Today's Blogs

The FBI on Trial

Bloggers are irate that an FBI agent’s warnings about Zacarias Moussaoui and al-Qaida went unheeded before Sept. 11. They are also upset that an Afghan man is on trial for his religious beliefs and largely unenthused by a new study finding that whiny kids turn into conservatives.

The FBI on trial: Yesterday at the Zacarias Moussaoui trial, an FBI agent based in Minneapolis testified that he attempted to tell his superiors about Moussaoui and al-Qaida’s plans more than 70 times before Sept. 11, only to be ignored. Agent Harry Samit testified during the sentencing phase of trial, where it will be decided if Moussaoui receives the death penalty.

In Samit’s testimony, ReddHedd at firedoglake finds confirmation that the political machinations of careerists are to blame for not averting 9/11: “So, let’s see, the problem has never been the FISA Court nor the field agents, but the attitude of the careerists in DC. And every Administration apologist who has been on the talking head shows for YEARS now trying to lay blame on the FISA judges or the field agents or anyone else who is actually doing the work was full of crap.” The “unaffiliated, progressive liberal” at Indisputable Truth praises the FBI agent for speaking up in court: “The most dangerous testimony and FBI agent could ever give in his life would be to testify against his agency and in the defense of an admitted terrorist. That’s the kind of thing that takes cast-iron balls, I’m not entirely certain I’d be capable of the same.”

Doug, the pro-war liberation attorney at Below the Beltway, still blames U.S. intelligence work, or lack thereof, for the attacks: “It seems that the only thing that the government’s case has established so far is just how inept our intelligence was prior to 9/11.”

Read more about Harry Samit’s revelations at the Moussaoui trial.

No freedom of religion: An Afghan citizen who converted to Christianity faces the death penalty for “rejecting Islam.” His family turned him over to authorities last month after he admitted to them that he converted to Christianity while working abroad in Germany 16 years ago. Rejecting Islam remains a crime in Afghanistan.  

Michelle Malkin throws her conservative-columnist might behind the cause, calling for a letter-writing and call-in campaign to save Abdul Rahman: “What do Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Bush have to say about the monstrous possibility that Rahman may be executed for professing faith in Jesus Christ and possessing a Bible? So far, nothing.” In a later post, she commends Italy and Germany for speaking up, and shares a reader’s account of calling the Afghan Embassy. Conservative Andrew Sullivan calls on Muslims to denounce the treatment Rahman is receiving: “There are many Muslims in the West and elsewhere who do not support or tolerate this kind of medieval oppression. I look forward to hearing their protests.”

Rachel, the librarian behind Tinkerty Tonk, marvels at this development: “I’m thinking this wasn’t what Bush had in mind when he sought to bring democracy to Afghanistan.”

From this case, conservative Bryan Preston at Junkyard Blog wonders what we hoped for when going to Afghanistan: “It’s good that the Taliban is gone, but the faith that drives it still dominates and it’s increasingly clear that that is a problem in and of itself. Mr. Rahman deserves political asylum in the West for being persecuted to the point of death.”

An Englishman living in Côte d’Azur at The Shadow of the Olive Tree suggests that Yale would make a great final destination for Rahman: “In Afghanistan there is an unfortunate man who is being prosecuted and faces execution for converting to Christianity. In Yale there is a fortunate man who is benefitting mainly from his defence of similar practices under the previous regime … ” he writes. “Maybe if Yale feels so strongly for Afghanis it could offer the former the same deal as the latter.”

To read more about the trial of the Afghan who converted to Christianity, click here.

Little whiner, future conservative? According to the latest findings of a Berkeley study on child development, whiny preschoolers turn into whiny conservatives. The study is faulted by many for its pseudoscience and choice of Berkeley as a research location.

David Lat and Alex Pareene, the manly new faces of Wonkette, compare the Berkeley study with a GQ article that says Republicans are better in bed: “We’re with GQ on this one; it’s the liberals, not the conservatives, who are the whiners. The ‘conservatives are whiny’ study is dubious …” they write. “Consider this: If you grew up as a conservative kid in Berkeley, where the entire sample population was taken from, would you be wrong in thinking that ‘everyone was out to get [you]’? … Wouldn’t you end up ‘whiny’ and ‘insecure,’ after years of cafeteria mockery for the non-organic peanut butter in your PB&J?”

At the National Review’sCorner, conservative John Derbyshire tirades against the study: “Doesn’t EVERYBODY from the Berkeley area grow up to be liberal? I must say, though, they have me dead to rights. I was indeed whiny and insecure in the nursery-school years. But then, I grew up to be a liberal, and only changed teams after age 30. So this study proves … what most of these bogus ‘studies’ prove: diddly-squat.”

The University of Michigan grad student Silver Adept found the study scientifically unsound: “There’s nothing to suggest that this data is in any way valid enough to be an actual conclusion, and it might be better suited for an Ig Nobel prize, but it does show that some people are really interested in taking the nature/nurture argument as far as it will go.”

Skinner at Democratic Underground offers 16 signs to help parents determine if their child is a conservative.

For more about this study, click here or readSlate’s Will Saletan’s take on it.