THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Why We Need Gitmo (second item): Although District Judge Thomas F. Hogan could find nothing in the record now” that Musa'ab Al-Madhwani “poses any greater threat than those detainees who have already been released,” he ruled that the a 28-year-old Yemeni held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since October 2002 could be detained indefinitely by the U.S. government on allegations that he was a member of al-Qaeda, reports The Washington Post:
Hogan's ruling came in a federal lawsuit brought by Madhwani that challenged his confinement under the centuries-old legal doctrine of habeas corpus. The government had alleged that Madhwani traveled to Pakistan to join al-Qaeda, trained at an al-Qaeda camp, traveled with al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and engaged in a firefight with Pakistani authorities before his arrest.
The government's case relied almost entirely on Madhwani's statements to interrogators and to military officials during tribunals and review boards at
Guantanamo Bay, Hogan said.
Hogan said he did not consider the statements to interrogators as evidence against Madhwani because they were "tainted by abusive interrogation techniques," especially after he was first turned over to U.S. authorities in 2002. He was held at a series of prisons before being sent to Guantanamo Bay, Hogan said.
However, the judge said he did not believe that Madhwani's statements during military hearings at Guantanamo Bay were tainted because they were given years after the alleged abuse. At those hearings, Madhwani admitted to training with a rifle and handgun at an al-Qaeda camp and seeing the terrorist group's leader, Osama bin Laden, one day, records show.
Over the past year, 31 Gitmo detainees have been cut loose by judges; Madhwani is one of nine detainees who unsuccessfully challenged their continued detention at Gitmo.
† Obama’s Afghanistan Speech: One From Column A, One From Column B: William McGurn, a Wall Street Journal columnist and Rupert Murdoch’s speechwriter, doesn’t believe that President Barack Hussein Obama’s speeches will be remembered by future generations like Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (“this nation, under G-d, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”) or Ronald Reagan’s speech at the Berlin Wall’s Brandenburg Gate (“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”). Why? Because Obama is all talk and no action:
Kennedy adviser and speechwriter Ted Sorensen did not dismiss the power of the spoken word, but neither did he confuse it with action. "[A]fter all is said and little is done, a speech - even an elevated, eloquent speech - is still just a speech," he wrote. "Saying so doesn't make it so." …
"Nobody remembers "Tear Down this Wall" because I did an OK job of stringing the words together," says my speechwriter friend, Peter Robinson. "We remember the speech because Reagan meant it, because it expressed the principles that he acted on, and because history proved him right. We remember Reagan at Berlin because the wall did come down -and he did his part to help bring it down."
Noting that “[i]n wartime, people soon tire of lofty words that do not seem borne out by events,” McGurn predicts, “The irony is that whether these fine speeches [at West Point and Oslo] are remembered by history depends on a word he didn't use in either one: victory.”
Editorial Note: As a writer, The Stiletto appreciates a well-crafted speech as much as she appreciates its graceful and mellifluous delivery. If she could pick three orations that will resonate for generations to come, they would be Christ’s Sermon on the Mount; Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream; and Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech. The Stiletto can never know what the Sermon on the Mount sounded like, but every time she hears audio clips of King and Reagan giving these speeches she is awe-struck (in the old-fashioned sense of the word) anew.
† The Swiss Are Not Neutral About Minarets (second item): Carlin Romano, who teaches philosophy and media theory at the University of Pennsylvania and was formerly a general assignment reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, views the rejection of Islamicization of their culture by Swiss voters through the lens of the Armenian Genocide in this commentary published in The Chronicle of Higher Education:
Is bringing in the Armenian genocide too big a stretch when contemplating an electoral act about urban design rather than a state policy to implement ethnic cleansing? After all, the ban doesn't involve violence (so far), or suppression of religious worship (mosques remain OK). What is the appropriate context when reflecting on such a ban? …
It's an unfortunate modern truism that all genocides aren't equal in their impact. As Richard Bernstein noted recently in the International Herald Tribune, the just-finished trial of a key Khmer Rouge figure in Cambodia stirred little attention in America. Yet the morally impoverished reaction over decades to the Turkish government's massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians that began in 1915 - bookended by earlier and later massacres that killed hundreds of thousands - still stands apart because it once stood as the best-known genocide in modern history.
As early as 1895, The New York Times ran a report headlined, "Another Armenian Holocaust." In 1915, the Times ran multiple reports with such headlines as, "Wholesale Massacres of Armenians by Turks" and "800,000 Armenians Counted Destroyed." In 1918, Theodore Roosevelt declared that "the Armenian massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and failure to act against Turkey is to condone it." British Prime Minister David Lloyd George decried the Ottoman state as "this inhuman Empire." Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer who coined the term "genocide" in helping to establish the United Nations Convention on that crime, first used the term in regard to the slaughter of the Armenians. …
Now let's talk again about voting against two new minarets in Switzerland.
The Swiss vote is a signal rather than an endorsement of intolerance. The Swiss, while facing only a sort of creeping, minor Islamicization of their society … are aware of the gargantuan intolerance shown by some Muslim societies against minority Christians. While they may not seriously fear such a consequence, many of them plainly want to draw a line in the sand and say: We will not become a Muslim-dominated society, and we will stop that process early. …
If you steep yourself in the atrocities of the Armenian genocide, not to mention the many intolerances exhibited by majority-Muslim societies toward Christians, Jews, women, gays, and other non-Muslims, one's conclusion is not an absolutist moral judgment, but a decision on who owes a greater apology to whom, a decision on how to allocate one's moral energy.
The day that Turkey apologizes and pays reparations for the Armenian genocide, that Saudi Arabia permits the building of churches and synagogues, that the Arab world thinks the homeland principles it applies to the Arabs of Palestine also apply to the Armenians of Turkey -on that day, I will find time to commiserate with the generally kind and hard-working Muslims of Switzerland.
Editorial Note: Romano includes a detailed review of the history of the Armenian Genocide that you probably did not learn in school.
[Hat Tip: Keghart.com]
† The Nobel Peace Prize? Really?: The Stiletto will gloss over the pillow talk in this Politics Daily commentary by U.S. News & World Report contributing editor Bonnie Erbe (“The Nobel Committee rushed into bed with Obama”) - except to note that the “gin-altered glasses” to which she attributes the Norwegians' lack of judgment should be “aquavit-altered glasses” - because more interesting is that the post about Obama’s shortcomings - as perceived by liberals - essentially comes down to the (Joe) Wilsonian declaration: “You lie!”:
A little bit of background research might have alerted the Nobel Committee to Obama's annoying tendency toward expediency and away from commitment to principle. …
The New York Times reported in February 2008 that Obama had a history of stretching his accomplishments and playing to his audience of the moment. It would have been easy to see what was coming if only voters had paid more attention to his record as a twister of facts and prince of prevarication.
The front-page story detailed Obama's appearance before an Iowa audience in December 2007. He claimed credit for passage of anti-nuclear legislation that in fact did not pass the Senate. Not only that, he had watered down his own anti-nuclear amendment to the point of obliteration. That, only after he befriended and took money from the same nuclear energy executives he at first opposed; $227,000 in campaign contributions would make you cozy up with former political opponents, wouldn't it?
"A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story. While he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks," the Times reported.
† You Can’t Make Fun Of Obama? Sez Who?: During the presidential campaign, comedians and joke-writers complained that Barack Hussein Obama was impossible to lampoon. Some attributed the problem to his lack of human foibles (and this was before Maureen Dowd and others took to calling him “Spock”), others to the well-founded fear that poking fun at black folks is a sure-fire career killer. The Stiletto also suspected that comedians and their jokemeisters – who tend to be a liberal lot – were well aware that Obama’s resume was ridiculously thin and that he was both arrogant and overreaching when he thought he had what it took to be the leader of the free world without having served even a full term in the Senate before going on the campaign trail. So they reeled in their axes so as not to call attention to how weak and inexperienced he was because they wanted a liberal in the White House, even if it meant that the lesser man would win. Plus, why risk the wrath of the Obamatons at Daily Kos and The Huffington Post, who can’t take a joke when it comes to Obama?
But now that Obama has disappointed libs time and again – taking “too long” to shutter Gitmo and get out of Iraq, escalating the war in Afghanistan and willing to cut whatever political deal necessary with Congress (and lobbyists) to get a bowdlerized version (that is, with the public option and coverage for illegal immigrants excised) of healthcare “reform” passed– comedians are finding that it is possible to make fun of Obama, after all. As Dickens astutely noted, where there’s a will there’s a way.
† New York Times Pro-Union, Except When It’s Not: An arbiter shot down The New York Times contention that when an employee who belongs to the Newspaper Guild moves to a different department at the paper the clock would start anew on his or her seniority – which would have made it easier for management to lay off the 26 additional editorial staffers necessary to achieve the company's goal of eliminating 100 positions – reports the New York Post. The arbiter ruled in favor of the Guild, "that seniority used to determine Newsroom employees' vulnerability to layoffs must be measured by their service in the entire News Department."
† Obama’s One-Two Cha-Cha-Cha: Two Obama administration economic gurus, two Sunday news shows, two opinions on whether the recession is over. Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, told George Stephanopoulos that “[E]verybody agrees that the recession is over, and the question is what the pace of the expansion is going to be.” Um, make that “everybody except Christina Romer.” The White House economic adviser answered David Gregory’s question “[I]n your mind, this recession is not over” with a brisk “Of course not,” adding: “[T]he people on Main Street and throughout this country, they are still suffering.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (She Stared Down An Armed Terrorist To Save Her Unborn Baby’s Life): After Naveed Haq’s trial for the murderous 2006 shooting spree at a Seattle Jewish center ended in a mistrial in 2008, a second jury found him guilty of all eight counts against him, reports The Associated Press:
Haq's first trial ended last year with jurors deadlocked on whether he was legally insane during the shooting spree on July 28, 2006, that left one woman dead and five others injured.
The eight counts against him included one count of aggravated first-degree murder; five counts of attempted first-degree murder; one count of unlawful imprisonment; and one count of malicious harassment, the state's hate-crime law.
Jurors on Tuesday rejected Haq's defense that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. …
The shooting left one victim, Layla Bush, unable to walk. Carol Goldman has said she now volunteers at Harborview Medical Center, where the critically injured women were treated.
Then-pregnant Dayna Klein, who took a bullet in her arm as she protected her fetus, gave birth several months later to a healthy boy. On the day of the attack, she spoke to a 911 operator as Haq aimed his weapon at her.
Haq provided his name and social security number, ranted against Jews, asked to go on CNN, and suddenly said, "Here, I'll give myself up. This was just to make a point."
One of Haq's lawyers, John Carpenter, described his client’s condition as “psychizoaffective disorder with bipolar tendencies.” Daniel Pipes calls it something else: “Sudden jihad syndrome.”
† Updates To Previous Posts (fifth item, Scientists Who Refuse To Toe The Line On Global Warming: Part II): The Stiletto wonders why Al Gore refuses to debate global warming skeptics – not even schoolchildren – since his favorite rhetorical gambit is to just make stuff up to prove his points. The latest case in point: speaking at the Copenhagen climate change conference, Gore cited research he claimed showed the Arctic could be completely ice-free in five years. But the scientist who conducted that research immediately criticized Gore for mischaracterizing his findings, reports The Times of London:
In his speech, Mr Gore told the conference: “These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”
However, the climatologist whose work Mr Gore was relying upon dropped the former Vice-President in the water with an icy blast.
“It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at,” Dr Maslowski said. “I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”
Mr Gore’s office later admitted that the 75 per cent figure was one used by Dr Maslowksi as a “ballpark figure” several years ago in a conversation with Mr Gore.
The embarrassing error cast another shadow over the conference after the controversy over the hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, which appeared to suggest that scientists had manipulated data to strengthen their argument that human activities were causing global warming.
Others said that, even if quoted correctly, Dr Maslowski’s six-year projection for near-ice-free conditions is at the extreme end of the scale. Most climate scientists agree that a 20 to 30-year timescale is more likely for the near-disappearance of sea ice.
Climate research and the way it’s reported by scientists, activists and the MSM reminds The Stiletto of that classic scene in the Marx Brothers classic “Monkey Business,” when cruise ship stowaways Harpo and Chico pose as barbers and as Harpo follows Chico’s instructions to try to even out one side of a customer’s mustache (“give him a snoop”) and then the other (“give him a snoop on this side”), the man ends up with a naked upper lip ("I think we give-a him one snoop too much"). When you take data that’s already been cooked, then spin it, and spin it even more, eventually someone goes too far and all the manipulation is laid bare.
Editorial Note: Bad news for Gore: The Daily Express (London) lists 100 reasons why climate change is a natural occurrence.
† Updates To Previous Posts (second item, Look Before You Leap: Part II): Kourtney Kardashian, who decided against abortion after doing her own research - CA does not have a law that requires abortionists to show pregnant women ultrasounds - gave birth to a boy, Mason Dash Disick. She and her boyfriend Scott Disick "are thrilled." Baby Mason is lucky that his Mom took the time out to consider her options - Ca does not have a law requiring a waiting period, either. As they say in The Stiletto's neck of the woods, "mazel tov!"
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on 8-year old Hayden Chavarria, 8, who is collecting toys and gift cards for the third year in a row for children being treated at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford – where he will soon undergo his fourth eye surgery to correct esotropia (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (a lazy eye that is functionally blind), reports the San Jose Mercury News:
This year, as times are tougher, Hayden and his mother, Jessica Dering, 33, are a little more worried about being able to beat last year's donation of 714 toys.
But they're heading out this weekend and the next to sit all day in front of a Los Gatos Safeway in an effort to collect toys from shoppers. Hayden will deliver them to children at the hospital on Dec. 21.
"I like doing this a lot," said Hayden, a third-grader at Noddin Elementary School, where he loves playing dodge ball and learns from books with big fonts. "I like helping sick kids so they don't get left out on Christmas." …
Whatever Hayden can deliver to the hospital is much appreciated. "What's unique about Hayden is that he's a patient here himself and he's so young," said Jenna Martarano, community events manager for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. "We get donations from outside sources, but it's his connection that makes this special. His status at the hospital sets him apart."
Hayden will be collecting toys outside the Safeway supermarket at 15549 Union Ave. in Los Gatos from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. December 19th and 20th. If you do not live in the area, you can buy toys online at a wish list Hayden set up with Toys R Us (his Toy Bank account number is 30089819).