December 2005 Archives

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Pope Benedict is already shaking things up

By Michael Fumento

Headline: Saints will train in Louisiana
By Tim Price, The Associated Press

December 30, 2005 12:56 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Religion

Headline: "Hussein Says US Beat Him"

By Michael Fumento

Well yes, we did as a matter of fact. Took a mere three weeks.

December 21, 2005 03:15 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq

Who says the MSM always ignores good news from Iraq?

By Michael Fumento

Two items in two days from the Washington Post. In "Military Cites Drawdown in Parts of Iraq" (Dec. 17), we're told "The U.S. military is scaling back combat forces in regions of Iraq's Sunni Triangle that were once fiercely contested, freeing thousands of troops to shift to other trouble spots or to go home without being replaced, according to senior military officials." It further notes, "Since February, U.S. forces have moved out of 30 of their 110 bases in Iraq, transferring 17 of them to Iraqi security forces." Do you see the word "quaqmire" in there? The article describes a shopkeeper in Baqubah who "used to shut his shop early, but now, under newly repaired streetlights, he keeps it open until the 10 p.m. curfew, tripling his earnings." It concludes by quoting a Baqubah off-duty police officer. "Of course everything is getting better concerning the security. There's a crucial difference between last year and this year."

In "GIs in Iraq Choosing to Re-Up," a day later, the Post noted that, "Since 2001, the Army has surpassed its retention targets by wider margins each year, showing an unexpectedly robust ability to retain soldiers in a time of war." It focused on a GI who re-enlisted the same day he became eligible to receive the Purple Heart after IED shrapnel ripped through his shoulder. He even saw a bright side in being wounded. As a Purple Heart recipient, "I'll get free license plates for life." Um, yeah. But the point is made and it's not Rep. John "Cut and Run" Murtha's claim that "the Army is broken." The terrorists have broken Murtha's will; our military is just fine, thank you.

December 18, 2005 01:27 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq

Nomination for Cover Fib of the Year

By Michael Fumento

There it is in big, bold red letters on the cover of the December Atlantic Monthly: "Why Iraq Has No Army." The article itself carries the same title. And the contents of the article? Fourteen pages all about Iraq's army.

December 6, 2005 06:58 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq

Another target of Tim Lambert's

By Michael Fumento

I never thought that Tim Lambert was a mild-mannered respectable blogger until something about Mike Fumento made his brain snap and left him a dysfunctional obessive-compulsive. Sure enough, it turns out he was playing his rude tricks months earlier with Tim Blair, a fellow Aussie with a terrific blog. Blair made this posting on March 15 of this year:

Lefty Tim Lambert has set up a mirror of this site, apparently hosted on the University of New South Wales server. I've sent him a note.

UPDATE. Lambert, who hasn't answered my email or phone calls, has given the mirrored site a clever new name: "This is Not Tim Blair's blog". Yet everything I post immediately appears there. It's the work of a super genius!

I'm not really interested -- yet -- in what legal or copyright issues may be involved. I'd just prefer that Lambert close the thing and stop being so weird and obsessive.

UPDATE II. Just spoke to Lambert's supervisor, Paul Compton, at the UNSW. He told me Lambert had agreed to take his site down lest the UNSW's role in this debacle be "misunderstood". I'd spoken to Lambert a few minutes earlier; he hadn't mentioned this. We'll wait and see.

UPDATE III. The Lambert matter is concluded. Much thanks to everybody (including Ken Parish) for legal advice and offers of assistance; it's alarming to me that things had to reach to that point before the duplicate site was taken down. If ever a right-winger tries to pull the same dumb stunt on a lefty, well, let me condemn you in advance.

A final point: after complaining about how unfair it was that they couldn't comment here, members of the banned had an entire day to make their incisive points about any post ... and they didn't say a thing outside of the lead item. Kinda proves something, doesn't it?

The last paragraph contains Lambert's explanation for his misdeed. Blair, like millions of other bloggers, doesn't allow comments on his site. But Lambert thinks that's unfair because it doesn't let people say nasty things about Blair right on Blair's site. That they can say them anywhere else in the universe is irrelevant. So Lambert set up a mirror site of Blair's that allowed for nasty comments. Alas for Lambert, as Blair observes, people barely took advantage of the opportunity anyway.

A final note. When Lambert took down his mirror site, this is what he replaced it with. Start taking that Clomipramine Lambert -- one bottle per day.

December 6, 2005 05:47 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media

What goes around comes around

By Michael Fumento

John Seigenthaler, once administrative assistant to Robert Kennedy, complained in an op-ed published in USA Today that Wikipedia's biography of him said he had been suspected in the assassinations of both RFK and his brother, President John F. Kennedy. In other words, the real assassination was of the character of Seigenthaler. Clearly the rules on Wikipedia need tightening and I'd love to be more sympathetic to Mr. Seigenthaler but he's done his share of character assassination as well.

Back in 2000, the Nashville Tennessean, for which Seigenthaler had been editor, publisher, and chairman before retiring as "Chairman Emeritus" in 1991 (he was also founding editorial page editor for USA Today in its far-left days), ran a series of articles it just knew would garner it a Pulitzer. It accused the Department of Energy of recklessly endangering millions of lives by causing all sorts of mystery illnesses. I wrote a response in the Wall Street Journal that shredded the Tennessean's work into confetti. The newspaper didn't even bother to enter it into the Pulitzer contest. Seigenthaler was livid! He wrote a lengthy, rambling piece for the Tennessean that was wall-to-wall ad hominem.

He attacked me using partial quotes on my AIDS book, when the other parts of the quotes were so complimentary they actually appeared in the paperback edition. Anyway this was a full five years after the epidemic had peaked just as I had predicted. He attacked my criticism of a Nashville author who produced a massive bestseller saying you could literally eat limitless calories so long as you held your fat intake extremely low. (Obviously this was before the Atkins craze.) He attacked me for writing that there was no epidemic of black southern church burnings. Actually that piece single-handedly ended the myth; somebody forgot to tell Seigenthaler.

He even accused me of having too many titles. "At diverse times," he wrote, "in addition to his identification as a 'science journalist,'' he has also been called (or called himself) a 'self syndicated columnist,' a 'former Reagan administration lawyer,' a 'medical writer,' a 'science journalist,' [sic] an 'environmental correspondent . . .' You get the picture; this is a any-port-in-a-storm guy, the kind bloggers would have been eaten for breakfast had there been bloggers in his day.

As far as I'm concerned, poor Mr. Seigenthaler, whoever posted those false entries on you on Wikipedia was exercising the same "First Amendment" rights on you that you exercised on me. Don't get your crocodile tears all over my science journalist clothes.

December 5, 2005 07:00 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media

Update on IPs and "sock puppets"

By Michael Fumento

In my last blog, I noted how Tim Lambert seems to make his living claiming other people are using "sock puppets" (false names) on blogs, even though he does so on his own blog. But Lambert says he has proof. He says he finds that allegedly different entities are using a single internet provider address. I already noted one major weakness in this: That we must take Lambert's word for it that the same IP address was used and Lambert, to put it as delicately as possible, is a chronic liar.

But a reader also wrote to me to note that, "An IP address isn't proof of an individual's accessing a web page. Depending on your ISP's network configuration, the IP address a web server sees when you visit it might be shared with many other users who use the same ISP. About all a webmaster can do with an IP address is narrow down the ISP or organization from which the requests originated."

Therefore assuming Lambert got two identical IPs from my name and that of another person, he must take into account the possibility the someone else who shares my address and knows me wants to post in support of me anonymously. That hardly makes me a damned dirty dog, does it? Why doesn't Lambert think of such things? Is it because he doesn't like to mess with details that might not support his blog?

December 5, 2005 06:28 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media

Tim Lambert's blogsite

By Michael Fumento

There are lots of reasons people blog. One may be that nobody else would ever publish their material. Some of these people nevertheless fill a valuable niche that just doesn't appeal to outside publications; others are simply inept. The latter describes Tim Lambert and his Deltoid blogsite. An anti-American Aussie, he regularly displays his ignorance on a wide variety of issues, perhaps in the belief that quantity makes up for quality.

To the extent Lambert is recognized for anything, it's probably for his embarrassing defense of the pre-election surprise paper in The Lancet that desperately tried to show that Americans had killed 100,000 civilians in Iraq. (At the time Human Rights Watch was using a figure of about 15,000 as was bin Laden himself!) Ever since I first chided him for thinking his blog had the least ability to support his Jihadist friends, he's made it one of his missions in life to try to hurt me personally. He has a separate motive in that when I've posted responses on his website his traffic shoots up. Once I recognized that I bit my tongue and posted no more responses, though he has taunted me frequently in a vain effort to get me to do so.

So instead he merely claims I have posted on his website, using a false name. In blogging terminology, that's using a "sockpuppet." He claims he's compared my IP address to that of the alleged sockpuppet's and they're the same. Problem is, the only proof is is his word and this is the word of not just anybody but of Tim Lambert. Conversely, when John Lott used his "Mary Rosh" sockpuppet, numerous people were able to confirm that Roush's and Lott's IP address were the same. [I wrote this in error: Turns out when Lott's IP address was correlated with Roush's, he immediately admitted he and Roush were the same. This puts him far above Lambert, who when caught red-handed admitted to nothing.]

At the same time, Lambert has accused me of rewriting my own Wikipedia entry. Actually he rewrote it; I attempted to strike it. (I couldn't, for the wonderful reason that Lambert was there first.) Why did I try to strike it? I don't feel encyclopedia entries are the places for vendettas. It's not appropriate in the Encyclopedia Britannica nor is it in Wikipedia.

Ah, but the plot thickens. Among Lambert's few friends is John Fleck, whose blog is inkstain. (Another type of stain comes to mind, but whatever.) Fleck wrote of my "latest blubbering discussion with Tim Lambert." But as I've said, Lambert's pathetic efforts to lure me into "discussion" have failed. No discussion; ergo no "blubbering" discussion. But if Lambert had said that on his site it would have left his few readers scratching their heads, so Fleck posted it instead. Fleck, therefore, is a human sockpuppet. Not the sort of career to which most of us would aspire. In his Dec. 5 posting, Fleck also admitted that which Lambert would not: "There's this strange sort of schoolyard bully pleasure in taunting Michael Fumento." That Fleck says this with blood cascading from his broken nostrils is besides the point.

But it gets better yet. In a discussion group of self-described Aussie lefties to which Lambert belongs, our hero is charged with using at least two different false names to post comments on his own Deltoid website, "Kevin Donahue" and "Robert Johnson." Directly and repeatedly confronted with this Lambert repeatedly refused to respond, though he did respond to other aspects of the discussion. After Lambert ignored the accuser one time too many the other writer blasted him. "Sure, you are allowed to post anything you like on your site," he said. "But please spare us the pious talk that you support the truth. When you go around hitting others across the head for using aliases and then get found out doing that yourself--you come out looking like a cheap creep."

Right. Tim Lambert, thy name is Mary Roush.

Lambert is a pathetic individual whose actions do not represent what the blogosphere is supposed to be about. And while yes, in a real sense writing in general and blogging specifically can be considered "therapeutic," a keyboard is no substitute for professional therapy and psychotropic medicine.

December 4, 2005 11:26 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media

The "40 dead civilians" mystery solved

By Michael Fumento

In my recent NRO piece on the latest propaganda efforts to portray U.S. troops as the bad guys, regarding the use of white phosphorus, I wrote: "It's not enough that whenever we bomb a terrorist safe house we're accused of killing 40 civilians and no terrorists. (Why always 40?)"

Howard Hayden wrote to tell me:

"Forty occurs with monotonous regularity throughout the Bible and all early writings from the Middle East, but there's a reason for it. The word for 40 and the word for scads (zillions, thousands...) were the same (or very similar) word throughout the region (such as Arabic, Farsi, ancient Greek). Even in Russian, where the word for a huge number is (my spelling) soric soricov (40 40's). So when you read that Moses spent forty years in the wilderness, or it rained for forty days and forty nights, it was most likely not 40. Ali Baba and the forty thieves, ditto."

Interesting! Now, Howard, explain to me why the civilians we kill are always women and children attending a wedding. Nah! I can figure that out for myself.

December 3, 2005 04:58 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq

Chuck Colson and Scottish Chickens

By Michael Fumento

In a column today kindly discussing my Weekly Standard article, "Fuss and Feathers," Chuck Colson notes, "What's more, there is no evidence as yet that H5N1 has mutated into a form that can be transmitted from person to person. It's not for lack of time: Contrary to what you might have been led to believe, H5N1 has been around since at least 1997 and possibly as far back as 1992."

Actually, I wrote (based on a discovery that floored me when I made it) that it was first recognized in Scottish chickens in 1959! So here's a virus that's been mutating and making contact with humans for at least 46 years and in all that time hasn't yet become transmissible between humans. That's not to say it won't ever; but if it hasn't in the last half century there's no good reason to think it will in the next half century, much less the few years needed to stockpile mountains of antiviral drugs and develop an effective vaccine. Never has a Scottish chicken been so important; why do our health officials refuse to mention them?

December 1, 2005 03:10 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)