Friday, February 22, 2008

Dueling CIA's

Gabriel Schoenfeld reports that the Central Intelligence Agency announced this week that it hired a new Head Chef ... 4 years ago.
Culinary Delights Soar to New Heights at CIA Thanks to Head Chef” – is the headline of a new CIA press release.

The head chef in question is Fred DeFilippo, a 1992 graduate of the other CIA, the Culinary Institute of America. At Langley, DeFillippo works with a special intelligence unit:

Four other chefs assist DeFilippo and spread out the work between the sauté, grill, and pantry stations. The sauté chef handles pasta and vegetable dishes, the grill chef prepares meat dishes, and the pantry chef crafts delicious salads and sandwiches.

This is all very interesting and important, but there is still a question about it: Why is the agency circulating old news? The same press release acknowledges that DeFilippo “has been making a splash with dishes like his Chocolate Tiramisu since he began cooking for the agency in 2004.”

The timing of this announcement is thus curious. DeFillippo was appointed in the George Tenet era. Tenet’s parents owned a Greek diner in Queens, New York. Is there some sort of one-upsmanship going on between the current CIA director, Michael Hayden, and his failure of a predecessor?

Whatever the answer, life in Langley sure beats searching for terrorists and/or a meal of curried goat in the backstreets of places like Peshawar.
Or maybe someone in the CIA Office of Public Affairs is sending coded messages to someone in Pakistan. Still a nice gig though.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Free speech isn't free. It's not even cheap

From the Massachusetts Eagle-Tribune, a story about the Lawrence, MA police:

LAWRENCE — They were real looking enough. Three wooden plaques each embossed with a gold police shield, a small gun piece and each engraved with an officer's name.

But these "plaques" sent to the police department Sunday were no awards. They came from a bogus address in Puerto Rico, supposedly sent from a former assistant district attorney and were in recognition for the officers being "corrupt." They were dated "9-11-2007."

As first reported on The Eagle-Tribune's Web site eagletribune.com yesterday, police Chief John Romero has launched an investigation into who sent the packages. He said police are contemplating criminal charges, possibly at the federal level. Police yesterday dusted the plaques for fingerprints. Romero was one of the recipients of the so-called award.

Lawrence police also notified the postal inspector in Boston. The sender could face federal charges for using the U.S. Postal Service "to threaten, harass or intimidate," Romero said.
So let's see if I've got this story straight. An anonymous citizen accused the police in this town of being corrupt, and the police reacted by abusing their authority and using official resources to silence him or her.

Now Norwalk's had more than its share of police scandals recently, but it's stories like this that should make us thankful for the honest and overworked men and women who make up the bulk of our police force.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Great book review

From Mark Steyn's review of Thomas Riis' book Frank Loesser, (volume 5 in the Yale Broadway Masters Series.)
Frank Loesser isn't as famous a songwriter as Irving Berlin or Cole Porter, but, unlike them, he's apparently responsible for this whole clash-of- civilizations thing. A few decades back, a young middle-class Egyptian spending some time in the U.S. had the misfortune to be invited to a dance one weekend and was horrified at what he witnessed:

"The room convulsed with the feverish music from the gramophone. Dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips . . ."

Where was this den of debauchery? Studio 54 in the 1970s? Haight-Ashbury in the summer of love? No, the throbbing pulsating sewer of sin was Greeley, Colo., in 1949. As it happens, Greeley, Colo., in 1949 was a dry town. The dance was a church social. And the feverish music was "Baby, It's Cold Outside," written by Frank Loesser and sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban in the film "Neptune's Daughter." Revolted by the experience, Sayyid Qutb decided that America (and modernity in general) was an abomination, returned to Egypt, became the leading intellectual muscle in the Muslim Brotherhood, and set off a chain that led from Qutb to Zawahiri to bin Laden to the Hindu Kush to the Balkans to 9/11.

I'm a reasonable chap, and I'd be willing to meet the Islamists halfway on a lot of the peripheral stuff like burqas for women, nuking the Zionists, beheading the sodomites and whatnot. But you'll have to pry "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from my cold dead hands and my dancing naked legs. A world without Frank Loesser and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" would be very cold indeed.
Don't you wish that you could write like that?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Too evil for words indeed

From Best of the Web Today

Too Evil For Words:

From London's Times:

The acting director of a Baghdad psychiatric hospital has been arrested on suspicion of supplying al-Qaeda in Iraq with the mentally impaired women that it used to blow up two crowded animal markets in the city on February 1, killing about 100 people.
Iraqi security forces and US soldiers arrested the man at al-Rashad hospital in east Baghdad on Sunday. They then spent three hours searching his office and removing records. Sources told The Times that the two women bombers had been treated at the hospital in the past.
"They [the security forces] arrested the acting director, accusing him of working with al-Qaeda and recruiting mentally ill women and using them in suicide bombing operations," a hospital official said.

Read that again: The head of a mental hospital (allegedly) provided women under his care to al Qaeda to use as human bombs, for the purpose of murdering as many innocent people as possible. We are at a loss for words to characterize the depth of this evil.

It makes you wonder about the folks who condemn America with such self-righteous zeal over morally ambiguous practices like "waterboarding" terrorists or even generally accepted practices such as holding enemy combatants for the duration of wartime. One suspects that they do so primarily out of fear--in order to close their minds to the contemplation of true evil.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Man attempts suicide, foiled by nearby prayer meeting

Answered prayers: Suicidal man persuaded to live
By Sherri Williams
The Columbus Dispatch

When an Ohio University employee decided to end his life Friday, students turned to the power of prayer and the pen to save him. It worked.

About 15 students were at a weekly religious gathering at Galbreath Chapel when they heard that a man was threatening to jump from a ledge on the fifth floor inside the student union.

They didn't know the man but prayed for him, first at the chapel and then outside the Baker University Center, the hub of campus life at the school in Athens. Eventually about 50 people were gathered there.
A freshman met the man before he climbed out on the ledge.
He walked up to her and told her to leave the center because a lot of police soon would be in the building, she said.

She found it odd but already was heading to the chapel for the Praise God It's Friday gathering, which is sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ.
"She found it odd, but ... ." I predict a brilliant career as an absent-minded professor for this woman!

Some of the letters that students at the prayer meeting wrote to the troubled man were posted by the reporter.

(Source: The Columbus Dispatch, Inside Higher Education.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A capital ship for an ocean trip

PhysX has done a techno version of The Walloping Window Blind

Then blow, ye winds, heigh-ho! A-rovin' I will go!
I'll stay no more on England's shore, so let the music roar!
I'm off for the mornin' train! I'll cross the raging main!
I'm off to the sea, it's the place for me; And there I'm going t'stay!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Quote of the day

If you forced an al Qaeda terrorist to diagram that sentence, Democrats in Congress would accuse you of torture.
- James Taranto, Best of the Web (refering to a sentence in Baltimore Sun article by reporter Justin Fenton.)

Just say no.