Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Going on vacation for a while, blogging will be light. Hope to be back full-time in January.

Meanwhile, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Raymond Lloyd: Abusing Power to Suppress Truth

Received this email from Raymond Lloyd, who thought our readers might find it of interest:
Abusing Power to Suppress Truth: Letter 1: 24 February 2007
The case of Lennart Bage (Sweden)
President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Rome
14-15 February 2007

In this and possible future emails I shall describe the substance of my revelations which led you to bar me from IFAD’s Governing Council on 14 and 15 February 2007; your cowardice in not informing me in advance of my travel to Rome that I would be barred; your dastardliness in obliging junior colleagues to tell lies to keep me out; your abuse of the Italian police to bar me from an international meeting; and ask for an apology and compensation...
You can read the whole thing, at this link.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Comments Pan Amazon's "Kindle" E-Book Reader

On Amazon's review page for Kindle,twice as many posts give the new device 1 star v. those who give it 5 stars.

I'm an Amazon stockholder, "Associate" marketplace seller, and author, so in principle I'd like another way to distribute content. From what I've read, this may not be it--at least, not yet. Not only the price point, but the various limits and marketing agreements. Plus, commenters point out it doesn't display PDF files. Software problems. Come on...

What makes Amazon work as a site is that they stock practically everything in print. So why limit Kindle's database to 90,000 books and a few hundred blogs (I assume mine is not one of them)? My guess is that there is no deal with database kings like Google--which owns Blogger plus all those scanned books in public domain. Copyright problems.

So, this seems like it will be of limited use, at least till they work the kinks out. Plus, it looks like a giant PalmPilot. Too big to clip to the belt, and even at 10 ounces, why add weight to carrying a laptop?

I don't know the answer--Amazon did not loan me a test model--but they may have to open the whole concept up a bit to make it work. Consider "Kindle" a Beta version, not a final product, at least for now.

Renzo Piano's New New York Times Building, November, 2007

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This was the view from our room in New York's Times Square Hilton a couple of weeks ago. Workers were putting the finishing touches on what looked to us like an anonymous corporate office tower. We walked through the lobby--excuse me, "atrium"--and peered around. IMHO, Not bad, not particularly ugly, not particularly anything...

New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff reviewed the building in the paper today:
Even as journalists at The Times adjust to their new home, they worry about the future. As advertising inches decline, the paper is literally shrinking; its page width was reduced in August. And some doubt that newspapers will even exist in print form a generation from now.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Jackson Diehl on Human Rights Watch's Blind Eyes For Hugo Chavez

According to Jackson Diehl in today's Washington Post, Human Rights Watch apparently isn't watching the Venezuelan president's attacks on human rights:
During eight years in office, Chávez has already taken control of Venezuela's courts, congress, television stations and petroleum industry; his congress granted him the right to rule by decree. The constitutional rewrite will allow him to control the central bank and its reserves, override elected local governments with his own appointees, declare an indefinite "state of emergency" in which due process and freedom of information would be suspended, and use the army to maintain domestic political order under the slogan "fatherland, socialism or death!" It will also abolish any limit on presidential terms for a 53-year-old ruler who would otherwise be compelled to step down by 2012.

If you're thinking you haven't heard much about this transformation in a major oil-producing country two hours by air from Miami, you're right. U.S. media and human rights groups have basically ignored Chávez's latest power grab. Human Rights Watch, which has been conducting a campaign about what it says is the "human rights crisis" in neighboring, democratic Colombia in close cooperation with congressional Democrats, has issued no statement on the Venezuelan violence -- including the shooting of the students by government-backed paramilitaries on Nov. 7 -- and objected to only one of the 69 new constitutional articles.

Salman Ahmad on Pakistan

Writing in today's Washington Post, the Pakistani singing star says he doesn't like Musharraf--or Bhutto:
Yet Benazir Bhutto is no savior. The queen of hypocrisy, she has managed to hypnotize Western liberals with her claim to represent progressive elements in the Muslim world. Bhutto is a charlatan. How can she call herself a democrat while also appointing herself head of the Pakistan People's Party for life? Her time as prime minister brought staggering levels of corruption and graft. Bhutto's niece and sister-in-law accuse her of conspiring to murder her own brother, Murtaza, who challenged her power during her second term. She continues to see Pakistan as her personal feudal fiefdom to be plundered. A false prophet of democracy, she threatens to bring back the rule of the gangster rather than the rule of law.

During the late '90s, I recorded a song called "Accountability" and made a video that satirized Pakistani politicians whose corruption scandals were being reported internationally. The response of Bhutto's government was to ban the video and threaten my life. In the years since Bhutto fled Pakistan to escape corruption investigations, her desire to regain power has blinded her to the struggle being waged by Pakistanis on behalf of true democracy. A member of her own party, Aitzaz Ahsan, the lawyer who won Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry's reinstatement as chief justice of the Supreme Court after Musharraf dismissed him early this year, languishes in jail -- along with thousands of others. Meanwhile, Bhutto attends diplomatic receptions and makes speeches about freedom and liberty. While lawyers and human rights activists faced the threat of injury and death for standing up to Musharraf's regime, she was in sunny Dubai, waiting for Washington's go-ahead to return.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kosovo UN Corruption Widespread

According to Maciej Zaremba, in today's Washington Post:
The United Nations could argue that it lacks the funds to pay judges. But then why does it pay an employee from Sierra Leone more than $11,000 per month to teach Kosovars how to run their railroads? The Kosovar railroad workers, who survive on just over $200 per month, were more than a little offended to learn that Sierra Leone's last trains stopped running in 1975. Their teacher was an expert on harbors.

U.N. top brass knows full well that Kosovars are losing patience. Last year Inga-Britt Ahlenius, U.N. undersecretary general for internal oversight services, warned if the administration continued to ignore corruption, the whole mission could be jeopardized. "[T]he reluctance by senior Mission management to address fraud and corruption will have a devastating impact on public perception inside and outside of Kosovo," she wrote.

Bruce Bawer on "Peace Studies"

From City Journal:
George Orwell would have understood the attraction of privileged young people to the Peace Racket. “Turn-the-other-cheek pacifism,” he observed in 1941, “only flourishes among the more prosperous classes, or among workers who have in some way escaped from their own class. The real working class . . . are never really pacifist, because their life teaches them something different. To abjure violence it is necessary to have no experience of it.” If so many young Americans have grown up insulated from the realities that Vegetius and Sun Tzu elucidated centuries ago, and are therefore easy marks for the Peace Racket, it’s thanks to the success of the very things the Peace Racket despises above all—American capitalism and American military preparedness.

What’s alarming is that these students don’t plan to spend their lives on some remote mountainside in Nepal contemplating peace, harmony, and human oneness. They want to remake our world. They plan to become politicians, diplomats, bureaucrats, journalists, lawyers, teachers, activists. They’ll bring to these positions all the mangled history and misbegotten ideology that their professors have handed down to them. Their careers will advance; the Peace Racket’s influence will spread. And as it does, it will weaken freedom’s foundations.

Sabiha Sumar and S. Sathannatnthan on Pakistan

From ABC News' website:
In this "regime adjustment" the Bush administration has found allies amongst Pakistan's elite, which is unremittingly feudal. Bhutto, for example, comes from a traditional feudal family and married into another traditional feudal family; for her, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) formed by her father, is her fiefdom -- she is president for life. Inner-party democracy is the stuff of fiction. It is important to keep in mind that the PPP and Nawaz Sharif's PML(N) are not the secular modern parties voters are accustomed to in the west.

Feudals in both parties oppose Musharraf's reforms tooth and nail. Because his administrative modernization set up, for the first time, representative, elected local government institutions (Nazims) and politically empowered the poor; his economic liberalization (including privatization) is promoting the growth of the middle class -- universally recognized as the backbone of liberal democracy. Both hit at their feudal roots. Predictably, the judiciary has time and again ruled against Musharraf's privatization of key economic sectors.

The clerics in the religious coalition -- the MMA -- resist his educational reforms and promotion of women's rights since both are undermining the ideological domination of the religious establishment. In the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) the ruling MMA is systematically sabotaging Musharraf's reforms.

By all accounts, Musharraf allowed the highest degree of media freedom ever experienced in the country's history. This is exposing the average Pakistani to the world outside, and to modern values of democracy and individual rights.

Not surprisingly, the PPP, PML and the MMA are ranged against the army, led by Musharraf.

It is crucial to keep in mind that he is the first leader who has attempted the modernization of Pakistani economy and society.

Many prominent lawyers leading the opposition to Musharraf are either members of PPP or are closely connected to it through kinship links. A majority of the lawyers and judges and "liberal" defenders of human rights are part of the feudal elite; the rest share in the feudal values. They feel extremely threatened by Musharraf's modernization and are bent on protecting their inherited status and privileges. They are hardly the stuff of independent, modern professionals.

Some of the street support for Bhutto on TV is, of course, from party workers. But a lot of it is the poorest of the poor, most of whom are serfs who live a hand-to-mouth existence on the fiefs of feudals. They are lured in truckloads with the offer of two meals a day, which is a luxury for them.

This is the background to and the essence of the sordid "pro-democracy" movement.

It would be a real pity if American opinion makers and professionals lose sight of this unfolding power struggle between the army led by Musharraf on the one hand and the obscurantist feudal and clerical forces on the other.
The authors produced a film for PBS's Independent Television Service about Pervez Musharraf, titled Dinner with the President. Here are their bios from the ITVS website:
Sabiha Sumar, Director

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Sabiha Sumar studied filmmaking and political science at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and history and political thought at the University of Cambridge. She has directed both documentaries and narrative films that have won worldwide acclaim.

S. Sathananthan, Producer

S. Sathananthan was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and read for the PhD degree at the University of Cambridge. He co-founded Vidhi Films and has produced several documentaries that have played important national and international roles in catalyzing social change. His films include Suicide Warriors, a documentary about the female suicide brigade of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; On The Roofs Of Delhi, a short film about the dreams and aspirations of a poor 14-year-old girl; and Khamosh Pani/Silent Waters, a feature film about the growth of Islamic extremism in Pakistan. The film won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2003.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ann Coulter on Pakistan

Ann Coulter likes Pervez Musharraf better than Benazir Bhutto:
The media adore Bhutto because she went to Harvard and Oxford, which I consider two more strikes against her. A degree from Harvard is prima facie evidence that she's on the side of the terrorists. I note that Bhutto demonstrates her own deep commitment to democracy by giving herself the title "chairperson for life" of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Liberals hysterically opposed our imposing a democracy on Iraq and despise Nouri al-Maliki, the democratically elected leader of Iraq. Say, has Maliki ever been convicted in a Swiss court of money laundering?

Compared to Pakistan, imposing democracy in Iraq is like imposing democracy in Darien, Conn. But in Iraq, liberals prefer an anti-American dictator, like Saddam Hussein. Only in Pakistan do liberals yearn for pure democracy.

You wouldn't know it to read the headlines, but Musharraf has not staged a military coup. In fact, he was re-elected -- in a landslide -- just weeks ago under Pakistan's own parliamentary system.

But the Pakistani Supreme Court, like our own Supreme Court, believes it is above the president and refused to acknowledge Musharraf's election on the grounds that he is disqualified because he is still wearing a military uniform. That's when Musharraf sent them home.

Musharraf's election was certainly more legitimate than that of Syrian president Bashar Assad (with whom every leading Democrat has had a photo-op) or Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (adjunct professor at Columbia University) or Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (loon).

Where were the headlines like this week's Economist's ("Time's up, Mr. Musharraf") about those lovable rogues? They hate America, so they can stay.

The last time liberals were this enthusiastic about popular rule in some Third World country was in 1979, when they were gushing about Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran. Professor Richard Falk of Princeton University assured liberals in a 1979 New York Times op-ed that the "depiction of Khomeini as fanatical, reactionary, and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false."

Seen on a Washington, DC Street

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Later the Same Evening... opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper.

We attended the world premiere of this new opera--more of a singspiel, actually--at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland last night. And we enjoyed it. Think Leonard Bernstein's "Trouble in Tahiti" meets "Wonderful Town," meets Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park With George." Basically, the opera is a confection of a plot designed to connect characters in a series of paintings by Edward Hopper currently on display at the National Gallery of Art. It's a fantasy about painting, music, and the imagination--and it has a happy ending, too...

Among other things, Later the Same Evening... is obviously about New York--the libretto features this quote from E.B. White: "No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky."

Of course it is also about Edward Hopper, and about art, and about musical comedy, and about the 1930s, and about a lot of other stuff, too. While you don't leave whistling the tunes--too much Sondheim patter cum Kurt Weill for that--you do have a good time listening to the songs. Especially memorable was a purely musical interlude that represented a Broadway show performed in the 1930s--cute. The singers (who could also act) were enhusiastic, energetic, and all very good--Claire Kuttler, Andrew Adelsberger, Melissa Schiel, Onu Park, Eric C. Black, Eric Sampson, Kara Morgan, Jenna Lebherz, Adam Hall, Jenny Chen, Ethen Watermeir. Erhard Rom's sets, Nancy Schertler's lighting, and David O. Roberts costumes were good, too.

The Nastional Gallery Orchestra, conducted by Glenn Cortese, was terrific.

What could be bad?

Here are the credits:
John Musto, composer
Mark Campbell, librettist
Glen Cortese, conductor
Leon Major, director
Maryland Opera Studio
National Gallery Orchestra
"A joint project of the National Gallery of Art, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and the University of Maryland School of Music"
You can buy tickets online, at this link.

Lafayette Returns to New York

Edward Rothstein reviews the New York Historical Society exhibit on Lafayette's 1824 tour of the USA, in today's New York Times. We saw the show while it was under construction last week, and as a life member of the American Friends of Lafayette, I can say it looked pretty good. There's also a nice review in the New York Sun by Francis Morrone:
Soon Pennsylvanians and Virginians and Tennesseans would feel like Americans. All across the country towns were named Lafayette, or Fayette, or Fayetteville, or — after Lafayette's French estate — La Grange. In New York, we remember him in the name of Lafayette Street, where the old row of stately houses now known as Colonnade Row was originally named La Grange Terrace, in the early 1830s. A statue of a rather foppish Lafayette stands in Union Square; its artist was Frédéric Bartholdi, who also gave us the Statue of Liberty. In Park Slope, Brooklyn, a splendid Lafayette Memorial on Prospect Park West at 9th Street was designed by Daniel Chester French and Henry Bacon, who also did the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial in Park Slope became a rallying symbol for American aid to the French in World War I.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Russian Interview...

In New York's answer to The Moscow Times, the Russian immigrant newspaper, Novoye Russkoye Slovo, in an interview with Oleg Sulkin (translated from the original English).

Delbert Mann, 87

Delbert Mann, the director of "Marty" and "Heidi", among other classics, is remembered in today's Los Angeles Times:
Recalling the filming of "Marty," Borgnine said that "we just enjoyed ourselves working, and [Mann] never made it hard for anybody. It happened so easily and nicely."

Actress Eva Marie Saint, who appeared in numerous live and filmed TV productions directed by Mann, said Monday that he "was just a prince of a guy."

"You never heard a word against Delbert," Saint said. "He was wonderful on the set. He was so patient, and you take your cue from the director, so it was a quiet set.

"If something really went wrong, he could raise his voice, and when Del Mann raised his voice everybody listened, because he never did."

Mann, who also won a best director award from the Directors Guild of America for "Marty," went on to direct 15 more feature films, including "The Bachelor Party," "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs," "Desire Under the Elms," "Separate Tables," "Middle of the Night" and the Doris Day comedies "Lover Come Back" with Rock Hudson and "That Touch of Mink" with Cary Grant.

Between 1949 and 1955, Mann directed more than 100 live television dramas. But even after turning to films, he returned to television and directed productions for "Playhouse 90," "Ford Star Jubilee" and other dramatic television anthology series.

He also directed more than two dozen films for television from the late 1960s to the early '90s, including "Heidi," "David Copperfield," "Jane Eyre," "Kidnapped" and "The Member of the Wedding."

"I missed the excitement and concentration that live TV gave us in those days," he said at the time. "I was able to achieve the artistic freedom I can't get in films."

Mann, who served as president of the Directors Guild of America from 1967 to 1971, received the DGA's Honorary Life Member Award in 2002.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Diwali!

To all our Indian and Nepalese readers. More information about the festival of lights from Wikipedia:
Diwali today is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest. The people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deepa), thus its name, Deepawali, or simply shortened as Diwali.

Some view it as the day Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura or in honor of the day Bali went to rule the nether-world by the order of Vishnu.

In Jainism it marks the nirvana of Lord Mahavira, which occurred on Oct. 15, 527 B.C.

The Sikhs have always celebrated Diwali, however its significance increased historically when on this day the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, was freed from imprisonment along with 52 Hindu Kings (political prisoners) whom he had arranged to be released as well. These prisoners were all released at the same time from the famous fort of Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir in October, 1619. Since the kings were also freed, Guru Ji became known popularly as the "Bandi Chhorh" (deliverer from prison). He arrived at Amritsar on Diwali, and the HarMandar Sahib (the "Golden Temple") was lit with hundreds of lamps in celebration. For Sikhs, this day was thereafter known as the "Bandi Chhorh Divas" (the day of freedom).

In India, Diwali is now considered to be a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith.

Rudy Giuliani's TV Ad...

By some strange coincidence, I just got this via email...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Anne Applebaum on Georgia's "Rose Revolution" Today

From The Washington Post:
Indeed, in a single week, the president of Georgia -- Mikheil Saakashvili, or "Misha" to his friends -- probably did more damage to American "democracy promotion" than a dozen Pervez Musharrafs ever could have done. After all, no one expected much in the way of democracy from Pakistan. But a surprising amount was expected of Georgia -- a small, clannish, mountainous country wedged between Russia and Turkey -- expectations that have now vanished in the crowds of riot police and clouds of tear gas that Saakashvili sent pouring out over the streets of Tbilisi, breaking up street demonstrations there last Wednesday. Bruce Jackson, president of the Project on Transitional Democracies, put it best: "Even for those of us who work professionally with self-destructive countries, this was an exceptionally bad day."

Rip Van Winkle...

Our recent trip to New York reminded this writer of Washington Irving's story of Rip Van Winkle. I was born and raised in New York City, and lived in Morningside Heights for almost a decade during in the 70s & 80s. I was unprepared for the experience of spending four days in the Times Square Hilton some 20 years later. It was, indeed, like waking up from a long sleep (with the exception of the IATSE theatre strike, which seemed familiar). What is this luxury hotel doing here? Where are the sleazy strip clubs? Where are the drug dealers? Where are the muggers? Where did these Disney attractions, Madame Tussaud's, Ripley's Believe It Or Not and giant M&M stores selling stuffed M&M dolls come from? Where are the squeegee men, the swirling columns of newspapers and trash flying in the wind? Where are the broken windows, the litter, the oozing sidewalks, exploding manhole covers? Why does the New York Times building stand empty and abandoned? Why has P.J. Clarke's replaced O'Neal's Baloon across from Lincoln Center? Why can't we promenade around the grand staircase at the Metropolitan Opera anymore (since tables and chairs from the restaurant have filled half the landing)? Where have all the Greek coffee shops gone? How did these chain stores get into Manhattan? Why does the type of standing lamp we got at a tag sale cost $900 at ABC Carpets? Why is the Plaza Hotel closed? Who are all these Europeans laden with shopping bags? What is that strange "T" on the side of the taxicabs? How do these Metrocards work in the subway turnstiles? Even Norman Mailer had died...

Looking south from the 39th floor of our hotel towards the tip of Manhattan, and again during a meeting on the south side of the 53rd floor of the Empire State Building. one could not help but wonder:

"What happened to the World Trade Center?"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gordon Brown Hearts America

From the British Prime Minister's Lord Mayor's Banquet Speech:
It is no secret that I am a life long admirer of America. I have no truck with anti-Americanism in Britain or elsewhere in Europe and I believe that our ties with America - founded on values we share - constitute our most important bilateral relationship. And it is good for Britain, for Europe and for the wider world that today France and Germany and the European Union are building stronger relationships with America.

The 20th century showed that when Europe and America are distant from one another, instability is greater; when partners for progress the world is stronger. And in the years ahead - notwithstanding the huge shifts in economic influence underway - I believe that Europe and America have the best chance for many decades to achieve historic progress ----

· working ever more closely together on the project of building a global society;

· and helping bring in all continents, including countries today outside the G8 and the UN Security Council, to give new purpose and direction to our international institutions.

And while no longer the mightiest militarily, or the largest economically, the United Kingdom has an important contribution to make. Just as London has become a global hub linking commerce, ideas and people from all over the world, so too our enduring values and our network of alliances, can help secure the changes we need.

In the Black...

While in New York, droppped by to see my distributor, Kino International, where I had the nice surprise of finding a royalty check waiting for me, in addition to a pleasant conversation with the proprietor, whom I had not seen in about a quarter-century. He was pleased to inform his visitor that the 25th anniversary DVD ofWho Shall Live and Who Shall Die is already in the black, with about 1000 units shipped. According to google, the DVD is carried by a surprising number of vendors. Enough to make one a believer in The Long Tail...

If some readers of this blog still don't have their own copy, you can order the DVD from, here: .

Happy Veterans Day!

From Wikipedia:
Veterans Day is an American holiday honoring military veterans. Both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states, it is celebrated on the same day as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)
The holiday is commonly misprinted as Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day in calendars and advertisements.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Menu for the Social Dinner in Honor of His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy President of the French Republic

From the Office of the First Lady:
Maine Lobster Bisque
Vermouth Cream
HDV Chardonnay “Carneros” 2004

Elysian Farm Lamb with Heirloom Tomato Fondue
Ragoût of Green Beans, Chanterelles and Caramelized Shallots
Sweet Potato Casserole
Dominus “Napa Valley” 2004

Salad of White and Green Asparagus
Peppercress and Mâche
White Balsamic Vinaigrette

La Fayette’s Legacy
Chandon “Rosé” n/v
And the guest list:
Guest List for the Social Dinner in Honor of His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy President of the French Republic

November 6, 2007

The Honorable Bernard Accoyer, President of the National Assembly, French Republic

The Honorable Sheldon G. Adelson, Chairman of the Board, Las Vegas Sands Hotel

Dr. Miriam Adelson, Spouse of Mr. Sheldon G. Adelson

The Honorable Judith Ansley, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Regional Affairs, National Security Council

Mr. Stephen Ansley, Spouse of Mrs. Judith Ansley

Mr. Bruce Benson, President, Benson Mineral Group, Incorporated

Mrs. Marcy Benson, Spouse of Mr. Bruce Benson

Mr. Tom A. Bernstein, President, Chelsea Piers Management, Incorporated

The Honorable James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress

Mrs. Marjorie A. Billington, Spouse of Dr. James H. Billington

The Honorable Roy Blunt, United States Representative (R/Missouri)

Mrs. Abigail Perlman Blunt, Spouse of Congressman Roy Blunt

The Honorable Samuel W. Bodman, Secretary of Energy

Mrs. Diane Bodman, Spouse of Secretary Samuel W. Bodman

The Honorable Joshua Bolten, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff

The Honorable John B. Breaux, Former United States Senator (D/Louisiana)

Mrs. Lois Breaux, Spouse of Senator John B. Breaux

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court

Dr. Joanna Breyer, Spouse of Justice Stephen G. Breyer

The Honorable Nancy G. Brinker, Chief of Protocol, Department of State

Mr. Eric Brinker, Son of Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker

The Honorable Aaron Broussard, President, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

Mrs. Karen Broussard, Spouse of Mr. Aaron Broussard

Mr. Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Express Company

Mrs. Kathryn Chenault, Spouse of Mr. Kenneth I. Chenault

The Honorable Richard Cheney, Vice President of the United States

The Honorable Lynne V. Cheney

Mr. Harlan R. Crow, Chairman and CEO, Crow Holdings

Mrs. Kathy Crow, Spouse of Mr. Harlan R. Crow

Her Excellency Rachida Dati, Minister of Justice, French Republic

Mr. Robert A. Day, Chairman, Trust Company of the West

Mrs. Kelly Day, Spouse of Mr. Robert A. Day

Mr. Xavier de Sarrau, Lawyer, French Republic

Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy, Former Secretary of State, French Republic

Mr. Joey Durel, City-Parish President, Lafayette, Louisiana Consolidated Government

Mrs. Lynne Durel, Spouse of Mr. Joey Durel

Mr. John P. Ellis, Partner, Kerr Creek Partners

Mrs. Susan R. Smith Ellis, CEO, (Red)

Mrs. Gay Gaines, Former Regent of the Board of Directors of Mount Vernon

Mr. Stanley N. Gaines, Spouse of Mrs. Gay Gaines

The Honorable Edward Gillespie, Counselor to the President, Office of Communications

Mrs. Cathy Gillespie, Spouse of Mr. Edward Gillespie

The Honorable Paul Girod, Member of Parliament, French Republic

The Honorable Louis Giscard D'Estaing, Deputy of Puy-de-Dome, Chairman of the France-United States Friendship Group, French Republic

Mr. Thomas Glavine, Major League Baseball

Mrs. Christine Glavine, Spouse of Mr. Thomas Glavine

Mr. Mark Guzzetta, President, Gemstone Development Corporation

Ms. Leigh Martin, Guest of Mr. Mark Guzzetta

The Honorable Stephen J. Hadley, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, National Security Council

Mrs. Ann Hadley, Spouse of Mr. Stephen J. Hadley

The Honorable John Hager, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia

Mrs. Margaret Hager, Spouse of Mr. John Hagar

Mr. Donald Hall, Sr., Chairman of the Board, Hallmark Card Incorporated

Mrs. Adele Hall, Spouse of Mr. Donald Hall, Sr.

Mr. Wayne Hughes, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Public Storage

Ms. Patricia Whitcraft, Guest of Mr. Wayne Hughes

The Honorable Yves Jego, Member of Parliament, French Republic

Mr. Olivier Knox, White House Correspondent, AFP

Dr. Jennifer Lewis, Spouse of Mr. Olivier Knox

Mrs. Doro Bush Koch

His Excellency Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, French Republic

The Honorable Jon Kyl, United States Senator (R/Arizona)

Mrs. Caryll Kyl, Spouse of Senator Jon Kyl

Her Excellency Christine Lagarde, Minister of Economy, Finances, and Employment, French Republic

The Honorable Mary Landrieu, United States Senator (D/Louisiana)

Mr. Frank Snellings, Spouse of Senator Mary Landrieu

The Honorable Edward P. Lazear, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisors

Mrs. Vicky Lazear, Spouse of Mr. Edward P. Lazear

The Honorable Howard H. Leach, President, Leach Capital Corporation and Former Ambassador to France

Mrs. Gretchen Leach, Spouse of Mr. Howard H. Leach

Mr. Serge Lemoine, Chairman of the Orsay Museum, French Republic

The Honorable Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Department of the Treasury

Mrs. Annette Levey, Spouse of Mr. Stuart Levey

His Excellency Jean-David Levitte, Diplomatic Advisor to the President, French Republic

Mr. Maurice Levy, French President of the French-American Business Council and Chairman CEO, Publicis Groupe

Mr. Henri Loyrette, Chairman of the Louvre Museum, French Republic

The Honorable Kevin Martin, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

The Honorable Catherine Martin, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications for Policy Planning, Office of Communications

The Honorable Nadine Morano, Member of Parliament, French Republic

Mr. Samuel Palmisano, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM Corporation

Mrs. Missy Palmisano, Spouse of Mr. Samuel Palmisano

Ms. Laurence Parisot, Chairwoman of the French Business Confederation, French Republic

The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury

Mrs. Wendy Paulson, Spouse of Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

Mr. Robert Pence, Pence Friedel Developers, Incorporated

Mrs. Suzy Pence, Spouse of Mr. Robert Pence

Mr. Ross Perot, Jr., Chairman of the Board, Perot Systems Corporation

Mrs. Sarah Perot, Spouse of Mr. Ross Perot, Jr.

The Honorable Mary E. Peters, Secretary of Transportation, Department of Transportation

Mr. Travis Matheson, White House Fellow, Department of Transportation and Guest of Secretary Mary E. Peters

Mr. William Plante, White House Correspondent, CBS

Ms. Robin Smith, Spouse of Mr. William Plante

Mr. James C. Rees, Executive Director, Historic Mount Vernon

Ms. Susan Magill, Guest of Mr. James C. Rees

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, Department of State

Mr. Arthur J. Rothkopf, President Emeritus, Lafayette College and Senior Vice-President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Mrs. Barbara Rothkopf, Spouse of Mr. Arthur J. Rothkopf

Mr. Leonard Sands, Founding Partner and Chairman, Alchemy Worldwide

Mrs. Corrine Sands, Spouse of Mr. Leonard Sands

His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic

Mr. Thomas A Saunders III, President and CEO, Ivor & Co. LLC

Mrs. Jordan Saunders, Spouse of Mr. Thomas A Saunders III

Mr. Guy Savoy, Chef, French Republic

Mr. Dick Scarlett III, President and CEO, United Ban Corporation of Wyoming

The Honorable Maggie Scarlett, Spouse of Mr. Dick Scarlett III

Mr. Dwight C. Schar, President and CEO, NVR, Incorporated

Mrs. Martha Schar, Spouse of Mr. Dwight C. Schar

Mr. Harold C. Simmons, Chairman, Valhi Incorporated

Mrs. Annette Simmons, Spouse of Mr. Harold C. Simmons

The Honorable Alan K. Simpson, Former United States Senator (R/Wyoming)

Mrs. Ann S. Simpson, Spouse of Senator Alan K. Simpson

The Honorable Ike Skelton, United States Representative (D/Missouri)

Ms. Martha Child, Guest of Congressman Ike Skelton

Mr. Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, FedEx Corporation

Mrs. Diane Smith, Spouse of Mr. Frederick W. Smith

Mr. Dick Spangler, Director, National Gypsum Company

Mrs. Meredith Spangler, Spouse of Mr. Dick Spangler

The Honorable Craig Stapleton, United States Ambassador to France

Mrs. Debbie Stapleton, Spouse of Ambassador Craig Stapleton

Ms. Beatrice Stern, Antiquarian, French Republic

Ms. Virginia Stuller, Co-Chair of the 2007 Marquis de Lafayette Commemoration Committee

Mrs. Sharon Burdick, Guest of Ms. Virginia Stuller

The Honorable Billy Tauzin, President and CEO, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

Mrs. Cecile Tauzin, Spouse of Mr. Billy Tauzin

His Excellency Pierre Vimont, Ambassador of the French Republic to the United States

Mrs. Jeanne Warner, Spouse of The Honorable John Warner, United States Senator (R/Virginia)

Dr. Kenneth Weinstein, CEO, Hudson Institute

Ms. Amy Kaufmann, Spouse of Dr. Kenneth Weinstein

Mr. Guy Wildenstein, French Republic

Her Excellency Rama Yade, Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, French Republic

The Honorable Raul Yanes, Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary

Ms. Sara Hazelwood, Spouse of Mr. Raul Yanes

The Honorable Amy S. Zantzinger, Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary, White House Social Office

Banned Muslim League Leader Calls for Pakistan Revolt

Nawaz Sharif, exiled to Saudi Arabia by Musharraf, has called for revolution in Pakistan in an interview with Atul Aneja of The Hindu (India):
DUBAI: The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, has spoken of the need for “a mass uprising” in Pakistan in the context of General Musharraf’s latest actions.

During the course of an exclusive telephonic interview to The Hindu on Monday, he predicted: “The opposition to [Gen. Musharraf’s move] is going to increase, it is going to pick up momentum in the coming days because this sort of ruthless action can never be acceptable to our civil society.”

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that “external forces” are going to play their part in shaping events in Pakistan. “I wish that the United States, which is hardening its stance since yesterday, declares very clearly that this [Gen. Musharraf’s action] is unacceptable and this must be reversed.”

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sarkozy to Celebrate Lafayette's 250th Birthday at Mount Vernon

Apparently M. le President is as big a Lafayette fan as Yours Truly,AFP reports:
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President George W. Bush rolls out the red carpet next week for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, eager for their views on Iran's nuclear program and Russia.

The high-stakes week of diplomacy, which will also see Bush host Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, comes as Washington seeks more sanctions against Tehran and worries about the health of democratic reforms in Moscow.

Bush will host his French counterpart at the White House on Tuesday for an official dinner, then squire him on Wednesday to the Mount Vernon estate of the first US president, George Washington.

The two leaders were expected to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of the Marquis de Lafayette, the French soldier and diplomat who played a key role in the American revolution.
I wish they were visiting the homes of Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as well, both friends of the French Enlightenment--fittingly, Monroe's townhouse serves today as the Arts Club of Washington. Of course, Lafayette lived at Mount Vernon, and there is a key to the Bastille in a glass case there, presented by the Marquis who liberated the prison...

James Kurth: Return Pakistan to India

From The American Interest:
While there were particular ethnic communities that served as loyal allies of imperial powers in imposing order upon disorderly cities and turbulent frontiers, there were also particular ethnic communities that always seemed to be in opposition to the imperial order, or, indeed, to any order other than their own peculiar one. The British called these “unruly peoples.” The most notorious of these unruly peoples—indeed, the British called them “ungovernable”—were the Pashtuns (then called the Pathans), who inhabited both the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan and the Northwest Frontier Province of British India. And so the Pashtuns have remained, right down to the present day. We might now call them a rogue people.

They have been a rogue people at great cost to the rest of the world. The Pashtuns are virtually the only ethnic community in Afghanistan that supports the Taliban, and indeed virtually everyone in the Taliban is a Pashtun. It was, of course, the Taliban regime and therefore the Pashtun community that hosted and protected al-Qaeda before the American invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, and it is the Pashtun community in the Northwest Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan that hosts and protects al-Qaeda there today.

Like many close-knit ethnic or tribal communities, the Pashtuns have an intense sense of communal identity and almost no sense of an individual one. They also naturally have an intense sense of their enemies’ communal identities, including their collective guilt. It is impossible to deal with the Pashtuns as individuals, responding to calculations of individual benefits and costs. This is why, after more than five years, no one has stepped forward to turn in Osama bin Laden or Mullah Mohammed Omar (the leader of the Taliban), even though the United States has offered a $25 million reward for each. The only way to deal with the Pashtuns is the way they deal with themselves and with everyone else, as a community that is capable of both collective honor and guilt...

...With its vast Muslim population of 130 million, India has had ample and generally successful experience with the problem of maintaining law and order invoving an internal Muslim community. In its ongoing Islamist insurgency in Kashmir, India has also had ample and often painful experience with this problem—a sort of Indian “near abroad.” India certainly is a willing ally in a grand coalition against Islamist terrorists, so long as we do not insist on formally calling them an ally.

India’s biggest contribution could issue from any future disintegration of Pakistan. This state has always been an artificial and brittle one, and in many areas—most obviously, in the Northwest Frontier Province, the autonomous tribal areas, and, increasingly, in Baluchistan, as well—it is a failing one. With a strong Islamist presence in the country and even in the military, Pakistan could one day become an Islamist state already possessing nuclear weapons. An Islamist Pakistan, perhaps with al-Qaeda operating on its territory, would probably be the most dangerous state in the world, a rogue state in the fullest sense of the term.

If the United States should ever determine that this state had to be put to an end, India would be the best ally to help do it—to “crack the Paks”, as it were. The ruins of this artificial country would produce four or five separate ethnic provinces, each of which could be reconstructed and ordered by a new Indian Raj with a mixture of direct and indirect rule—in a way not unlike the British Raj that once ruled these very same provinces.

Fred Kaplan on Condoleeza Rice

News from Pakistan makes this article from Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section seem particularly timely:
Finally, there looms Iraq, where the only recent tactical successes have involved building up tribal warlords, not creating a beacon of democracy. This war has been Rice's war as much as anybody's in the administration. Long after her celebrity and charm have been forgotten, her epitaph will endure: She pursued democracy at the expense of stability, and achieved neither.

Kyrgystan's Clash of Civilizations

From Channel Four News (UK), this report on Islamist extremism in Kyrgyzstan. One of the producers, Alisher Saipov, was murdered in broad daylight in the town of Osh, after working on the segment.

Three Godfathers

Last night, someone I know and I watched John Wayne, John Wayne,Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey Jr., Ward Bond, and the John Ford stock company in 3 Godfathers. This 1948 spectacular is a real John Ford Western, combining a mythic plot (the Christmas Story); spectacular Western scenery, racial issues (Mexican v. Cowboy), the Law, and interestingly, John Wayne as a bank-robber leading a band of desperadoes. Ward Bond plays Sheriff Purlie Sweet, chasing him across the desert. Sort of like The Searchers, but with John Wayne as "Scar".

I saw a lot of John Ford movies at film school, but I never saw this one--and I don't know why. John Wayne plays a Bad Guy, albeit a "good Bad Guy." At times the film is almost surrealistic, when Wayne imagines his dead partners in crime come back to life. The ambiguity about good and bad, as well as the "happy ending" where Wayne seems to win the heart of the girl whose father's bank he robbed, seem to foreshadow the anti-heroes of the 1950s.

The plot is simple. Three bank robbers come across a dying woman in the desert. They promise to raise her baby. And then, they must make it back to civilization, rather than escape the law by slipping over the Mexican border. The classic Duty v. Desire conflict. One by one, the godfathers perish in the hot sand. Finally making it to town, John Wayne collapses after placing the baby on the bar of the saloon in "New Jerusalem." He doesn't die. Instead, he's reborn as an "honest man." Although the plot is different, the situation, as someone I know suggested, certainly looks like it may have inspired Three Men and a Baby. After all, John Ford is very popular in France...

Add it to your Netflix queue. Five Stars.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

US Government Prosecuted Water Torture After WWII

Evan Wallach writes in today's Washington Post Outlook section:
The United States knows quite a bit about waterboarding. The U.S. government -- whether acting alone before domestic courts, commissions and courts-martial or as part of the world community -- has not only condemned the use of water torture but has severely punished those who applied it.

After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. At the trial of his captors, then-Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, one of the 1942 Army Air Forces officers who flew in the Doolittle Raid and was captured by the Japanese, testified: "I was given several types of torture. . . . I was given what they call the water cure." He was asked what he felt when the Japanese soldiers poured the water. "Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning," he replied, "just gasping between life and death."

Nielsen's experience was not unique. Nor was the prosecution of his captors. After Japan surrendered, the United States organized and participated in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, generally called the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Leading members of Japan's military and government elite were charged, among their many other crimes, with torturing Allied military personnel and civilians. The principal proof upon which their torture convictions were based was conduct that we would now call waterboarding.
And not just against the Japanese.
In 1983, federal prosecutors charged a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies with violating prisoners' civil rights by forcing confessions. The complaint alleged that the officers conspired to "subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning."

The four defendants were convicted, and the sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

We know that U.S. military tribunals and U.S. judges have examined certain types of water-based interrogation and found that they constituted torture. That's a lesson worth learning. The study of law is, after all, largely the study of history. The law of war is no different. This history should be of value to those who seek to understand what the law is -- as well as what it ought to be.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Nikolaj Znaider Conquers Washington

At least, the concert-goers at the Kennedy Center's all-Beethoven program by the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Hungarian maestro Ivan Fisher last night. Znaider, an Israeli-Polish virtuoso from Denmark, played Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61 just brilliantly. He seemed to have a special relationship with concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef, lots of meaningful glances that might have been some musical shorthand--but that looked an awful lot like flirting. He's taller by a head than maestro Fisher, himself a dynamic Hungarian, whose exhalations from exertion could be heard over the score, at least in our second-row seats. The house was almost full, Znaider got a standing ovation, and among the local celebrities in attendance was NPR Supreme Court diva Nina Totenberg. The rest of the program was grand, as well--Egmont and Coriolan overtures, followed by the reliably crowd-pleasing Symphony Number Five in C Minor, Op.67.


Here's a link to a profile of Znaider in Strings Magazine.

Pakistan Declares Martial Law

According to Reuters.

Gary H. Johnson Reviews The Al Qaeda Reader

From The American Thinker:
In full, Raymond Ibrahim's text The Al Qaeda Reader provides the world of English-speakers many lessons that we may choose to learn or dismiss. Chief among these lessons is that in Islam there is no separation between Mosque and State. For years, since the fall of the Twin Towers, moderate Muslims have claimed their religion had been hijacked by fundamentalists, literalists, radicals, and extremists; and, now the West has been apprised of the twisted view of two of these hijackers.

Is this message of hate the literalist perspective of Islam laid bare for the world to see? And if it is, what does it teach the World of English-speakers about the Koran's content, intent, and merit? The fact is, all Muslims believe the Koran to be the literal, uncorrupted word of Allah, written in the celestial language of Arabic. Moving past the arrogance necessary to declare to the world that any language is that of God, what does this text teach us about the original words of the Islamic God? Has the God of Islam, Allah, demanded His followers to wage jihad on all infidels in a quest to force the entire planet to convert, pay alms, or die? And if the Koran is the literal, uncorrupted, Word and Warning of Allah; then, why would we, infidels, ever consider "Peaceful" a religion which promises our demise as sovereign states in one form or another, following obligatory genocidal purges, inquisitions, enslavements, indoctrination, trials of apostasy, and the death of the very idea of American Freedom, and the death of every value held as heroic in the West? For the West's concepts of equality, justice and freedom do not hold parallel with the Koran's or Sharia's view of the same.

In full, Raymond Ibrahim's release The Al Qaeda Reader is a necessary addition to the scholarship of jihad. The text begs the question: does the doctrine proclaimed by al Qaeda's leadership, now widely known among the world's Muslims, guarantee a state of perpetual war against the whole of humanity? And if so, what is the process of eradication of these elements from the Ulema consensus in order to defuse this ticking bomb of world-wide genocide?
You can buy the book from, here.

Protests Sweep Georgian Capital

From the BBC:
Thousands of protesters are on the streets of Georgia for a second day to demand the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili. Many of the protesters had camped overnight outside the parliament building in the capital, Tbilisi.

The crowd has swelled during the day, but has not yet matched the 50,000-strong crowd seen on Friday.

The protesters want an early election, accusing the president of leading a corrupt, authoritarian government.

The pro-Western Mr Saakashvili came to power in January 2004 following the peaceful "Rose revolution", which toppled President Eduard Shevardnadze.

The country is still struggling to recover from years of post-Soviet economic decay, instability and civil war."
Russian TV coverage, here via YouTube.

President Theodore Roosevelt Banned Water Torture 100 Years Ago

From Daniel A. Rezneck's article, "Roosevelt was right: Waterboarding wrong," on
But waterboarding was also a prime subject of controversy in Congress and in the U.S. more than 100 years ago.

The occasion was the Philippine insurrection, which began soon after the American victory in the Spanish-American War of 1898. It soon became clear that the American liberation of the Philippines from Spanish rule did not mean freedom for the Filipinos but annexation by the United States.

The Filipinos fought back savagely against the American occupation, committing many atrocities.

American soldiers responded with what was called the “water cure” or “Chinese water torture.” As described in a 1902 congressional hearing: “A man is thrown down on his back and three or four men sit on his arms and legs and hold him down, and either a gun barrel or a rifle barrel or a carbine barrel or a stick as big as a belaying pin ... is simply thrust into his jaws, ... and then water is poured onto his face, down his throat and nose, ... until the man gives some sign of giving in or becomes unconscious. ... His suffering must be that of a man who is drowning but who cannot drown.”

Edmund Morris, in the second volume of his brilliant biography of Theodore Roosevelt, recounts how a master politician took over the situation. Roosevelt met with his Cabinet and demanded a full briefing on the Philippine situation. Elihu Root, the secretary of war, reported that an officer accused of the water torture had been ordered to stand trial.

Dissatisfied, Roosevelt sent a cable to the commander of the U.S. Army in the Philippines, stating: “The president desires to know in the fullest and most circumstantial manner all the facts, ... for the very reason that the president intends to back up the Army in the heartiest fashion in every lawful and legitimate method of doing its work; he also intends to see that the most vigorous care is exercised to detect and prevent any cruelty or brutality and that men who are guilty thereof are punished. Great as the provocation has been in dealing with foes who habitually resort to treachery, murder and torture against our men, nothing can justify or will be held to justify the use of torture or inhuman conduct of any kind on the part of the American Army.”

Roosevelt also ordered the court-martial of the American general on the island of Samar, where some of the worst abuses had occurred. He did so “under conditions which will give me the right of review.” The court-martial cleared the general of the charges, found only that he had behaved with excessive zeal and “admonished” him against repetition.

Roosevelt responded by disregarding the verdict of the court-martial and ordering the general’s dismissal from the Army. Morris wrote that Roosevelt’s decision “won universal praise” from Democrats, who congratulated him for acknowledging cruelty in the Philippine campaign, and from Republicans, who said that he had “upheld the national honor.”

Friday, November 02, 2007

Daily Telegraph (UK): Bill Clinton Top US Liberal

From the Telegraph's list of top 20 US liberals:
Former US president

The 42nd president of the United States is now auditioning for the role of what his Scottish friends term “First Laddie”. Having been impeached for lying about his sexual misdeeds during the Lewinsky scandal, blamed by some for failing to kill Osama bin Laden and having left office in 2001 amid accusations of corruption in granting last-minute pardons, Clinton, 61, has made a remarkable comeback. Perhaps everything Hillary Clinton knows about politics, bar self-discipline, she has learnt from him.

A peerless tactician, huge intellect and natural communicator, Bill Clinton was one of the great retail politicians of the 20th century. His burning desire to see his wife Hillary elected president has much to do with his own quest for vindication and a fresh platform to make his mark on history. Likely to become a roving ambassador in his wife’s administration, he will push for the Middle East peace that slipped his grasp in 2000. Whether Americans truly want a Clinton restoration will become clearer next year. Either way, Bill Clinton’s influence on the American Left in 2008 will be without equal.

Daily Telegraph (UK): Giuliani Top US Conservative

From the Telegraph's list of top 20 US conservatives:
Republican presidential candidate

The clear Republican front runner and perhaps the only party nominee who could beat Hillary Clinton in 2008, Giuliani makes the top of our list despite his unorthodox brand of conservatism that is anathema to many on the Christian Right. Before 9/11, a thrice-married New Yorker in favour of abortion and gay rights and gun control would have struggled to survive the early stages of a Republican nomination battle despite his tax cutting and crime fighting credentials. But even many Christian conservatives who disagree with the former New York mayor on social issues now view national security as their number one priority.

Giuliani's performance after 9/11 made him an international figure and helped make a nation feel good about itself just after its darkest hour. But 9/11 is the centrepiece of the Giuliani campaign in more than just that respect - he is determined to confront America's enemies, including Iran, and has taken on an array of hawkish advisers. Meetings with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown while in London to receive an award from Margaret Thatcher underlined his global stature. All the stars are in alignment for a Democratic victory in 2008 but Giuliani has the potential to buck the historical trends and signal a dramatic shift in American conservatism by securing an unlikely win.

City Journal Explains Giuliani's Prostate Cancer Rate Claims

David Gratzer writes:
Let me be very clear about why the Giuliani campaign is correct: the percentage of people diagnosed with prostate cancer who die from it is much higher in Britain than in the United States. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports on both the incidence of prostate cancer in member nations and the number of resultant deaths. According to OECD data published in 2000, 49 Britons per 100,000 were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 28 per 100,000 died of it. This means that 57 percent of Britons diagnosed with prostate cancer died of it; and, consequently, that just 43 percent survived. Economist John Goodman, in Lives at Risk, arrives at precisely the same conclusion: “In the United States, slightly less than one in five people diagnosed with prostate cancer dies of the disease. In the United Kingdom, 57 percent die.” None of this is surprising: in the UK, only about 40 percent of cancer patients see an oncologist, and historically, the government has been reluctant to fund new (and often better) cancer drugs.

So why do the critics think that Britain’s survival rates are as high as America’s? The main reason is that they are citing overall mortality rates, which are indeed, as Ezra Klein writes, similar across various countries. That is, the percentage of all Americans who die from prostate cancer is similar to the percentage of all Britons who do. But this misses the point, since a much higher percentage of Americans than Britons are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the first place. If you are a patient already diagnosed with prostate cancer, like Rudy Giuliani, your chances of survival—as Giuliani correctly said—are far higher in the United States.
Gratzer is the Canadian doctor who published The Ugly Truth About Canadian Health Care in the Summer, 2007 issue of City Journal, which contained this claim:
And if we measure a health-care system by how well it serves its sick citizens, American medicine excels. Five-year cancer survival rates bear this out. For leukemia, the American survival rate is almost 50 percent; the European rate is just 35 percent. Esophageal carcinoma: 12 percent in the United States, 6 percent in Europe. The survival rate for prostate cancer is 81.2 percent here, yet 61.7 percent in France and down to 44.3 percent in England—a striking variation.

Strategies for Encouraging Democratic Reform in Saudi Arabia

Don't know if Huma Abedin has commented on Ali Alyami's recent publication from the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia: Strategies for Encouraging Democratic Reform in Saudi Arabia: The Path and Obstacles to Democratization and Respect for Human Rights. An excerpt:
In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US , The Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (CDHR), located in Washington, DC, was established as a non-sectarian, non-partisan and educational tax exempt organization to shed light on the Saudi government’s political, social, educational, economic and religious institutions and their role in mobilizing well-to-do Saudi nationals to plan and carryout a catastrophic mission against Saudi Arabia’s main Western partner, the United States of America. Careful investigations by the global media after 9/11 showed that the current structure and practices of Saudi institutions contribute to the creation of an environment that instills hate for, and intolerance of, other peoples, and rejection of their empowering democratic contributions because of their beliefs, lifestyles and scientific accomplishments.

CDHR sought, and was awarded, a grant to research and write a White Paper titled: “Strategies for Encouraging Democratic Reforms in Saudi Arabia”. This paper is intended to assist US officials, business executives, educators and NGO’s in promoting peaceful political reforms, accountability, transparency and rule of civil laws in Saudi Arabia. After intense research to unearth reliable resources and numerous contacts with a number of Saudi men and women, which proved to be very challenging, the Center would like to offer some practical, prudent, and constructive suggestions for peaceful and achievable reforms:

One, empower and expand the membership of the existing 150 members of the 16-year-old appointed Majlis Al-Shura, or “National Parliament” to become a representative legislative body.

Two, empower Saudi women to become full citizens and participating members of society in all decisions and activities that affect their daily lives and the future of their country.

Three, establish committees to start organizing for free elections at local, regional and municipal levels to elect qualified people regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnic and regional background to serve the people and ensure their rights are protected.

Four, create a transparent treasury where public wealth is managed and regulated by the empowered representative national parliament.

Five, create a process whereby the judicial system is removed from the hands of religious clerics and placed in the hands of independent persons properly trained in the rule of law.

Six, for all officials, without any exception, financial compensation should be limited, regulated, and open to public scrutiny .

Seven, initiate a committee of qualified and independent experts to draft a comprehensive plan for transparent privatization of all government-owned and controlled industries and public utilities.

Eight, all public policies, budget decisions and official assignments should be initiated and approved by a national parliament and other freely elected representatives at all levels of society.

Nine, all government contracts should be regulated by the elected representatives of the people.

Ten, non-sectarian national, regional and local constitutions should be developed to protect the people from government abuses and ensure the rights of all citizens.
You can download the entire document in PDF format, here. There's more about this report from POMED, the Project on Middle East Democracy:
Ali Alyami began by mentioning Mrs. Bush’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia to speak to women about breast cancer and told how she “donned the Saudi black abaya out of respect for the culture.” However, he argued that “the abaya represents the most dehumanizing and repressive policy” and that it is not about culture or tradition, but a pure Saudi-Wahhabi plot. He suggested that Saudi women would have been better served by Mrs. Bush helping them fight their segregation and gain their rights than talking about cancer.

He went on to speak about several “steps” that have been taken by the Saudi government, but argued that they mean nothing in terms of real change and reform. First, he pointed out that King Abdullah has met with reformers and had national dialog meetings. However, none of the recommendations have been carried out. Also, the staff of human rights associations that were formed are appointed and paid by the government, making them meaningless. Finally, while there have been municipal council elections, women and the armed forces were disenfranchised, and the councils have no power.
Interestingly the POMED conference featured Thomas Melia of Freedom House, who used to live down the street from us and wear an Afghan hat (I guess a souvenir from Kabul); and David Mikosz of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at the American University, whom I last saw in Tashkent, where he was working for IREX on IT, before he went to Kazakhstan for the World Bank, and then to Kyrgyzstan to do election work for IFES, a US government-funded NGO. Small world...

Stewart Taylor's Until Proven Innocent

Caught Stewart Taylor on the PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer last night, talking about his new book (with KC Johnson), Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. Boy did he sound angry. When the scandal was first reported, in places like Ed Bradley's expose on 60 Minutes, it seemed so seemy and sordid that I didn't want to hear any more. But Taylor's steely mien, his condemnation of the Duke University administration, the media, the politics surrounding the case, especially his critique of The New York Times, made me want to take another look. Unfortunately, PBS has not yet posted a transcript. Luckily, the book can be purchased from at this link.

Driver's License Plan for Illegal Immigrants Threatens American Society

Hillary Clinton is in trouble for a reason. Someone I know points out that, at a fundamental level, the problem with New York Governor Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants is not that it makes immigration easier--rather, it establishes a legal framework for a 2-tier society containing an underclass of 2nd-class residents. This, she argued, would be like the Missouri Compromise prior to the Civil War, or Jim Crow after Reconstruction--a politically expedient course designed to defer the problem. Such a failure of leadership leads to more fundamental problems, much more difficult to resolve, such as erosion of rule-of-law and constitutional guarantees of equal protection. Good leadership, as Ronald Reagan demonstrated (and I hope Rudy Giuliani will again, soon), requires making difficult decisions--not ducking them...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Chechen Leader Calls for Jihad Against US, UK & Israel

The BBC reports Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov's call to arms (ht
Our common enemies are all those who have attacked Muslims wherever they are.

"Not only Russia, but also the USA, the UK, Israel and all those waging war against Islam and Muslims are our enemies."

Gary Kasparov on Vladimir Putin

From Daniel Henninger's profile in the Wall Street Journal:
We made him a contributing editor to the Journal editorial page, and in the years since he has written often for these pages on Russia's wild ride to its current state. Across 16 years, Mr. Kasparov's commitment to democratic liberty in Russia and in its former republics has been unstinting. At that September 1991 lunch, Mr. Kasparov proposed an idea then anathema to elite thinking in Washington and the capitals of Western Europe: The West should announce support for the independence of the former Soviet republics--the Baltics, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and the rest.

One suspects that Vladimir Putin noticed what the young chess champion was saying in 1991 about the old Soviet empire. The Russian president has famously said, "The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century."

Russia today is not what it was. Mr. Kasparov, however, has not stopped analyzing what it has become. Briefly, he argues that Mr. Putin's internal and external politics should be seen almost wholly as a function of oil prices, the primary source of revenue for the Russian state and the prop beneath the extended Putin political family. Mr. Putin's "unhelpful" policies on Iran and the like, Mr. Kasparov argues, keep the oil markets boiling--but not boiling over. Money in the bank, at $94 a barrel. He says Mr. Putin is the glue that binds this fabulously wealthy family, and if he left politics in any real sense they would start killing each other.

Who is Huma Abedin?

Hard to believe, hope this is not true (ht lgf):
This is Hillary Clinton’s top aide. Goes with her everywhere. And, according to Vogue magazine, "fluent in Arabic, and a practicing Muslim born in Kalamazoo, MI, to a Pakistani mother and Indian father. Moved to Saudi Arabia when she was two…Her father is an Islamic scholar…." This story is a real eye-opener.

Am I the only person who thinks it is strange that Mrs. Clinton has a top aide who is a Muslim raised in Saudi Arabia? What is going on here?

Paul Sperry’s book, Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives have Penetrated Washington has become more and more relevant, hasn’t it?
More from Spencer Morgan's April, 2007 profile in The New York Observer:
The back story, as it were, begins 32 years ago in Kalamazoo, Mich., where Ms. Abedin, who declined to participate in this article, lived until the age of 2. Her family then relocated to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she lived until returning to the States for college. She attended George Washington University. Her father, who died when she was 17, was an Islamic and Middle Eastern scholar of Indian decent. He founded his own institute devoted to Western-Eastern and interfaith understanding and reconciliation and published a journal focusing on Muslim minorities living in the diaspora. Her mother, a renowned professor in Saudi Arabia, is Pakistani.

Ms. Abedin recently bought an apartment in the vicinity of 12th and U streets in Washington, D.C. When she comes to New York, she stays with her sister, who has an apartment in Manhattan—not, as one popular rumor has it, in Chappaqua with the Clintons. She has no children and has never been married. She’s single.

Ms. Abedin began working for Mrs. Clinton as an intern for the then First Lady in 1996. She was hired as a staff assistant to the First Lady’s chief of staff, Maggie Williams. For several years, she was the backup to Mrs. Clinton’s permanent personal aide, Allison Stein, and she officially took over as Mrs. Clinton’s aide and advisor around the time of the 2000 Senate race.

Her Presidential campaign title is “traveling chief of staff."
Google informs us that Abedin's mother is Saleha Mahmood Abedin, Vice-Dean of Institutional Advancement, Dar Al-Hekma College, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Here's the official description from the Dar Al-Hekma website:
Dar Al-Hekma College is a unique, four-year college, built upon a strong and stable foundation of Islamic faith, Islamic wisdom, academic excellence and intellectual curiosity. It was founded when prominent members of the Jeddah community recognized an urgent need for sophisticated higher education for young Saudi women, with high quality academic programs enriched by Islamic values and morals. The Founders engaged the Texas International Education Consortium to work with local and international experts to plan the college and design its curricula. In September, 1999, Dar Al-Hekma College opened its doors to its first freshmen class.
Curiously, Wikipedia has posted an announcement that it is considering deleting its entry for Huma Abedin...

Ann Coulter: ADL Policy is Bad for the Jews

Ann Coulter says Abe Foxman's ADL endangers Israel and American Jewry because the organization gives a pass to Islamist anti-Semites while attacking philo-Semitic Christians, in order to please the left-wing of the Democcratic Party:
Earlier this year, the ADL issued an alarmist report, declaring that the Ku Klux Klan has experienced "a surprising and troubling resurgence" in the U.S., which I take it to mean that nationwide KKK membership is now approaching double digits. Liberal Jews seem to be blithely unaware that the singular threat to Jews at the moment is the complete annihilation of Israel. Why won't they focus on the genuine threat of Islamo-fascism and leave poor old Robert Byrd alone?

The ADL goes around collecting statements from Democrats proclaiming their general support for Israel, but it refuses to criticize Democrats who attack Joe Lieberman for supporting the war and who tolerate the likes of former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

Sure, Hillary will show up at an ADL dinner and announce that she supports Israel. And then she gets testy with Bush for talking about sanctions against Iran in too rough a tone of voice.

What does it mean for the ADL to collect those statements?

The survival of Israel is inextricably linked to the survival of the Republican Party and its evangelical base. And yet the ADL viciously attacks conservatives, implying that there is some genetic anti-Semitism among right-wingers in order to hide the fact that anti-Semites are the ADL's best friends -- the defeatists in Congress, the people who tried to drive Joe Lieberman from office, the hoodlums on college campuses who riot at any criticism of Muslim terrorists and identify Israel as an imperialist aggressor, and liberal college faculties calling for "anti-apartheid" boycotts of Israel.

The Democratic Party sleeps with anti-Semites every night, but groups like the ADL love to play-act their bravery at battling ghosts, as if it's the 1920s and they are still fighting quotas at Harvard.

Earlier this year, Rep. Virgil Goode Jr., R-Va., said "in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America."

The ADL attacked him, saying, "Bigots have always hid behind the immigration issue."

Like the noose hysteria currently sweeping New York City, liberals are always fighting the last battle because the current battle is too frightening.

Liberal Jews are on a collision course with themselves. They can't reconcile the survival of Israel with their conception of themselves as liberals. The liberal coalition has turned against them. Jews are out; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is in. The new king knows not Joseph.
Here's a a Jewish blogger from Portland, Oregon who agrees with Coulter's analysis:
Then I just received Ann Coulter's article "How Long Before the ADL Kicks out all its Jews? The title is silly but her article is not. I hate to say it, but she makes some valuable points. The fact is that Israel is in danger of being eliminated. The ADL is not facing the truth, and is pussyfooting around with other less important issues. Anti-semitism is rampant (as reported yesterday during the discussion) in Eugene, Oregon on the U. of Oregon campus. A group or groups there are busy villifying Israel, which of course causes Jewish reprocussions. To condemn Israel is the same as condemning any Jew in the USA. The Anti-Defamation League is busying itself with other issues. Our young people are too busy to be concerned with Israel. We haven't stressed its values to our own children. The one group that it matters to happen to be a group we have not identified with in the past: the right-winged Republicans.

It seems that the ADL has chided my favorite radio personality, Dennis Prager because he found fault with Keith Ellison, who wanted to take his congressman's oath on the Koran and not on the bible. Dennis Prager has done more on his now defunct radio show for Israel than any organization I can think of. He discusses, writes, sends information to those interested, and has since been off the air in Gresham/Portland, Oregon. I sorely miss his program. So I agree with Ann Coulter in this. ADL, get on the stick and start supporting Israel and those who support it.