Sunday, July 31, 2005

How to Destroy America

A Frightening Analysis

Editor's Note: As far as I have been able to determine, this account is true. Source: Internet accounts

We all know Dick Lamm as the former Governor of Colorado. In that context his thoughts are particularly poignant. Last week there was an immigration-overpopulation conference in Washington, DC, filled to capacity by many of American's finest minds and leaders. A brilliant college professor named Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, "Mexifornia," explaining how immigration — both legal and illegal — was destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream.

Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave a stunning speech on how to destroy America. The audience sat spellbound as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States. He said, "If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let's destroy America. It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that 'An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.'"

"Here is how they do it," Lamm said: First to destroy America, "Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. The historical scholar Seymour Lipset put it this way: 'The histories of bilingual and bi-cultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy. Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans."

Lamm went on: Second, to destroy America, "Invent 'multiculturalism' and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal. That there are no cultural differences. I would make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds.

Third, "We could make the United States a 'Hispanic Quebec' without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: 'The apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved! Not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentrically and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.'"

Lamm said, "I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America reinforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities."

"Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school."

"My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of 'Victimology.' I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population."

"My sixth plan for America's downfall would include dual citizenship and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other - that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity! Unity is what it takes to keep a nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshiped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic Games.

A common enemy Persia threatened their liberty. Yet all these bonds were not strong enough to over come two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell.

"E. Pluribus Unum" — From many, one. In that historical reality, if we put the emphasis on the 'pluribus' instead of the 'Unum,' we can balkanize America as surely as Kosovo."

"Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits ~ make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of 'diversity.' I would find a word similar to 'heretic' in the 16th century - that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like 'racist' or 'x! xenophobes' halt discussion and debate."

"Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having established multi-culturism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of 'Victimology,' I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good. I would make every individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them."

In the last minute of his speech, Governor Lamm wiped his brow. Profound silence followed. Finally he said, "Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis's book Mexifornia. His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don't read that book."

There was no applause.

A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew that everything Lamm enumerated was proceeding methodically, quietly, darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today. Every discussion is being suppressed. Over 100 languages are ripping the foundation of our educational system and national cohesiveness. Barbaric cultures that practice female genital mutilation are growing as we celebrate 'diversity.' American jobs are vanishing into the Third World as corporations create a Third World in America — take note of California and other states — to date, ten million illegal aliens and growing fast. It is reminiscent of George Orwell's book "1984." In that story, three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and "Ignorance is strength."

Governor Lamm walked back to his seat. It dawned on everyone at the conference that our nation and the future of this great democracy are deeply in trouble and worsening fast. If we don't get this immigration monster stopped within three years, it will rage like a California wildfire and destroy everything in its path, especially The American Dream.

More on Questions for Supreme Court Nominees

Judge's "views"

Thomas Sowell

July 26, 2005

Preliminary indications are that both we and Judge John G. Roberts may be spared the ugly food fights that confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee can become. However, if Judge Roberts has ever been guilty of jaywalking, you can believe that some shrill special interest group will dig that up and try to make him seem like a threat to the republic.

Even if all goes well and Judge Roberts is confirmed, there are virtually certain to be liberal Senators trying to get his "views" on all sorts of issues and probably demanding confidential government documents that nobody is entitled to get, in order to dig deeper into his "views."

What makes all this a cheap farce is that the very Senators who demand to see confidential memoranda from John Roberts' days in the Justice Department know in advance that no administration of either party is likely to release such confidential material -- not if they ever expect people to speak candidly in the future when their advice is sought.

How important are a judge's views? The great Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes did not hesitate to express his views. In the case of Abrams v. United States, Holmes referred to the beliefs of the people on one side as "a creed which I believe to be the creed of ignorance and immaturity."

But that was the side he voted for. He understood the difference between his views and the law of the land. Too many other judges, too many politicians, and too many in the media, do not.

Justice Clarence Thomas has likewise expressed views contrary to the views of the side he voted for, both on the Circuit Court of Appeals and on the Supreme Court. He too understands that he is not there to impose whatever policy he prefers but, in Holmes' words, "to see that the game is played according to the rules whether I like them or not."

It is a disservice to the country to promote the idea that a judge's "views" on particular policies are what matter.

The idea that conservative judges will vote for conservative policies and liberal judges for liberal policies is the antithesis of what a judge is supposed to do. While some judges in fact vote largely on the basis of their own ideology or policy preferences, that is neither what they are supposed to do nor what all judges have done.

Justice Holmes became a hero to many liberals because his judicial votes on the Court were in several landmark cases in favor of many of the policies and practices that liberals believe in. But this was not necessarily because these were what Justice Holmes believed in. He was at least as conservative as anyone on the Supreme Court today.

What the Senators and the country are entitled to know is how a judicial nominee regards his duty to respect the law as it is written -- especially the Constitution -- rather than vote according to his own "views," whether on abortion, religious symbols, or whatever.

Ideally, judges should respect both the Constitution and the legal precedents, for the same reason -- people rely on the law as it exists when they make decisions and commitments in their lives.

Telling people after the fact that the law is now different from what it was when they made their decisions creates problems for people who acted in good faith. Even a Justice who thought that the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison was wrongly decided is unlikely to want to overturn two centuries of precedents based on it.

On the other hand, some of the precedents created by judicial activists more recently have gone so completely counter to the Constitution that it is a judgment call whether all of those precedents should continue to be followed. Judges take an oath to uphold the Constitution, not to regard all precedents as set in stone forever.

Respect for the separation of powers should apply to all three branches of government. Senators have no right to try to extort a pledge from a judicial nominee to vote a particular way on cases he has not heard -- and that is what Senators are doing when they talk piously about a "right to privacy" or other buzzwords.


Common Sense on Terrorist Detainees

Will we defend ourselves?

Walter E. Williams

July 27, 2005

Much ado in our country and Europe has been made about alleged mistreatment and torture of suspected terrorist prisoners. First, there were stories and hand-wringing over the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

More recently, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., equated our military's treatment of captured Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorist suspects, held at Guantanamo Bay, with something that would have "been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings." That statement not only demonstrates ignorance of the horrors committed by the Nazis, Soviets and Pol Pot, but it supplied ammunition for people seeking to destroy us.

Regardless of how we feel now about the treatment of terrorists, and suspected terrorists, I can envision a day when Americans will care less about interrogation techniques used in the quest to get intelligence about terrorists. That day will be when there's a chemical or biological attack in one of our cities that kills and injures tens of thousands of Americans. If that day ever comes, you can bet the rent money that the Dick Durbins, the Nancy Pelosis and others who've undermined and attacked our interrogation efforts, complaining about our not treating international cutthroats humanely, will blame the attack on President Bush. The last thing they'll do is blame themselves for sabotaging our efforts to get intelligence that might stymie terrorist plans.

It's tempting to invoke the Geneva Convention protections that are afforded prisoners of war. Geneva Convention protections did apply to Iraqi soldiers captured during our war with Iraq, but they do not apply to terrorists or even soldiers who are out of uniform. In earlier times, when common sense prevailed and we had the will to defend ourselves, that fact was understood and appreciated.

During World War II, German soldiers captured not wearing their own army's uniforms were lined up and shot. In 1942, a German submarine landed eight Nazi saboteurs on the beaches of New York and Florida. Two months after a secret military tribunal, convened by President Roosevelt, six of the eight were executed, even though they hadn't killed or bombed anyone -- just being here was enough.

For those of us who were around during World War II, can we imagine anyone, much less a government high official, having said, "The treatment of detainees is a taint on our country's reputation, especially in Germany, and there are many questions that must be answered. These questions are important because the safety of our country depends on our reputation and how we are viewed, especially in Germany"? If you substitute "the Muslim world" for "Germany" in that statement, you have House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's, D-Calif., statement.

Here's my question to you: If there's a biological or chemical terrorist attack, killing and wounding tens of thousands of Americans, how much would you care about "our reputation and how we are viewed in the Muslim world"? What will you think of leftist politicians, intellectuals and news media people preoccupied with whether we're treating Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to the Geneva Convention?

Let's be clear about one thing. I'm not suggesting that we treat captured terrorist suspects the way the Japanese treated American POWs during World War II. While harsh interrogation techniques are by no means a guarantee that useful information will be acquired to thwart a deadly attack, our interrogators should be permitted to employ every method at their disposal.

There's an important terrorism issue for Muslim communities, especially those residing in Western countries. They should be concerned about backlash and retaliation against Muslims in the wake of a large-scale disaster. Muslims must in no uncertain terms make it clear, as have spokesmen for the Free Muslim Coalition (, that the terrorists do not speak for them, and they must report terrorists within their communities.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

What Questions Are Appropriate to Ask a Nominee to the Supreme Court?

That is a short list. The list of questions that are not appropriate is much longer. Let’s go over some of those first.

It is not relevant what positions the nominee took on behalf of a client. The political affiliation of a nominee is irrelevant. A nominee’s religious preference, or the lack thereof, is not relevant. The personal beliefs of a nominee on hot-button issues are not relevant. It is inappropriate to ask a nominee to pre-judge cases before they reach him or her. It is not relevant what the spouse does, or to what organizations the nominee and/or the spouse belong. The list goes on.

Why don’t we look to the past for some guidance on this subject? Democrat Senator Joseph Biden was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated to the Supreme Court. After Judge Ginsburg was nominated, Senator Biden in July 1993 expressed the standards he expected senators and judicial nominees to follow in the confirmation process. Senator Biden noted that the Senate’s hearings, including the question-and-answer period between senators and the nominee, should not be a “dramatic spectacle” or a “trial.” Senator Biden also emphasized that the nominee’s appearance before the Senate should not be invested with a make-or-break importance, as the Senate’s hearings are only one part of the confirmation process.

In answering questions before the Judiciary Committee, Judge Ginsburg added her own twist to Senator Biden’s standard for nominees. While Senator Biden had said that a nominee should decline to answer questions about how she would decide a specific case, which suggests that only prospective cases are off-limits, Justice Ginsburg declined to answer questions about her views on both prospective and many historical Supreme Court cases. She also declined to answer questions (or gave non-responsive answers to questions) involving a number of controversial issues, hypothetical facts, or areas in which she is not an

Fast-forward to today to the upcoming hearing for John G. Roberts, Jr. Democrats seem to have forgotten the rules established by one of their own, in their desperation to find some reason, good or not, to oppose his nomination. If Judge Roberts declines to answer questions about his views on both prospective and historical cases, it’s a good bet that Democrats will conveniently forget Judge Ginsburg’s precedent, or try to rationalize it away.

The Washington Times reports that “Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and member of the Judiciary Committee, told a gathering of reporters this week that some of Judge Roberts' memos while working the White House counsel's office under President Reagan ‘raised concerns’ about his views of several Democrat victories such as the Voting Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.”


Senator Kennedy knows this, of course, but that won’t stop him from bashing Judge Roberts about it.

The White House Counsel’s office is the President’s legal team. It is the job of the Counsel’s Office lawyers to render legal opinions and to explore the legal implications of the policies and initiatives of the President. It’s the same thing your lawyer does for you, whether writing a will, creating a contract, representing you in a civil action, or defending you against criminal charges. His actions in that capacity are simply, plainly, of no consequence in considering his qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court.

The Times story continues, “‘It is vital for the Senate to be sure that any justice confirmed to the Supreme Court understands the [Voting Rights Act's] importance and respects the power of Congress to protect the right to vote,’ Mr. Kennedy said.”

Wrong again, Senator. The Voting Rights Act’s “importance” is not a proper concern for a Supreme Court Justice, its constitutionality is.

“Meanwhile, conservatives such as Manuel Miranda, chairman of the Third Branch Conference, have been reading the memos with equal interest,” the Times story said. “In a Wall Street Journal online column yesterday, Mr. Miranda said one sentiment is shared among conservatives after reading the memos: ‘What a relief. Judge Roberts's writings as a young lawyer show him to be a solid constitutionalist.’"

Now there’s a relevant issue. Is a nominee a constitutionalist, an originalist – meaning one who will apply the Constitution to rulings? Or is the nominee an activist – meaning one who rules using personal beliefs, the opinions of outside forces, and public or private interest? The former is suitable. The latter is not.

Judge Roberts’ hearing promises to be a spectacle, a circus, because the Left cannot advance its poisonous ideology through the legislative process, as the Constitution demands, it can only do so with the help of Supreme Court Justices who will ignore the Constitution to impose policies and laws that the Left cannot get the people’s approval for through the Congress.

Discovery Crew Makes Spacewalk

Saturday, July 30, 2005

SPACE CENTER, Houston — Two astronauts floated out of shuttle Discovery for the mission's first spacewalk Saturday and tested repair techniques developed after the Columbia tragedy more than two years ago.

"What a view," said Soichi Noguchi as he emerged from the linked shuttle and international space station about 222 miles over central Asia. It took about an hour for Noguchi and Stephen Robinson to "gain their space legs" and begin working.

"There are just no words to describe how cool this is," Robinson said while riding the space station's robotic arm to connect a device needed for the installation of a storage platform next week.

The astronauts worked side-by-side in Discovery's open cargo bay during a portion of the planned 6 1/2-hour spacewalk. They used a variety of damaged tile and carbon samples brought to space to test the repair methods.

Robinson and Noguchi, a Japanese astronaut, worked with tools similar to an oversized caulk gun and large putty knives to apply an experimental material to the sample tiles that NASA hopes can be used in future missions to repair cracks in the delicate carbon panels lining the shuttle's wings.

The astronauts rearranged their schedule to perform the repairs while temperatures outside the shuttle were ideal for the experiment. Temperatures change very quickly; if they are in the sun, it can be up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. When it's dark, it can be 250 degrees below.

"No bubbling at all. It's behaving very nicely," Robinson said of the experimental material as he applied it with the specialized gun.

During another application, Robinson did note a little bubbling. "It's gluey stuff so it's a little hard to get off."

The experimental material can be used to repair cracks or coating loss up to four inches long, but won't work on holes such as the one blown into Columbia's left wing by a 1.67 pound chunk of foam in 2003. All seven astronauts aboard that shuttle died.

In certain areas of the wing, NASA says cracks or coating damage measuring 2 inches long and .02 of an inch wide could doom the spacecraft.

NASA has developed a repair technique for holes in its carbon paneling, but that technique — which involves installing a patch over the hole and then bolting it inside the wing — will be tested inside Discovery later in the flight.

During the spacewalk, the pair also coated thermal tile samples with a caulk-like material in hopes of restoring the tiles' heat-rejecting ability — necessary for the shuttle to safely re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.

The sample tiles won't be tested for heat resistance until the astronauts return to Earth, but researchers want to see how well the mixture adheres in space and if there are any problems applying it in zero-gravity.

"That works pretty well," Robinson said as Noguchi used a foam brush applicator on one of the sample tiles.

Astronaut Andrew Thomas directed the experiments from inside the shuttle and noted the material became stringy as Noguchi applied it.

Once the repair testing was complete, Robinson shifted his focus to preparing tools and other equipment for two spacewalks scheduled next week. Noguchi, meanwhile, replaced a broken global positioning antenna on the space station.

NASA grounded future missions earlier this week after learning Discovery's external tank lost four sizable pieces of foam during Tuesday's liftoff. The foam pieces were bigger than the space agency wanted to see shed and officials said despite 2 1/2 years of tank redesign and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent, more work is needed.

NASA officials have said Discovery appears to have sustained no major damage during launch and is scheduled to return to Earth on Aug. 7.

That date, however, could be pushed back a day so the shuttle's astronauts can spend another day working aboard the station and leaving its crew with additional supplies — such as surplus food, water and laptop computers.

The station relies on the shuttle to ferry large cargo and additions needed for the station's completion.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said Friday that the agency may be able to launch another shuttle by year's end, but wants to do what it can for the station in case its fleet is grounded longer.

Friday, July 29, 2005

By Special Request

Brad and i eat puppies expressed a desire for some T&A. Always eager to oblige, here is something they might appreciate:

And now, back to politics!

Wes Pruden Does It Again

The creepiness of fake diversity

By Wesley Pruden
Published July 29, 2005

Some people learn things the hard way, and not all of them live in Washington. Our English cousins are getting a brutal lesson in reality:

Multiculturalism will kill you if you don't watch out.

Many of the Muslims in Britain were put out this week when the cops in the West Midlands raided a block of apartments in Birmingham just before dawn and arrested several suspects in the latest London terror bombings.

The raids showed "insensitivity" toward Islam, and the authorities, ever eager to improve "community relations" with what Kipling might have called "the lesser breeds without the law," invited the "moderate" chairman of the Central Birmingham Mosque to participate in a press conference to discuss the raids.

The session had hardly begun before one Dr. Mohammed Naseem began a denunciation of the West, of Britain, of the police and other assorted infidels who had libeled Islam by suggesting that Muslims were in any way responsible for the bombing campaign in London, in which more than 50 men, women and children have died.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, he said, is "a liar," and the security forces are evil. The suspects were merely innocent commuters, and he isn't interested in hearing about DNA evidence because DNA science "could not be trusted." Well, of course it can't, since DNA science was developed after the eighth century, when the prophet set out everything that would ever be known about anything.

The degeneration of the press conference into low comedy, and then into farce, embarrassed only some of the cops. The superintendent of police said Mohammed -- the chairman of the mosque, not the prophet himself -- was probably suffering from shock brought on by "the unusual events of the last few hours." This excuse-making was of a piece with the way the British police authorities, perhaps suffering toxic shock themselves, have behaved in the wake of the London atrocities. The day after the first blasts on July 7, a police deputy rebuked a reporter who asked about the nature of the Islamic threat. "Islam and terrorism," he said sternly, as if rebuking a child for telling a potty joke, "don't go together."

Remarked the London Daily Telegraph yesterday: "When senior police officers go to great lengths to make such prim and dubious politically correct statements, then it is not surprising that Muslim leaders such as [Dr. Mohammed Naseem] end up believing them, and expect to be taken seriously when they take those assertions to their logical conclusions."

Public opinion in Britain, in fact, appears to be saying enough, already. There's a growing consensus that the British have been taken for suckers by the Muslim immigration wave that has overwhelmed the sceptr'd isle. The discovery that the suicide bombers of July 7 were homegrown, second-generation Englishmen, first bewildered many, then angered most. The diversity that everyone was encouraged to celebrate turns out to be fatuous, fraudulent and sometimes fatal.

The one-sided celebration of diversity is beginning to grate as well. Julie Burchill, a columnist for the Times of London, notes that "English toddlers are being forced to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid when they are still trying to get their heads about the Easter bunny." There's a sordid creepiness in the way the diversity of even the dead -- that Muslims are killed along with everybody else -- is celebrated by those who can't get their own heads around the fact that the Islamic haters hate us simply for taking up space in a world that would otherwise be all theirs, with nobody to complain about the ranting, raping and beheading that is the worship ritual of the radicals.

The real phenomenon of the age of terror is how the "infidels" -- the Christians, the Jews and the unbelievers -- have kept their cool and their ideals intact in the wake of a rich provocation to retaliate. Few of us in the West necessarily believe the mantra of Tony Blair and George W. Bush that "Islam is a religion of peace" (any more than Messrs. Blair and Bush, despite their huffing and puffing about it, necessarily believe it themselves). But polls here and in Britain consistently show that the majorities are clearheaded about who the villains actually are. It's a tribute first and last to the enduring power of Jewish ethics and Christian faith that shapes and informs the societies of the West -- to which so many millions of Muslims aspire.

Wesley Pruden is editor and chief of The Times.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Note To Readers

June and July have been very busy and distracting months. I’ve taken a couple of trips, sold a commercial building and emptied it out of literally tons of contents. These activities have been very distracting and while I’ve tried to keep up this site, my efforts have been largely in vain. I haven’t written a true column in a long time.

So, to regular readers and occasional visitors alike, I offer my apology. And I hope to get back up to speed soon.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ben Stein's Last Column

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called "Monday Night At Morton's." (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.


How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury
Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "eonlineFINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Why Do Muslims Hate Us?

A good explanation to that question comes from Olivier Roy, who says, in part:

From the beginning, Al Qaeda's fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.

This is an excellent article. The entire piece can be found here.

Many thanks to i eat puppies for the

The Left Has Been “Bushed!”

Presented with the opportunity to make his first Supreme Court appointment, replacing a sometimes-activist justice with an originalist by nominating a hard-core conservative judge, and feeding red meat to anxious Democrats whose mouths are watering at the opportunity to once again work the President over, George W. Bush gives them John G. Roberts.

Once again the Democrats have been “Bushed,” which is not the same as being “Borked,” the process the Democrats had been so desperately hoping to execute against the President’s nominee. “Borking” is the process of publicly smearing an otherwise well qualified nominee because the nominee will not ignore the U.S. Constitution and its guidelines in making rulings that have the force of law, which is how the Left goes about jamming down the throats of the American people ideas that they would never approve of through the proper legislative channels created by the Constitution for that purpose.

All the speculation about which of several expected nominees Mr. Bush would name, all the preparation to try to show why that nominee, whichever of those expected nominees the President chose, would be the worst thing since rap music, all down the drain when Mr. Bush once again fooled his enemies by doing something they didn’t expect.

John G. Roberts is by all accounts a decent, honorable man, an excellent judge, a stellar choice. It will be fun to watch as the Left digs deep into its bag of dirt to find some way to make him look like Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, or one of their other favorite villains.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Common Sense on Uncommon Senselessness

Next-Day Thought in Britain
On Blair and the bombers

William F. Buckley, Jr.


Some critics of Tony Blair have pounded on the point that one of the four bombers had been identified by the security people as mischievously connected with aggressive elements of the Muslim community.

So why had they not brought him in?

The innocence of the question recalls the questioning of J. Edgar Hoover by the Warren Commission in 1964, inquiring into the assassination of President Kennedy. Was it not known to the FBI that Lee Harvey Oswald had been active in a pro-Castro political organization in New Orleans? — Yes, we knew that. Didn't we know that he had left the U.S. Marines and declared himself a Communist, marrying a Russian girl and setting out to live in the Soviet Union before returning home? — Yes, we knew that. Wasn't it known that he had traveled to Mexico City, where he might have conspired with Fidelistas to break U.S. laws? — Yes, we knew he had been there. Well, how come on November 22, 1963, he was squatting there in the Texas School Book Depository, a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle in his hands, at liberty to assassinate the president of the United States?

Mr. Hoover said that if everyone in America at the security risk level of Lee Harvey Oswald were secluded when the president passed by, we would have a politically intolerable situation. He gave the number of people in Chicago who, applying a hypothetical Oswald security meter, we'd have to segregate, and that number (was it 2,000?) sobered the house, and the Commission moved on to the challenge of protecting a president other than by identifying and removing from the scene everyone who might wish him dead.

Hot critics of the vulnerability of London on July 7 edged into a different question: Hadn't the government encouraged the bombers by the PM's endorsement of U.S. policy in the Iraq war? Chatham House, a British think tank, encouraged such thought by observing that the British were now riding as a "pillion passenger" in the U.S. war tank, incurring enemies while abandoning freedom of movement. Mr. Blair replied that Britain is engaged in counterterrorist activity, and was several times singled out for al-Qaeda violence before the Iraq war even began.

The detailed examination of the movements of the four bombers tells of their awesome coordination, calling to mind the 19 Arabs who arranged life so as to meet only a few minutes separated aboard four airliners reoriented to plunge into buildings in New York and Washington. The British terrorists even seemed to pause, flukily, to appear on the camera screen at King’s Cross station, each one carrying a rucksack with explosives, just before three of them descended into the underground system, one headed west, one south, one east, to detonate their bombs at 8:50 A.M., the fourth one heading for a bus to do the same an hour later. That kind of coordination is not effected by random encounters, and we are required to think about the nature of the challenge: Four very young men, resolutely set on death for themselves, provided only that there be at least ten deaths of innocent British citizens for each of their own.

Mr. Blair, whether riding as pillion passenger or as guide, needs to contend against such persons at whatever scale they present themselves — riding in the tubes of London, or flying high over the skies of Manhattan or Washington, or coordinating in a laboratory of biological, chemical, or nuclear horror. We have to hope that sanity will break through. What Islamic voice — we are entitled to ask over and over — can break through to those consciences awry, to tell them they cannot accomplish the end of the western world? And that in pursuit of that goal, they are committing their own suicide, and enhancing the kind of impatience toward Islam which could doom their co-religionists by the tens of thousands, to deaths as bloody as they are bent on inflicting on others?

Source: National Review Online

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Letters on Treatment of Enemy Combatants

George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, District of Columbia

Dear Mr. President:

I am taking time to write to you to protest the treatment of the detainees at Guantanamo Naval Base’s Camp X-Ray. The Muslim individuals you have detained there are being held under conditions reminiscent of what was done in Abu Ghraib, Auschwitz, and the Gulags and as an American, I do not appreciate what you are doing in my name.

I cannot believe that you do not understand that their cultural differences mandate that we treat them humanely, with kindness and compassion. They have been removed from their culture on, what at best, seem to be spurious circumstances and their having an attitudinal problem with their captors seems perfectly normal. I understand that you have a war to fight, but these people are prisoners of war and are entitled to all the considerations of Prisoners of War.

Please insure that these POW’s and any future POW’s have all of their rights protected. Their food must be culturally acceptable, prayer rugs must be provided, copies of their holy book must be provided and their cultural needs met. They should never see women in circumstance other than what they are used to in their culture.

America stands for acceptance and tolerance of differences and these people deserve our kindness and consideration and nothing less. I demand that you begin to treat them as guests in our country until this unpleasantness with other cultures be resolved.


John Q. Liberal, Atty.
American Civil Liberties Union


The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington D.C.

Dear Mr. Liberal:

Thank you for your recent letter criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington.

You’ll be pleased to learn that thanks to the concerns of citizens such as yourself, we are creating the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the “Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers” program, or LARK for short. In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, which provides for these detainees to be distributed to home throughout the United States, we have determined that your home is a place that we can count on to provide just the type of care you recommend for them.

Your detainee has been scheduled for delivery to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud, captured fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Although Ahmed is sociopathic and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his “attitudinal problem” will help him cope with these as “cultural differences.”

Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless you feel that this might offend him.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him. He has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he considers appropriate, but I’m sure that over time they will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the bhurkas I have enclosed with this letter. Just remind them that it is all part of respecting his culture and his religious beliefs.

Thanks again for your letter and your willingness to not just complain, but to actually help out.

Take good care of Ahmed and good luck!

Found at The Wide Awakes, and slightly edited.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Did the CIA “Out” Valerie Plame?

What the mainstream media tells the court ... but won’t tell you.

With each passing day, the manufactured "scandal" over the publication of Valerie Plame's relationship with the CIA establishes new depths of mainstream-media hypocrisy. A highly capable special prosecutor is probing the underlying facts, and it is appropriate to withhold legal judgments until he completes the investigation over which speculation runs so rampant. But it is not too early to assess the performance of the press. It's been appalling.

Is that hyperbole? You be the judge. Have you heard that the CIA is actually the source responsible for exposing Plame's covert status? Not Karl Rove, not Bob Novak, not the sinister administration cabal du jour of Fourth Estate fantasy, but the CIA itself? Had you heard that Plame's cover has actually been blown for a decade — i.e., since about seven years before Novak ever wrote a syllable about her? Had you heard not only that no crime was committed in the communication of information between Bush administration officials and Novak, but that no crime could have been committed because the governing law gives a person a complete defense if an agent's status has already been compromised by the government?

No, you say, you hadn't heard any of that. You heard that this was the crime of the century. A sort of Robert-Hanssen-meets-Watergate in which Rove is already cooked and we're all just waiting for the other shoe — or shoes — to drop on the den of corruption we know as the Bush administration. That, after all, is the inescapable impression from all the media coverage. So who is saying different?

The organized media, that's who. How come you haven't heard? Because they've decided not to tell you. Because they say one thing — one dark, transparently partisan thing — when they're talking to you in their news coverage, but they say something completely different when they think you're not listening.

You see, if you really want to know what the media think of the Plame case — if you want to discover what a comparative trifle they actually believe it to be — you need to close the paper and turn off the TV. You need, instead, to have a peek at what they write when they're talking to a court. It's a mind-bendingly different tale.


My colleague Cliff May has already demonstrated the bankruptcy of the narrative the media relentlessly spouts for Bush-bashing public consumption: to wit, that Valerie Wilson, nee Plame, was identified as a covert CIA agent by the columnist Robert Novak, to whom she was compromised by an administration official. In fact, it appears Plame was first outed to the general public as a result of a consciously loaded and slyly hypothetical piece by the journalist David Corn. Corn's source appears to have been none other than Plame's own husband, former ambassador and current Democratic-party operative Joseph Wilson — that same pillar of national security rectitude whose notion of discretion, upon being dispatched by the CIA for a sensitive mission to Niger, was to write a highly public op-ed about his trip in the New York Times. This isn't news to the media; they have simply chosen not to report it.

The hypocrisy, though, only starts there. It turns out that the media believe Plame was outed long before either Novak or Corn took pen to paper. And not by an ambiguous confirmation from Rove or a nod-and-a-wink from Ambassador Hubby. No, the media think Plame was previously compromised by a disclosure from the intelligence community itself — although it may be questionable whether there was anything of her covert status left to salvage at that point, for reasons that will become clear momentarily.

This CIA disclosure, moreover, is said to have been made not to Americans at large but to Fidel Castro's anti-American regime in Cuba, whose palpable incentive would have been to "compromise[] every operation, every relationship, every network with which [Plame] had been associated in her entire career" — to borrow from the diatribe in which Wilson risibly compared his wife's straits to the national security catastrophes wrought by Aldrich Ames and Kim Philby.


Just four months ago, 36 news organizations confederated to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. At the time, Bush-bashing was (no doubt reluctantly) confined to an unusual backseat. The press had no choice — it was time to close ranks around two of its own, namely, the Times's Judith Miller and Time's Matthew Cooper, who were threatened with jail for defying grand jury subpoenas from the special prosecutor.

The media's brief, fairly short and extremely illuminating, is available here. The Times, which is currently spearheading the campaign against Rove and the Bush administration, encouraged its submission. It was joined by a "who's who" of the current Plame stokers, including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, AP, Newsweek, Reuters America, the Washington Post, the Tribune Company (which publishes the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun, among other papers), and the White House Correspondents (the organization which represents the White House press corps in its dealings with the executive branch).

The thrust of the brief was that reporters should not be held in contempt or forced to reveal their sources in the Plame investigation. Why? Because, the media organizations confidently asserted, no crime had been committed. Now, that is stunning enough given the baleful shroud the press has consciously cast over this story. Even more remarkable, though, were the key details these self-styled guardians of the public's right to know stressed as being of the utmost importance for the court to grasp — details those same guardians have assiduously suppressed from the coverage actually presented to the public.

Though you would not know it from watching the news, you learn from reading the news agencies' brief that the 1982 law prohibiting disclosure of undercover agents' identities explicitly sets forth a complete defense to this crime. It is contained in Section 422 (of Title 50, U.S. Code), and it provides that an accused leaker is in the clear if, sometime before the leak, "the United States ha[s] publicly acknowledged or revealed" the covert agent's "intelligence relationship to the United States[.]"

As it happens, the media organizations informed the court that long before the Novak revelation (which, as noted above, did not disclose Plame's classified relationship with the CIA), Plame's cover was blown not once but twice. The media based this contention on reporting by the indefatigable Bill Gertz — an old-school, "let's find out what really happened" kind of journalist. Gertz's relevant article, published a year ago in the Washington Times, can be found here.


As the media alleged to the judges (in Footnote 7, page 8, of their brief), Plame's identity as an undercover CIA officer was first disclosed to Russia in the mid-1990s by a spy in Moscow. Of course, the press and its attorneys were smart enough not to argue that such a disclosure would trigger the defense prescribed in Section 422 because it was evidently made by a foreign-intelligence operative, not by a U.S. agency as the statute literally requires.

But neither did they mention the incident idly. For if, as he has famously suggested, President Bush has peered into the soul of Vladimir Putin, what he has no doubt seen is the thriving spirit of the KGB, of which the Russian president was a hardcore agent. The Kremlin still spies on the United States. It remains in the business of compromising U.S. intelligence operations.

Thus, the media's purpose in highlighting this incident is blatant: If Plame was outed to the former Soviet Union a decade ago, there can have been little, if anything, left of actual intelligence value in her "every operation, every relationship, every network" by the time anyone spoke with Novak (or, of course, Corn).


Of greater moment to the criminal investigation is the second disclosure urged by the media organizations on the court. They don't place a precise date on this one, but inform the judges that it was "more recent" than the Russian outing but "prior to Novak's publication."

And it is priceless. The press informs the judges that the CIA itself "inadvertently" compromised Plame by not taking appropriate measures to safeguard classified documents that the Agency routed to the Swiss embassy in Havana. In the Washington Times article — you remember, the one the press hypes when it reports to the federal court but not when it reports to consumers of its news coverage — Gertz elaborates that "[t]he documents were supposed to be sealed from the Cuban government, but [unidentified U.S.] intelligence officials said the Cubans read the classified material and learned the secrets contained in them."

Thus, the same media now stampeding on Rove has told a federal court that, to the contrary, they believe the CIA itself blew Plame's cover before Rove or anyone else in the Bush administration ever spoke to Novak about her. Of course, they don't contend the CIA did it on purpose or with malice. But neither did Rove — who, unlike the CIA, appears neither to have known about nor disclosed Plame's classified status. Yet, although the Times and its cohort have a bull's eye on Rove's back, they are breathtakingly silent about an apparent CIA embarrassment — one that seems to be just the type of juicy story they routinely covet.


The defense in Section 422 requires that the revelation by the United States have been done "publicly." At least one U.S. official who spoke to Gertz speculated that because the Havana snafu was not "publicized" — i.e., because the classified information about Plame was mistakenly communicated to Cuba rather than broadcast to the general public — it would not available as a defense to whomever spoke with Novak. But that seems clearly wrong.

First, the theory under which the media have gleefully pursued Rove, among other Bush officials, holds that if a disclosure offense was committed here it was complete at the moment the leak was made to Novak. Whether Novak then proceeded to report the leak to the general public is beside the point — the violation supposedly lies in identifying Plame to Novak. (Indeed, it has frequently been observed that Judy Miller of the Times is in contempt for protecting one or more sources even though she never wrote an article about Plame.)

Perhaps more significantly, the whole point of discouraging public disclosure of covert agents is to prevent America's enemies from degrading our national security. It is not, after all, the public we are worried about. Rather, it is the likes of Fidel Castro and his regime who pose a threat to Valerie Plame and her network of U.S. intelligence relationships. The government must still be said to have "publicized" the classified relationship — i.e., to have blown the cover of an intelligence agent — if it leaves out the middleman by communicating directly with an enemy government rather than indirectly through a media outlet.


All this raises several readily apparent questions. We know that at the time of the Novak and Corn articles, Plame was not serving as an intelligence agent outside the United States. Instead, she had for years been working, for all to see, at CIA headquarters in Langley. Did her assignment to headquarters have anything to do with her effectiveness as a covert agent having already been nullified by disclosure to the Russians and the Cubans — and to whomever else the Russians and Cubans could be expected to tell if they thought it harmful to American interests or advantageous to their own?

If Plame's cover was blown, as Gertz reports, how much did Plame know about that? It's likely that she would have been fully apprised — after all, as we have been told repeatedly in recent weeks, the personal security of a covert agent and her family can be a major concern when secrecy is pierced. Assuming she knew, did her husband, Wilson, also know? At the time he was ludicrously comparing the Novak article to the Ames and Philby debacles, did he actually have reason to believe his wife had been compromised years earlier?

And could the possibility that Plame's cover has long been blown explain why the CIA was unconcerned about assigning a one-time covert agent to a job that had her walking in and out of CIA headquarters every day? Could it explain why the Wilsons were sufficiently indiscrete to pose in Vanity Fair, and, indeed, to permit Joseph Wilson to pen a highly public op-ed regarding a sensitive mission to which his wife — the covert agent — energetically advocated his assignment? Did they fail to take commonsense precautions because they knew there really was nothing left to protect?

We'd probably know the answers to these and other questions by now if the media had given a tenth of the effort spent manufacturing a scandal to reporting professionally on the underlying facts. And if they deigned to share with their readers and viewers all the news that's fit to print ... in a brief to a federal court.

Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Source: National Review Online

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Part II

It’s Time for the Pot to Start Calling the Kettle Black

The second of a __part series

by The Windjammer

My excuse for the title is the same as in the first part.

"Political Correctness" has long since spread to reporting on the conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere. The practice of using the term "insurgents" to describe those who are really causing the problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Turkey and a few dozen other places in the world bestows some sort of dignity which is undeserved. We need to start calling them as we sees them.

The same old dictionary I have used since Hector was a pup defines insurgent as: adj. Rising in revolt against established authority; rebellious. n. 1. One who takes part in forcible resistance or opposition to an existing government; especially, a rebel not recognized as a belligerent. That dictionary might not have all the new words and the stolen meanings of perfectly fine old words which are in more or less common use today, but it is totally accurate with the true definitions. That is, if you don’t count the footnotes I have entered along the margins consisting of words I have coined. No one else uses those anyway.

The term "insurgent" carries with it a suggestion that those coming under the category are rebelling in some way against oppression. Those who are carrying out the dastardly deeds in the aforementioned places aren’t doing that. They are trying to establish oppression of their own making against all who do not join or agree with their effort to become the ruling class. They have been known to do away with whatever number of their own which those in the seat of power deem necessary in order to cement their claim to power.

The recent slaughter of more than a hundred Shiite Muslims should erase any doubt that these perpetrators are bent on destroying Islam and anyone who stands in the way of that objective, no matter how remote or insignificant, is subject to being bombed out of this world. It should become apparent to even the most obtuse that the ‘terrorists" are indeed multinational and multiethnic and that their objective is criminal domination. Their conduct belies any claims to the contrary. Their targets can be anyone, including those within the movement.

Their conduct is not the only such and is not the first. I wrote earlier comparing them to the Sicilian Mafia et al. If one studies the questionable history accounts of the Mafia, it is easy to ascertain the similarities in the approach. Such conduct is not unique to either the Mafia nor to the terrorists.

One historical example of such conduct was the changeover in Russia when the Bolshevists wrested power from the czars and czarinas. We can only guess at the cost in human lives, many of which were lost in purges within the party. I have heard the argument, "Yeah, but the Bolshevik revolution and the resulting Communist government were not pure Marxism." Hogwash! It is what has resulted in some degree in nearly every attempt to bring such philosophies into government. The few early attempts at communist settlement in this country may well be the lone exceptions, but those were momentous failures in their own right and didn’t last long enough to become violent societies or to impose death sentences on their members. If there is any record of such activity among those few small efforts to establish early (1600's and 1800's) communistic societies here, I have not been able to locate it.

The late regime of Saddam Hussein was nothing more than a government of oppression. The remnants of that regime are trying to regain the position. They are receiving help from outside sources which desire not so much to defeat the coalition as to destroy Iraq. The real motive should be obvious to even the most casual observer.

There is one certainty. The United States and its allies in the War on Terror can not accomplish the destruction of Al Qaeda and all the other offshoots without the help of the people who are the planned victims, those who adhere to Islam or to any other ethical philosophy which is not based on their own brand of criminality.

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Common Sense on the Karl Rove Non-Event

The summer squall is hard upon us

By Wesley Pruden
Published July 19, 2005


Summer squalls are nice, a cooling afternoon diversion, particularly on a beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Since my visiting grandchildren, aged 8 and 12, and their guest, 13, live in Southern California where thunderstorms are rare, they're eager for the late-afternoon display of thunder and lightning, and the beauty part is that half an hour later the sun is back, the sand is hot underfoot again, and everybody's back in the water.

Empty sound and fury though it may be, a Carolina thunderstorm is considerably more consequential than the usual summer media storm in Washington, which arrives right on schedule. Bored reporters owe their debt this year to an eclectic collection of the boys (and a girl) of summer -- Karl Rove, Robert Novak, Matthew Cooper and particularly Judith Miller. And of course two ambitious bit players in this year's drama, Thomas Hogan as the federal judge and Patrick Fitzgerald as the federal district attorney brought up from the bushes for a major-league tryout.

As Nelson Rockefeller used to say, "Thanks a thousand, guys."

You might think it's too hot in Washington to argue about anything, but you shouldn't. The story line is simple: A sometime U.S. ambassador to obscure hotbeds of tranquility writes an op-ed essay in the New York Times, arguing that George W. Bush lied to the world that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy weapons-grade uranium (the wonderfully named "yellowcake") from Niger. Columnist Bob Novak writes that the distinguished diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson IV, had been dispatched to Niger through the intercession of his wife, a CIA "operative," to check it out. He identifies her as Valerie Plame, which was old news to a lot of people in Washington. The Wilsons (or the Plames) devote a lot of their time to advertising themselves as, if not exactly Beautiful People, at least as desperately aspiring Not Bad-Looking People. But she and her husband say she was deliberately "outed" by shadowy White House aides to exact revenge for the op-ed. Matt Cooper of Time magazine and Judy Miller of the New York Times get on the case, learn what a lot of people knew, and the White House, succumbing to media pressure, appoints the special D.A. to find out what who knew, why and how. When the D.A. can't find the ham sandwich to indict, he, with the connivance of the judge, lands on the reporters, insisting that they give up their sources. Judy Miller doesn't, and goes to jail. Mr. Cooper wilts. The second act ends as his colleagues scoff that he's not exactly a stand-up guy.

The third act opens as Democrats stumble, and knives come out for Miss Miller. David Broder of The Washington Post, the self-appointed "nanny of the Washington press corps," writes that not even Judy Miller is "wholly praiseworthy," because in the run-up to the war in Iraq, she wrote that Saddam Hussein was a very bad guy, relying on sources she shouldn't have, and Karl Rove remains in his job because George W. Bush won't do his duty. "The only lesson I can draw," he writes, setting up a plug for Mortuary Bob Woodward's new book, "is that reporters ought to be [*%$!] careful about accepting unattributed information. For every 'Deep Throat,' there are multiple ... [Karl] Roves."

Bored reporters are trying now to rehabilitate Matt Cooper, a nerd only yesterday, because he fingered Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, as a secondary source. But Scooter was no more forthcoming than Karl, saying in answer to questions only that he, too, had heard the rumors about Valerie Plame. Now it turns out that the law prohibiting identification of covert agents doesn't even apply to Mrs. Plame; her important tasks at the CIA, though not yet disclosed, may involve nothing more deadly than scissors and a paste pot. She isn't Mata Hari or Antonia Ford at all, but may be merely the pastemaster general.

Ambassador Wilson, who was once an ambassador to Gabon, where he was an intimate of President Bongo (Dave Barry couldn't make up this stuff), and later to Sao Tome and Principe (all one mighty republic), continues his interesting career. Fortunately, a wife is available to look out for him.

So it's not much of a scandal, but the summer is young. Meanwhile, a nice dark-blue thundercloud hovers over our beach. Thunder and lightning should arrive soon. The kids can't wait.

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.

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