Pamela Anderson on how she will soothe her nerves before her upcoming marriage to Kid Rock: "I have two words for you: champagne."
While I do not always agree with Mr. Cole, I do find him to be consistently one of the best, most even handed comentators on the middle east. He's posted a long column on the current situation in Lebanon and i've snipped a great quick section for you here. Outstanding (if uncomfortable) observatoins.
Israel's present policy toward Lebanon, of striking at so many civilian targets as to hold the entire civilian population hostage, is unspeakable.
I haven't complained about the Israeli border war with Hizbullah. I'm not sure it is wise, and I don't know how many Israelis Hizbullah even killed in, say, the year 2005. Is it really worth it? But I don't deny that Hizbullah went too far when it shelled dozens of civilian towns and cities and killed over a dozen innocent civilians, even in reprisal for the Israeli bombing campaign. (You can't target civilians. That is a prosecutable crime.) That is a clear casus belli, and I'd like to see Nasrallah tried at the Hague for all those civilian deaths he ordered. The fighting at Maroun al-Ra's and Bint Jbeil was horrible on all sides, but it was understandable, even justifiable. The fighting itself isn't going to lead anywwhere useful, though, and it is time for a ceasefire and political negotiations--the only way to actually settle such disputes.
What was done to Lebanon as a whole is among the most horrible war crimes of the young 21st century. And that it was done tells me that there is something sick in the heart of the Israeli military and political elite, a sickness of the soul that had better be faced and remedied before our entire world catches the contagion.
I was gonna post something about Pakistan, but I think Atrios did it already. Frustratingly, he even added in the quip's i'd make, so you should just read his comments:
Like every other sentient being on the planet I'm rather confused by our policies towards Pakistan. We're generally led to believe that Bin Laden is hanging out there along with some of his pals. It's a dictatorship with an unclear line of succession if that dictator ever accidentally gets in the way of an assassin's bullet. They have an active nuclear program. Their top nuclear scientist was handing out nuclear technology like candy on Halloween. The country promptly pardoned him for this and we didn't say a thing. Oh, and for the Malkins [and Ann Coulters] of the world THEY'RE ALL BIG SCARY MUSLIMS.
And, just for fun, they have a new plutonium plant. And the Bush administration hid this fact from Congress.
The Israeli Military killed 2 UN observers this week when it attacked a UN outpost. tensions were escalated when Israel claimed that the observers must have "got caught in the middle" of a gunfight. This angered UN secretary general Kofi Annan who called the attack "apparently deliberate". The issue that has the UN upset is that this particular outpost location was designated with the help of the israeli's. evidently its location was decided because of talks witht he very israeli military that bombed it. My feelings are that Annan's statements come after Israel had claimed no resposibility for the attack, even as an inadvertent mistake, and then blamed Hezbollah for the incident. I'm deeply concerned by all this, if anything, because of Annan's own proclivity NOT to overreact.
Well I was partially right. I'd predicted that Bush would high-tail it off to texas vacation-put-my-head-under-the-blanket land when the heat got too hot from international turmoil. (and what's with Texas? our mayor declared a 'crime state of emergency' then was so eagar to deal with it he went off to Texas for a vacation!). It seems in light of the missles and attacks and disasters around the world, Bush will be heading back to the dude ranch. I'll give him his due though. it seems he plans to cut his trip short. that's pretty reponsible.
I'm going to be hitting Israel, Plame/Novak, and a few other things here soon, but the office has been pretty demanding this week. I need to catch up with what's going on around the world.
I'm sure everyone sees that the conflict in the middle east is growing by the day and may escalate into a full blown war anyday now. Does that mean a Presidential vacation to Texas is only days away? If you've been disengaged from Israeli diplomacy this long, why start when the bullets are flying, right? I mean, that'd be work (or something like it).
Well, ain't it though?
We saw the movie last night. i enjoyed it, but it was easily 45 minutes too long. Quick thoughts:
Conservative Molotov Cocktail chunck-er Ann Coulter was caught with a stream of plagerism on her hands this week. I've been wanting to as our friend, and frequent contributor--The Hud--about all this. He's the one person I know that would be the most familiar with this. It seems that John Barrie has used a program he divised to detect plagerized passages of text. Basically, the text is fed into the computer and a program searches for matches in other works. This reported from TPM: He told me the [NY Times] had approached him [John Barrie] with Coulter's book after she appeared on Larry King to discuss her comments about 9/11 widows -- having called them "witches" and saying "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much" in her latest book. "The next day, [NYPost reporter] Philip Recchia called me and said, Ann Coulter's book. . . let's run that through," Barrie told me. But his company does its analysis by computer, so the book had to be scanned into a digital format. "The New York Post, at their expense, OCR'd every damn page of that book. The paper also scanned in the last 12 months of Coulter's columns for Barrie to analyze. "After we found three in the book, we called it quits. I think we found four of her syndicated columns that had problems." But the task proved draining, he said -- on himself, not his technology. "After combing through Ann Coulter for a while, it doesn't take long before you want to call it quits. I want to prove the technology, but I don't want to make my eyes bleed."
The part that kills me is that United Press Syndicate (they syndicate her column) just YESTERDAY started to inquire about this problem. not DO anything about it, but inquire! As of this date, The Clarion Ledger still carries the column. I think they need a letter to the editor.
He told me the [NY Times] had approached him [John Barrie] with Coulter's book after she appeared on Larry King to discuss her comments about 9/11 widows -- having called them "witches" and saying "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much" in her latest book.
"The next day, [NYPost reporter] Philip Recchia called me and said, Ann Coulter's book. . . let's run that through," Barrie told me. But his company does its analysis by computer, so the book had to be scanned into a digital format. "The New York Post, at their expense, OCR'd every damn page of that book.
The paper also scanned in the last 12 months of Coulter's columns for Barrie to analyze.
"After we found three in the book, we called it quits. I think we found four of her syndicated columns that had problems." But the task proved draining, he said -- on himself, not his technology. "After combing through Ann Coulter for a while, it doesn't take long before you want to call it quits. I want to prove the technology, but I don't want to make my eyes bleed."
Ken Lay--convicted felon, Poverty-Profiteer, CEO of Enron, and One of Bush's best supporters--died today. It appears to have been a massive heart attack. My only hope is that his death was as prolonged and painful as possible to give him time to reflect on thie lives he's destroyed and for the responsibility he refused to take. I also hope, dearly, that the Lay family was not able to profit obscenely off of the lives Ken Lay crushed with his business/crimes. For whatever money they did get from his vile little hands...i hope it provides more in the way of curses than comforts.
Well, it's out now. when CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity was compromised, it came from the top. Bush told dick Cheney to look into it just what Plame's Wife had revealed about weapons in Iraq. Of course, "look into it" didn't mean see if the info we were using to go to war was valid. i mean, who cares, right? it meant start the smear machine. I miss the good ole days when liking or not liking Clinton wasn't a debate that killed 2 of our soldiers a day. Bush couldn't be bothered with facts when he knew his family members wouldn't be dead. He says he took his grave decision seriously.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) is up for re-election this year. Six years after serving as the Democratic nominee for VP and two years after an pathetic run at the white house. He's been in the Senate since 1988, but his stregth is failing him. He has an ususpected primary opponent this year...and he very well may lose.
How serious is this challenge in the Democratic Primary? Consider this: His opponent Ned Lamont has pledged to support whomever wins the Democratic Nomination, even if it's Lieberman. Lieberman has refused to do so. If Lieberman loses the primary he can still run as an independent. The problem is, to do that you must submit 75,000 signatures on the day AFTER the primary to qualify. There's no way to do that without starting early and there's no reason to start early unless you're concerned you will lose.
It was just announced that he's started gathering signatures. So how have the mighty so fallen? Well, let's start with me telling you I've never liked Lieberman. I didn't like him in 2000 and I strain to think of one thing in the last 6 years to change my opinion for even one minute. Prior to the Bush Presidency, he was noted as being a moral critic of President Clinton. He was brought onto the ticket with the notion of calming some of the (so called) Clinton fatigue (oh to be so priviledged again). The problem was that he's not an effective personality for the national audience. He's not particularly stirring or Charasmatic, so once you got past 'he gave Clinton a hard time' there's not that much left. More disasterously, he was an electorially foolish candidate. Whatever his draw, it was minimal and virtually non-existent outside of the North East. Keep in mind we've had just TWO New England Democrats elected since the mid 1800s and Joe Lieberman is no FDR or JFK. Both those men had an appeal that transcended their locale.
Since 2000, Lieberman has been George W. Bush's most faithful Democratic ally. Often he's been found to agree with Bush when other Republicans would not. He's often the first to speak against democratic plans in the Senate, preferring to cheerlead for Bush. This has had 2 disasterous results.
1. His support of the Bush administration has been unwaivering, even in light of profound incompetency and dishonesty.
2. His home state happens to be one of the most hostile towards the President.
This is a problem when you behave as if you are indifferent to the President's mendacity. Actually, it seems more like duplicity. I think he's deathly afraid of having to be responsible for his actions as Bush's go-to man. He likes to say he's voted and acted in accord with his conscience and his own moral judgement. More to the point he has not. Most of his recent actions have simply been to affirm the position of the president or to avoid offering his own contrasting ideas. Repeating 'ditto' after you hear whatever the President has to say...that doesn't make you a man of conscience. That makes you a Rush Limbaugh listener.
Remember Bernard Kerik, don't you? He's the one Bush wanted to be our current homeland security chief. pick number one to replace the original Sec. of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge. Yeah? Well, seems he's in jail.
Defiant and unapologetic to the end, Bernard Kerik was arrested and booked yesterday, processed through the same criminal justice system in which he worked for most of his adult life. He stood before a judge in state Supreme Court in the Bronx and admitted to having illegally accepted $165,000 in free renovations from a contractor with alleged links to the mob while he was the city correction commissioner… (click above to read)Can't beat that Bush Brand Quality!