What are these Somali pirates, Democrats? The four wretched bandits huddled in a drifting lifeboat surrounded by US Navy gunships are now demanding $2 million, or the knives come out:

Captured American Captain Richard Phillips failed in his escape attempt last night; now the pirates seem to be getting edgy. One of the pirates' friends says that the attempt to send a flotilla of backup pirates to their aid has been blocked. Now, it comes down to the cash. They're demanding $2 million and safe passage to shore in exchange for Phillips' release. Or else:

Any attempt to free the captain by force would result in his death, said Da'ud, who wouldn't give his full name.

Paging Jack Bauer.