April 10, 2007

Hey, that's hitting below the belt

A story in today's Washington Post about Britain's Defense Ministry barring military personnel from selling personal stories to the media, in the wake of Iran's release of 15 British sailors and marines held captive by the Islamic Republic, contained this tidbit --

"Arthur Batchelor, 20, youngest of the captives, told the Daily Mirror that he 'cried like a baby' and that his captors tormented him repeatedly by saying he looked like the British comedy character Mr. Bean."

Those unspeakable bastards.

Has anyone contacted Amnesty International about this? Comparing just about any Brit in uniform to Benny Hill is fair game, as long accepted under the Geneva Conventions. But Mr. Bean -- oh the humanity!

"Cried like a baby"? Does the phrase "stiff upper lip" resonate in the least anymore, Mr. Batchelor?

Another pop culture character comes to mind -- Dr. Zachary Smith, the craven coward in TV's "Lost in Space."

Guilty as charged

"Democrats may have nailed down the support of Hollywood, but Republicans love actors. In a period of intense Reagan nostalgia on the right (emphasis added), it makes sense that many would view (former US Senator and actor Fred) Thompson as someone to save them from an uninspiring field of presidential candidates"

-- from the "National Perspectives" column by Peter Canellos in today's Boston Globe, on Thompson possibly running for president.

April 9, 2007

Meet Emmett Till -- sexist pig, former civil rights icon

Still hard to believe this one ... as reported in the Los Angeles Times last month and wending its way through the blogosphere --

"Administrators at a Los Angeles charter school forbade students from reciting a poem about civil rights icon Emmett Till during a Black History Month program recently, saying his story was unsuitable for an assembly of young children."
"Teachers and students said the administration suggested that the Till case -- in which a teenager was beaten to death in Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman -- was not fitting for a program intended to be celebratory ..." (Up from Slavery!) "... and that Till's actions could be viewed as sexual harassment."

... and the actions of these overwrought educators could be viewed as a classic example of politically correct lunacy.

Yes, let's deprive school children of learning about one of the pivotal episodes in the civil rights movement because Till was clearly a Neanderthal in desperate need of re-education. True, what Till's killers did was egregious, but at least they hadn't whistled at a woman. See how it works?

Tip of the hat to Keith Gottschalk at rabble news for this one.

April 5, 2007

Fourteen days instead of 14 months

... the lengths of time for Iran to release British military "detainees" compared to American hostages held in Tehran from November 1979 to January 1981, the earlier crisis initiating modern jihad. The thuggish theocrats in Tehran are surely patting themselves on the backs for appearing so reasonable and compassionate.

Let's see, that's a phony hostage crisis and a phony war provoked against Israel, both within the last year, both transparent attempts to distract the West's attention from Iran's frantic and deceitful efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. What next -- a "War of the Worlds"-type broadcast claiming a Martian invasion?

Romney-Rice in '08

A winning Republican ticket -- here's how and why:

The political pendulum still swings toward the Democrats as the '08 election approaches, favoring the candidacies of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. All three of the top-tier Republican candidates -- Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain -- fall short within the spectrum of conservative voters, to say nothing of the electorate as a whole. Those in the second tier -- Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, etc., are seen as not ready for prime time.

With these dynamics in mind, as well as his own health, Dick Cheney resigns. President Bush appoints Condi Rice to succeed Cheney, which isn't such a stretch because as Secretary of State she's next in the line of succession after Speaker of the House (mental note: check with Al Haig about that). Likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney picks Rice as his running mate, citing the fact she's vice president anyway.

Rice's presence on the Republican ticket undercuts two core Democratic constituencies -- women and blacks -- in a year with a Dem ticket of Clinton-Obama.
Skeptics will counter that Rice doesn't want to be president, nor presumably, vice president. This is true to some extent, at least from what I've read and heard.

But anyone who doubts that Rice is ambitious hasn't been paying attention. And while Rice is not now seeking higher office, something tells me her disdain for that is exceeded by her opposition to Hillary Clinton getting elected president.

April 4, 2007

That's why Bubba calls her 'Sarge'

Great cover story by Michael Crowley in this week's The New Republic titled, "Hillary and the War: The Real Reason She Won't Apologize." An eyebrow raiser of an excerpt:

"Sifting through Hillary's life, a portrait begins to emerge of a woman who's always been more confortable with the military than many of her liberal peers," Crowley writes. "I found that Clinton had aggressively pushed her husband to use force when he was president; that one of her most influential new advisers was a former senior aide to hawkish Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia; and that, although she opposed President Bush's Iraq 'surge,' she has consulted regularly with one of its prime architects. I even found that, in her late twenties, Hillary Rodman Clinton briefly attempted to enlist in the U.S. Marines." (emphasis added)

Then again, is this really such a shock, Clinton's rhetorical contortions on Iraq aside?
The timing of Clinton's attempt to become a grunt is illuminating. The war in Vietnam "apparently didn't imbue Hillary with a loathing for the military," Crowley writes. "In 1975, just months after the last U.S. troops returned home, Hillary was living in Arkansas with Bill, who had mounted a failed bid for Congress the previous year. The young couple, who would marry later that year, were both teaching law at the University of Arkansas, when Hillary, for reasons never made entirely clear, decided to enlist in the Marines.

"When she walked into a recruiting office in Little Rock and inquired about joining, the recruiter on duty was unenthusiastic about the 27-year-old law professor in thick, goggle glasses. 'You're too old, you can't see, and you're a woman',' Clinton recalled him saying. 'Maybe the dogs' - Marine slang for Army - 'would take you.' Deflated, Clinton said she decided to 'look another way to serve my country.' "

Crowley doesn't attribute where Clinton recounted the episode, but my guess is that it appears in Clinton's memoirs, "Living History."

Back in the fray

Other priorities forced me to put this blog aside in recent weeks, but it's time to jump back in the fray. To paraphrase a Chinese proverb, we live in consequential times, and it rubs me the wrong way to sit on the sidelines.