Thursday, December 03, 2009

KSM On Trial: 9/11/01 — The Director's Cut By Charles Krauthammer



For late-19th-century anarchists, terrorism was the "propaganda of the deed." And the most successful propaganda-by-deed in history was 9/11 — not just the most destructive, but the most spectacular and telegenic.

And now its self-proclaimed architect, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has been given by the Obama administration a civilian trial in New York. Just as the memory fades, 9/11 has been granted a second life — and KSM, a second act: "9/11, The Director's Cut," narration by KSM.

September 11, 2001, had to speak for itself. A decade later, the deed will be given voice. KSM has gratuitously been presented with the greatest propaganda platform imaginable — a civilian trial in the media capital of the world — from which to proclaim the glory of jihad and the criminality of infidel America.

So why is Attorney General Eric Holder doing this? Ostensibly, to demonstrate to the world the superiority of our system where the rule of law and the fair trial reign.

Really? What happens if KSM (and his co-defendants) "do not get convicted," asked Senate Judiciary Committee member Herb Kohl. "Failure is not an option," replied Holder.

Not an option? Doesn't the presumption of innocence, er, presume that prosecutorial failure — acquittal, hung jury — is an option? By undermining that presumption, Holder is undermining the fairness of the trial, the demonstration of which is the alleged rationale for putting on this show in the first place.

Moreover, everyone knows that whatever the outcome of the trial, KSM will never walk free. He will spend the rest of his natural life in U.S. custody. Which makes the proceedings a farcical show trial from the very beginning.

Apart from the fact that any such trial will be a security nightmare and a terror threat to New York — what better propaganda-by-deed than blowing up the entire courtroom, making KSM a martyr and making the judge, jury and spectators into fresh victims? — it will endanger U.S. security.

Civilian courts with broad rights of cross-examination and discovery give terrorists access to crucial information about intelligence sources and methods.

That's precisely what happened during the civilian New York trial of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. The prosecution was forced to turn over to the defense a list of 200 unindicted co-conspirators, including the name Osama bin Laden.

"Within 10 days, a copy of that list reached bin Laden in Khartoum," wrote former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the presiding judge at that trial, "letting him know that his connection to that case had been discovered."

Obama Blocked Execution

Finally, there's the moral logic. It's not as if Holder opposes military commissions on principle. On the same day he sent KSM to a civilian trial in New York, Holder announced he was sending Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole, to a military tribunal.

By what logic? In his congressional testimony Wednesday, Holder was utterly incoherent in trying to explain. In his Nov. 13 news conference, he seemed to be saying that if you attack a civilian target, as in 9/11, you get a civilian trial; a military target like the Cole, and you get a military tribunal.

What a perverse moral calculus. Which is the war crime — an attack on defenseless civilians or an attack on a military target such as a warship, an accepted act of war which the U.S. itself has engaged in countless times?

By what possible moral reasoning, then, does KSM, who perpetrates the obvious and egregious war crime, receive the special protections and constitutional niceties of a civilian courtroom, while he who attacked a warship is relegated to a military tribunal?

Moreover, the incentive offered any jihadi is as irresistible as it is perverse: Kill as many civilians as possible on American soil and Holder will give you Miranda rights, a lawyer, a propaganda platform — everything but your own blog.

Alternatively, Holder tried to make the case that he chose a civilian New York trial as a more likely venue for securing a conviction. An absurdity: By the time Obama came to office, KSM was ready to go before a military commission, plead guilty and be executed. It's Obama who blocked a process that would have yielded the swiftest and most certain justice.

Indeed, the perfect justice. Whenever a jihadist volunteers for martyrdom, we should grant his wish. Instead, this one, the most murderous and unrepentant of all, gets to dance and declaim at the scene of his crime.

Holder himself told the Washington Post that the coming New York trial will be "the trial of the century." The last such was the trial of O.J. Simpson.

'Climate-Gate' Scandal Should Be Wake-Up Call For Press, Politicians By Joseph Bast



Last week, someone (probably a whistle-blower at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England) released e-mails and other documents written by Phil Jones, Michael Mann and other leading scientists who edit and control the content of the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The e-mails appear to show a conspiracy to falsify data and suppress academic debate in order to exaggerate the possible threat of man-made global warming.

The misconduct exposed by the e-mails is so apparent that one scientist, Tim Ball, said it marked "the death blow to climate science." Another, Patrick Michaels, told the New York Times: "This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud."

Although I am not a scientist, I know something about global warming, having written about the subject since 1993 and recently edited an 880-page comprehensive survey of the science and economics of global warming, titled "Climate Change Reconsidered," written by a team of nearly 40 scientists for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.

The content of the e-mails doesn't surprise me or other skeptics in the warming debate. We have been saying for many years that the leading alarmists have engaged in academic fraud, do not speak for the larger scientific community, and are exaggerating the scientific certainty of their claims.

Tens of thousands of scientists share our views, including many whose credentials are far superior to those of the dozen or so alarmists the media quote and promote.

The implications of these e-mails are enormous: They mean the IPCC is not a reliable source of science on global warming.

And since the global movement to "do something" about global warming rests almost entirely on the IPCC's claim to represent the "consensus" of climate science, that entire movement stands discredited.

The release of these documents creates an opportunity for reporters, academics, politicians and others who relied on the IPCC to form their opinion about global warming to stop and reconsider their position.

The experts they trusted and quoted in the past have been caught red-handed plotting to conceal data, hide temperature trends that contradict their predictions and keep critics from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. This is real evidence they should examine and then comment on publicly.

It's possible that the e-mails and other documents aren't as damning as they appear to be on first look. (I've read about two dozen of them myself and find them appalling, but others may not.)

Looking at how past disclosures of fraud in the global warming debate have been dismissed or ignored by the mainstream media leads me to suspect that they'll try to sweep this, too, under the rug. But thanks to the Internet, millions of people will be able to read the e-mails and make up their own minds.

This incident, then, won't be forgotten. Journalists who attempt to spin it away and politicians who try to ignore it will further damage their own credibility, and perhaps see their careers shortened as a result.

Polls show that only a third of Americans believe global warming is the result of human activity, and even fewer think it is a major environmental problem. This new scandal, combined with a huge body of science and economics ignored or deliberately concealed by the alarmists, proves that the large majority of Americans were right all along.

How did the Average Joe, who knows so little about the real science of climate change, figure out that global warming is not a crisis when so many journalists were completely taken in by it? I think he saw some clues early on that most journalists, because of their liberal biases, missed.

Average Joe noticed how Al Gore and other Democratic politicians were quick to capitalize on the matter, even before the scientific community could speak with a unified voice on the issue.

He figured out, correctly, that politics rather than science was the force that put global warming on the front pages of the newspapers and on television every night.

He also probably noticed that spokespersons for liberal advocacy groups like Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists were suddenly being quoted in the press as experts on climate change, whereas just a few years earlier they were (rightly) considered radical fringe groups.

And Average Joe noticed how global warming "skeptics," even distinguished scientists and trusted people like former astronauts, were ignored, rejected or demonized by the press just for asking for proof, and for not going along with the latest and increasingly silly claims about all the things global warming was supposedly causing: droughts and floods, warming and cooling, "global warming refugees," and so on.

While the issue of global warming is complex, one needn't be a genius to figure out that man's role is small, that the effects of modest warming of the kind seen in the latter half of the 20th century were at least as positive as negative, and that scientists who can't predict next week's weather probably can't predict what climate conditions will be like one hundred years from now.

This isn't "denial," it's just common sense.

The executive summary of "Climate Change Reconsidered" makes these points and more, in plain English, and it's only eight pages long. The report itself contains more than 4,000 citations to peer-reviewed literature.

The IPCC e-mail scandal makes this a good time for reporters and other opinion leaders to take a serious look at the skeptics' case in the global warming debate and perhaps move to the middle, where serious journalists and honest elected officials should have been all along. A good place to start is the Heartland Institute's Web site devoted to global warming realism, at

It's not too late to regain some of the native skepticism that Average Joe had all along to see through the global warming scam.

• Bast is president of the Heartland Institute and editor of "Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change," by Craig Idso and S. Fred Singer. The book's executive summary and contents can be downloaded for free from

Monday, November 30, 2009

Local weather legend Dave Roberts to retire By Patrick Berkery


November 19, 2009

Forecast for Dec. 11th: Thirty percent chance of precipitation, 100 percent chance of Dave Roberts retiring.

Dave Roberts told viewers yesterday that after 56 years in the business (31 of them in Philly at WPVI), he'll be retiring in December. The local weather legend will co-host his final 6-ABC IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade next Thursday, and his final Action News AccuWeather forecast on December 11th.

I wouldn't know where to begin putting into words what Roberts has meant to the Delaware Valley over the years, as both a trusted weatherman and tireless philanthropist. Jim Gardner, why don’t you have a crack at it. From the 6-ABC Web site:

"Dave's reputation for random acts of kindness sometimes overshadows the fact that Dave Roberts is a brilliant broadcaster. As much or more than anyone I've known, Dave knows how to make a viewer think that he's talking to them personally. That's a powerful talent that can't be taught and Dave has it. He also communicates the same likeability or, forgive me, lovability to his viewers that he does to his co-workers. Dave Roberts has the innate ability to bring intelligence, warmth and dignity to everything he does on television. There aren't too many broadcasters who can cover that many bases. He does. All you have to do is glance at his resume to understand that he may be the most versatile television broadcaster in America. He might also be the most supportive colleague I could imagine having. I will miss him terribly."

Yup that pretty much sums it up.

Al Alberts, 87, TV host and singer By Michael Klein and Sam Wood


Nov. 28, 2009

"Al Alberts' Showcase" of child performers began its run on Phila. television in 1968. He helped launch the careers of Broadway baby Andrea McArdle and R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass.

Al Alberts, 87, the former singing star who championed thousands of youngsters on his TV show Al Alberts' Showcase, died yesterday morning at his home in Arcadia, Fla.

As she had been since their marriage in 1953, his wife, Stella, was at his side.

Stella Alberts said her husband had been ill for several weeks with circulatory problems in his legs but previously had been in good health. "All of a sudden, God took him," she said.

His son Chris, a director for the New Candlelight Theatre in Ardentown, Del., said the apparent cause of death was complications from kidney failure.

Mr. Alberts rose to fame in the 1950s as one of the Four Aces, whose hits included "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," "Stranger in Paradise," and "Three Coins in the Fountain" by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn.

But generations of Philadelphians knew him as "Uncle Al," a tuxedoed fatherly figure with a white pompadour, blinding smile, and infinite patience, who gave screen time to young singers, hoofers, and comedians on Saturdays.

The program started on Channel 48 in 1968, and two years later moved to Channel 6. His show, which also toured local theaters, launched the careers of Andrea McArdle, Sister Sledge, Teddy Pendergrass, and Jarrod Spector.

"It was like going to church - a staple of life in Philadelphia," said McArdle, the first star of Annie on Broadway. She was 8 or 9 when she first appeared on Showcase.

Mr. Alberts' wife was "Aunt Stella" to the show's performers: 6-year-old "Teeny Boppers," 7-to-14-year-old "Gold Nuggets," and 14-to-19-year-old "Show Stoppers." All had come to the monthly audition at J&A Caterers in South Philadelphia.

"To a wannabe thespian or entertainer, his show was our American Idol," McArdle said. "I just remember getting a spot on his show was, at the time, as big as getting Annie to me." To her, the Albertses were "extended family," and she later joined Mr. Alberts in his frequent charity appearances.

"He knew where his success came from - it came from the people," said Gerry Wilkinson, a historian with the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. "The people loved him."

Steven Sacks, Mr. Alberts' longtime cameraman, said: "He had a way with children. If they didn't get something right, he would ask them over and over again."

W. Carter Merbreier, TV's Captain Noah, said Mr. Alberts "took great delight in any of them bridging the gap from his show to national fame. He could have made a business career out of squeezing them dry, but he didn't. He was behind them the whole way."

Mr. Alberts told an interviewer in 1985: "I have never gotten to the point during an audition where I said, 'OK, kid, that's enough.' I let them have their three minutes in the sun."

Mr. Alberts' own career began before World War II as a piano player and singer on The Horn & Hardart Children's Hour, a radio show.

He was born Al Albertini on Aug. 10, 1922, and graduated from South Philadelphia High. After World War II, Mr. Alberts, his Navy buddy Dave Mahoney, Sod Vaccaro, and Lou Silvestri formed the Four Aces, who first performed in a Prospect Park milk bar downstairs from a bookie joint.

Their first hit single was "(It's No) Sin" and was aimed at Delaware County college students before they left for summer vacation. Released on the group's own label, it sold more than a million copies.

"All the boy bands [today] call upon that tight harmony," McArdle said.

In 1956, with rock and roll crashing in on the Aces' style, Mr. Alberts left the group and toured as a solo act. The original members of the group later lost the rights to the Four Aces name in a federal-court decision.

"If he did miss being a big star, he didn't show it," said Sacks, the cameraman. "He loved being around Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Every once in a while, he did a nightclub act. That kept him fulfilled. . . . I think he chose this the way he wanted. He could have been on the road 10 times more, but that's not what he wanted."

The Albertses retired at the end of 2000 and moved to Florida shortly after. Even after his retirement, Mr. Alberts had a way of bubbling into the regional consciousness. Each year as Memorial Day approaches, Mr. Alberts' recording of "On the Way to Cape May" draws hundreds of requests, said Ross Brittain, who hosts the morning show on classic-hits WOGL (98.1): "It's the traditional summer song."

After Mr. Alberts left Channel 6, he also produced Harmony, a weekly big-band radio show.

Besides his wife and son, Mr. Alberts is survived by son Al Jr. and a grandson.

Stella Alberts said a memorial would be in Florida at a later date. She said her husband's ashes would be scattered at sea.


Contact staff writer Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or