Boy, it’s hot! Oven hot. Surface of the sun hot. Walking around in Iraq hot. Don’t believe it’s hot? Well, smarty pants, here’s proof!

Boy, it's hot!

In all honesty, that’s not the accurate temperature here, although we did break the high temperature record on Sunday. I noticed today that this window thermometer dropped from about 100°F to below 80°F as soon as the sun stopped shining directly on it. Cheap plastic doohickey.

And yes, I do have proof of global warming. Why, just six months ago, it was cold enough to wake up to frost and snow, and now a cup full of ice melts faster than Chicken-Little liberals can peddle environmental fear-mongering in a movie.

A major step along the way toward firing University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill occurred today as Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano delivered a notice of recommended termination. It’s about time. But Churchill’s firing is not a done deal yet, as the Board of Regents have the final say.

I do hope that he is removed. I don’t want to see him go because of his liberal politics, or his hateful article calling victims of the 9/11 attacks “little Eichmanns.” I want to see him go because he is a poor excuse for a professor. He has regularly described himself as a “Native American” professor, although he is no more Indian than I am. He claims to have a card that identifies him as such, but the card in question merely awards him the status of honorary membership in a tribe; it does not identify him as an actual Native American. The honor no more makes him a real Indian than my brother’s babysitting certificate makes him a mother just because it says “completing this course will help make you a good mother.” It’s like a celebrity with an honorary doctorate degree trying to pass himself off as a brain surgeon.

But Churchill’s bogus claims of Native American status are insufficient to make me call for his firing. Although his lying is indicative of a flawed character, it is his obvious plagiarism and scholarly misconduct that truly warrant his firing. After all, if he isn’t a good teacher, why keep him around? It appears that the University of Colorado shares this opinion with me.

So as we wait for news that Churchill is officially and completely fired, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to sing a little song.

“Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye” – Steam

If you’ve been following the story of the New York Times leaking a once-secret and legal tool for tracking the financial dealings of terrorists, you may be interested in this response by Treasury Secretary John Snow to the excuses the New York Times has given about choosing to run this story. Sec. Snow is my new hero.

Mr. Bill Keller, Managing Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Keller:

The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were “half-hearted” is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times – from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.

Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing “half-hearted” about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror. Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.

You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that “terror financiers know” our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.

Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the “public interest” in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of – even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.

What you've seemed to overlook is that it is also a matter of public interest that we use all means available – lawfully and responsibly – to help protect the American people from the deadly threats of terrorists. I am deeply disappointed in the New York Times.

Sincerely,

[signed]

John W. Snow, Secretary

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Hat tip to Little Green Footballs. Michelle Malkin does a great job of putting this into perspective by comparing it to leaks during WWII at Hot Air.

Visiting Disneyland with the family was a blast. One of the activities in the California Adventure park is well worth your participation. As you walk through the Hollywood Backlot on your way to the Tower of Terror ride, you will pass the Disney Animation building on the right. I recommend that you stop there at some point. The building is nice and cool, and you should take advantage of the Animation Academy while you’re there. It will be 15 minutes well spent. We did it twice while we were there — the first time with TPK and Little Miss V, then later that evening with the whole gang of twelve.

In the Animation Academy, one of the Disney animators will walk you through a method of drawing one of several Disney characters. We happened to do Donald both times we were there, but I believe they also hold sessions for drawing Mickey, Winnie the Pooh, and Goofy at different times during the day. Interestingly, both artists drew Donald slightly differently, but both were good. I managed to get an original drawing from the second artist, Karl, because I happened to know that Donald’s middle name is Fauntleroy.

Below are some drawings of Donald–one done by Karl with a blue drafting pencil, and ours done in black.

Karl, Disney Animator
Disney Animator

Captain Midnight
Captain Midnight

TPK
TPK

Little Miss V (age 9)
Little Miss V

OK, nothing political here. I’m taking advantage of this forum to vent. I have spent my entire first week back from vacation hand-holding a company because its upper management excels in whining. My normal job functions are all on hold while I stomp out fires for them, just because some manager has unrealistic expectations of what my company’s software is designed to do.

I have had very productive working sessions with the company’s technical people who have been very good about getting issues resolved, but whenever the managerial jerk comes into the conversation, all effective work ceases and the bitch-session begins. I find it very annoying to hear the jerk verbally fondle his grievances when they were discussed and settled days ago.

Bottom line: I will never have any dealings with this company outside of work because I have absolutely no faith or confidence in their management, and it is the upper management that steers a large company like Verizon, to pull some name randomly out of a hat.

It almost makes me wonder if the liberals in the media have any desire to see the U.S. emerge victorious from the threat of Islamic nutjobs who delight in cutting off infidels’ heads. Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, you are an infidel to these people unless you believe exactly as they do. And converting to Islam is no guarantee of safety. Just look at the hundreds of Iraqi Muslims who have been murdered by other Muslims. Imagine a bunch of Lutherans blowing up Catholics over minor differences of dogma.

But I’m wandering from the point of this post. From the New York Times article:

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

As Michelle Malkin points out, “‘Secret?’ Not anymore.” The NYT claims that revealing this government tool for catching terrorists is in the “public interests.” Obviously they’d rather handicap the authorities by exposing their tools than serve the “public interests” of not having Islamic nutjobs kill Americans here in America.

Since this is far from the first time that the media has published secret tools the government has used to combat terrorists, Daniel Solove of Concurring Opinions gives the media this template for further reports.

Under a top secret program initiated by the Bush Administration after the Sept. 11 attacks, the [name of agency (FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.)] have been gathering a vast database of [type of records] involving United States citizens.

“This program is a vital tool in the fight against terrorism,” [Bush Administration official] said. “Without it, we would be dangerously unsafe, and the terrorists would have probably killed you and every other American citizen.” The Bush Administration stated that the revelation of this program has severely compromised national security.

“This program is a threat to privacy and civil liberties,” [name of privacy advocate] said. But [name of spokesperson for Bush Administration] said: “This is a very limited program. It only contains detailed records about every American citizen. That’s all. It does not compromise civil liberties. We have a series of procedures in place to protect liberty.”

“We’re not trolling through the personal data of Americans,” Bush said, “we’re just looking at all of their records.”

The [name of statute] regulates [type of record] and typically requires a [type of court order]. Although the [name of agency] did not obtain a [type of court order], the Bush Administration contends that the progam is “totally legal.” According to the Attorney General, “we can [do whatever we did or want to do]. The program is part of the President’s emergency war powers.”

Nice little job of tongue-in-cheek writing, but Solove missed an extra paragraph.

[Bush Administration official] acknowledged that since the publication of the story by [self-aggrandizing media outlet], the terrorists have changed their tactics and are harder to capture before plots like [successful terrorist plot] occur.

The talented duo Cox and Forkum have done another good job with their latest political cartoon.

A Soldier's Burden

On the soldier’s back, in full whine mode, are Cindy Sheehan, Rep. John Murtha, the mainstream media, and Muslims who are more concerned about someone mistreating the Koran than the mutilation of American infidel servicemen.

Forgive me if I don’t have much respect for these voices of negativity.

In the light of the recent murder and mutilation of three soldiers in Iraq, why should we show any concern for the sensibilities of the Islamic nutjobs we kill? If you understand that the aggressor sets the rules, you will recognize that the enemy has given permission for our troops to mutilate and desecrate the bodies of those whom they kill. No more whining from the liberals about soldiers burning bodies. The opposition did it first.

Oh, and I meant it when I called the death of our three solders murder. It would be a battlefield death only if the people who killed them had been soldiers. But the Islamist nutjobs who perpetrated these acts do not conform to the rules of war to be classified as soldiers and be accorded the rights of soldiers in wartime. Thus they are unlawful combatants, and when they kill our soldiers, it is murder.

It’s 6:40pm PDT as I start to type this. And there is news being reported that should be 72 point font in size and above the fold, if people actually read newspapers any more. Let’s take a look at the cover web pages of the major news outlets. Here are screenshots taken seconds ago of ABC News (266k), MSNBC News (254k), CBS News (342k), and CNN (271k). None of them feature the key international news story reported today. But here is the front page of Fox News (355k). The news story in question is right there in the top left corner, just under the Fox News logo.

Report: WMDs Found in Iraq

Here are the first three paragraphs of the news story on Fox News.

The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday.

“We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons,” Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in a quickly called press conference late Wednesday afternoon.

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, Santorum said: “Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.”

That’s 500 weapons of mass destruction, boys and girls. But it’s not press-stopping headline news to ABC, NBC, CBS or CNN. I believe they are not all over this report and trumpeting it to the world because it validates the Bush administration’s decision to wage war in Iraq, and that has to be a bitter pill for the liberals in the mainstream media. I guess they will eventually find their “happy place” and publish the news on the front page, but not before giving it their own spin.

Want to see the liberal spin on this news? Here’s the first three paragraphs of the story as written by Liz Sidoti and published buried on the ABC News website.

Less than five months before congressional elections, Republicans and Democrats maneuvered for political advantage Wednesday as the Senate debated the Iraq war and the future of 127,000 U.S. troops in the war zone.

“Drawdowns must be based on conditions in country, not an arbitrary deadline rooted in our domestic politics,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, deriding Democratic calls for redeployments.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., countered by saying, “It is time to choose what is more important, a strategy to win in Iraq or a strategy for Republicans to win elections here at home.” She accused Republicans in charge of Congress of “blindly following” President Bush.

Not until the eleventh paragraph does one get the news about WMDs announced by Sen. Santorum and Rep. Hoekstra.

Santorum and Hoekstra released a newly declassified military intelligence report that said coalition forces have found 500 munitions in Iraq that contained degraded sarin or mustard nerve agents, produced before the 1991 Gulf War.

Here’s my liberal media impression as borne out by the media itself: “WMDs in Iraq? Ho-hum. *yawn* Next topic.”

It’s now 7:24, and I’m going back to my dinner that was interrupted by this post. Oh, and the four news outlets still haven’t put this news story on their front pages.

In his widely-discredited book The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich wrote about a time when he was in Delhi, India:

The streets seemed alive with people. People eating, people washing, people sleeping. People visiting, arguing, and screaming. People thrusting their hands through the taxi window, begging. People defecating and urinating. People clinging to buses. People herding animals. People, people, people, people.

Having spent five days at Disneyland last week, I can understand how Ehrlich might have freaked out by the pressing of large crowds. Anyone who is bothered by crowds should avoid any popular amusement park in the summer months. But how many people are “too many?” We were part of a group of 12 family members, and at no time did that number feel like “People, people, people, people.” During our visit, I entered a small hotel room to see seven people watching TV, playing on the computer, and primping at the mirror. It was obvious that nobody was freaking out about being in such close quarters. I also remember a time in high school when about 20 of us gathered in a small room in the home of a friend. Her father peeked his head into the room and saw us sitting cheek by jowl, and he mentioned a Greek phrase from where he grew up: “When there is love, there is room.”

The problem with population critics is that their primary theory seems to be not that there are too many people, but too many of the wrong kinds of people. In other words, there are too many of Them, and not enough of Us. And as long as the “people, people, people” of the world are classified as “Them,” then there will always be too many. As one of the adults in our group at Disneyland, there were times when I lagged behind as a sweeper to help keep the kids together. It didn’t matter to me that there were 11 people in line in front of me because they were part of “Us” and not “Them.”

And it usually doesn’t take much to change a “Them” into an “Us.” Mainly it just takes reaching out and talking to people. This changes them from anonymous faces in the crowd taking up room in line to people I don’t mind standing next to. There were lots of rowdy teenagers running around the park, and it was pretty easy to lump them into a blob of rambunctious kids. But one time we started up a conversation with a family, including an older teenager and his little five-year-old brother. They became real people to us, and we had fun chatting with them as we waited in line at the roller coaster.

We probably went through the Haunted Mansion seven or eight times on this particular trip. At the beginning of this attraction, large crowds are twice packed into relatively small rooms. It was easy to get annoyed at the people, particularly at those who screamed loudly just for the heck of it. But once a girl was visibly anxious in the waiting room, since it was her first time through the ride. Little Miss V reached out and held her hand, reassuring her that it was not all that scary, and that she had been on it lots of times. When the ride was over, V wanted to see “her new friend” and tell her, “See? Wasn’t that fun?”

While riding the train around the park, V talked to the two kids in the family in front of us and compared notes about what was and wasn’t fun at the park. They agreed that the Indiana Jones ride was the most fun, and that the Tower of Terror was too terrifying. This simple conversation was sufficient to change them into “Us,” and later that day I recognized them when I ran across them outside of Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

If I could have waved my magic wand ($6 at the Princess Shop) and removed all the strangers from the park, I probably would have. But I would have just as happily waved the wand to bring all my family and friends into the park. Any population critic who says that there are too many people is basically claiming that there are too many of “Them” in the world — too many people visiting, arguing, and screaming. What this world needs is more of “Us” and fewer of “Them.”

And all it takes to make someone one of “Us” is to reach out to that person — to see the person as a worthwhile individual, rather than just a faceless blur in the crowd.