Archive for March, 2008


Monday, March 31st, 2008

One of the great flaws in American foreign policy is that second-term presidents start looking to their “legacy” and of course want to be The one who make permanent peace in the Middle East possible.

The Bush administration is now in full “paving the legacy” mode: US says Mid-East peace on track

What does “on track” mean? It means more concessions from Israel, of course.


(ANSAmed) – TEL AVIV, MARCH 31 – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during her third Middle East trip for the past months, received from Israel a list of measures which will be introduced in the immediate future to ease the living conditions in the West Bank.

The 35-page dossier includes the construction of thousands of new homes in Ramallah; the removal of “some 50” roadblocks along the roads in the West Bank and of a military checkpoint; the strengthening of the operative capacities of the police of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and several thousand new entrance permits in Israel for Palestinian workers.

“We’ve been told that this is going to start and, hopefully even be completed in a relatively short period of time. I am expecting it to happen very, very soon,” Rice said. Saturday, Rice met in Jerusalem Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Yesterday, she met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad for the first time together with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, then had talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the leader of the rightist opposition Benyamin Netanyahu (Likud). Rice also visited Amman for a meeting with PNA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). Today she will meet Olmert again.

In a move, which Barak defined as “calculated risk”, Israel has also decided to remove from the streets in the West Bank some 50 roadblocks (of the over 459 counted by the Israeli human rights organisation Betselem) and a military checkpoint (of a total 99) south of Jericho from where Palestinians will be able to reach the northern coast of the Dead Sea, a famous tourist destination, so far forbidden.

Say good-bye to the resorts.

Israel will allow the construction north of Ramallah of between 5,000 and 8,000 homes for Palestinians, a measure announced a year ago and affirmed now.

Israel has also agreed to grant 5,000 work permits to Palestinians, to add to the previously issued 18,500 permits.

The functioning of the PNA police will be strengthened: the Palestinian police will be allowed to dislocate 700 agents in Jenin, while 25 Russian armoured vehicles will enter service in Nablus.(ANSAmed).

I have said in the past that there is no “cycle of violence” because Israel will be bombed no matter what.

Why do I believe this?
Because I’ve been watching the puppet shows.

UPDATE, Tuesday 1 April
What if Condoleezza Rice came to Jerusalem, and nobody cared?, via Judith.


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PoliGazette posts on Turkey’s ruling party

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Today PoliGazette has two interesting posts on Turkey.

First, the news: Turkish leaders face court case

Turkey’s constitutional court has decided unanimously that it can hear a case aimed at closing down the country’s governing AK Party.

The chief prosecutor earlier filed a petition calling for the party to be banned for “anti-secular activities”.

He also wants 71 AKP officials, including the prime minister and president, to be banned from politics.

PoliGazette posts, Erdogan’s Inflammatory Rhetoric – UPDATE: Court Accepts Case

What’s troubling about Erdogan’s words is that nothing has been decided yet; the judges still have to decide upon the matter. Normally, the Prime Minister (and MPs by the way) don’t comment on pending cases, but Erdogan is in such a great panic that he isn’t able to keep his mouth shut for a while. In fact, today is the day that the court will decide whether it will take on the case or not. In other words, the court won’t decide today whether the AK Parti should be closed or not, it’ll only decide whether it’ll accept the case.

He’s clearly trying to influence the outcome of the case, which isn’t something a PM should do. He should wait… and if the court decides to accept the case and later that the AK Parti should be closed, he can speak out against it, appeal, etc. But until that time, he shouldn’t comment on it.

But he does, and this proves that he truly fears that the court may very well decide to give the prosecutor what he wants. As I understand it, this is quite likely indeed. The AK Parti has tried to destroy secularism from within for months and even years now. They started slowly, but ever since Erdogan won the elections last year he has ignored the opposition. Since those elections, Erdogan has been busy transforming the country, thinking that he’s untouchable.

Today may very well be the day that Erdogan starts to realize he’s not.

Don’t miss also PoliGazette’s post, European Ignorance When It Comes To Turkey – AKP Closure by guest blogger Kemal.

The court has decided to consider the case. The future of Turkey hinges on their decision.


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Carla’s week

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Via Maria,
Ma semaine: Carla Bruni Sarkozy

“Nicolas!” I scold, peering out the window. “Maintenant! Put away ton Game Boy! For there is Prince Charles. Best behaviour!” “Sacré bleu!” roars Nicolas. “Quelle is this insult? He is avec un des Rolling Stones, qui est wearing a dress! J’espère que it n’est pas one que tu as shagged!” “C’est Camilla, Duchess de Cornouaille,” I point out. “Ah,” says Nicholas.

Read it all.

The Last Monday in March Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean.

If you would like your posts to be included in the Carnivals, please email me faustaw2 “at” gmail “dot” com.

This week’s big stories:
Colombia seizes thirty kilos of depleted uranium from the FARC. The American media doesn’t seem to have caught on that this is news.

Democrat Congressman James McGovern was found to have ties with the FARC.

Also in US and Latin American news, governor of Puerto Rico Anibal Acevedo was been indicted, booked, and released without bail on nineteen charges of conspiracy, false statements and violations of various campaign finance laws, following an FBI investigation in Puerto Rico and Philadelphia. Acevedo was one of Obama’s superdelegates. The Democrats have scheduled the Puerto Rico primary for June 1.

Latin America File: Chavez, Ortega, Lula challenge US power in hemisphere through formation of new military pact, ALBA Defense Council

Media Terrorism on LatAm Agenda

Counterterrorism Blog Panel: Disclosures From FARC Computer About Ecuador and Venezuela PDF file

The Kirchners v the farmers: The countryside’s beef about export taxes becomes the new government’s first political test
Via Siggy, Tax Rebellion in Argentina
Immigrants Chase the Brazilian Dream

Feverish in Rio: The dengue mosquito exposes public-health laxity

The Canadian connection: Providing banking, business and policemen

Fighting the War on Terror in the Caribbean and Central America

Before ’73 Coup, Chile Tried to Find the Right Software for Socialism

Colombia Announces Find of 66 Pounds of Uranium It Says Linked to FARC

U.S. ‘concerned’ about FARC uranium
An alleged rebel cache of uranium is raising concern in Washington — and questions about why the rebels had the radioactive metal

FARC Uranium May Be Depleted, But It’s Still Nuclear Material

Via American Digest A FARC Fan’s Notes


Colombia Probes FARC Ties to Uranium Seized in Bogota

Mario Ballesteros, head of the state-run geology institute Ingeominas, said a study of the uranium, its possible uses and health risk would be presented on Friday, EFE news agency reported today.

“The FARC may have wanted this material to build a stronger rocket that destroys the president or a minister’s armored car, not create a weapon of mass destruction,” said Cesar Restrepo, from Bogota’s Security and Democracy Foundation.

Padilla said informants he didn’t identify, who are close to an alleged arms supplier Reyes called “Belisario,” led the military to the uranium. Authorities are investigating the origin of the material, he said.

Embossed on the two metal lodes, in English, was the warning “Caution: Radioactive Material. Depleted Uranium,” according to the military’s video.

DU Dud: The Silver Lining to FARC’s Uranium

Rep McGovern Denies Being In Bed With FARC (The Sun Chronicle)

The FARC Jones Boy & Congressman James McGovern

Is the Biggest Bombshell on the FARC Computer Yet to Be Revealed?

Colombia: Venezuela supported rebel group, claims academic

FARC Cash Seized in Costa Rica Linked to Iran and Venezuela

Cubans Can Now Have Cell Phones; Problem Is, Nobody Can Afford Them

Cell Phones Don’t Replace Freedoms

Good News and Bad News

No End In Sight To Andean Conflict

On Ecuador’s border, FARC rebels visit often

Ecuador: A push to eliminate constiutional protections for gays and lesbians

Sedition is…. as Sedition Does: Liars and Manipulators Abetting Murderers and Terrorists

Sending In the Cavalry

Freedom of expression threatened in Nicaragua

Peruanista on YouTube

AG Announces Crackdown on Corrupt Politicians, Democratic Party Immediately Disbands

Puerto Rico, New Jersey, and those busted governors

Film: Las Dos Caras de Jano

Is the Biggest Bombshell on the FARC Computer Yet to Be Revealed?

Files Suggest Venezuela Bid to Aid Colombia Rebels, which also reveals that a Colombian agent was killed by the FARC after she was found to have microchips implanted in her body.

Instapundit, The Bolivarian republic of Massachusetts

Hugo, laid bare by a laptop

Chavez: Anyone but McCain

The American Friends of Hugo Chavez

Andres Oppenheimer: Media wars in Venezuela

Chavez behind the Andean troubles

From those who brought you the Tascon List: official racism in Venezuela

Mision conuco, higher education version

The Verbal Diarreah Starts Again

One last chance for Chavez

Falling oil production a challenge for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Matthew Vadum, of Capital Research Center was my podcast guest on March 25.

Salsa dancing: Selling rhythm to the world

Special thanks to Maggie, Siggy, Larwin and Maria.


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Prof. Robert Fagles, 1933-2008

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

I just heard that professor Fagles died on Wednesday.
Here’s the NY Times obituary, and the Daily Princetonian.

A memorial service will be held at the University in May.

He will be best remembered for his extraordinary translations and interpretations of the Illiad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid.


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Funny, Ben Affleck and Jimmy Kimmel, and totally NSFW

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Here at Fausta’s blog I strive to maintain a certain level of discourse: Culture, poise, good taste.

Forget that, and watch this, which is NOT Suitable For Work.

From The Center of NJ Life

The seventy-five percenters

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

It’s that magical time of the year again, when tyrants make a show of “democracy” to the world at large. Today’s turn: Robert Mugabe
Vote count under way in Zimbabwe

Vote counting is under way in Zimbabwe, with the main opposition MDC claiming it is winning the battle to oust President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC said it was ahead in most constituencies but continues to fear the vote will be rigged.

Results may not be finalised for some days and the government warned the MDC not to declare an early victory.

Forgive me if I sound cynical, but what are the chances of anyone defeating a megalomaniacal murderous thug through an election?

The BBC is also not helping: Look how they make it sound as if it was Mugabe who was battling the odds, instead of the other way around:

Mr Mugabe is battling the MDC‘s Morgan Tsvangirai and independent Simba Makoni for president.

I hope I’m wrong and that the MDC can win, but from here it looks very unlikely indeed (h/t Instapundit).

Nowadays fashionable tyrants win by 75% of the vote. It’s only the old-style, crassly out of fashion tyrants like the Chinese Communist Party who still win by 98%.

The modern fashionable tyrant soothes what passes for conscience at the UN by holding an election, calling in international observers (a dozen observers to stay at carefully-selected, scrupulously-guarded locations in countries at least as large as California, because you know that a dozen people staying for a day or two really can get a good idea of what’s going on in a country) IF they decide to call observers in the first place, making a show of the polling process, and then winning with a 3:1 margin over the opposition. If they really want to make a point, then they win 4:1.

Then Jimmy Carter flies back to Georgia to celebrate Rosalyn’s birthday, the UN goes back to condemning Israel, and we all tune in to E! for the latest in celebrity gossip.

In Caracas, the honeymoon is over with the media: Chavez ‘stifles Venezuelan media’

Private media companies from across the Americas have accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of stifling press freedom in his country.

Delegates at a meeting of the Inter- American Press Association in Caracas said Mr Chavez was using intimidation to curb criticism of his government.

I expect that Jimmy will be whispering sweet nothings in Hugo’s ear to calm down Hugo’s frazzled nerves.

But not to worry, there’s free healthcare in Venezuela.


This morning’s old movie at TCM is Boom Town, about oil wildcatters. In spite of a burning oil rig, it has absolutely nothing in common with There Will Be Blood, especially when it showcases Clark Gable’s impeccably attired profile holding the impossibly glamorous Claudette Colbert or Heddy Lammar in his arms.

They don’t make them the way the used to, and I’d like to know who would wear a sequined negligee outside of a Hollywood movie.


Today’s WSJ’s Five-Best books about the search of Eden, selected by Jonathan Rosen:

Paradise Lost is also available on line

Say first, for Heav’n hides nothing from thy view
Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause
Mov’d our Grand Parents in that happy State,
Favour’d of Heav’n so highly, to fall off [ 30 ]
From thir Creator, and transgress his Will
For one restraint, Lords of the World besides?


Today’s shoes, John Fluevog’s Renata, with a moderate heel and casual/dressy style.

You all know I love red shoes, and these are lovely. The Manolo has another Fluevog style.

You can never have enough red shoes.


Pat has the Carnival of the Insanities.

In the meantime, mark your calendars, pay your reservation, and come to Saturday’s party!


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Jimbo has a word to the fence sitters: Come to the party!

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Jim of Parkway Rest Stop addresses the big questions:
A Message to the Fence Sitters

Yeah, I’m talking to those of you who have given some thought to attending the upcoming Spring BlogFest a/k/a Jersey Blogmeet on April 5th in Princeton, but who haven’t yet taken the plunge.

I suspect that you’re thinking runs something like the following, to which I will add my commentary, as a veteran of ten blogmeets in five different states:

Jeez, I won’t know anyone there.
It may take you all of three minutes to know a dozen people. Bloggers are an exceedingly friendly bunch. After ten minutes, you’ll find it hard to get a word in edgewise, because bloggers are not only friendly, they are also loquacious blabbermouths.

Princeton? I’ve heard of the school (Yeah, it’s the one that lost the first intercollegiate football game to Rutgers), but getting there is a pain in the ass.
Car – easy. Princeton sits on Route 1. Trains: They run from various places in Jersey and from Philly and New York. Teresa is making the trek from Massachusetts and the Wiseass Jooette will be schlepping in from the New York Shithole Brooklyn. The Triumph Brewery (the site of the festivities) is walking distance from the station.

A blogger from Georgia and another one from Virginia are coming. It’s easy to get here even from Newark airport.

More questions,
What if it’s borrrrrring? What if it’s borrrrrring? What if I think all the people there are jerks? Will they think I’m a jerk? I have nothing to say to these people. My sock drawer needs arranging on April 5th. Jim has all the answers.

The food’s going to be good, Jim will let you touch his great farookin’ hair, I’ll show off some of my newly-learned tango steps, and Jazz will improvise.

And we won’t run out of beer.

What are you waiting for? Make your reservation right now! The restaurant needs to know how many people are coming ahead of time, so the time to make the reservation is right now.

How much: $45 per person, plus CASH BAR

You can make a check payable to Fausta Wertz, PO Box 1589, Princeton NJ 08542-1589, or pay through Paypal:

For more information, click here

Slow blogging, but worth it

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

It’s a rather slow blogging day for a number of reasons: a slight head cold, housekeeping of the house and blog varieties both, and catching up with some reading I have to do related to another project.

But never fear, a fresh new post is coming your way soon!

In the meantime, did you listen to yesterday’s podcast yet? Siggy and Brian are brilliant.

VDH asks, "The Chickens of Identity Politics Come Home to Roost? "

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Today at The Corner, Victor Davis Hanson asks, The Chickens of Identity Politics Come Home to Roost? when it comes to the exceptions from the norms of public discourse:

This is what the triangulation of Obama has helped to unleash: most Americans will now doubt the moral authority of the African-American intellectual and religious community not just to question the questionable racial remarks of a Bill Clinton, Ed Rendell, or Geraldine Ferraro, but also the Wright-like crudity of a Don Imus or a Michael Richards. Context is now king.

This disastrous regression in race relations is the natural dividend of liberal identity politics, most recently brought to the fore by the wife of the first “black President”, the first “transracial” black Presidential candidate, and the “prophet” and “healer” Reverend Wright.

It’s high time we put identity politics to rest.

Until we do, all candidacies associated with identity politics will descend, as VDH puts it, into McGovern candidacies.


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