August 2006

It’s been one week since Amnesty International accused Israel of committing war crimes in their report.

“Nor does (the report) address the attacks by Hizbullah into Israel and their impact on civilians – these are being addressed elsewhere.”

— it’s been one week later so far… no update on the condemnation of Hezzbollah yet (still waiting…) International: One Week Later digg:Amnesty International: One Week Later spurl:Amnesty International: One Week Later wists:Amnesty International: One Week Later simpy:Amnesty International: One Week Later newsvine:Amnesty International: One Week Later blinklist:Amnesty International: One Week Later furl:Amnesty International: One Week Later reddit:Amnesty International: One Week Later fark:Amnesty International: One Week Later blogmarks:Amnesty International: One Week Later Y!:Amnesty International: One Week Later smarking:Amnesty International: One Week Later magnolia:Amnesty International: One Week Later segnalo:Amnesty International: One Week Later

It seems to continue – another record drug bust involving crystal meth today in Gainesville, Georgia – being operated by illegal immigrants from Mexico. According to 11 Alive:

The seizure shattered the record in Georgia, which was set just last week in Buford where 187 pounds of ice was uncovered buried in a backyard.

This time, authorities found 341 pounds of ice worth an estimated $50 million is sold on the streets. Four Mexican citizens were charged with a federal crime. Two of them are fugitives.

The bust last week netted $25 million worth of methamphetamine buried in 55 gallon plastic trash cans in Buford, Georgia. At the time, Peach Pundit first speculated whether that bust of large quantities of meth and cocaine from Mexico involved illegal immigrants.

Sounds like we’re getting confirmation now! (And this is just the tip of the iceberg, I’m sure). Immigrant Drug Activity digg:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity spurl:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity wists:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity simpy:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity newsvine:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity blinklist:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity furl:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity reddit:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity fark:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity blogmarks:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity Y!:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity smarking:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity magnolia:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity segnalo:Illegal Immigrant Drug Activity

Then Hezbollah started hurling rockets into Isreal, the official Lebanese ‘goverment’ said there was nothing that it could do to stop the scaliwags. You see, southern Lebanon is just too dangerous for the Lebanese military to venture (having learned their military strategies from the French). The prime minister did accuse Isreal of crimes against humanity for conducting their bombing campaign.

The government also said that it was powerless to secure the release of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, although Kofi Annan reportedly said that continuing to hold the hostages was a ‘serious irritant’ in the ceasefire process. (Although no more serious than Israel continuing to blockade Lebanon in order to try to cut off their weapons resupply).

The government is also unable to control the border with Syria, although they have promised to consider posting a couple Boy Scout troops in the region to deter the free flow of arms into Lebanon.

While various EU countries wrangle about how to appear to be helping the situation without having to actually contribute troops or enforce the disarmament of Hezbollah, the goverment clings to the UN-brokered ceasefire like a child’s blanket.

However, the prime minister is capable of standing strong. In his first ‘get tough’ stance of the entire campaign, he starts by standing up to … Israel (via AP: Lebanon refuses contact with Israel ).

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said Wednesday that he refused to have any direct contact with Israel and Lebanon would be the last Arab country to ever sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.

“Let it be clear, we are not seeking any agreement until there is just and comprehensive peace based on the Arab initiative,” he said.

He was referring to a plan that came out of a 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut. It calls for Israel to return all territories it conquered in the 1967 Mideast war, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem — all in exchange for peace and full normalization of Arab relations with Israel.

Nice. I guess he’s been looking at his poll numbers and thought a little tough talk would be good for his image, only hours after crying to the UN and others to make Israel stop defending itself.

In related news, the government is also going to provide aid to its citizens in rebuilding:

Also Wednesday, Saniora said that his government would pay $33,000 per house to compensate residents whose homes were destroyed by Israeli attacks. The government has been criticized for being slow to respond with financial support for people who lost homes in the fighting.

No word whether the government’s $33,000 stipend will be anything like the “crisp” (counterfeit) bills handed out by Hezzbollah earlier. Ceasefire is Working! digg:The Ceasefire is Working! spurl:The Ceasefire is Working! wists:The Ceasefire is Working! simpy:The Ceasefire is Working! newsvine:The Ceasefire is Working! blinklist:The Ceasefire is Working! furl:The Ceasefire is Working! reddit:The Ceasefire is Working! fark:The Ceasefire is Working! blogmarks:The Ceasefire is Working! Y!:The Ceasefire is Working! smarking:The Ceasefire is Working! magnolia:The Ceasefire is Working! segnalo:The Ceasefire is Working!

Just take a look at this AP “news story” by Erin Texeira: Republicans’ comments may hurt at polls. Now this is not commentary… it’s what passes for political reporting in 2006.

First, the text rehases the comments by Burns & Allen (not the comedy team, but the Senators) about the “little Guatemalan man” and “macaca.”

But the comments by Burns and Allen have garnered heavy attention as their party is trying to improve its showing among minorities.

These particular statements (and they are a reach) gain such heavy attention because they are reported in heavy rotation (such as repeatedly on the front page of the Washington Post), while others are buried. The story did acknowledge Andrew Young’s recent rant about urban shop owners, but no mention of the host of other Democrats who have made similar statements (re: Hilary Clinton referring to Ghandi as a gas station attendant in St. Louis, Biden making a crack about Indian store clerks, etc.)

It’s one thing to have a dislike for a particular person. Even for something that they said. I can understand that. But other than that, why would anyone asssociate any of these comments, even if you found them offensive, to be indictative of the entire party? And that’s equally true for Democrats as well as Republicans. Rather, isn’t it still in your best interest, regardless of race, to look at the policies of the opposing candidates and vote accordingly? Otherwise, you need to reject Democrats just as equally as Republicans leaving no one to actually vote for!

Anyway, we are also treated to a quote from Michael K. Fauntroy. Don’t know him? Well you can check out his blog at which includes this point: “House Republicans slapped African Americans in the face again and, given the history of this country that required the implementation of the Voting Rights Act in the first place, poured political salt in wounds that haven’t healed. Along with the controversial 2000 and 2004 presidential elections that clearly disenfranchised Black voters and the GOPs standing among African Americans, the GOP proves, yet again, that it just doesn’t get it with regard to Black voters.” I guess he hasn’t formed an opinion on this yet. (Oh by the way, he has a book coming out. Kind of like quoting Pat Buchanan in an article about immigration).

We even get treated to Katrina lore. (Perception is reality, I guess).

But to top it off, we have a quote from Donna Brazile, of all people:

“Republicans are sending mixed messages to people of color, in particular African-Americans and Hispanics. On one hand they would like us to come into the big tent. But once you get in you will see the unwelcome mat remains on the inside.”

Nice – a Democratic strategist throwing out a slogan in a story about Republican Party… nothing like being fair and balanced.

If the AP would like to write a story about minority voting patterns, then that’s fine. If they would like to research exactly why African-American voters overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party, then fine.

But this ‘story’ seems amaturish even for a DNC Press Release. is no bias in media digg:There is no bias in media spurl:There is no bias in media wists:There is no bias in media simpy:There is no bias in media newsvine:There is no bias in media blinklist:There is no bias in media furl:There is no bias in media reddit:There is no bias in media fark:There is no bias in media blogmarks:There is no bias in media Y!:There is no bias in media smarking:There is no bias in media magnolia:There is no bias in media segnalo:There is no bias in media

Some interesting posts today:

  • After the tragic crash of the Comair flight in Lexington over the weekend, HogOnIce shares some of the information given at the Victims’ Relatives meeting. It may only be a collection of little errors that led up to the accidental use of the incorrect runway, but it drives home just how heavy the responsibility that is shouldered by pilots, controllers, and ground crew at airports. They rarely have the luxury of having a bad day.
  • Now that the secret is apparently out in the the Valarie Plame case, Mark Levin shares his disgust with the whole process. Especially that Fizgerald knew early on where the leak came from and that there was no crime, but kept pushing until he could find something to indict someone in the White House. He observes “Rather than put an end to this, Fitzgerald appears to have enjoyed the spotlight and adulation from the president’s opponents, pursuing ‘the case’ as if he were chasing mobsters or terrorists.”
  • I really hate Google News.I know there has been much discussion about how exactly they decided what sites are news sources… but if I wanted US news reported by the Moscow Times… I would have gone there in the first place.
  • The Buzz Blog talks about the hotages who were forced to videotape their “conversions” to Islam prior to being released. He observes “It’s easy to say that faced with the choice of converting to Islam or being shot and killed, I as a Christian I would not have complied and trusted God for deliverance, but would I really have made that choice? Would I renounce my Christian faith and embrace another on the promise of a terrorist to set me free? Even if the words were not sincere, they do have consequences. Knowing that Centanni and Wiig’s conversions were not real, can these two men ever go back to that region of the world and do their jobs? Would not those terrorists (or other likeminded people) who held guns to their heads seek revenge for the deception?”
  • LGF notes that the Red Cross has now removed the high-res photos of the ambulance purportedly hit by an Isreali missile from their website. Curious. However, at least the Red Cross is not a media organization who is supposed to be providing “just the facts”. Michelle Malkin summarizes another rusty roof ‘missile strike’ – this time on a Reuters news vehicle. JYB jumps in as well analyzing more Reuters rocket science.
  • Counterterrorism Blog brings a first-hand report of Kofi Annan’s trip to Lebannon and the show being put on for the media. They noted: “Dr. Annan was escorted by Lebanese Army security, apparently very friendly with Hezbollah Department of Security. The Lebanese Army officers and Hezbollah were seen smiling at each other and coordinating the staged demonstration.”
  • The student who packed a stick of dynamite in his checked luggage was released on bond. The news article notes: “No future court appearances were yet scheduled after U.S. Magistrate Calvin Botley lectured Howard MacFarland Fish, a junior majoring in biology at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., about the importance of attending all court dates and meeting all other bond requirements, including a ban on drinking. ‘I’m requiring that you don’t go to beer halls, nightclubs, day clubs or any kinds of clubs,’ the judge said as a subdued and nervous Fish nodded, wearing a green jumpsuit with handcuffs on his wrists like other federal inmates awaiting appearances.” They guy carried dynamite on a plane… why does the judge care if he drinks now??? Also, it seems that he travelled with the souvenir dynamite for quite a while before being detected. What’s up with that!?!
  • Independent Conservative describes more about the possibility of terrorists crossing the pourous Mexican boarder. He observes “Where the US government works with Mexican officials, to assign ‘guest worker’ passes to people in Mexico. Who in their right mind thinks terrorists won’t be able to bribe their way into obtaining some of those passes?”
  • Redstate reports on the turn of events – Shia militamen fighting a battle with the Iraqi Army. He observes “That’s not insurgency, that’s insurrection.” To sum it up: “This is a pivotal moment. Our long struggle in Iraq is about to be made, or broken. It all hinges on the leadership of one Nouri al-Maliki, the elected Prime Minister under the new Constitution. Is he George Washington, or is he Alexander Kerensky? We’re about to find out.”'s Roundup digg:Today's Roundup spurl:Today's Roundup wists:Today's Roundup simpy:Today's Roundup newsvine:Today's Roundup blinklist:Today's Roundup furl:Today's Roundup reddit:Today's Roundup fark:Today's Roundup blogmarks:Today's Roundup Y!:Today's Roundup smarking:Today's Roundup magnolia:Today's Roundup segnalo:Today's Roundup

According to published reports today, Max Cleland is seeking treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. As reported:

As head of the Veteran’s Administration under President Jimmy Carter, Vietnam veteran Max Cleland was involved in setting up VA Vet centers to help soldiers returning from war get counseling and readjust to life back home.

Now Cleland has revealed that he’s suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and getting help from those same counseling programs he helped create.

Cleland, who lost three limbs in the war, said he didn’t get much help for his own psychological wounds when he returned from battle.

The former U.S. Senator from Georgia described his symptoms to Channel 2 Action News reporter Alison Burns.

He said he feels depressed, has developed a sense of hyper-vigilance about his security and has difficulty sleeping.

He believes the Iraq war has, in part, triggered his condition.

“I realize my symptoms are avoidance, not wanting to connect with anything dealing with the [Iraq] war, tremendous sadness over the casualties that are taken, a real identification with that…..I’ve tried to disconnect and disassociate from the media. I don’t watch it as much. I’m not engrossed in it like I was,” he said.

It seems strange to say, but I hope that people do not jump on this story and make jokes about Cleland and PTSD. If he is truly experiencing psychological problems related to his service in Viet Nam, then I do hope that he can get treatment that will help him.

As a fellow Georgian, I feel so sad for the former Senator. Since losing his Senate seat to Saxby Chambliss in 2002, he seems to be a shallow reflection of his former self. The defeat seems to have sent him into the arms of the legions of Bush-haters, who embraced him and sent him on to the Crawford ranch in his wheelchair to demand that the President call off the “Swift-Boat” commercials against Kerry. Perhaps it is they who have convinced him (and themselves) the oft told lie that Republicans criticized his patriotism and that’s why he lost his Senate seat. For whatever reason, that’s what he now believes. And in hating Bush, Iraq has also become part of his affliction. He did take time this month to appear at a rally in support of Rep. John Murtha.

Although I disagree with the positions that he has lately taken, he was a good man. I hope that he can get the help that he needs. Cleland and PTSD digg:Max Cleland and PTSD spurl:Max Cleland and PTSD wists:Max Cleland and PTSD simpy:Max Cleland and PTSD newsvine:Max Cleland and PTSD blinklist:Max Cleland and PTSD furl:Max Cleland and PTSD reddit:Max Cleland and PTSD fark:Max Cleland and PTSD blogmarks:Max Cleland and PTSD Y!:Max Cleland and PTSD smarking:Max Cleland and PTSD magnolia:Max Cleland and PTSD segnalo:Max Cleland and PTSD

Interesting stories from around the web today:

  • zombietime provides the definitive collection of information (The Red Cross Ambulance Incident: How the Media Legitimized an Anti-Israel Hoax and Changed the Course of a War) – well worth a good read for the recap. (And where exactly *did* that rust on the roof come from?) (via LGF)
  • Public Figures… Beware notes that reports show the Norwegian Ambassador to the UN about the Oil for Food kickbacks in Iraq, but didn’t pursue because it would give ammunition for the US to act in Iraq. He observes: “Basically, he let his own personal politics prevent him from doing the right thing. It must be such a bitch when the truth of the matter will force people to take a stand on an issue directly opposed to where you stand.”
  • The 12 Indian men detained in Amsterdam after strange behavior on Northwest Flight 42 have now been released. In an strange coincidence, Tim Nelson, the man who first alerted the FBI of Zacarias Moussaoui’s odd behavior, was a passenger on this flight.
  • IndependentConservative notes reports about violence against Christians in Bangladesh. He observes: “It is interesting how followers of Islam call it a “religion of peace”, but those who convert from Islam to the faith led by the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ are often attacked and killed in Muslim lands.”
  • Jim Wooten reports on a conversation with Senator Johnny Isakson who said “I’m sorry, I can’t keep quiet on this. The terrorists and those that are trying their best to attack us – and a lot of that is coming out of Iran – are concentrated on Baghdad. It’s a reflection of the success we’ve had in the majority of the country. If you confront that concentration now with the appropriate force and in conjunction with the Iraqi army and you can break its back, it has the chance to be a very optimistic result. If you turn the other way and say you’re failing, then you’ve handed them a victory. You have to remember the terrorists don’t have to beat us to win. All they have to have us do is quit and go home and they declare victory. You saw what Hezbollah did in South Lebanon.”
  • Apparently, as of today, Pluto is no longer considered a planet. Wasn’t it just last week that we were heard that three additional bodies might be additionally considered planets? From “For decades, we’ve been telling our students “there are nine planets in our solar system” rather than “nine objects in our solar system meet our current definition of a planet.” Maybe Rumfeld should consider moving the detainees from Guantanamo to the demoted Pluto!
  • Herman Cain discusses the bizarre Wal-Mart bashing that’s been in vogue recently. He observed: “The Hezbocrat assault on Wal-Mart probably has the casual political observer scratching his head over why a political party would blast away at an employer of 1.3 million Americans, not to mention his family’s favorite place to shop. The candidates claim to be looking out for the nation’s ‘working families’ by advocating higher wages and full healthcare coverage for all employees. In truth, the Hezbocrat candidates have another agenda, one that is purely political and would hurt the very Wal-Mart employees and customers they claim to support.”
  • Neal Boortz is part of the Care-A-Thon raising money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – childhood cancer treatment. A very worthy cause.
  • Right Minded notes that some Senators are traveling to Greenland to observe global warming. He observes: “Really, how do you ‘observe’ global warming? Pull up a chair, grab some popcorn, and watch ice melt?”
  • Ann Coulter asks the question – if Democrats support the war on terror but not the war in Iraq… what part of the war on terror do they really support? She observes: “This would be like complaining that Roosevelt’s war in Germany was hampering our ability to fight the real global war on fascism. Or anti-discrimination laws were hampering our ability to fight the real war on racism. Or dusting is hampering our ability to fight the real war on dust.”
  • Blue Star Chronicles reminds about a classic and timely Winston Churchill quote today: “One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”'s Roundup digg:Today's Roundup spurl:Today's Roundup wists:Today's Roundup simpy:Today's Roundup newsvine:Today's Roundup blinklist:Today's Roundup furl:Today's Roundup reddit:Today's Roundup fark:Today's Roundup blogmarks:Today's Roundup Y!:Today's Roundup smarking:Today's Roundup magnolia:Today's Roundup segnalo:Today's Roundup

In breaking news, Ethics panel declines to consider complaint against Taylor. Earlier this month, Georgia GOP requested review of identical $5000 campaign contributions from car dealerships all owned by Carl Gregory, contending that the campaign should have been limited to $5000 total from Gregory’s businesses.

The chair of the State Ethics Commission said Thursday an ethics complaint filed last week against gubernatorial candidate Mark Taylor is “not right for the commission to consider at this time.”

Ethics chair Jack Williams Jr. said Taylor “has not been given time to respond.”

Republicans who filed the complaint wanted the commission to issue an injunction blocking Taylor, currently Georgia’s lieutenant governor, from spending $35,000 in contributions they say are illegal. The complaint faulted the Taylor campaign for refusing to return $35,000 in separate $5,000 contributions from different Carl Gregory car dealerships.

Taylor is seeking to unseat Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican.

What an interesting development. So which is it – it’s not going to be considered (because, presumably there is nothing valid to the request) or it will be considered some time in the future once Taylor ‘has been given time to respond’?


UPDATE: Peach Pundit is also on the scene and observes “So much for the idea that Perdue politicized the Ethics panel.”

FURTHER UPDATE: AccessNorthGeorgia provides some additional information

The normal complaint process begins with a formal motion, to which the accused has 14 days to respond. A preliminary hearing is then scheduled. The commission currently has a backlog of 120 cases _ meaning a complaint filed now would ordinarily be ready for a hearing in about a year.

Regardless of whether or not the Ethics Commission can get around to having a formal hearing any time before the election… you have to wonder what the “has not been given time to respond” line is all about.

Incidentally, I don’t think there’s anything about these contributions (even if improper) that are earth-shattering… but wouldn’t an Ethics Commission want to be able to take quick action, especially close to an election time, in order to deter people from really cutting ethical corners. Otherwise we find ourselves in the same situation as the anti-Kennerly folks who hoped to stretch things out just long enough for the primary to take place before anything hits the fan. Commission Waits on  digg:Ethics Commission Waits on  spurl:Ethics Commission Waits on  wists:Ethics Commission Waits on  simpy:Ethics Commission Waits on  newsvine:Ethics Commission Waits on  blinklist:Ethics Commission Waits on  furl:Ethics Commission Waits on  reddit:Ethics Commission Waits on  fark:Ethics Commission Waits on  blogmarks:Ethics Commission Waits on  Y!:Ethics Commission Waits on  smarking:Ethics Commission Waits on  magnolia:Ethics Commission Waits on  segnalo:Ethics Commission Waits on

Alabama Liberation Front continues to provide a good summary of the current state of Cash-Bollah – the suspected use of counterfeit US currency in the Hezzbollah ‘charity’ work.

It was earlier this month, that discussions about nuclear talks with North Korea were said to be stuck over accused North Korean counterfeiting schemes which possibly may be the source of ‘Supernotes,’ fakes said to be indistinguishable from a real $100 bill (U.S. fights N. Korea efforts to forge currency)

The supernotes’ trail begins in 1989, when the bills were detected in the Philippines, and stretches from Asia to Europe to both coasts of the United States.

Glaser said “numerous” North Korean diplomats have been arrested around the world carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars of counterfeit supernotes. The fakes, Asher said, “have been detected essentially on every continent in the world in the last 15 years.”

The North denies the counterfeiting charges.

But the Secret Service, which investigates counterfeiting of U.S. currency, has seized about $50 million worth of supernotes worldwide. Analysts say much more is likely in circulation.

It’s not the first time that terror groups have been passing the funny money. From the same article:

In October, U.S. prosecutors announced that Sean Garland, a leader of the Official Irish Republican Army, had been indicted in the United States on charges he conspired with North Korea to circulate millions of dollars in fake U.S. currency. Garland pleaded innocent.

If the T-Men have recovered $50 million – that’s 500,000 $100 bills – it’s quite a haul, and probably not even the tip of the iceberg.

In addition to staging charity work photo-ops with the phony money, it would seem that it would normally be much more useful if the counterfeit dough were laundered so
that it could be converted to something legitimate (even the other crooks they would be dealing with would certainly be leery of taking fake cash).

One thing, we won’t have to worry about the the UN ‘peacekeeping’ force getting in the way of Hezzbollah’s current weapons cache, their resupply routes, nor their source of money (real or counterfeit). This force barely will have permission to tie their own shoes without permission of Hezzbollah. Heck, LGF reports that Hezbollah will not even allow photographs without their permission.
The news today, heralded by the euphamistic Reuters headline UN permits wide use of force in Lebanon operation), is that the UN force is allowed to fire in self-defence. No kidding. This crew should really be a big help. At least we can be sure that the UN
soldiers won’t disarm Hezbollah, and neither will the Lebanese government.

So I don’t think that there will be a concerted effort to choke off their cash and determine the real origin of this cash in particular. (Of course, since it hurts the US economy, I’m sure that no one else is in a hurry to check it out). Continues digg:Cash-Bollah Continues spurl:Cash-Bollah Continues wists:Cash-Bollah Continues simpy:Cash-Bollah Continues newsvine:Cash-Bollah Continues blinklist:Cash-Bollah Continues furl:Cash-Bollah Continues reddit:Cash-Bollah Continues fark:Cash-Bollah Continues blogmarks:Cash-Bollah Continues Y!:Cash-Bollah Continues smarking:Cash-Bollah Continues magnolia:Cash-Bollah Continues segnalo:Cash-Bollah Continues

Last month, I asked if there had been any progress in the return to the moon.

Apparently there has been some progress – more names have been chosen! This time it’s for the ship: Orion (Astronaut lets new moonship name slip)

“We’ve been calling it the crew exploration vehicle for several years, but today it has a name — Orion,” Williams said, taping a message in advance for the space agency that was transmitted accidentally over space-to-ground radio.

UPDATE: It seems that the purpose of the International Space Station has also become more clear. It’s now to be the backdrop for a commercial for a golf club. to the Moon digg:Return to the Moon spurl:Return to the Moon wists:Return to the Moon simpy:Return to the Moon newsvine:Return to the Moon blinklist:Return to the Moon furl:Return to the Moon reddit:Return to the Moon fark:Return to the Moon blogmarks:Return to the Moon Y!:Return to the Moon smarking:Return to the Moon magnolia:Return to the Moon segnalo:Return to the Moon

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