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Archive for July, 2006

Tehran’s Perspective

[ 0 ] July 30, 2006 |

Although I continue to agree with Billmon that the current offensive is a losing proposition for the Israelis, this article suggests that Tehran is concerned about Hezbollah’s loss of military power in southern Lebanon.

Linking up with the Shiite Muslims of southern Lebanon was part of Iran’s efforts to spread its ideological influence. But in building up Hezbollah, the ideological motivation fused with a practical desire to put a force on Israel’s northern border.

No matter how this conflict is resolved, Iranian officials already see their strategic military strength diminished, said the policy experts, former officials and one official with close ties to the highest levels of government. Even if a cease-fire takes hold, and Hezbollah retains some military ability, a Lebanese public eager for peace may act as a serious check.

In the past, Iran believed that Israel might pause before attacking it because they would assume Hezbollah would assault the northern border. If Hezbollah emerges weaker, or restrained militarily because of domestic politics, Iran feels it may be more vulnerable.

Of course, so much depends on sources and perspective that it’s hard to tell if the above is an accurate picture of Iran’s assessment of the situation. If it is, I’m a bit surprised; yes, conventional offensives can damage guerilla organizations, but they can rarely destroy them. Moreover, there’s not much in the way of indication that the Lebanese government is turning against Hezbollah. Guerilla war is a wonderful way to bleed a foe, because sponsors like Iran very rarely spend as much supplying the guerillas as states like Israel spend destroying them.

So I’m skeptical, but it’s worth a read.


America’s Worst Human Being

[ 0 ] July 29, 2006 |

Steve Sailer on the Seattle shooting:

Anti-Semitic terrorism … another job Americans just won’t do!

Linked to approvingly by the Derb.

For the record, of course, Naveed Haq has lived almost all of his 31 year old life in the United States. He went to high school in Richland, Washington, and he’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His wealthy parents live in Pasco, Washington. By any meaningful definition of the word, Naveed Haq was an American… unless you’re Steve Sailer, and believe that some races are just inferior to others, and thus presumably ought to be kept out.

Incidentally, there was once this guy named Tim McVeigh, from Pendleton, New York. Although his act of terrorism (which, you may recall, killed 168 people) wasn’t specifically intended to kill Jews, anti-semitism was certainly one of his motivations.

… nor is McVeigh the only example of home-grown anti-semitic terrorism.

Thomas Albert Tarrants 3d was a 21-year-old terrorist and dynamiter, an anti-Semite with an arrest record; Kathryn Ainsworth was a 26-year-old schoolteacher by day, a Klan bomber at night. They were the trusted confederates of Samuel Holloway Bowers Jr., Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Mississippi Klan. On the evening of June 29, 1968, their mission was to pull off what the Klan called a “No. 4” — a murder — against a prominent Jewish businessman in Meridian.

Crazy Netrooty Purge Happy Blogofascists

[ 0 ] July 29, 2006 |

They’ve invaded the New York Times, apparently.

[The editorial page of The New York Times on Sunday endorsed Mr. Lamont over Mr. Lieberman, arguing that the senator had offered the nation a “warped version of bipartisanship” in his dealings with Mr. Bush on national security.]

…weird. The editorial itself is not yet available, but the notice is hidden halfway down an article about Lieberman’s campaign difficulties.

The Bingo Ball Essay

[ 0 ] July 29, 2006 |

Via Roy, Kerry Howley has a response that can now be applied to every essay submitted by a Ladies Against Women member:

This piece, while being utterly devoid of substantive content, really does have it all: a reference to “gangsta rappers,” awkward use of the word ho, a sorrowful nod to the slutty poor (they “suffer most,” let’s please not forget), mention of a “media-saturated culture,” a reference to that peerless chronicler of the cutting edge, The New York Times Style Section, and my personal favorite, a lengthy quote from the expert on the nuances of sexuality among adolescent girls, septuagenerian Tom Wolfe.

As I took some time off from a long string of rainbow parties to read this column, I could think only of the South Park episode where we learn the show King of the Hill Family Guy is written by manatees rearranging “idea balls,” each of which are stamped with words to be used in the script. Is there a tank somewhere with balls labeled “Vagina Monologues,” “college hook-ups,” and “Girls Gone Wild”? Are these columns composed with magnetic poetry?

Oh sure, there are variations–if it’s Christina Hoff Summers, for example, it is legally required that there be a reference to the fact that Judith Butler once one an award for the Worst Paragraph Evah In The History Of Prose!!!!ONE!!!!–but, really, these are distinctions without a difference. Meanwhile, speaking of columns composed with magnetic poetry, if you examine the far-worse-prose-than-Butler Cathy Siepp column Roy links to, you’ll see that Mickey Kaus has time to weigh in on the pressing issue of area codes and how this somehow makes liberals bad. You can see that he has plenty of time on his hands, because in an example of his very favorite technique he several times raises the question of whether Bill Cinton is sleeping with Belinda Stronach. Of course, he has absolutely no evidence of this, and neither do the linked stories. But they might raise the suggestion to ignorant readers, and this is not bad journalism–Bill Clinton asked for it! And, of course, Kaus is not part of this irresponsibility–he’s just asking random questions about journalism, not trying to passively-aggressively spread a rumor! And even if he is, well, as with the Kerry intern–whether or not it’s true, it’s out there, as Cokie Roberts would say.

[Bonus Kaus: today he gallantly defends his recent date Ann Coulter from charges that she is a “deranged bigot.” After all, all she did was call Bill Clinton a latent homosexual based on nothing but his supposed bad traits! And call Al Gore a “big fag”! But, of course, Sullivan’s comments had to have been directed against an isolated phrase rather than her entire body of work. And…oh, why go on.]

And in other news from the wild world of wingnuttery, according to the FRC’s aptly named Tony Perkins Major League Baseball are now pornographers…because they have accepted money to show their games on the teevee, and apparently the naked breasticle is also featured on some of newtworks on the very same cable system. I, for one, am horrified! Well, as long as the first show isn’t “Don Zimmer After Hours…”

Good Lord, this isn’t good…

[ 0 ] July 29, 2006 |

The last few weeks have bumped up the bar for “Horrible News”, but I think this qualifies:

“Tonight Show” host Jay Leno will be the first replacement co-host for the syndicated review series “Ebert & Roeper” as Roger Ebert recovers from cancer surgery earlier this month.

Ack. The only thing worse that having Jay Leno replace Ebert would be… oh, no. Oh, God no…

As previously reported, Kevin Smith, director of “Clerks 2,” will sub for Ebert the weekend of Aug. 12. Buena Vista hasn’t named any other co-hosts but said Ebert is under doctor’s orders not to rush back to work.


[ 0 ] July 29, 2006 |

This is awful, obviously. The Stranger seems to have good coverage.

[ 0 ] July 28, 2006 |

Friday Cat Blogging… Stromboli

Graf Zep

[ 0 ] July 28, 2006 |

In comments, Bistroist points out that the wreck of the Led… er, Graf Zeppelin has been found. Graf Zep was Germany’s first effort at building an aircraft carrier (Seydlitz was the second). After the war began the Germans gave up on Graf Zep and consigned the hulk to duty as a storage vessel. The Soviet Union took the ship over at the end of the war, and apparently sank her in the Baltic.

Just a thought for the naval enthusiasts out there: What if the Germans had completed Graf Zep and used her as a commerce raider? Commerce raiding with Graf Zep was never their intention, as she was supposed to serve as a prototype for their projected fleet carriers. I suppose that the big problem would be supply; aircraft carriers use up fuel and ordinance at a rate much higher than surface ships, so any cruises would likely have been short. On the other hand, only one carrier during the war was caught by enemy surface ships (HMS Glorious), and it’s possible that Graf Zep, with a high speed (35 knots) and significant recon assets, could have avoided being destroyed by the Royal Navy. Graf Zeppelin was also quite large (33000 tons) for her projected complement of aircraft (50), which may suggest the possibility for longer ranged operations.

Lebanon Roundup

[ 0 ] July 28, 2006 |

Read Hilzoy. Critical passage:

If we’re going to argue about this, let’s at least recognize that we are not living in a world in which any state of affairs we might want is achievable. Stopping Hezbollah from firing rockets is difficult. Katyushas are nine or ten feet long, which makes them a lot easier to smuggle and to conceal than, say, your average ICBM. They can be fired from any hard surface, using a pipe and a car battery. Hezbollah has hidden them all over southern Lebanon, and they would not be hard to smuggle in from Syria. A force with popular support — say, the army of a popular Lebanese government — might be able to keep actions against Israel to a minimum, if not to stop them altogether. But an unpopular occupying force, whether Israeli or multinational, probably will not, even if it does have the right mandate and rules of engagement.

If you think I’m wrong about this, then argue with me. But don’t just ask me whether Israel is supposed to just accept the presence of people willing to use rockets on the other side of the border, without explaining what alternative there is. And don’t say that Israel has to do what it’s doing since it was attacked, without being willing to explain why exactly you think that Israel’s actions will in fact make it more secure.

Read Yglesias on deterrence.

By committing themselves to a war whose strategic objectives they can’t achieve without the deus ex machina of massive European intervention, the Israelis have put themselves in a very awkward — very dangerous — position. Tit-for-tat retaliations combined with vigorous diplomacy might have taught Hezbollah a lesson about the dangers of future raids and nudged Lebanon in the direction of taking responsibility for the south. But Israel and the United States have now put themselves in the position of arguing that a return to the status quo ante is unacceptable without having a strategy for forcing anything else. And, certainly, the pre-war situation was sub-optimal, but its merits can be too easily dismissed. Israelis were much better off than Lebanese Shiites or Palestinians (and the general situation in Lebanon was moving in a direction favorable to Israel) and therefore had the most to lose from rocking the boat.

Again, I’m glad that I don’t believe it’s possible to create a deterrent reputation for resolve. Otherwise, I might think that Israel was in serious trouble.

"Why Is It Written In Crayon?"

[ 0 ] July 28, 2006 |

Teh funny is finally found.

The Johnson Rule: An Application

[ 0 ] July 28, 2006 |

Apparently Glenn Reynolds (alongside a typically dishonest characterization of a past post from Josh Marshall) thinks it’s reasonable to ask if “if Israel is too nice to win.” Fortunately for such situations, Jim Henley has developed the Jimmy Johnson rule: “People who say their problem is that they are too nice are never, never right. (It’s not that people are never too nice, but the ones who are will never make the claim and the ones who will make the claim are never nice, let alone too nice.)” Indeed.

Coming Next: The Stamping Out Driving Other Kids To Soccer Practice Act

[ 0 ] July 28, 2006 |

James Joyner on the latest round of federal abortion regulation:

Indeed, it’s hard to fathom a reason to oppose this legislation. Whatever one’s views on abortion, surely kidnapping to accomplish it is a bad thing.

The thing is, kidnapping generally refers to taking someone without their consent. In this ever-changing world, it’s good to know there are things we can count on, and pro-lifers assuming that women who obtain abortions are entirely devoid of agency is certainly one of them. As for the larger question, it’s actually very easy to oppose this legislation, given that parental consent laws don’t actually accomplish anything (at least if one charitably assumes that the point it to encourage communication within stable families as oppose to putting as many arbitrary obstacles in the path of poor women trying to get abortions as possible.)

Ah, but don’t these laws contain bypass options for young women in the worst family situations? As Helena Silverstein (with Wayne Fishman) again remind us in a must-read article, being generally designed and implemented by people who are hostile to reproductive freedom, they frequently don’t work:

The palatability of involvement mandates rests on the supposed effectiveness of the judicial bypass process. But the actual functioning of this process does not come close to resembling what is imagined. For example, research we conducted in Alabama and Tennessee shows that nearly half of the courts charged with implementing the bypass mechanism were unprepared to do so. In an even worse showing, more than two thirds of Pennsylvania courts were unprepared.

The reasons for these implementation failures vary. Courts often are ignorant of their responsibility. Sometimes judges refuse to hear bypass petitions on ideological grounds. Other times, court personnel are unavailable. Courts occasionally seek to convince minors that abortion is morally wrong. Whatever the reason, there is in fact an enormous disconnect between what parental involvement laws promise and what implementers of such laws deliver.

Thus, the CCPA bolsters laws that don’t work and, in doing so, potentially endangers minors who have legitimate reasons to avoid parental involvement and who are poorly served by states’ false promises. If the CCPA becomes law, some teens will continue to go out of state for abortions, either subjecting a trusted relative or friend to the risk of a jail term or making the trip alone. Others will face the prospect of being forced by a parent to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

If the federal government really cared about protecting vulnerable teens, it would pursue prosecutions under the CCPA only after states have proven the reliability of their bypass processes. But, of course, this isn’t going to happen — the primary impetus behind the CCPA and state involvement mandates has little actually to do with protecting minors’ interests, pious rhetoric notwithstanding.

Opposing these laws isn’t just possible; it’s necessary.

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