Today's Blogs

The Satanic Curses

Bloggers have a field day with Hugo Chávez’s thunderous speech at the United Nations. They also lament the sad rendition case of Maher Arar and do the hard thinking on the world’s first penis transplant, which was rejected by the recipient’s wife.

The Satanic curses: Venzuelan President Hugo Chávez caused a firestorm at the United Nations—and in cyberspace—by denouncing George W. Bush as the “devil,” vowing solidarity with his buddy Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and brandishing a copy of Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony and Survival.

Rob at Pajamas Media affiliate Say Anything wonders if the U.S. financial sponsorship of the world body isn’t in need of reconsideration: “You know what the biggest problem with the UN is? It has become forum where the rantings of truly evil dictators like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad … get equal footing along side statements from the American president and other leaders of western democracies. By elevating these tyrants to equal status with the leaders of the free world we, in effect, grant legitimacy to their causes and their evil regimes.”

Lorie Byrd at conservative Wizbang! writes of Chávez’s speech: “This would be pretty darned funny (it reads like an SNL skit character) if this guy didn’t control a country and a huge oil supply. The reaction from all will be interesting, and very telling – none so much though as that of the Democrats in this country. … If you really think about it, how much different is calling Bush a devil than calling him a liar who kills innocent civilians in foreign countries to gain political advantage or to enrich his oil buddies or whatever latest reason is cited?”

Even some lefties are loosening their collars after Hurricane Hugo. Sean Braisted at Nashville for the 21st Century admits “[t]here was a time when I once thought Chavez could actually do some good for Latin America. I thought he was a kinder gentler version of Castro, but more of a Democratic Socialist than a Communist. That still may be the case, but his speech before the UN showed just how off his rocker he is when it comes to the United States.”

Ben at The Modest Construct also thinks the jury is back on this one: “Conservatives like to paint Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a despicable monster for the crime of being both an unapologetic socialist and unabashedly critical of the United States. I think that there is noting inherently wrong with either of those things (to wit: socialism to some measure is a positive, as is some measure of criticism), but boy, he’s really an idiot this time.”

Liberal hawk Roger L. Simon is “a supporter of the UN. (That is why I was so outraged by Oil-for-Food.) But now I wonder if it’s salvageable as do, no doubt, many Americans whose tax dollars provide the primary support for what looks increasingly like a social club for sociopaths (Chavez, Ahmadinejad) and kleptocrats (Chirac, Kofi and the whole Oil-for-Food crowd.) What started out as a great liberal idea has turned into an almost perfectly reactionary institution - a common metamorphosis, alas.”

Read more about the Chávez tirade.

Rendition blues: Canadian engineer Maher Arar, who was arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist in 2002, has been exonerated by a government commission. This comes four years after Arar was transported to Syria for interrogation, where he was imprisoned and tortured.

D.J. McGuire of the Calgary-based Western Standard blog has got one question he’d like answered: “When we had Arar in custody, with the information (whatever its value) given to us by the Mounties, we could have sent to him to Guantanamo Bay, a slew of other military bases, or some holding facilities run by intelligence agencies in Europe. So, who was the genius who decided a terrorist suspect should be handed over to one of the leading sponsors of Middle Eastern terrorism?”

At Obsidian Wings, Katherine, who wrote her law thesis on the Arar case, says in a detailed post that Syrian intelligence beating a confession out of Arar isn’t the least of it: “It’s actually worse than that. Arar wasn’t just tortured into a false confession in a Syrian prison. He also seems to have been sent to be tortured in Palestine Branch partly because of false confessions that two other Canadian citizens made under torture in the same prison.”

Liberal Alaskan Gryphen at The Immoral Minority blames America: “If I had to choose where to lay the blame I would have to say that the US bears the majority of the burden here. Canada may have suspected the guy but America stomped on his civil rights and broke the law to get information that he did not have.”

National Review contributor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. McCarthy, blogging from USA Today Opinion, has no love for rendition but calls for not allowing individual tragedies to distract from intelligence-gathering: “U.S. treaty obligations forbid transporting people to countries where we have reason to believe they’ll be tortured. Syria, moreover, is not only a torture state but a terror state. We should regard it as an enemy, not a collaborator. … But with the lives of 300 million Americans at stake, the United States cannot make national security policy based on individual anecdotes about government roguishness.”

Read more about Arar’s vindication.

New membership: The world’s first penis transplant performed in China has failed because of the recipient’s wife’s psychological rejection of the organ. Even though the postop conditions had been fine, surgeons removed the penis at the patient’s request.

“That sucks,” says Jake Young, an M.D./Ph.D candidate at Mt. Sinai. “First the poor guy loses his penis. Then he gets a new penis. Then his wife says she doesn’t like the new penis. Then he has to lose it again. Women suck. I am reluctant to be flippant about this but do you think this gives one the capacity for upgrades?”

British conservative Tim Worstall is more sympathetic, though: “Think of it from the wife’s point of view: You just don’t know where it’s been, do you?”

Read more about the penis transplant.