Melvin Duncan was firing the ball - shootin' bullets, as he likes to say.Read the rest after the jump and give a thimbleful of cognac to me who bugmenotted so you don't have to and give another thimbleful to evariste for doing the math and - ah what the hell, just pass the bottle around.
One by one, Duncan would snap fastballs into his catcher's glove. And one by one, batters from the Omaha Cardinals would trudge back to the dugout with their heads slumped.
Duncan, a right-handed pitcher for Colorado Springs, a Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, reached the ninth inning with a 3-2 lead. With two outs and two runners on, Duncan was set to retire the final batter and get the win.
The batter hit a slow dribbler to the shortstop.
"Game over," Duncan thought.
But he couldn't explain what happened next. The shortstop approached the ball with his glove about a foot above the ground, allowing the ball to slice between his legs and into the outfield. Both runners scored and Duncan's team lost 4-3.
"Sorry I missed it," the shortstop shrugged, walking back to the dugout.
In today's era, this would be a story about a boneheaded play losing a game.
But this game was played in 1952. And this story is about a talented young black pitcher - Duncan - and a racist white shortstop who would rather lose a game than let a black teammate win.
BEIRUT -- Tens of thousands of protesters -- Muslims, Christians and Druze -- flooded Beirut yesterday in an anti-government demonstration unprecedented in the Middle East but reminiscent of the human waves that toppled governments throughout Eastern Europe.Oh, that's so good it hurts. Like the Iraqis, the Lebanese are showing that they don't need dictators to keep their nation from splitting asunder in the face of ethnic and religious divisions; only the dignity befitting a free people. What's more American than that? "Tell America we are waiting for them to invade, all of us"-it looks like they're already Americans in their hearts; we already invaded a long time ago.
"Syria out. Syria out," they shouted as Arabic pop music blared, amid calls for a "peaceful intifada" or "uprising" against a government that was put into place and remains controlled by neighboring Syria.
"We are with the Muslims, the Druze, together for a free Lebanon," said one member of a Christian militia. "Tell America we are waiting for them to invade, all of us."
In a display of Christian-Muslim unity and outrage over the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri a week ago, some protesters held up a Koran in one hand and a cross in the other.
Just as the protesters who forced out the government of Ukraine in December adopted the color orange as their symbol, yesterday's marchers wore scarves of red and white " the colors of Lebanon's flag.
Mr. Hariri's killing has brought together a Lebanese opposition that had been splintered along the same sectarian lines that defined the country during its long civil war.Thimbleful o' cognac to jim russell...
"Our demands are simple. A secular, democratic Lebanon with Syria as a neighbor and not in control of our country," one demonstrator said. "Nothing less will be accepted."
Syria, which has long harbored historical claims to Lebanon, sent troops into its neighbor during its civil war in 1976 and kept them there, ostensibly as peacekeepers, when the war ended in 1990.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said Syrian President Bashar Assad affirmed during a meeting yesterday in Damascus that his country "soon" will redeploy its troops as required by the 1989 agreement that ended the war.
That agreement, brokered in Taif, Saudi Arabia, called for Syria to move its forces to the eastern Bekaa Valley near its border and to negotiate a timetable with Lebanon for their total withdrawal.
The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution late last year calling for all foreign troops to leave Lebanon. President Bush renewed that call yesterday in Brussels, saying Syria "must end its occupation of Lebanon."
EU foreign ministers yesterday joined the United States and France in calling for an international investigation into the Hariri assassination " a demand the Lebanese government so far has rejected.
Many of yesterday's protesters were students from the American University Beirut (AUB) " a bastion of Western-style clothing and American slang " who braved the risk of police violence and the censure of parents to take part in the unheard-of demonstration.
"My brother would so kill me if he saw me there," said one young woman when urged to take part. "I don't want to get shot at; he'd be so mad."
"We'll protect you, now come on," an organizer cajoled her. Minutes later, she and several girlfriends were making up the front line of the AUB marchers, each carrying a single flower and chanting.
By the time the marchers reached the site where Mr. Hariri died, about a mile from the campus, it was clear that the protest would be one of the largest ever seen in the Middle East.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese representing every opposition group controlled the streets, defying official warnings that the demonstration would not be tolerated.
George Haddad of the Free Patriotic Movement " a mainly Christian organization that advocates a free, secular Lebanon " said the protest organizers hoped to mimic the bloodless uprisings that ended despotic regimes in Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004.
But hesitant opposition leaders ordered their followers not to attempt to storm Lebanon's parliament building " a feat they might have pulled off because the Lebanese army and police, while fitted out in full battle gear, clearly were unwilling to fire on their countrymen to protect Syrian interests.
The opposition's greatest weakness is its inability to draw support from the two key Shi'ite Muslim organizations. Shi'ites are a majority in Lebanon, and their largest political groups " Hezbollah and Amal " have close ties to Syria.
"Look, the Shi'ites in the south receive far more humanitarian aid and support from Hezbollah than they do from the Lebanese government," said student organizer Anthony Letayf.
"Hezbollah relies on Syria for money and support in its fight against Israel. We just cannot reach those people to convince them to help us remove Syria."
What this is - is a total and complete disrespect for the medium of blogging. It is the actions of the self-superior "big media" journalists (be they on our side even) steam rolling over the pajamaboys and pajamagirls and not caring one ounce about the end result.Go read the whole thing and see all the pictures, it's hilarious.
In the picture above what you are looking at is none other than John Fund returning to the scene of the crime and this time swiping the computer of Robert Cox of The National Debate.
As this picture was taken by blog-sleuth Wes Roth, Bob and I were in the food court 100 yards away grabbing our lunch so that we could return to an afternoon of blogging.
Wes snapped the shot and made a bee-line to find us.
1. Because it was Bob's computer and Fund again had no permission to access the laptop.
2. Because as "chatty-cathy" as Fund had been earlier in the morning to us bloggers, he obviously had not seen an ounce of the swarm coverage - which is growing but was still considerably all over the blogosphere, and he had not learned his lesson yet.
After Fund had made his "laptop snatch" this morning some of the bloggers had kidded around that perhaps it had been unfair to draw attention to Fund's use of someone's laptop without their permission. Doverspa at RedState even said that he wasn't bothered by Fund using the machine, even though it was rude and he had been inconvenienced.
The consensus among us bloggers is that he was doing this for his own convenience so that he would not have to stand in line on Internet row to access a TownHall.com computer that had been set up for CPAC attendees to do just what Fund wished to do.
Cox in a very coy voice asks Fund, "will you be long?"
Fund: "Nope I just need a minute more..." (he had already been on about 20 at this point...)
Cox: "I believe they had some software installed on these machines - so be careful - they may be recording your every keystroke."
Fund: (A dumb-founded look upon his face, a medium size gulp in his throat) "Um...ok...well that should be fine. I just wouldn't want anyone to read my e-mail..."
In the length of time that he persisted on Cox's machine I was able to snap the photos you see in this story and e-mail them one by one from my phone to myself.
Not long after that - Fund departs, no "thank you"s, no "I'm sorry for using your private computer, etc.".
It was at this time that Cox returned to his machine where he realized that when Fund had arrived Cox's browser had been opened to the front page of The National Debate which included on that front page Bob's continuing contributions to the funny Fund episode.
As Cox began closing the browsers that Fund had left open on the laptop, a small window opened alerting Cox, or whoever else might have seen it - that they were still logged in - to the Dow Jones servers as an admin user for the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to that Fund had left his access to Outlook Mail opened with his full lists of e-mail waiting and ready to be read. To Cox and the rest of the bloggers' credit - none was accessed. We can reveal though that one of the e-mail subject lines read "Smokin' Hot Dancer".
Cox issued a quite helpful e-mail that we all hope John reads so that he doesn't allow future hackers to mess with the beloved Wall Street Journal or Dow Jones servers.
Photos don't normally appear on this page. But it's time for all of us to look squarely at the victims of our indifference.A thimbleful of cognac to zorkie for this one. Lick a stamp-maybe you'll make a difference.
These are just four photos in a secret archive of thousands of photos and reports that document the genocide under way in Darfur. The materials were gathered by African Union monitors, who are just about the only people able to travel widely in that part of Sudan.
This African Union archive is classified, but it was shared with me by someone who believes that Americans will be stirred if they can see the consequences of their complacency.
The photo at the upper left was taken in the village of Hamada on Jan. 15, right after a Sudanese government-backed militia, the janjaweed, attacked it and killed 107 people. One of them was this little boy. I'm not showing the photo of his older brother, about 5 years old, who lay beside him because the brother had been beaten so badly that nothing was left of his face. And alongside the two boys was the corpse of their mother.
The photo to the right shows the corpse of a man with an injured leg who was apparently unable to run away when the janjaweed militia attacked.
At the lower left is a man who fled barefoot and almost made it to this bush before he was shot dead.
Last is the skeleton of a man or woman whose wrists are still bound. The attackers pulled the person's clothes down to the knees, presumably so the victim could be sexually abused before being killed. If the victim was a man, he was probably castrated; if a woman, she was probably raped.
There are thousands more of these photos. Many of them show attacks on children and are too horrific for a newspaper.
One wrenching photo in the archive shows the manacled hands of a teenager from the girls' school in Suleia who was burned alive. It's been common for the Sudanese militias to gang-rape teenage girls and then mutilate or kill them.
Another photo shows the body of a young girl, perhaps 10 years old, staring up from the ground where she was killed. Still another shows a man who was castrated and shot in the head.
This archive, including scores of reports by the monitors on the scene, underscores that this slaughter is waged by and with the support of the Sudanese government as it tries to clear the area of non-Arabs. Many of the photos show men in Sudanese Army uniforms pillaging and burning African villages. I hope the African Union will open its archive to demonstrate publicly just what is going on in Darfur.
The archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August, the document calls for the "execution of all directives from the president of the republic" and is directed to regional commanders and security officials.
"Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes," the document urges. It encourages "killing, burning villages and farms, terrorizing people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from Darfur."
It's worth being skeptical of any document because forgeries are possible. But the African Union believes this document to be authentic. I also consulted a variety of experts on Sudan and shared it with some of them, and the consensus was that it appears to be real.
Certainly there's no doubt about the slaughter, although the numbers are fuzzy. A figure of 70,000 is sometimes stated as an estimated death toll, but that is simply a U.N. estimate for the deaths in one seven-month period from nonviolent causes. It's hard to know the total mortality over two years of genocide, partly because the Sudanese government is blocking a U.N. team from going to Darfur and making such an estimate. But independent estimates exceed 220,000 - and the number is rising by about 10,000 per month.
So what can stop this genocide? At one level the answer is technical: sanctions against Sudan, a no-fly zone, a freeze of Sudanese officials' assets, prosecution of the killers by the International Criminal Court, a team effort by African and Arab countries to pressure Sudan, and an international force of African troops with financing and logistical support from the West.
But that's the narrow answer. What will really stop this genocide is indignation. Senator Paul Simon, who died in 2003, said after the Rwandan genocide, "If every member of the House and Senate had received 100 letters from people back home saying we have to do something about Rwanda, when the crisis was first developing, then I think the response would have been different."
The same is true this time. Web sites like www.darfurgenocide.org and www.savedarfur.org are trying to galvanize Americans, but the response has been pathetic.
I'm sorry for inflicting these horrific photos on you. But the real obscenity isn't in printing pictures of dead babies - it's in our passivity, which allows these people to be slaughtered.
During past genocides against Armenians, Jews and Cambodians, it was possible to claim that we didn't fully know what was going on. This time, President Bush, Congress and the European Parliament have already declared genocide to be under way. And we have photos.
This time, we have no excuse.
An Israeli boat patrolling near Iran is holding kidnapped babies to be used later for their organs, according to a new Iranian television program.(a thimbleful of cognac to Banagor. Actually, after reading this crap, I'll have one too.)
"We are talking about children no one cares about [and who] have been kidnapped on the excuse of being concerned for them, and after they mature, the Zionists uses their hearts, kidneys and other organs," the TV presentation charges on the Iranian Shahar channel.
The producer is Ahmed Mir Alawii, who also was responsible for the film Zahra's Blue Eyes, which premiered on the same channel in December and portrays Israel officials supposedly operating on Arab children and using their organs for transplants.
In the latest program, Alawii claims, "A white boat sails on the oceans and does not enter Iran's territorial waters or those of other countries. Our Arab brethren should be careful of this boat where the Zionists hold children from the age of one and two. They receive the best medical treatment and are [placed] under constant surveillance. Why are they being cared for? [The objective is to] use them for medical objectives."
"We presented only a small part of the Zionist crimes," Alawii told an Iranian interview. "While we worked on the film, we received information, even from Jews who identify with our viewpoint. They themselves are anti-Zionist. The information they supplied us makes us sorry we already finished the film. It is too bad we didn’t have this information when we produced [it].
"Oh, [you] Zionists! You occupied the houses of innocent people. You killed them and took out their eyes in front of their parents. In this film, we treated you too fairly when we presented you taking out their eyes in the operating room."
Iran Claims Israel Kidnaps Babies
I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten about the Esquire piece where they tell me how crazy I am for thinking China will ever help us topple Kim Jong Il. But here is the Chinese media talking more critically than ever, and here is the Bush administration making no secret of its desire to recruit Beijing’s help. Key pen names being used to signal official intent, but China stops short of supporting regime change strategies like dropping radios or “other steps to help the country’s residents realize how poor and isolate they are."He's the same guy who wrote that "Gap/Core" article that was popular a while back, by the way. I was skeptical of the quality of the insight in that one. Here he appears to be saying that the more we tie Iran into the global economy the less repressive they'll become, or at least, the less willing to wage war. Has that worked on communist China? They're aggressively militarizing, often developing capabilities specifically meant to counter the US. Meanwhile they're more repressive than ever. Do we really want to help Iran become another China, proliferating with even more impunity? I think making Iran another Cuba is a much better plan, if the choice really is as binary as he makes it (and it's not-the Bush administration's thinking on Iran can't possibly be so shortsighted and dumb as he's painting it to be). Better than another Cuba or another China is another Iraq, Ukraine, or Afghanistan, though.
A war of connectivity? Too bad that the poor and malnutritioned rural poor have watched their height and IQ levels drop for years on end (I’m not kidding). When you starve an entire generation like that, you weaken them from within. To expect radios to do the trick alone asks too much. This is a real totalitarian state, with a truly infantilized population as a result. We’re talking the 70-pound 14-year-old who’s been locked in the closet for 8 years. It’s that sick and that real.
It’s not a choice between war and regime change. People may think that avoiding the war avoids the peacekeeping and nation-building, but all that strategy gets you is more suffering in the meantime. Are we waiting for that 70-pound 14-year-old to somehow grow into an adult who can stand up for himself? When they never get out of the closet?
Everyone knows, as the second article points out, “that China is the only nation with leverage on North Korea." Why? It’s the only one that has both carrots and sticks and it willing to use both, as one analyst points out.
So why do we encourage Japan to simultaneously stand up to China over Taiwan? Where are we going with that one? Should we be surprised that most Chinese believe their government should side with North Korea so long as both countries see the U.S. as a common enemy?
We need to get something more out of Kim’s fall than just Kim’s fall, or even Korean reunification. We need a huge payoff from something of that effort, and that payoff is a security relationship with China that rules out war over Taiwan or anything else. Ask yourself if ultimately this isn’t something we’re going to want to have and need to have, and if that is the case, then real strategic vision is always on the lookout for making that happen.
North Korea is staring us in the face as an opportunity.
Over to the Middle East, we’re now fixating on Syria as a big problem, but Syria is more symptom than source. We fix Iran and we fix Syria and Lebanon to boot. Fixing Iran isn’t an invasion or an occupation. That is the only way to actually lose that society, which is already on our side. Nowhere near a totalitarian state, so you kill it with connectivity. No need to fly in radios to clue the population in. They almost revolted outright soon after Saddam’s fall.
But no, we can’t negotiate with a state that sponsors terrorism! I get a lot of those emails.
Yet somehow we did just that with the USSR for years on end, and frankly, as a student of Soviet support for terrorism around the world, there is simply no comparing the two. The Sovs were global and deep in their support. Iran is minor league in comparison. But with the Sovs we saw something larger at stake (peace in Europe), so we dealt and did the regime in with connectivity. How much has our isolation weakened the mullahs so far in Iran? Ready for something else?
Bush says he wants “diplomatic solutions," but too often that just means “our way" with no threat of “highway," and that won’t work. Deal the war or deal the peace.
Look ahead and ask yourself: Do you see North Korea in the future? If not, then the question is time, not “if."
But also ask yourself: Do you see Iran not being a key player in the Middle East? Not being Shiite? Not having mullahs? We’re not changing those realities, but steering them down different pathways. The real question is, How to marginalize the mullahs politically?
Certainly not by trying the same isolating shtick that’s kept Castro in power in Cuba all these years.
Iran wants nuclear weapons for protection, yes. From the US and Israel certainly. But not simply because it fears "regime change". Iran wants nuclear weapons in order to develop a nearly perfect defense, a wall that can't be overcome. What nation would be willing to pay the price neccessary to take down a nuclear Iran? Iran wants nuclear weapons in order to achieve its strategic objectives. What are those objectives? To destroy Israel is one. But the other, the far more important and relevent objective, is to help alter the balance of power in the Islamic world to the Shia's favor. Iran wants Shia Islam to overcome Sunni Islam, and with a nuclear deterrence can help support Shi'ite armed factions across the Muslim world. From Pakistan to Saudi Arabia to Lebannon, Shi'ite populations would be armed and incited to revolt and fight the Sunni. Iran wants to destroy the heretics, in order to destroy the infidels. Nuclear Weapons are key to this. The other Islamic states are relatively limited in their ability to respond to an aggressive nuclear Iran. They would have no other option than to go nuclear themselves, and that would only deter so much. Iran is preparing itself for a Shi'ite-Sunni Islamic Civil War, and it is key for us to understand this. Groups like Hizb'allah are just the beginning. The Shi'ite-Sunni conflict has been fairly low key for a long time, that is soon going to change. Iran is going to fan the flames of war in the Islamic World. Their nuclear arsenal is aimed as much as Sunni states, as it is at Israel and the US. Perhaps even more so.Go read the whole thing.