"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense."
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Andre Vladimir Sebastian is a figment of your imagination. Honestly, you really could have done better than him, now couldn't you? Next time, put a little effort into it.

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Death By Socialized Medicine
How can so many French citizens (10,000 by one preliminary estimate) have died from the heat? Looks like it's mostly the fault of the socialist health care system, combined with the long August vacations in which family members and health care professionals are gone for weeks and weeks at a stretch, leaving the elderly with no one to look after them. The Independent reports:

Half the victims are believed to have died in old people's homes, many operating with fewer staff during the August holidays. Many hospitals had closed complete wards for the month and were unable to offer sophisticated, or sometimes even basic, treatment to victims. About 2,000 people are thought to have died in their homes from the effects of dehydration and other heat- related problems while neighbours and relatives were away.


Dr Michel Dèsmaizieres, an emergency service doctor in Paris, told the newspaper Libération: "It is just not right to see [patients on] trolleys in the corridors, while whole wards were empty and locked up. In the retirement homes there were people with a body temperature of 42C [108F], for whom we could offer nothing but a little comfort."


Officials said 85 per cent of all public and private retirement homes in France were permanently understaffed. At holiday times, staffing levels fell even further.

  posted by AVS @ 22.8.03


Bush Freezes Hamas Assets
This should've been done years ago. Not that Bush's effort alone will seriously damage Hamas financially, but it'll give us some leverage when asking other governments to undertake similar actions.

  posted by AVS @ 22.8.03

Stupidity Squared
A recap of this week's events in the Israeli/Palestinian war (let's be honest here) is in order.

The cease fire to which Israel, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad agreed on June 29 was still in effect on Monday. On Tuesday, Hamas sent a suicide bomber to blow up a bus full of Israelis, killing 20. On Thursday Israel retaliated by killing a Hamas co-founder and two of his aides. Later that day Hamas declared that Israel's attack broke the cease fire. Hamas said its attack on Tuesday was in retaliation for an Israeli attack that took place before the cease fire began, so it didn't really break the cease fire.

Never in the history of international relations has such a brazenly illogical and dazzlingly stupid argument been posited. And yet, journalists, such as this reporter for The Irish Times, continue to report the Hamas line without contradiction.

  posted by AVS @ 21.8.03


Fellow Travelers
The Guardian and Reuters promote the Hamas line that Israel's retaliation on Thursday for the Hamas suicide bombing on Tuesday is what broke the cease fire.

  posted by AVS @ 21.8.03

Sticking To The Script
BBC Middle East analyst Roger Hardy, who looks every bit like a hilarious parody of a British journalist, writes this gem about the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad:

Although the immediate target was the UN, the attack's stark message was directed principally at the United States.

That's right, stick with the script, Roger. Don't acknowledge that someone has just blown a giant, gaping hole in it.

  posted by AVS @ 20.8.03


How Lazy Can You Get?
A Sacramento Bee reporter was fired for watching a San Francisco Giants game on TV then filing his story as if he had been at the ballpark. On top of that, he inserted into his story old quotes from other news sources to make it look as if he had interviewed players. Now that's going the extra mile to keep from having to go the extra mile. (That's not nearly as funny as it sounded in my head.)

  posted by AVS @ 20.8.03

Let's Get This War Movin'!
Frank J. over at IMAO writes, and I concur:

To all military readers of this site: get off your damn asses and kill some terrorists. What are you doing surfing the net when there are still people out there in need of killing! Hey, my tax dollars pay your measly salary, so get to it!

  posted by AVS @ 20.8.03

Disarming The Wrong People
Another baffling thing about the American left: It wants to disarm this guy, but not this guy. Go figure. Last link from LGF.

  posted by AVS @ 20.8.03

Blowing Up Babies
Charles at Little Green Footballs, on top of the Palestinian situation as always, linked to this pic of one of the victims of the suicide bombing in Israel today. (Warning, it's disturbing. He's maybe one year old.) The Israelis are using uniformed soldiers to try to hunt down militants (enemy combatants, if you will), and the Palestinians are blowing up babies on (or in this case near) buses. The next time The New York Times or Reuters or some other smarmy apologist for terrorists tries to equate Israeli incursions into the West Bank with Palestinian suicide bombings, remember that picture.

  posted by AVS @ 19.8.03


This Changes Everything
The killing of UN Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 16 others in Baghdad today has completely rearranged the picture in Iraq, and perhaps in the entire hemisphere. It is no longer possible to be a rational person and to believe that the attacks on coalition troops, on Iraqis working with those troops, and on infrastructure on which average civilians depend for their survival, such as the water main leading to Baghdad, stem from hatred of the United States or of American foreign policy.

Blowing up the Iraqi headquarters of the United Nations -- the institution that labored longer, harder, and more seriously than any other to prevent the overthrow of Saddam Hussein -- was an act intended to send a wholly unambiguous message to the entire world: GET OUT!

This message was not for George Bush and Tony Blair alone. They've been warned almost every day for more than three months. This was for everyone trying to bring peace, stability, and democracy to Iraq. It was for Kofi Anan and Jacques Chirac and Vladimir Putin and anyone else who might ever consider committing the resources at their disposal to assist in bringing this sandy, desolate, wind-blown, sunburned, blood-drenched country, which happens to lay fallow over what was once the greatest civilization in human history, a single step forward toward modernity.

Less than two weeks ago the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad was attacked. Now the United Nations headquarters. Still, reporters covering these events don't seem to grasp their meaning or import. The New York Times story contained this odd paragraph:

The suicide bombing marked a brazen assault on the American occupation here, calculated to destroy any sense of security for the people charged with reviving Iraq in the aftermath of the war. The United Nations compound attacked today was filled with hundreds of people charged with duties like repairing the country's electrical system, finding homes for Iraq's refugees and providing food for its people.

How could driving a truck filled with explosives into the United Nations headquarters -- as opposed to American command headquarters -- possibly have "marked a brazen assault on the American occupation"?

If the reporters who were there and who witnessed the carnage first-hand did not have their preconceived notions about this conflict shaken (or, rather, blown) away, is there any hope that the bombing will knock the "America is the problem" fog out of the addled heads of the perpetually confused leaders of the once-great nations of Europe?

Today was a turning point. Either Europe (and to a lesser extent the United Nations) gets serious about helping the United States and Britain drive these beasts into the sea, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan or Morocco or Georgia or Paris or wherever, or the good nations of that proud old "can't we all just get along" continent will find themselves having to root the snakes out of their own gardens one day. And that day is coming more quickly than they imagine -- if they imagine at all.

  posted by AVS @ 19.8.03

Al-Qaida Claims Responsibility For Paper Cut
DUBAI -- In an urgent communique mysteriously dropped off at Al-Jazeera headquarters in Dubai, Qatar, the terror group Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for 42-year-old Milwaukee resident Fred Scanlon's really painful paper cut.

"Let this be a lesson to all infidels!" the message, typed in Arabic and delivered anonymously, read. "For their crimes against Allah, every American will die a thousand painful deaths! And by die, of course, we mean experience anything slightly irritating or annoying!"

Late yesterday afternoon Scanlon was opening a letter addressed to him from someone named Al K. Duh when he cut his right index finger on the envelope. As is typical of most Americans, he was not using a security device called a "letter opener," which could have prevented the disaster. The FBI is investigating the envelope and the letter, which read, "BET THAT DIDN"T FEEL GOOD, DID IT, YOU NASTY AMERICAN INFIDEL?!!!"

In the memo to Al Jazeera, an unidentified al-Qaida operative detailed the reasons why the group targeted Mr. Scanlon.

"To strike fear into the heart of America, we have made an example of your countryman Fred Scanlon of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fred Scanlon is the son of monkeys and pigs! We have it on good authority that while on vacation in Toronto this summer he was overheard saying, 'Why don't we try that place across the street instead, honey, I don't really like Middle Eastern food.' This statement is a typical example of American arrogance and culinary imperialism!

"Has Fred Scanlon ever tried Fakhitha Bel Laban, which is roasted lamb with yogurt? It is delicious! Or how about Fattoush? How can he say he doesn't like Middle Eastern food when he has tried it only once -- 20 years ago when he went on a date with a comparative lit major in college? And even then it was only some second-rate falafel cooked up by a third-generation immigrant from Lebanon?

"For embodying all that is corrupt, evil and really annoying about America, Fred Scanlon had to die! And by die, of course, we mean suffer a great deal of pain and agony compressed into a very tiny and fleeting moment that he will remember for at least half an hour! If America does not convert to Islam and open an authentic kabob stand in every city, town, and village by sundown next Thursday, we will strike again!!"

Authorities say they have no leads yet in the investigation, but they are looking into every Middle-Eastern restaurant in the greater Toronto area.

  posted by AVS @ 18.8.03


The Predator Effect
Eric Pfeiffer writes in The Weekly Standard that three of the stars of the 1987 film "Predator" have run for governor of their respective states. So far, one has won, and one has dropped out. Where will Arnold fall?

  posted by AVS @ 18.8.03

Nightmare For Bennifer
Freddy vs. Jason took in $13.6 million on its opening night -- more than twice what Gigli has taken in since its release two weeks ago. If this were a Simpsons episode, this would be the point where Nelson Muntz steps in and says, "Ha-ha!"

  posted by AVS @ 17.8.03


A Public-Sector Enron
The Miami Herald reports that the Miami-Dade County teachers' union was so poorly managed that its top executives borrowed millions to pay operating expenses, and when that ran out they spent the members' insurance premiums. All the while they continued lavish construction projects, including condominiums and an office tower. And the executive board, made up of full-time teachers and public school staff members, hadn't a clue -- because they never asked any detailed questions about the union's finances. Sounds a whole lot like Enron. Wonder when we'll see all those hand-wringing editorials about "union greed".

  posted by AVS @ 17.8.03

Profiling And The Japanese American Internment
Christopher Hitchens and David Ross criticize Daniel Pipes for supporting racial profiling without understanding the history behind America's internment of people of Japanese descent during WWII. I'm firmly in the "if you don't know history you'll be doomed to repeat it" camp, but the people who bring up the Japanese American internment example to criticize Pipes and other supporters of profiling terrorists are the ones who don't know their history.

The forced internment of American citizens during a declared global war against enemy nations is vastly different from focusing our anti-terrorism resources on Muslims and Arabs during a war against shadowy terrorist groups.

Pipes supports the concentration of federal anti-terror investigations upon radical Muslims. This would include heavily monitoring radical mosques and paying special attention to people who travel to the United States from countries known to breed radical Islamic terrorists. To suggest that focusing anti-terror investigations upon the single group from which the Sept. 11 terrorists came is the same as, or even significantly similar to, rounding up and imprisoning everyone of a specific race, is just nonsense.

Pipes and most other profiling supporters do not advocate rounding up Muslims and Arabs and locking them away indefinitely or unitl the War on Terrorism is over. If they did, then the comparisons to the internment would be justified because the action advocated by profiling supporters would be the same as the action carried out by the government in WWII. But that is not the situation.

The case for the religious profiling in the War on Terror is best made here: The FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list. Twenty-two people are on that list, and there isn't one Swede, Canadian, Venezuelan, Japanese, or Australian Aborigine. They are all Egyptian, Saudi, Kenyan, or American. And, yes, they are all Muslim. For federal law enforcement and military authorities to diffuse their resources by not concentrating on these groups would be a gross dereliction of duty.

  posted by AVS @ 17.8.03

Ted Kennedy Wanted For Murder!!
Well, OK, so he's not a U.S. senator. But still, he is wanted for murder.

  posted by AVS @ 17.8.03

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