So after the Korean missionaries were taken hostage by Taliban in Afghanistan, Koreans hit the streets in protest — against us, of course, demanding that forces withdraw from Afghanistan and holding signs at candlelit vigils that read “End the US-ROK alliance in Afghanistan” and “US Troops Out Now!” But now that time has dragged on, deadlines have passed, and Koreans have learned that the Afghan government can’t kowtow to Taliban demands and — surprise! — that the Taliban isn’t interested in their kaffeklatsch diplomacy or cash for hostages, they suddenly want OUR HELP!
I have just spent part of the morning listening to a dispiriting expose of the Islamist use of propaganda. The expert contrasts Islamist propaganda success with anti-Islamist Rest’s failures which he attributed to the Western reluctance to engage in a straight forward propaganda war. The trouble is more fundamental. The Islamists understand the Rest and can speak its languages. The Rest cannot. So, while the Islamist can adjust the message to the audience. Unfortunately, the Rest’s access and understanding to Islamists propaganda directed at fellow Muslims is extremely limited. That makes translation of the intra-Muslim discussion so enlightening. Consider the following translated interview of Iran’s first post revolutionary president, Bani Sadr. In it Bani Sadr explains that the Mullahs want nuclear weapons to prove to the Muslim world that Mullahcracy is a viable regime choice in the 21st century.
In their attempt to mitigate America’s dependence on “foreign” oil (a problem which actually doesn’t exist as all oil is, in essence, foreign because it is traded on the world market), our elected quidnuncs have concocted a legislative agenda of meat-headed mischievousness calling for, among other things, 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel use by 2012, raised to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Nearly a fifth of the nation’s corn crop is now used to make ethanol. Spurred by subsidies, farmers who once grew wheat or soy beans are converting their fields to corn. The result—Agflation. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over the past year the price of orange juice has risen 25%, beef 6%, eggs 20% and milk 5 to 10%. Not surprisingly, the new ethanol capacity has done little to alleviate gas prices. In terms of price per unit of energy, corn grown in Illinois is now higher than crude pumped out of the Saudi desert—roughly $13 per BTU for corn versus $12 per BTU for oil.
That might come as a surprise to many people — particularly those who read the newspaper. But apparently not to Tony Blair’s press secretary Alastair Campbell.We read this in the Post’s Sunday Book World review of his massive new book “The Blair Years”:
Last Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing — at which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was insulted by senators and ridiculed by spectators — was Washington political theater at its lowest. But some significant information did manage to get through the senatorial venom directed at Mr. Gonzales. It now appears certain that the terrorist surveillance program (TSP) authorized by President Bush after 9/11 was even broader than the TSP that the New York Times first revealed in December 2005.
Welcome to part three of my series on the future of al-Qaida: Today’s Los Angeles Daily News column focuses on al-Qaida in Iraq’s spats with Iran, and how that shouldn’t dampen long-term love — and cooperation — between the frenemies:
Last week’s elections in Turkey prompted New York Sun contributing editor Hillel Halkin to recall an article he wrote for the Forward a dozen years ago about evidence he uncovered that Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, was half Jewish (his father being Doenmeh):
This country often takes a very cavalier attitude toward ceremony and punctiliousness. I often get letters and e-mails from total strangers who address me as “Dear John,” or even “dear john,” capital letters having become optional in e-mails. That’s fine with me and quite in keeping with the character of this bumptious, informal, everyone’s-a-friend-until-proven-otherwise, howdy-pardner country of ours.
My son Harry takes great pleasure in asking me about life in the olden days. Now I may seem like a wise old man to my young son, but at 42 years old, my frame of reference for many things is the 1970s, not the 1770s. I clearly recall disputes between Marcia and Greg Brady, but I also seem to remember a dispute between the 13 colonies and a certain tyrant named George. Remember life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Common defense?
Any way you cut it, going on a church trip to Afghanistan was a bad, bad idea. About a year ago, Afghanistan had to expel hundreds of Korean Christians who arrived — many with children in tow, and I can’t imagine who’d bring their kid to Kabul at the moment — to stage a “peace festival.” But after the 23 Korean Christians were kidnapped by Taliban — traveling unguarded on the dangerous road from Kabul to Kandahar — an interesting thing happened in the citizen and professional media. Whereas government reports tried to stress that the Koreans were just doing volunteer work and happened to come from the same church, blogs were quick to use the word “missionaries,” which some thought would put the hostages in more danger since proselytizing in Afghanistan is the biggest no-no ever.
On the one hand, the Bush administration can cite numerous instances of Saudi Arabia sabotaging our success in prosecuting the Iraq war and leaving behind an orderly, functioning society, including: Undermining prime minister Nuri al-Maliki by giving financial assistance to his political opponents, as well as to Sunni tribes; waging a months-long campaign to recruit other Persian Gulf countries to give financial aid to Sunni tribal groups; and looking the other way as some 60 to 80 foreign insurgents from Saudi Arabia enter the fray in Iraq each month.
In a stunning move as he prepares to open a three game series with his hated rivals, Barry Bonds has purchased Chavez Ravine and the stadium that occupies it. “It’s just for a few days. I thought it would be a fun investment. I plan to flip it back to the Dodgers when we leave town following Thursday’s game.”
Five shoppers at a Witchita, Kansas convenience store simply stepped over the body of 27 year-old LaShanda Calloway who lay on the floor bleeding severely. None stopped to ask if she was in need of assistance. None even bothered to call 911. Ms. Calloway died later that day at a Witchita hospital of injuries the result of a stabbing; she had been an innocent bystander, wounded in someone else’s fight.
Last night was the night I’d been waiting for — seeing Bob Dylan, my absolute favorite, live and in person, at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa. After grubbing on some fair food and beating out a bunch of little kiddies to win a stuffed lion (which wound up on my lap during the concert), as well as dropping lots of cash at the Dylan souvenir stand, the legend himself took stage.Now, Dylan fans such as myself would still be pleased if he got up on stage and gargled (which, let’s be serious, his singing sounds like sometimes anyway). But there were a few quirks:
A horrifying report came out this week when it was revealed that astronauts were allowed to fly on at least two occasions while they were (gasp!) drunk! Supposedly, this posed a flight risk. Oh really? Before we get a little crazy and have the good folks from MADD (Meteors Against Drunk Drivers) up in arms let’s examine a few facts shall we?
Reporting on the fatalism – or aplomb, depending on your point of view - of New Yorkers in the vicinity of last week’s steam pipe explosion near Grand Central Station, The Washington Post offers this vignette:
“Would you like to taste an 18-year-old balsamic?” a lady in lace asked as I strolled by. Usually, one is wise to turn down offers made by strange women lurking in doorways. But it was a lovely Friday evening, I was walking down the comfortable security of a suburban Chicago street, or trying to, battling the crowds that turned out to celebrate the publication of the final Harry Potter book.
On the same day parts of a draft National Intelligence Estimate were leaked, saying al Qaeda might be surging toward pre-9/11 strength, the House of Representatives voted (mostly along party-lines) to end our surge in Iraq against the likes of…well, al Qaeda.
The boss was a tough immigrant — a Basque from Spain — named Mariano Bilbao and he was living (or working) the American dream. Work, work, work and, if you did that, life would be easier for your kids. His kid was just a baby, and Mariano was in full pay-the-dues mode to get ahead in time for his kid to have the good life he dreamed of.
Moi amongst the giants in the NRO symposium: ”Peter Brookes, Nonie Darwish, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, M. Zuhdi Jasser, Judith Klinghoffer, Aaron Mannes, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer and Bat Ye’or on suicide bombing and the Muslim world.”
Can it be true? Yes, this is a requiem for the Weekly World News, which will no longer be on newsstands in all its black-and-white glory. The Weekly World News will still be online, with stories like today’s latest news: “WHY MOSES WANDERED IN THE DESERT FOR FORTY YEARS: He Lost the Map!”