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Arafat



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The year of the Khartoum murders was 1973, not 1993.  I’ve fixed the typo — sorry about that.

Top Ten New York Times Lowlights



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The folks at www.timeswatch.com put together a useful year end summary, here.

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RECOMMENDATION



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In the Christmas phone chat with my sister across the pond, she very strongle recommended the 2005 BBC production of Bleak House.  She says it’s superb, and her taste in these things is pretty reliable.  I have ordered all 3 DVDs from Netflix.

Web Briefing: December 22, 2014

Noah’s Dark



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…materials.  Nice to get a mention in Gideon’s blog, and even nicer to see that Noah got his 2006 prediction about me wrong:   “14. John Derbyshire will actually read the first novel in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, and discover that he likes it very much. He will speculate aloud in The Corner about whether he is unconsciously trying to get himself fired. Fortunately for his wife and children, he’ll decide he doesn’t like the third book in the series, and is kept on.”   I really should look at the Pullman books, but there are some deterrents.  Mainly that, in spite of having become a nullity faith-wise, I still don’t like dogmatic atheism any more than I ever did, & I understand that’s Pullman’s underlying premise.  As to those speculations:  They are my readers’, not mine.  I’ve always said just exactly what I think, without much reflection, and God bless NRO for letting me do so (albeit with an occasional–VERY occasional–slash of the editrix’s scissors).

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STRANGE BEDFELLOWS



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Arnaud de Borchgrave writes:

There is a growing convergence of opinion among the leaders of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt that only an aerial bombardment of 17 known nuclear sites could retard Iran’s nuclear ambitions by five to 10 years. One U.S. intel topsider remarked (not for attribution), “If we can gain five years that way, it’s worth considering.” He speculated Iran’s moderate reformers could gain power in the interim. … A new existential alliance appears to be in gestation against Iran’s nuclear program. …

Iran is honing its retaliatory capabilities. Several hundred Hamas operatives recently left Gaza for Iran for special training by Revolutionary Guards, according to Israeli intelligence. Iran has also re-equipped Hezbollah in Lebanon with thousands of missiles and rockets to replace those fired at Israeli targets for 34 days last summer.

Next on the Mideast’s geopolitical menu: protracted sectarian warfare, a spike in oil prices, escalating to a Saudi-Iranian confrontation over the future of Iraq.

More here.

Grateful



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Contrary to the customary downbeat drumbeat of economic decline, as once again illustrated by David Wessel’s piece in today’s Wall Street Journal (this guy is the paper’s pessimist-in-chief—when he’s not waging class warfare, he is prayerfully forecasting economic gloom) the most recent numbers actually show a pickup in manufacturing and a bottoming in the housing slump

Simply put, there ain’t gonna be any recession.

Bear Stearns chief U.S. economist, John Ryding, is now predicting 2.75 percent real GDP growth in Q4. I would label that “Goldilocks plus.”

And there ain’t no inflation either, as revealed by the recent consumer price reports which showed declining inflation trends.

Of course, the absolutely phenomenal Goldilocks stock market has been telling us this all along over the past six months.

As economist Arthur Laffer has noted, prosperity-inducing government policies remain in place: low tax rates, steady money, no re-regulation of business, and free trade.

(Speaking of Art, his appearances on CNBC’s Kudlow & Company in recent weeks have all greatly illuminated the interpretation of political and economic information. Many thanks to Mr. Laffer, as well as our many talented guests—both liberal and conservative—for their wonderful contributions.)

From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful to everyone who has worked on this show, appeared on this show, and to our viewers for giving us terrific ratings this holiday season and throughout 2006.

I’m in that kind of mood this afternoon, as the end of the year approaches. I am ever grateful. This great country of ours provides so many incredible blessings and so many wonderful opportunities.

It is a miracle.

Truly, the greatest story never told.

Edwards Picks a #2



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The liveblogging on his site didn’t work, so

The good news is that we were overwhelmed by the number of visitors to our blog this afternoon.  

The bad news is that we had to postpone our liveblog.  We will definitely reschedule, but we did do some liveblogging over at Daily Kos

Thank you for your patience.

Thread Opener and the rest of Team Internet

One Thing We Know This Year (That We Pretended Not to Know Since 1973)



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Yasser Arafat orchestrated and ordered the murders of two United States diplomats (as well as one Belgian diplomat) in Sudan in March 1973.

World Net Daily reports that earlier this year the U.S. government finally declassified this memorandum, providing a secret summary report of a raid on the Saudi embassy in Khartoum on March 1, 1973, by operatives of Black September, a militia within Arafat’s Fatah faction of the PLO.  (Thanks for the heads up to my friend Bill West, a frequent contributor at the Counterterrorism Blog). 

The Saudis were holding a reception for the U.S. Charge d’Affaires, George Curtis Moore, who was departing.  The terrorists kidnapped Moore, U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel, and the Belgian Charge d’Affaires, Guy Eid, in addition to two other diplomats, a Saudi and a Jordanian. 

Arafat gave the order to kill the the two Americans and the Belgian from Fatah headquarters in Beirut.  The memorandum states:  “The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat.”

Interestingly, notwithstanding this information long known to our government, a State Department official as late as 2002 claimed — in an email to a Minneapolis attorney who was insistent that Arafat was behind the Khartoum murders — that “[e]vidence clearly points to the terrorist group Black September as having committed the assassinations of Amb. Noel and George Moore, and though Black September was a part of the Fatah movement, the linkage between Arafat and this group has never been established.”   

For those interested in a walk down memory lane, my NRO obituary for Arafat, “The Father of Modern Terrorism,” is here.  It includes the infuriating denouement to this episode.  Although the previously classified memo takes pains to point out that “[n]o effort was spared, within the capabilities of the Sudanese Government, to secure the freedom of the hostages[,]“ that’s not exactly the whole story. 

Arafat — as the memo relates — instructed the eight terrorists to surrender to the Sudanese authorities.  Not included, though, is what happened next.  The Sudanese quickly released two, purporting that the evidence was insufficient.  Then, a trial was held for the remaining six, upon which they were convicted, sentenced to life imprisonment in Sudan, and … released to the PLO the next day.

Ethiopian War Machine



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Jim Robbins is a smart guy, and yesterday he had some smart things to say about Ethiopia and Somalia. But I can’t read the news today and keep from wondering whether we should airlift a few Ethiopian battalions into Baghdad. Check this out:

Troops from the Islamic movement that has ruled Somalia’s capital Mogadishu for the past six months abandoned it on Thursday ahead of advancing Ethiopian forces, clearing the way for a unified, secular government to take control of the troubled oceanside city for the first time since 1991.

The collapse of the Islamic Courts Union’s militias, which for much of the year had moved from triumph to triumph across southern Somalia using little more than pickup trucks mounted with machines guns, came just days after Ethiopia turned its powerful, modern military against it. The main offensive, including bombing raids by jet fighters, started Sunday.

By the way, how did Ethiopia go from “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to a “powerful, modern military”?

The Barack Obama Christmas Carol



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Dunno if this has been posted already, but worth a gander or re-gander regardless.

Behold



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Self-Made, Moderate, Edwards



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I get press releases like this all day long. I just found this one a bit amusing:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006

….

NEWS TIP: MODERATE STANCE GIVES JOHN EDWARDS ADVANTAGE IN PRESIDENTIAL RACE, DUKE EXPERT SAYS

John Edwards’ role as the leading moderate among Democrats who are expected to run for president gives him an advantage with voters, says a Duke University political scientist who specializes in African-American and Southern politics.

“As it stands now, he appears to be the candidate who is positioned more at the center of the party, and I think that’s where most of the base is, where the majority of the country is,” says Kerry L. Haynie, associate chair of the political science department. “He’s well-positioned. Can he take advantage of the position? That’s the question.”

Haynie also says the former vice-presidential candidate’s decision to announce “a grass-roots, ground-up campaign” in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans is an effective strategy.

“I think it’s very effective, and I think it reflects who he really is. He’s from humble beginnings, a working class background,” Haynie says. Edwards, who became a multimillionaire trial lawyer, is the son of a textile mill worker.

“His wealth is self-made, and exemplifies the American dream of becoming successful through hard work. We don’t mind wealth if it’s made the old-fashioned way — if you earn it.”

Me: Yes, Americans just love those self-made trial lawyers. As to why Edwards is a moderate, I have no idea.

Update: From a reader:

Jonah,

I think that press release is laughable. Edwards is a flaming liberal. I can’t think of one position he has staked out that is even close to being moderate. Someone needs to tell the man that you don’t get labeled moderate just by saying you are and by being from the south. You actually have to earn it—have a few battle scars to prove it.

Ask Joe Lieberman.

I Support NRO’s Advertisers



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We took the littlest Goldberg to see Charlotte’s Web yesterday. Good stuff. Though my longstanding problem remains: Everyone’s interested in the pig, not the spider. It’s a bit like my beef with King Kong. Everyone thinks the big news is the giant monkey. No one thinks it’s a big deal they found dinosaurs, giant snakes etc. They find a spider that can spell, and all that really matters is that the spider really likes the pig. 

Still, good family fun. John Cleese is perfect and Steve Buscemi is the perfect rat-voice for Templeton.  

50 Things We Know This Year (we didn’t know last year)



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Good stuff. Here’s the first 10:

1. U.S. life expectancy in 2005 inched up to a record high of 77.9 years.

2. The part of the brain that regulates reasoning, impulse control and judgment is still under construction during puberty and doesn’t shift into autopilot until about age 25.

3. Blue light fends off drowsiness in the middle of the night, which could be useful to people who work at night.

4. The 8-foot-long tooth emerging from the head of the narwhal whale is actually a type of sensor that detects changes in water temperature, pressure and particle gradients.

5. U.S. Protestant “megachurches” – defined as having a weekly attendance of at least 2,000 – doubled in five years to more than 1,200 and are among the nation’s fastest-growing faith groups.

6. Cheese consumption in the United States is expected to grow by 50 percent between now and 2013.

7. At 68.1 percent, the United States ranks eighth among countries that have access to and use the Internet. The largest percentage of online use was in Malta, where 78.1 percent access the Web.

8. The U.S. government has paid about $1.5 billion in benefits to thousands of sick nuclear-weapons workers since 2001.

9. Scientists have discovered that certain brain chemicals in our tears are natural pain relievers.

10. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover wrote a drooling fan letter to Lucille Ball in 1955 to tell her how much he enjoyed an episode of “I Love Lucy.” “In all the years I have traveled on trains,” he noted, “I have often wondered why someone did not pull the emergency brake, but I have never been aboard a train where it was done. The humor in your program last Monday, I think, exceeded any of your previous programs and they have been really good in themselves.”

Parents Don’t Matter, Cont’d



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This Derb-bait seems more up his alley since it’s all sciency and stuff:

Your dad is a man whose babies you do not want to bear. It is gross, criminal in many countries, and would be genetically ruinous for your consanguineous offspring.

What’s more, this ancient evolutionary no-no seems to have startling modern day implications for female maturation. A study of 2,000 US college girls published in the American Journal of Human Biology in July 2006 shows that daughters who grow up without their fathers tend to have their first period earlier than those who blossom under their dad’s wing. Robert Matchock, who led the retrospective survey at Pennsylvania State University Altoona, believes there is a mechanism at play here that helps prevent inbreeding.

The psychologist saw an intriguing connection between his results and previous research on human pheromones – odors used in animal communication, often to attract mates. “Biologically related males send out inhibitory pheromone signals, whilst unrelated men release stimulatory ones,” says Matchock. In other words, daddy chemically says: Don’t ripen too fast, bunny; whilst strangers exude: Bring it on!

Can John Edwards Blame bush?



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Stolen police vehicle reported

The New Orleans Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating one of its 2007 Ford F-350 Pick-up Trucks, recently reported stolen. The truck bears public license plate number PP182473 and also V.I.N. 1FTWW33P57EA68326.

The truck is white in color, unmarked / without police marking, but does have strobe lights hidden in the headlights and taillights, and also has a thin straight line strobe mounted over the rear-view mirror.

The truck, commonly referred to as a “Dually”, should have a broken window on the passenger side. The truck should also bear noticeable damage to the front and top side of the vehicle, indicating that the vehicle was driven through the chain linked security fence.

Anyone with information that can help locate this vehicle should contact the New Orleans Police Department at 821-2222.

Unproductive Video



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Normally, I’d just post a link to the video, but I just love the irony that this is from my Productivity Guy:

Jonah

It’s been a while since anyone posted a truly awful video at the Corner, and if you’d like to remedy this situation I’ve got just the video. It’s about two-thirds down at the link below, under the post “I Want to Hold Your Hand Over My Eyes” (I don’t know how to isolate the post itself, but you’re more tech savvy than me so I’m sure it can be done)

http://www.dawneden.com/blogger.html

Mere words can’t describe the awfulness on display. It really has to be seen to be believed, as I believe Corner viewers from around the world would agree (that is, if they were able to see it). This is maybe the only video clip in the world that would be improved if it added William Shatner’s version of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.”

Again, here’s the video in question.

Re: Specter and Ahmadinejad



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Give Specter credit, though.  There’s not even a Four Seasons for him to stay in, in Tehran.  Nor is there a U.S. embassy whose staff he can task to arrange squash games for him.  One of these days, some U.S. Embassy is going to leak or an enterprising journalist is going to FOIA a Specter visit cable so taxpayers can see his, um, unique requirements.

it’s been nice knowing you all?



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Gideon’s Blog predicts my demise in 2007: “I predict that Senator Sam Brownback will endorse John McCain for President, causing K-Lo’s head to explode.”

Re: Suggested Edwards Slogans



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I once ran for student office with the slogan, “Vote for me!  It’s about time someone did.”

Mind you, a friend of diminished standing and boasting a reputation for hard tactics once campaigned under the slogan, “Nasty, brutish and short.”  He won.

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