Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Happy Flag Day!

It's also my birthday so I don't anticipate doing much blogging today.

Picture courtesy of Free Clipart or Photos:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hey, as long as we’re speculating - Rove could be an extraterrestrial or maybe the Easter Bunny

Apparently, the Associated Press is crushed that Rove won't be charged in CIA leak case. Nevertheless, the AP’s Toni Locy holds out hope against hope that Rove will be “grilled in court as a witness.” Can’t you just picture Locy thinking, “Please, please. Oh, pleeease let that happen” as she typed out this ‘news’ article.
WASHINGTON - Presidential adviser Karl Rove won't be a criminal defendant in the CIA leak case, but he could still end up being grilled in court as a witness.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald could question Rove about whether the Bush administration compromised a CIA officer's identity to retaliate against a political critic.

Still, Rove and the White House could breathe a sigh of relief Tuesday after the prosecutor told Rove's lawyer he wouldn't seek a federal indictment against the political operative.

Rove has been identified as a likely defense witness in next year's trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff. Libby has been charged with lying to the FBI and a federal grand jury about how he learned about Valerie Plame's CIA status and what he told reporters about it.

If Libby's defense attorneys summon Rove to testify, Fitzgerald can cross-examine him about a host of issues, including a July 2003 conversation Rove had with syndicated columnist Robert Novak days before Novak published Plame's name…
Read the rest of her piece if you enjoy conjecture and hearsay masquerading as objective reporting.

Legal observers: We’re here to make sure the police observe the law while arresting our clients who are breaking the law
7 Arrested As Deputies Evict Urban Farmers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Sheriff's deputies began evicting people from an urban garden early Tuesday and arrested at least seven as protesters chained themselves to barrels of concrete and others, including actress Daryl Hannah, sat in a large walnut tree.

"I'm very confident this is the morally right thing to do, to take a principled stand in solidarity with the farmers," Hannah said by cell phone. Asked if she willing to risk arrest, she said, "I'm planning on holding my position."

About 350 people grow produce and flowers on the 14 acres of privately owned land, in a gritty, inner-city area surrounded by warehouses and train tracks. The garden has been there for decades but the landowner, Ralph Horowitz, now wants to replace it with a warehouse.

At daybreak Tuesday, 120 deputies, including riot forces, showed up to serve an eviction order that a judge signed last month.

Seven people were arrested for allegedly violating a court eviction order and obstructing sheriff's deputies enforcing the order, said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kerri Webb.

As many as 20 demonstrators inside the garden chained themselves to each other, the tree or 55-gallon concrete-filled drums…

Deputies used saws to cut down the chain-link fence around the site. Inside the compound, deputies sawed through chains linking garden supporters. Quigley said he could see sparks flying dangerously close to the people's faces and complained that authorities had removed legal observers from the inside the farm.

"It's really an unsafe situation," Quigley said. "There's no legal observers in here. ... Basically we need legal observers in here to guarantee people's safety."

Webb said the deputies were "taking our time so we make sure the protesters are safe."…

Monday, June 12, 2006

Unlike the rest of the MSM, Lipscomb examines those pesky things called ‘the details’
John Kerry's Skimmer Scam

By Thomas Lipscomb

As the Kate Zernike front page Memorial Day weekend New York Times story indicates, a number of Kerry supporters were disappointed that Kerry had not vigorously defended himself against the charges of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 Presidential campaign. According to Zernike some "are compiling a dossier that they say will expose every one of the Swift boat group's charges as a lie and put to rest any question about Mr. Kerry's valor in combat."

That might not only be a difficult task but it could backfire badly. As Vanity Fair's acerbic columnist Michael Wolff said in the 3-minute 2-second trailer to a Kerry-sponsored (and Kerry-censored) documentary campaign film by respected producer Steve Rosenbaum, Inside the Bubble, the real problem with the Swift Boat claims was they were "largely true." And as former Dean of the Stanford Law School Bayless Manning has cautioned enthusiastic advocates, "As an attorney, you needn't worry too much about the lies told by your opponents. Your real danger is the lies told by your client." Ask the ghost of Alger Hiss…

And the wild rumpus commenced. "The air was full of explosions," Kerry and crew ran like hell strafing the shore as they went, Kerry experiences his wounding, and heads back to the Swift boat and home. Neither of his claimed crew members confirmed any enemy fire, yet they both "assumed" Kerry had been wounded by it. Curiouser and curiouser.

Kerry's summary of the mission? Here is what he told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press":
"We were in combat. We were in a very, very--probably one of the most frightening--if you ask anybody who was with me, the two guys who were with me, was probably the most frightening night that they had that they were in Vietnam... ."
Kerry in TOUR OF DUTY:
"It was a half-assed action that hardly qualified as combat, but it was my first... . ... [A] minor skirmish, but since I couldn't put my finger on what we really accomplished or on what had happened, it was difficult to feel satisfied. "
Finally, Kerry in TOUR OF DUTY a la recherche... from his "journal" nine days after "whatever" happened in Na Trang Bay:
"A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn't been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven't been shot at are allowed to be cocky."
Take your pick…

Kerry reported to Navy doctor Louis Letson the next morning after duty hours began at 8 AM. Schachte had told him, "No enemy action, no purple heart." Kerry's appeal to Hibbard brought the rejoinder "I have seen rose thorn injuries worse than that. No enemy action, no purple heart." Surely a doctor would be more understanding, not that it mattered. Only Kerry's direct commanders could approve the award.

Kerry lay down on Letson's examination table and told Letson: "We were involved in a fire fight and we received fire from shore." One of the four or five men hanging around the dispensary out of Kerry's sight lowered his head and began to wag an emphatic "no" and stifle a laugh. Letson found 1⁄4 inch fragment sticking out of Kerry's upper arm. It looked like wire about the diameter of a toothpick, he pulled it out with his forceps and flipped it with a tiny "klink" into a steel basin held by his Hospitalman, Jesus Carreon, to the applause of the appreciative audience. Letson was so amused he took a photo of Carreon holding the basin with the 1⁄2 inch fragment barely visible in the bottom of it...

This is Thomas Lipscomb’s second installment in a trilogy examining John Kerry’s four months in Viet Nam 38 years ago. I commented on Lipscomb’s first installment here.

Dimwits, Halfwits & Simpletons (DHS)
Homeland Security accepts fake ID

The Department of Homeland Security allowed a man to enter its headquarters last week using a fake Matricula Consular card as identification, despite federal rules that say the Mexican-issued card is not valid ID at government buildings.

Bruce DeCell, a retired New York City police officer, used his phony card -- which lists his place of birth as "Tijuana, B.C." and his address as "123 Fraud Blvd." on an incorrectly spelled "Staton Island, N.Y." -- to enter the building Wednesday for a meeting with DHS officials.

Mr. DeCell said he has had the card for four years and has used it again and again to board airliners and enter government buildings, without being turned down once. But he said he was surprised that DHS, the agency in charge of determining secure IDs, accepted it.

"Obviously, it's not working," Mr. DeCell said...

Abu Hamza al-Muhajerin in Arabic means ‘Bull’s eye tattooed on forehead’
Terror group names al-Zarqawi's successor

CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida in Iraq said in a Web statement posted Monday that a militant named Abu Hamza al-Muhajer was the group's new leader. Al-Muhajer succeeds Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed Wednesday by a U.S. airstrike on his hideout northeast of Baghdad, Iraq.

The successor's name — a pseudonym, as most militants are known by — was not immediately known and did not appear to be on any U.S. lists of terrorists with rewards on their heads. The name al-Muhajer, Arabic for "immigrant," suggested he was not Iraqi.

The choice of a non-Iraqi "emir," or leader, would be significant, signaling that the group was maintaining a foreign Arab command. There were tensions between homegrown Iraqi insurgents and the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi over strategy, and U.S. and Iraqi officials sought to fuel the differences by painting al-Zarqawi as a foreigner killing Iraqis for his own purposes.

The selection could mean that the group will continue al-Zarqawi's efforts to launch a campaign of violence outside Iraq's borders…

Sunday, June 11, 2006

(click image to enlarge)

The Palestinian’s choice: Make the land they occupy their independent nation or an Israeli artillery impact area.
Abbas seeks backing of Palestinians

TEL AVIV -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday formally announced a July 26 referendum on negotiations with Israel, disregarding Hamas' boycott pledge and the political fallout from the deaths of seven Gazan beachgoers killed Friday by an errant Israeli shell.

As Hamas' military wing fired small rockets into southern Israel, signaling the end to a 16-month truce, a legislator from the Islamist militant party said Mr. Abbas would be held responsible for the "dangerous" consequences of a vote.

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Mr. Abbas described the referendum as an immediate necessity to settling his ongoing dispute with Hamas and restoring international financial aid.

"As chairman of the [Palestine Liberation Organization] Executive Committee and president of the Palestinian Authority, I have decided to exercise my constitutional right and duty to hold a referendum over the document of national agreement," Reuters news agency quoted Mr. Abbas as saying in a decree read by an aide.

The manifesto, penned by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, calls for a Palestinian state, alongside Israel, on all of the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank…

Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, has accused Mr. Abbas of using the manifesto to try to engineer the downfall of its government…

"Until now they are showing they will behave in a negative way, but how negative I don't know," said Mr. Abed Raboo. "Their rockets were not directed against Israel. They were directed against the referendum. They wanted to threaten us that if we wanted to go on with the referendum, they will undermine the truce."…

Will the Palestinians build a nation or a barrel?

Guantanamo Clarion want ad:
Seeking bed sheets with high tensile strength. Mail donations to the 70 Virgins Express Fund, APO New York 12345

“The response from the American people has been amazing,” said the director of the 70VEF. “With the donations we’ve received, we could make every bed in every hotel in New York City.”
U.S.: 3 Gitmo inmates hanged themselves

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Three Guantanamo Bay detainees hanged themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes, the commander of the detention center said Saturday. They were the first reported deaths among the hundreds of men held at the base for years without charge.

The suicides, which military officials said were coordinated, triggered further condemnation of the isolated detention center, which holds some 460 men on suspicion of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban. Only 10 have been charged with crimes and there has been growing international pressure on the U.S. to close the prison.

Two men from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen were found dead shortly after midnight Saturday in separate cells, said the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which has jurisdiction over the prison. Attempts were made to revive them, but they failed.

"They hung themselves with fabricated nooses made out of clothes and bed sheets," Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris told reporters in a conference call from the U.S. base in southeastern Cuba.

"They have no regard for human life," he said. "Neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us."…

One of the detainees was a mid- or high-level al-Qaida operative, Harris said, while another had been captured in Afghanistan and participated in a riot at a prison there. The third belonged to a splinter group. Their names were not released…

Barbara Olshansky of the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a telephone interview from New York that those held at Guantanamo "have this incredible level of despair that they will never get justice. And now they're gone. And they died without ever having seen a court."

Olshansky, whose group represents about 300 Guantanamo detainees, wept during the interview