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August 31, 2007


A little something to get the blood of the Buckeye faithful pumping for the opener tomorrow...

UPDATE 9/4: Speaking of the "Buckeye Faithful", here is a guy who put himself through a lot of...well, shit...to get tickets for the game. (via Deadspin)

August 28, 2007

Wake Up and Walk Up

I'm wondering when the city of Cleveland is going to realize that there just might be something special going on down at Jacobs Field this summer. The Indians have been in first place more often than not this season, but the Tribe's attendance has been near the bottom of the AL statistics all year. And it hasn't even snowed since, what.....May?

The team deserves better than this from its city and its fans, but at this point I'm not sure what it would take to fill the ballpark for the stretch run. Monday the Tribe came home after a 6-3 road trip during which they won all three series, and had a 2.5 game lead in the Central Division. They were matched up against a tough division rival in the Twins, a team with a five game winning streak, playing with their post-season aspirations on the line.

There was something of an excuse for the small gathering (23,178) on Monday, since the game had been rescheduled from its original place on the schedule, but then an embarrassingly thin crowd of 24,784 showed up on a perfect evening for Tuesday's win over the sinking Twins. There's no excuse for that. What exactly does it take to get this town jazzed up?

I realize I have been on this same soapbox regularly in the past, (except when I'm criticizing the people who do show up for being insufficiently enthusiastic...or something. Tonight, for example, they clapped and made noise every time the scoreboard told them to. Sigh.) But I need to understand the apathy toward a first place baseball team in Cleveland, so I'm taking a crack at it here. I think I can identify at least a couple of factors in the attendance problem:

First, people remember 2005, (not to mention 1997 and 1995) when the Indians collapsed in the last 10 days of the season, and blew the playoff spot that was nearly locked up. Lots of Cleveland people share a weird sports mentality, and I am acquainted with several of this type. They are dyed-in-the-wool pessimists, conditioned to be so by decades of bad baseball, or more recently, by near-misses when the Indians do contend in the playoff chase. They learn to insulate themselves from disappointment by habitually expecting their teams to lose, (or at least saying they do) and forecasting gloom and doom if asked for an opinion.

I do not count myself among their number, by the way, the previous post notwithstanding. That's no way to live...and besides, these are often some genuinely unhappy people in other areas of their lives as well. So the last thing these people are likely to do is to buy a ticket to an Indians game on a whim...especially if the team is in first place around Labor Day. Hell, they might end up witnessing the game in which the Indians careen off the cliff onto the rocks below. And it'll probably rain too.

Another factor is the culture of Jacobs Field, right from its origins. The park's opening in 1994 coincided perfectly with the coming together of an exciting playoff team that went to the World Series a year later. The Indians had a run of over four full seasons worth of sellout crowds, a major league record that still stands. The point is that for years there was no such thing as walk-up ticket sales. Every single game was sold out.

If you worked downtown, deciding at 4 o'clock to go to the ballgame instead of getting on the freeway home was simply not an option. And there are not enough of us left who remember the 60's and 70's, when not only could you get a box seat five minutes before game time, you could probably have your own personal hot dog vendor too. Since the team's rebuilding process began after 2001, there hasn't really been a pairing of a playoff caliber team with the regular availability of good seats at The Jake. Now we have it, and both the Indians front office and the city leadership have done a poor job of putting butts in the chairs.

For the city that continues to flatter itself by claiming that its sports fans are among the very best in the land, it's time to put up.

UPDATE 8 29: Sweep!

August 26, 2007

Strangling Al Qaeda

How General Petraeus and the U.S. military are systematically demolishing al Qaeda in Iraq.

Mario Loyola on Operation Phantom Strike.

August 24, 2007

On Vick Hysteria

At the blog Friendly Fire, Earl Ofari Hutchinson says the Vick case is wildly overblown:

Countless numbers of pro football players have committed rape, physical assaults, and armed robberies They have been inveterate spouse and girl friend abusers, and have even been accused of a double murder (no not O.J., more on him later). Yet none of them have ever had an airplane fly over their training camp with a banner that read abuser, killer, robber, assailant, or thug. None have ever been taunted, jeered, and harangued by packs of sign waving demonstrators screaming for their blood when they showed up at the courthouse. None of them have ever brought the wrath of the entire sports world--sportswriters, fans, league officials, advertisers, sports talk jocks, and bloggers down on their heads. None have ever had senators, congresspersons, and packs of advocacy groups publicly demand that they be drummed out of their profession.

It is bizarre that Vick will probably spend more time in jail than a certain Baltimore Ravens linebacker who presided over the knife murders of two men. And speaking of getting drummed out of one's profession, we're tracking a rumor that Don Imus said today he doesn't understand all the uproar over a bunch of "furry-headed bitches."

I guess this is the spot for my personal statement of disgust at Vick's alleged crimes, just so no one gets the idea that I think gambling on dog fights and killing dogs aren't serious offenses. There now.

As for Vick playing in the NFL again after serving his sentence, I don't think there should be any restriction on it beyond his having to convince a team to sign him. But that would be a tough sell to the fans for any NFL team's management, especially given the level of outrage directed at the guy today.

Tonight there are news reports that the deal Vick has reached with federal prosecutors will not require him to admit either to gambling on dog fights, or to personally killing dogs. I do hope he doesn't get away with that, since his associates who have pleaded guilty to those charges are willing to testify that Vick did in fact do both of those things.

August 23, 2007

Hanging In

It's August 23rd, and the Cleveland Indians are still in first place.

I scoffed at Eric Wedge's April prediction that it would take 100 wins to take the AL Central this year, but halfway through the schedule, at 49-32, the Indians were on a pace for 98 wins. But then they limped into the All Star break, and have lost their collective hitting eye ever since. Now they'll have to go 20-16 over the final 36 games to reach 90 wins. Most fans I know are moaning about the Tribe's failure to capitalize on the Tigers' even worse slump. But the two teams' slumps have been different.

The Indians starting pitching has continued to be pretty solid throughout the dog days, while Detroit's starters have gone off the rails. Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook especially have picked up the team while they weren't scoring runs for C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, the two leading lights of the first half. And now that Sheffield is hurt and Granderson slumping, the Tigers don't look like quite the mashers we've seen the last two seasons.

This weekend, the Tigers play the Yankees in one of those series that you relish, because one of the two teams competing with the Tribe for a playoff spot has to lose every game. In a perfect world, the Yankees would sweep the Tigers just before heading into a tailspin of their own.

Meanwhile, with the Indians sitting on a 2.5 game lead going into a weekend in Kansas City, Tribe fans with a sense of history are waiting for bad things to happen. That's sad, I know...but conditioning will do that for you.

Just Doing It

Two stories on the same day drive home the point that old age is in the mind.

90- year old man becomes world's oldest father. Mr. Jogi now has seven children with his son's widow. (Mrs. Wiz' reaction: "Bless him!")

And, somewhat more impressively, (I mean really, how hard was it for the old coot?....wait, that didn't come out right), a 59-year old man makes a college football team. It sounded at first like a prank cooked up over a couple of cold ones, but I guess the guy is a fitness and conditioning freak, and made the team legitimately. (His wife's reaction: ""I feel like I'm married to Peter Pan.")

August 22, 2007

Poverty is not Charming

John Fund writes of the efforts of wealthy activist busybodies like billionaire George Soros and Vanessa Redgrave to dictate to impoverished Romanians how they ought to live.

Tonight, PBS will air "Gold Futures," a film by Hungary's Tibor Kocsis. The film focuses on residents in Romania's Rosia Montana, a rural Transylvanian town, who are divided over the benefits of a proposed gold mine. It also features Gabriel Resources, the Canadian mining company trying to convince them to relocate so it can dig for a huge gold deposit estimated at 14.6 million ounces, worth almost $10 billion. PBS describes the film as a "David-and-Goliath story."

While the film gives time to supporters and opponents of the mine, it leaves unsaid that half of the villagers voicing opposition have now either sold their homes or will not have to move, because they live in a protected area where the village's historic structures and churches will be preserved. Viewers who see pristine shots of the Rosia valley won't realize the hills hide a huge, abandoned communist-era mine, leaking toxic heavy metals into local streams--or that while the modern mining project will level four hills to create an open pit, it will also clean up the old mess at no cost to the Romanian treasury.

The other side to the controversy is told in a new film that will never be shown on PBS, but is nonetheless rattling the environmental community. "Mine Your Own Business" is a documentary by Irish filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. They conclude that the biggest threat to the people of Rosia Montana "comes from upper-class Western environmentalism that seeks to keep them poor and unable to clean up the horrific pollution caused by Ceausescu's mining."

75% of the people of Rosia Montana lack indoor plumbing, and unemployment there is 70%. Rich environmental activists, who will presumably be parked on a flush toilet next time they have to go, think this lifestyle is quaint, and mustn't be sullied with things like factories or jobs, much less anything so blatantly (and symbolically) materialistic as a gold mine.

The environmental arguments for opposing the mine seem weak. I can't help but wonder if Soros has personal financial motives. Does he have holdings in gold? What would productive new mines coming on stream do to prices? Yes, he's an ideologue and a committed socialist. We're well aware of the billionaire's distaste for free market capitalism. He's got his, after all. And he obviously has some guilt issues. Great wealth, it seems, has made George Soros miserable. And now, like other guilt-ridden rich outsiders, he's on a mission. This time the goal is to put the people of Rosia Montana out of his misery.

When asked by an interviewer about the abject poverty that can only be addressed by economic development, one of the "activists" in the trailer for "Mine Your Own Business" asked in reply...

"How do we perceive what is rich and what is poor, who is rich and who is poor?"

Sounds like twaddle from a man without a coherent answer to the question, first of all. And spoken like a well-to-do Westerner who's never been hungry a day in his life, or shit in an outhouse, but has been convinced that mining gold is "raping the planet", and that by injecting himself into the business affairs of a foreign country, and impeding a small town's path to economic growth, he is righteous. The human costs be damned. They're worth paying when you're saving the world. People are the problem. Omelettes...eggs, you know.

Their anti-capitalist agenda is transparent, even as it is draped in environmentalist garb. By trying to prevent the showing of the film "Mine Your Own Business", they acknowledge that their argument amounts to yelling "Shut up!"

And these people have the crust to rail about their political opponents "imposing their values" on others.

August 21, 2007


Paul Belien at Brussels Journal on Belgian political problems, past and present, and what they mean for the country whose political model has been largely adopted by the European Union.

Bruce Bawer's "The Peace Racket" is not recommended. It is required. Go now.

Whether he's dead or alive, Castro's days in power are over. Humberto Fontova at FPM.

Andy McCarthy on FISA fear-mongering at the New York Times.

Another 9/11 Apostasy

The Guardian, of all places, runs a first person account by a liberal writer, mugged by reality after 9/11. Sometimes they'll surprise you. Here's a slice from the longish piece by Andrew Anthony:

Drinking in the devastation, numbed and intoxicated by the scale of what had taken place, I struggled, like everyone else, to make sense of it all. And in my case, as with many people from the liberal-left side of the political spectrum, that job was made more difficult by the fact that the United States was the victim. From where I came from, the United States was always the culprit. There was Vietnam, Chile and the dreadful support for repressive and often debauched regimes right across Latin America, Africa and Asia. I was a veteran of CND anti-cruise missile marches in the 1980s. I had gone to Nicaragua to defend the Sandinista cause against American imperialism. America was the bad guy, right? America was always the bad guy.

Clearly some basic moral calculations needed to be performed. Which vision of the world represented more closely my own liberal outlook? The cosmopolitan city of New York, a multi-racial city of opportunity, a town where anyone on earth could arrive and thrive, exuberant, cultured, diverse, a place I had visited and loved for its liberty and energy and excitement? Or the people who attacked it, those arid minds who wanted to remove women from sight, kill homosexuals, banish music, destroy art, the demolishers of the Bamiyan Buddhas who aimed to terrorise everyone they could into submission to the will of their vengeful God? It was, as they say, a no-brainer, or should have been.

(via Protein Wisdom)

August 20, 2007

Miller's Missing Act

It's not often (ever?) I'm linking to Vanity Fair in this space, but I thought this investigative piece by Suzanna Andrews on the son of Arthur Miller was great reading.

Arthur Miller's Missing Act

For all the public drama of Arthur Miller's career—his celebrated plays (including Death of a Salesman and The Crucible), his marriage to Marilyn Monroe, his social activism—one character was absent: the Down-syndrome child he deleted from his life.


No photograph of him has ever been published, but those who know Daniel Miller say that he resembles his father. Some say it's the nose, others the mischievous glimmer in the eyes when he smiles, but the most telling feature, the one that clearly identifies him as Arthur Miller's son, is his high forehead and identically receding hairline. He is almost 41 now, but it's impossible to say whether his father's friends would notice the resemblance, because the few who have ever seen Daniel have not laid eyes on him since he was a week old.

(via Ross Douthat)

McLovin It

J-Pod says Superbad is an instant classic. He calls it...

a horrifyingly foul-mouthed, shockingly hilarious, and surprisingly moving new teen comedy that will probably be the best-known and most fondly remembered Hollywood picture of 2007 a quarter-century from now.

Ace's take sums it up this way:

A constant stream of vulgarity and bad behavior, but nothing that will put you off if you're reading this site.

Damn. I wanted to be shocked and appalled.

August 19, 2007

House Hippo

Here's a remarkable piece of video, courtesy of Rodger at Curmudgeonly and Skeptical. Suitable for work. The video below, that is. Rodger's blog too...usually.

Replay video | Share video | Watch more videos

August 17, 2007

Lomborg's "Cool It"

An interview with author Bjorn Lomborg by Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on the topic of the new Lomborg book, "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming".

Q: Will you give us a brief synopsis of your book?

A: It tries to tell us three things. It first of all says global warming is real. The second point is to say that the effects of global warming are very often vastly exaggerated and one-sided and that doesn’t lead to good judgments. So that’s the third part, where I try to point out that we need a much smarter, much cooler way of talking about climate change and thinking about how we can do something about it in the long run. What I try to say is that we need to focus on things that are both cost-efficient and will solve climate change. Right now we talk about cutting CO2 emissions, which is expensive and which quite frankly will do very little good.

What I talk about is cutting the cost of cutting emissions – that is, investing in research and development of non-carbon-emitting energy technologies like solar, like wind, like carbon-capture, energy efficiency – all these things. If we do that, we will leave a world where our kids and especially our grand kids will have a much easier time cutting their carbon emissions, simply because we’ve made it much cheaper. And therefore, both our kids and grandkids -- but also the Chinese and the Indians, who will be much richer in 2050 – will want to cut much more. So at the end of the day, it’s really, “Do we want to cut a little now at high cost or do we want to make sure the whole world will want to cut a lot at low cost because we’ve invested in research and development?”

Q: What is your position on global climate change?

A: I think it’s incontrovertible that it’s happening and that it’s at least partially caused by man. But it’s often vastly over-sold. The idea that we are going to see a 20-feet sea level rise is just simply not in the cards. The UN climate panel tells us it’s going to be about a foot. There’s a huge difference in telling us the sea level rise is going to be a foot over the next 100 years or it’s going to be 20 feet. One is a problem; the other one is a catastrophe. But it’s the problem that will actually happen.

To put it in context, remember over the last 150 years sea levels also rose a foot. Yet was it something we noticed very much? Ask a very old person who lived through most of the 20th century what were the important things that happened and she’ll likely talk about the two world wars, the emancipation of women, and maybe the IT Revolution, but it’s very unlikely she’ll say, “Oh, and sea levels rose.”

UPDATE 8/17: Jeff Jacoby appeals for sanity and civility in the global warming debate.

Not Just Beauchamp

Randall Hoven, writing at American Thinker, has put together an impressive roundup of Old Media journalistic fraud, plagiarism and fabrication....all of which prompts some questions from Hoven...

These offenses have been going on for years, long before the internet. But there does seems to be a rise in the number of reported offenses in recent years. Did the number of offenses go up, or did the fraction of discovered offenses go up?...

...If this is the visible part of the iceberg, just how big is the iceberg?

UPDATE 8/20: Hoven updates his list with 21 new entries.

The Case Against Vick

The evidence is apparently overwhelming, and now all Michael Vick and his attorneys can do is negotiate how much time he'll do.

From ESPN.com

On Friday morning, the last two of Michael Vick's co-defendants in a federal dogfighting case -- Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace -- pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture. They now add their names and their knowledge to testimony from four cooperating witnesses and Tony Taylor, a co-defendant who earlier agreed to testify against Vick. With the evidence piling up against the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback, where does that leave the case? Here are the latest questions and answers.

Now that they have pleaded guilty, what do Peace and Phillips provide to the government's case against Vick that wasn't there before?

Both of Vick's former cohorts in the alleged dogfighting scheme will bring dramatic and powerful testimony against Vick. The most difficult testimony for Vick to counter will be Peace's description of a doubleheader dogfight in March 2003. According to the "Summary of the Facts" that Peace signed as part of his plea agreement, Vick and Peace entered two dogs from Bad Newz Kennels in that fight. Both lost. If the Vick case goes to trial, Peace will testify in front of the judge and jury that he and Vick "executed the dog by wetting the dog down with water and electrocuting the animal." That isn't all. Peace and Phillips will describe eight more executions during 2004 and 2005, all of them occurring on Vick's compound in Surry County, Va. All eight dogs flunked fighting tests. Some were drowned. Others were hung. And one was killed -- with Vick allegedly present -- by "slamming its body into the ground."

When testimony from Peace and Phillips is added to the testimony from Taylor, the government's case against Vick appears to be overwhelming. The seven witnesses can describe the alleged dogfighting scheme from its inception in 2001, less than eight weeks after Vick signed his first NFL contract, to its demise three months ago when police raided Vick's compound in rural Surry County. The seven witnesses allegedly can describe Vick building the dogfighting facility, buying dogs, breeding dogs, training dogs, betting on dogs, paying for everything and participating in gruesome executions of losing dogs.

I look forward to the day ESPN adds a new channel to their cable slate, with its own accompanying website, called ESPN Court TV, and all of the stories like this that dominate the main channel and site can go elsewhere, and we can watch and read about games of skill.

A quick look over at ESPN.com at the top ten bulleted items on a typical Friday night (which doesn't include the Vick story) shows that fully half of them - the dirty NBA ref case; an NBA player's reckless driving, an NHL player's gambling involvement, a baseball player's bat attack, and a boxer fined for a weigh in brawl (say it isn't so) - tell of sports intersecting with law-breaking. I've got no sweeping social insight or comment on this reality. I just find it tiresome, and I'd like my sports back, please.

August 15, 2007

Post Secret Video

Post Secret, a site that can make you feel better and worse about the state of humanity, both in the span of a couple of minutes, has a video up this week instead of individual postcards.

August 14, 2007

Pinch Punched

Rupert Murdoch and "Pinch" Sulzberger go at it for three rounds....it's the Wall Street Journal vs. The New York Times., at The Future of News, a blog by Steve Borliss. I thought they should have stopped it sooner.

(via Galley Slaves)

August 13, 2007

USA Today Imitates the Times

"Residents Returning to New Orleans; Blacks Hardest Hit"

No, that's not the actual headline, but the article is stock issue.

The New Orleans Index, a look at several indicators that show how the city and region are rebounding from the 2005 disaster, shows the city has regained 66% of its pre-Katrina population as of June 2007.

Progress in the schools has been slower, and beset with problems, and although the population has reached two thirds of pre-Katrina levels, school enrollment is still way down.

The number of students enrolled in public schools this spring in Orleans Parish, which includes New Orleans, has reached 40% of pre-Katrina enrollment of more than 66,000. The report notes that 1,700 students returned to the public school system in New Orleans between the 2006 and 2007 spring semesters...

...The report found that fewer black students are enrolling in New Orleans schools and that more Hispanic families are moving into outlying areas.

Though still the majority, black students now make up 89% of the student body in Orleans Parish, down from 93% pre-Katrina, possibly indicating black students are disproportionately struggling to return to New Orleans, the report said.

Is it just a given with these folks that everyone who left New Orleans plans or desires to return? And that those who have not must be "struggling" to do so?

Thousands of people have left the area, found employment elsewhere, settled in, and have decided not to return. You would think that the magnitude of the loss of over half of the total public school enrollment would render any meaningful analysis of racial head-counting statistics nearly impossible. Yet the study's authors venture an opinion that a drop from 93% to 89% in black enrollment, amid a 60% overall drop, possibly indicates that blacks are "disproportionately struggling" to return.

I'd guess that there are other conditions possibly indicated by this statistical blip as well, one of the most plausible of which would be that blacks, by a small margin, disproportionately decided not to return to New Orleans, for whatever reason. One reason might well be the public schools. What amazes is the formulaic tendency in liberal media to view this rather unremarkable social outcome through the prism of black victimhood.

Wood on Diversity

The "Diversity Commitment" at Roger Williams University seems to have come at the expense of the goals in the school's mission statement, and to have revealed the the character of its administration. Peter Wood is on it.

(via Phi Beta Cons)

Up Against The Wall

There's a good piece by James Lewis at American Thinker , on the radical Left's propensity to destroy what society and tradition have built, replacing it with...well, they'll get around to telling you what it will be replaced with, after the revolution.....just know that they'll be in charge. Here's a slice of the Lewis article....

"Everything must be different!" is the core psychology of Leftism, and has little to do with reasoned political beliefs. Most Marxists in the English Departments of America have never read Karl Marx's giant tome, Das Kapital, which parades as a work of economics and history, but is in fact a ponderous update of the Prussian philosopher Friedrich Hegel, who is even more unreadable than Marx. Instead of going to the fount of all Marxist wisdom, our academic "Marxists" have read the 1848 Communist Manisfesto and some hero-worshipping Leftist magazines. They are what Lenin, with magnificent disdain, called "vulgar Marxists" -- that is, proletarian dupes who just don't understand the deep philosophical roots of the real thing.

There are only a few ideas in Das Kapital. One is that human history is driven by class struggle between the rich and the poor, a wild oversimplification of history's rich and colorful tapestry. The other idea, borrowed from Hegel and flipped upside-down, is that the inevitable culmination of History in a state of Paradise is a material and this-worldly society, the condition of universal Communism, instead of an other-worldly condition, as Hegel predicted. Hegel believed that the Prussian State was a model of Paradise to Come. But since Marx was a "scientific" materialist, his version of history was called "dialectical materialism."

The final idea in Das Kapital is that economic profit (called "surplus value") belongs only to the workers, and not to the providers of entrepreneurial capital, nor to entrepreneurs who start and run businesses, nor to the inventors and developers who build intellectual capital all the way from Silicon Valley to Shanghai. Naturally, the radical Left gets to control what the workers produce. That's it. There's nothing else; it's a huge and ponderous rationalization of the impulse to overthrow whatever exists.

Full article

August 9, 2007

Repressive China "Ready" For Olympics

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and numerous other human rights organizations have issued new reports critical of the repression by the Chinese regime in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games. Gordon G. Chang at Contentions has all the links.

GOP Defeatism

American Thinker: Premature 2008 Defeatism

So we've got a candidate who is among the most radical ever to stand for the presidency. One who was furthermore at the very center of the most corrupt administration in modern history. Who has a lengthy trail of dubious (to put it mildly) deals and arrangements behind her. Whose record as a senator is conspicuous for lack of any serious accomplishment. Who is, above all, one of the most unappealing personalities to run for president in this or any other era.

According to reputable polling, 52% of the voters have gone on record to declare that they will never, under any circumstances, cast their vote for Hillary Clinton. The last time I looked, 48% was a losing number in the presidential sweepstakes.

You'd think that, under those conditions, the GOP would be aching to come to grips with Hillary. But you'd be wrong. According to the conservative commentariat, the election is over, a year and more ahead of time, and Hillary has it in the bag.

There is a lot of it about.

August 7, 2007


Andrew Waldon at FPM and Christopher Hitchens both have the goods on Oakland's own, Your Black Muslim Bakery. An excerpt from Hitchens:

Now, I'm just asking, but: rape, polygamy, intimidation, torture, murder, all these actions emanating from one address and some of them performed in the name of a fanatical ideology. What does it take before the police decide to raid the premises? Should we wait until unveiled women are attacked on the street or until honor killings or female circumcision take hold? (There is no official connection between YBMB and Louis Farrakhan's racist and cultish Nation of Islam, though it seems that Yusuf Bey Sr. did convert to some form of Islam under that sinister organization's auspices.)

My question was answered last Friday, when the Oakland Police Department finally did storm the premises, along with three neighboring homes, and arrested seven people, including Yusuf Bey IV. This, however, was too late to save the life of Chauncey Bailey, the well-liked editor of the black-owned Oakland Post, who had decided to take up where the East Bay Express had left off and to investigate the finances of YBMB. He was shot dead last Thursday in broad daylight on an Oakland street. A young handyman from YBMB named Devaughndre Broussard has been charged in the Bailey case, and other members of the group are being investigated for involvement in the earlier crimes.

Corrupting Absolutely

Reports from Iran show a sharp increase in the brutal repression of the Iranian people by the ruling regime. Amir Taheri, in the WSJ, cites some appalling details:

The Mashad hangings, broadcast live on local television, are among a series of public executions ordered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month as part of a campaign to terrorize an increasingly restive population. Over the past six weeks, at least 118 people have been executed, including four who were stoned to death. According to Saeed Mortazavi, the chief Islamic prosecutor, at least 150 more people, including five women, are scheduled to be hanged or stoned to death in the coming weeks.

The latest wave of executions is the biggest Iran has suffered in the same time span since 1984, when thousands of opposition prisoners were shot on orders from Ayatollah Khomeini.

Not all executions take place in public. In the provinces of Kurdistan and Khuzestan, where ethnic Kurdish and Arab minorities are demanding greater rights, several activists have been put to death in secret, their families informed only days after the event.


The campaign of terror also includes targeted "disappearances" designed to neutralize trade union leaders, student activists, journalists and even mullahs opposed to the regime. According to the latest tally, more than 30 people have "disappeared" since the start of the new Iranian year on March 21. To intimidate the population, the authorities also have carried out mass arrests on spurious grounds.


According to Rajab-Ali Shahsavari, leader of the Union of Contractual Workers, 25,795 unionists have been fired since April. He estimates that now over 1,000 workers are losing their jobs each day, as the regime intensifies its crackdown.

Worse still, the number of suspicious deaths among workers has risen to an all-time high. According to Deputy Labor Minister Ibrahim Nazari-Jalali, 1,047 workers have died in "work-related accidents" since April. Labor sources, however, point out that none of the accidents have been investigated and, in at least 13 cases, the workers who died may have been killed by goons hired by the regime.

The biggest purge of universities since Khomeini launched his "Islamic Cultural Revolution" in 1980 is also under way. Scores of student leaders have been arrested and more than 3,000 others expelled. Labeling the crackdown the "corrective movement," Mr. Ahmadinejad wants university textbooks rewritten to "cleanse them of Infidel trash," and to include "a rebuttal of Zionist-Crusader claims" about the Holocaust. Dozens of lecturers and faculty deans have been fired.

UPDATE 8/6: Gateway Pundit covers the Great Naked Handshake scandal currently raging in Iran. (via HotAir)

August 6, 2007

August 6 - Tribe in First

Now that the Tigers and Indians have come back to the pack, and the Yankees have come alive, it seems like the AL pennant race began in earnest this week. The Yankees come to Cleveland this weekend for one of those defining, momentum-generating series, in which the Eric Wedge teams of the last three years have, more often than not, taken the pipe.

Yes, there are 50 games to play, but we'll learn a lot about the Indians in the Yankee series. Do they consider themselves a playoff team? First up though, is a loose White Sox team that just swept the Tigers. Hold on tight. It's pressure every day for two long months. I love this.

Indians pitcher Paul Byrd, during his four-hit shutout over the Twins tonight:

"I walked over to Casey [Blake] and Victor [Martinez] and said, 'If you're not right with Jesus, get right with Him, because He may be coming back. I just got Morneau out twice."

August 5, 2007

Tough Guy

X-Gamer Jake Brown falls over 40 feet onto a wooden track and...well, see what happens.

Drama at YearlyKos

PJM is reporting from the YearlyKos bloggers convention that a U.S. military veteran of the Iraq war was "censored" by a member of the panel in a seminar titled "Progressives and the Military; Are They Really That Different?" when he tried to present evidence, while in uniform, that the surge was having a positive effect. The video of a portion of the exchange is at the PJM post, but it didn't appear to me that the soldier (an inactive reservist I understand) was censored, exactly.

Granted, his message was unwelcome at this gathering of like-thinking lefties with their minds made up. The war is lost and they're not about to let Bush's humiliating defeat slip away from them at this late date.

The mild-mannered Sargeant was hardly a pro-administration or pro-Pentagon shill though, and was marginally effective at making any pro-victory points. He deplored the Abu Grahib abuses, encouraged soldiers to break rules if that meant doing "what was right", and claimed that he spoke out "on behalf of the Iraqi people". In the video, he cites decreased numbers of Iraqi civilian casualties rather than U.S. soldier statistics, and (rather lamely) challenges the panelists to refute his argument that the surge is working so far.

In fact he made several criticisms of our military that a thinking panelist at a leftist gathering might have exploited to his advantage in an actual argument on the merits of the surge, or of our overall strategy. Not gonna happen here, I guess.

At least on the matter of the blood-letting awaiting the Iraqi people if we pull out, the extreme left, of course, has no coherent argument with which to counter. And talk of the surge actually working is not about to be countenanced at YealyKos without the messenger being summarily shot. So panelist Jon Soltz storms off the dais muttering asides to the media about the uniform being "above politics"....as if talk of military strategy and the merits or demerits of the surge were inherently "political", and as such a violation of the military code of conduct . (Lots of comments on the PJM thread by military people and others on this issue)

But what is so disingenuous about Soltz' reaction is that the Kossacks later admit that they knew the day before what the soldier wanted to say, and they say they tried to convince him to appear in civilian clothes, but he refused. The propriety of wearing a uniform is surely debatable, and even as an inactive reservist, he may be mildly reprimanded, but a bloggers convention is not a political event, and the soldier's comments were not political to most of us not afflicted with BDS.

But had they wanted to "censor" him, they could have decided the day before not to permit him to make his little presentation. And what now seems beyond doubt is that Soltz' stunt for the cameras was altogether staged. In fact he is heard warning before the Sargeant is allowed to speak that he would be "reported" for violating the uniform code. Having screened him the day before, they stood up a guy who they (rightly) perceived as a meek and not very articulate spokeperson for our military effort, and orchestrated his trashing using a cynical and feigned reverence for "the uniform". Disgusting but typical.

After his presentation, the Sargeant tells the PJM reporter that the Kos organizers told him he would be "in trouble" and that they would see to it that he was dishonorably discharged. In other words, instead of addressing the points he earnestly raised...in a discussion forum on politics and the military, no less, .they threaten him, and pretend to be outraged at the politicization of the military uniform that they hold so sacred. And all because he dared to depart from Kossack Revealed Truth with some statistics about civilian casualties since the surge began.

The instinct of the political left is to destroy the political adversary...or even a sincere dissenter, rather than bother engaging him. And uniform or no uniform, it was that authoritarian instinct that was on display at YearlyKos by Jon Soltz, it seems to me. If the soldier had been in civilian clothes, there would have had to be some other pretext for discrediting him, changing the subject, or shouting him down.

If they couldn't discredit the messenger, they'd have to face up to some very awkward questions about what happens to the Iraqi people if the nutroots get their way politically. As for talk of the surge working, or America winning? Just don't go there.

By the way, what is it about the exercise of raw totalitarian power that draws the fascination, awe and admiration of the political left?