then got snippy that Hannity was doing all the talking and he didn’t have enough time to argue his side. Hannity: “I’ll give you all hour, senator.” Which helped steer the senator back to the topic.
Hannity then asked if he had read the bill. Voinovich (exact quote): “I’ve read most of some summaries.” Hannity then asked what the cost to taxpayers would be. Voinovich: Well it authorizes $4.4 billion for border security. Hannity then had to point out that the real cost was to social programs. To which Voinovich had no response, except to say that he had only agreed to be on for five minutes, but that he hoped to come back when they could talk about something “rational.” Hannity: So I’m not rational? Voinovich (paraphrase): Yes. Hannity: “I’m not rational because I disagree with the almighty senator.” Voinovich: “Goodbye, Sean.”
No wonder Ohio is turning against the GOP. I’d vote Socialist before I voted for that numbskull.
Apollo posted this at 6:16 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 as The Melting Pot Boils Over
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Jamie posted this at 2:18 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 as George Bush Sucks!, The Democratic Congress
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This is what’s happening in the senate:
As if the Senate floor situation could get any worse, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s staff is now rewriting the Clay Pigeon amendment behind closed doors. It is the intent of the Majority Leader to bring this new unread Amendment up without the Republicans seeing the language. Yesterday Senator Reid did not have his massive 373 page amendment ready when he started debate on it and mistakes were made in the initial drafting. This fact was not discovered until Republicans objected to waiving the reading of the bill, and the Senate Clerk had nothing to read. Shockingly, Reid scrambled around, put the floor in morning business for a few hours, and then allowed Kennedy’s staff make final changes to the amendment. The language was finally made available around 5:30 pm and Reid “graciously” gave Republicans the night to go through it before moving to it this morning.
Good grief. I’m aware of the sausage analogy, but I thought this sort of crap was what they did in the House. News stories always tell us how protective senators are of their privileges, yet half of the Republican party is going along with this?
I don’t buy it. Every step of this grand bargain has been kabuki. Reid–who we must remember is in command of a whopping 50-49 majority that is in the hands of Joe Lieberman–has handled this bill, at every turn, in the most high-handed manner imaginable. It’s almost as though he’s trying to turn borderline senators against this. And the last bill, which was exactly like this, couldn’t even muster a simple majority for cloture. Yet senators who know perfectly well that their amendments will not receive a vote, voted for cloture this time because they wanted a vote on their amendments. Does not compute.
Something is afoot. Things are not as they seem.
Apollo posted this at 12:44 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 as Politics
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A driver who was high on cocaine destroyed an entire cornfield in an attempt to escape from the police.
Four police cars were destroyed before the 35-year-old crashed into a ditch and was arrested, near the village of Dussen in the south of the Netherlands.
Read the rest of this entry »
Hubbard posted this at 10:03 AM CDT on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 as Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
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