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Archive for July 2004

The Partisan Massachusetts Legislature Abuses Its Power

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The Massachusetts legislature has overridden Governor Romney’s veto. This changes the law regarding the how a vacant US senate seat is filled:

Under the Democratic plan for filling Kerry’s seat, the post would remain vacant until a special election is held between 145 and 160 days after he is elected president. The proposal scraps the current system, which gives the governor the power to appoint an interim senator until the next biennial election, which would be in 2006 if Kerry wins this November.

So, the way that’s been good enough for years isn’t good enough when a vacancy might occur on a Republican governor’s watch. But that’s not what the Dems said:

“One person, whoever happens to be the governor at this particular time, will not make the decision for you,” Straus said.

Democrats in the Senate offered the same argument.

“We have always felt that this position is significant enough that no one person should make that determination,” Senate President Robert E. Travaglini said after the vote in that body. “It should be decided by the people.”

Always? Really?  Then why now Bob? Surely it couldn’t be that you think Kerry might actually win this thing, and – shudder – MA might actually be sending a Republican to Washington? Oh, no.  You guys in the legislature are all fine, upstanding public servants.  The idea that you might stand and end up going to the US Senate yourself never entered your mind.  Meanwhile, your plan – which you tout as the people deciding – is quite disingenuous.  An informed voter already knew that Governor Romney would fill a vacancy when he or she voted for – or against – him.  The people have spoken on this issue – when they elected Mitt Romney governor.  They most certainly did not elect the partisan cogs in the legislature to muck around with the system for their own petty game.

I have no objection to special elections to fill vacant seats – if that’s what the people of MA want.  I have an objection to ambitious pols manipulating the system for their own personal gain.  This law, enacted in the afterglow of the DNC and rooted in partisan greed and self-interest, will be with us a long time.  I don’t happen to believe it will come into effect for Kerry next year, but it will eventually.  Maybe it will be a good thing at the time – but more likely it will be used for one of the people who railroaded it through the legislature over the Governor’s veto to further their own political career.  There’s a word for that – corruption.

Written by martinipundit

July 31, 2004 at 11:25 am

Now You Tell Me!

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Maybe they can sue?

There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend


More in the Captain’s Quarters …

Written by martinipundit

July 30, 2004 at 9:49 am

Posted in General

Saddam and al Qaeda – Dots Connected

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It has been a staple of discourse on the left that there was no evidence of any connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.  Nope, nothing. And if we ever thought there might be, well Richard Clarke put a stop to that. Michael Moore assured us just the other night of this in case we were going wobbly on the subject.

But I’ve just finished a book called, The Connection: How al Qaeda’s Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America, by Stephen F. Hayes of the Weekly Standard.It certainly gives one reason to go wobbly on that argument.  It turns out there’s a lot of evidence that Saddam and Osama were doing the dance. Here’s an excerpt:

Iraqi intelligence documents from 1992 list Osama bin Laden as an Iraqi intelligence asset. Numerous sources have reported a 1993 nonaggression pact between Iraq and al Qaeda.  The former deputy director of Iraqi intelligence now in U.S. custody says that bin Laden asked the Iraqi regime for arms and training in a face-to-face meeting in 1994. Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Hajer al Iraqi met with Iraqi intelligence officials in 1995. The National Security Agency intercepted telephone conversations between al Qaeda – supported Sudanese military officials and the head of Iraq’s chemical weapons program in 1996. Al Qaeda sent Abu Abdallah al Iraqi to Iraq for help with weapons of mass destruction in 1997.An indictment from the Clinton – era Justice Department cited Iraqi assistance on al Qaeda “weapons development” in 1998. A senior Clinton administration counterterrorism official told the Washington Post that the U.S. government was “sure” Iraq had supported al Qaeda chemical weapons programs in 1999. An Iraqi working closely with the Iraqi embassy in Kuala Lumpur was photographed with September 11 hijacker Khalid al Mihdhar en route to a planning meeting for the bombing of the USS Cole and the September 11 attacks in 2000. Satellite photographs showed al Qaeda members in 2001 traveling en masse to a compound in northern Iraq financed, in part, by the Iraqi regime. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, senior al Qaeda associate, operated openly in Baghdad and received medical attention at a regime – supported hospital in 2002. Documents discovered in postwar Iraq in 2003 reveal that Saddam’s regime harbored and supported Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi who mixed the chemicals for the 1993 World Trade Center attack – the first al Qaeda attack on U.S. soil.

Then, on March 21, 2004, Richard Clarke, a former top counterterrorism official with access to all this information, made a stunning declaration: “There’s absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda, ever.”

Now I don’t mean to give the ending away for those of you still in suspense thinking there might actually be no evidence, but this passage comes towards the end of the book, afterHayes has expounded on all this evidence.  He himself admits it’s not conclusive, there is no smoking gun, and that the evidence for an operational relationship is weak.  But there is definitely evidence for financial, technical, and logistical support of al Qaeda by Saddam Hussein.  For some reason, Michael Moore doesn’t want you to know that.

I highly recommend this book.

Written by martinipundit

July 30, 2004 at 8:56 am

Not Good Enough

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Just heard Kerry deliver his speech, and I’m watching him stagger about the stage.

First impression – red meat to the crowd, but not gonna play in Peoria.

I think Kerry squandered a major opportunity.  He said he’d do a lot of things differently from Bush, but he failed to articulate how he would do them.  In this climate of danger, that was a requirement.

Kerry failed to rise to the challenge.

Written by martinipundit

July 29, 2004 at 9:56 pm

Election Prognostication

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American Digest says it’s basically over, and the only question is the size of the Bush victory:

As far as I can see it is going to be massive: a Tsunami of rejection; a battering of the Bozos with no ref to stop the fight in the sixth round; a comet impacting dead center in the Democratic Fantasy World and smothering all but the deepest burrowing small rodents in a layer of ash half a mile thick; a landslide in which the entire north face of Mount Everest decides to take a vacation on the shores of the Indian ocean; a blowout equal to the hotspot under Yellowstone deciding to displace Krakatoa as the loudest implosion heard in recorded history; an “L” branded on the forehead of the Democratic party so large and so deep that travel agencies from Japan will divert a whole season of Grand Canyon tours to the nearest Kerry Compound just so they can marvel and photograph themselves standing at the brink.

Did I say the Democrats were going to lose? Why, yes, I think I did.

It’s another must read.

Via Instapundit

Written by martinipundit

July 29, 2004 at 8:06 pm

Posted in 2004 Election, Politics

Sussing the Liberal Mind

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Protein Wisdom pulls a key passage by John Derbyshire. I won’t quote as it’s a must read.

Written by martinipundit

July 29, 2004 at 7:38 pm

The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis

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Not quite six decades ago tonight, a US Navy warship, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine in the waning days of World War II.  Germany had already been defeated, and in July, the Allied Forces were preparing for the invasion of mainland Japan. Although everyone knew that Japan had been beaten, no one expected them to surrender less than a month later.  At Iwo Jima in February 1945 the Japanese had fought bravely and tenaciously to the death.  More than 20,000 of them perished defending a tiny sulfurous rock that they considered Japanese native soil against the US Marine Corps. Planners for Operation Downfall expected American casualties in a battle to take the Japanese home islands to be numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and General Douglas MacArthur’s intelligence chief anticipated a million killed or wounded by the fall of 1946.  The invasion was considered necessary to bring about the surrender of Japan, which few believed could be induced to surrender on a blockade alone. Accordingly, in July 1945, President Truman ordered the new atomic bomb to be used against Japan. The first was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6 and the second on Nagasaki on August 9. The USS Indianapolis carried both bombs to Tinian Island in the Mariannas, from whence the B-29s were launched.

The Indianapolis was what was known as a ‘treaty cruiser.’ After World War I, the victorious powers had agreed to limit their fleets.  Heavy cruisers, like the Indianapolis, could be no more than 10,000 tons displacement for example.  When she was commissioned in 1932, the 9950 ton Indy was one of the most modern cruisers in the world – fast and sporting 9 eight inch guns in three turrets.  She would gain fame when she served as the conveyance for President Roosevelt on numerous occasions, and was involved in many battles during the war. Additional information in her career can be found here.

This is the Indianapolis shortly before she was lost:

On her return from Tinian, the Indianapolis had been ordered to rendezvous with the battleship USS Idaho to engage in gunnery practice.  The radio communications to the Idaho had been garbled, and she did not know to expect the Indianapolis, and so no one seemed to notice when the cruiser failed to show up.

Instead, she had run afoul of a Japanese submarine, I-58, commanded by a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack, who launched a half a dozen torpedoes at her just after midnight.  At least two of the torpedoes hit home, one tearing the bow off the cruiser and the other striking her amidships and causing multiple explosions which knocked out electrical power and split the ship down to her keel.  Less than fifteen minutes later, the Indianapolis had sunk beneath the waves, taking more than 300 of her 1196 man crew with her.  The remaining 900 or so ended up in the oil-choked water with very few life rafts, no food, and only a few in life jackets.  And no one knew they were there.

Many of the wounded did not survive the night, and with the coming dawn came sharks.  Massive numbers of Great White Sharks circled the defenseless sailors and marines who bobbed in the water.  The sharks picked off stragglers, and those unfortunate enough to become detached from the main group.  With no water, many drank the sea water, and began to go mad.  All of them prayed as the sharks swam around the periphery and a few feet below.  No one could know when he might be the next one eaten alive. It was estimated that by the third day, there were only 400 or so left.

On Thursday, a Navy bomber was flying over the area and its commander noticed a large oil slick in the water.  Moving in for a closer look, he spotted the men in the water, and radioed his base in Palau.  But it was three hours before anyone believed it was more than a prank and dispatched a Catalina PBY to investigate.  As the PBY approached, it flew by a destroyer, the USS Cecil Doyle, and Lt. Marks, in command of the PBY, radioed his mission to the tin can whose Captain diverted to the position of the ‘men in the water.’ Meanwhile, Lt. Marks in his PBY arrived at the site where the survivors of the Indianapolis were.  His crew dropped them rafts and supplies, but when Marks saw that they were still being attacked by sharks, he made the decision to land his PBY and pick up as many survivors as possible.  This risky move saved at least 56 sailors and marines who were hauled aboard and even climbed onto the wings of the PBY. Marks repeatedly radioed for help, and the Doyle steamed towards them. Eventually the Doyle and other ships saved 317 sailors and marines – all that remained of the crew of the Indianapolis.

Link to the USS Indianapolis Organization

Written by martinipundit

July 29, 2004 at 3:56 pm

Posted in History, Military, Ships

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