November 2004

Athena of Terrorism Unveiled is studying in Jordan. She gives us personal insight into the Arab mentality and the issue of honor killings. The young men can wear fancy suits, study in Europe, drive BMWs, and kill their sisters without blinking for having sex outside of an arranged marriage:

Today I was visiting the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan and my roommate, we’ll call here Sally, went with me because she had to meet with the same professor as I.

She started crying in the taxi on the way back home telling me about her experience the other night with her Jordanian boyfriend, we’ll call him Malik.

Sally and Malik haven’t been dating for very long and I won’t go into the details of their relationship, but she really did like this guy, and I liked him as well. He seemed very Western, spoke English well, acted respectably, dressed nice, came from an affluent and well-off family. He even lived in Europe for two years and had relationships with girls there.

They went out to eat last night and she brought up the subject of honor killings. Malik nonchalantly said that he would be willing to kill his sister or support his uncle or dad if they killed her if she had sex.

Nice guy; sick culture.


MSM admirers admit Rather goofed up on the memos but still heap praise on the man. This report from The Hollywood Reporter is typical:

We forget that long before he became a right-wing punching bag, he was a true pioneer as an anchor who insisted on continuing to go out, get his hands dirty and report. There have been no ivory towers for Rather, who famously placed himself in harm’s way in war zones and the path of hurricanes. And it wasn’t just for the photo op.

It seemed to a lot of observers that Rather and 60 Minutes were out to get Bush no matter what. Tigerhawk passes on a rumor that suggests that was exactly what Rather and company planned to do:

This afternoon, a college classmate of mine who is also a producer of a news division show on a major non-CBS network and who once in his or her past worked for CBS News (such person, the “TigerHawk Source”), reported that he or she had heard that the evidence contained in the aforementioned preliminary report included emails from Dan and others on the show that revealed, shall we say, malice aforethought. Basically, the TigerHawk Source — who characterizes his or her information as “rumor” — says that these emails reveal a clear intention to nail the President.

The Rathergate report will make very interesting reading. The bigger question is whether or not the MSM will take heed and stop being the propaganda arm of the left wing of the Democratic party following such exposure.

Back Country Conservative links to good coverage. I share season tickets to the Browns and it’s been hard to get up any enthusiasm for the team lately. They’re boring to watch and get beaten all the time.

Now, if they could entice Bill Belichick back…

It’s a rare thing to read a Dowd column in its entirety but this one made it. That’s because she was quoting a letter written by her brother Kevin:

Now, just as four years ago, I breathe a huge sigh of relief and rejoice in the common sense of the American voting public. Congratulations to President Bush for winning re-election in a poker game played with a stacked deck. No candidate, including Richard Nixon, ever had to endure the biased and unfair tactics of our major media in their attempt to influence the outcome of an election. … He never complained, just systematically set about delivering the same consistent message. You may remember that four years ago, I felt physically ill watching the Democrats try to legislate their way to the presidency. …

A very big thank you to Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Rob Reiner, Bill Maher, Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin, Al Franken and Jon Stewart for your involvement. You certainly energized the base. Now, please have the courage of your convictions and leave the country.

Read the whole thing and then try to figure out how Dowd became the blue sheep of her family. (Link via Rantingprofs)

Tony Blankley begins his opinion piece with this paragraph:

This Christmastime could be the moment when Western Europe finally joins our war on terrorism. Anti-Islamist fear and anger from the mouths of the European volk are breaking through the surface calm perpetuated by the elite European appeasers. The assassination and mutilation of Dutch filmmaker van Gogh by an Islamic fanatic — and the retaliatory fire-bombings of mosques by ethnic Dutchmen — has forced high European leaders and news outlets to begin to publicly face up to the implications of Sept. 11, 2001 and the migration of Muslims in large and hostile numbers into the heart of Europe.

Radical Islam wants to conquer Europe as surely as it wants to conquer Israel. Its primary weapon is the demographic time-bomb. The fuse was lit when Europeans allowed huge numbers of Muslims into Europe without requiring them to assimilate.

What Islam wants for Israel (via LGF), it wants for Europe. We’ll know that Western Europe finally understands the threat of Radical Islam when it makes common cause with Israel.

My father-in-law just reprinted an old black and white film that he had lying around. It is a series of snaps of a meeting between JFK and some of the first astronauts. I don’t know the context yet, but the pictures are fascinating. I scaled one of them them way down for posting on this blog. It shows the President and Jackie with Virgil Grissom.[img]”%%dir[1]%%Kennedy2Small.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”image” name=”Grissom” width=”432″ height=”292″ /[/img]

Chuck Muth has posted an essay by Michael Clifford, MD on the Vioxx controversy. He explains how Vioxx and similar drugs, like Celebrex works, and gives some information on the studies that led Merck to withdraw Vioxx. Clifford notes that:

I can only speculate but I believe it went something like this: If our drug saves 100 lives per million prescriptions by reducing gi [stomach] bleeding but causes 25 heart attacks we will only be criticized for the heart attacks. No one will recognize the saved lives. Furthermore … we will be held responsible for ALL the heart attacks in patients who took Vioxx and not just the increase in heart attacks.

That is precisely what we are seeing now. The lawyers are desperate to locate every heart attack, stroke and blood clot that occurred while a patient was on Vioxx because they know they won’t have to prove causality. They know this from the breast implant fiasco. When the dust settled on that one, billions were paid, billions were made and in the end silicone was never proven to cause problems.

Unless there are changes in the way the legal system works, trial lawyers will use the legal system to “prove” that Vioxx caused any heart attack suffered by someone who had also taken Vioxx. The reality is that a small percentage of those heart attacks will have been caused by an adverse reaction to Vioxx but it will be next to impossible to identify the individuals on a case by case basis. That won’t stop the trial lawyers.

The problem society faces is that every innovation carries risks and benefits. Vaccination saves millions of lives but kills a few individuals. Cars provide enormous convenience but thousands die in car accidents. Electricity powers our way of life but people get electrocuted. Drugs save millions of lives but hundreds die from adverse reactions.

Trial lawyers prey on the risks. Innovators profit from the benefits. Society as a whole benefits from the innovations. But if the legal system places too high a price on the risks, then the innovators will have no incentive to innovate.

We are already seeing, or rather, not seeing, the impact. Very few American companies are left in the vaccine industry. Single engine aircraft manufacturers were killed off decades ago. Medical device manufacturers stopped using silicone after the silicone breast implant hoax reaped billions for the trial lawyers.

Part of the problem is the conflict between science and the law. Science has very high statistical standards for proving causality. The legal system has very low standards and barely recognizes probability. When Mr. Smarmy Lawyer “proves” to the jury that Mr. Fat Freak, an overweight, nicotine addicted, under-exercised lump of lard, was taking Vioxx before he died of a “sudden” heart attack, they will be all too willing to award millions of dollars to Mrs. Fat Freak in compensation for the evil wrought upon their blissful existence by the evil drug company. Multiply that scenario a thousand-fold through the magic of class action lawsuits and venue shopping and Merck will soon be broke.

The only quick solution is a law that would forbid lawsuits involving FDA approved products. Can a Republican congress get that done? A second solution would involve imposing the highest scientific standards of proof in product liability cases. That would likely involve independent scientific panels instead of the bought expert witness system that is currently used.

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