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November 28, 2008

Don't Be That Guy

Had to post these failure videos.....including this little wedding faux pas.
...via Ace, who has more links to similar stuff.

November 25, 2008

Monument To A Murderer

There's a new statue of Che Guevara in New York's Central Park. Who knows why. Humberto Fontova reacts:

"If the missiles had remained (in Cuba),We would have used them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York City. The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims." - Ernesto 'Che" Guevara, November 1962.

Imagine a monument to Hideki Tojo at the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. Imagine one to Luftwaffe Chief, Herman Goering in London's Hyde Park. Heck, imagine one to Osama bin Laden in New York. In the fall of 1962 only Khrushchev's prudence and the FBI's competence saved New York from a Che-instigated murder toll that would have dwarfed Pearl Harbor's, London's during the Blitz , and 9/11's -- combined. The planning and will for the fiery mass-murder of thousands of New Yorkers were certainly there, only the means were foiled at the last minute. Morally speaking, this leaves the man honored in Central Park's Doris C. Freedman Plaza (from Nov. 20th 2008 till May 2009) culpable of crimes bin Laden envisions only in his sweetest dreams.

"The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!" raved Ernesto "Che" Guevara in 1961. "Against those hyenas there is no option but extermination. We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies' very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we'll destroy him! We must keep our hatred against them [the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysms!"

Compared to Che Guevara, Ahmadinejad sounds like the Dalai Lama. After his 'whoopin 'hollerin reception at the U.N.'s General Assembly in December 1964, New York society's reception for Che Guevara -- with cocktail parties at "Bobo" Rockefeller's Manhattan suite and softball interview on Meet the Press -- shamed the sorry treatment accorded Ahmadinejad on his visit last year. If only Ahmadinejad had planned to incinerate his hosts (then boasted about it) he might have gotten a much warmer reception in New York. 40 years later he might even get a statue.

November 24, 2008

Informed Dedication

On the occasion of his birthday, some revisited words of wisdom from WFB (via The Corner)

When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

November 22, 2008

OSU-Michigan 2008

Here's my preview of The Game - 2008, over at The Cleveland Fan.

The OSU basketball team opened with a win this week. I profiled the 2008-09 Buckeyes here.

UPDATE 11/24: The Buckeyes roll. Here's the game recap.

Climate Change is Redundant, Part 106

A couple of things at American Thinker on climate...

Obama is fully on board with the global carbon tax enterprise. Come to think of it, it does take audacity to keep saying things like this...

"The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear"


"Few challenges facing America -- and the world -- are more urgent than combating climate change"

...when the science is anything but beyond dispute, and the far greater and more urgent challenges are obvious.

It does appear though, that they have been paying attention to the earth's temperature. Actual warming isn't the issue anymore...too much embarrassing cooling going on for that. So it's repackaged as "climate change" that we must combat. Good luck with that. Quotes are from a BHO speech at the Governors Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles.

I await breathlessly the details of how Barack Obama plans to reduce global temperature via taxation. In the meantime I take great delight as Mother Nature makes them all look like fools.

Gregory Young's piece "Bring it on" makes a case for AGW skepticism. The debate lives.


Climate blogs:

Climate Audit - Steve McIntyre

Climate Skeptic

Watts Up With That? - Anthony Watts

Cooler Heads Blog

November 19, 2008

Chinese Organ Harvesting

Ethan Gutmann's article China's Gruesome Organ Harvest is the cover story in the new Weekly Standard. Gutmann has traveled the world to conduct extended personal interviews with survivors of the Chinese forced labor camps and prisons, where Falun Gong practitioners are disappearing by the thousands, and business in the sale of healthy vital organs for transplant is booming.

The allegation that the Chinese government is murdering young, healthy, innocent Chinese citizens and selling their livers, kidneys and corneas for transplant to wealthy foreigners and connected Party officials is not one that the author takes lightly, and he admits the eye-witness evidence he has gathered is far from conclusive or complete. But as you can see below, his contribution to the story builds on three years of previous reporting on the practice.

The Chinese admit that they harvest organs from executed criminals, and there is a system in place for the practice. There have also been tens of thousands of documented detentions (without formal charges) of practitioners since the all-out persecution of Falun Gong intensified a decade ago. Many thousands more have simply disappeared, or have protected their families by refusing to identify themselves...

Falun Gong became wildly popular in China during the late 1990s. For various reasons--perhaps because the membership of this movement was larger than that of the Chinese Communist party (and intersected with it), or because the legacy of Tiananmen was unresolved, or because 70 million people suddenly seemed to be looking for a way into heaven (other than money)--the party decided to eliminate it. In 1998, the party quietly canceled the business licenses of people who practiced Falun Gong. In 1999 came mass arrests, seizure of assets, and torture. Then, starting in 2000, as the movement responded by becoming more openly activist, demonstrating at Tiananmen and hijacking television signals on the mainland, the death toll started to climb, reaching approximately 3,000 confirmed deaths by torture, execution, and neglect by 2005.

At any given time, 100,000 Falun Gong practitioners were said to be somewhere in the Chinese penal system. Like most numbers coming out of China, these were crude estimates, further rendered unreliable by the chatter of claim and counterclaim. But one point is beyond dispute: The repression of Falun Gong spun out of control. Arrests, sentencing, and whatever took place in the detention centers, psychiatric institutions, and labor camps were not following any established legal procedure or restraint. As an act of passive resistance, or simply to avoid trouble for their families, many Falun Gong began withholding their names from the police, identifying themselves simply as "practitioner" or "Dafa disciple." When asked for their home province, they would say "the universe." For these, the nameless ones, whose families had no way of tracing them or agitating on their behalf, there may be no records at all

Gutmann is building on the considerable work of other investigators before him on this issue, in particular, two Canadian attorneys, David Matas and David Kilgour, who investigated the matter and published their report on the web here. It's a good place to start of you want some degree of detail. I have been following the story for over two years, prompted originally by a piece by Jay Nordlinger, and the posts below can thoroughly immerse you in the story, complete with some interesting comments and links from one bobby fletcher (aka Charles Liu), ubiquitous blogosphere apologist for the Chinese regime.

David Gregory, editor of Epoch Times, the source of much of the original reporting on the practice of organ harvesting from imprisoned Falun Gong by the Chinese, gave a speech in which he addressed head-on our natural tendency to disbelieve that which we find too horrible to know for certain, starting with a quote from the Matas-Kilgour Report.

The allegations here are so shocking that they are almost impossible to believe. The allegations, if true, would represent a grotesque form of evil which, despite all the depravations humanity has seen, would be new to this planet. The very horror makes us reel back in disbelief. But that disbelief does not mean that the allegations are untrue.

But how impossible is it to believe when one considers the publicly stated policy of the Chinese regime as regards the practice of Falun Gong, and its practitioners. They are official enemies of the state. Criminals to be eradicated. It was just a happy coincidence for the regime's transplant enterprise that many of them are young, strong and healthy. From the Gregory speech:

On July 20, 1999, Jiang Zemin began persecuting Falun Gong. Based on the Party's past experience in suppressing the Chinese people, he boasted Falun Gong would be eliminated in three months time.

I would like to make three points about this persecution: first, how this persecution has been systematic and comprehensive; second, how it has dehumanized the practitioners of Falun Gong; and, third, how the Chinese regime encourages the worst possible abuses of the Falun Gong.

An article from The Washington Post in 2001 explains how the Chinese regime had "sanctioned the systematic use of violence against the group, established a network of brainwashing classes and embarked on a painstaking effort to weed out followers neighborhood by neighborhood and workplace by workplace."

Before the persecution began, Jiang Zemin had established an extra-constitutional office called the 6-10 Office whose job is to "eradicate" Falun Gong. The 6-10 Office seeks to identify every single Falun Gong adherent in China and force each one to renounce the practice.

The Washington Post identifies a three-pronged approach adopted by the regime: violence, propaganda, and brainwashing. The violence occurs in jails, labor camps, and brainwashing centers. Falun Dafa Information Center estimates that hundreds of thousands of practitioners have been arrested.

The speech is a good introduction to the issue as well, worth reading in full...or see it excerpted in this post.

The U.N. has asked the Chinese regime to explain the sharp rise in organ transplant rates without a demonstrable increase in available donors. No suprise the Chinese say no statistics are available for the years in question (2000-2005).

As Gregory says, "This horror inspires a certain skepticism" Yes it does. I read the Matas-Kilgour report, and found it persuasive. Your mileage may vary. But Gutmann and the Standard are asking the same question Matas and Kilgour and Epoch Times have been asking for three years or more...

"Why isn't the whole world watching?"

Second Matas-Kilgore Report

Previous Wizblog posts on Chinese Organ Harvesting

Murder For Organs in China 3/31/06

Sujiatun Follow-Up 4/20/06

Report on Chinese Organ Harvesting 7/9/06

Revisiting Sujiatun 9/8/06

Suspending Disbelief 9/10/06

Other Related Links:

Epoch Times article archive

Between Heaven and Earth

Jonestown at 30

Two good pieces on the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown suicides:

In the LA Weekly, From Silver Lake to Suicide: One Family's Secret History of the Jonestown Massacre. Letters home from a family that eventually drank the Kool-Aid.

And Dan Flynn on the cultural rebranding of the People's Temple as having been fundamentalist and religious in nature, from what it unapologetically was...a communistic cult. (via Corner).

November 14, 2008

On Auto Bailout

In the debate on the federal bailout, Krauthammer says clarity is finally emerging:

The fault line is the auto-industry bailout. The Democrats are pushing hard for it. The White House is resisting.


Saving Detroit means saving it from bankruptcy. As we have seen with the airlines, bankruptcy can allow operations to continue while helping shed fatally unsupportable obligations. For Detroit, this means release from ruinous wage deals with their astronomical benefits (the hourly cost of a Big Three worker: $73; of an American worker for Toyota: $48), massive pension obligations, and unworkable work rules such as “job banks,” a euphemism for paying vast numbers of employees not to work.

The point of the Democratic bailout is to protect the unions by preventing this kind of restructuring. Which will guarantee the continued failure of these companies, but now they will burn tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. It’s the ultimate in lemon socialism.

Democrats are suggesting, however, an even more ambitious reason to nationalize. Once the government owns Detroit, it can remake it. The euphemism here is “retool” Detroit to make cars for the coming green economy.

Liberals have always wanted the auto companies to produce the kind of cars they insist everyone should drive: small, light, green and cute. Now they will have the power to do it.

Browns - It's Over

Covering the Browns like no one else....Hiko, with The Browns Outsider

The season was over a couple weeks ago, but, now, everyone finally realizes it. We can all just relax now and let the healing begin....The Cleveland Browns are in far greater trouble than even unrepentant pessimists such as I could have imagined.

Hiko reviews the Denver game, and concludes, among other things, that...

564 yards is a lot of yards to give up to a team without its top 17 Running Backs.

Lots of good Browns stuff at the Hiko link. Check him out.

I officially joined the 'Romeo Must Go' club when, after two consecutive collapses at home, the 4th-year head coach told the media that, on defense, his personal specialty, he would be "going back to the drawing board." I suspect that's not what Randy Lerner wanted to hear him say either.

Let's stipulate for the sake of conversation that Romeo is gone at the end of the year, and he is only now being spared the humiliation of being fired in mid-season.

What I have not wanted to see happen with the Browns is a complete housecleaning. I have held out hope that GM Phil Savage might survive a purge of Crennel. It's just that I can't go through another five-year plan. If the owner brings in a big name like Bill Cowher, the new guy would be unlikely to co-exist with Savage as the top football man in the organization, and Savage would be understandably reticent to take a demotion back to a strictly player personnel role.

One awful idea I've heard floated is that Savage (Lerner) will fire Crennel and bring in his old friend and former Browns assistant Kirk Ferentz, currently coaching the long-term mediocrity known as the Iowa Hawkeyes. Ferentz has been out of the NFL for 13 years, and it's arguable that on balance, the Iowa program has regressed since he took over in Iowa City. Ferentz is a good guy, but not the answer for the Browns.

I'd take the housecleaning as the lesser of the evils, (the other being accepting an inexperienced, unproven placeholder) as long as the organization brings in someone to coach this team who has current NFL credentials, and hires experienced NFL people in the front office. The fact that this runs counter to the way the Browns have conducted business for 40 years is enough to frustrate even the unrepentant optimist.

November 5, 2008

Movin' On

Interesting reading for the day after:

Shelby Steele

WSJ Editors

John Bolton

Steven Den Beste (via Ace)

Andy McCarthy, who, after allowing that we still don't know enough about the President-elect, says...

...for one night, I was impressed. Impressed most by the dignity with which he bore the weight of his historic achievement: satisfied but not gloating, victorious but magnanimous, gratified by what he has accomplished and what it so obviously means to African Americans, but mindful of the enormous burdens he has assumed and the duties he now owes to all Americans, including the loyal opposition.

Emphasis here on loyal. President-Elect Obama correctly but no less honorably said he still needed to earn our support. For our part, we need to offer our support earnestly.

He is our president now, the president of our beloved nation. Too many have given their lives for this union, and too many are risking their lives for America even now, for us to shrink from honoring their sacrifice. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight President Obama when we think he is wrong. In fact, it means we must fight him. Fighting him when he is wrong will make him a better president, which in turn will make our country stronger. That’s the opposition part, and the freedom to oppose is our nation’s greatest strength.

Still, the loyal part means we must support our president when we think he is right. We must meet him when he reaches out to us. We must try to guide him toward what we believe is best for national security and prosperity. Just as we demand that President Obama put America first, we must be Americans first ourselves.

Our country has had an election. Our side got trounced. We’ve strayed far from our principles. We’ve too often failed to make our case even when it was right there for the making. If the best we have to offer America is Democrat-lite, Americans can’t be blamed for deciding they’d just as soon have the real thing. If we operate in stealth and incoherence, abdicating our duty to convince our fellow citizens of the rightness of measures taken for our security, they can’t be blamed for suspecting we are in the wrong.

It is on us to fix these things. They urgently need fixing if we are to offer the country something worthy.

For the moment, however, let’s accept defeat with the same purposeful grace President Obama exhibited in victory. And as power once again shifts peacefully from one hand to the next, from one party to the other, let’s remember how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation in human history.

UPDATE 11/5:

Cliff May:

Give Obama his due: It is an exceptional politician who can win the support of Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, and Kenneth Duberstein, former chief of staff to President Reagan; of William Ayers, an unrepentant terrorist, and Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, founder of modern intellectual conservatism; of Rashid Khalidi, an Israel-hater, and Edgar Bronfman, former head of the World Jewish Congress. Here’s a not-very-bold prediction: A year from now, someone is going to be sorely disappointed.

Thomas Jefferson famously said that “every generation needs a new revolution.” Could this be ours? I know: On Tuesday, we had an election, not an insurrection. But look up revolution in the dictionary and you’ll find it means “change” — sudden, radical, or fundamental change. Is that not what Obama has been promising?

The thing about revolutions is that very few succeed. The American Revolution was an exception in large measure because America’s founding revolutionaries were not utopians: They believed people had a right to govern themselves — even if they governed badly. They saw freedom as a means, but didn’t claim they could envision the ends. They understood that no system of government, however clever, can guarantee happiness — only the right to pursue that elusive state of being.

From Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

I congratulate President-elect Obama and will work with him on behalf of the American people. The Republican leadership stands ready to hear his ideas for implementing his campaign promises of cutting taxes, increasing energy security, reducing spending and easing the burden of an immense and growing national debt. On these, and other bipartisan issues, he will find cooperation in the Senate.

November 3, 2008

The Best Medicine

Scrappleface, with leaked portions of Obama's concession speech.

VDH - The End of Journalism

Victor Davis Hanson:

Sometime in 2008, journalism as we knew it died, and advocacy media took its place.