Saturday, June 18, 2005

When Senator Durbin met Sheriff Sheahan

Who doesn't know that Illinois Democrat Senator Dick Durbin used the Senate as a forum to compare American personnel serving at Guantanamo to, among other monsters, Nazis?

And if you've visited this blog or others such as Betsy's Page, Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, and The Mudville Gazette, you've had a chance to read about prisoner abuse at Chicago's Cook County Jail, run for the last 15 years by Durbin's pal and political ally, Democrat Sheriff Michael F. Sheahan.

So are you wondering: "What happens when a Senator who compared Americans serving at Guantanamo to Nazis meets a Sheriff who presides over a jail where, in one especially gruesome incident, 40 prison guards entered a cell block and systematically beat prisoners?"

Here's an example of what happens, courtesy of Chicago's CBS affiliate WBBM-TV reporting this year's Chicago St. Patrick's Day parade.

WBBM naturally interviewed "dignitaries." Durbin was one of them.

The Senator was in fine spirits. "St. Patrick's Day is the warmest day in Chicago," Durbin remarked, on a day when temperatures were well below freezing.

But what are freezing temperatures to a politician warmed by the company of powerful political pals?

Durbin, after all, was just about to step off in the line of march with other "dignitaries" such as Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley and, of course, Sheriff Michael F. Sheahan.

As a wrap-up, the WBBM reporter wanted to know what they'd all be doing after the parade. "Lots of parties to remember and honor St. Patrick," Durbin enthused.

WBBM didn't report asking Sheriff Sheahan anything. But can't we assume he would have said he was glad to be there with his pal and politcal ally Senator Durbin "to remember and honor St. Patrick?"

And, if asked, wouldn't both "dignitaries" have said they support our troops?

Here's the link to the WBBM report.

He spoofs Liberals. Should we stop him?

If you don't like people spoofing Liberals and/or PCers and/or the New York Times' best opinion-shaper reporters, skip this post and go straight to my Sanctimony Reigns post. It's here. (Or did I delete it?)

Anyway, do you know Iowahawk? If not, I think you'll enjoy meeting him.

Here's a sample where Iowahawk picks up on that NPR/NYT story about how we all mourn for that dying mill town where Dad worked 66 hour weeks while Mom rung clothes by hand and we dreamed in Miss. Quimby's English IV class about a place she called "the Hamptons."

Each year they come here, from Cambridge and Ithaca and New Haven, young and eager social critics seeking nothing more than an honest day's wage for an honest day's condescension, and perhaps a decent squab pate in white wine reduction.

For the newest generation of polemic workers, though, the promise of that simple Anti-American Dream seems ever more distant. Most of the mills have long fallen silent, tragic victims of cheap foreign radio talk shows and the growing monopoly of multinational corporate blogs.

Now, even the grandest of the old mills -- the venerated New York Times 43rd Street Opinion Works - stands at risk. A recent spate of quality control problems, product recalls, management turmoil and a painful round of layoffs is leading many here to worry if the plant is destined to go the way of Automats, five cent Cokes and international socialism.

Iowahawk keeps up with things. Just today he made public some letters of Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill) that even Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) didn't know about.

Friday, June 17, 2005

About public funding of PBS and NPR

The AP reports that a U. S. House committee has voted to cut some government funding for PBS and NPR.

Rep. Nita Lowey (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., brought puppets of "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie to remind Republicans of the battle 10 years ago when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., unsuccessfully led the charge to take away subsidies for public broadcasting, but relented after a public outcry.

I don't think there'll be much of an outcry this time. Most of the public is indifferent to PBS and NPR. And while both have their loyal supporters, growing numbers of Americans are put off by public broadcasting's leftist tilt.

Yes, PBS and NPR insist with straight faces they have no such tilt. Then they go our and hire the biased, America-bashing BBC to bring us "news."

Who's fooled?

Durbin's pal and prisoner abuse

(Welcome visitors from Betsy's Page, Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, Ombusmax and The Mudville Gazette. Please consider writing a letter to your editor expressing your thoughts and feelings about Senator Durbin's abominations. Thanks, John)

Illinois Democrat Senator Richard Durbin compared American servicemen and women serving at Guantanamo to Hitler's Nazis, Stalin's gulag thugs, and Pol Pot's murderers.

But I could find no criticism by Durbin of his pal, political ally and Cook Country's Democrat Sheriff, Michael F. Sheahan, who's run the notorious Cook County Jail since 1990. I used Google and Yahoo search engines. The Senator's office didn't return a phone call inquiry about Sheahan and prisoner abuse at the jail.

During the 15 years Sheahan’s run Cook County Jail, there have been numerous reports by rights groups, attorneys, and a grand jury documenting systematic prisoner abuse there, including rapes and beatings by guards.

Legal action by Chicago University's Law School's public-service law firm, The MacArthur Justice Center, led to a grand jury finding that a failure by Sheahan’s office to investigate prisoner beatings constituted “obstruction of justice.” The MacArthur site details other actions its brought against Sheahan and other responsible officials.

In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, MacArthur attorney Jean Maclean Snyder gave readers this graphic example of prisoner abuse at Cook County Jail:

(a) squad of 40 guards took over a maximum-security division of the jail in 1999 for the sole purpose of beating and terrorizing the prisoners. A jail investigator determined that the guards' misconduct was covered up by Cook County medical personnel, who filed false reports and refused or delayed treatment to the prisoners, and by the Cook County inspector general, who refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Snyder want on to describe a meeting with a prisoner who'd been beaten:

the whites of his eyes were nearly obscured by the red from blood vessels that had ruptured during the beating, and deep lacerations were held together by staples that had been applied to his scalp.

Chicago newspapers have reported and spoken out against the abuses in Cook County Jail.

Now they and the rest of the national media who've given voice to Senator Durbin's attack on the military need to ask him about his pal, Sheriff Sheahan, and Cook County Jail.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

About the EU: Some things are clear

Eureopean Union leaders and issues often seem mysterious to most Americans.

There're good reasons for that. Many of Europes leaders, like many leaders here, hide their true intentions. Issues are regularly fogged up.

But once in a while, the sun shines through; and thoughtful Americans (Europeans,too) have a chance to get a better understanding of some of the who and what and whys of the EU.

We have one of those chances now thanks to an AP background article on the two-day summit of EU leaders which starts today. Here are samples:

Thursday's talks were scheduled to focus on the future of the constitution, with leaders split over whether to now press ahead with ratification (following French and Dutch rejection). But the budget battle, officially on the agenda for Friday, was already darkening the atmosphere.

France refuses cuts in generous handouts to its farmers; Italy says it will veto a deal that cuts aid to its poor south; Germany wants to reduce its contribution to the EU's accounts; Britain is clinging to the $5.5 billion annual rebate former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher won two decades ago by telling the continentals: "We want our money back!"

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's country objects to being the largest per-capita payer into the EU's coffers.

Despite the general support for the need for further integration, there were differences over whether to press ahead with the proposed constitution, which must be ratified by all 25 members.

The constitution debate has hardened governments' position in the fight over EU funding, as leaders heed voters' concerns that decisions from the EU's Brussels headquarters override their national interests.

Determined to fight, French President Jacques Chirac insists the agriculture subsides that eat up half the EU's budget — and favor French farmers — are untouchable.

The entire article is here and worth reading.

The EU may become a stong economic rival to the U.S. but not anytime soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

William F. (Bill) Buckley's humor

I'm planning a post on National Review founder and editor William F. (Bill) Buckley's many achievements that I think earn him a place on a Greatest Americans list. I hope to post it by Sunday.

Meanwhile, I can't resist sharing a few samples of his humor. The first two are from memory; the last two from a Jeff Jacoby column.

Buckley once said that given a choice between being governed by the Harvard faculty or a Congress composed of the first 500 people listed in the Boston phone directory, he'd opt for the phone directory.

He received a letter from an irate National Review reader telling him in great detail what a miserable editor he was. The letter ended with "cancel my subscription."

Buckley wrote back that he knew he had shortcomings and would work hard at doing better. But as for canceling the subscription, he told the reader, "Dammit, cancel it yourself."

When asked why Robert Kennedy was refusing to appear on his Firing Line interview program, Buckley replied, "Why does baloney resist the meat grinder?"

A National Review editorial comment began: "The attempted assassination of Sukarno last week had all the earmarks of a CIA operation. Everyone in the room was killed except Sukarno."

BTW - Shortly after graduating from Yale, Buckley served in the CIA.

Comments about Buckley are welcome.

Bloggers demolish 9/11 conspiracy claim

Palmetto Pundit posts on a UPI report in the Washington Times that begins:

A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush’s first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is “bogus” and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.

Palmetto provides a response from to this latest Michael Moore-type conspiracy fantasia:

None of the chuckleheads who propose theories like this ever seem to consider that professional demolition on such a scale would have been a gigantic task, would have taken a lot of time to set up, and would have been very visible to the tens of thousands of people who worked in the Trade Center every single day.

Sure, it's nonsense to claim giant buildings could be prepared for demolition and no one would notice. But don't be surprised if you hear the demolition nonsense recycled by the likes of Howard Dean, Al Frankin and Al Gore.

Palmetto provides thoughtful commentary of his own.

Read the post and spend some time at his blog. It's first-rate.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Limousine liberals and crime on the rise

"Limousine liberals and crime on the rise" leads James Pinkerton's column in today's Newsday.

A federal judge has ruled NYC police violated the "constitutional rights" of "peaceful panhandlers." The New York Times applauded.

Pinkerton has a lot to say, including this:

So in The Times' view of the world, which is the view from the back seat of a limousine, this court ruling is a victory for the Constitution, pure and simple. And what of the commonsense right of people to walk the streets unmolested? The lead plaintiff-panhandler, for example, is currently facing felony raps for crack cocaine. So best get a limo, because the judge, Shira Scheindlin, ordered the immediate release of anyone who might be in custody under the old rule.

Pinkerton thinks there's another Rudy Giuliani out there somewhere.

I'll bet most NYC subway riders hope so.

Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip:

Remember Sean Penn? He's back.

Remember Sean Penn? Hollywood pacifist. Hero to Liberals and the Farther Left.

"Yeah, one of the humanitarians who loved Saddam. His car was stolen. He had a loaded Glock 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol in his glove compartment and an unloaded Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver in the truck. The cops got the car back but never found the guns, right?"

You're right on all counts. Anyway, Penn's now reporting for the San Francisco Chronicle on Iran's "elections." He's gotten big MSM coverage.

"So who cares? The guy craves publicity."

OK, I just wanted to mention it.

"Why? Did MSM ask Penn how come an antigun pacifist carries a loaded semiautomatic and a pistol to spare? Has he stopped bashing America? C'mon, what's new?"

Er, nothing really.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Lynching and trouble saying, "Democrats."

Reporting on today's U. S. Senate's resolution apologizing for its failure to ever pass an anti-lynching bill, the Associated Press explains the Senate's abominable failure this way:

But the Senate, with Southern conservatives wielding their filibuster powers, refused to act. (italics, bold added)

What person or organization would use the good and historic act the Senate performed today for partisan advantage?

I nominate the Associated Press.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Bloggers Pick Greatest Americans

At Betsy's Page I learned that John Hawkins at Right Wing News invited bloggers from the Left and Right to list their 20 greatest Americans.

Hawkins then ranked the "greatest" by number of votes. He included "honorable mentions," so the final lists for both Left and Right each contains 31 names. You can look at the Left bloggers list here; and the Right's here. Hawkins also identifies the blogs who did the picking.

Although "greatest" and Left and Right as used here are imprecise terms, the lists interest me. I hope they interest you too.

Some observations:

There's a notable gender disparity between the lists. The L's include 11 women; the R's 1.

No composer or visual artist received a single vote on either L or R lists.

Mark Twain is the only person we identify as primarily a writer who made both lists.

John F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson didn't receive a single vote from either L or R.

Dwight D. Eisenhower received votes from the R but George C. Marshall didn't.

On the other hand, Marshall received votes from the L while Eisenhower didn't.

Under the Don't Understand heading I put the following 2 items:

On the R list, Rush Limbaugh received votes; Bill Buckley didn't.

On the L list, George C. Marshall and Mother Jones received the same number of votes.

Yes, "greatest" lists are somewhat subjective; but then so is art. Both can provide pleasure and stimulate thought.

I plan to post later this week on Limbaugh's place on a greatest American list vs. Bill Buckley. Also, why I'd put Andrew Carnegie and Gertrude Elion on my 20 Greatest Americans list.

I'd like to hear from you regarding Hawkins' L and R lists, and what I've posted here.

Can we agree on divisiveness?

Some call President Bush a divider. Those doing so say that's a bad thing. But it's not necessarily bad at all.

In a democracy, great leaders are often dividers. President Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King come to mind. Their actions, divisive in their times, ultimately strengthened our country.

You can't have democracy without divisiveness. Members of the British parliament are reminded of that when on selected, critical votes they leave their seats; enter a large lobby; and form groups according to how they'll vote. Members call what they're doing "a division." The lobby is formally called Division Lobby.

That from the "mother of parliaments."

Despite what such as Sens. Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, and Barbara Boxer claim, the President, when compared to some of his predecessors, isn't all that divisive. Certainly not on the order of Presidents Lincoln and Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt. Five years into his presidency, Bush has yet to veto a single bill. His language is far more temperate than that of many of his political foes.

"Bush is a divider" talk is mostly a form of partisan attack, especially useful to those in MSM who must deny their partisanship in order to claim "objective journalist" status.

But they no more fool sensible people than do kids who put lipstick and ribbons on the pig they're showing at the county fair.