Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for July 2005

Air America and More Hypocrisy

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You may or may not have heard of the current scandal involving Air America – the liberal alternative to the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity – and their alleged illegal diversion of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars from a community center. That’s not surprising – the MSM could hardly be expected to take a story like that seriously. Imagine, for a moment however, the following paragraph from the Washington Times didn’t involve Al Franken, liberal, or Air America but instead read Rush Limbaugh and conservative:

Did Al Franken’s liberal radio network Air America divert city money for the elderly and inner-city children to itself? That’s the question people should be asking this week after the revelation that the New York Department of Investigation is looking into whether hundreds of thousands of dollars were illegally transferred from a Bronx community center to Air America. Only a community paper and a few Internet bloggers seem interested in what could be an egregious case of illegal funneling of tax dollars to a private, partisan organization.

In late June, city officials designated the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, a nonprofit organization that runs mentoring programs for children and day care for Alzheimer’s patients, a “non-responsible city contractor.” Investigators found “significant inappropriate transactions and falsified documents that were submitted to various City agencies.” The city subsequently suspended the club’s contracts, which run well into the millions.

It turns out, according to sources quoted anonymously by the Bronx News, that the mishandled money went to Air America. One source claims that $480,000 was wrongly transferred. The city investigation is concentrating on Charles Rosen, the club’s president for 15 years, and Evan Cohen, the development director, who is a former chairman of Air America. Mr. Cohen resigned from Air America in May after the network’s leasing plans in Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere fell through.

Do you think we’d be hearing more on this if it were Limbaugh, Hannity, or Ingraham? Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin has been all over the story, and in other news, Air America is apparently still on the air.

Written by martinipundit

July 29, 2005 at 9:47 am

Bravo Denzel!

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We all have favorite actors, and most of the time I pay no attention to their politics. A cursory glance over this blog should be enough to show that my views differ starkly from most of what one hears out of Hollywood. Now, I don’t know what Denzel Washington’s politics are, nor do I care. I do believe he’s one of the finest actors in the business, and I almost always enjoy his performances. But his visit to an army hospital in Texas gains him unqualified bravoes. A friend e-mails:

Don’t know whether you heard about this but Denzel Washington and his family visited the troops at Brook Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas (BAMC) the other day. This is where soldiers that have been evacuated from Germany come to be hospitalized in the States, especially burn victims. They have buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a hotel where soldiers’ families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base but as you can imagine, they are almost completely filled most of the time.

While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.

Let Hanoi Jihad Jane do her book bus tour. Denzel’s the real hero.

Written by martinipundit

July 27, 2005 at 10:33 am

Posted in GWOT

Signs, What Signs?

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I found this amusing this morning:

The new road signs at the corner of Routes 10 and 141 feature the numbers inside an outline of the great state of Alabama.

Problem is, the intersection is smack dab in downtown Easthampton, Mass. In a commonwealth known for its confusing road signs and ”can’t get there” complaints, this latest gaffe is among the strangest. Even more curiously, no one took much notice when the wayward signs went up about a week ago.

”We thought it was Connecticut turned upside down,” said a woman who works for the contractor, A. Pereira Construction Co. of Ludlow.

”Actually, we didn’t know what it was,” said Roger Remy, the contractor’s estimator, who ordered the signs from another company. ”We didn’t really question it, because the numbers were correct.”

Silly contractors. No one in Massachusetts pays attention to signs.

Written by martinipundit

July 27, 2005 at 8:48 am

Posted in General

A 9/11 Conviction in India

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Captain Ed wonders why the MSM isn’t picking up this story. So do I.

In a little-noticed blurb in yesterday’s London Times, India sentenced an al-Qaeda operative for his participation in the 9/11 attacks. Mohammed Afroze got seven years for plotting attacks overseas on 9/11 to coincide with the attacks on America. However, Afroze’s choice of targets certainly bears review, as Melanie Phillips and RattlerGator point out:

AN INDIAN man was jailed in Bombay yesterday for plotting to fly passenger jets into the House of Commons and Tower Bridge in London on September 11, 2001. Mohammed Afroze was sentenced to seven years after he admitted that he had a role in an al-Qaeda plot to attack London, the Rialto Towers building in Melbourne and the Indian Parliament. …

Afroze admitted that he and seven al-Qaeda operatives planned to hijack aircraft at Heathrow and fly them into the two London landmarks. The suicide squad included men from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Afroze said. They booked seats on two Manchester-bound flights, but fled just before they were due to board.

The Captain further ponders that target list. It does rather put to bed a lot of pet theories in the MSM and on the Left.

Written by martinipundit

July 26, 2005 at 2:51 pm

Posted in GWOT

Whither Profiling?

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It is an article of faith amongst some that the use of profiling in screening for terrorists is not only wrong, but ineffective. I personally think this view more informed by the heart than by the brain, but it is certainly parroted at every opportunity by the officialdom. In my own travels, I’ve seen security checks at airports that pulled over for extra screening a nun, a pilot, and an old lady in a wheelchair. I’ve also seen scrupulous avoidance of those who fit a certain visual profile that most terrorists to date fit. At the same time, I’ve been through Israeli airport security both in NYC and at Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv (before 9/11). The Israeli security was light years ahead of what the TSA does, and it was faster too. (Parenthetically, I might note that the use of young, beautiful screeners may have contributed to my willingness to have those ladies thoroughly search my bags – all day if necessary.)

Yishai Ha’etzni writes in the New York Post on Israeli profiling techniques, and their effectiveness. Well worth your time, and here’s a taste:

Following a spate of terrorist hijackings and other attacks on civilian aircraft and airports in the late 1960s and ’70s, Israel developed a security system that utilized sociological profiles of those seeking to harm Israelis, among other factors.

The American system developed at the same time relied primarily on technology like scanning devices, which checked people and baggage uniformly.

Facing a less benign threat, Israelis found this system insufficient: Explosives and other weapons could slip through too easily. Since it wasn’t feasible to perform extensive security searches on every passenger, Israel used sociological profiles in addition to screening devices: Each passenger is questioned briefly and then airport security personnel use their judgment to identify suspect would-be passengers, who are then questioned at greater length and their bags searched more thoroughly. It is targeted and far more effective than random searches, which end up being nearly cosmetic.

Written by martinipundit

July 26, 2005 at 9:02 am

Mark Steyn Looks at Multiculturalism

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Among the very first things out of the mouths of elected officials, police, and, of course, the muslim community in the wake of 7/7 was the need to be understanding and not to foment a “backlash” against the muslim community. Mark Steyn takes a look at this multiculturalism in the Australian.

Bomb us, and we agonise over the “root causes” (that is, what we did wrong). Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that “Islam is a religion of peace”. Issue bloodcurdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can’t wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush, Blair and Howard. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the “vast majority” of Muslims “jihad” is a harmless concept meaning “decaf latte with skimmed milk and cinnamon sprinkles”.

You know what to do.

Written by martinipundit

July 25, 2005 at 8:53 am

Posted in GWOT

The Balancing Act

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Some people would rather be blown up.

Reacting to the NYPD’s announcement Thursday afternoon that police would randomly — but routinely — search the bags of commuters, one concerned New Yorker quickly created a way for civil libertarians to make their views black-and-white. In a few outraged moments, local immigrant rights activist Tony Lu designed t-shirts bearing the text, “I do not consent to being searched.”

Apparently, Mr. Lu doesn’t travel on airplanes. Should an attack succeed in killing people on the NY subway system, we’ll know who to blame.

I’m fully aware of Ben Franklin’s warning. At the same time, there is a line to be drawn between tyranny and common sense. Why is it that people like Mr. Lu always view any security measure as tyranny? Is there no security measure that they think justified in this climate? How many must die to feed his principles?

Written by martinipundit

July 21, 2005 at 11:02 pm

Posted in GWOT

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