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Thursday
Jul222004

Wow

Check out this Full Screen Apollo 17 Mission - "Last man on the Moon" panorama you can control with your keyboard and mouse.



Looks like our Apollo Astronauts were trusting their lives to a module made of foil.



Check out the 360 degree view from the top of Mount Everest, too. Sure glad I got to see that this way -- 'cuz it is the only way I ever will!



Link courtesy James Lileks.

Thursday
Jul222004

Slippery Sandy

A New York Daily News report says Sandy Berger may have had plenty of opportunities to remove documents:

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger repeatedly persuaded monitors assigned to watch him review top-secret documents to break the rules and leave him alone, sources said Wednesday.



Berger, accused of smuggling some of the secret files out of the National Archives, got the monitors out of the high-security room by telling them he had to make sensitive phone calls.



Guards were convinced to violate their own rules by stepping out of the secure room as he looked over documents and allegedly stashed some in his clothing, sources said.



"He was supposed to be monitored at all times but kept asking the monitor to leave so he could make private calls," a senior law enforcement source told the Daily News.



Berger also took "lots of bathroom breaks" that aroused some suspicion, the source added. It is standard procedure to constantly monitor anyone with a security clearance who examines the type of code-word classified files stored in the underground archives vault.



The same archives monitors told the FBI Berger was observed stuffing his socks with handwritten notes about files he reviewed that were going to the Sept. 11 panel. It is prohibited to make notes about the secret files and leave with them without special approval.



Berger's attorney, Lanny Breuer, has denied the allegation that Berger hid papers in his socks.

Thursday
Jul222004

Berger Observation

Husband David has some new thoughts to add to his observations yesterday about the whirlwind surrounding Sandy Berger.

The Berger scandal reminds me once again of the Rumsfeld resignation campaign.



Rumsfeld was supposed to resign because a handful of soldiers (among several million in the U.S. Armed Forces) serving thousands of miles away violated the law by abusing Iraqi prisoners.



And yet, when one of Kerry's foreign policy advisors and surrogates violates the law, no one blames Kerry and calls for him to step down.



I know that technically, Berger was working for Clinton when he was looking over (and pilfering) the documents. But if anything ended up being used by the Kerry campaign -- as some allege -- then the comparison is a lot closer.



Just an observation.



Another observation: If they ever catch the person who stole classified materials from Los Alamos, do you think they'll claim they inadvertently took the materials as a result of sloppiness? And if they do, how do you suppose the media will greet such a defense?

Thursday
Jul222004

Black Authors to Recommend

A few days ago I posted a letter from a correspondent who wanted recommendations of great books by black authors. I promised to post any responses sent to me in a few days.



Several folks responded in their own blogs. Particularly noteworthy is Cobb's response, posted in "Books for the College Bound Black Man."



Gerry at the Daly Thoughts blog also "blogged' a reply, which can be read here.



Ally at the Who Moved My Truth? blog recommends:

Anything by Walter E. Williams of George Mason University (http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/) or Thomas Sowell, I believe of the same university. Both are black, brilliant economists, and conservative."
Ambra at the Nykola.com blog posted posted a thoughtful essay, not precisely a response, but close. Worth a look in any case.



We also received other recommendations by e-mail, which I am providing in list form in no particular order. Thomas Sowell pops up a lot, but there are plenty of other recommendations, a few of which are classics.
Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America by John McWhorter

Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

The Content of Our Character : A New Vision of Race In America by Shelby Steele

Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It by Star Parker

Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority by John H. McWhorter

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave: Written by Himself by Frederick Douglass

A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles by Thomas Sowell

Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America by Jesse Lee Peterson

Civil Rights by Thomas Sowell

The Ten Things You Can't Say in America by Larry Elder

Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences by Ward Connerly

The Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Olive Gilbert and Sojourner Truth

Barbarians Inside the Gates: And Other Controversial Essays by Thomas Sowell

Basic Economics: A Citizens Guide to the Economy, Revised and Expanded by Thomas Sowell

In Contempt by Christopher A. Darden

The Affirmative Action Debate by George E. Curry and Cornel West
Any other recommendations or comments?

Thursday
Jul222004

"A Collective Demand to Hold Our Breath"

The Christian Science Monitor has a balanced followup to the press conference by eight states attorneys general who apparently believe they deserve more power than Congress assembled.



After my publication (mildly crtitical of the attorneys general) "Now They Want to Be Caesar: Eight State Attorneys General Decide to End-Run Legislatures, Set National Global Warming Policies Themselves" was published Wednesday morning I received an e-mail from Scott Segal, who is director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, containing their statement about the lawsuit. As it raises good points, I am reprinting it here:

Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC), made the following statement regarding tomorrow's nuisance litigation announcement by a group of state attorneys general led by New York's Eliot Spitzer. ERCC is a group of power-generating companies working on reasonable clean-air policy:



"It appears that New York Attorney General Spitzer and his followers intend to file a public nuisance lawsuit regarding carbon dioxide emissions.



This action brings new meaning to the term 'nuisance lawsuit.' Given that every human emits carbon dioxide every day, the next thing we anticipate from these attorney generals is a collective demand to hold our breath.



Simply put, a public nuisance lawsuit based upon carbon emission is frivolous. As attorney general Spitzer well knows, some of the key factual issues in this suit are already before the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in a case against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The nuisance case is just an exercise in election-year forum shopping.



Ironically, the attorneys general cite potential efficiency improvements at coal-fired power plants as approved methods to reduce carbon emissions. However, many of these same attorneys general have sought to delay clarification of new source review, a regulatory development critical to maintenance projects needed to improve efficiency. Once again, these attorneys general appear more concerned with regional economic competition than real environmental improvement.



The nuisance case is not a proper forum to address climate issues. The action attempts to transform a serious court into a debating society for political bluster. It is hard to believe that a court (a) would find this matter justiciable; (b) would grant the parties standing; or (c) would find that the petition actually states a claim upon which relief can be granted. In short, we do not believe the carbon nuisance case meets the minimum threshold for serious litigation."



--end--

Wednesday
Jul212004

Operation Thrill Linda

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters has posted a copy of Linda Ronstadt's touring schedule as part of his "Operation Thrill Linda," an effort to encourage Republicans and fundamentalist Christians to ask for refunds if they have Ronstadt concert tickets.



Ronstadt now has said: "It's a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I'd rather not know."



UPDATE: Michael King at Ramblings' Journal notes that we may soon be thrilling Bonnie Raitt as well.

Wednesday
Jul212004

Who Leaked the Berger Story? An Alternative Theory

Husband David has some thoughts to share on the Sandy Berger story:

Liberals would have us believe that the criminal investigation of Sandy Berger was leaked to the press for political purposes.



They could be right about that much. But the list of suspects isn't limited to President Bush.



Who had both the motive and opportunity to leak to the press?



President Bush may have had the motive -- a nice distraction in advance of the 9/11 Commission report and Democrat National Convention -- but there is no evidence thus far that anyone in the White House or the President's re-election campaign knew anything about the investigation until it went public on Monday.



If we're looking for someone who had both the motive and opportunity for such a leak, I nominate Bill Clinton. He had both the motive and the opportunity.



Bruce Lindsey, President Clinton's legal counsel, was among the first to be informed that sensitive documents had vanished following Sandy Berger's visit to the National archives. There's your opportunity.



And as for motive, let's call this a two-fer.



First, the leak -- if there was one -- comes just days before the 9/11 Commission is expected to issue its report. Lest we forget, intelligence failures during Bill Clinton's tenure will be included with those occurring during the Bush Administration.



Second, let's face it, what's bad for John Kerry is good for the Clintons. If John Kerry is elected President, Hillary Clinton's next chance to run for President will be 2012.



Sure, Sandy Berger considers Bill Clinton a friend, but his freedom is a small price to pay for the ultimate good. It wouldn't be the first time a Friend of Bill's did time for the cause.



A message to all you "journalists" out there: If you're going to continue reporting the liberals' leak theory without supporting evidence, I want my theory reported, too.

Wednesday
Jul212004

Attorneys General or Global Warming Scientists?

Eight state attorneys general and the city of New York will have a press conference at noon Eastern Wednesday to announce that, despite not being scientists, they are wise enough to set a good portion of our national global warming policy.



Attorneys general are elected to enforce laws, not to create them.



The Separation of Powers concept was enshrined in our governmental bodies by our Founding Fathers for a reason: When too much power is congregated in one source, dictatorship is inevitable. If these state politicians wish to set national environmental policies they should lobby Congress or run for Congress themselves.



In this case, the politicians are expected to announce they will file a lawsuit to change policies regulating power plants in states other than their own, and supervise the federal Tennesse Valley Authority as well.



It must be quite something to believe oneself smarter than entire legislatures -- from long distance, no less.



I write more about all this in "Now They Want to Be Caesar: Eight State Attorneys General Decide to End-Run Legislatures, Set National Global Warming Policies Themselves."

Tuesday
Jul202004

Girlie Men II

Regarding my post here, Gerry at Daly Thoughts asks:

Amy, are you suggesting that to compare a woman to a man would be insulting to her? Hmmmmmmmmmm?
Gerry, I bet you would be a formidable debate partner, but I don't surrender easily.



To compare one highly excellent group of people to another highly excellent group of people is to insult neither, and compliment both.

Tuesday
Jul202004

Suing/Censoring Fox News, Part II

I was right about Overlawyered.com, one of the web's top "must visit" weblogs.

Tuesday
Jul202004

Give Ted Rall the Rush Limbaugh Treatment

Project 21 is asking the civil rights establishment to hold cartoonist Ted Rall to the same standard to which it held Rush Limbaugh.



Project 21 notes that during last year's Limbaugh/ESPN controversy, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume called Limbaugh's remark about Donovan McNabb (Limbaugh opined that the news media wishes black quarterback Donovan McNabb well and said this is reflected in their reporting) "bigoted and arrogant." Mfume called for Limbaugh's removal. The National Association of Black Journalists demanded ESPN "separate itself" from Limbaugh. Rainbow/PUSH Coalition president Jesse Jackson, not previously known to be an expert on quarterbacks, called Limbaugh's remarks "not accurate and... insulting."



Ted Rall, through the vehicle of one of his cartoons, called White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice a "house nigga."



Imagine for a moment what might have happened, had Rush Limbaugh called a prominent black a "house nigga."



Ted Rall, by the way, is a white guy, so he doesn't get to take advantage of that unofficial-but-nonetheless-enforced PC statute that says blacks can use the "n-word" while white people cannot. (Except Senator Byrd, that is, so maybe there is an n-word white guy exemption for former Klansmen. But a KKK exception wouldn't give Ted Rall a pass.)



Project 21's Michael King discusses the issue here in his blog while providing a copy of the comic strip for those who which to make their own judgement.



Last October I got quite steamed about the entire Limbaugh/ESPN matter, putting out two press releases (here and here) quoting an NFL team owner, sporterswriters and others making comments that, ten months later, still strike me a breathtakingly stupid. In this blog post from back then, I noted that no one from the NFL had refuted a team owner's implication that conservatives aren't wanted as NFL fans (have they yet?) and also noted that the NFL can't -- apparently literally -- count to ten.

Tuesday
Jul202004

Global Cooling?

Read about the possibility here at FuturePundit.



Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.

Tuesday
Jul202004

Girlie Men

I believe the Arnold Schwarzenegger "girlie men" controversy is silly.



It is no insult to men to compare them to women. It is a compliment.

Saturday
Jul172004

Good Reporting Versus Being First With the Story

From the New York Times' "9/11 Panel's Report to Offer New Evidence of Iran-Qaeda Ties":

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the embargo placed by the commission on discussing the report until its release, said...
No, they were not speaking anonymously because of the embargo, they were speaking anonymously because they did not want anyone to know it was they who had spoken. Had they been motivated by the embargo itself, they would not have broken it.



The public would be better served if the news media did not run so many stories with anonymous sources. Ask yourself: Would we be better off seeing these facts (assuming they are true) slightly later (five days from now) in the context of the full report or immediately, out of context and delivered to us by people with a secret agenda whose names we are not permitted to know?



You can bet the New York Times didn't ask itself this.

Saturday
Jul172004

Shoes for Iraqi Kids

The Keystone Military News is collecting new or good used children's shoes for Iraqi children.



A Pennsylvania National Guard member, 1st Lt. Eric Sloan, is handling the show distribution on the Iraqi end.



I know three little Ridenours who could help with this one...

Saturday
Jul172004

Book Recommendations Requested

Anyone want to e-mail suggestions in response to this letter we received today?

Hello,

I mentor a young black man who is going to go to college next year. I was wondering if you had a list of literature or suggestions for some reading material. He is interested in economics and business. I was hoping for some ethics, philosophy, and history titles as well. I would prefer if the authors were black. He attends a majority white private Catholic school where he is one of the brightest students; I want him to have some black intellectual experience too.

Thank you for your time.

[Name Deleted]

P.S. I heard about your site from Trueblackman, (I don't know his real name) on Free Republic

Addendum: Check out the recommendations we receive here.

Friday
Jul162004

Suing/Censoring Fox News

Michael King at Ramblings' Journal has a post that could be a parody, but isn't: A group of left-wing groups, apparently including Common Cause, MoveOn.org and AlterNet.org, are planning to sue Fox News for using the slogan "fair and Balanced."



Lefties often flasely accuse the right of censorship (many erroneously thought the voluntary grassroots conservative boycott of the ridiculous and defamatory CBS/HBO "Reagans" movie constituted censorship), but when you go to a government court to tell a TV broadcast network how to cover the news, it is the real thing. Or it would be if they aren't laughed out of court. Which is likely.



One more case for the frivolous lawsuit files. If Overlawyered.com doesn't have this covered already, it will soon.

Friday
Jul162004

"Gesture Politics Can Be Environmentally Unfriendly"

Dr. Madsen Pirie has a nicely to-the-point post about recycling on the Adam Smith Institute blog. An excerpt:

Some people seem to suppose that by recycling paper they are saving trees, but the opposite is often true. Paper is mostly made from trees planted for the purpose, and it is young trees that soak up most of the carbon dioxide. If those trees are not planted, that carbon is not soaked up. Nor is it if they are not harvested and replaced. Recycling paper may make people feel good, but gesture politics can be environmentally unfriendly...

Friday
Jul162004

Mundane Tasks

A blog new to me, Torerolaw.com, reprinted on July 15 "The L.A. Times Defends Bush," an excellent article by John McWhorter about today's NAACP.



Sample:

Lifting blacks up is no longer a matter of getting whites off our necks. We are faced, rather, with the mundane tasks of teaching those "left behind" after the civil rights victory how to succeed in a complex society - one in which there will never be a second civil rights revolution.
Thanks to Broken Masterpieces for the pointer.

Friday
Jul162004

Thanks, Rush!

Rush Limbaugh was kind enough to defend Project 21 and other black conservatives on his show Thursday, and has had the transcript of his comments posted on his website.



Rush is a great friend to Project 21. A bit over ten years ago, when Project 21 was new, Rush ran footage of a Project 21 press conference on his TV show two nights running, and played excerpts from the press conference on his radio show. (Shortly thereafter he also featured Project 21 member Star Parker in an issue of The Limbaugh Letter.) Our phones rang off the hook. We literally could not make an outgoing call because of so many people trying to call in, because if we hung up from one call, even if we did it as fast as we possibly could, another person already was on the line. This amazing telephone state of siege lasted, if I recall correctly, for several days.



It was no way to get work done, but it was great.



Project 21 also received a lot of donations at the time because of Rush, even though Rush never once asked people to send Project 21 money. He just talked about Project 21, and that was enough. Project 21 received tens of thousands of dollars from bighearted people all across the United States, nearly all in small gifts accompanied by a note of support. It was spontaneous and wonderful, and a great help to Project 21.



Thanks, Rush.