BAGHDAD (CNN) — Soldiers manning a checkpoint near Baghdad stopped a wedding convoy to find that the purported bride and groom were wanted terror suspects, an Iraqi Defense Ministry official said Monday.
The Army set up the checkpoint last week in the Taji area, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of Baghdad.
The soldiers became suspicious of the convoy because its members — save the “bride” — were all male and because one of the cars in the convoy did not heed orders to stop, the official said.
Also, soldiers said, the people in the car seemed nervous and the groom refused to lift his bride’s veil when soldiers asked him to, according to the official.
Soldiers ordered everyone out of the car, the official said.
Upon inspecting the convoy, soldiers found a stubbly-faced man, Haider al-Bahadli, decked out in a white bride’s dress and veil.
Bahadli was wanted on terror-related charges, as was his groom, Abbas al-Dobbi, the official said.
Upon reading this article, I thought I must have seriously misremembered Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Fortunately, it looks like Travis Corcoran read the books more recently; it looks like he remembers the same things I did; he does a nice fisking. I doubt that The Golden Compass is worth a boycott; the books were too heavy-handed to seriously harm faith. But the perpetually outraged William Donohue is getting involved, so who knows where this will go?
The “Oh, poor me!” martyrism in crap like this really bugs me. Stein makes it seem like Christians are being fired left and right, or ostracized from society – never mind that they are one of the most powerful lobbies in America today. Like most arguments for “intelligent design” this video is short on facts and long on propaganda. I hope the full movie actually gives us some science otherwise its just another in a long line of “Those evil Darwinists are oppressing us!” nonsense.
Jamie posted this at 11:08 AM CDT on Monday, November 26th, 2007 as Science!
So apparently scientists have discovered a “hole” in our universe:
Astronomers announced in August 2007 the discovery of a large hole at the edge of our universe. Since then, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Laura Mersini-Houghton and colleagues have claimed it is an “unmistakable imprint of another universe beyond the edge of our own.”
The article entitled “Astronomers Find Enormous Hole in the Universe” discusses the August 2007 discovery of the hole. It is located at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory website.
Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).
The hole is estimated to be almost one billion light-years across, where one light-year is about 9.5 trillion kilometers (5.9 trillion miles) and is located within the constellation Eridanus.
That’s not even the best part. Apparently said hole may also contain another universe:
The Mersini-Houghton team, however, says it is another universe at the edge of our own. They looked at string theory for the explanation. In string theory, 10500 universes (or string vacuums) are described, each with unique properties. They contend that the largeness of our universe is due to its vacuum counterbalancing gravity. This counter-gravity of the vacuum keeps our universe very large (rather than shrinking due to gravity)—larger than the other multitude of universes. The team says that smaller universes are positioned at the edge of our universe, and because of this interaction they are seen by us.
[While allowing terrorists to take control of large portions of Iraq] I saw firsthand the consequences of the administration’s failure to devise a strategy for victory in Iraq that employed, in a coordinated manner, the political, economic, diplomatic and military power of the United States.
Harry Truman had it right that the buck doesn’t stop until it gets to the president. If a Lieutenant General gets to pass the buck for the failure of American forces under his command, then no one short of the Oval Office is responsible for anything. Unbelievable.
Our Army and Marine Corps are struggling with changing deployment schedules that are disrupting combat readiness training and straining the patience and daily lives of military families. It will take the Army at least a decade to repair the damage done to its full-spectrum readiness, which is at its lowest level since the Vietnam War. In the meantime, the ability of our military to fully execute our national security strategy will be called into doubt, producing what is, in my judgment, unacceptable strategic risk.
I have seen this trope peddled by Democrats, and I called it “gobstoppingly jawdropping“, but to see a retired general say, in effect, “We must run away from this fight so that we’ll be prepared for an unforeseeable potential fight in the future” is…gobstoppingly jawdroppinger. I just don’t understand that sort of mindset. Perhaps if these people were saying “We’re going to have a war with China in five years,” then this would be warranted. But they’re not. What is the likelihood that there will be a more important use of military power in the next ten years?
Whatever the priority of the people who use this line of reasoning is, it is not American victory. It makes me presume that, wherever the next fight will be and whatever might be at stake, they’ll just use the same rationale for running away again. The purpose of the military is not “full-spectrum readiness”, whatever the hell that means, it’s killing America’s enemies. Judging by the fact that only one American general, Petraeus, was advocating a more aggressive use of American force in Iraq, I have a feeling that Sanchez’s ignorance regarding the military’s raison d’etre is widespread among those with stars on their collars.
Read that piece from Sanchez. At the very least, you will no longer be nagged by the question, “How did Iraq get this bad?”
What part of “Right Left Lane for Passing Only” do you not understand? That driving I saw yesterday, between Texarkana and Dallas beginning at 2:30: WEAK. I’ve been living among you guys for months, and I’ve never seen anything to hint that you were capable of being such jackass drivers. If you’ve been in the left lane for more than 10 miles, get over.
And for those four trucks who decided that Thanksgiving weekend was a great time to chain vehicles behind you, turn on your flashers, and tow them at 40 mph down a two-lane freeway: I missed an hour of the Mizzou-Kansas game because of you. Please die.
Apollo posted this at 2:09 PM CDT on Sunday, November 25th, 2007 as Grumblin Mumblins
Whatever polls say before the election (now they show him trailing by 10 points) Hugo Chavez will win his president-for-life referendum by a very wide margin. At least 2/3. Not because he says people who vote against him are traitors, but, obviously, because he will cheat. I’d give even odds that Jimmy Carter will certify the election as legitimate. At any rate, a country that was a democracy when I was born will not be a democracy when I turn 30, having buffoonishly waddled into the shadow of Communism. We ought once again to be reminded of how fragile and counter intuitive is self-government.
SAN DIEGO, California (AP) — Giving each other space may not work in every relationship, but it’s what keeps the magic alive for the very fertile giant panda pair at the San Diego Zoo.
Since 2003, Bai Yun and her consort, Gao Gao, have produced three cubs, making them one of the most reproductively successful panda couples ever in captivity.
Their youngest offspring, a chubby female, will be named Monday when she reaches 100 days old, following Chinese tradition.
For all but two days of the year, Bai Yun (White Cloud) and Gao Gao (Big Big) lead separate lives, gnawing on bamboo and taking long naps in pens far apart, much as wild pandas — naturally solitary creatures — would hide from each other in mountain forests.
But when Bai Yun enters her brief fertile periods, zookeepers make sure Gao Gao is there, sniffing her through a perforated gate zookeepers call the “howdy door” until her chirps and bleats indicate she’s ready to get down to business.
“For 363 days a year they don’t want to have anything to do with each other,” said Ron Swaisgood, co-head of the zoo’s panda research unit.
Pandas are notoriously poor breeders — one reason their species is endangered — and females have only three days a year in which they can conceive.
Knut posted this at 3:52 PM CDT on Friday, November 23rd, 2007 as Uncategorized
I may not agree with the Family Research Council on everything — I’m pro-choice but anti-Roe — but Tony Perkins is absolutely correct in his analysis of Rudy Giuliani’s statements about judicial appointments:
To [Giuliani's] credit (he is more consistent than some of his proponents are), he stood by the remarks he made last May at the GOP presidential debate at the Reagan library.
Those remarks were very clear.
Giuliani said that it would be “OK” with him if a Supreme Court judge upheld Roe on strict constructionist grounds.
“It would be OK to repeal it,” he said, adding: “It would be OK also if a strict constructionist viewed it as precedent.”
This quotation has been cited, with good reason, by many Giuliani critics who are rightly concerned that, as president, it licenses him to appoint any number of judicial candidates who will leave Roe v. Wade exactly as it is.
In other contexts since the May debate, he has stood by the view that strict constructionism can coexist with Roe.
“Strict constructionists,” he has said, “can look at it [Roe] and say, it has been the law for this period of time, therefore we can respect the precedent.”
That’s not a judicial philosophy I want our next president to have. The Constitution is supposed to mean what it says; if someone got that wrong in the past, we are obliged to correct our interpretation, no matter how long that interpretation has been in place, how well-intended it was, or even how morally right it is (which it isn’t in the case of abortion, if you ask me).
This is one of the reasons I won’t vote for Rudy in the primaries and will have to think about it hard before doing deciding in the general election.
The long buildup to Annapolis, together with Ms. Rice’s many trips to the region, have given birth to a new verb in Israeli government circles: “lecondel,” meaning, to come and go for meetings that produce few results. The word is based on Ms. Rice’s first name.
To think I’ve been lecondelling for years and haven’t known it. . .
It’s really swell that Fareed Zakaria immigrated to America and has made a good life for himself. But it’s hard for an immigrant to ever completely get a culture as really, really big and diverse as America. That’s okay. If I spent the next fifty years of my life in India, I’m dead positive that I would barely have begun to understand the place. And I especially would not understand the place if I ensconced myself in the most cosmopolitan portion of the country and never explored the hinterlands. But I also probably wouldn’t write authoritatively about the place either. Zakaria’s column on tourists in America is, I think, a sign of not getting it:
As an immigrant, I’ve always loved Thanksgiving for all the corniest reasons. It’s a distinctly American holiday, secular and inclusive, focused on food, family and gratitude.
Thanksgiving is inclusive, but it’s secular creds are a little suspect. Moreover, saying that something is “distinctly American” because it is secular is a little suspect as well.
But the one Thanksgiving tradition I try strenuously to avoid is travel. For those of you who must do it—and that’s 27 million people this year—brace yourselves for massive delays and frayed tempers. President Bush announced a few measures to ease congestion, describing this week as “a season of dread for too many Americans.”
Um, of the estimated 38.7 million Americans who will be traveling this week, 4.7 million (12%) will be flying. Nearly all of the rest of us will be driving, a quintessential American thing to do. I will be driving from Austin, Texas to Kennett, Missouri, and I expect roughly zero “massive delays and frayed tempers”. It is a skewed perspective that believes most American travelers will be impacted by flight problems.
The most striking statistic involves tourists from Great Britain. These are people from America’s closest ally, the overwhelming majority of them white Anglos with names like Smith and Jones. For Brits, the United States these days is Filene’s Basement. The pound is worth $2, a 47 percent increase in six years.
If you are like most Americans, you’re probably curious what Filene’s Basement is. It operates 31 stores in seven east coast states, Ohio, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. If you live in New York City, as Zakaria does, or in Washington DC, you probably think these stores are pretty common. If you live West of the Alleghanies, as most Americans do, you’re unlikely to have heard of it. Also, Zakaria refers to this as though it’s some sort of bargain basement place; in the 18 months we lived in northern Virginia, with a household income in the upper quintile, my wife and I almost always found its merchandise out of our price range.
Discover America, a travel-industry-funded organization that tries to boost tourism, estimates that the 17 percent overall decline in tourism since 9/11 has cost America $94 billion in lost tourist spending, 200,000 jobs and $16 billion in tax revenues.
(For the sake of argument, I will presume these no-doubt inflated numbers are accurate.) America is a really, really big country, with more wealth than mortals can conceive. In the six years since 9/11, the United States has produced roughly $75 trillion. While it might be nice to have that $94 billion (0.12% of GDP during that time period), we’re doing okay without it. That’s about 15-20% more than we spent on porn during that time period.
The basic problem remains: no bureaucrat wants to be the person who lets in the next terrorist. As a result, when one spots any irregularity—no matter how minor—the reflex is to stop, question, harass, arrest and deport. If tens of thousands of foreigners are upset, so what? But if one day a jihadist manages to slip in, woe to the person who stamped his passport. The incentives are badly skewed.
The whole reason I went through those previous examples is this: From my knowledge of this country, I don’t think many Americans will poop bricks if told that foreign tourism is down and foreigners are getting hassled at the border. I certainly won’t, and I don’t believe that “the incentives are badly skewed.” In an age when we read poll after poll telling us that everybody in the world hates us, and when we frequently are unable to gain the support of the “international community” at the United Nations for things we consider vital to our national security, I agree with the statement, regarding our border security, “If tens of thousands of foreigners are upset, so what”. We’re living in a country with between 10 and 20 million illegal immigrants, an immigration system that let several of the 9/11 highjackers grossly overstay their visas, and porous borders extending for thousands of miles on two fronts. I’m not in favor of us cowering in fear of a few terrorists, but I also don’t think that decreased foreign tourism is a bad thing until the threat of international jihad dies down.
Three noteworthy things are happening in the sports world now:
Barry Bonds has been indicted. Since “defacing the national pastime” unfortunately is neither a statutory nor common law crime, I’m more than pleased with four perjury charges and one obstruction of justice charge. After what he’s done over the last eight years, prison is a more suitable destination for him than Cooperstown.
There is a very good chance that either Kansas or Missouri will play for the football national championship. As someone who grew up watching Mizzou games, that last sentence seems beyond preposterous. Between the two, I have a favorite, but I’d be happy to see either in the championship game.
The NFL is having an atrocious season. I originally didn’t buy this Slate piece on the topic, but I watched a few games today, and it’s true. The quality of play is very, very low. This game, featuring the second best team in the league, was down right painful to watch. The Slate piece attributes this to a tragic combination of complicated offensive schemes and short player and coach tenures, which I would buy. At any rate, between the low quality of play, the high incidence of player assholishness, and the game’s focus on individuals instead of teams (which is no doubt related to assholery), I’ve now become a much bigger fan of college football than the NFL. I used to be a huge NFL fan, but they’ve just about lost me. I promise this has nothing to do with my favorite team posting a remarkable 0-10 record.