May 30, 2004

Off to work

May 30 - I have to go in to work this afternoon but should be back around 1 a.m.

I do have the secret to working the night shift: endure (aka just do it.) Sigh. More later.

Posted by Debbye at 03:16 PM | Comments (3)

Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Khobar Towers attack

May 30 - Saudi Hostage Siege Ends.

Those killed in the 25-hour shooting rampage and subsequent hostage crisis included an American, a Briton, an Italian, eight Indians and three Filipinos ... The Egyptian boy who was killed was the son of an Apicorp employee, ...
According to the CNN story,
A man believed by authorities to be the top al Qaeda figure in Saudi Arabia later purportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

A voice attributed to Abdel Aziz Muqrin posted on an Islamist Web site said he and his group managed to "slaughter" people from various countries, including the United States, Britain, and Italy.

The man, who called Saturday's attack "victorious," vowed to continue attacking Westerners until all had left the "Arab peninsula."

He called his group "al Qaeda in the Arab peninsula." Muqrin and other suspected al Qaeda operatives have used the term "Arab peninsula" to refer to Saudi Arabia, whose government they want to overthrow.

The attackers reportedly desecrated the bodies of their victims and dragged one body behind a car. I guess that's supposed to scare us.

Posted by Debbye at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

Mark Steyn on Memorial Day

May 30 - The great one marks Memorial Day by pointing to the ubiquitous victimology that dominates our senile Old Media and elites in Recalling a time when setbacks didn't deter us recalling the turmoil of the Civil War:

But that's the difference between then and now: the loss of proportion. They had victims galore back in 1863, but they weren't a victim culture. They had a lot of crummy decisions and bureaucratic screwups worth re-examining, but they weren't a nation that prioritized retroactive pseudo-legalistic self-flagellating vaudeville over all else. They had hellish setbacks but they didn't lose sight of the forest in order to obsess week after week on one tiny twig of one weedy little tree.

There is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites -- from the deranged former vice president down -- want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.

There's another difference too: after the Civil War, it was the victors who "waved the bloody shirt" in order to justify the imposition of harsh conditions on the defeated South. It became as tiresome and a sure sign of hypocrisy as, well, "it's for the children."

Today it's those opposed to the war who wave the bloody shirt, presumably to prove they support the troops although they oppose the mission, and they too have become tiresome.

I'm a little out of the newsloop. Every time I turned on CNN we were back to old photos out of Abu Ghraib with a brief foray which tried to depict disgraced Gen. Kapinski as a victim or attempts to paint the situation in Najaf as failed negotiations even as they report the numbers of more dead al Mehdi thugs. Evidently Old Media failed to draw some lessons about strategy from events at Fallujah. As for Fallujah, it's off the map now, which tells me things are going according to plan.

CNN dutifully reported on the discovery of more sarin and mustard gas but the commentator (David Ensor, I think?) said that they were old, pre-Gulf War I, but still "technically" WMD. Usually the death-quoted "technically" is followed by an explanation of what something "really" is, but the pundit left it there. Nice spin. Do "old" WMD not indicate the violation of the ceasefire agreement that halted Gulf War I and several subsequent UN resolutions? Do "old" WMD not kill?

The goal posts were moved after Dr. Kay's report which said that although they had not found stockpiles of WMD they had found active weapons programs and numerous violations of the ceasefire and UN resolutions.

Now it seems nothing will do but finding a huge cache of WMD with a sign that says "Saddam's Personal Stash."

I'm still an unreconstructed optimist: every dead Medhi fighter is one more reason to be optimistic about the June 30 handover. Iran's withdrawal of support for Muqtada al Sadr is another reason to be optimistic.

The question in November is becoming, increasingly, the extent to which the American public can read past the propaganda and spin put out by Old Media and use their common sense.

Posted by Debbye at 01:11 PM | Comments (2)

The terror threat and Canada

May 30 - Both Canada and the USA face national elections soon. The March 11 bombing attack in Madrid and the impact it had on the national elections there produced a lot of theorizing and speculation and Wednesday, US Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller (ref. 'Clear and present danger') went public with their concerns about the potential for a terrorist attack in the USA given the upcoming US elections.

The inclusion of two Canadians, including the notorious Jdey, forces the thought that Canada may well be the target. (There will be a national election here June 28.)

Shortly after Sept. 11, I asked Mark what he thought the public response would be in Canada if there was a terrorist attack here. He replied that people would complain about gas prices (he's a dyed-in-the-wool cynic.)

Well, Canadians are already complaining about gas prices, so I raised the question again last night, and he responded that Canadians are finally "getting" it and would correctly aim their outrage at the terrorists even though Old Media would use the attack as another plank in their anti-American campaign.

The one thing Westerners (civilisationally, not regionally!) still have had difficulty grasping is that al Qaeda doesn't care which party rules a country: their aim is to destablize and terrify, period. How do I know that? Because al Qaeda told us so.

We also have trouble accepting what al Qaeda says at face value, even though their track record indicates that are stating the unvarnished truth.

That's why appeasement is as fruitless now as it has always been, why US withdrawal from Saudi military bases and the ending of UN sanctions on Iraq (remember bin Laden's justification for jihad against the US?) resulted in an increase of armed confrontation in Saudi Arabia and their open alignment with the Ba'athists in Iraq even though it was Saddam's corruption of the U.N. Oil-For-Food program that caused the deaths of Iraqi babies.

There is an additional complication: the full-blown, outright anti-Americanism led by the Toronto Star and CBC is bound to cause a reaction from Americans. The outpouring of American solidarity with Spain - then an ally - after the March 11 may not be matched if Canada - not an ally - is hit. The fact that Canada's military and security forces are already over-extended and the unfortunate circumstance that an idiot (Anne McClellan) is in charge of Canadian security puts the ruling Liberal Party in a bit of a briar patch: if PM Martin choses to use Opposition leader Stephen Harper's support of the US effort in Iraq as a weapon during the electoral campaign, he further exacerbates relations between the US and Canada but if a terrorist attack happens up here and he calls upon the US to help Canada, more than a few Americans will say "Call France."

It saddens me, but I'll be one of them, or at least I'll be conflicted. Is a docile Canadian citizenry worth the lives of America's sons and daughters? Or are Canadians less docile than they themselves have been led to believe?

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and it will be sadder this year than in years past. We've lost some outstanding men and women in Iraq and will lose more. We knew going in that the losses would deprive us of the kind of people that make our country strong and could only pray that their sacrifices would inspire others much as President Lincoln articulated in his Gettysburg Address: so "they not have died in vain."

It's hard to keep perspective up here in Toronto, and hard to remember that, despite it's pretensions, Toronto is not the Center of the Universe much less Canada.

But (and this may seem contradictory) there is a different Canadian that co-exists with that portrayed by the media. The hockey game last night is a case in point: Jerome Iginla scored a Gordie Howe hat trick: a goal, an assist, and a fight.

Is a country that cheers Canadians like Iginla truly passive? I don't think so. But then, it's not me that has to get it, it's Canadians themselves who could be on the brink of defining themselves in something in terms other than unlike Americans.

Posted by Debbye at 10:55 AM | Comments (3)

Is Joe Clark delusional or unscrupulous?

May 30 - A real question mark has been raised about former Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark in this Greg Weston column Clark, McLellan: They had it made. Read the whole thing.

I don't know if it's true; certainly it would explain some of the odd behaviour by the old Progressive Conservative party leadership, but it's based on "unnamed sources" which leaves it short of total authenticity.

Posted by Debbye at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2004

Fix Bayonets

May 26 - Ghost of a Flea sent me this link to a Steyn column in the Chicago Sun-Times, Don't give Iraqis self-rule all at once.

Mark refers to events from a Sun (UK) leader (since expired) (UPDATE: link to article in the Scotsman on the engagement here) which Flea had referred to here about a group of Argyll and Sutherland highlanders who fixed bayonets and charged after coming under fire in Amara.

As always, Mark gets it:

If you're used to smart bombs, unmanned drones and doing it all by computer back at HQ, you're probably wondering why a modern Western army is still running around with bayonets at the end of their rifles. The answer is that it's a very basic form of psychological warfare.

''If you're defending a position and you see someone advancing with a bayonet, you may be more inclined to surrender,'' Col. Ed Brown told the British newspaper the Guardian. ''I've never been bayoneted, but I can imagine it's pretty gruesome.''

Resolve in battle and politics means using all the tools in your box.

Of course, the column is about more than the use of a bayonet charge in modern warfare (it is Steyn, after all) and looks at something very basic to the future of Iraq:

There are some 8,000 towns and villages in the country. How many do you hear about on the news? For a week, it's all Fallujah all the time. Then it's Najaf, and nada for anywhere else. Currently, 90 percent of Iraqi coverage is about one lousy building: Abu Ghraib. So what's going on in the other 7,997 dots on the map?
The "news we trust" is curiously silent on that point, but probably because it's hard to report much news when one's views are filtered through a poolside perch in the Palestine Hotel.
In the Shia province of Dhi Qar, a couple hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, 16 of the biggest 20 cities plus many smaller towns will have elected councils by June. These were the first free elections in Dhi Qar's history and ''in almost every case, secular independents and representatives of nonreligious parties did better than the Islamists.'' That assessment is from the anti-war anti-Bush anti-Blair Euro-lefties at the Guardian, by the way.
President Bush made much the same point in his speech Monday night (see Towards a Free Iraq below) and the theme is the same: grass roots democracy is the well-spring from which consensual government is nourished and protected.
The best bulwark against tyranny is a population that knows the benefits of freedom, as the Iraqi Kurds do. Don't make the mistake of turning Iraq into a dysfunctional American public school, where the smart guys get held down to the low standards of the misfits and in the end they all get the same social promotion anyway. Let's get on with giving the Kurdish and Shia areas elected governors and practical sovereignty, province by province.

And then fix bayonets and stick it to the holdouts.

Posted by Debbye at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

Towards a free Iraq

May 26 - Monday night, President Bush made the first in a series of speeches in which he will lay out plans for implementing the goals of Operation Iraq Freedom, the role we are playing, and the steps to transfer power to the Iraqi people (Troops Are in Iraq to Make It Free.) The text of the speech is available here.

Our coalition has a clear goal, understood by all -- to see the Iraqi people in charge of Iraq for the first time in generations. America's task in Iraq is not only to defeat an enemy, it is to give strength to a friend — a free, representative government that serves its people and fights on their behalf. And the sooner this goal is achieved, the sooner our job will be done.
The president laid out five steps for achieving this goal. The first is the transfer of power to Iraqis. U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will be working with Iraqis to set up an interim council including a President, two Vice-Presidents, a Prime Minister, and 26 Ministers. 12 government ministries are already under the control of Iraqis.
All along, some have questioned whether the Iraqi people are ready for self-government, or even want it. And all along, the Iraqi people have given their answer. In settings where Iraqis have met to discuss their country's future, they have endorsed representative government. And they are practicing representative government. Many of Iraq's cities and towns now have elected town councils or city governments - and beyond the violence, a civil society is emerging.
The foundation for a free society comes from the bottom - grass roots democracy - and establishing Iraqi control over local, day-to-day government is what will build the confidence of Iraqis that they can take control of their country and build it for the betterment of their and their children's futures.

The second step is to establish security and stability. I think that is the most difficult and most exciting of the tasks at hand, because implementing that step will ultimately involve a transfer of power as well, although it now takes the shape of partnership, itself a signficant if risky endeavour. Referring to the steps taken in response to events at Fallujah:

We want Iraqi forces to gain experience and confidence in dealing with their country's enemies. We want the Iraqi people to know that we trust their growing capabilities, even as we help build them. At the same time, Fallujah must cease to be a sanctuary for the enemy, and those responsible for terrorism will be held to account.
Somebody referred to the failed uprisings fomented by the Sunnis and Muqtada al-Sadr as "the dog that didn't bark," referring to the things that haven't happened as more indicative of the state of affairs in Iraq than those things that have happened and which have been reported.

The Sunnis have not revolted in significant numbers. Shi'as have not joined Muqtada al-Sadr. The indignation over Abu Ghraib has been exploited everywhere but with noticeable silence from Iraq itself.

Only the future will be able to adequately judge the steps taken by the US and her allies to establish consensual government in a Mid-east country. I doubt the debate will end soon, but I remain committed to the cause.

Read the president's speech and judge for yourself. As we have said so often, the ability to read the documents ourselves rather than rely on the filter of others is one of the most exciting gifts of the internet.

Posted by Debbye at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

Sporadic posting alert

May 26 - Sorry for the silence, I'm back on midnights and trying to duck the garlic and pointed wooden thingies ... oh yeah, and trying to sleep while everyone is determined to be really, really noisy.

Posting will be somewhat sporadic over the next couple of days while I work on being awake and coherent simultaneously.

The good news is that I am supposed to be on this shift until the end of June, which means some kind of internal routine should kick in. (I have no proof this will happen, but it just seems logical.)

Posted by Debbye at 03:54 PM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2004

Reads that make you go "hmm"

May 23 - When you live in Ontario, aka the Center of the Universe, news from Canada tend to end at the borders of the GTA (although some information about the national government does trickle down from Ottawa, we hear or read little about the doings in Ottawa itself.)

As for the west, if it isn't sports-related it just isn't important, right? Uh huh.

I have to get off to work, and am still wading through Bill's latest essay (see below) but if you already got through it here's a bit more:

Terror in the Heartland? by Shafer Parker and some thoughts on the defeatism of Old Media, a David Warren essay, both from the Western Standard.

Belmont Club has Trivial Pursuit and The Wedding Party 2 and Winds of Change has Why is Israel in Gaza. I'm having Jenin horror stories flashbacks. Did you really believe disinformation was a unique Western practice?

I should mention Winds of Change more often because the group puts out an incredible amount of interesting, multi-linked information. There's a number of posts on the Sufism branch of Islam and are starting a regular Hatewatch briefing.

Warning: reading Winds of Change and following their many links can become a (good) habit.

On a lighter note, Rocket Jones has a neat story about the payload aboard an amateur rocket that achieved space.

I'm off work tomorrow for Victoria Day, but looking forward to the Angel marathon running on Space: The Imagination Station (they better show Hero and Lullaby. I'm just sayin' ...)

The big news is that Philly is O-U-T of the playoffs. Boo hoo. I've got family in Tampa, but too bad, cuz. Time for the Cup to come back North.

Go Calgary! and everyone have a good weekend with lots of fireworks and fun. Hopefully the clouds will lift from Toronto for tomorrow night's bash.

Posted by Debbye at 11:17 PM | Comments (5)


May 22

Honor and shame trump everything in that world. A pithy sentence, eh? So instead, think about what it would take for you to kill your own daughter with a knife, with your bare hands, because she was seen in the company of a man not her husband or a relative? Think about that. Think long and hard.
What would it take for you to murder your daughter with a knife, or a knotted cord – with your own two hands and against her pleading, her protestations, and her begging for her life? If your response wasn’t “there is nothing that could make me do that,” then stop reading right here and get the hell off my property.
From Bill Whittle's latest essay, Strength, (part 1). (part 2 is here.)
Posted by Debbye at 10:52 PM | Comments (2)

UK Envoy injured in terrorist attack

May 22 - From The Telegraph (UK), Envoy injured by blast:

The British high commissioner to Bangladesh and his bodyguard were among 50 people injured yesterday when a bomb was thrown near a Muslim shrine.

Two people were killed in the blast from the bomb which struck Anwar Choudhury, 43, in the stomach before rolling away to explode.


Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said he was "deeply shocked" adding: "Details of exactly what happened and the nature of the injuries are not clear."

The shrine has been attacked before and it was not clear if the diplomat was the target.

A senior doctor who treated Mr Choudhury said he had soft tissue injuries in his right leg, but was "in good health". Mr Choudhury and his bodyguard, who was also lightly injured, were flown to Dhaka on a Bangladeshi air force helicopter sent by Begum Khaleda Zia, the prime minister.

There's a bit more information in this item in the Australian news.

Posted by Debbye at 01:18 AM | Comments (2)

May 21, 2004

The New Reactionaries

May 21 - Roger Simon, in The New Reactionaries, comments on his conclusions after reading Congress, Media Could Talk U.S. Into Iraq Defeat

Meanwhile, the Zarqawis of the world are winning this war. And I can promise you one thing -- it's a lot more important than George W. Bush, John Kerry, anybody in Congress and the Media and any one single person. It's about civilization versus a death cult. Make a choice!

More on the role of the media: this Glenn Reynolds post on some poll results which indicate dissatisfaction with Old Media is becoming more widespread, and Donald Sensing has Duelling Biases and some fed-up Marine Moms who I wouldn't want to tangle with.

Posted by Debbye at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

Linky stuff

May 21 - There's a new blog in MuNu called Memeblog. It's your one-stop reference for carnivals and memes in the blogosphere.

Do not forget to check out the Carnival of the Canucks. It's being hosted by Ghost of a Flea and this week's theme is Fat, drunk and Canadian.

Fix bayonets! God bless our British allies. (Read the post and follow the link - it's a shiver moment.)

Today in Canada marks the official beginning of the Victoria Day weekend which is the biggest, bashing-est, drinking-iest, planting-est weekend of the year! Many folks up here will likely spend this weekend talking about the Stanley Cup finals which finally has a Canadian team in it. (Yes, it is spring in Ontario. Yes, it is odd to watch a hockey game in May. We do it anyway.)

Go Calgary!

Today is "Lend Me Your Links Friday" over at West Coast's Absinthe and Cookies, so I'm linking to her link. If you don't visit her daily you should, because visiting her site is much like visiting her at home, curling up up in a chair and chatting about all kinds of different things. It's hard to convey warmth over cyberspace, but she does it. She also gives good advice.

Paul has been busy pointing to the stupid, the atrocious, and the pathetic today. Good. Grief.

Is this really a coincidence? Or this? Now you know why it's Occam's Carbuncle.

Andrew Coyne is still missing, but his commenters aren't. (Must mean something that I keep checking back just to see what the commenters have been up to.) (Update: mystery solved by Trudeaupia.)

Expat Yank is still keeping on top of events from England Today's posts include one about a BBC reporter who was let out unsupervised. (We all hate when that happens ...)

Inside Europe: Iberian Notes also demolishes a reporter, this one from La Vanguardia.

On an intellectual note, Victor Davis Hanson is grading the war in today's post.

I've saved the best for last. Kate of SmallDeadAnimals wrote the ultimate response to that portion of the population that has been leaving comments and speculation and whatnot about that video and all things idiotarian in our comments sections.

Henceforth, I may elect to respond to weirdness in a soft-spoken, Clint Eastwood-y voice "Don't mess With Texas".

We're everywhere, even in Toronto.

Posted by Debbye at 07:26 PM | Comments (3)

Raid on Chalabi's House

May 21 - Much has been made of the raid on Chalabi's house yesterday (U.S. mililtary raids Chalabi's home, with more here and here) but there was also this CPA briefing.

People will believe what they chose to believe, but I have more faith in real people (with names) than the all too prevalent "sources" that dominate much of reporting these days. An excerpt from that CPA briefing:

Q: Owen Fay, Fox News. Dan, Ahmed Chalabi has just given a press conference in which he said that at least some of the documents seized today were related to the oil-for-food investigation. Could you tell us the primary thrust of the reason behind this raid and how significant a role the oil-for-food is playing?

MR. SENOR: I would refer you to the Iraqi police on that issue. My understanding is they are the ones who seized any documents. It was an Iraqi-led investigation, it was an Iraqi-led raid. It was the result of Iraqi arrest warrants.

The briefing also explains the relationship between the Iraqi police, investigations, and at what point Bremer takes a role.

In today's CPA briefing, Senor said

There was some news reporting last night that in the Iraqi police investigation -- sorry, in the Iraqi police operation yesterday morning, there were officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency involved in the operation. I just want to categorically deny that that occurred. There were no officials from the CIA, there were no officials from the FBI involved in the Iraqi police investigation. I just was hoping to clear that up today. I don't know if it was misreporting or misinformation, but whatever it was, it was incorrect.
And during the questions, this:
Q: Dan, which government agency or which government contract did the American plainclothes civilians, who were armed, who accompanied the soldiers, work for -- in the Chalabi raid?

MR. SENOR: They were -- sure. Well, first, let me say that there were no officials from the Central Intelligence Agency. There were no officials there from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. There were no Defense Intelligence Agency officials there. There were private contractors who work for the Ministry of Interior. And their job is primarily -- my understanding is, their job is the professionalization of the Iraqi police service. So they were there to observe and advise the Iraqi police during this operation, as they do on numerous operations. They are the only non-Iraqis, to my understanding, that were there.

There was one woman, an -- who was American, who identified herself as an employee of the Iraqi National Congress, who was there when the police service arrived on the scene.

GEN. KIMMITT: And Dexter, you said, escorted the "soldiers." I know you meant the Iraqi police.

There were U.S. soldiers that were involved in the outer cordon. The only purpose in this operation was that if there was any collateral violence that was associated with this, with their responsibility to maintain a safe and secure environment throughout Baghdad, that's what they were there for. But, however, the actual police operation was one conducted by the Iraqi police.

David Frum has an post on the Chalabi raid and, in fact, Chalabi himself here.

He nails the underlying issue:

It is puzzling to me that the same people who refuse to believe the US government when it says its forces hit a terrorist safe house, not a wedding partner, are all credulity when anonymous sources inside that same government declare that Ahmed Chalabi is the center of a vast sinister conspiracy.
David Frum makes a number of sensible points about all the rumours and unknowns that dominate this story, including those that the raid was connected to seizing documents that related to the Oil-for-Food (UNSCAM) investigation.

I think I'll wait until I actually know something before I pass judgement.

May 22 - 00:02: More thoughts from Adam Daifallah vis this Shotgun post, Roger Simon, and Stephen at Friends of Saddam.

Posted by Debbye at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2004

Angel Finale

May 20 - I guess this my formal good-bye to mainstream media (unless Justice League shows some spark, and I don't mean the 'shipping) as the last program I regularly watch ended last night.

Some posts marking this sad event from Denise Angel Goes Bye Bye and Laughing Wolf It Will Be Alright.

The rabid fan following must seem weird to those who didn't follow Buffy the Vampire-Slayer and Angel, but when you think about it, it isn't the least bit strange.

In the pre-Sept. 11 world, there was little admission in the entertainment industry that "evil" and "soul" existed much less were significant. Those things were canon in the Buffyverse.

Remember how the news media pundits gravely stated that "irony was dead?" That may have been the first thing that made me belly-laugh after Sept. 11, because I was on strictly moderated Buffy and Angel forums that dealt forcefully with spoilers, flaming posts and off-topic discussions.

Buffy in particular told stories within a framework of metaphor and sub-text, so discussions about the sub-text of the show merged sub-textually with discussions about Sept 11 and the existence of evil which had suddenly leapt from the realm of fiction to a gaping hold in Manhatten.

And, at times, it seemed the only one who didn't "get it" was Joss, because Buffy that season focused on growing up, not because we "wanted" it but because we "needed" it. It's no accident fans called it the Season from Hell and regretted that Buffy had been resurrected. And Spuffy. I'll never get over the long season of Spuffy and those three pathetic evil-doers.

I could so clearly see the demise of irony. Oh yes indeed.

Angel, on the other hand, had an arc that seemed tailor-made to a post-Sept. 11 audience. It told of a good man who knowingly lapsed into evil in his fanatic quest for vengeance. I have no idea how Keith Szarabajka regarded his Holtz character, although the name of his official website might be a clue.

The Holtz arc remains and will probably always be an all-time favourite of mine, and along the way we got the MacOracle and one of the best death scenes of all time.

Angel also gave us "Numfar, do the Dance of Shame."

People who want to examine this from an intellectual perspective might wonder why the same fan base seemingly exists with the three Whedon vehicles, Farscape, and Babylon Five. And a fairly good number of posters were overt Gilbert and Sullivan fans before Gunn had his upgrade. (It was an Iolanthe thing over Connor's mixed heritage. Don't ask.)

I'm off to work, but left some mild spoilers and more analysis in the extended section ...

Nice synchronicity too, like having Connor come out of nowhere to deliver a stinging punch to a Firefly alumnus just as Angel had delivered in the Buffy finale to another Firefly alumnus.

We got an answer: Connor knew.

Lindsey died and Eve didn't. (I can't believe Denise didn't comment on that.)

One prophecy was fulfilled: Cordelia did pass her vision thing along to Angel (although he said it was a one-shot deal.)

Another prophecy will be unfulfilled. Is that legal?

Some are speculating that an army of slayers showed up to defeat the Demon Army, but I'd settle for Faith (and maybe Principal Wood.)

Buffy lived in Italy, an ally, but not France. That proves I was right and Joss supported Operation Iraqi Freedom!

On the cliff-hanger ending, Joss always has alternated between seasonal endings being cliff-hangers or conclusions. Last season concluded with the end of the Jasmine arc, so I think he just stayed on form. (Okay, the 6th and 7th seasons of Buffy both ended in arc-conclusion mode. I can shoot down my own theory!)

Denise and LW bring up their observations on the posts linked above, and Denise links to some Jonah Goldberg posts on the Angel finale here and here.

As for the dragon and Angel's calling dibs on it, the Buffy Season 5 finale showed a dragon flying through the portal, and many of us wondered where it went and what happened to it. I haven't had a chance to compare dragons, but wouldn't it be wonderful if Buffy's MIA dragon ended up on Angel?

J. Michael Straczynski called it symmetry. I call it treating the audience with respect.

Thank you, Joss.

May 21 - 08:06: David Janes mixed up his Morks and Angels, but he does link to a nifty piece from Jim Treacher Top 10 Favorite Moments In The Final Angel, In No Particular Order. I really agree with Number 6.

One thing I forgot to include: Lorne sang again!

Posted by Debbye at 07:24 PM | Comments (9)

Sept. 11 Commission transcripts

May 21 - The transcripts for the Sept. 11 Commission session of May 18-19 are here in .pdf format (with the exception of Giuliani's testimony.)

Here is the link to the WaPo article Giuliani Directs Blame Solely at 9/11 Terrorists. Hopefully they will post the transcript and link it to that page.

Posted by Debbye at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

Australia (Football) Rules

Mah 20 - Ozguru is liable if my fall off my chair resulted in any injury ... he's got two posts that require Hazard to Your Gravity warnings: Insufficient Corruption and Real Footy.

I've seen those men in the white suits on the rare airing of Australian football. It's freaking surreal.

Posted by Debbye at 06:44 PM | Comments (2)

Anti-semitism in Alberta

May 20 - There's an article by Ezra Levant in the Western Standard to which I'm late linking but no one should miss it: A riot, two firebombings and bin Laden graffiti--in friendly Alberta. That's right, in Alberta.

I wasted days before posting it because I was trying to summarize and isolate key quotes; it defied me, and that's a compliment. It just hangs together too well to pick and chose, and the context musn't be lost.

You might also check out this account of some gays who attempted to join a demonstration in support of the people of Palestine. The article saddened me.

Why don't women and gays recognize the danger aimed directly at them by extreme Islamicism? Probably because that kind of thing lies beyond our experiences in the West - the same kind of upside down reasoning that figures the abuses at Abu Ghraib are equal to the abuses of Saddam.

Here, a woman can get angry if a man opens the door for her. When that's the definition of oppression, how does one comprehend honour killings?

Or maybe it's all right-wing propaganda. Yeah! That's it! Right-wing racist propaganda! /sarcasm

Seeing is not necessarily believing, I guess.

Healing Iraq and Iraq the Model are full of excellent posts and provide a lot of common sense that media pundits should heed.

I have to go in to work tonight, so I'll leave you to read those.

And, sorry Sharks fans, but GO FLAMES!!.

Posted by Debbye at 02:34 PM | Comments (2)

Lileks and Steyn

May 20 - What a glory the internet is: I get to invoke the names of James Lileks and Mark Steyn in one sentence.

From Lileks:

Hello, it’s another Seymour Hersh article on the prison scandal.

Anything on the Berg slaughter? Alas, no. That was a one-off, it seems, an aberration. Move along, nothing to see. Hersh’s article ends: “’We’re giving the world a ready-made excuse to ignore the Geneva Convention. Rumsfeld has lowered the bar.’” Ah. Hereafter the terrorists will be emboldened to saw people’s heads off with dull blades. I’m not going to get into any of that, except to say: 1. the UN Food-for-Oil scandal continues apace. And 2. The first sentence has been handed down in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal. A downgrade, a bad-conduct discharge, a year in the pokey.

Questions: is the Oil-for-Food scandal characteristic of the UN, or not? Is the Abu Ghraib scandal characteristic of the US Armed Forces, or not?

Which body acted swiftly to investigate? Which body opened itself to public hearings and condemnations? Which body put the bad guy in the dock, held a trial, and pronounced sentence?

Mark Steyn in UN fetish:
The best rule of politics is this: Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Is the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq perfect? No.
Is it good? Yes.
Was Saddam Hussein's rule perfect? No.
Was it good? No.


Is the UN perfect? No.

Is the UN good? Well, I'm not sure I'd even say that. But if you object to what's going on in those Abu Ghraib pictures - the sexual humiliation of prisoners and their conscription as a vast army of extras in their guards' porno fantasies - then you might want to think twice about handing over Iraq to the UN.

In Eritrea, the government recently accused the UN mission of, among other offences, pedophilia. In Cambodia, UN troops fueled an explosion of child prostitutes and AIDS. Amnesty International reports that the UN mission in Kosovo has presided over a massive expansion of the sex trade, with girls as young as 11 being lured from Moldova and Bulgaria to service international peacekeepers.

There's a lot more, so you know what to do (besides, it's Steyn!)

Does anyone remember the president mentioning the child sex trade and slavery recently? Yes.
Does anyone remember Kerry mentioning those two issues? How about Chirac? Shoeder? Putin?

Posted by Debbye at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

Think of the children!

May 20 - No, really, that's what the Ontario premier said in defence of the latest budget: It's for the sake of the kids.

"I know we are placing a burden on our families," McGuinty said yesterday. "I'm asking our families to think not only of themselves, but also of their children and the kind of health care system that we long to leave to the next generation." (Emphasis added)
I really wonder at our premier's lack of imagination and good sense to invoke an over-worked phrase which would inevitably provoke so much derision in order to justify tax hikes.

Sheesh, is it too much to ask that they pretend to make an effort? Like maybe try to dress old garbage in a new package? Isn't that what we pay them for?

Damian Penny recently wrote me that Helen Lovejoy is responsible for that phrase:

"Oh, won't somebody please think of the children!!!"

So there you have it folks; the Ontario budget is an upcoming Simpson's episode.

Posted by Debbye at 01:16 PM | Comments (2)

Everyone is Part of the War

May 20 - Austin Bay is about to ship out with his reserve unit to Iraq. Read his good-bye column Everyone Is Part of the War.

Via Instapundit, who quotes Rudy Guiliani in the same post.

Never overlook a segue; this one is via Ghost of a Flea, on confirmation that the Sept. 11 Commission has jumped the shark.

Posted by Debbye at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

On Old Media II (Updated)

May 20 - I had earlier noted Parts I-III of Laughing Wolf's series on Old Media. Part IV is available here.

Belmont Club further explores issues in media coverage in The Wedding Party. Wretchard looks at the conflicting reports over a strike in western Iraq with attention to those tell-tales of the initial reports which would urge the reporter go forward for a better look:

Why was a wedding party in full swing at 02:45 am in the middle of the desert? A glance at the map would show the area in which the wedding took place was 250 kilometers from "Dr. Salah al-Ani, who works at a hospital in Ramadi," and who "put the death toll at 45." A long way to go for medical treatment or burial when Qusabayah is 50 kilometers away. Under normal circumstances, there are two wounded for every dead. By the normal ratios there should have been at least 90 injured. There was a videotape of "showing a truck containing bodies of people who were allegedly killed in the incident. Most of the bodies were wrapped in blankets and other cloths, but the footage showed at least eight uncovered, bloody bodies, several of them children. One of the children was headless." A video of the dead, but where were the wounded?

Nothing to discredit the initial report on the face of it, and Faramarzi was correct in reporting the initial details, but there enough for someone to say 'get in closer for a better look'. Long before we found out about the satcom radios, the weapons and the cash at the "wedding party". In a war where battlefield reality is no longer directly experienced by the majority, the 'closer look' is all the public has to on which to base decisions which may spell national victory or defeat. But sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? If the newspapers have neither tracking cell, nor map, nor ruler, nor calendar to follow events how can the public tell what really happened? At this writing, 24 hours after the initial story, some newspapers are still reporting the incident as an attack on a wedding party while others describe it as a strike against a militant group. Two versions and no closure.

Read the whole thing.

13:32: This is the initial AP report which appeared in today's paper.

Posted by Debbye at 10:45 AM | Comments (1)

Prisedent Yasser Arafat

May 20 - Thanks to J.M. Heinrichs, for sending this: Prisedent Yasser Arafat.

I was puzzled, admittedly, until I read the site.

Update: That isn't a typo in the title.

Posted by Debbye at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

Official Lynndie Fan Site

May 20 - I had to double-check, just in case this was a ScrappleFace or Broken Newz item, but it is true: Right Wing News tells of an official Lynndie England fan site.

This one is for real. Go figure.

Posted by Debbye at 09:44 AM | Comments (2)

Emmanuel Goldstein Personified

May 19 - Given some recent postings about great literature, this look at the Orwell novel 1984 seemed appropriate.

In Mudville Gazette's post The New Goldstein and Your Two Minutes Hate, Greyhawk quotes the passage describing the Two Minute Hate, and puts it in a context many of us should have but didn't recognize.

I haven't read the book in years, and think maybe I need to dig it out for a re-read.

Posted by Debbye at 09:07 AM | Comments (3)

May 19, 2004

Budget puts premiums on healthcare

May 19 - It's just too depressing to post about the Ontario budget that was presented today. Cigarettes, beer and renewal of driver's licenses are going up, and in a really nasty move, we will be paying out of pocket for eye exams as well as chiropractors and physiotherapy (Liberals see a need for health premium.)

Jack's Newswatch has a Donato cartoon that pretty much sums up my mood. CTV seems to have a pretty comprehensive round-up of today's dismal budget.

We're going to a friend's surprise birthday party, so I'll be back later.

Posted by Debbye at 07:28 PM | Comments (3)

Court upholds restrictions on electoral spending

May 19 - Court OKs 'gag law' or, as Damian Penny puts it, "But for the life of me, I simply cannot comprehend the idea that less speech from anyone other than a political party is essential to safeguard democracy ..."

Bob at Let It Bleed comments on a column on the subject by the Toronto Star's Carol Goar. Needless to say, he isn't gentle.

Welcome back, Bob!

Posted by Debbye at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

Unbiased CNN (Sept. 11 hearings)

May 19 - CNN titles this item about Guiliani's testimony before the Sept. 11 Commission "Giuliani: NYC not told about al Qaeda briefing."

Here is the text of the memo (it's in Adobe Acrobat format.)

Mark just yelled out "Akron wasn't told either!" What he said.

May 20 - 18:30: Michelle live-blogged Mayor Guiliani's testimony here. I prefer her coverage to CNN's.

Posted by Debbye at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

Zerbisias vs. Bloggers and a sad announcement

May 19 - Blog readers are probably aware of some shots exchanged between Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias and some noted bloggers, including Damian Penny, James Lileks and Kathy Shaidle.

Damian led off with his reponse and links to other responses in Welcome Toronto Star readers, Antoniapalooza! and More Zerb Reaction (including links to James Lilek's and Bob Tarantino's reponses.)

Today, the Star published Damian's response in their Letter's to the Editor with an edit; see Damian's The Missing Scare Quotes.

I hesitated to comment on this because on one level - a level that Zerbisias should be ashamed to occupy - the woman has a point: bloggers who support Operation Iraq Freedom are less happy than we could be. The deaths that have happened this spring have hurt us. How fortunate for Zerbisias that she can sidestep that to rejoice in our grief.

We started with optimism as the new Iraq Constitution was presented only to shock when over 178 Shi'ias were killed, 140 killed in the bombing attacks of the Ashura religious processionals in Iraq and 38 in Pakistan.

Iraqi and soldier bloggers have made news of terrorist attacks very personal for us. That is one of the joys of the blogosphere, but one of the drawbacks: someone you know may be among the wounded or dead.

Does she know that there were insurrections in parts of Iran following the rigged elections there? Or that International Women's Day Marches were attacked by security forces in Iran?

Crackdowns in Iran matter to people who know that Iranian bloggers are in constant danger of exposure and arrest. Zerb, of course, doesn't have that kind of worry gnawing at her.

How about the March 11 terrorist attack in Madrid? Not a real happy event. There were also attacks in Kosovo, Israel, the Hotel Lebanon in Baghdad was bombed killing over 20 people, and the Kurds in Syria had an uprising too that was harshly put down.

A wave of anti-Semitic acts swept the Toronto area beginning that month. That didn't make me happy either, nor did the fire-bombing of a Montreal school.

Canadian Andy Bradsell was killed, as was blogger Bob Zangas and the Men of Fallujah. Fallujah was brought under control with persistence and US military deaths. I felt gratitude and humility, but not joy.

The disgraceful conduct of some soldiers at the Abu Graib prison didn't make me happy nor did the murder of Nick Berg.

Maybe we aren't happy, Zerb, because we actually care about what we read. We care about the deaths of innocents. We don't have your capacity to rejoice when innocent people die because we see things differently: you want President Bush to be proven wrong, and we want to see the end of this scourge called terrorism.

You want President Bush to be proven wrong, and we want to see Iraq take its place as a free country that can confidently take its place in the world and be a beacon of hope for Arabs.

Most of all, our focus isn't about being right, it's about trying to get it right. But then history won't judge you at all, because you won't rate a mention.

I'm bringing all this up now because another member of the blogosphere has had a death in her family. Via Wizbang, Gennie of Dizzy Girl lost her nephew in Iraq. He was a Marine who was hit by shrapnel while handing out candy and frisbee to some Iraqi kids. Read that again, and realize that the kids were present.

He was a hero, and he exemplifies everything that is right about US soldiers and our mission in Iraq.

It's so hard to write about this. It's so hard to log onto a soldier's blog, or a blog from Iraq, or a blog from Iran, and note that he or she hasn't posted for a couple of days and not be afraid for them.

The war has a personal face for most of us, and it isn't fun or happy. But for some reason, we manage to keep posting. And we manage to do it with a lot more class, restraint and compassion that anything you churn out.

Posted by Debbye at 03:30 PM | Comments (4)

Belmont Club, the DoD, Blackfile and Mudville Gazette

May 19 - One of my first daily reads is Belmont Club. (Sometimes I have to hit the refresh button to get the site to load properly, danged blogger, but it's worth it.)

Then I go to the Defend America website and read incredibly important announcements like this one and then back to Belmont Club later after in the day to see if Wretchard analyzes it.

Dod and Wretchard have a lot in common: they are both concise and have to be read more than once to get the full impact.

Look, I'm a product of the 60's. It feels weird to me to trust things coming out of Department of Defense too, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and DoD has been consistently correct.

Should I trust Old Media, who have a poor track record, or DoD, who has a good track record?

So common sense compells me to drop old prejudices.

Back to Belmont, Wretchard is indispensable to anyone who wants to understand what the military is doing in Iraq.

Why? Because of little things like the three posts: "Magnolias by the Euphrates," "Magnolias by the Euphrates II," and the "Last Magnolias by the Euphrates." (Permalinks messed up, so maybe you should just go to the end of the page and scroll up.)

Because Wretchard saw and commented on the containment and constriction strategy in Fallujah.

Because Wretchard saw the partnership with the Iraq political and religious leadership in the isolation of Muqtada al-Sadr.

We are approaching the anniversary of D-Day, which by the way was a Major Military Operation.

Old Media doesn't understand military strategy or war. CNN can parade generals who have too much common sense to reveal what they think is going on or idiots who failed to recognize that OIF was a ground campaign so kept fretting that the air assault hadn't happened.

I have to go to work, but I got some real sleep yesterday and will be able to post and catch up on my correspondence (with many apologies to those to whom I owe letters.)

By the way, other daily reads are Blackfive and Greyhawk.

See this from Blackfive and consider the full implications.

Maybe that post illustrates best why I have so much faith in our mission in Iraq. Remember, it's named "Operation: Iraqi Freedom."

God bless America, and always honour those who serve.

Posted by Debbye at 04:30 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2004

UNSCAM and Canada

May 18 - Devastating summary of the connection between UNSCAM, the Desmarais family and PM Paul Martin in the Canada Free Press Cover Story (short-life link) starting with these:

First came the shock that United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s son, Kojo was connected to the ill-fated program. According to the New York Post On-Line edition, family members of former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali are officers of a Panamanian-registered company in which Benon Sevan, a UN assistant Secretary General, appointed to administer the oil-for-food program, had a connection.

The Post said it got its information about the Boutros-Ghali connection from Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a British businessman and advisor to the Iraqi governing council.

Claude Hankes-Drielsma is the man who retained the accounting firm KMPG to audit the UN Oil for Food program which was key to forcing Annan to agree to first an internal and then an independent inquiry on the program.
Just weeks ago, Boutros-Ghali was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada. Only nine foreigners have been so honoured, and even as the former UN Secretary General was receiving the award, some Canadian officials were calling it "strange" because the Rwandan genocide happened under his watch as UN Secretary General.
Remember Romeo Dallaire?
It was under Boutros-Ghali’s direction that the UN 420-page Our Global Neighbourhood, which produced the blueprint for global governance, was published.

When Boutros-Ghali left the UN, he went on to head the Francophonie, the organization of French-speaking nations.

It gets worse.

Canadians are also said to have made oil deals with Saddam, and ties with the Canadian Company involved go all the way up to Prime Minister Paul Martin’s office.

The involvement of Arthur Millholland is unproven; Martin ties to the Desmarais family is common knowledge.
In the Canadian connection, it’s a man called Paul Desmaris (sic). Desmaris is the largest shareholder and director of TotalFinaElf, the largest corporation in France, which held tens of billions of dollars in contracts with the deposed regime of Saddam Hussein.

Martin replaced Prime Minister Jean Chretien last December. Chretien’s daughter, France is married to Andre Desmaris, son of Paul Desmaris.

Martin maintains powerful UN connections through Annan’s special UN advisor Maurice Strong. In fact, Strong, who also happens to be the architect of the Kyoto Protocol, hired Martin in the 1960s to work for Paul Desmaris Sr.

According to respected Financial Post columnist Diane Francis, "In 1974, Desmaris made Martin president of Canada Steamship Lines and then in 1981, he made him spectacularly rich by selling the company to him and a partner for $180 million. Martin’s shipping company is estimated to be worth about $424 million, making him the 63rd richest person in Canada."

Shortly after his arrival in the Prime Minister’s office, Martin gave the company to his three sons.

The connection between Martin and Desmarais has never been in dispute, but utter the magic word Halliburton to stimulate the "no blood for oil" folks up here, not TotalFinaElf.

But imagine these business connections happened in the USA. But of course you don't have to imagine, because we've been subjected to the phrases "Bush's oil buddies" and "Cheney and his former company Halliburton" relentlessly. Why do Canada's prime ministers get a free pass?

I just don't get Canadian politics or the media. Except for the occasional Diane Francis column in the Financial Post, and to echo a National Post column on this theme by Elizabeth Nickson last January (no permalinks to the original source) this is a story that seemingly generates no interest or outrage.

I'm sorry to say this, but this is perhaps the Great Divide between Americans and Canadians. I'm at a loss to explain it, and maybe I'm wrong, but I just can't imagine that these kinds of business relationships would be ignored by either the media or the electorate in the USA.

Americans are not always that well informed either. Here I am getting increasingly concerned about Bremer's obstruction of the IGC invesigation of UNSCAM, an investigation about which few Americans are even aware (unless they read the NY Post, Wall Street Journal or Washington Times. Or are FNC viewers.)

Roger Simon has an explanation for Bremer's obstruction - of sorts.

Via Instapundit, who has an ouch-worthy conclusion.

Friends of Saddam also linked to this item, and has a category for Canadian connections to UNSCAM.

Posted by Debbye at 03:54 AM | Comments (8)

On Old Media

May 17 - Do they want us to lose?

The Laughing Wolf has a three-part analysis and answer to that question:

Part I,
Part II,
Part III.

Note new meme: Old Media. It's downright Rumsfeldian.

Posted by Debbye at 01:16 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

How quickly we forget

May 17 - There is a cartoon at trying to grok that is sober. Very, very sober.

I dare you to view it without catching your breath.

Posted by Debbye at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

Pizza wars

May 17 - M'kay, I suppose it is a free trade issue, but for pizza lovers its also a quality issue, as in Delissio tastes a lot better than McCain's. Pizza Pizza just got my business back. (Canada turns up heat on frozen pizza)

Posted by Debbye at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

Have you read these books?

May 17 - Seems there are 101 books that are recommended reading and people are 'fessing up, as this title suggests: (Well, I think I caught the 1952 movie version on cable around 2am once....)

Many of the books on this list that were assigned reading in high school and university (and often both) back in "my" day, so I don't think numbers give anyone bragging rights but might reveal age maturity ...

I'm borrowing from how Damien Penny indicated his "read" items and bolding my reads.

I'm using a double asterick to indicate books I began but abandoned (usually because I hated them.)

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot

Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert - The Stranger

Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard

Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment

Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays

Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury**
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones**
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary

Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis

Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild

Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick**
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm

Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago**
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales

Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac

Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein

Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five

Walker, Alice - The Color Purple**
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie.

Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse**
Wright, Richard - Native Son

May 18 - 04:50: Sarah has her list.

Posted by Debbye at 04:45 PM | Comments (6)

Mark Steyn

May 17 - Now's not the time for Bush to go soft:

The American people, no thanks to their media, still understand what's real and what's just cheesy Beltway dinner-theater. That's why the Abu Ghraib scandal is dead, even if the networks don't yet know it. It was dead before Nick Berg. It died because the Democrats and their media groupies overplayed their hand, as usual, and so turned a real scandal into just another fake scandal for senatorial windbags to huff and puff over.
The truth of this struck me when I was checking CNN to see what's new and surprised myself with my mental reaction to the ongoing coverage of the prisoner abuse story. I'm not sure I want to feel the way I'm beginning to feel, but I've still got enough vestigal amounts of Democrat in me to respect my feelings.

Luckily, I've abosrbed some Republican of late, so I can keep a check on my feelings and subject them to logic and reason.

... The war on terror will be lost in the talking shops of Washington -- i.e., it will be thanks to the lack of resolve inculcated by excessive exposure to blow-dried pundits and Senate hearings. The war now has two fronts. In Iraq, the glass is half-full. In Washington, it's half-empty, and draining fast.

The administration, in trying to see its way through both the phony crossfire and the real one, has been rattled by the fake war. Someone in the White House needs seriously to stiffen the Bush rhetoric. When the president talks about ''staying the course'' and ''bringing to justice'' the killers, he sounds like Bill Clinton, who pledged to stay the course in Somalia and bring to justice the terrorists, and did neither. Bush has to go back to speaking Rumsfeldian, not Powellite: He has to talk about winning total ivctory, hunting down the enemy and killing them.

What he said.

Posted by Debbye at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

He's baaack!

May 17 - Paul's back! He's re-invigorated! He had a vacation! (and I didn't.) I better stop before I get really mad at him ...

He's got two eye-popping posts already:
Syrians and equipment involved in North Korea train wreck, which puts me in mind of the $10 million Saddam spent via Syrian intermediaries for SCUD missiles,

and something we should be hearing a lot more about in Roadside bomb in Iraq contained Sarin (but don't hold your breath - CNN is still leading with prisoner abuse stories.) Here is the DoD press release on the subject.

Paul makes reference to sending a dead crow to Hans Blix, which went right over my head ...

(Cut me some slack - I'm still waking up. There are downsides to working the graveyard shift, but one of them has got to be switching and being at work tomorrow at 6 a.m. I can't help wondering if I'd improve my chances by just staying awake all night - I could do that sort of thing a couple of decades ago ...)

May 18 - 13:40: Ozguru expresses his welcome back and then some!

Posted by Debbye at 02:56 PM | Comments (3)

Current President of Iraqi Governing Council killed in car bomb

May 17 -

16:51 CNN is announcing a new president for the Iraqi Governing Council has been sworn in (same link as the earlier one):

A civil engineer from the northern city of Mosul was sworn in Monday to replace the assassinated leader of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

The council selected Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawar as president ...

15:32 Burnside has a good round-up of other posts on the assasination here.

04:46: The BBC story is here.

04:27:Car bomb kills Iraqi Governing Council leader:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The current president of the Iraqi Governing Council was among several people killed Monday by a car bomb near Baghdad's Green Zone, a senior coalition military official said.

According to Iraqi Governing Council sources, council President Izzedine Salim was on his way into the Green Zone, which houses coalition headquarters, when he was killed.

The time stamp on this CNN page is 4:15, so the contents for the link will probably change as more information is forthcoming. Gen. Kimmet is speaking on CNN right now and says that Bremer is with other IGC members at this time.

Posted by Debbye at 04:27 AM | Comments (0)

The War Votes of 1864 and 2004

May 17 - No easy victory by Jack Kelly in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

Kelly compares the 2004 election with the election of 1864. The Civil War had dragged itself out for 3 years and the North had not won a notable victory until Gettysburg.

Lincoln's re-election chances looked grim. 400,000 soldiers had died (a huge percentage from disease, however, hence the importance of the Sanitary Commission and Dorothea Dix) and there was an element in the opposition party that wanted an immediate end to the war and thus the dissolution of the Union and permitting slavery to continue.

[There will always be arguments as to how important the issue of slavery was in the war. I can only say that the opening shots of the war to end slavery happened in Kansas and that state had the highest number of re-enlistments throughout the Civil War. That isn't necessarily proof, but it is indicative.]

The comparison of the two elections had already manifested when Gen. Wesley Clark announced his candidacy and was hailed as another Gen. George McClellan. (Clark probably hated that not only because McClellan lost - badly - in part because the US Army supported Lincoln in overwhelming numbers, but also because McClellan had been fired because he had been unwilling to commit men to battle - Kosovo air campaign? - while calling repeatedly for more troops. Both men fretted on the sidelines while better, more able generals led the war effort.)

On May 4, about 150 of Iraq's most prominent Shiite religious leaders gathered in Baghdad to demand that Moktada al Sadr withdraw his militia from the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, stop storing weapons in mosques, and turn power back to the U.S.-supported Iraqi police.

The meeting took place after several thousand Iraqis gathered outside the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf to protest against Sadr, and a mysterious group that calls itself the Thulfiqar Army, began murdering members of his militia.

"Several Shiite leaders acknowledged that they had delayed issuing their statement until there were clear signs that public opinion among Shiites had moved strongly against Mr. Sadr," wrote John Burns in The New York Times.

The Shiite clerics also called for "a rapid return to the American-led negotiations on Iraq's political future," Burns wrote.

Their renewed interest in negotiations may have been prompted by the appointment (and swift removal) of a former Republican Guard officer to head the Iraqi forces supporting the Marines in Fallujah. Whether blind luck or a product of a deliberate ploy, this served to remind the Shiites that they don't hold all the cards.

In any event, the U.S. strategy of patience and "talk talk, fight fight" seems to be working better than you'd gather from most of the news stories coming out of Iraq.

Abraham Lincoln made mistakes during the Civil War. But the cause was just, and he had the courage and steadfastness to see it through. Our cause in Iraq is just, and vitally important. President Bush has the courage to see it through. Do we?


(Via Right Wing News)

Posted by Debbye at 04:12 AM | Comments (2)

May 16, 2004

The Berg Phenomenon

May 16 - The U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, spoke out on something that, I suspect, is in many hearts and minds: Arab world should be more outraged about the murder of Nick Berg. During an interview on Meet the Press,

"There's no excuse for silence on this kind of murder," Powell told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I would like to have seen a much higher level of outrage throughout the world, but especially in the Arab world, to this murder," he said.

"What we saw with this horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible murder should be deplored throughout the Arab world."

As noted earlier this week, there were condemnations from three nations - Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates - but that mostly highlights the silence from other nations as well as clerics, imams, intellectuals, and newspapers.

Many bloggers have been overwhelmed by what one blogger termed a tsunami - the huge traffic we've encountered as people search for the Nick Berg video. (If you're here looking for the link, I've posted it here.) Sites have been knocked off line; many bloggers suspected they were having denial of service attacks, and others thought there was something totally whacky with site meters and others (ahem) lost service because they had exceeded their quota for the month.

As Ghost of a Flea noted here, there have been a lot of inter-blogger discussions about this, and most of us have sought to understand why so many people want to see this video. Commenters here and at other sites indicate that the people actively looking for the video are people who normally would never contemplate viewing such a thing, but they felt driven to do so almost as a grim duty.

Or mabe I'm projecting too much; that grim necessity certainly drove me to watch it despite my wish to avoid it. It was as though I knew that I needed this lesson - even though I thought I was already implacable in my support of this war.

There are other aspects, as well. When I linked to Wizbang (I'm leaving the url out for reasons that will become apparent) I knew the link would show up on their trackbacks, but I never anticipated the huge amount of traffic that the mere trackback would engender, nor that people would stay and read other posts.

So perhaps it isn't just viewing the video that has driven people, it is a need to understand why they viewed the video.

I constantly see references to "the face of the enemy" (which is highly, and probably intentionally, ironic) and expressions of rage. One thing that makes me proud is that bloggers have been incredibly restrained in our handling of this video: we've been very careful not to incite or spread hate and to restrain our own emotions because we are trying to be responsible.

But I think we bloggers and readers have an advantage: we regularly read Iraqi (not to mention Iranian, Egyptian, Italian, British, etc.) bloggers and we know first hand that terrorists do not speak or act for them but in fact speak and act against them.

That's my way of saying don't waste your time calling for a total nuking of Iraq here. You came here and to other blogs because you wanted truth and on some level, you recognize that Big Media isn't delivering. Read the Iraqi and Soldier blogs on the list to the right of the screen, and learn how much more there is going on than CNN or the NY Times want you to know.

Remember: they withheld information about the torture and murders during Saddam's reign in order, they claim, to maintain their presence in Iraq. What have they done to restore your trust? Shown the same pictures over and over of prisoner abuse, yet shown restraint in their coverage of Nicholas Berg?

Does that mean they trust the Arab street more than the American street?

The biggest media betrayal is this: U.S. forces have fought back attacks launched from Syria and Iran this moth, and they have done so with encouragement and cooperation from Iraqis. You don't have to be a genius to recognize how important that partnership has been, so why has Big Media fretted about being "bogged down" when it was so clear that this the partnership was being formed? Why, when Big Media has constantly urged we not go to Iraq but to continue policies of containment have they bewailed containment policies that have, in fact, borne fruit?

I have to go to work and try to behave normally. I have to try and act as though there isn't a gaping wound in my heart and that this past week hasn't altered my life and world view.

If that seems overly strong, read it as an admission that, despite everything I have written, I really failed to understand what the word "evil" conveys in its entirety. I thought I knew, but I didn't.

Now to some old analysis because I haven't the restraint in me yet to note today's "other" news.

There has also been muted criticism on silence in the USA. As noted in the May 14 Washington Times, American's beheading 'old news' for media elite but the Times also notes that for many Americans, Beheading returns focus to terror war:

"Those who are wringing their hands and shouting so loudly for 'heads to roll' over [the abuse] seem to have conveniently overlooked the fact that someone's head has rolled — that of another innocent American brutally murdered by terrorists," said Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat. "Why is it that there's more indignation over a photo of a prisoner with underwear on his head than over the video of a young American with no head at all?"

It is hard not to believe that the liberal media have played down the Berg story because they don't want to do anything that might inadvertantly help Pres. Bush. Undoubtably the plethora of photos as those in the prisoner abuse investigations may make that story seem more inviting - or easier - but I'm reminded of Def. Sec. Rumsfeld's question as to how many vases there really were in Baghdad, or was the media just showing the same one repeatedly. (As we learned, Rumsfeld was right on that score.)

Although many of us have focused on how this video is affecting Americans, many experts think that it was primarily a recruiting tool for the terrorists promoting the image of Zarqawi as a strong leader who, I might add, is not afraid to get blood on his hands in the literal sense.

The Spectator article Hoping for the Worst by Toby Harnden from which Instapundit quoted concludes with what should the single most daming facet of the partisanship that plagues Americans in this incredibly long election cycle:

Whatever we thought about the war before it was launched, it is imperative that the forces of Arab nationalism and Islamism that now threaten to destroy Iraq are defeated. If America fails in Iraq it will be all of us in the West, not just Bush, who will suffer. But those who would be most in peril, of course, would be the Iraqis, who deserve better than to have their country treated as an electoral playground by the American Left or Right. To wish otherwise is as sick as the grins on the faces of the Abu Ghraib torturers. (Emphasis mine.)
May 17 - 18:11:Oops. Spectator link added belatedly. Also the link to the Instapundit post about this phenomenon.

Posted by Debbye at 05:55 PM | Comments (6)

May 15, 2004

Time for a Palestinian state is nigh

May 15 - Powell tells Palestinian leader to 'seize the opportunity' of Gaza withdrawal:

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Saturday urged Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia to "seize the opportunity" of a proposed Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as a first step toward statehood next year.

Powell also said time is running out on President George W. Bush's pledge to create a Palestinian state in 2005. "I don't think anyone can predict" whether that timetable will be met, Powell said after a 40-minute meeting with Qureia.

Posted by Debbye at 11:12 PM | Comments (3)

3 arrested in Montreal Jewish school fire-bombing

May 15 - Jews relieved after firebombing arrests (and, I suspect, quite a number of non-Jews.)

MONTREAL'S JEWISH community expressed relief yesterday after police said they had arrested five people in the widely condemned firebombing at a school last month. Police picked up four men aged 18 to 20 and a woman in her early 30s but gave no details on their ethnic background.
According to this at the Western Standard blog, two men were released and 3 held: Sleman Elmerhebi and Simon Zogheib. Also charged for being an accomplice after the fact is the mother of Mr Elmerhebi, Rouba Fahd Elmerhebi. (Update: more details here.)

Via Norman's Spectator, a Globe and Mail article here:

Radio-Canada reported that the four young men are of Middle Eastern origin.

"It's not over. We're expecting more arrests," said a Montreal police spokesman, Constable Ian Lafrenière. Montreal police had been under tremendous pressure to solve the case, which was broadly condemned by politicians and religious leaders of all stripes.

"The more people involved, the more troubling it is. With five people being arrested together, there was obviously some kind of organization," said Jeffrey Boro, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress in Quebec. Mr. Boro, a criminal lawyer, said the possibility of further arrests was even more worrisome. "Five is troubling. More than five becomes alarming."

Posted by Debbye at 09:03 PM | Comments (2)

Terror watch in Canada

May 15 - Khalid Khawaja, who is self-described as a friend of Osama bin Laden's, says Canada deserves bombing because it is a friend of the USA and Canada was mean to the Khadrs (which is grimly ironic, given that many Canadians would say the government was far too helpful.) The article quotes Khawaja:

"Look at these Canadians. They have millions and millions of dollars to fight against Muslims, to send their troops, to send their weapons, and all of them put together, they have objections to giving treatment to this 14 year-old-boy who has been a victim of your terrorism."
This man is behind on the news. We spent those millions and millions of dollars in something called Adscam, and it definitely had nothing to do with fighting anyone, including Muslims, and misplaced some more millions on the Gun Registry, which is about destroying our ability to fight anyone. As for funding of the Canadian Forces ... I only wish the government here was actually funding them instead of consigning them to death by slow starvation.

Would he feel better if he knew that a chunk of the Defence budget went to purchase two Executive Jets for Chretien back when he was Prime Minister? No?

Bin Laden first publicly encouraged attacks against Canada in a statement broadcast on Nov. 12, 2002. In March, 2004, an al-Qaeda manual posted on the Internet ranked Canadians as the fifth most important targets.

But al-Qaeda and its ideological theorists have provided little explanation as to why. Canada did not send troops to Iraq, its foreign policy is not particularly pro-Israel and Ottawa has not been overly aggressive in fighting terror.

The writer is still looking for reasons. That's not a shot at Stewart Bell, in fact far from it, because I too instinctively wonder "Why?" whenever I read about most anything. Granted, I've concluded the answer to be "Because they're evil" whenever al Qaeda comes up, but that was after I asked the question.

To be clear, I think that our willingness to ask Why? is one of the strengths of Western civilization, even though it does at times hamper our ability to respond adequately to what Ghost of a Flea once termed the morally insane.

A top Canadian terrorism expert said Mr. Khawaja's comments were typical of the way al-Qaeda followers view the world, as divided between two conflicting religious and cultural camps: Dar ul-Islam, the perfect Muslim world, and Dar ul-Harb, the immoral rest of the world.

I don't think women's rights and gay marriage exist in the perfect al Qaeda world, but we musn't forget that Straight White Men are the real enemy.

"Canada, as a secular democratic society, is by definition assigned to Dar ul-Harb. From the perspective of al-Qaeda and associated Islamic militants, it is incumbent upon Muslims to wage a jihad, a holy war, against Dar ul-Harb in order to destroy its perceived evils and transform those societies into Dar ul-Islam," said Professor Martin Rudner.

"According to this doctrine, Canada is a religiously sanctioned target for terrorism, suicide bombing and political violence," said Prof. Rudner, Director of the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies at Carleton University's Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.

A Canadian intelligence report written shortly after bin Laden first urged attacks against Canada said the country was singled out "in view of its support of the U.S." The more recent al-Qaeda manual explains only that Canada is a "Christian" country. (My emphasis)

So, Canadian Members of Parliament and an aide to then PM Chretien insulted our national leaders, poll after poll has indicated Canadians think we Americans are too arrogant, too patriotic and too religious, and that they hate our president and consider him too religious; in short, the pollsters have done verything possible to indicate that Canada is not a friend of the United States and is suspicious of Christianity, yet Canada is still on the short list as a terrorist target.

According to a translation of an article written by Abu Ayman al-Hilali, a senior al-Qaeda leader and ideologist, the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, and Australia are "enemies" and attacks against their civilians are justified. Since Western governments are engaged in a war against Islam, he argued, the civilian voters who elect those governments cannot be considered non-combatants and are legitimate targets for terrorists.
Three and a half of the nations mentioned are in the Anglosphere! Read the whole thing to catch the playing of the ubiquitous Victim Card.

Canadian pollsters and the media have managed to alienate Americans while failing to appease Islamofascists. Now that's nuanced politics, and, to paraphrase Lincoln, proves that you can alienate all of the people some of the time! (An older poll revealed that Canadians were confident that, if Canada was attacked, America would rush to defend her. So far as I know, no similar poll has ever been conducted in the USA.)

By the way, observant readers will note that the person interviewed bears the same last name as the Ottawa resident arrested on terrorism charges last March, Mohammed Momin Khawaja, but there is nothing to indicate there is any connection between the two men so please don't ask.

Sorry, I know I'm coming off as really cranky in this post, but it's only because I got even more cranky after reading this.

(Links from Ghost of a Flea's post Appeasement in the Western Standard blog.)

Posted by Debbye at 06:35 PM | Comments (9)

Being wrong means having to say your're sorry (updated)

May 15 - Now I call this a retraction!

May 18 - 01:37: Now the Boston Globe on the other hand ...

Posted by Debbye at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Failure of the U.N. Mission in Chad (updated: and Kosovo and Eritrea)

May 15 - If the prisoner abuse was a "body blow" to US efforts in Iraq, what is the following to U.N. efforts in Chad, and, by extension, to anything they might undertake in Iraq?

Chad's poor left to help each other:

In the past year, Tine's population has more than doubled as refugees have poured out of the Darfur region of western Sudan, fleeing Arab militiamen mounted on horses and camels who are waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against their black Muslim neighbours.

Many could only watch as members of their families were executed by the Janjaweed, as the militiamen are known. Most lost their possessions when their houses were burned down. All were exhausted after walking for days through the desert.

Sudan, by the way, is the new chair for the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

The United Nations has described the war in Darfur as the world's worst humanitarian crisis at the moment.

It is running an emergency relief programme for Darfur refugees but will not operate on the border, saying it is too dangerous.

Families have been waiting for up to two months, their lives at risk from shelling, cross-border militia raids and water shortages, to transfer to UN camps 20 miles into Chad.

Aid workers from other agencies have accused the UN of inefficiency and perhaps worse.

"What is going on here is very dark," said one western aid worker at a non-UN agency.

"Money seems to have disappeared. Who knows whether it has been stolen or whether it has just disappeared in the UN machine. The inefficiency is astounding."

Refugees cannot walk into the half-empty camps. Regulations demand that they must be turned away if they do.

It would seem that the United Nations has run out of money. Lorries supposed to transport refugees to the camps lie stranded as there is not enough for fuel. Drivers have been on strike because they have not been paid for a month.

Do you suppose that the murky doings and theft that accompanied the Oil for Food scandal was just business as usual at the U.N.?

Don't look for any NY Times editorials demanding that Kofi Annan resign, though, or for Sen. John Kerry to denounce the U.N. for its failure in leadership. It's been a four-year long election year, after all, and the U.N. represents that International Community which holds The High Moral Ground.

May 17 - 18:02: Looks like the missions in Kosovo, Serbia and Eritrea have produced a booming sex trade in those regions.

Posted by Debbye at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Armed Forces Day

May 15 - May is Military Appreciation Month in the USA, and today is Armed Forces Day, a day on which we celebrate the unification of the armed forces and pay tribute and thanks to the hundreds of thousands of military personnel stationed around the world and at home.

I always honour Memorial Day (even from up here) but am grateful to have a day to express my awe and respect for those who in active service and let them know that we are not as disinterested or passive as our media suggests.

What kind of person steps forward to put their life on hold and leave loved ones for extended periods of time in order to see to the defense of their country? I guess the simplest description would be extraordinary ordinary people.

The media tries to depict our soldiers as poor kids who are forced to join the military in an effort to improve their lives or as an avenue to attend school, but how does that square with the spectacular job they are doing? How does that square with their grim determination, endurance, dedication, and re-enlistment rates? (Hint: it doesn't.)

If these past two and a half years should have taught us anything, maybe it's to be ashamed of the sophisticated veneer so many (used to) adopt and realize that the strength and soul of our nation lies in its optimism and ideals, not in jaded cynicism.

They are better than us. We talk and blather while they fight.

Those few twisted people who shamed their uniforms are an aberration, and don't represent the men and women of the military. It's time to let the brave souls on the walls know that we know that.

Do you sleep better because they guard the walls? Damned straight you do. In fact, you sleep well because you didn't even realize that there are monsters out there -- at least, not until you saw the Nick Berg video.

Read this at Mudville Gazette and follow his links. (And then go here.)

There is a link in this post, BLACKFIVE: Armed Forces Day - Saturday, May 15th, to send your thanks as well as an explanation of this day.

You can also visit A Million Thanks to email your support.

Canadians can go here to thank their soldiers.

Come on, why must we wait until there is a death to show our appreciation? The time is now and you have the means.

Remember: we are indebted to the men and women in the military for every day that we live in freedom.

Today is Armed Forces Day, and those who say they "support the troops" will indicate the truth of that by their actions. The New York Times quote of the day, for example, is from Gary Resnick: "Gay marriage is not a lightning-rod issue here. For the most part when people call the city council they're calling about local issues — noise, road work, things like that." (That's not a slam against gay marriage, but I do question the focus on the Times on this day. The newspaper of record is setting quite a record by overlooking the obvious fact that we can even discuss gay marriage because of those who guard us.)

If you still need motivation (and even if you don't) read this to understand just how far some people are willing to go to destroy morale.

I've read a lot of commenters and bloggers who fret that they are sitting in comfortable chairs and feel they can't pull their weight, do to age, experience, skills or whatever.

You can pull your weight with an email or two. Go. You'll feel better.

Posted by Debbye at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2004

Boy Scouts of Iraq

May 14 - We've all heard reference to the fact that the Iraqis were said to be good at maintaining paperwork trails due to British influence, but there seems to be another residue of colonial rule in Iraq: the Boy Scouts.

I found it interesting - and heartening - that this survived even during Saddam's reign and is being restored in this post at Grim's Hall.

Posted by Debbye at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

Email from Fallujah

May 14 - Good read and a reminder that the war continues with BLACKFIVE: Marine Letter From Fallujah About Great Americans.

Gweneth Paltrow can ... do something undignified.

Posted by Debbye at 07:16 PM | Comments (3)

Nicholas Berg Video

May 14 - My enterprising son found a site that is still showing the video at Slant Point by way of Wizbang which also notes several other sites that have it.

Again: the video is grim. It's insane. It's horrible. It is a visual reminder of what the enemy is and what they think is good and, I hope, a reminder of who we are and what we think is evil.

UPDATE: I've been negligent about providing a translation for the pre-murder speech. It's here.

Posted by Debbye at 06:00 PM | Comments (66)

May 13, 2004

If the war was basketball ...

May 13 - I needed this: If The Media Treated Basketball Games Like They Treat The War On Terror. Great play-by-play commentary by our national news anchors.

So funny, so true, and so very pathetic.

Posted by Debbye at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Link to Berg Video

May 13 - I'm still getting search hits for the video of Nick Berg's murder, and most of them are coming from the USA which is why I am going to re-post the link for it.

May 14 - UPDATE: This link will take you to Wizbang which also lists several other sites that have it. (End of update.)

Go to link below, read the post before trying to view the video. This isn't something I do lightly, nor is it something I take lightly. I do it because it matters. It is something we have to face. I can't even find the words any more for this but I'm not going to hide from it either.

It's a snuff film, people, not a slasher flick. The bastards who did this have one objective, but I have another one for posting the link.

It's sick, it's vile, and it is the true face of our enemy (with irony noted.)

Flea: The truth. Again, the link no longer goes to the video because the Malaysia hosting site shut it down, but the post is well worth your time to read. It may take awhile to load.

Posted by Debbye at 04:11 PM | Comments (14)

Who is that man?

Bush hug.jpg

May 13 - Yes, of course you know who that is, and I definitely mean no disrespect by referring to him as "that man" as opposed to "Mr. President" or even "the president."

It just struck me that the story here is as much about the person as about the Chief Executive, if you get my drift.

I don't know how long the link will be active, so I'll fill you in:

Lynn Faulkner, his daughter, Ashley, and their neighbor, Linda Prince, eagerly waited to shake the president's hand Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn. He worked the line at a steady campaign pace, smiling, nodding and signing autographs until Prince spoke:

"This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."

Bush stopped and turned back.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."

Faulkner snapped one frame with his camera.

"I could hear her say, 'I'm OK,' " he said. "That's more emotion than she has shown in 21/2 years. Then he said, 'I can see you have a father who loves you very much.' "

"And I said, 'I do, Mr. President, but I miss her mother every day.' It was a special moment."

Special for Lynn Faulkner because the Golden Lamb was the place he and his wife, Wendy Faulkner, celebrated their anniversary every year until she died in the south tower of the World Trade Center, where she had traveled for business.

They too are a September 11 family.

(Via Bill Whittle.)

I'm going to get some sleep. Honest.

Posted by Debbye at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)

Zarqawi probably beheaded Nick Berg

May 13 - I guess it's official: CIA official: Al-Zarqawi likely beheaded Berg.

I still haven't been able to get any sleep (I'm going to be so freaking great at work tonight, or, more likely, a real bitca) so am going to pass on everything I want to say.

And I'm going to get some sleep, or else!

Posted by Debbye at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

Gangs in Toronto

May 13 - Several stories about gangbusting tactics by the police here, here, here, and here, and it was done with the cooperation and assistance of local residents.

Now if only the courts do their parts ...

Also, it looks like there will be funding to track sex offenders in Toronto after all.

Posted by Debbye at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

Bookmark changes

May 13 - Harvey of Bad Money is now happily settled into his new home at Bad Example.

Change your bookmarks, and visit him at his new home.

Also, Rachel Lucas has returned to the fold and is as impudent as ever.

Posted by Debbye at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)


May 13 - ... But if the combat is not soon ended, the terrorists (or so-called "militants" or "insurgents") will learn something else: they have made the war personal. When that happens, the American experience of war shows that our troops will shed the veneer of restraint like a snake's skin. And for every American head Zarqawi severs, he will soon find three of his own men's heads. -- Rev. Donald Sensing

I doubt I'm the only blogger who has been shocked by the enormous number of hits my site has had for searches on Nick Berg.

I think that indicates that it has suddenly gotten personal for millions of people.

Ever since Sept. 11, anyone who is old enough to have actually been taught U.S. history without the nuance and subtlety and cultural relativism and feminist slant and ... you know what I'm driving at here ... has understood some critical facts both about this war in which we are now engaged and about us - what we love, what we are capable of, and what we could and might yet do.

We love freedom. We are a free people, and no one is more dangerous than a free person. Every dictator throughout time has understood that basic fact, and our enemy today understands it as well.

That is why we are their primary target and their primary enemy. It is, if you like, a perverse honour to be singled out so.

That is also why this time is so dangerous. That is why we took so risky a gamble in Iraq, and why the stakes are so high.

The Arab media is not altogether wrong to consider the sanctions against Syria a major news story, you know. Maybe they are beginning to understand what "You are either with us or against us" really means in American.

Read Rev. Sensing's post Retribution. Read the whole thing, and the comments. Know yourselves.

Then read this letter from Iraq. I'm excerpting some because it says what urgently needs to be said:

It [the campaign against Sadr] has been subtle and very well done by our leaders. You should be proud. It would have seemed impossible to have achieved our four main goals against Sadr even just a few months ago. Now today, despite the message of the pessimists who are misleading you into despair, we are have scored all the victories needed to bring this battle to a close. First goal was to isolate Sadr. Second was to exile him from his power-base in Baghdad. Third was to contain his uprising from spreading beyond his militias. And the last goal was to get both his hard-line supporters to abandon him, and to do encourage moderates to break from him. This has been done brilliantly, and now we are on the march in a way that just months ago seemed impossible to do. Sadr is losing everything.


Our units, in fact, are operating w/in 500 meters of the most sacred Shia religious sites in these cities, and you should notice that the local people are not resisting. This is what the pessimists amongst you are preventing you from understanding.


... What you need to do is be strong and persistent in your faith with us. Sadr's militia is in panic and desperate, so they are dangerous, but you need to keep this all in perspective. The pessimists would have you believe this is a disaster. Don't listen to them. I think some of them feel that their reputations require our failure because they have been so negative all along, so they are jumping at every opportunity to sensationalize what is happening here as a disaster. Eliminating Sadr's threat is part of the overall mission and we are further ensuring the liberation of the Iraqi people. This has to be done, and we are doing it.

Don't be seduced by those who would rather that we sit back and just enjoy the freedoms past generations of Americans have sacrificed to gain for us. This is our time to earn it. I remember President Bush saying after the September 11th attacks: "The commitment of our Fathers is now the calling of our time."

The letter tells exactly how all the achievements of the campaign have come about, but observant, news conscious readers will realize that the signs were in every news broadcast for the past two months.

Take heart, America! Your common sense has risen above the ponderous, fatuous news media and punditry this past year, and you are being proven correct. It isn't over, not by a mile, but steady as she goes, home port is in sight.

God bless and protect our soldiers and coalition forces, and may their bullets fly true.

We have asked so much of them this past year, so show them your support and a million thanks here.

A Very Special Message to CNN: we are approaching the anniversary of a another major combat operation: D-Day (you f***ing wankers.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

Saddam sues Britain in ICC

May 13 - This news day is getting weirder: Saddam files war crimes suit:

VETERAN French lawyer Jacques Verges will today file a war crimes suit against Britain at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Mr Verges, who says he has been asked to act for former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, said the suit would be on behalf of "the families of prisoners of the coalition in which Britain participates".

"The reality of torture and systematic abuses of the dignity of Iraqi prisoners, sometimes followed by murders, both by US and British troops is no longer in question," the text of the complaint reads.

Posted by Debbye at 09:26 AM | Comments (2)

Internet a training camp for al Qaeda

May 13 - Click here for killers camp.

Actually, the link is to an article of that name in the Australian press about how al Qaeda uses the internet for propaganda, recruitment, training, research and to plan attacks:

JUST before Christmas, Norwegian scientists surfing the Internet stumbled across a 42-page document that made chilling reading.

A strategy for ridding Iraq of the US and its allies, it was written by Islamic extremists.

Spain was the weakest link in the coalition, the document detailed. Two or three "painful strikes" in the lead-up to its national elections and the country could crumble.

Notice how al Qaeda always follows through on their threats?

How many times has Canada been named as a target?

Posted by Debbye at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)

Nick Berg II

May 13 - Beheaded American was arrested as a spy 'because of his Jewish name' and because his passport bore an Israeli stamp, indicating he had visited that country:

Nicolas Berg, the American who was filmed being beheaded, had been previously arrested by Iraqi police and held on suspicion of being a spy because he had a Jewish name and an Israeli stamp in his passport, it emerged yesterday.

How freaking naive we can be. We know but don't remember that a stamp showing entry into Israel can pose severe problems in the Mid-East - remember Canadian Bruce Balfour, who was arrested last summer in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for Israel because his passport bore an Israeli stamp? (He was eventually released.)

The Telegraph article, by the way, is a worthwhile read in its entirety because it also contains the views of people who knew Nick during his time in Iraq.

Theodore Dalrymple puts a dark aspect to the murder and uses the "E" word:

One thing that unites the men who beheaded the American Nick Berg in Iraq, the soldiers who abused Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, the Palestinians who have held on to Israeli body parts in Gaza City and the murderers of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan is that they all enjoyed what they did, and enjoyed it immensely.

Via Instapundit, this Guardian article actually features lamentations that the brutal murder has upstaged the prison abuse story and also covers how Arab media are handling the murder and the videotape:

Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, the two main satellite networks, aired carefully edited segments of the video. In Al-Arabiya's edit, a militant draws a knife and jerks Berg's torso to one side. The rest is not shown.

"The news story itself is strong enough," said Jihad Ballout, a spokesman for Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television. "To show the actual beheading is out of the realm of decency."

Lebanon's private Al Hayat-LBC station led today's news bulletin with the video.

"We apologize to our viewers for not showing the entire tape because of the ugliness of the scene," the presenter said. Kuwait's state television broadcast the news of the execution late yesterday but did not air the video.

Egypt's leading daily, Al-Ahram, ignored the story today, while two other major pro-government newspapers, Al-Akhbar and Al-Gomhuria, ran agency reports on their inside pages and without photographs.

Ahmed Reda, an Al-Ahram editor who was on duty last night, said the news came too late for the paper to confirm the video's authenticity with the US government.


In many Arab newspapers, the killing received less play than the news of Washington's imposition of sanctions on Syria and the killing of six Israeli soldiers in Gaza City.

Read the article for more.

The prison abuse scandal is our mess - our mess to deal with, our souls to search, and our obligation to investigate and dispense justice, but make no mistake: there is no true connection between what happened at Abu Ghraib prison and what happened to Nick Berg.

9:08: More reactions, including one from Hezbollah here.

14:55: Ghost of a Flea responds to the Telegraph article here with some sober thoughts about the arrest of Nick Berg by Iraqi police for the crime of having visited Israel.

May 14 - A list of links to the video is here. You might consider putting something into their Amazon wish box as a way to thank them for the time, effort, dedication and expenses incurred for the assault on their bandwith that their posting of the video has cost.

Posted by Debbye at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)

Arab nations apologize for Berg's murder

May 13 - I'll be honest: I never expected this: Three Arab states condemn American's beheading. The three nations are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Posted by Debbye at 07:00 AM | Comments (1)

May 12, 2004

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of War Defense II

May 12 - I have to go to work, but wanted to point to this item by David Frum Rumsfield Must Stay.

Note the Lincoln/Grant reference; anyone else interested in starting a fund to send a barrel of the best whisky to Rumsfeld?

Posted by Debbye at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

Googlebombing 9/11 Video

May 12 - Damien has found a glaring problem at google: the hits for Sept. 11 videos lead to conspiracy sites instead of actual, factual reportage of the event. He has issued a call for a googlebomb in Daimnation!: Losing 9/11.

Although I never refer to Sept. 11 as 9/11, I'm willing to break that rule for this worthy endeavour.

9/11 video
9/11 video
9/11 video

And, thanks to Sandy's comment,

Sept. 11
Sept. 11
Sept. 11

Sept. 11 tribute
Sept. 11 tribute
Sept. 11 tribute

Maybe I'm just too pissed off today to let idiots have the final word.

Posted by Debbye at 05:20 PM | Comments (1)

Nicholas Berg Video (Updated)

May 12 - (Text of original post under update.)

Update May 14 - Wizbang is listing all the sites that are carrying the video here. Before you leave their site, consider hitting their Amazon wish box to show your thanks for the kind of people who go to the extra expense, time and dedication that maybe only a volunteer project can inspire.

It's being called an internet tsunami, but whatever you choose to call it, welcome to the blogosphere. We're all a bit stunned by the traffic. (End update.)

Okay, the search engine hits are going through the roof, so let me say here that if you're looking for the video, go here and you'll find the link. (Update: sites are overloaded and crashing with all the hits, so read the post and comments - noting that some of them are, um, extremely angry - and any new links will probably be provided there.)

20:15 Flea's link is working [Update: not any more, as the Malaysia site turned the feed off] but I urge you to read the entire post before viewing the video - this isn't a slasher film, people, but a reality film that we're going to have to live with. Most of all, remember the mission.

Charles names the entry "Islamic Snuff Film" and if you watch it, you'll understand why. To be honest, I surprised myself by choosing to watch it, but I think it's because, although Daniel Pearl's murder should be a constant reminder as to what kind of despicable barbarians we face, it is too easy to lapse back into la-la "we're all human underneath" mentality and need a bracing reminder of what kind of foe we face - not only in Iraq, but around the world.

I'm still catching up on the news, and only just learned that the comparisons with Daniel Pearl were more apt than I first realized. They were both men who wanted to spread understanding and communication capabilities, they were both Jewish, and they were both murdered in a grisly manner and the murder filmed for propaganda reasons.

I hate the fact that the Berg family has been thrust under the media spotlight by all this and don't doubt that the circulation of the video increases their pain, but however much I regret that I am contributing to that pain, I think it is again time to address a truth that we want so much to deflect:

This is a battle to the death.

I've only begun scanning other web logs this afternoon, but started with Expat Yank over in England and, no surprise, he has excellent coverage and links - including one to a woman we've all missed but who has finally posted again. I've been so shocked that it hadn't occurred to me that the video taping of the murder at this particular time was a mistake, but I haven't noticed CNN backing away from the prison abuse story so maybe Zarqawi understands our media only too well. But then, they may have failed to notice that Fox is the number one news choice in the USA and their coverage is pretty focused on Mr. Berg.

16:53: Ghost of a Flea has a wonderful post and more links.

Jay has a column at Tech Central that is a must reading for those who are blinking at the notion of trying to build the democratic nation of Iraq, and William Safire has an appropriately named column in today's NY Times, Hold Fast, Idealists, along the same theme.

May 23 - 09:16: Comments section has been closed.

Posted by Debbye at 04:17 PM | Comments (42)

Syria Accountability Act

May 12 - Bush to sanction Syria for aiding Iraq fighters.

The Syria Accountability Act was passed by Congress in November after being delayed at the request of the Bush administration (see here and here for the provisions and some background on the Act) and requires that the President implement sanctions against Syria.

The timing is interesting and I think indicates that administration wasn't overly impressed by the questionable al Qaeda attack in Syria last month.

May 13 14:39: Syria responds to the sanctions here.

Posted by Debbye at 03:16 PM | Comments (2)

May 11, 2004

Andy Bradsell

May 11 - June, Andy's aunt, sent some pictures that I've posted at the bottom of the page here. One is of Andy and the family, and the other is a wonderful picture of Hunter.

Posted by Debbye at 09:16 PM | Comments (2)

Cowardice, not restoration of honour

May 11 - As if we needed reminding as to who are the sickest of them all: Video shows beheading of American captive in Iraq:

[Nicholas] Berg is heard screaming as his throat is cut. One of the captors then holds up his severed head.

"For the mothers and wives of American soldiers, we tell you that we offered the U.S. administration to exchange this hostage for some of the detainees in Abu Ghraib and they refused," the hooded man standing behind the American said just before the killing.

"Coffins will be arriving to you one after the other, slaughtered just like this."

I somehow doubt that message is really aimed at American mothers and wives, who surely aren't surprised that we don't bargain with terrorists.

Big, brave men, careful to slaughter someone held in captivity and bound so he can't fight back. Incapable of honour and devoid of humanity, yet they released this statement:

"Where is the compassion, where is the anger for God's religion, and where is the protection for Muslims' pride in the crusaders' jails?" the man says.
The voice is attributed to but not confirmed to be that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

They try to depict this as a response to the shocking images of prisoner abuse, but they also recorded Daniel Pearl's murder for propaganda purposes; they tried to do the same with Fabrizio Quattrocchi but he denied them.

They will never run out of excuses, but their reason will always be the same: they are evil.

The pictures of prisoner abuse that have shocked the world have shocked me as well, but I've never pretended that we Americans are any more perfect than any other group of people (although we may be more honest about our warts than others.)

Those who have already been and will be charged with prisoner abuse forgot the mission, which was to bring freedom to Iraq. That's the short and long of it, and they will be held accountable for their crimes but it will not derail the rest of us from that mission.

CNN keeps asking "how will we win the hearts and minds after this?" and I keep wondering when CNN is going to clue into why we went into Iraq.

It's not about getting Iraqis to trust us. Gaining their trust is a part of the true goal, which is to get them to trust themselves and each other. That's why a political solution to Fallujah was crucial, and why Iraqis dealing with Muqtada al-Sadr is so important.

Al Qaeda doesn't worry about gaining trust or building self-confidence. Why go to all the trouble of gaining trust when you can achieve your aims by spreading fear? (And let's be honest: it is much easier to spread fear than build confidence.)

Our mission in Iraq isn't about easy. We are fighting terrorism by opening a door that was hitherto closed for Iraqis, and thus all oppressed people, to give them a chance to prove to themselves that they are capable of running their own countries and their own affairs.

It isn't even about proving to other countries - including Canada and maybe especially Old Europe - that Arab countries can be self-sustaining and run by consensual government, because the patronizing attitude of elitists doesn't allow for the prospect that people don't need watchdogs.

That is why I believe the handover must happen. That is why I believed and continue to believe that the war in Iraq was just and right. We will make mistakes for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that this has never been done before, but the most important reason is that however strong the USA is as a nation, it is composed of human beings who come complete with human failings and weaknesses and thus make mistakes.

That is another difference between us and them: we are mere humans, and acknowledge it.

May 12 - 7:54: Burnside has more here and some good links.

Posted by Debbye at 08:02 PM | Comments (7)

Good morning, you all

May 11 - I'm still working the graveyard shift, and apologize to everyone for being absent. My excuse is simple: lack of sleep, but this morning I finally mastered the art of sleeping six consecutive hours! (That is more important than it may seem ...)

Previously I had noted some articles and kept them in draft form about things that will appear below this post - things that maybe I'm marking more for reference purposes than because I have anything terribly important to say about them.

My apologies for unanswered mail and to any commenters that have been overlooked. Rumour has it that this is our last week on this shift and everything will go back to normal (ha!) next week.

I think I still need a bit more coffee ...

Posted by Debbye at 04:30 PM | Comments (4)

Putin visits Chechnya

May 11 - I guess the headline says it all: Putin in Grozny, 1,000 troops sent.

Posted by Debbye at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2004

Military Appreciation Month

May 10 - May is Military Appreciation Month, and there is a site dedicated to thanking the men and women who serve the USA.

One of the biggest side-effects of the damage those who disgraced their uniforms might cause could be to lower the morale of the good men and women who serve our country, and we owe it to them to show our support now.

You can go to A Million Thanks To Our U.S. Military Men and Women to add your voice.

Remember how much we owe them.

Posted by Debbye at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2004

Dirty bomb?

May 7 - Likely 'Dirty Bomb' Material Seized in Ukraine

Posted by Debbye at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

EU fraud cases double

May 7 - Who regulates the regulators? EU fraud cases double to £700m, says report

Posted by Debbye at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

Salvadorean soldier fights hand-to-hand in Najaf

May 5 - Honour and courage in this account of Salvadoran soldiers praised for Iraq role

Posted by Debbye at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

Text of Taguba Report

May 7 - U.S. Army report on Iraqi prisoner abuse.

Posted by Debbye at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2004

Corruption in the PA

May 6 - Palestinians can watchdog

PARLIAMENT FIRED the head of the Palestinian Monetary Authority yesterday after a probe showed he allegedly was involved in corruption and mismanagement. Amin Haddad was the first high-ranking official fired by parliament for corruption.

Posted by Debbye at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

Failure of leadership?

May 6 - Putting some pieces of the puzzle together: 800th MP unit: History of abuse, failure

Posted by Debbye at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

Senate bill introduced to investigate U.N. oil for food program

May 6 - A bill was introduced to the Senate yesterday to investigate possible corruption in the U.N. Oil for food program (GOP Senators want oil-for-food probe.)

The bill proposes that cuts to USA contributions made to the U.N. be made unless a full accounting is made of the program.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2004

Sorry and have to run

I'm running late for work, and although I didn't get any posting done today, I did get a lot of sleep ;-)

Thanks to all the commenters. I'm sorry to say that I read enough stupid cracks about Canadians on other sites to know that the misconceptions go on both sides of the borders.

I'm off to work. Go Flames!

Posted by Debbye at 09:05 PM | Comments (4)

May 04, 2004

Steyn on the Falklands and Thatcher

May 4 - I'm going back to bed, you should go read Mark Steyn on Margaret Thatcher, the U.N., and the Falkland Islands with special note to the "sources" and "experts" here.

Posted by Debbye at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

Allies and "allies"

May 4 - I woke up because some moron was mowing their lawn at, oh wait, it was around 12:40 p.m. I really can't complain (much.)

While waiting for the noise to subside I read today's essay at USS Clueless which looks at the extent to which the policy of the USA to make conditions on which nations we label "friend" has been implemented.

There are areas of concern in US foreign policy, and (as always, it seems,) Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and that country's influence over the State Department has a huge arrow over it that says "Urgent" yet there has been no visible action or policy change.

After reading Den Beste's essay, I remembered a article in the Daily Telegraph (UK) I had noted early this morning about a plot allegedly by Ansar al-Islam to attack a Nato summit that had been found out by Turkish police (Turks foil plot to bomb Nato summit)

Turkish police said yesterday they had foiled a bomb attack planned by a group linked to al-Qa'eda against western leaders meeting in Istanbul next month.

Nine people appeared in court after police arrested at least 16 suspected members of a terrorist cell in Bursa, north-western Turkey, thought to be a part of the al-Qa'eda network.

Turkey is one of the countries I'm not entirely sure about (as opposed to Syria, which I'm totally certain are double-dealing with us.)

Turkey is unique. It literally, as well as figuratively, is in both Europe and Asia. It is a member of Nato and wants to join the EU.

But this is where latent irritation can play a factor. I believe being deprived of a northern front in Iraq caused problems; although Cencom took a "we can handle it" apporach, it did affect our entry in Baghdad.

[Now there's a weed whacker going. Sheesh.]

I used the phrase "latent irritant" rather than "latent grudge" because the decision not to allow us to transport troops and equipment into northern Iraq was done by a vote in the Turkish legislature - it was not a question of caprice but national sovereignty expressed by a duly elected body.

I may not like the decision, but approve the process.

I also can't fault the Turks for being more enthusiastic about tracking down terrorists in their midst after they were attacked, as efforts in the US were, to say the least, less than stellar before Sept. 11.

Anyone have any insight or links on Turkey?

Posted by Debbye at 03:07 PM | Comments (1)

Disgracing the uniform

May 4 - Sgt. Stryker on the whiny NCO who excuses his deplorable actions with "we wasn't trained enough" (SSDB: Needs More Cowbell):

The first rule of a coward, when caught, is to play stupid. The second is to blame someone else. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I don't need a superior to tell me that attaching wires to someone's genitals or beating the living shit out of them is unacceptable. What are you, a fucking idiot?
That says it all.

Posted by Debbye at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

Baptism under fire

May 4 - An inspiring set of photos and commentary about four Marines who asked to be baptized in Fallujah at Marines Find Faith Amid the Fire.

Posted by Debbye at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2004

France expels radical imams

May 3 - France targets radical imams in bid to keep terrorism at bay.

Posted by Debbye at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

Don Cherry, Greatest Canadian

May 3 - The movement to have Grapes greatest Canadian (?) made today's Toronto Sun in a brief article by Brett Clarkson.

Of course, the question "Why?" is harder to put into words, but I think part of the reason is because Don Cherry unabashedly represents the Canadian "Everyman."

He's honest (to a fault), knows right from wrong, is loyal to friend and country, and goes to great lengths to teach youngsters not only hockey skills but good sportsmanship and decent behaviour on and off the ice.

He is a staunch friend to our soldiers, fireman and policeman.

He wears his heart on his sleeve (and on his hats, ties, and jackets.)

The webpage for nominations is here, and Meatriarchy has updates on the drive here and here.

Posted by Debbye at 08:05 PM | Comments (10)

Cuba, Mexico and Peru

May 3 - A "hmm" moment: Mexico, Peru pull Cuba envoys

Posted by Debbye at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

Dust in the light

May 3 - Interesting article: Dust in the Light: The Thulfiqar Army: Linked to Iran or Soccer?

Posted by Debbye at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)

Voices of the Fallen

May 3 - From the Mudville Gazette, a must read: Voices of the Fallen.

A lot of things in that one for reflection and remembrance.

I wonder if those opposed to the war truly believe that Americans didn't understand beforehand what cost we would pay for Iraq? Those who invoke Vietnam seemed to have forgotten that we all learned lessons from that war and went into this one with our eyes open.

I must try to catch some sleep. Later (or much, much later ...)

Posted by Debbye at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners

May 3 - There's an interesting analysis by Jason van Steenwyk at IRAQ NOW ...... Media Analysis With A Sense of Insurgency on the investigation into the alleged prisoner abuse at the Abu Gharaib prison.

Start here then here and here, here and here.

Jason also links to Phil Carter's post here. (If blogspotted, use search function on your browser for "Military Misconduct at Abu Ghraib prison" for the May 1 post.) Carter gets straight to the point:

So let's be clear on what's going on here. We go into Iraq to stop, among other things, human rights abuses that were being directed by the Hussein regime.
That's the part that bites.

Posted by Debbye at 03:28 PM | Comments (3)

The United Nations

May 3 - From Instapundit, there are indications that the kickbacks Saddam under the U.N. Oil for Food Program (UNSCAM) were far higher than 10%:

In one of the many deals funded by UN-supervised oil exports from Iraq, a delivery of cameras and audiovisual equipment for the culture ministry - sent as "humanitarian" items, under a loophole - was valued at 100 per cent above its true cost.

According to new documents recovered in Baghdad, multi-million pound deals with the public works ministry for sanitation and water filtration equipment were often marked up by as much as 30 per cent.

From this discussion at Roger Simon's blog, Did journalists and news agencies receive bribes from Saddam? That questions has been raised, and despite ancedotal evidence, not answered. Read the comments, too.

A book, Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures, a True Story from Hell on Earth, is due to the published next month. It was written by Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson, who are still on the UN payroll, and Kenneth Cain, who is now a writer and the two employees could be fired because of it.

The U.N. doesn't have whistle-blower protection regulations:

Under UN staff rules, writers have to submit manuscripts for scrutiny. Authors can be disciplined if their work is not approved but they insist on publication.

I missed Kofi Annan'a appearance on Meet the Press yesterday; it looks like NBC caught him off guard with a memo dated April 14 which Benon Sevan sent out (presumably while vacationing in Australia?) which could be read as an attempt to obstruct the investigation.

The transcript for the program is here.

Update: A U.N. spokeman defends the letter here.

Posted by Debbye at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

Posting may be erratic

May 3 - Say what you will about shift work, I was never happier to go to work than yesterday evening and miss the last period of the Leafs game. As David suggests in a post from yesterday, "let's pretend it never happened."

My eldest picked me up from work late last night (early this morning?) and we went over to His Apartment to talk and drink some beer. In the course of the conversation I found myself nagging at him about something which, like much of his life, is none of my business. I apologized, but even so ... I wonder if that "mother reflex" ever really goes away. I've been working at it for a couple of years now, and whenever I think I have it licked, it sneaks up behind me and I find myself talking too much.

I'm going to be working the graveyard shift all week, which is all new for me, and I don't know how long it will take me to get used to it and how it will affect posting.

I don't proofread well off a monitor even in the best of circumstances, and I made enough mental slips last week to prove conclusively that sleep is a friend with which I must spend much more time.

For today, I'm going to put a couple of links up as my brain seems willing to read - it's trying to write coherently that has me jammed.

Posted by Debbye at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2004

British soldiers investigated for abuse of Iraqi prisoners (Updated)

May 2 - Six British soldiers are being questioned in connection with accusations of abusing prisoners in southern Iraq (Six British soldiers held over Iraqi torture photos.)

This investigation comes from pictures published in the Daily Mirror which details the alleged abuse.

The authenticity of the photos has yet to be established (the Mirror says they are satisfied) and what matters is to investigate and uncover the truth.

That is the difference between us and them. We do come face to face with evil in our own ranks (and I would count mistreating anyone in captivity as evil) but we also confront it rather than issue denials or excuses.

Those calling for outside investigations have obviously been following the quagmire of the Sept. 11 commissions and know nothing about the military. The military will be far harsher than any civilian court because they expect soldiers to follow a code of honour - a concept that was once sacred in civilian life too but has faltered in large part due to notions of moral equivalence.

The military doesn't do moral equivalence.

Just curious: are there any Arab journalists willing to issue a challenge to their governments to come clean and hold investigations on torture and prisoner abuse? Saudi Arabia (for Bill Sampson?) Syria (for Maher Arar?) How about Iran (for Zahra Kazemi?)

Update: Commenter Sandy P. gave a link to the webpage of a journalist who does make the comparison (two, actually, he notes the apology from an official as well) here - scroll down - there are two posts, including one that refers to this post by Omar at Iraq The Model.

Posted by Debbye at 02:38 PM | Comments (2)

Pakistan prison break foiled

May 2 - Pakistani police have uncovered and foiled a plot to use a truck bomb to blow a hole in the outer wall of a prison in which several terrorists are detained awaiting trial. Prisoners inside were to use smuggled explosives and weapons to make their escape (Mass al-Qa'eda jailbreak foiled by Karachi police.)

Posted by Debbye at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

Senior diplomats in Britain II

May 2 - Remember the Apr. 27 story about senior diplomats in Britain chastizing Blair for the invasion of Iraq and his support for Israel? Seems the diplomats failed to mention one tiny little detail: to disclose their own Arab links.

The letter failed to disclose, however, that several of the key signatories, including Oliver Miles, the former British ambassador to Libya who instigated the letter, are paid by pro-Arab organisations.

Some of the others hold positions in companies seeking lucrative Middle East contracts, while others have unpaid positions with pro-Arab organisations.

The disclosure last night prompted allegations - denied by the diplomats - that they were merely promoting the interests of their clients. Andrew Dismore, the Labour MP for Hendon, said: "If an MP had made statements like these without declaring an interest in the subject they would have been before the standards and privileges committee we would have had their guts for garters.

Guts for garters. I have got to remember that one. (On second thought, complete with a visual, maybe not.)

Posted by Debbye at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

Al Qaeda plays the market

May 2 - Al Qaeda, the refuge of those who are "in despair," dabbles in the Australian stock market with some help from a country some believe to be an ally: Aussie stocks help fund al-Qaeda:

AL-QAEDA is secretly investing in blue-chip Australian stocks and using the profits to help finance terrorism.

British intelligence agencies have established the terror group is also targeting top technology and defence corporations in Australia, Singapore and other Pacific Rim countries.

They say al-Qaeda is laundering billions of dollars it earns through drug-running, with the help of China's Secret Intelligence Service. [Emphasis added.]

US Treasury agents, working closely with European intelligence services, believe more than $A1 billion has been invested in stocks by al-Qaeda since the start of the year. [That's Australian dollars, btw.]

The money has been laundered through unsuspecting banks as far apart as Australia, Japan, Germany and Ireland.

British intelligence agency MI6 has also established that al-Qaeda's partner in the drug running was the China SIS.

Please, is really anyone surprised that Communist China may be less than an honourable member of the world community? PM Martin may think that the Chinese, who are wholeheartedly repressing human rights and reneging on agreements over Hong Kong, should have a seat at his G-20 table, but is that to protect Canadian trade with China or because he thinks the Chinese have anything to offer to the future?

[Note to those who read the article: CSIS in this case refers to the Chinese, not Canadian, intelligence agency.]

Posted by Debbye at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

Go Leafs!

May 2 - Game 5 is crucial (shouldn't that be critical?)

Posted by Debbye at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)

Thomas Hamill

May 2 - "I want everybody know he's been found ... I'm going to be shouting it from the rooftops."

-- Kellie Hamill, speaking to reporters after learning her husband Thomas had escaped and was safe.

U.S. Hostage Escapes in Iraq.

Posted by Debbye at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

Terrorism concerns in southeast Asia (Updated)

May 2 - A brief article from Insight Magazine probes a question that hasn't been addressed on this continent enough: the extent to which Southeast Asia is Al-Qaeda's 'Second Front'.

Answering this question is harder than it appears in large part due to the patterns of denial by southeast Asian countries. Prior to the October, 2002, terrorist attack in Bali, for example, the Indonesian government had strenuously denied there were organized terrorist organizations there but if there was any upside to that attack, it was exposing the vast Jemaah Islamiah network that had penetrated even Australia itself.

As noted here, Thai officials have been divided over who was responsible for coordinated attacks that were launched April 28 on police stations and check points with some blaming the attacks on youth gangs.

There are some very serious concerns about that region:

The London-based analysts cite as an example an event that transpired on June 13, 2003. Acting on information received from U.S. investigators, according to the report, Thai authorities "seized a large amount of radioactive material" that originated from Russian stockpiles and that was smuggled into Thailand through Laos. The material, Cesium-137, a radioactive derivative of nuclear power plants, was to be used for a "dirty bomb."

Some analysts believe that Thailand and Southeast Asia, including parts of northern Australia, have been designated by al-Qaeda as a "second front" in the war on terror.

Last February, CNN had an online three part analysis of terrorism in southeast Asia:
Part I, Uncovering southeast Asia's jihad network,
Part II, Building al Qaeda's Asian network, and
Part III, Terrorism's new frontline.

These reports are worth the time it takes to read them. Although dated, there are some very familiar names that come up including my personal favourite, Jabarah, a Canadian from nearby St. Catharines who was eventually captured in Thailand. [I made the same mental slip again. This must be Freudian ...]

Things are not exactly tranquil in Indonesia these days; although the reaction to the arrest of Abu Bakar Bashir for his part in the Bali attack have not led to more than sporadic riots, his supporters are blaming pressure from the USA and Australia for the arrest rather than evidence of Bashir's central role in Jemaah Islamiah. (Diversion tactics are a major propaganda tool in Indonesia, too, it seems.)

As always, it is easier to see the rioters than those who continue with their daily lives; although the firm rejection of an Islamic fundamentalist state in the recent elections in Malaysia and this article about the Malaysia economy indicates that comparisons between southeast Asia and the Mideast have some interesting dissimilarities.

Just as economic opportunities play a role in combating terrorism, the threat of terrorism plays a role in reducing international investments which reduces economic opportunities. [Note to anti-globalization nuts: Shut. Up. How they can invoke anti-imperialism while urging measures that force people to live in poverty redefines either ignorance or cruelty. There are no noble savages, just people dying of malaria, malnutrition, AIDS and sometimes outright starvation.]

One lapse of the article is not taking a closer look at how Australia is leading the anti-terrorism efforts in the region, but then Australia itself is reticent on the subject. From what I've read in the Autralian press, though, it is fairly evident that Australia is monitoring that region, which although it may seem far away, is truly North America's western flank.

Note to Sen. Kerry and the state of California: screw Old Europe. The only thing they watch is their own backsides slipping deeper into irrelevance. Look to the west, old man. Dissing our true western allies really pisses me off, and if the media would pay more attention to that front I might regain some respect for them.

Insight Magazine is a sister publication of the Washington Times and UPI. I hope that the Times will begin to take more notice of Australia and the western front.

13:23: On Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Commission demanded demanded Thailand investigate the killings. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said:

"It is my job and we can cope with this matter. We are trying to explain this to foreigners. But if they do not understand or ignore our explanation, I don't care because we are not begging them for food," Thaksin said.
What part of "they were coming at us with weapons" doesn't the High Commissioner understand?

The Acting UN High Commissioner, Bertrand Ramcharan, gets his say here.

Posted by Debbye at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

Another Saudi/Gaza attack (Updated)

May 2 - Four attackers, 3 of whom worked at the facility and used their passes to gain access and to smuggle guns and a fourth attacker in, open-fired and killed several at Saudi oil compound, an oil refinery owned by Exxon Mobil Corp. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. in Yanbu.

Two Americans, one (possibly two) Australian, two Britons and a Saudi police officer were among the dead. [Update: the Australian link notes one Australian death and another Australian severely wounded. The Swiss-Swedish company that employed the refinery workers is pulling personnel out of Yanbu.]

Two of the attackers blew themselves in a stolen car up while fleeing from police, one was killed in a shoot-out with police and the fourth died later of his wounds.

Saudi authorities said they believe the four attackers were on the "Most Wanted" list released last December.

There are unconfirmed reports that two Canadians were wounded. The CP item also has this:

Intelligence has in the past suggested al-Qaida wanted to strike at Saudi oil interests and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has called for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family and questioned its Islamic credentials.

"The kingdom will eliminate terrorism no matter how long it takes," Crown Prince Abdullah said in comments broadcast Saturday night on Saudi television.

SPA later quoted Abdullah telling a gathering of princes in Jidda: "Zionism is behind terrorist actions in the kingdom. I can say that I am 95 per cent sure of that."

CNN elaborates on that quote:

Crown Prince Abdullah said on Saudi state-run television that "Zionists" are behind terrorist attacks in his country.

Abdullah and other Saudi officials have consistently blamed al Qaeda for attacks on Saudi soil, and the terrorist network has claimed responsibility for several.

Abdullah did not suggest that Israelis or Israel supporters plotted or carried out any of the attacks. But he said, "I am 95 percent sure that Zionism is behind the attacks, for I believe that [Zionists] play in the minds of those who are committing the attacks."

He did not spell out precisely how he believes Zionists influence those launching the acts of terrorism in his kingdom.

Well, I'll give CNN points for subtle snarkiness.

Of course, Prince Abdullah's beliefs didn't really need to be spelled out. He mentioned Zionism, which is all he needed to do to generate to that automatic reflex they've nutured to avoid looking at themselves and their society, examining its failures, and, horrors, changing anything.

It wasn't their fault, you see. Zionism makes them incapable of rational thought, etc. etc. etc. Reduced capacity, victims of circumstance, and victimized most of all by of the hatred that is regularly preached in Saudi Arabia. (Oh, did I say that? Sorry. Slip of the tongue. Really)

The sick part is how completely the rest of the world - and media - have also nutured that reflex and swallowed that line uncritically.

Ezra Levant wrote a column earlier this week Double Standard in which he explored the difference between how much in the media differ in their reports of governments like Saudi Arabia and the United States tracking down and killing terrorists and how they report when Israel, often using the same methods as the Saudis and Americans, do the same.

He also used an interesting sliding scale of deaths to demonstrate the hypocrisy of a media that aspires to be even handed:

One million Iraqis killed by Saddam Hussein in his series of wars equals 20,000 Arabs in the city of Hama killed by the late Syrian dictator Hafez Assad equals thousands of Iraqi soldiers killed by the U.S. military last spring equals one terrorist leader, Sheikh Yassin, killed by the Israeli government this month.

Arab governments killing Arab terrorists isn't news. Arab governments killing their own people isn't news. Jews killing an Arab terrorist is news -- not just news, but news that must be condemned and denounced -- even if the "victim" is a founder of the bloody Hamas terrorist group that has killed hundreds, as did Yassin.

But even Americans killing Arabs isn't big news...

He's right in the big sense, although I've seen enough "Massacre in Fallujah" lead-ins these past weeks to give me small grounds to disagree in the little sense.

There were a number of anti-Semitic incidents in the greater Toronto area and a school was fire-bombed in Montreal during the past month and a half, and the media here has been all indignant and self-righteous that such horrible things could occur in Canada. I don't feel surprised. I remember the media coverage of Jenin, and to my mind the media here has actively promoted anti-Semitism and, rather than expressing outrage, they should be expressing remorse.

The media coverage of Jenin was to publish uncorroborated stories, which were later disproven and which how any fool should have recognized as probable propanganda for a very simple reason.

If that many people had been killed, it wouldn't have been possible to cover that fact up for more than a few days. As those who told the atrocity stories had a vested interest in blackening Israel, that bias should have raised a large caution flag to any journalist who was interested in truth.

How could people who claim to be professionals be herded so carefully and consistently toward drawing the wrong conclusions and not even know it? They are supposed to be interested in truth, not available as propaganda tools. Damn the media some more.

After the truth about Jenin came out, the media failed in more ways. They failed to apologize to Israel. They failed to express outrage that they had been blatantly lied to or chagrin that they had been played for fools. They failed to correct their behaviour and they failed to recognize that they served to spread propaganda which has probably cost Israeli lives because they spread those lies and were accomplices to spreading hate.

[Yes, I know Global TV had a special on Jenin last week. Jenin was how long ago? Right.]

All the cliches are about first impressions are true, you know. The story you hear first is the one you'll remember. That's why factual errors by the media are a big deal, and why retractions hidden in the mid-section of the paper are cowardly.

However smart and discriminating we are, there are always issues on which we are prone to be totally credulous or totally skeptical. (I don't exclude myself from that; for me it means I have to be extra-cautious when I see a story that I emphatically do or don't want to believe.)

The media knows that there are many people in Canada who want to believe the worst of Israel and, by extension, Jews, and they have two choices: play to the prejudices, or walk a careful line.

They continue to play to the prejudices, and will continue to bewail incidents of anti-Semitism here. Aren't they freaking hypocrites special?

UPDATE: Think Levant's exaggerating? Read Damian's post on Four Little Girls. CNN at least called it a terror attack (without death quotes) yet the lead connects it to the Likud vote on withdrawal from Gaza. And previous shootings were connected to ...

Update: Canadians and other Westerners are also leaving Yanbu.

Posted by Debbye at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2004

Anti-semitism in the GTA

May 1 - Another anti-semitic attack in the Toronto area, this one at an Oshawa synagogue Oshawa vandals deface synagogue.

This seems to be somewhat different than previous incidents in that the vandals seemingly knew details of anti-Semitism and Nazis.

23:58: There is something about this incident that seems particularly, I dunno, maybe threatening? maybe more pointed than some of the earlier ones ... the defacing of that particular rock, for example, seems to imply this is a more targeted attack than the spray-paint and run tactics employed before. I hope I'm just letting my imagination run away with me.

Posted by Debbye at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

The torture incidents in Iraq

May 1 - I'm going to let the links at Instapundit take the lead on this one as I'm running late.

Quick thought: if true, it's wrong, despicable, and the wrong-doers will be punished.

Those waxing indignant can only wish that such incidents in much of the world were treated in a similar manner by governments who routinely torture and degrade prisoners as a matter of policy.

That's the difference between us and them: we aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we do hold ourselves to a standard which doesn't include whitewashing and blatant denials.

As Gen. Kimmit said "they let us down."

Posted by Debbye at 10:10 AM | Comments (3)

The U.S. and Canada on the U.N.

May 1 - Appears UNSCAM isn't going unnoticed by the Bush administration. Glad Jack's Newswatch caught these while I was putting out fires yesterday: 'Hang' U.N. Oil Ra$cals:

April 30, 2004 -- WASHINGTON - The State Department's No. 2 official said yesterday that those guilty of corruption in the U.N. oil-for-food program "ought to hang."
What did I tell you? Give 'em enough rope ...

What I didn't expect was for Canadian PM Paul Martin to distance himself from the U.N., especially so soon after Kofi Annan addressed Parliament to a warm and admiring audience, and the Davos conference where Martin said:

Annan will be the first secretary general of the UN to address Parliament in the organization's 59-year existence. He was invited to the capital before U.S. President George W. Bush, something that Martin said he did deliberately to show "that Canada has a very important role to play in the world."
Yeah, I never got the logic of that statement either.

And what about the U.N. University for Peace that is to be installed in Toronto?

Read this and this and see if you can figure it out.

Maybe Martin took flip-flop lessons from Sen. Kerry ...

May 3 - 13:47: Roger Simon and commenters have more on Martin's speech here.

Posted by Debbye at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

Tillman awarded Silver Star

May 1 - US Army Ranger Pat Tillman has been awarded the Silver Star posthumously (Army awards Tillman posthumous Silver Star.)

"Dumb jock?" If going back to assist fellow soldiers under fire is dumb, then I don't want to be smart.

"Tillman's platoon was split into two sections. Tillman was the team leader of the lead section when the trail section began receiving suppressive mortar and small-arms fire. ... [The] cavernous terrain made it extremely difficult to target enemy positions, and there was no room for the trail element to maneuver out of the kill zone.

Even though his element was out of the area that had come under fire, Tillman "ordered his team to dismount and maneuvered his team up a hill toward the enemy's location," the Army said.

During the battle, he issued "fire commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating high ground," the statement continued.

"Only after his team engaged the well-armed enemy did it appear their fires diminished."

Because of Tillman's leadership and his team's efforts, the trail section under fire "was able to maneuver through the ambush to positions of safety without a single casualty," the Army said.

Tillman was also promoted to corporal:

"The Army always notes that rank and promotion are not a reward of what was done well, but a recognition that you have the potential to do more," Army spokeswoman Martha Rudd told the AP. "This promotion is essentially saying he would have been a fine leader."
Greyhawk and homicidalManiak have expressed some thoughts about Tillman that civilians might want to look at and consider.

It's righteous that most Americans recognized immediately that what Tillman truly represents are the hundreds of thousands of men and women who put their lives on hold to serve their country.

God bless them all.

Update: Thanks, Murdoc. Fixed the error.

Posted by Debbye at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

Sorry about yesterday ...

May 1 - Sorry about yesterday. Some family things came up, and between that and finishing my damned taxes I got utterly derailed.

How about them Leafs? I woke up on the couch to a lot of hooting and hollaring, but it wasn't for another Leaf goal, it was for Tie Domi's post-game comments.

I only have time for a few short posts before I go to work, but my blogroll is full of excellent bloggers.

Posted by Debbye at 08:13 AM | Comments (2)