Monday, February 27, 2006

As Canada's Slow-Motion Public Health System Falters, Private Medical Care Is Surging I thought this was still a problem. And this is what people always point to as what we should implement here?

The country's publicly financed health insurance system — frequently described as the third rail of its political system and a core value of its national identity — is gradually breaking down. Private clinics are opening around the country by an estimated one a week, and private insurance companies are about to find a gold mine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Here's one of the best commentaries I've seen yet on the cartoon craziness.

As has now been well established by the Western press, five months ago a vicious right-wing propaganda rag in Denmark, possibly edited by a cryogenically preserved Nazi collaborator, sought specifically to denigrate Islam by commissioning a series of unspeakably horrible caricatures that baselessly portrayed Islam as having a tendency towards violence and intolerance.

Now, Muslims are not normally a people to congregate in mass protest and burn flags, hurl stones or break things. But this unprovoked act of cultural aggression (coming, as it did, out of the blue and occurring in Islam’s heartland, Denmark) was simply too much to take. Therefore, after five months of consideration, it was decided to make an exception for this case, and spontaneous protests broke out.

Monday, February 20, 2006

WMD Redux - The "Intelligence Summit" fallout A great description and comments on the recently released Saddam tapes and what they reveal. If the Bush Administration is playing the long game here I sure hope it works. Because they sure have undermined our position in the world by taking this approach.

Listening to the tapes, you are left with one of two choices: you either believe Saddam was a self-important (though largely internationally impotent) iron-fisted ruler who posed no threat to the US, for all his bluster to the contrary; or else you believe him to be precisely the man he’s always been: a murderous tyrant who would use whatever means at his disposal—including alliances of convenience—to attack the US and its interests.

But there’s more even than that. Not being talked about much are the stories of two former Iraqi commanders who insist weapons stockpiles—which, critics of the Bush administration are forced to argue, either never existed (which the Kurds would naturally dispute) or else were voluntarily destroyed under orders from Hussein (or, if you prefer, by those risking their lives by hiding from him the fact of their destructions) shortly after the Gulf War—were removed to Syria and the existence of the programs scrubbed before the invasion, a story that is consistent with some of the findings by inspectors: equipment buried in rose gardens, dual use facilities sanitized, etc.

Need to Know WTF? Why doesn't the administration care about this? Time after time they have blown off any evidence that would SUPPORT THEIR OWN CASE FOR WAR, and allowed the Left to run the table.

"WHERE WAS THE NUCLEAR material transported to?" asks an aide to Saddam Hussein, in a taped conversation released last week. He answers his own question: "A number of them were transported out of Iraq." This provocative snippet is part of 12 hours of taped exchanges between Saddam Hussein and his advisers. The tapes were found in Iraq after the war and were released last week by their American translator. The tapes are authentic. And they are seemingly of little interest to the U.S. government. A spokesman for John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence (DNI), downplayed their importance: "Analysts from the CIA and the DIA reviewed the translations and found that, while fascinating from a historical perspective, the tapes do not reveal anything that changes their postwar analysis of Iraq's weapons programs."

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Much of the Muslim assertiveness is an outgrowth of Europe's disastrous love affair with multiculturalism. In theory, immigrants were to be encouraged to maintain their own identity and traditions in exchange for accepting Europe's system of shared values. In practice, it has mostly been a plan for hands-off separatism and resistance to assimilation.

Governments offer financial help in building schools and places of worship, and encourage the importing of imams from Arab countries, many of them predictably haters of the West. Raed Hlayhel, an imam in Denmark, for instance, was part of an entourage that toured the Middle East, building rage over the cartoons. He and the other imams took along several fabricated cartoons, one showing Muhammad as a pedophile and another depicting him having sex with a dog. Shouldn't these provocations earn each of these imams a one-way trip back to the Middle East?

Cash-for-Kofi This is pretty appalling, even for the UN.

DESPITE FREQUENT DECLARATIONS OF REFORM, it seems that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has learned nothing from the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food scandal, in which Saddam Hussein's billions corrupted the U.N.'s entire Iraq embargo bureaucracy. Earlier this month, Annan accepted from the ruler of Dubai an environmental prize of $500,000--a fat sum that represents the latest in a long series of glaring conflicts of interest. Call this one Cash-for-Kofi.

Annan received his award at a glittering February 6 ceremony in Dubai, as outlined in a press release from Annan's office that noted the honor, but neglected to mention the half million bucks that came with it. Surrounded by presidents, businessmen, and nearly 130 environmental ministers, Annan collected this purse as winner of the biennial Zayed International Prize for the Environment, given out by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Islamic truths Mansoor Ijaz in the LA Times.

In fact, the most glaring truth is that Islam's mobsters fear the West has it right: that we have perfected the very system Islam's holy scriptures urged them to learn and practice. And having failed in their mission to lead their masses, they seek any excuse to demonize those of us in the West and to try to bring us down. They know they are losing the ideological struggle for hearts and minds, for life in all its different dimensions, and so they prepare themselves, and us, for Armageddon by starting fires everywhere in a display of Islamic unity intended to galvanize the masses they cannot feed, clothe, educate or house.

This is not Islam. And the faster its truest believers stand up and demonstrate its values and principles by actions, not words, the sooner a great religion will return to its rightful role as guide for nearly a quarter of humanity.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

We were brought up to hate - and we do Here the daughter of an Egyptian military hero and "martyr" explains why the Islamic world is so nuts. How could it be otherwise?

But the rallies and riots come from a public ripe with rage. From my childhood in Gaza until today, blaming Israel and the West has been an industry in the Muslim world. Whenever peace seemed attainable, Palestinian leaders found groups who would do everything to sabotage it. They allowed their people to be used as the front line of Arab jihad. Dictators in countries surrounding the Palestinians were only too happy to exploit the Palestinians as a diversion from problems in their own backyards. The only voice outside of government control in these areas has been the mosques, and these places of worship have been filled with talk of jihad.

Is it any surprise that after decades of indoctrination in a culture of hate, that people actually do hate? Arab society has created a system of relying on fear of a common enemy. It's a system that has brought them much-needed unity, cohesion and compliance in a region ravaged by tribal feuds, instability, violence, and selfish corruption. So Arab leaders blame Jews and Christians rather than provide good schools, roads, hospitals, housing, jobs, or hope to their people.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Victor Davis Hanson on the cartoon wars, and how history doesn't always go in a straight, ever advancing line.

The deluded here might believe that the divide is a moral one, between a supposedly decadent secular West and a pious Middle East, rather than an existential one that is fueled by envy, jealousy, self-pity, and victimization. But to believe the cartoons represent the genuine anguish of an aggrieved puritanical society tainted by Western decadence, one would have to ignore that Turkey is the global nexus for the sex-slave market, that Afghanistan is the world's opium farm, that the Saudi Royals have redefined casino junketeering, and that the repository of Hitlerian imagery is in the West Bank and Iran.

The entire controversy over the cartoons is ludicrous, but often in history the trivial and ludicrous can wake a people up before the significant and tragic follow.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

iowahawk: Seething Midwest Explodes Over Lombardi Cartoons Those who sow the curds of blasphemy will reap the cheddar wheel of destruction. Mark my words.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Victor Davis Hanson on War and how we seem to be participants in our own destruction, by allowing the Middle East to dictate to us how it is to be treated.

The architects of September 11, by general consent, hide somewhere on the Pakistani border. A recent American missile strike that killed a few of them was roundly condemned by the Pakistani government. Although a recipient of billions of dollars in American aid and debt relief, and admittedly harboring those responsible for 9/11, it castigates the U.S. for violating borders in pursuit of our deadly enemies who, while on Pakistani soil, boast of planning yet another mass murder of Americans.

Pakistan demands that America will cease such incursions — or else. The "else" apparently entails the threat either to give even greater latitude to terrorists, or to allow them to return to Afghanistan to destroy the nascent democracy in Kabul. American diplomats understandably would shudder at the thought of threatening nuclear Pakistan should there be another 9/11, this time organized by the very al Qaedists they now harbor.

The list of hypocrisies could be expanded. The locus classicus, of course, is bin Laden's fanciful fatwas. Oil pumped for $5 a barrel and sold for $70 is called stealing resources. Tens of millions of Muslims emigrating to the United States and Europe, while very few Westerners reside in the Middle East, is deemed "occupying our lands." Israel, the biblical home of the Jews, and subsequently claimed for centuries by Persians, Greeks, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Ottomans, and English is "occupied by crusader infidels" — as if the entire world is to accept that world history began only in the seventh century A.D.

'Sensitivity' can have brutal consequences Mark Steyn on the Muhammad cartoon insanity.

One day, years from now, as archaeologists sift through the ruins of an ancient civilization for clues to its downfall, they'll marvel at how easy it all was. You don't need to fly jets into skyscrapers and kill thousands of people. As a matter of fact, that's a bad strategy, because even the wimpiest state will feel obliged to respond. But if you frame the issue in terms of multicultural "sensitivity," the wimp state will bend over backward to give you everything you want -- including, eventually, the keys to those skyscrapers. Thus, Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, hailed the "sensitivity" of Fleet Street in not reprinting the offending cartoons.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Local company awarded $160 million contract on Gulf Coast This is the article that resulted from a call I got from a reporter at the local Watsonville paper. He was close to getting it right, but this paragraph is hilarious.

Similar to a military commander charged with setting up a base inside a war zone, Galvin flew down to procure property and housing for an anticipated 400 construction workers. Work will begin this month with an estimated completion date of November 2007.

The funniest part was that when he called I was driving to the airport, couldn't hear him very well, and didn't realize he was a reporter until after I'd been talking to him for about five minutes. I heard him say he was calling from Watsonville and something about a press release and thought he was with Granite's PR department. He gets many of the details wrong about dollars and scope, but he gets the gist of it right I guess.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Jonah Goldberg on Kayne West and the phony "attitude" the music industry sells him with.

Today, there's a great cellphone commercial in which a corporate executive explains to his assistant that his new billing plan is his own private way of "sticking it to the man." His assistant replies, "But sir, you are the man." The boss says, with some dismay, "I know."

As far as the music industry goes, Kanye West is the man, but he won't admit it. Instead, he sells himself as a victim of a society that can't handle his truth. Four million records sold and saturation adulation in the media suggest that it can handle his truth just fine.

The problem is, it ain't the truth. It's just a scam for kids too stupid to recognize they're being played — again.

Want to be a real rebel? Read a book.