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CATEGORY: Government

Here’s a worthy cause we can all get behind.

Jay at Stop the ACLU is supporting blogger Debbie Schlussel’s effort to file an affidavit on our behalf as American citizens in the ACLU’s suit against the NSA. Debbie would like as many “interveners” as she can get. Here’s what she needs:

I will need everyone’s complete name and contact info (full name, phone number, e-mail address, complete U.S. snailmail address–you must be a U.S. citizen). If you have e-mailed me regarding this, I will respond via e-mail to you over the weekend and into next week, with an affidavit to sign (with notarized signature) and a brief agreement saying you agree to have me represent you in court for this matter and that I will not charge you any fees.

Debbie will not charge any fees but there are costs involved for filing the affidavit ($250) as well as other charges as we go along. That’s why Jay has a donation button at the bottom of this post. Please visit Jay’s site and sign up for the affidavit and also to give generously to this worthy cause.

By: Rick Moran at 9:50 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

CATEGORY: Moonbats, Politics

Yesterday proved to be a day to forget for our friends on the left. It appears that they lost so much bile and spittle in defending, attacking, defending again, and finally going stark, raving, loony that I daresay many of them will need a bile transfusion not to mention an IV drip to replace all the bodily fluids they expended in an unsuccessful effort to respond to news headlines that highlighted their total cluelessness.

In fact, I’d like to use this blog to offer my assistance in their recovery. Anyone wishing to donate their bodily fluids, please deposit them either here or here. And remember, all gifts are tax deductible.

The day began with the release of the Barrett Report, an independent counsel monstrosity that took 10 years and $23 million to figure out that 1) former housing secretary Henry Cisneros is a crook; and 2) the Clinton Administration was peppered with corrupt, lying, weasels who weren’t above using the IRS to cover-up their venality.

Well, duh.

Predictably, the left pounced on this bit of non-news and attacked Republicans for being two faced not to mention trying to distract the populace from the Abramoff scandal. As usual, the left resorted to moral relativity to dismiss the criminal actions of the Clinton administration: You’re scandal is worse than our scandal.

How edifying.

A little later in the morning, the first really big bomb of the day was dropped by none other than Deborah Howell of the Washington Post who wrote a story on the Abramoff scandal in which she identified some Democratic pols who received money from some of the sleazeball’s Indian tribe clients. For some reason, the left took serious umbrage to this information – information available from the Federal Election Commission among other places – in that someone in the media was trying to point out the obvious; the Jackanape Abramoff sleaze machine touches both political parties.

This just won’t do. This is a Republican scandal after all and how dare you bring any Democrats into it?

At any rate, Howell responded on the Washington Post Blog yesterday and the legions of lefties left so many comments of, shall we say, a personal nature including suggestions that Howell perform feats of anatomical legerdemain that most textbooks say is impossible. This caused the prim and proper folks at the Post to turn off the comments to the site which only caused the moonbats to spin further out of control.

It was a great show and only reveals the absolute, total electoral desperation of the left. They don’t believe they have any issues they can run on that can win next November. In fact, they think they’re only chance to overturn the House and Senate is to hold the Republicans up as the sole party of corruption and sleaze.

Note to my liberal friends: Running around screaming “neener, neener, neener” to anyone who reveals the truth about Capitol Hill corruption – that sleaze knows no ideology or favorite party – is not a winning strategy. Politics has a nasty habit of revealing a lot of glass houses where the other side always has a large supply of stones. This goes for both parties on all sorts of ethics issues. And as the polls show, the majority of voters believe Democrats and Republicans are equally crooked.

So…Get. A. Grip.

Finally, a nuclear bomb went off with the Osama tape. For some reason, the imaginations of the Reality Based Community took flight and soared into the stratosphere of cuckoo land when several threads on Daily Kos speculated that Osama was really a Republican in disguise, a Rovian creation that coincidentally always seemed to emerge whenever Republicans were in trouble for one thing or another.

Since from the moonbat perspective, the Republicans are always in trouble – that some issue or news story will finally bring down King George and his minions – one would think that after being so wrong, so many times, on so many “scandals,” each one a dead certainty to prove to be Bush’s undoing, they would learn from their mistakes. No such luck.

At any rate, after convincing themselves that Osama was a Republican plant, it seemed to escape their notice that Osama’s entire rant could have come from the fertile imagination and ample gut of His Rotundness, Michael Moore. As I said below, the left is just too dense to recognize how much they have in common with the mass murderer.

And then Chrissy Matthews made the mistake of actually pointing out that Osama “sounds like an over the top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore…” on Hardball last night. That did it. Even the perspicacious Peter Daou went bananas saying ” “Bin Laden sounds like Rush Limbaugh”—“Bin Laden sounds like Bill O’Reilly”—“Bin Laden sounds like Mel Gibson”—“Bin Laden sounds like Bruce Willis”—“Bin Laden sounds like Michelle Malkin”... and how would you Republicans like them apples?

Peter, God bless him, completely misses the point. No one in their right mind would say that Osama sounds like any of those conservatives because not one thing Bin Laden said remotely resembled anything ever uttered by any of those worthies. And to make the comparison only shows that, in fact, the left recognizes very well that Osama was spouting their talking points. To prove it, take any day’s postings and diaries at Daily Kos and I guarantee you will be able to match what Osama said with what is said on that “mainstream” Democratic site.

The fact that liberals feel no shame about having a mass murdering thug agreeing with them (and being clueless about why) was highlighted by Senator Joe Biden who, in response to Chrissy Matthews Michael Moore observation had this to say:

“I think this is just to reinforce sort of the stereotypical negative images of us in the Muslim world. That’s why I really think this is much more directed toward the Muslim world…”

The unspoken question and answer here is how did the Muslims get to thinking this way about America? It couldn’t be this kind of traitorous language used by liberals in everything they write, everything they say, and everything they think now, could it?

The Osama tape brings liberals face to face with the consequences of their stupidity. Their wild conspiracy theories, their deranged hatred of the President, their constant caterwauling about how badly the war is going (despite all the evidence to the contrary), and their cockeyed notions of Osama himself will show anyone with an ounce of objectivity that the deadliest enemy of the United States agrees with them. They cannot escape it. They cannot deny it. They can only try and change the subject.

I hope you lefties have a better day today. And I’ll bet more than a few of them are saying to themselves…

Thank God it’s Friday.

By: Rick Moran at 8:28 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)

protein wisdom linked with BeKos Kerry Says So
CATEGORY: War on Terror

He may be an evil, thuggish brute but no one could ever accuse Osama Bin Laden of being dumb.

Actually, it really doesn’t take that much for an enemy of the United States with internet access to figure out how best to divide America; echo one side’s talking points.

And Osama has the liberals down cold. This is from his statement offering us a “truce” of some kind, the quid pro quo not as yet clear:

“We do not mind offering you a long-term truce with fair conditions that we adhere to,” he said. “We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America.”

Kos couldn’t have said it better.

Translation: Bush’s tax cuts and eeeeevil Haliburton are at fault. The only question will be is the left smart enough to recognize the fact that Osama knows them so well that he plays them like a violin whenever he releases one of these tapes.

How long before we here some mindless lefty out there prattling on about negotiating with Bin Laden? After all, the thug sounds reasonable, doesn’t he? And he sure has a point about “those with influence” getting rich under McChimpybushitler. Gosh, maybe we could end this war by sitting down with al Qaeda in a great big circle, holding hands, and singing Kumbaya...or maybe Imagine.

Seriously, I would not be surprised if in the next 24 hours we don’t hear some loony lefty actually proposing that we believe the galoot and try and negotiate with him. My money is on some Hollywood type like Babs Streisand or maybe George Clooney.

As for the rest of the tape, I see that Glenn Reynolds thinks that Osama offering us a truce is a sign that we’re winning. I suppose that would be one interpretation but I think that it’s more likely that Osama is toying with us, trying to pull our strings in anticipation of doing something really nasty. Perhaps not an attack here but more likely in the Middle East. And I think he’s whistling past the graveyard by saying our security measures haven’t thwarted him. It’s been 4 1/2 years and by all accounts, we have stopped a couple of his plans from coming to fruition. That must gall him something awful. Also, by bragging that our security measures haven’t stopped him, he elbows his way into the current debate on the NSA intercept program. By saying its not working, maybe he wants to get the left to help him in dismantling the program. They certainly seem willing enough in that regard.

It takes a special kind of stupidity not to realize that you are being used by the enemies of your country. Deny it if they can, the facts are clear; Osama knows how to play our left for his own advantage. It remains to be seen whether or not they will recognize that and not play along with him.


Michelle Malkin links to a Yahoo News Photo of Osama with a caption that refers to the mass murdering thug as a “dissident.” Wonder what they would have used to caption Hitler?

Also, Michelle does her usual fine job in supplying links for the blogswarm.

By: Rick Moran at 12:27 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (22)

Tel-Chai Nation linked with Osama reappears
Political Satire Fake News - The Nose On Your Face linked with Bin Laden Embroiled In Abramoff Dirty Money Scandal linked with AP: Osama Bin Laden Is "Exiled Dissident". Not Terrorist? Not The First Time.
Joust The Facts linked with Furtive Glances - Osama's Back Edition linked with Bizarro World! Bin Laden Offers Truce, Chirac Threatens Nukes!?
Iowa Voice linked with Bin Laden Offers Truce
Ex-Donkey Blog linked with Bin Laden Offers A Truce Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Purported bin Laden tape talks of attacks, truce
Stop The ACLU linked with Bin Laden Offers Truce

When it comes to Iran possessing nuclear weapons, there appears to be general agreement on the right that the mad mullahs must be prevented from getting them at all costs. There is the recognition that Iran is being led by if not irrational, then certainly fanatical people who don’t see nuclear weapons as a deterrent but rather as a way to realize their stated goal of wiping Israel off the map. And there is also the fear that Iran wouldn’t hesitate to give weapons to one or more of the numerous terrorist groups that Tehran sponsors around the world. This would put the United States directly at risk for a nuclear strike, something policy makers have said is unacceptable.

But is all this true? And even if it is, should the United States seek to destroy or set back the Iranian nuclear program by taking military action against the Islamic state?

In answering those questions, we must also think the unthinkable; that the consequences involved with taking military action are so severe that it may be better to try and deal with a nuclear Iran rather than initiate actions that could lead to economic and strategic catastrophe for the United States.

The first question deals with the intent of the Iranian government. Clearly, President Ahmadinejad was chosen to lead Iran at this juncture by his mentor Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei not in spite of his radicalism but because of it. Ahmadinejad’s engineered victory at the polls last June must be seen in the context of a belief by Iranian leaders that the time is ripe for a showdown with Israel and the west and that having a true believer at the helm like Ahmadinejad serves the purpose of rallying the still large numbers of Iranians who believe fervently in the Islamic revolution. With the United States military heavily engaged in Iraq, Israel increasingly isolated internationally, and Europe sinking into a cynicism and defeatism about defending itself, the theocrats in Iran seem to have carefully analyzed the strategic situation and come to the conclusion that they have an approximately 2 year window in which to realize their nuclear ambitions.

After two years, the chances are that more vigorous leadership will take over in Europe as the right is making something of a comeback in response to deteriorating economic conditions as well as a realization that Muslim immigration is tearing at the fabric of European societies. And in two years, there is the probability that the American military will largely be freed of its obligations in Iraq as the new government should be far enough along in being able to handle their own security that our troops should be able to stand down. Also, if the peace process continues apace in Israel, there is a good chance that the Jewish state will become less isolated especially with the prospect of rapprochement with less antagonistic governments in Europe.

Clearly the intent of the Iranian government is to force the issue now while they believe they hold the upper hand. In this respect, they may be correct. For the foreseeable future, there simply is no way to thwart Iranian nuclear designs short of invasion and regime change. Even the kind of sustained bombing campaign military analysts say would be necessary – one that lasts weeks and targets perhaps hundreds of Iranian sites – would only set back the Iranian nuclear program not destroy it.

Then there would be the Iranian reaction to deal with. You can be sure that the mullahs will not sit back and fail to respond to such a massive military intervention, even if we are able to build a coalition of Europeans and Arab states to help take part in the operation. Some of the options open to the mullahs are downright frightening:

  • Attacking ships moving through the narrow Straits of Hormuz, a choke point where 20% of the world’s oil flows daily.
  • Blockading the straits by either using their increasingly capable navy or simply sinking several vessels at a strategic point that would block traffic.
  • Launching a counterstrike against American positions in Iraq with hundreds of short and medium range missiles.
  • Imposing an oil embargo on any nation that participates in an attack.

While it is true we have lessened our own dependence on Middle Eastern oil over the last quarter of a century, that fact wouldn’t stop the speculators from driving the price of oil over $100 per barrel or higher. I daresay if you were to talk to an independent trucker in the United States (and they are responsible for moving more than 70% of the food that ends up in grocery stores) they would tell you that with diesel at more than $7 a gallon they would be unable to stay in business. This fact alone would be bad enough. But the consequences of such a catastrophic rise in the price of oil would be felt in all sectors of the economy. Hardest hit would be the industrial sector where plastic, petrochemical, and other oil sensitive industries would be devastated. The chances are good that hundreds of thousands of people would be thrown out of work with the effects of such a catastrophe rippling through the service sector of the economy causing even more unemployment. Travel and tourism would also be hit hard with the already shaky airline industry probably facing either massive government bailouts or outright nationalization in order to keep them flying.

Other less serious consequences of a strike against Iran would be in undermining our alliances in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well as complicating the domestic political situation in Iraq. There would be a backlash by Iraqi Shi’ites against any attack against the Shi’ite regime in Iran with the frightening possibility of some of the more radical militias going to open warfare against American troops. That scenario, although not likely, is still a real possibility and one that may mitigate against attacking Iran altogether.

The Iranians are not unaware of these scenarios which is one reason they are gambling that the west will bluster and talk tough while in the end, acquiesce to the Islamic state becoming a nuclear power.

Must this be the end result? Shouldn’t we ignore the consequences outlined above and bomb anyway?

We may end up doing just that. But when military action fails to achieve even the modest objectives we set out to accomplish – significantly delaying the Iranian bomb program – while causing very serious economic and strategic problems for the west, what is the point in attacking in the first place?

This monograph published by the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) should be read by all if only because it so thoroughly examines the situation in Iran from both a diplomatic and military point of view. Richard Fernandez comments on the findings of the SSI study while reminding us of the political problems in the west that make any kind of military action against the mullahs problematic:

An earlier post argued that only a regime change could keep Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon. Since the US Army War College paper cannot envision that happening in the short term, what we are left with then, is a new Cold War with an ideology as strong—and probably much stronger than—Marxism in its prime. It’s hard to remember, now that the Berlin wall is a relic whose fragments have literally been sold for souvenirs, how perilous a time the Cold War was. It took more than 100,000 American lives on the battlefields of Korea and Vietnam. On at least once occasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US and the Soviet Union came close to the nuclear brink. The difference between the Cold War and the new prospective struggle is that the former was between nations while the latter is between nations and secret societies bound together only by a common hatred.

Diplomats and statesmen since the Treaty of Westphalia had grown accustomed to seeing nothing smaller than nation-states. This conceptual blindness prevented foreign ministries, academics or the United Nations—the very name a testament to the limits of its sensibility—from understanding that sub-national units under the banner of a world religion could arise to challenge the established international order.


...[T]he Western intellectual elite watched the growing number of Wahabist mosques, the photography of landmarks, the application for flying lessons and the attendance at courses of nuclear physics by students from older worlds. They laughed, for nothing could threaten the dominion of Western Man, supreme in his socialized state at the End of History. Even after September 11 the only question for many was how soon history would return to normal after a temporary inconvenience. Little did they imagine that the expansion of the European Union, the Kyoto Agreements and Reproductive Rights—all the preoccupations of their unshakable world—might be the least of humanity’s concerns in the coming years.

The Bush Administration has failed to do the kind of heavy lifting necessary to build up the various Iranian dissident groups and help them coalesce into a united opposition over the past 5 years. We are now paying for this shortsightedness by not having any viable non-military options when it comes to thwarting the designs of the mullahs to become a nuclear power. Yes, we may hit enough of the Iranian nuclear sites, causing damage that would result in setting back their bomb making program temporarily. But at what cost to ourselves and our allies?

If Iran is going to get nuclear weapons despite anything we do short of invasion, regime change, and occupation, then wouldn’t be better to contain their ambitions to become a dominant regional power? The SSI study outlines several approaches we can take to deal with a nuclear Iran:

  • Engage in traditional deterrent strategies such as making it clear to Tehran that the use or threatening the use of nuclear weapons has reciprocal disadvantages to the regime.
  • Allow the development of nuclear weapons by states threatened by Iran such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
  • Employ a regional military strategy against the regime by building credible alliances.
  • Work with dissident groups to create an armed, united opposition that could affect regime change.

From my own point of view, there are a couple of troubling aspects to this strategy, not the least of which is the assumption that the Iranians are sane and would respond to our deterrence in more or less a rational manner.

One author of the study, Michael Eisenstadt (“Deter and Contain, pg. 225), goes so far as to say that the bloodcurdling language used by the mullahs is for all intents and purposes for domestic consumption and that when it comes to the language of deterrence, the Iranians sound rational:

The perception, however, of Iran as an irrational, undeterrable state with a high pain threshold is both anachronistic and wrong. Within the context of a relatively activist foreign policy, Iranian decision makers have generally sought to minimize risk by shunning direct confrontation and by acting through surrogates (such as the Lebanese Hizballah) or by means of stealth (Iranian small boat and mine operations against shipping in the Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War) in order to preserve deniability and create ambiguity about their intentions. Such behavior is evidence of an ability to engage in rational calculation and to accurately assess power relationships.

One might add, “you hope.” This piece was written before President Ahmadinjad ascended to power which may or may not have changed Mr. Eisenstadt’s tune.

Despite this, I still think military action against the Iranians may be necessary – but only if we get a clearer picture of the consequences of such actions. How much support would we have from the world? From other oil producing states? From our allies? What would Russia and China do? Would Arab governments support us?

All of these questions can be answered and work in our favor only through careful and patient diplomacy. From my point of view, military action wouldn’t make sense unless it improved the situation. If it can’t do that, then it would only highlight our impotence when Iran eventually got the bomb. And that could be just as dangerous as anything we can imagine the mad mullahs doing to us.

By: Rick Moran at 9:49 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (24)


Okay…So? I’m late with the Carnival this week. Sue and I have the Iranian Flu – it’s led by an irrational cough, fed by a religious fever, and it feels like I have a nuke hidden in my brain. It also wants to “wipe me off the map” as well.

Pretty weak, I know, but what the hell do you expect? I’m sick goddammit!

Besides, I had an impossible job trying to decide who to name as Cluebat of the Week. The nominations were coming fast and furious:

  • Ted Kennedy. With space on this blog at a premium, I would use half my bandwidth to describe the utter and complete fool Kennedy made of himself this week. For numerous examples, see the posts below.
  • How about the entire Democratic contingent on the Senate Judiciary Committee?
  • Iranian President Muhamar Ahmadinejad for denying that the Holocaust occurred. And for saying that the West is on its last legs. And for setting his beard on fire. (I made that last bit up but it sounds like something he would do).
  • The New York Times for its clueless coverage of several national issues including the Alito hearings.
  • Harry Belefonte for cozying up to that dirty necked galoot Hugo Chavez and saying that George Bush was the “world’s biggest terrorist.”

And on and on. I have three or four more but the winner going away this week is Russian Liberal and Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Vlad The Impaler had this to say in response to some mild criticism by Condi Rice of the recent Russian-Ukraine gas deal:

“If she has no man by her side at her age, he will never appear,” Zhirinovsky ranted on. “Condoleezza Rice needs a company of soldiers. She needs to be taken to barracks where she would be satisfied.

“Condoleezza Rice is a very cruel, offended woman who lacks men’s attention,” he added. “Such women are very rough. … They can be happy only when they are talked and written about everywhere.”

Russians are known for their rather earthy humor but suggesting that our Secretary of State become whatever the Russian version of a camp follower is goes a little beyond the pale.

The State Department (usually as clueless as old Vlad) actually said they wouldn’t dignify the comment with a response. Well, Jee-zus guys, what the hell could they say? “Thanks for the suggestion but the Secretary has a full schedule and declines the gracious offer of male companionship from several dozen husky Speznatz commandos.”

So for not only incredible cluelessness but for exhibiting very bad manners, Vladimir Zhirinovsky is awarded the coveted Cluebat of the Week.

Go ahead and check out the rest. Just pick and click to your heart’s content.

“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”
(Dame Edith Sitwell)

Hey Edith! I see you watched the Alito hearings on C-Span.


Mensa Barbie has a story illustrating the meaning of “Good Karma.” Or, just dumb luck depending on one’s point of view and religious beliefs.

From the “Why didn’t I have homework like this when I was in school” Department, XYBA has the goodies on a high school class that has the best damn teacher in the world…or, a lecherous creep depending on your religious beliefs.

Wonder Woman shows why Iranian President Ahmadinejad is either a crazy anti-semite or a prophet heralding the coming of the 12th Imam, depending on your point of view and religious beliefs. (Okay…enough of the gratuitous religion bashing. I’m starting to sound like a bleeding liberal).

Don Surber has an object lesson in what happens when people use chicken wings as weapons of mass destruction.

Two Dogs shows what happens when a million people caught up in religious ecstasy meet up with clueless authorities.

Mark Coffey has it! “The Absolute Worst Poem of 2006.”

Zantor speaks for all of us, taking down nosy hairdressers for their total cluelessness.

Our “It” girl Pamela is under attack (of a sort) from the fairy princess of the blogosphere, Jamie Wolcott, whose limp wristed attack on our intrepid bloggoddess reminds one of how very catty emasculated men can be and that “limp” describes other, smaller parts of his anatomy that Wolcott flails away at nightly while looking in a mirror.

Here’s your weekly menu of Carnival satire from our stable of ribald wits and delicious ironists.

Giacomo blogging at The Right Place presents the “Top Five Follow-up Questions Sen. Schumer will ask Judge Alito.”

Buckley F. Williams (whose piece on Jack Bauer is just too good) entertains us with the “Top 9 Statements That Would Make Ted Kennedy Cry.”

Our favorite hippie chick Peace Moonbeam is leading an army of liberation for PETA.

Mamacita has a road map (a la Mapquest) on “How to Get to the Supreme Court.”

Bill Karl has a great piece on Brokeback Mountain reviews by Democrats.

Alex helps Ted Kennedy write a children’s book.

Make sure you visit these sites often for some of the best satire on the web.

Doug at Below the Beltway has some local cluelessness from the Maryland legislature who wants to outlaw free markets.

Only Mr. Right can do justice to this bit of lunacy from Ted Kennedy. He used a quote from a satirical piece in Prospect Magazine to criticize Judge Alito. One more reason Ted was an inaugural member of the Cluebat Hall of Fame.

Orac covers Pat Robertson’s apology for revealing his conversation with the Almighty. Apparently, it was too late to prevent the Israelis from hurling a few lightening bolts of their own at the clueless reverend’s wallet.

In a similar vein, Jack Cluth pegs Robertson’s donor base; “When you see yourself as sitting atop the theological food chain, nothing else really matters, does it?” Yep.

Dan Melson has reasons why he’ll never join the Libertarian Party.

Tom Bowler sees the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee pining for Perry Mason…or maybe some other towering legal intellect on a par with Joe Biden – like Bugs Bunny.

Jimmie K. takes the Europeans to task for their utter cluelessnes in the face of radioactive mullahs in Iran.

Those pistol packing pachyderms at Elephants in Academia take a few well aimed shots at Duke University for inviting the terrorist kissing, ex-calypso crooner Harry Belefonte to their MLK Day celebration.

AJ Strata has your global warming debunking post for the day.

Different River shows why going green can sometimes lead to showing the true colors of eco-nuts; they’re so full of it their eyes are brown.

Jerry Monaco has an interesting take on the Iraq War; “Here, all along I thought that the official line was that we had to stop Saddam Hussein from disobeying the orders from his masters in Washington.” Toldjya it was different.

Sixteen Volts per Minute takes on the “fat acceptance movement.” Move over Jesse Jackson (or rather, your better stand up ‘cause their ain’t enough room) you got company.

Josh Cohen’s enlightening piece on taking quotes out of context is a must read.

Cao writes about the controversy over John Murtha’s purple hearts.

Jay wants to Stop the ACLU from continuing to support Hamas. This puts their suit to prevent the NSA from listening in on their conversations with these terrorists in just a little bit different light, yes?

Dangerous Dan takes on the myth of conservative media bias.

Miriam skewers James Frey, the writer who made up large parts of his autobiography, and notes some other serial liars who have penned biographies.

Mayor Marion Barry would be a Cluebat Hall of Famer by now if he ever got to the major leagues. Matt Johnston shows why.

Bergbikr at TMH Bacon Bits has some fun with the news that plants are putting out a helluva lot of methane.

Adam discovered a gig at a writer’s job bank that any blogger would find…er, shall we say, insulting.

Finally, here’s my piece on Vladimir Zhirinovsky and his rant against Condi Rice.

By: Rick Moran at 8:19 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (24)

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Diane, listen to me. I promise you on my life that I will get Derek back to you.”
Jack Bauer to Diane Huxley after telling her that her son Derek is a hostage.

One of the basic elements of tragedy is that the protagonist has a flaw in their character that leads to disaster. This “tragic flaw” in classical literature is usually related to one of the Seven Deadly Sins; pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth. However, it is also considered to be a character flaw to have an excessive amount of virtue. The logic is inescapable. If one has an excess of piety for instance, this could easily lead to the cardinal sin of pride.

Jack Bauer is a man of extremes. In that sense he is a one dimensional character, hardly a surprise given that we only know him by observing him on the absolute worst days of his life. But if Jack has one flaw in his character that has time and again led him into horrible situations it is that he has an excessive sense of honor. When Bauer gives his word you know he will move heaven and earth not to break it.

Last night’s episode illustrates that there are times when Jack would be better off not allowing his sense of honor to get in the way of his duty. When talking to Diane from his perch above the terminal and finding out that Derek is a hostage, Jack swears under his breath. He feels the weight of responsibility for seeing that Derek comes out of the hostage situation in one piece because he got the kid involved in the first place. And he knows that once made, his promise to Diane to get Derek out alive is going to complicate his duty to CTU and the rest of the hostages.

For many of us, giving a promise like that to a woman in Diane’s position would be simply a matter of reassuring a frantic mother. But for Jack, it is a blood oath that he has no thought of breaking. You know when he says it that he means exactly what he says. And like Jack, we know that it will get in the way of his responsibilities to CTU in helping them with the rescue assault.

The fact that in the end, Jack managed to be true to both his duty and his word came about thanks to some good luck and clever improvisation. But you have to wonder if in quieter times, Jack doesn’t reflect on incidents like this and curse himself for his excessive virtue.


After taking control of the airport terminal, we learn that the terrorists are demanding that the anti-terrorism treaty that is about to be signed between the Russian and US Presidents be repudiated, something President Jellyfish is unwilling to do. His reasons are typically selfish; his place in history would be diminished. How this guy ever got elected dogcatcher much less Vice President (for those unaware, he took over the Presidency last year when Air Force I crashed killing the President) is a mystery.

I’m sure many of you have noticed also that we don’t know exactly who these terrorists represent. Are they Chechens? Given that this is the major secessionist movement in the Russian Federation one would have to believe this to be the case. So why not say so? Guess what religion most Chechens belong to and then remember last year’s protest by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that Muslims were being depicted in a negative light and you have your answer.

After executing a hostage to prove they are serious, terrorist leader Anton singles out poor Derek and informs CTU that unless the treaty is repudiated in 15 minutes, young Derek will die. This galvanizes Jellyfish who demands that CTU mount an assault on the terrorists before the treaty is signed. Jack calls Bill and after brushing off Bill’s attempt to get him to surrender, he informs the CTU chief that he will remain at the airport and help coordinate the assault.

Meantime, Chloe returns to CTU headquarters while Fat Geek Edgar is trying to identify Anton thanks to some pictures that Jack took with his magic cellphone – you know, the one that never needs charging and never drops out. She is confronted by Bill:

BILL: Chloe, you managed to rack up 4 protocol violations.

CHLOE: Well, it’s a lot worse than that. If you count agency DOC codes it’s more like 26 violations. Now, do you want me to figure out whose face that is or I can go wait in the holding room?

What with Chloe’s new look hair and trimmed down bod, I think I’m in love.

While this little by play is going on at CTU, nutzo First Lady Martha is obsessing over her conversation with Palmer the night before he was killed. She slips away and, after threatening a White House employee in the bathroom, she gets a keycard to the archive room where she finds a hard copy of the conversation she had with Palmer, proving that the tape was altered. By who, she doesn’t know which is a break for Cummings who is starting to sweat bullets over Nutzo’s quest to prove she isn’t…well, nuts.

Back at the airport, poor Derek has minutes to live. Realizing that CTU Tactical will not be ready in time to save him, Jack hits upon a brilliant idea – a diversion. He downloads a picture of one of the terrorist’s vest detonators. Although “off protocol,” Chloe agrees to help Jack try to set the vest off once she sees its Derek under the gun. With some geek magic, she and Spencer are able to get the code with which Jack can detonate the vest remotely using his cell phone. Sure enough, just before Anton can pull the trigger, Jack is able to blow up a terrorist’s vest and in the resulting confusion, Derek is given a temporary reprieve.

CTU Tactical is just about ready to begin the rescue operation when they lose contact with Jack. It seems that Cummings called the Mystery Man and told him all about Jack and the assistance he was giving CTU with the planned assault. MM then calls Anton who turns on a device that blocks Jack’s cell phone signal. Bill reluctantly aborts the mission while Curtis comes up with a new plan. And if that wasn’t bad enough Anton also got word about Jack’s special relationship with Derek and calls for Jack to surrender or the poor kid is toast. Given his promise to Diane to make sure that Derek gets out alive, Jack has no choice and gives up, placing the hostages, CTU tactical, and the entire United States government in danger.

When he finds out that the US government is going ahead with the treaty signing, Anton offs another hostage. I don’t know about anyone else but when the terrorist killed those two hostages, I felt mighty uncomfortable to think that I could be in a situation like that someday. Um..I think that was the point, yes?

At the treaty signing ceremony, while awaiting word on the rescue Jellyfish hears for the first time who CTU’s “inside man” is at the airport. Once again, Jellyfish goes ballistic and demands Bill tell him why someone who is a suspect in the assassination of former President Palmer is helping CTU. When Bill says that the story will take too much time, Jellyfish snaps “Talk faster.” What. A. Tool.

And following the second hostage execution, Jellyfish begins to revert to form and starts to quiver like a schoolgirl, whining about his legacy and questioning whether or not it was worth it. It was up to Mike Novik to put a little steel in the President’s spine by reminding him of his responsibility. I fully expect Mike to quit in disgust at some point during the day. He no longer tries to hide the look of scorn on his face when dealing with Logan.

Using Derek as a club, Anton forces Jack to tell him the plans for the assault and then has him call CTU giving an alternate scenario courtesy of Anton. CTU Tactical is walking into a trap and Jack tries to warn them by using a “duress code” which in this case were the words “flank 2 position.” No one at CTU picks up on it however because Jack has been gone 18 months and the agency has changed protocols.

It is at this point that we meet Samwise – er, Lin McGill played by veteran Hobbit Sean Astin. McGill is a bureaucratic pustule, a pimple of a man whose excessive regard for form over function threatens to get everyone killed. And Bill, who is something of a bureaucrat himself, swallows hard, toadies up and grovels before the interloper from Division.

The only redeeming feature found in Mr. McGill so far is a fanatical desire to review everything – the attack plan, protocols, and yes – even conversations between CTU and Jack.

The treaty signing begins with Jellyfish wringing his hands about the hostages in private but talking tough in public. The Russian President informs him that if the hostages are killed, the treaty will be a mockery as will he and Jellyfish. Don’t know about the Putinesque Russian but Jellyfish doesn’t need any help looking like an idiot.

At the airport, Anton is told about Chevensky’s suicide and asks for “the keycard.” He passes the card to a hostage “sleeper” and Jack, who never seems to miss a trick, makes a note of the exchange.

Curtis has reconfigured the assault plan that if carried through would lead to catastrophe. Anton forces Jack to give the go ahead and the countdown begins. Then just before the assault gets underway, McGill bursts into the situation room with the information about Jack using the lapsed duress code. Just in time, Bill aborts the mission. Instead, Curtis calls for a return to the original plan.

As 13 terrorists wait for CTU tactical to burst through one wall, they instead are shocked when the assault occurs damn near behind them. In perfect flanking position, the TAC team makes short work of the terrorists with help from Jack who pulls a Houdini and gets out of his cuffs and offs two of the thugs. Seeing Anton about ready to kill himself, Jack pulls a Roy Rogers and shoots the piece out of his hand. This doesn’t deter Anton who crawls to the body of a dead terrorist wearing a suicide vest and blows himself up.

In the confusion, the sleeper has escaped despite Jack searching for him. And before young Derek leaves the terminal, he and Jack exchange a full body hug, which means that before these 24 hours are over, Jack will probably be called on once again to save the kid’s butt.

Meanwhile, the sleeper has made it to another part of the airport where a group of terrorists have unearthed some kind of container. The keycard opens it and what we see isn’t good; about a dozen cannisters containing something that the men needed gas masks in order to check out. The sleeper informs the Mystery Man that the cargo is safe and they are loading it for transport.

And Martha? She has the hard copy of her conversation with Palmer but won’t tell anyone about it except the President. While waiting for Jellyfish to indulge what he thinks are her fantasies, Cummings attacks the First Lady of the United States, chloroforms her, and steals the document containing her conversation with Palmer. Let’s hope she made a copy.


A ghoulish night for the grim reaper. The terrorists execute three hostages. Thirteen terrorists bite the dust with Jack accounting for three souls faithfully departed.


SHOW: 25


Spencer redeemed himself slightly by helping out Chloe with the vest detonation project. But he only did it because Chloe gave him that “Come Hither” geek look. He still could be the mole.

NOTE: Long time readers will note that I have changed the photo of Jack Bauer at the top of this post. This is due to the incessant whining of Bombtruck at Anklebiting Pundits who says the old picture made Jack look like a wuss. I happen to think it made Jack look like a handsome wuss but I am giving into Bombtruck because he is frequent commenter in the 24 forum at ABP. Besides, it’s never a good idea to get someone named “Bombtruck” mad at you.

By: Rick Moran at 8:06 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (34)

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This article originally appears in The American Thinker

He was a not a very tall man, standing barely 5’ 7” , but he was powerfully built. His barrel chest and broad shoulders gave the impression of a man possessed of great strength while his short gait and cat-like movements denoted a man of purpose. Surprisingly graceful, he had large, delicate hands that moved hypnotically when he spoke.

And when he spoke, the thunder rolled.

It is a constant source of amazement to me that even today, more than 3 decades after his assassination, Martin Luther King can be a source of controversy. I attribute it partly to the fact that so many alive today did not see him in the flesh but rather have only glimpsed his image in the grainy, black and white kinescopes and primitive video tapes that survive him. That, and the complicated legacy he left behind allows those so inclined to associate Dr. King with all manner of moral and political sins that like it or not, was part of the totality of his persona.

Regardless of what you think of King as a man or a political icon, as a figure in American history he was and remains a giant, easily as important as most of the founding fathers. In fact, from my own perspective, only George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had a greater impact on our history. If Washington can be called the “Father of our Country” and Jefferson the “Father of American Ideals”, then certainly Martin Luther King should be known as “The Father of the American Conscience.”

He was that and more. In a very real way, Martin Luther King saved the soul of America – saved it from the ruinous, scandalous, shameless practice of segregating human beings simply based on the color of their skin. His fight was not with white America but rather with history itself, a history that trapped Americans of all colors behind bars erected 300 years before he was born when the first black slaves landed on the pristine shores of the New World. America, which held out the prospect to remake the world, from that day forward failed to live up to its promise as a place where mankind could start anew. By allowing the sin of slavery to take root and flourish, our ancestors condemned the rest of us to living under the weight of three centuries and counting of unconscionable injustice, discrimination, and hate.

Quite a burden, that. And in his own way, Dr. King sought to lift that burden by holding a mirror up to the rest of us while asking simple, straightforward questions.

Does “All men are created equal” mean anything or are they just pretty words? Does “Equal justice under the law” have any significance or is it a lie? And most importantly, how can you love your neighbor while denying him the basic human dignity of recognizing his worth as an individual American citizen?

At bottom, King’s message was firmly rooted in Christianity and the bible. But it was the political ramifications of King’s ideas that were seen as a threat. A century after the Civil War, the south was still reeling from the effects of the aftermath of that conflict as the former slaves moved from bondage to the serfdom of second class citizenship. Codified into law, melded into the landscape by tradition and habit, Jim Crow was a millstone around the neck of southerners as “Whites Only” signs served to enforce the degradation and add to the indignities suffered by people of color.

Describing injustice was easy. As a minister, King’s thundering sermons on segregation from his pulpit at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church were filled with dark biblical images which provided a solid, moral justification for his campaign. But it was in the realm of politics that the problem itself would have to be solved. And in that arena, King proved himself one of the canniest and shrewdest political operators of the 20th century.

King was one of the first politicians to recognize the extraordinary power of television. Unlike Eisenhower or even Kennedy, King saw TV as a medium where emotions could be manipulated to serve a political purpose. Where Kennedy saw television as a vehicle to enhance his celebrity, King saw it as a way to shame the vast majority of citizens who were either truly unaware of didn’t care about the plight of their fellow Americans of color in the south. To that end, King’s protests were staged to provoke a response from their primary tormentors – the southern authorities – who King knew would fight tooth and nail to hang on to Jim Crow. He recognized early on that the tactics of non-violence in the face of extreme provocation would place the bulk of the American people on his side. In the end, the moral courage shown by blacks across the South who endured the unspeakable tactics of the authorities proved King right.

As an orator, King had no equal in the 20th century. Blessed with a mellifluous voice and a razor sharp pen, King’s speeches not only inspired, they provoked. They got people angry. They made people think. In the end, he moved millions with his words. His “I have a dream speech” delivered in front of the Lincoln memorial before a nationwide audience brilliantly set forth in easy to understand and emotionally appealing language a cultural and political realization of all that America stands for. The speech has been called the greatest political testament in American history in that it calls forth our better angels to give dignity to all – white and black – in a spirit of Christian charity and patriotic devotion. For above all, the speech was quintessentially American in flavor; optimistic, looking toward the future, and a call to action that evoked the spirit of patriots going back to our founding.

Toward the end of his life, King’s message began to get lost in the cacophony of competing voices in the civil rights movement that called for more direct action and confrontational tactics with white authorities. While Jim Crow was legally gone, there was much work left to be done and many believed that the path to justice for all African Americans, both north and south, was to be found in more aggressive voices who sought economic justice for the nation’s largely minority poor. King recognized this and sought without much success to moderate some of the more radical calls for economic revolution. It will always be a source of speculation as to whether or not King could have guided the civil rights movement through this enormously troubled time of riots and violence. Some historians point to his declining influence and even open opposition on the part of some in the civil rights movement as proof that eventually, King would have been marginalized as a political figure.

Given King’s enormous talents as an organizer and politician, one could make a strong argument against that notion. It is rather other aspects of his complex legacy that we would probably see today as problematic. His support for affirmative action has been questioned despite the fact that he clearly saw the necessity for compensatory treatment in order to “level the playing field” for African Americans:

“Whenever this issue [compensatory treatment] is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree, but should ask for nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but is not realistic. For it is obvious that if a man enters the starting line of a race three hundred years after another man, the second would have to perform some incredible feat in order to catch up.”

“A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.”

The real question is would Dr. King approve of what “affirmative action” has become. It now has little to do with “compensatory treatment” and much more to do with disguised quotas, exclusionary practices, and reverse discrimination. Somehow, I don’t think the man who said “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” would agree with the way that affirmative action programs are administered today.

As for the rest of his legacy, there will always be those who point to failings in King’s personal and political life as proof that he is somehow unworthy of our devotion and respect. King was not a saint. Nor was he perfect. He was after all, human. Even his association with suspected communists could be understood in terms of the struggle he was carrying on. King used the raw materials at hand to fashion a coalition to change society. The fact that some people in that coalition had ties to the Communist Party-USA was irrelevant to King who despised the Communist party’s atheism. Even Hunter Pitt Odell, a close aide of King’s and suspected communist, was kept on despite the urging of both Bobby and John Kennedy to fire him. King was unwilling to jettison a loyal aide simply because it angered the government.

The real legacy of Martin Luther King is not in his speeches or what the civil rights movement eventually became – just another group of special pleaders grasping for favors from government. Instead, it is in his ideas for a just and free society where King still lives in our hearts and minds. King’s otherworldly courage in taking on 300 years of oppression while holding malice towards none and charity for all remains one of the most inspiring achievements in American history. For that, it seems the least we can do to honor his birthday once a year and reflect on what a different country indeed the United States of America would be if Dr. King had never been born.

By: Rick Moran at 8:37 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

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Palmer assassinated!
Michelle ditto!
Chloe gets her groove on!
Jack a patsy!

And so, another one of those days begins for our dedicated yet angst ridden friends at CTU. If nothing else, the first two hours proved that the writers have not lost their touch in generating excitement, confusion, and gobs of speculation about where this season’s storyline will take Jack Bauer and through him, we the people of the United States.

This time around, we already know the identity of a high level mole which should make for some suitably maddening viewing as CTU peels back the layers of the conspiracy to try and unmask him. And there should also be a traitor at CTU given that the same data mining operation that led to the discovery by the government that Jack Bauer was alive was probably also run by the terrorists. Besides, what would a season of 24 be without an internal mole hunt?

And a great big shoutout to the producers for spending a little money to bring back Palmer and Michelle just to kill them off. It’s that kind of attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from the show. Also kudos to Dennis Haysbert and Reiko Aylesworth for agreeing to be killed off on camera. The way these things are usually done on TV is that the characters are whacked out of camera range because the actors either don’t agree to come back or the producers don’t even bother. It certainly heightened the emotional impact to see characters that the audience had come to know and love so shockingly killed.


It’s been 18 months since faking his death and Jack has settled into his exile as a roughneck, renting a room from the attractive Diane whose teenage son Derek is way too nosy for his own good about Jack’s past. One gets the distinct impression that the writers don’t like teenagers very much given that they usually end up dead or up to their eyeballs in trouble. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty realistic assessment of what happens to teenagers generally.

After being grilled by Derek about his past at the breakfast table, who should give Jack a call to pass the time of day but Chloe. It seems that after a wild night of geek passion with fellow CTU analyst Spencer, Chloe was called into headquarters to work on the Palmer assassination. Upon receiving a call from Fat Geek Edgar (who has had a crush on Chloe since last year) informing her of the death of Michelle and Tony’s critical injuries, she puts two and two together and realizes that of all the people on planet earth who know that Jack Bauer is still alive, she’s the only one who is still unscathed. That appears about to change as she is suddenly being chased through suburban Los Angeles by a rather large mean looking bald man, the lack of hair a sure sign that he’s a terrorist.

After temporarily ditching Baldy, Chloe makes her desperate call to Jack. Obviously bored with working on oil rigs, Jack jumps back into the game with both feet in order to save Chloe from the thugs and get to the bottom of his friend Palmer’s assassination. The ease with which Jack slid back into his persona as the angel of death makes one realize that Jack was truly born to end lives.

Stealing a helicopter – but not before nosy kid Derek who followed Jack to the helipad is forced to come along for the ride – Jack races to LA to save Chloe.

Meanwhile, President Jellyfish is anticipating the arrival of the Russian President and the signing of some kind of arms control agreement. The assassination of Palmer has forced CTU to recommend he cancel the ceremony but Jellyfish won’t hear if it. The guy is a weasel about almost everything except that he tends to dig in his heels and take a stand on all the wrong things. Witness last year as CTU was closing in on the terrorist Marwan when inexplicably, Jellyfish insisted that Jack be arrested for disobeying his orders. The fact that the cur had only minutes before been weeping on Palmer’s shoulder shows him for what he is; a blustering, insincere blowhard who no one has any confidence in.

His wife Mrs. Jellyfish is, to be kind, loonier than a June bug. After getting all dolled up for the ceremony, she gazes into the mirror saying “I look like a wedding cake” and then proceeds to dunk her head in the sink.

Of course, she has information that could begin the process of unmasking the conspiracy but nobody believes her because she’s a nutcase. That, and the intervention of sleazeball Chief of Staff Walt Cummings who not only is a traitorous wretch but has awful taste in suits. Cummings alters the tape of a conversation between Palmer and the First Lady where the former President made an appointment to talk about a matter of “national security.” Ultimately, this was the reason for his assassination. And, as we discover, the car bomb that killed Michelle and injured Tony as well as the targeting of Chloe are all because the terrorists want to pin the crime on Jack.

Back at CTU headquarters, a security tape is found that clearly implicates Jack as the assassin. By the Book Bill Buchanan initiates a manhunt for Jack despite the protestations from Jack’s former flame Audrey. It’s interesting that Audrey has forgiven Jack his torturing her estranged husband as well as preventing doctors from saving his life at gunpoint. Can’t wait for the first meeting between Diane and Audrey. That should be an interesting conversation.

Jack rescues Chloe while killing two terrorists and executing another. The triggerman in the Palmer assassination gives Jack the bare bones outline of the plot before Jack violates his constitutional rights permanently. Given Jack’s body count, it was interesting how shocked I personally was at the cold blooded murder of the triggerman. There was no satisfaction in it, just a sadness that Jack actually pulled the trigger.

Jack’s next move was obvious, right? Go to the scene of the Palmer assassination to look over the “clues.” This is why I’ve learned to suspend belief when watching the show. For Jack to infiltrate the scene of the crime makes no sense except if you look at it as a dramatic device to put Jack into more hot water.

Jack, Chloe, and Derek end up in the parking garage of the apartment building where Palmer’s brother Wayne lives and where the ex-President was killed. Jack manages to to make it to the crime scene, slipping into the study where he discovers an encrypted page from Palmer’s autobiography that contains a reference to “Chevensky” who turns out to be a baggage inspector at a small airport outside of LA. Enlisting the help of the President’s brother Wayne, Jack slips out of the apartment just in time as CTU has discovered that Chloe has logged in remotely to the CTU database and sics the FBI on the trio.

Somehow, Jack and Derek elude the dragnet by getting out of the parking garage on foot. Chloe was not as fortunate. Caught and cuffed, Chloe refuses to tell Bill that Jack went to the airport to follow up on the Chevensky lead. Taken back to CTU, Chloe is ushered into the dreaded “holding room” where she will probably be subject to Dr. Feelgood’s tender ministrations.

Back at the Presidential retreat, the Russian President is minutes away from landing when word comes that terrorist chatter indicates an attack on the summit. Jellyfish insists that his moment in the sun not be ruined by a bad photo op and refuses to alter any of the plans.What a piece of work.

In the meantime, we meet a shadowy mystery man who seems to be directing the terrorists from some kind of operations center. Could it be CTU? I’m sure we’ll find out eventually but we do discover that the target of the attack is not the summit but rather the very airport where Jack has gone to follow up the Chevensky lead and drop off nosy kid Derek into the waiting arms of his mother. Jack’s confession to Diane about deceiving her is rather perfunctory but that’s because he has bigger fish to fry. After saying goodbye to Derek who now realizes Jack is pretty cool because he’s some kind of secret agent, Jack makes his way to the office of Mr. Chevensky. No sooner does Jack start to beat the information out of the hapless baggage inspector than the terrorists hit the terminal holding dozens of innocent people hostage including Derek who saw the terrorists walk into the terminal and tried to warn Jack.

With Jack’s back turned, Chevensky bites down on a cyanide pill and dies thus depriving Jack of his only lead. But Jack is right where he wants to be – in an airport full of terrorists who no doubt will soon get a taste of Jack’s idea of rough justice.


RIP Palmer and Michelle. Jack whacks three terrorists and Chevensky committs suicide. Terrorists pick off two security guards at the airport.

Jack: 3

Show: 8

I thought seriously of giving Chloe half a kill for her expert marksmanship in gutting the triggerman but if we started to give out half kills, there would be no end to it.


Too early for intelligent speculation but hey! We don’t call this the Nuthouse for nothing.

I’ll take Spencer as the CTU mole. How did the terrorists know Chloe had left her apartment? Someone could have called and Spencer was the only one who knew. That plus he acted rather strangely when Fat Geek Edgar was questioning him about Chloe’s whereabouts.

Makes sure you stop by tomorrow for analysis and speculation from tonight’s 2 hour extravaganza!

By: Rick Moran at 8:26 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (32)

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This article originally appears in The American Thinker

In the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks, it became fashionable to say that America had changed and that we’d never be the same. In the grossest sense, this idea manifests itself in the realization (by most of us) that we are at war and that this conflict is unlike any other in which America has ever been involved. And what makes this war so different from others in our history is the nature of our enemy and their fanatical desire to kill as many of us as their evil designs will allow. Our homeland is under attack and given the destructive power of our enemies wish list of weapons, it becomes absolutely essential that they be thwarted in their plans to attack us lest their success be the ruin of us all.

The stakes just can’t get any higher. Win or perish are the stark choices facing all of us in the War on Terror. And as Samuel Johnson once said “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Those words could be emblazoned across the chest of the fictional hero Jack Bauer of Fox’s pulse pounding action series 24.

Make no mistake. In more serene times Jack Bauer would be considered something of a thug. He routinely tortures suspects to get information. He has a nasty habit of shooting first and asking questions later. His respect for the Constitutional niceties with regard to due process, search warrants, innocence until proved guilty, and many other perceived “rights” that criminals have come to take advantage of in our legal system is, shall we say, lacking. In short, Jack is a civil libertarian’s nightmare whose predilection for violence and rejection of established law enforcement procedures and policies would ordinarily make him a candidate for the measurement of prison coveralls rather than the cult hero he has become.

It would be an exercise in sophistry to try and make too much of Jack Bauer and his impact on American culture. He is, after all just a character in a TV show. But at the same time, it would be a mistake to underestimate the powerful hold that Jack has on our emotions as we follow his adventures week to week. We watch spellbound as he relentlessly pursues the enemies of the United States with a frightening determination and dedication that brooks no opposition from friend or foe. His disputes with the national security bureaucracy are fought with the same tenacity and brutal win-at-all-costs mindset with which he battles the terrorists seeking to destroy us. In this respect, Bauer is a man outside the law rather than someone of the law.

Sound familiar? It should. Hollywood has made a living making heroes of such men although not quite in the same context. Jack can best be compared to the small town sheriff who finds himself up against the ruthless outlaw gang as Gary Cooper played in the classic western High Noon. Cooper’s portrayal of Marshall Will Kane, who must vanquish a gang of criminals bent on revenge on the day of his wedding, had many of the same points and counterpoints found in the character of Jack Bauer. Cooper is driven to confront the outlaws rather than run away due to an overriding sense of duty. He is willing to risk his marriage, his happiness, and his life because he realizes that it is he alone who can stop the thugs from taking control of the town and terrorizing the citizens. And in order to do this, he is willing to employ violence to defeat the threat of greater violence from the outlaws.

This lone hero motif employed in many classic westerns is a large part of what makes the genre so attractive to us. It hearkens back to an earlier period in American history when our icons were the great hunter-heroes of the plains and the mountains. Daniel Boone was perhaps the first truly American hero, lionized in dime novels of the time as a great hunter and Indian fighter. In real life, Boone’s true story was certainly dramatic enough. With a single minded determination, he hacked a settlement out of the Kentucky wilderness while in the process losing a brother and two sons in skirmishes with the Indians. But the legend of Daniel Boone played up his prowess with the rifled musket in bringing down bears and “panthers” as well as his skills as a scout and guide. His battles with the Indians – in American eyes the terrorists of the 18th century – always ended in a satisfying manner with Boone victorious. Not exactly an accurate recitation of the facts, but nevertheless indicative of what the public craved at the turn of the 19th century.

Later hunter heroes like Kit Carson and Davey Crockett were also portrayed as loners fighting against both nature and hostile Indians. In Crockett’s case, his named loomed largest during the entire century as his exploits – both real and imagined – were told and retold in countless books and magazines. His career became a quintessential American story. Running away at age 11 because he didn’t want to go to school, Crockett’s life story from hardscrabble beginnings to hunter, Indian fighter, Congressman, and finally his death at the Alamo captured the imagination of 19th century America. Crockett’s nobility has been tarnished recently thanks to some first class research on who he really was. But the 19th century version of the man calls to mind many of the traits found in Jack Bauer; a sense of mission, a will to succeed, the ability to live alone without so much as a “by your leave” from government or anyone else for that matter. And Crockett’s famous motto, “Always be sure you’re right; then go ahead,” is reminiscent of the same kind of hard headedness we find in Jack Bauer.

The fact that a psychiatrist would have a field day analyzing Bauer’s motivations for what he does should not diminish our admiration for the way Jack pursues the terrorists. Unlike most government bureaucrats, he takes personal responsibility for thwarting the terrorist’s designs. Because of this, he is the bane of his superiors who always complain about Bauer not being a “team player.” And his colleagues at CTU, recognizing that bureaucratic inertia (that Jack fights with as much zest as he does the terrorists) could allow the enemy to succeed, are more than willing to assist him clandestinely in his efforts to circumvent the system when necessary. The fierce loyalty Jack engenders among this crew is the result of Bauer’s willingness to take the heat when things go bad as well as his demonstrated capacity for helping them deal with some of their emotional problems that make up many of the sub-plots in the series. At bottom, Jack is genuinely a nice fellow. He always says “please” and “thank you” when asking for the latest satellite intel or some other information gleaned from the vast array of gee-whiz gadgets used at CTU headquarters.

This makes Jack’s transmogrification into an avenging American angel when in the field that much more of a contrast. The fact that Bauer routinely tortures suspects to get information would normally seem troubling except that the audience recognizes that he needs the information to save thousands of lives. An example would be in last year’s first episode. Following a train wreck that was staged to steal a briefcase containing a device that could melt down every nuclear reactor in the country, a captured terrorist was being interrogated at CTU headquarters. Knowing that another terrorist attack was perhaps minutes away and with the suspect being uncooperative, Jack bursts into the interrogation room, shoots the terrorist in the knee, and starts firing questions at the wounded man. Needless to say, the terrorist became much more cooperative and gave up valuable information.

Is this a case where the ends justify the means? I daresay that Jack Bauer thinks so. What’s more, Jack seems remarkably untroubled when he acts in this way. There are no angst ridden soliloquies about right and wrong or nightmares about the dozens of dead bodies that trails in his wake wherever he goes. For Bauer, the ends and the means are exactly the same thing. He has taken it upon himself to stop the terrorists from succeeding. In that context, he will do anything to win.

It is tremendously satisfying to witness this kind of certitude. For Bauer, there is no gray area in this war, only black and white, good guys and bad. This attitude is something that the left in America has a hard time coming to grips with. This is not surprising given modern liberalisms need to complicate everything so as to obscure even the simplest of questions like whose side they are on.

That said, MSNBC’s Craig Crawford recently compared the tactics used by Jack Bauer with actions taken by President Bush to safeguard the homeland”

...I haven’t seen rogue U.S. anti-terrorism agent Jack Bauer stop once for a court warrant—not even when he sawed off the head of an informant he was interrogating. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard the Constitution mentioned a single time as Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, repeatedly breaks the rules to thwart terrorist plots.

This is how the President wants us to see the real world. Indeed, George Bush is the Jack Bauer of presidential power. There are no rules in Bush’s world when it comes to the War on Terror—only wimps like the whining bureaucrats on “24” balk at torture, spying, propaganda, whatever it takes.

“Whatever it takes” indeed. While Crawford’s juvenile comparison with Bush is laughable in any context, he may have inadvertently revealed a great truth about the President and his similarity to Jack Bauer: they are able to clearly distinguish between good and evil, between who is right in this war and who is wrong. Crawford and his ilk can’t. This makes Crawford not only someone to be laughed at but someone to be feared as well. For if we ever have a government headed by a President who sees gray where there is clearly black and white, the chances of enjoying both liberty and security in the United States will disappear as surely as Jack Bauer will end up stretching the Constitution to its breaking point this season in order to protect us from disaster.

Of course, Bauer doesn’t stretch the Constitution. He shatters it into a million pieces. But the questions raised by Bauer’s actions are legitimate. How far do we go in protecting the country? The tension between protecting civil liberties and protecting the homeland will always be with us as long as there is freedom in America. And for that, we can be thankful that there are people like Jack Bauer somewhere out there who are protecting us. They probably will not utilize his methods. But we hope they have his determination and will to win when it comes to foiling the plots of our enemies.

Torn as America is between getting the job done at all costs while upholding American ideals, Jack simply can’t help himself. He necessarily sees the world in stark relief, a place populated by some really nasty thugs who don’t even blink at the idea of murdering hundreds of thousands of people. We recoil at some of Jack’s tactics. But we recognize that Jack is the guy doing what needs to be done to keep us safe. This makes Jack Bauer the perfect hero in a post 9/11 America. He doesn’t engage in any kind of self destructive hand wringing about not being able to do anything about the threat. His doubts – if he has any – have been left on the cutting room floor. He sacrifices his personal life for the greater good. In this respect, he is a true patriot.

In the end, it becomes enormously entertaining to watch Jack Bauer. His exploits become a safe outlet for our fears about a terrorist attack as well as perhaps the tug of war between civil liberties and national security.

To that end, I plan on never missing a single installment.

By: Rick Moran at 12:47 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)

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Rex “The Wonder Dog” Grossman will need to grow up in a hurry if the Bears are to have a shot at beating the experienced Panthers.

Soldiers Field in Chicago will be packed and noisy tomorrow when my beloved Bears take on Carolina in what promises to be a tight, hard hitting defensive struggle.

The game features two teams who are similar in almost every respect except for one major difference; Carolina has tons of playoff experience while my beloveds are mostly playoff neophytes. This could be a telling difference especially at quarterback where Jake Delhomme is 4-1 in playoff games while Chicago’s Rex “The Wonder Dog” Grossman has played in exactly 8 games in his entire pro career.

This is why most analysts are favoring the Panthers in this game despite the suffocating nature of the Bear’s defense. The current line has the Bear’s 3 point dogs which sounds about right with the over-under at an anemic 30.5. If I were a betting man, I’d give the points and go over. Weather forecast calls for sun and near 40 degrees with strong winds. Given that Soldiers Field is on the lakefront, those winds could play havoc with the passing game of both clubs not to mention making the kicking game an adventure.

The key then for both teams is to stop the run. Here is where my beloveds may be in trouble because Carolina looked awesome running the ball last week in their shutout rout of the Giants. All year long, the Bear defense has been susceptible to the cut back run. Good cutback runners like Gado of Green Bay and Bennett of Minnesota killed the Bears this year. The reason is the over aggressiveness of the Chicago defense which allows a good runner like the Panther’s DeShaun Foster to have patience while waiting for the defense to overrun the play and then reversing direction where there are huge holes to be found. To counter this, the defensive ends for the Bears must maintain their discipline and stop the backside cut by staying at home. If Foster can cut back with any success, the Bears are sunk.

For the Bears, Thomas Jones must have a big day to take pressure off of Wonder Dog. Jones must hit the whole quickly and decisively, taking what the defense gives him rather than trying to break every run. A key will be third down. If the Bears find themselves in too many third and longs – say more than 5 yards – their chances will diminish accordingly.

The Bears passing attack must have consistency. Wonder Dog cannot throw any interceptions as turnovers will probably decide the game. And Muhammed must have the ball thrown to him early and often. The guy is a first down machine and in order to sustain an attack, my beloveds will have to rely on the Pro Bowl receiver.

The Panthers meanwhile have to find a way to get superstar Steve Smith the ball in the open field. During the Panther’s 13-3 loss against the Bears, Smith had 14 catches but was contained nicely by the Chicago D-backs who prevented Smith from getting many yards after the catch. That must change for the Panthers to have an effective attack.

The Bears offensive line does not fear the Panther’s D-line but perhaps they should. Look for the Carolina ends to get more upfield pressure on the quarterback. And I suspect that Carolina will throw the kitchen sink at Wonder Dog as far as blitzes are concerned. Rex must be able to get a quick read and get rid of the ball in a hurry to avoid being sacked. Not an easy thing to do under the pressure of a playoff game.

Special teams edge must go to the Panthers as the Bear’s unit has been wildly inconsistent both in coverage and in returns all year. And if field goals decide it, bet on Carolina’s John Kasay who is one of the best in the business.

The one intangible that plays to the Bear’s favor is that Chicago still doesn’t feel it is getting any respect. This is a powerful motivational tool if Coach of the Year Lovie Smith can tap into it. For Carolina, there is the obvious motive of revenge to consider. Plus, some Chicago players like defensive end Adewale Ogunleye have foolishly been talking a little smack this week. Let’s hope that stupidity doesn’t come back to haunt the Bears.

Given all that can go wrong, I have to reluctantly agree with most of the experts that the Bears have little chance in this game.

Panthers – 23
Bears – 17

By: Rick Moran at 12:57 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (9)

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