Sunday, December 31, 2006

AN END-OF-THE-YEAR PRESENT: it's a free online storage service for unlimited files of unlimited size, with unlimited downloads and no advertising. Sounds too good to be true, eh? Well, don't upload anything you don't want to lose if they can't keep open (how do these guys make money?)

What you won't be able to upload is tomorrow's hangover after the wild partying tonight...

Happy 2007, everybody!

I WOULDN'T READ too much -well, anything at all- into the March 11 precedent regarding yesterday's car bomb in Madrid's airport, as James Joyner and PoliBlog do. There's no way it could be the first manifestation of the 'payback' for Saddam's hanging, only a couple or three hours after. The modus operandi was clearly ETA's, particularly for the fact that the culprits warned in advance by telephone, something that Islamic terrorists never do. Second, because this attack was something waiting to happen after a botched 'peace process' by Zapatero: ETA terrorists had been robbing guns, and digging explosives; they also had been tsk-tsking Zapatero because the negotiation wasn't going fast enough for their tastes.

Also, Spanish press is reporting that the car -a van, actually- that carried the explosives had been stolen in France and its owner briefly kidnapped while the 'action' took place (link in Spanish).

Meanwhile, the two Ecuadorean men are still missing; it's very unlikely they will be found alive at this point.

EVERYONE COMES DOWN to Barcelona eventually too; take that, Glenn!

That's Eric Scheie and I yesterday at a great lunch we had together yesterday, during his stay in Barcelona.

The picture definitely settles it, alas: I'm one of the least photogenic person on Earth (and no, we were not drunk; it was the restaurant's welcome drink when we just arrived). Anyway, the occasion deserved it. First, because I had the chance of meeting one of my favorite bloggers and second, because we had the occasion of toasting for Saddam new non-life status. Can't think of a better reason to raise glasses than that!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

CAR BOMB explodes in Madrid airport following a phone warning; it has the hallmark of ETA all over the place.

Spanish media reports there were two people slightly injured; the car blew off 30 minutes before the time the called announced it would. Again, this is the modus operandi of ETA, though the caller didn't say he was calling on behalf of the Basque terrorist group.

I'd say the cease-fire is now officially ended.

UPDATE. Pro-Socialist government newspaper El País says the called did claim he was calling on behalf of ETA (link in Spanish).

UPDATE II. Back in from a lunch with friends, and I see the toll has changed: it's 4 people injured and 1 missing. Authorities think he may be under the rubble (link in Spanish)

The News Buckit:
Yesterday: Spanish/socialist/appeaser PM Jose Luis Zapatero explains how his government is doing a great job keeping Spain safe from domestic terrorists, namely ETA. How? By working with them, of course.
"Are we better now with a permanent cease-fire or when we had bombs, car bombs and explosions?" Zapatero asked. "This time next year we will be better off than we are today," he said. [Is that a New Year's resolution?]
Today (Day 1 of "Next Year"): A car bomb has gone off at Madrid's Barajas airport, likely in violation of the "permanent" cease fire with the terrorists.
Worthnoting a real shocker said by Zapatero in that year-end press conference yesterday. When he was saying that things were better now with ETA's cease-fire, he asked: "Isn't it true that things are better now than they were a few days ago, when there were tragic accidents?" (emphasis mine). Tragic accidents: it's how Zapatero calls terrorists murders. Friggin' unbelievable.

UPDATE III. CNN+ (CNN's Spanish sister network) reports now (live broadcast, no link) that police are searching for a second missing person. The first one, an Ecuatorian 19-year-old citizen, is also still missing.

UPDATE IV. Iberian Notes:
ETA has intentionally made Zap look like a complete moron, since last night he gave his year-end speech and said he was "convinced" that the negotiations with the terrorist gang "would be going better than now" within a year. To quote La Vangua on page 13 today, "Zapatero made a commitment to the citizenry that guaranteed the continuity and advance of the peace process, a continuity that did not seem so clear a few weeks ago."

This is going to mean a big hit to Zap's reelection chances; expect a several-point swing to the PP in the next surveys with only a year or so left before the next general election. I think he's a one-term accidental prime minister, a Spanish Jimmy Carter.
I wouldn't count on that; they'll find ways to blame the Popular Party because they weren't supporting the negotiation with ETA.

UPDATE V. Zapatero is delivering a statement on TV, live. He says he entered negotiations with ETA under the condition that all violence by the Basque group stop. Today's bombing is radically incompatible with that, and therefore he says he has instructed to immediately break any contact with mediators and therefore the negotiation has ended. (liveblogged) It's the first time I've seen Zapaterlain a little firm and resolute. About time.

Now he's taking questions from reporters; he confirms, essentially, that the so-called peace process (a dumb label, because there was no war, but a terrorist group killing people) has arrive to an end.

UPDATE VI. The second person missing is also a young Ecuatorian; apparently the two guys were taking a nap in the same parking lot where the bomb exploded off.

Also, I'm waatching the images taken by the fire squad just after they arrived to the parking, which more than a lot was a multi-floor parking. Thank g*d there was a warning call, because it would have been a massacre: three levels are completely collapsed.

"THE TREE OF LIBERTY must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 29, 2006

IN THIS WEEK'S Blog Week in Review at Pajamas Media, Claudia Rosett and Austin Bay talk about Kofi Annan ("the black Pope", in a pointed description by Inocencio Arias, Spain's former ambassador to the UN and current Consul General in Los Angeles) now that his term is ending.

THERE ARE UNCONFIRMED REPORTS that Saddam has been just executed. The information is, I insist, still unconfirmed and contradictory. For full coverage, I encourage you to visit Pajamas Media, where we'll be following developments up to the minute.

LATER: Seems the information was unfounded. Won't be like that for many days, though: everything seems to indicate uncle Saddam will be hanging before the start of next week.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

DON'T MISS THIS lecture by Salman Rushdie on Islamism. Among other things, he delivers some serious spanking to that part of the Left (alas, a so crowded part of the Left) which acts like fellow travelers to one of the most reactionary and backwards creeds on Earth right now:
The desire to oppose the many abuses that America and American power has committed in the world leads people to believe that these others, the people who claim rhetorically to be against that, are actually in some way allies. But actually the truth is that Islamic radicalism, whether it’s Al Qaeda, whether it’s Wahhabism, by whatever name you call it, is not interested in creating a world of greater social justice. It’s not interested in liberating women. It’s not interested in tolerance for minorities and sexual dissidents. It’s not interested in democracy. It’s not interested in having more of the community having a larger share of the pie. It’s not interested in economic redistribution. It’s not interested in any of the things that you would call social justice.

It’s interested in what the Taliban is interested in. It’s interested in creating a new religious, fascist rule over the planet, you know, the Caliphate, the Talibanization of the earth. For the left to refuse to understand the nature of the people that they’re refusing to criticize is a historical mistake as great as those who were the fellow travelers of Stalinist Communism in an earlier age.
There's much more; read it all.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

WHAT A MORONIC REPORT: "The latest U.S. deaths brought the number of members of the U.S. military killed since the start of the Iraq war in March 2003 to at least 2,978 — five more than the number killed in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania."

So what? Did anyone ever think to criticize World War II after the 2.303 'grim milestone' was reached (the number of people killed at Pearl Harbor)? Obviously not; back then people had the moral compass in place. Just think that as the war ended, they would have been able to count that 'grim milestone' a staggering 182 times, since in WW2 about 420,000 Americans [note: corrected from 'people'] died, 407,000 of them military.

THE LATE JAMES BROWN wasn't known for his excesses for nothing. Don't miss this video of a TV interview in which he certainly was feeling good...

JUST FOR THE RECORD: the man shaking hands with Eric Scheie in Barcelona isn't me. Eric and I will be breaking bread while he's in town, but that's not the picture.

I thought I'd point it out.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

THE PET PROJECT of the Three Amigos (Kofi Annan, Zapatero and Turkish PM Erdogan) gets a vivisection by Bret Schaefer that you can't miss: The False Promise of "The Alliance of the Civilizations."

IF YOU'RE STILL in festive mood, you could do worse than watching these 101 classic Christmas videos of all times: from full feature films -like What a Wonderful Life!-, TV episodes and specials, commercials, cartoons, etc. It's pretty impressive.

TRUCE? WHAT TRUCE? Since the Israeli-Palestinian truce started, 56 Qassam rockets have been fired from Gaza. Of course, this only "endangers" the truce; everybody knows that truces are only broken when the wicked Israelis fire back...

IF IRAN really wants to collaborate towards the stabilization of Iraq -of course, only the MSM could buy that bullsh*t from Ahmadinejad- it could start by not not sending high-ranking military to collaborate with the insurgency...

Monday, December 25, 2006

ANNANISM: the triump of the therapeutic over the tragic. Victor Davis Hanson masterly eviscerates Kofi Annan farewell speech as UN's Secretary General. Don't miss it.

JAMES BROWN has died.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

BARCEPUNDIT wishes all readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, where appropriate, with a great version of a classic: White Christmas, by The Drifters. They show how it's possible to do a superb version of a quite tacky song, acceptable because it was created by one of the world's greatest composers: Irving Berlin.

Here it is: enjoy and be happy.

UPDATE. And here's a delightfully-PC wishes (via the blog in Catalan of my friend Josep Maria Fàbregas)
I want you to please accept with no obligation,
implied or implicit,
my best wishes for an environmentally conscious,
socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive,
gender neutral, celebration of
the winter solstice holiday,
practiced within the most enjoyable
traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice,
or secular practices of your choice,
with respect for the religious/secular
persuasions and/or traditions of others,
or their choice not to practice
religious or secular traditions at all...
...and a fiscally successful,
personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated
recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007,
but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures
whose contributions to society have helped make this planet great,
[not to imply that this
planet is necessarily greater than any other planet
or is the only planet in the known or unknown universe],
and without regard to the race, creed,
color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer
platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

UPDATE II. More wishes (and take the word in any meaning you wish...)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

SO TELL US, ZAPATERO, how is that cease-fire going?

An off duty Basque regional policeman has discovered an ETA arms cache in a mountainous area close to Amorebieta in Vizcaya. He made the find by chance as he was walking in the mountains.

The police say the cache was only set up in the last few days and consisted of 50 kilos of chemicals used to make explosives. There was a buried large plastic container with Ammonium Nitrate and Aluminium powder. There were also some detonators.

The security services are said to be concerned by the find and think that ETA had brought the material in from France where it was probably stolen.

GOOD QUESTION for those who argue that democracy can't grow from the barrel of a gun:
If it was a matter of "prestige and moral credibility", why didn't the
captive nations dream about Switzerland or Sweden? What they liked
about America was the proof it offered that titanic military power
could be reconciled with liberal and economic order.

AARON HANSCOM writes on the Jihadist dream to liberate Spain:

Earlier this year a jihadist document calling for the liberation of so-called occupied territories and issued by the al-Qaeda-linked group Nadim al-Magrebi was posted on the Islamic extremist website Alansar. In most European capitals, where the cult of Palestinianism reins supreme, such demands are often met with approval since the occupied land in question is usually Israeli. But this time the statement addressed Spain—not Israel. It warned of a “holy war against the infidel Spanish state which has occupied the two cities.”

The two cities in question are Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves on the North African coast which Spain gained control of nearly 500 years ago.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

AN ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE: after some testing, I have decided to move Barcepundit's RSS feed to FeedBurner, which is much more robust, more compatible and has several more features than the default one in Blogger. The old one will still work, but I strongly encourage you to change it in your feed reader or aggregator: here's the link.

WHAT IF the NBA had quotas? Larry Elder explains.

Kofi Annan in his farewell address lectured America on its apparent abandonment of civil liberties—remonstrating that when the United States “appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused.”

Some thoughts: the use of wiretaps, surveillance cameras, and civil detention of citizens is far more common in Europe than here in the United States.

In comparison to past wartime measures—suspension of habeas corpus (Lincoln/Andrew Johnson), shutting down newspapers (Lincoln), jailing of dissidents (Wilson), interning citizens, military tribunals (Roosevelt), or enemies lists, misuse of the IRS and FBI (Nixon), the Patriot Act, passed by both houses of Congress, is pretty tame.

In fact, there is much more transparency, accountability, and free speech in the present U.S. government than under the UN as run by Mr. Annan. Had one of the Bush children, Annan-style, shipped in a Mercedes using government exemptions to avoid fees and charges, or had Bush himself turned over his government-subsidized apartment to a wealthy sibling, the outrage would have been immediate.

[...] And concerning Kofi Annan: But by any fair token, his tenure at the United Nations will go down as one of the most corrupt in the entire history of the organization. The extent of the $50 billion oil-for-food scandal boggles the mind. Annan’s son profited from his dad’s position, and tried to profit from an embargo that put Saddam Hussein’s interests ahead of the strapped Iraqi people. When you add in the son’s business with the Mercedes, and the father’s apartment deal, then the corruption extended to the personal and petty. All this is largely forgotten once the suave Annan, emblematic of both the Third World and replete with a sophisticated British-Continental accent, begins his teary-eyed moral sermons.

Read the rest.

EXPECT TO SEE more of this in our multiculturally-correct societies from now on:

A man who was being hunted for the murder of a policewoman is understood to have escaped from Britain by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman.

Mustaf Jama, a prime suspect in the fatal shooting of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, assumed his sister’s identity — wearing the niqab and using her passport — to evade supposedly stringent checks at Heathrow, according to police sources.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

ONLY HOLY WAR will liberate Palestine, the charming No.2 of al-Qaeda, al-Zawahiri, said in a new tape released this morning.

TODAY'S (and probably this week's) reading: Orson Scott Card writes on how our civilization can fall.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

THIS IS HOW David Zucker (Airport! and other unmissable comedies) sees the Baker Report. Ouch.

FRENCH SOLDIERS had Osama in the crosshairs, in Afghanistan? Twice? And they say they didn't shoot because they didn't get the order to do it? Heads must roll.

THE WSJ deconstructs Spain's economy, which is not in such a good shape as leading indicators are, well, indicating:
Spain's economy is booming. So, more dramatically, is its housing market, with prices up 180% in the past decade. Rising wages and low interest rates fuel the housing demands of the upwardly mobile in this Iberian tiger.

Here's a reality check: All fiestas must end, or at least wind down. In this case, the thriving housing market covers up structural shortcomings in the economy to which the center-left government has paid scant attention.
(Subscription required, but you should be able to read it the next seven day at this link)

Spain's economy is almost completely revolving around an overheated, or rather a burning hot, housing market. And when interest rates go up it's gonna be an ugly thing unless Zapatero's government takes the right measures, which doesn't seem it's going to. Too busy with purely political moves, thinking they can ride the economic vawe forever.

NEWSWEEK: "In what might be called the mother of all surprises, Iraq's economy is growing strong, even booming in places."

Monday, December 18, 2006

DON'T CRY for Pinochet, since Chile succeeded in spite of him:
His embrace of economic reform seems unlikely to have sprung from a commitment to freedom, given the overarching contempt for liberty that characterized the rest of his government. Rather, in order to insulate himself from the consequences of his murderous seizure of power, Pinochet sought out political allies, and his free market reforms helped him to garner support domestically on the right, and also among members of the international community. One must be careful not to fall into Pinochet's trap--accepting his brutal seizure of power and tyrannical rule as a natural accompaniment of free market reforms. Propagandists on the left lost no time in seeking to discredit economic freedom by associating it with Pinochet. To this day, we hear from Moscow that it takes a Pinochet to implement economic reforms successfully; Vladimir Putin seems all too willing to have Pinochet's uniform taken in a few sizes so he can try it on.

Pinochet and his apologists argue thus: "Castro and the far left are worse than Pinochet, they kill more people and deliver fewer benefits than did the military government of Chile." Are we to admire Pinochet because his murderous regime was more efficient than tyrants on the left at producing higher GDP? Without the torture, rape, and killing, would economic and political freedom have been impossible in Chile? Hardly! But this is the argument insinuated by Pinochet. He successfully appropriated the utilitarian fallacy to which many on the left fall prey: that murder and torture are acceptable if they hasten the advent of the utopia implied by one's ideological model. That fallacy probably killed more people during the 20th century than typhus, and it stands to do so again in this century if we do not inoculate ourselves against it.

Pinochet tied his advocacy of free markets about people's eyes like a blindfold, to keep them from seeing his firing squads. Nothing that was achieved during his years of tyranny justifies the crimes he committed. Nor is there any meaningful sense in which the policies adopted by the Pinochet government should be viewed as paradigmatic for economic freedom.


WHAT A SILLY CONTROVERSY: Eteraz accuses Pajamas Media (also here) of lifting the information on the Iraqi propaganda TV broadcasting from Syria, al-Zawraa. He says this article doesn't mention his post one day earlier and which was also linked in Pajamas.

Just one problem: two days earlier, Pajamas had linked to this post by Bill Roggio, so we could arguably say that Eteraz claims an 'exclusive' that is not his, but Roggio's. Of course, it's none of this either; it's just several people (Roggio, him, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross Nick Grace) reporting on the same. That's all.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I ALMOST FORGOT to point out that the latest Blog Week in Review is up, this time featuring John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson of Power Line.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

IT'S THE JibJab year in review!.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Thursday, December 14, 2006

SO THE WORLD'S POOR are getting poorer, as the mantra goes? Well, this is absolutely and demonstrably false.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

AGREED, 100%.

PINOCHET vs CASTRO, a dicator's double standard: superb editorial by the Washington Post after the death of the Chilean dictator.

THE GREAT LIE about the Middle East: Arab countries don't give a damn about the Palestinians.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

GOOD THING he was innocent:
Spanish police have arrested 11 suspects linked to Islamic militants in a raid on a poor neighbourhood in Spain's North African enclave Ceuta, an Interior Ministry official said on Tuesday.

Spanish media reported that one of those arrested was Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed, a Spaniard who spent two years in U.S. detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after being captured in Pakistan. The so-called "Spanish Taliban" was freed earlier this year after terrorism charges in Spain were overturned.
You may not know, but this guy was the poster boy of popular opinion here, who saw him as one of the examples of Bush trumping the civil liberties of people all over the world, etc. They war saying he had been unfairly arrested and imprisoned, only because he 'happened' to be in Afghanistan. In the middle of a war. With the Taliban.

You got to admit the guy masterly managed the media, selling the sob story of how he was a Bush prisoner and how badly he was treated at Gitmo. People here took it hook, line and sinker: it was exactly what they wanted to hear.

UPDATE. The judge has clarified that the former Guantanamo inmate is not among the arrested (link in Spanish); two of his brothers are.

Monday, December 11, 2006

KILL BY THE SWORD, die by the sword: the New York Times has been jaysonblaired by one of Spain's leading newspapers. A NY-based special envoy, Julio Valdeón Blanco, has plagiarized a piece in the Grey Lady on TVnewser, almost word by word. You can see the result here (subscription required for the next week, then it will be free), and here is my analysis in the Spanish edition of Barcepundit, where I juxtapose the paragraphs of each.

The results are damning.

BIGGEST THREAT to the environment is not CO2 from cars: according to a UN report, it's "emissions" from... cows. Moo.

IRAN IS secretely looking for uranium in Somalia, according to a confidential report by the UN available at Pajamas Media.

DON'T MISS Mark Steyn trouncing the Baker report.

I KNOW IT'S TEMPTING to write on this, but I can tell you that the cancellation of the Christmas celebrations in some Spanish schools so as not to offend Muslim children attending them is anecdotal. It's been only in a couple of them and the decision hasn't exactly been well received.

JAMES WOOLSEY, former CIA director during the Clinton presidency, has written an open letter to President Bush urging him to ignore the Baker report advice most celebrated in Europe: to engage with Iran and Syria.

The report in whole has been blasted by Iraqi president Talabani, who knows a thing or two about the subject, and by many qualified Iraqi figures.

ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES at Pajamas Media, Marc Cooper, writes on the death of Pinochet and his legacy. Marc was Salvador Allende's translator, and is married to a Chilean exile; they managed to escape under great risk to their lives during the infamous 1973 coup.

THAT'S PROMISING: Silvestre Reyes, incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, doesn't know the difference between Sunnis and Shias.

Good thing the Dems were going to corrects Bush's cluesness...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

PINOCHET has died. Soon he'll be joined by Castro in hell, I guess.

A LOOK AT the Baker Commission members' background.

UPDATE. This is funny.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

AN OPEN SOURCE CAR? An intriguing concept, but it's being developed.


THE LATEST Blog Week in Review is already available at Pajamas Media. Panelists Tammy Bruce and Glenn Reynolds discuss—what else—the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group.


The death of Alexander Litvinenko by radiological poisoning points to the possibility that the former Soviet spy may have been involved with Islamic terrorists in the preparation of tactical nuclear weapons for use in the jihad against the United States and its NATO allies.

A bit too far-fetched, perhaps, but scary. Whether it was the case or not, the reality is that it's a matter of when, not if, something like this happens.

Friday, December 08, 2006

CAFÉ À LA PERLE: my colleague Richard Miniter, Pajamas Media Washington editor, has interviewed Richard Perle at his home while he was brewing some coffee. Some people will be surprised of what he says, quite different from how the 'Prince of Darkness' myth goes.

HEH and heh.


When Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories — such as Constantinople, not to mention all of North Africa, Spain and southwest Asia — those whom they have conquered as well as their descendants are not to expect any apologies, let alone political or territorial concessions.

Herein lies the conundrum. When Islamists wage jihad — past, present and future — conquering and consolidating non-Muslim territories and centers in the name of Islam, never once considering to cede them back to their previous owners, they ultimately demonstrate that they live by the age-old adage “might makes right.” That’s fine; many people agree with this Hobbesian view.

But if we live in a world where the strong rule and the weak submit, why is it that whenever Muslim regions are conquered, such as in the case of Palestine, the same Islamists who would never concede one inch of Islam’s conquests resort to the United Nations and the court of public opinion, demanding justice, restitutions, rights and so forth?

Put another way, when Muslims beat infidels, it’s just too bad for the latter; they must submit to their new overlords’ rules with all the attendant discrimination and humiliation mandated for non-Muslims. Yet when Islam is beaten, demands for apologies and concessions are expected from the infidel world at large.

TODAY'S READING, no question about it, is Victor Davis Hanson's latest entry at his Pajamas Media blog:

Day of Infamy

Sixty-five years ago today we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. I wrote today in my weekly Tribune Media Services column , why, unlike our forefathers, we haven’t been able to finish the war within four years following that similar preemptory and surprise attack on American soil.

Suffice to say that when the Democrats allege incompetence because we are not yet victorious, they forget we have lost 50 soldiers a month since September 11, not 8,000 as was true of every month during World War II. And it is much easier to carpet bomb Tokyo, as horrendously difficult as that was, than to go into Fallujah and sort out the terrorists from the “innocent” under the glare of a hostile globalized media, and a disunited American public, some of whom believe that Cindy Sheehan or Michael Moore should be consulted for their superior wisdom.

Mistakes and then there were mistakes

I haven’t engaged much in the parlor game of identifying mistakes in the occupation, because none of them (and there were many) reached a magnitude of those in World War II (e.g., daylight bombing without fighter escort in 1942-3, intelligence failures about the hedgerows, surprise at the Bulge, etc) or Korea (surprise at the Yalu). Nor were any fatal to our cause, despite the ‘disbanding’ of the army, Abu Ghraib, etc. If there were any serious blunders, they concerned the sense of hesitation that gave our enemies confidence—the sudden departure of Gen. Franks, the pullback from first Fallujah, the reprieve given Sadr, etc. In other words, once we were in a war, whatever public downside there was to using too much force was far outweighed by losing our sense of control and power, and ceding momentum to the terrorists. So we can learn from that, and begin again cracking down hard on the insurgents before calling for more troops.

Don't miss the rest.

MARK STEYN on the Baker report:
And the only specific strategic proposal is a linkage between Iraq and a “renewed and sustained commitment” to a “comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace” – which concedes the same ludicrous rationale that the Saudi King Abdullah and all the rest of them make: that one tiny ten-mile sliver of Jews is the reason why millions of Muslims from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Emirates are mired in dictatorships, failed economies and jihadist fever. For the Baker group to endorse this clapped out pan-Arabism is disgusting. An “Arab-Israeli peace”? What does that mean? What exactly is Israel doing to Iraq, or Tunisia, or Qatar, or any other Arabs except those in the “Palestinian territories”? To frame it in those terms is to adopt the pathologies of the enemy. Shame on Baker, Hamilton and all the rest.

UPDATE. Read Jonah Goldberg too, he nails it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


A huge study from Denmark offers the latest reassurance that cell phones don't trigger cancer. Scientists tracked 420,000 Danish cell phone users, including 52,000 who had gabbed on the gadgets for 10 years or more, and some who started using them 21 years ago.

They matched phone records to the famed Danish Cancer Registry that records every citizen who gets the disease - and reported Tuesday that cell-phone callers are no more likely than anyone else to suffer a range of cancer types.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is the largest yet to find no bad news about the safety of cell phones and the radiofrequency energy they emit.

But even the lead researcher doubts it will end the debate.

Yeah, you can bet on that.

THE POLONIUM MYSTERY DEEPENS: first, seven employees of the Millenium Hotel in London have tested positive for radiation.

And second and more intriguing, just in: Dmitry Kovtun, a businessman and ex-spy like Litvinenko and who met him in London just after he fell ill, has entered into a coma after being interrogated by Russian investigators and Scotland Yard officers.

This is becoming more and more like a cheap paperback.


PEARL HARBOR, 65 years ago today. A millenium ago, judging from how fast we seem to have forgotten the lesson.

IRAN SUPREME LEADER Khamenei is hospitalized, according to a source: of course, this has big implications considering the internal power struggle in the country. Remember that recently the Supreme Council cut the mandate of Ahmadinejad one year, and that many of the country's top military officials have been killed in a series of misterious plane crashes over the last months. We'll better keep an eye on this.

STUDENTS' PROTESTS in Iran: among the slogans, "Death to Dictatorship", "Students For Workers", "We have nothing to lose to defend freedom", "Students Workers, Unity Unity", "Free political prisoners now", "Boycotte the sham elections". Pictures in the link.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

IRAQ IS like Algeria, not Vietnam, says John Keegan.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS and gender equality gone crazy:
The town of Fuenlabrada on the outskirts of Madrid is taking a novel step in the struggle to achieve equality between Spanish men and women.

The local council is changing the town's traffic signals.

Half of the walking, stick figures on signs at pedestrian crossings and the little, green men that flash inside traffic lights are being given skirts.
If it was Scotland, they'd need to give them mammary glands...

Monday, December 04, 2006

THE DAY Ronald Reagan was shot: longer footage (almost 4 minutes) than usually shown on TV.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

TODAY I TOOK the day off, and tomorrow will be out; I don't think I'll be able to post. In any case, see you as soon as possible!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Authorities have arrested seven people, four of them police officers, in a suburb of Madrid for suspected trafficking of the same explosive used in the deadly train bomb of March 2004, the Interior Ministry said.

"FASTER, PLEASE" is not only Michael Ledeen's catchphrase, but since yesterday it's also the name of his new blog at Pajamas Media. Welcome on board, Michael!

THE DESPICABLE Reverend Fred Phelps, a lifelong Democrat? Wow.

Friday, December 01, 2006

DON'T WORRY, at least not too much, for the polonium scare: experts say the radiation risk is minimal for normal people.

A CONVERSATION with Bjorn Lomborg.

HEZBOLLAH in Venezuela?

SOME PEOPLE probably think I'm exaggerating when I refer to the UN as United abomiNations but, how else can be called an organization where things like these happen?

Children have been subjected to rape and prostitution by United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti and Liberia, a BBC investigation has found.

Girls have told of regular encounters with soldiers where sex is demanded in return for food or money.

A senior official with the organisation has accepted the claims are credible.
Captain's Quarters has apt commentary.