An American Tradition, For Better Or Worse

The winner and five time consecutive champion . . .

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2011: Who Is to Blame for Its Popularity?

The 2011 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was won by a familiar face, as it was Joey Chestnut taking home his fifth consecutive Mustard Belt. In 10 minutes, Chestnut finished off 62 hot dogs, six short of the world record he set in 2009.

No wonder they call him “Jaws.” His parents must be very proud.

As is always the case, there were plenty of people on hand to take in the scene at Coney Island, and many more took it in on ESPN. I haven’t found or heard any exact figures, but last year’s contest drew 40,000 spectators and was watched by nearly 1.7 million people on TV. One assumes those numbers only increased this year.

See also:
Joey Chestnut wins another hot dog title
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2011, Full Results: Joey Chestnut Outlasts Deep Dish, Eater X, B.O.B
Joey Chestnut wins Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for fifth time
Nathan’s hot dog eating contest in Coney Island: Chestnut downs 62 dogs to win
Joey Chestnut: “Winning tastes pretty good”
Hot dog eating contest: Joey Chestnut wins fifth straight, Kobayashi unofficially breaks world record with 69
Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2011
Chestnut, ‘Black Widow’ win annual hot dog eating contestAlexandria woman wins Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest
Korean-American Woman Ranks as U.S. Hot Dog Queen

Mnnn, hot dogs. 62 in ten minutes that about a hat dog and bun every ten seconds.

/makes me a bit queasy just thinking about it

Oh Boy, Look What Israel Found

I’m shocked I tell you, shocked, the peace loving Iranians caught smuggling illegal weapons to the peaceful people of Gaza, how can this be?

Israel Seizes Egypt-Bound Ship With Arms On Board

Israel announced Tuesday that its naval forces have intercepted and seized a cargo ship carrying weapons from Turkey to Egypt, adding that it believed the arms shipment originated in Iran and was destined for the Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Israeli officials said the ship was seized some 200 nautical miles west off the Israeli coast. An initial search of the seized vessel uncovered three containers loaded with arms and officials indicating the ship would be searched thoroughly after it reaches Israel.

The seized cargo ship was identified as “Victoria,” which according to Israeli officials had initially set off from the Syrian port of Lattakia to Mercin in Turkey. They said the vessel was seized when it was heading towards the Egyptian port of Alexandria from Turkey.

The Israeli officials, however, stressed that their initial investigations indicated that neither Turkey nor Egypt were involved in the arms shipment. They believe the countries involved in the shipment were Iran and Syria.

“The only certain thing is the source of the weaponry was Iran, and there was a Syrian relay station as well. This is the main axis that provides the forces of terror in Lebanon and Gaza,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

See also:
Israel seizes ship carrying weapons for Gaza
Israel intercepts ship with ‘Gaza-bound weapons’
Israel seizes ship carrying weapons
Israeli Navy Seizes Suspected Arms Vessel
News Analysis: Captured Gaza-bound weapon ship just one of many: analysts
Israel Seizes Syrian Ship Bringing Iranian Weapons To Gaza — Will Nukes Be Next?
Anti-ship Missiles and Guidebooks Found on Victoria
Chinese Made Anti Ship Missiles On Board ‘Victoria’ (PHOTOS)
Navy dep. commander: ‘Victoria’ carried anti-ship missiles
Navy: Anti-ship missiles, Farsi manual found on seized vessel
Israel’s arms seizure points to Iran
Israel’s seizure of arms shipment highlights rising unease about Iran
Analysis: Israel’s shadow war against Iran
PM: Capture of ship shows world dangers Israel faces

Now, why on Earth would Hamas, the government of Gaza, need sophisticated anti-ship missiles and why would Iran be supplying them? Nevermind, that was a rhetorical question, Iran and Hamas both want to wipe Israel off the map and exterminate all the Jews.

/and all the while, the Western governments just stand by cowering, like so many eunuchs, picking their collectives noses while they watch Iran develop nuclear weapons before their very eyes and do nothing to stop it, what are they waiting for, the mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv?

Happy New Year From Al Qaeda

While most normal people were celebrating the new year, the Islamic murderbots were hard at work doing what they do best, killing innocent people.

Egypt Detains 17 People After Bomb Kills 21 at Church, Al Jazeera Reports

Egyptian police detained 17 suspects after a bomb blast killed 21 people outside a church in Alexandria, Al Jazeera television reported, citing unidentified security officials.

The explosion early yesterday injured more than 90 people, according to the Health Ministry. President Hosni Mubarak blamed the attack on “foreign elements.” The Interior Ministry said it increased security around churches “in light of the escalating threats from al-Qaeda to many countries,” according to a statement on its website.

Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq said in November it would attack Christian sites after it claimed Egypt’s Coptic Church was holding two Christian women who had converted to Islam. The church has denied this charge. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.

“The technical aspects of the execution, the large number of victims and the threats of al-Qaeda in Iraq all point to al- Qaeda’a fingerprints,” Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamist groups at the Cairo-based Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, wrote in an editorial in Al Shorouk newspaper.

See also:
Bomb blast in Egypt highlights divisions
21 dead as suicide bomber sets off blast at New Year midnight mass in Egypt
Egyptian President Condemns Deadly Explosion Outside Church in Alexandria
Mubarak vows to ‘cut off the hand of terrorism’
Foreign hands behind church attack: Mubarak
Security tightened after deadly church blast in Egypt
Prostests in Egypt following explosion
Worshippers return to bombed Egyptian church
Mass held at bombed Egyptian church
Thousands gather to mourn victims in Egypt church blast
Massacre of Egyptian Christians

Religion of Peace my ass.

/*sigh*, new year, same as it ever was

It’s Okay, It’s Just Jihad, Not Terrorism

Va. suspects in Pakistan say mission was jihad not terrorism

Five men arrested in Pakistan indicated Monday that they plan to fight terrorism charges that Pakistani police are recommending by using a strategy seen in U.S. courtrooms: that they were preparing for jihad but not planning any terror attacks.

The men told a Pakistani court that they had neither sought nor established contact with extremist groups, and traveled to the region only “to help the helpless Muslims,” according to their Pakistani attorney. As they entered the courtroom, one of the men, Ramy Zamzam, told reporters: “We are not terrorists. We are jihadists, and jihad is not terrorism.”

No charges were filed during the hearing in Sargodha, but Pakistani police said their formal recommendation that the men be charged under anti-terrorism laws — and sentenced to life in prison — would be filed by Tuesday. A judge would decide whether to prosecute the five Americans, who are due back in court on Jan. 18.

The men, all from the Alexandria area, left the United States shortly after Thanksgiving without telling their parents, who alerted the FBI. They were arrested Dec. 8 at the family home of Khalid Farooq Chaudhry, the father of one of the men, Umar Chaudhry. The elder Chaudhry was released from custody on Monday by the judge because of insufficient evidence against him, officials said.

Pakistani police say the men were in contact with a Taliban recruiter, were seeking to join al-Qaeda and came to Pakistan to carry out terrorist acts. The FBI is also investigating the men, and officials have said the Justice Department is likely to consider charges in the United States.

See also:
Five men detained in Pakistan deny ties to Al Qaeda in court
Detainees Deny Plotting Terror
U.S. Suspects in Pakistan Invoke Jihad, Not Terrorism
Five Americans say no plan to attack inside Pakistan
5 American terror suspects appear in Pakistan court
American terror suspects’ trial in Pakistan: Conviction may be tough
Pak court remands American Muslim youths to judicial custody

See? They’re jihadis, not terrorists, they’re just misunderstood.

/just the good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm

Holder Declares War On The CIA

Losing the health care debate badly? Need to distract the public attention from the horrific deficit forecasts being released tomorrow? No problem, just demagogue a five year old report and threaten to persecute evil Bush era CIA interrogators!

Holder to Appoint Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Terror Interrogations

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move.

Holder is poised to name John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to lead the inquiry, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

Durham’s mandate, the sources added, will be relatively narrow: to look at whether there is enough evidence to launch a full-scale criminal investigation of current and former CIA personnel who may have broken the law in their dealings with detainees. Many of the harshest CIA interrogation techniques have not been employed against terrorism suspects for four years or more.

The attorney general selected Durham in part because the longtime prosecutor is familiar with the CIA and its past interrogation regime. For nearly two years, Durham has been probing whether laws against obstruction or false statements were violated in connection with the 2005 destruction of CIA videotapes. The tapes allegedly depicted brutal scenes including waterboarding of some of the agency’s high value detainees. That inquiry is proceeding before a grand jury in Alexandria, although lawyers following the investigation have cast doubt on whether it will result in any criminal charges.

Word of Holder’s decision comes on the same day that the Obama administration will issue a 2004 report by the then-CIA Inspector General. Among other things, the IG questioned the effectiveness of harsh interrogation tactics that included simulated drowning and wall slamming. A federal judge in New York forced the administration to release the secret report after a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.

A separate internal Justice Department ethics report on the professionalism of lawyers who blessed the questioning techniques continues to undergo declassification review and is not likely to be released imminently. The New York Times reported Monday that the ethics report recommended that Holder take another look at several episodes of alleged detainee abuse that previously had been declined for prosecution during the Bush years, bolstering his decision to appoint a prosecutor.

Leaders at the Justice Department and the intelligence community have clashed this year over the release of sensitive interrogation memos, military photographs of detainee abuse and how to handle the cases of more than 200 detainees at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Holder’s decision could complicate the Justice Department’s relationship with the White House, where President Obama has repeatedly expressed a desire to move forward from the national security controversies of the Bush administration. Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton told reporters Monday that the president had complete faith in Holder and that the decision whether to launch an investigation was the attorney general’s sole prerogative.

“The White House supports the attorney general making the decisions on who gets prosecuted and investigated,” Burton said.

Holder acknowledges the possible fallout from his decision, but has concluded in recent days that he has no other choice than to probe whether laws were broken in connection with the Bush administration’s interrogation program, the two sources said. Fewer than a dozen cases will be examined, most from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Any criminal investigation into the CIA conduct faces serious hurdles, according to current and former government lawyers, including such challenges as missing evidence, nonexistent or unreliable witnesses, no access to some bodies of detainees who died, and the passage of up to seven years since the questionable activity occurred far from American soil.

During the Bush years, a team of more than a half-dozen career prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia, which is renown for its expertise in probing clandestine operations, reviewed about 20 cases of alleged prisoner abuse after receiving referrals from the military and then-CIA Inspector General John Helgerson. Among the assistant U.S. attorneys involved in the review was Robert Spencer, who successfully prosecuted al-Qaeda operative Zacharias Moussaoui and who later won one of the highest awards the Justice Department bestows.

In only one of the cases did the lawyers recommend seeking a grand jury indictment. A federal appeals court earlier this month affirmed the assault conviction of David A. Passaro, a CIA contractor who wielded a metal flashlight against a detainee at a military base in Afghanistan. Passaro was not charged with murder. Abdul Wali, the detainee he questioned, died shortly after the beating but investigators could not conclusively link his death to the flashlight attack.

A former government official involved in the previous review said that, given problems with evidence, there was “no conceivable way we could have come out different” and sought criminal indictments. The official said that analysis might change if new and reliable witnesses emerged.

Current and former CIA officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations have cited the prior review by prosecutors as one of several reasons why the Obama Justice Department need not act. They fear that any criminal investigation will chill intelligence activities and alienate operatives who are responsible for protecting national security.

See also:
Attorney General Holder opens ‘preliminary’ investigation of post-9/11 interrogations
Holder Orders Review Into Abuses of Terror Suspects (Update2)
Holder Releases Statement on Detainee Interrogations, Special Prosecutor
Holder’s Pick for CIA Investigation Known as Tough, Diligent
Sources: Report to detail alleged abuse inside CIA secret prisons
CIA staged mock execution, wielded power drill in interrogations, secret report says
CIA Faulted for Conduct at Prisons
DOJ probe opens divides with Hill, CIA
Liberals and the CIA
Civil Liberties Groups Prepare Delicate Message on CIA Probe
GOP senators warn Holder against CIA abuse inquiry
Republicans warn Holder on probe
U.S. Republican senators oppose investigation into CIA
Panetta Letter to CIA Staff on Release of Interrogation Report
Panetta Defends CIA in E-Mail to Agency
Obama White House v. CIA; Panetta Threatened to Quit
Is Panetta About to Quit?
The Justice Dept.’s War On Heroes

Okay, the memo is five years old and the alleged transgressions contained within, from even further back in ancient history, basically boil down to CIA interrogators threatening some of the world’s worst and deadliest terrorists with nasty and frightening, yet totally fictitious, never intended to be implemented, torture techniques and retribution against the terrorists’ family members. Sticks and stones didn’t hurt their bones, only words were used to break them. These allegations have already been thoroughly investigated, a long time ago, by career prosecutors experienced in CIA matters, and in the one case where abuse was found charges were brought.

Why is Holder digging up this well settled grave again after all these years, to placate the uber liberal CIA haters, the ACLU, to stroke his own ego? Doesn’t he care what damage it will do to the CIA and how much it will demoralize CIA operatives out in the field, risking their lives every day to defend America and keep us safe? What part of numerous past and present CIA Directors vociferously telling him, in no uncertain terms, that this new witch hunt is a really bad idea doesn’t he understand? Hell, even Obama doesn’t particularly want to travel down this long abandoned road.

/given Eric Holder’s undaunted determination to give aid and comfort to the enemy, at the expense of those standing between us and the enemy, it’s unclear as to where his loyalties lie and who’s side he’s really on