Friday, October 31, 2003

Gun safety alert

My old man - God bless his soul - taught me that when you're hunting, your gun should be either pointed down at the ground or aiming at a target. You don't carry it like a fishing pole. Apparently this bit of common sense escaped John Kerry while he pandered to the pro-gun crowd in Iowa (see picture).

Patio Pundit summed up the gun issue perfectly: Kerry vs. Dean on guns: Rove wins

[Viking Pundit disclaimer: I used to hunt pheasant and, to be honest, I was a pretty good shot with the clay pigeons. However, I haven't picked up a gun in (oh man, what?) 15 years? Still, I'm staunchly in support of the second amendment, so now you know.]
The Generational War takes shape

Rich Lowry on NRO - "Operation Please Granny":

According to Cato, a male at age 65 will receive, on average, $238,000 in federal transfers during the rest of his life, while paying $167,000 in taxes — a net $71,000 gain. A 25-year-old male will pay $524,000 in taxes during his lifetime and get only $202,000 in transfer payments — losing a net $322,000.

This disparity will only get worse as Washington ladles out more benefits for the elderly and the growth in the number of seniors outpaces the growth in the number of young workers. Higher taxes for the intragenerational transfers will discourage work and productivity. Resources will be taken from young people who would save it — contributing to investment and other felicitous economic phenomena — and given to the elderly to spend freely.

Medicare and Social Security are on pace to be 80% of ALL government spending in 2040. Clearly, this cannot go on.
The Price of Being Wrong

Mona Charen on TownHall:

What they [the Democratic presidential candidates] never address is this: President Bush sought the support and participation of the United Nations, returning again and again to that body virtually begging it to uphold its own resolutions. France, Germany and sometimes Russia -- nations that were only too happy to trade with Saddam Hussein's Iraq -- declined to agree. Without France's OK, the U.N. Security Council could not pass a final resolution endorsing the use of force. If Kerry or Dean or Sharpton had been president at the time, would they have permitted France to dictate U.S. foreign policy?

The answer may be yes, if the Clinton administration is any guide. As Rich Lowry reminds us in "Legacy," the Clinton administration sought European support for a strong stand against Serbia in 1993. The Europeans balked. Clinton backed down. The resulting massacres took the lives of tens of thousands.

Charen's concluding sentence: "But the Democrats prefer endless talk, passivity and truckling to "our allies." Yep.
The Hedgehog Report on Kerry's fruitless efforts in South Carolina: "I have said it before, but it appears John Kerry using SC to make his official announcement that he was running for President was a bust."
It'll probably lead to nothing, but: U.S. Troops Seal off Saddam's Birthplace
Setting the bar for jobs

Now that the economy is showing renewed strength, the left wing is forced to complain about jobs. But they can’t complain too loudly because with capital spending high and inventory levels low, even they realize that the employment picture is going to be rosier. So the trick is to set the bar high for “success”: And unless we start to see serious job growth — by which I mean increases in payroll employment of more than 200,000 a month — consumer spending will eventually slide, and bring growth down with it.”

OK – you heard Krugman – he’s put the stick in the sand.

What say you, Christopher Farrell of Business Week?

Maybe Snow fumbled dollar policy in recent months, but his widely ridiculed Pollyannaish prediction that the economy will start creating 200,000 jobs a month is a bet on the safe side.

The Business Week article is called: “Why the Recovery looks like a Keeper” and it’s got lots of good material, so check it out (hat tip to Terpsboy).
What growth? Paul Krugman's climbdown is detailed by Matthew Hoy who titles his post "Denial isn't just a River in Egypt" - while Robert Musil takes note that prolific poster Atrios has made absolutely no mention of the economic growth numbers in a post titled "Valley of Denial"
Best headline today: "Democrats Could Be History"

Sadly, the Washington Post article is only referring to the Democrats in Kentucky, where "Recent Scandals Might Rewrite Tradition." The Republican candidate for governor Ernie Fletcher appears poised to grab Kentucky for the Republicans, reversing a long-held monopoly by the Democrats.

Meanwhile, in the other off-year elections, Haley Barbour is looking better in Mississippi and Bobby Jindal has opened a wide lead in the Louisiana governor's race.

Democrats: please do not get rid of Terry McAuliffe.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

The hits just keep on comin'

Boy, the bad news for the Dems just keeps piling higher: a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows President Bush with a healthy 53%-37% approval/disapproval rating, on a poll taken before today's economic numbers.

But the poll also confirmed something I've been commenting on for some time now:

By more than three-to-one, the public says the Democratic candidates are spending more time attacking President Bush than explaining their positions (61 percent to 18 percent).

Always listen to Viking Pundit. He knows.
The Economist on Iraq: "It is proving much harder than the Americans expected, but the rebuilding of a shattered country is still going steadily ahead"

(Hat tip to American Realpolitik)
Best. Show. Ever.

Warning to certain people who tape “Survivor” then watch it later – spoilers!

OMG – tonight the five members from Drake and the five members from Morgan went to the immunity challenge. In the greatest twist evah, the six tribe members who had been voted off in previous shows returned as a new tribe. Holy cow! “The Outcasts” won the immunity so that both Drake and Morgan had to vote somebody off.

Drake – bizarrely – kept that asshat Jon (why? Rupert why?) and voted off Shawn. My only rationale is as they go into individual challenges, Jon is such a weakling, he’s sure to fail miserably. Bring him along as a patsy.

Morgan voted off Osten, who insisted that he be eliminated. They didn’t even write down the vote, Jeff Probst simply confirmed the tribe’s choice by voice vote. Jeff could barely conceal his contempt for Osten and I felt the same way. Probst and the producers have to plow through thousands of videotapes every year for people who desperately want to be on “Survivor.” Osten simply gave up because he’s hungry and tired. Boo hoo. Dude, have you ever watched “Survivor?” What a [feline term].

Next week: “The Outcasts” vote IN two members to replace those voted off tonight. Awesome!
Gary Larson and “The Far Side” Anthology

Given the investment required of any purchaser of The Complete Far Side, even an irresponsible reviewer needs to answer one key question: As it's now been nearly 10 years since Gary Larson stopped producing his panels, do they still seem funny?

Given that weird register Larson perfected -- blending American gothic, baby boomer nostalgia and gallows humor, the marriage of "I Love Lucy" and "The Twilight Zone" -- the answer is yes, emphatically yes.

The Washington Post review via the indispensable Arts & Letters Daily.
Good advice for Halloween travelers: "People need to be careful about incorporating simulated bombs into their costumes," she said.
Eugene Volokh thinks it’s time for Slate’s Jacob Weisberg to kill the “Bushism of the Day”.
University of Colorado students pinpoint Kerry’s problem

Why has John Kerry’s bid for the presidency failed to catch fire? Is it his anemic legislative record? His cold demeanor? His pro-tax policies? His incoherent position on Iraq and foreign policy?

Nope. It’s his hair.

BOULDER - Is it John Kerry's Beatles-era haircut that doesn't appeal to students sporting today's shorter styles?

Howard Dean has short hair – be the Dean.

A waffle breakfast for the Massachusetts senator and Democratic president hopeful drew only about 10 people at the University of Colorado on Tuesday, even as several thousand rallied for political rival Howard Dean outside.

Ten people plus Kerry. Hey, they have enough for a football team!

The waffles were symbolic of what Kerry's supporters say is Dean's waffling on issues.

Judicial Update: The Senate failed to invoke cloture (that is, the Democrats filibustered) on the nomination of Charles Pickering - Howard Bashman has many links. Meanwhile, Opinion Journal comes out swinging for Janice Rogers Brown, who is described as "too qualified - and black."
Jonah Goldberg on the Corner: "Walk in a wide arc around DNC headquarters today. It's entirely possible that these economic numbers could result in some Democratic defenestration."

On that note, the DNC weblog "Kicking Ass" foolishly posted an open thread and one commentator "John Smith" is crowing over the economic numbers. Typical responses include "remove this troll" and "John's off his medication."
Berkeley leftists, meet reality. Reality, leftists. – Excellent find by Bitter Bitch.
Hot Hot Hot!

The economy that is: “The economy grew at a scorching 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter in the strongest pace in nearly two decades. Consumers spent with abandon and businesses ramped up investment, compelling new evidence of an economic resurgence.”

Extra: The Poliblogger has a nice GDP graph for you visually-minded people.
Plagiarism alert? Maybe just the titles: Richard Cohen in the Washington Post has an article titled “Vietnam It Isn’t” while Tom Friedman in the New York Times has a column called “It’s No Vietnam.”
Ed Koch on Paul Krugman

From today's NY Post Page Six:

October 30, 2003 -- ED Koch says New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman is "lamebrained." The former mayor is irked by Krugman's Oct. 21 column explaining why Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attacked Jews before a Muslim leadership conference, when he said, "The Jews rule the world by proxy: They get others to fight and die for them." Krugman wrote, "So what's with the anti-Semitism? Almost surely it's part of Mr. Mahathir's domestic balancing act." Koch told us: "There is a French expression, 'To understand everything is to forgive everything.' Using Krugman's logic, we should understand Hitler's needs and forgive him as well. He needed to blame Germany's defeat in World War I on the Jews. Krugman's defenses are lame and his column is lame-brained."


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Is this the best you can do? Go after some crazy Internet person?” – Paul Krugman on Hannity and Colmes, 10/17/03

Is that really the best you can do, Mr. Buchanan?” – Paul Krugman on Buchanan and Press, 9/22/03

If you get caught between the moon and New York City, the best that you can do is fall in love.” – Christopher Cross, c. 1981.
Bill Clinton opens mouth, lies

The Big Me was at a fundraiser for the Democrats Monday night rep-re-SENT-ing the Par-TAY:

There's more than a little bit of ghetto fabulous -- the ridiculous Hummer limo idling outside, the "In Da Club" lyrics inside -- "I'm into having sex, I ain't into making love / So come give me a hug if you into getting rubbed." This is what's playing when the former president takes the stage.

Yow! Irony overload!

He decries the Bush tax cut, saying, with his slow slyness, "I never had any idea the new president would take such good care of me. . . . I'm a little embarrassed to live in a huge country that gives me a huge tax cut and runs a huge deficit so that when the baby boomers retire you'll be taking care of them instead of your own kids. I don't think that's right."

Let’s review the state of entitlement spending on the baby boomers, shall we?

In chilling testimony before the Senate Aging Committee in July, Social Security trustee Thomas Saving said that to maintain current benefits, by 2025 Social Security and Medicare will use up 28 percent of all federal income tax revenue and 47 percent by 2040.
"Clearly, elderly entitlement programs are out of control," he said. "If nothing is done, by 2060, the combination of Social Security and Medicare will account for more than 71 percent of the federal budget," double today's level.

And what did Bill Clinton do in eight years to stave off this pending budget disaster? Nothing. Just like only Nixon could go to China, only a Democrat could reform Social Security to avoid the pending train wreck. Clinton was a lame duck president with a budget surplus and a historic opportunity to make fundamental changes to save the cornerstone of Democratic politics. But he passed it up so he could use the entitlement issue for his own re-election (“you gotta do what you gotta do”) and to help get Al Gore elected.

If those dopes at the dance club realized how badly Clinton had condemned Generation X, Y, and Z to a state of perpetual income redistribution, they would have asked for their money back.
Wednesdays are for W

We live in serious times. Every Wednesday, I join other bloggers (below) in urging readers to visit the George W. Bush re-election web page because I believe in W to provide serious leadership. Commenting on the most recent Democratic debate, Dorothy Rabinowitz characterizes the alternative:Still, it is clear from the unvarying flow of bile emanating from them that the main program on the minds of the Democrats this campaign season is the contest to exceed one another in contempt for the president, for the war the nation has engaged.” And Mort Kondracke notes in Roll Call: “Bush wants to partially "privatize" Social Security and Medicare. Democrats adamantly oppose that. They also oppose means-testing benefits and raising the retirement age. The question is: Besides raising taxes, what are they for?

Yes, what do the Democrats actually stand for? I’ve ridiculed the new liberal think tank (oxymoron alert!) as an anchorless institution with a web site, some stationery, and not much to offer - something CAP leader John Podesta all but admitted in this New York Times article (archived – free – on Free Republic):

Podesta gently reminded his audience that a think tank was for developing new policy solutions, not simply repackaging old ones. ''We've got to fill the intellectual pail a little,'' he cautioned, before worrying too much about how those ideas should be conveyed.

This is precisely the challenge facing Podesta. Just about every leading Democrat in Washington agrees that the party could use a new Big Idea, something to compete with the current conservative agenda of slashing programs and toppling rogue regimes. But what kind of idea

And there’s this critical point from the same article:

It is not so encouraging, however, to some other Democrats, who say that asking voters how they feel about the party on a bunch of individual positions -- deficit spending, a patients' bill of rights -- is not the same thing as having a coherent idea of where you want to take the country 10 or 20 years from now.

What do you get with a party that is intellectually adrift with no long term vision? Pronouncements like this:

In a night filled with hilariously uncontroversial statements, my favorite was Dick Gephardt's "We need peace in the world, not terrorism."

Bravo, Congressman.

Visit these other sites in support of President Bush and contact PoliPundit if you want to join our grassroots movement.
Flip Flop Splunge

Here’s a Washington Times editorial on “Kerry’s Flawed Economics”: "Throughout his political career in Washington, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry has had a difficult time pursuing a principles-based economic policy. That's because his principles constantly change."
Scary! The most popular Halloween costume in Chicago? Steve Bartman.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The Underpants Gnomes and the Center for American Progress

In one South Park episode, the boys discover the Underpants Gnomes who sneak into Tweak’s dresser at night and steal underwear. When asked why they do this, the Gnomes reveal their plan:

1.) Collect underpants
2.) ???
3.) Profit

Now John Podesta has launched a new liberal “think tank” that follows the same (il)logic of the Underpants Gnomes:

1.) Form liberal think tank
2.) ???
3.) Win elections

"We don't have a war room, but we do have a communications platform. We've got a lot of terrific talented people who's job it is in the end to get that product, that analysis, that critique — get it out there to the American public," Podesta said.

But [the Heritage Foundation’s Michael] Franc said so far the center has proven to be "all war room and no think tank.

"You don't start off a think tank with focus groups and a spin team before you figure out what you stand for. You have to. Think tanks begin with an idea, or a set of ideas, with a mission to advance coherent ideas in Washington," he said

Thus the problem with step #2.

Right Wing News collected the book choices that had “the biggest impact on the thinking” of some right-of-center bloggers and presented the results here. Sadly, I was not asked to participate (I think – maybe I should check my mail) but here are some books I would add to the list:

The Prize” by Daniel Yergin
Parliament of Whores” by P.J. O’Rourke
Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson
The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald
Jane Galt: "With Miguel Estrada, and now Janice Brown, the Democrats are pretty clearly trying to keep conservative minorities off the appellate bench, so that they can avoid a high-profile showdown over a potential Supreme Court nomination. Is this the kind of discrimination they've outlawed for private companies?"
Getting to the truth of Saudi-US ties

That’s the title of this Boston Globe article by James Pinkerton which is in actuality a book review of Steven Schwartz’s “The Two Faces of Islam.” Choice quote: The extreme dysfunctionality of the hypocritical regime in Riayadh has forced the Saudis in effect to export their problems by exporting Wahabi ideology around the world.
Lessons from Mogadishu

The National Post of Canada has a must-read editorial on the 10-year anniversary of American involvement in Somalia. I’d like to excerpt the whole thing, but I’ll leave you with the concluding paragraphs:

Mogadishu, then, should not be seen as an isolated fiasco. What happened in 1993 delivered crucial psychological momentum and recruits to a mad holy warrior who saw both God and history on his side.

There is nothing the West can do about how Islamist fanatics view God. But there is something we can do about history. The foreign policy lesson of Somalia is a simple one, and one that the United States must apply in Iraq and Afghanistan: Never run away. Never encourage the conceit that the West can be bullied by murderers. Staying in Somalia long enough to restore order would have likely cost the lives of scores of U.S. soldiers. But in the long run, it would have saved many times that. It might even have prevented 9/11.

Hat tip to Real Clear Politics
William Saletan on the Detroit Debate

An OK review, with this laugher at the end:

I can't remember a weirder line from any serious candidate in any of these debates than Edwards' boast Sunday night that he's "written down" his plans. He said it three times. (Trust me, I wrote it down.) What's his point? That he's literate?

I caught part of the debate rebroadcast on C-Span last night, but it was a singularly painful experience and I had to turn it off after ten minutes. These guys (and a gal) seem utterly incapable of expressing their own personal ideas. Nearly every question is answered by 1.) an ambiguous statement of fact (like “we need to do more with [fill in issue]”) 2.) an attack on Bush or another candidate or 3.) a complete tangent.

CAMERON: Senator Kerry, a question for you on troop strength. We have U.S. forces all over the world in a variety of hot spots; potential crisis in manpower.
What would you do to resolve that? Should there be an increase in call-ups, reserve and guard, reinstate the draft or pull them back?

KERRY: Well, let me just comment, first of all, if I can, on General Boykin.
General Boykin has confused the heck out of the White House on all this talk about the Almighty, when he talks about the Almighty, the president thinks he's talking about Cheney, Cheney thinks he's talking about Halliburton..... Cheney thinks he's talking about Halliburton, and John Ashcroft thinks they're talking about him. So they don't know where to go.

Umm….troop strength? Kerry was so intent on getting his scripted joke out (early in the debate) that he completely sidestepped the question, attacked Dean, and moved on to some blandishment about the role of the Presidency. The troop strength question hung in the air, undisturbed.

Extra: Man, Andrew Sullivan is still pissed about Kerry's "fraudulant coalition" comment and takes his argument over to the New Republic.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Right on

"How come," I asked Andy, "whenever something upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever something upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American flag?"

"We have jobs," said Andy.

From Parliament of Whores by P.J. O'Rourke.
He risked life and limb battling thousands hundreds dozens of people to get pictures

David Wissing’s brother Stephen took some pictures at the anti-war protest this past weekend in D.C. Apparently “Free Mumia” is a sub-category of U.S. policy in Iraq.

Extra: Belligerent Bunny Blog has lots of pictures.
Newspapers confiscated at Virginia university.
John Ashcroft is not involved.
Liberals confused.
An excellent roundup on North Korea on ParaPundit that states the obvious: 1.) North Korea will never give up their nuclear program and 2.) Kim Jong Il must go.
The most unlikely thing I’ll say today

Carole Moseley Braun is more credible on Iraq than John Kerry and John Edwards. At least that’s the assessment of Chris Sullentrop in Slate’s review of the Democratic debate last night:

More important, however, Braun continues to be the candidate who best elucidates why it's coherent to have opposed the Iraq war but to support the country's rebuilding and the continuing presence of American troops. "We blew the place up; we have to fix it back," she said, echoing a theme she's returned to in each debate about the moral responsibilities of those who wage war. To my ear, Braun's dovish lucidity on this subject is a harsher rebuke to John Kerry and John Edwards (the two candidates who voted for the congressional war resolution but voted against the president's subsequent $87 billion request) than the similar critique offered by the hawkish Joe Lieberman.

I didn’t see the debate, but upon reading the transcript, I chuckled (again) at Senator Splunge’s increasingly untenable claim that he’s been “consistent” with his position on Iraq. His new claim that the U.S. has assembled a “fraudulent coalition” has raised the ire of Andrew Sullivan who asks: “Is John Kerry a serious candidate for the presidency of the United States?” Short answer: No. Longer answer: At this point, he’ll say or do anything to emulate Howard Dean.

Extra: Moe Freedman went to the Dems debate and has a brief commentary.
Frist’s 3-phase war for judicial nominees

If Bob Novak is right, it looks like Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist is finally going to make an effort to get full Senate votes for President Bush’s judicial nominees. As a minimum, it will turn up the heat on the filibustering Democrats going into the 2004 campaign season.
Kerry Vote Watch

The Senate had a four-day workweek last week and had ten floor votes. Indicating that he has no intention of returning to Washington except for issues that affect his campaign, John Kerry voted just once last week, on the partial birth abortion bill (he voted against the ban). Then Senator AWOL was gone.

Days worked: 1
Votes missed: 9

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Moral confusion reigns among anti-war crowd

Just last night, I was ranting to my long-suffering wife about how opponents of President Bush cannot simply disagree with him or his policies; it seems to be necessary for these people to compare him to Hitler. Don’t these nutters realize that they hurt their own credibility and cause with such overarching nonsense?

This morning, Vinny at Insignificant Thoughts shows that the well of moral confusion is deep indeed. Yikes.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Suggested headline in tomorrow's Boston Globe: "New York Yankees Lose World Series Florida Marlins win 2-0 in Game Six"
How many people in Washington today?

There was an anti-war rally in Washington D.C. today. Organizers said that 30,000 would attend, but CNN pegged the crowd at 8000, the NY Times said 10,000 and ABC punted and just stated the crowd “appeared much smaller” than the organizer’s estimate.

But only the crack reporters at Al-Jazeera have the accurate count: “tens of thousands” and “Some figures put the number of protesters at 100,000.” It’s amazing how the American papers bury the truth. Thank you Al-Jazeera.

Friday, October 24, 2003

People don’t like taxes and work less when they’re higher

Via Pejman, Two Blowhards review a study on tax rates in Europe and the number of hours worked there and in the United States. Most intriguing, there’s a graph showing a very strong correlation (nearly linear) between tax rates and labor hours.
Coup in San Francisco

I heard this story on NPR driving home: San Francisco mayor Willie Brown goes on a trip to Asia and appoints supervisor Chris Daly as acting mayor. No sooner does Brown's plane leave the ground and Daly appoints two people to the influential Public Utilities Commission. Apparently it's all legal and binding, so there's nothing Brown can do. Classic left-coast nuttiness.
My Blogcritics review of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is up.
Seven percent?!?

Here’s an article titled “New Jobless Claims Fall” (that’s good!), but look here:

The economy, which grew at a decent 3.3 percent rate in the second quarter, is expected to show a 7 percent pace in the third quarter, economists predict.

Wow….and here’s a Forbes article that hints the same thing. Wow. Krugman, call your office.
What would Kerry learn from his blog today?

The blog on John Kerry’s website has a recurring feature called “What would Bush learn if he read the paper today?” Today, the comments section answers that question for Senator Splunge: a Zogby poll showing a whopping 23% lead (40%-17%) for Howard Dean in New Hampshire. The responses are about what you’d expect: “it’s early” “those numbers are skewed” etc.
The end of the Oil Age?

The British magazine The Economist states that there are “ways to break the tyranny of oil” and “governments need to promote them.” But if you read the text of the article, it’s pretty clear that they mean “government” – singular – as in the United States. It’s all up to us to switch over to hydrogen cells and bioethanol.

Make no mistake: I’m in full-throated support of anything that will choke off the Saudis (figuratively, I suppose). But some of the alternatives to oil that the Economist lists are not viable, at least right now. For example, ethanol would never survive without the heavy subsidies that the federal government showers on the corn-growing states. Fuel cells need hydrogen and they can only come from other power sources (e.g. nuclear). I think fuel standards can help (disclaimer: I drive a Subaru Impreza) but I’m extremely leery about telling other people what to drive. The Economist strongly pushes a gas tax, but without the perspective of what this might do to the American economy (further disclaimer: I commute >100 miles a day). As I often say: if the answer was simple, the problem would have been solved a long time ago.
Sullivan on Krugman: "You can tell he's worried that the economy is picking up and that his predictions of complete catastrophe might seem a little extreme in retrospect. So he's spinning the future. I guess it's better than distorting the past."
Look who's bad-mouthing Democrats now.
Buddy! Look over your left shoulder.
Religion of Peace update

WASHINGTON -- One of the nation's most prominent Muslim activists was indicted yesterday on money laundering and fraud charges hours after authorities unsealed an affidavit alleging that for years he helped fund Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
John Kerry - Comedian

"There's no inconsistency in me," Senator Kerry, of Massachusetts, assured one voter at a house party in New Hampshire recently.

There goes another one!

NY Times Letters page today

To the Editor:
Re "Rescuing the Democrats," by David Brooks (column, Oct. 21):
Here's a profile of one Democrat who has given up on the party: female, white, over 70, middle-class, advanced degree, Northeasterner, Catholic and lifelong Democrat.
No one will notice, but that doesn't bother me. There are many others like me out there.
The Democratic candidates have no shared vision for our country. Instead, they waste time and resources cutting one another off at the knees. It's too bad, because President Bush is quite vulnerable.
Syracuse, Oct. 21, 2003

The New York Post on the “Dems’ Bad Week

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Awesome! - X10, the Seattle-area purveyor of Web cameras that rose to prominence with the "pop-under" online web advertising segment, has filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors in the wake of ongoing litigation.
Ipse Dixit clarifies John Kerry's position on Iraq. Heh.

He previously worked as a gravedigger and a bartender. His hobbies include scuba diving, camping and coin collecting. His favorite sport is racquetball. He describes himself as strong, smart and brave.

Judging from the coming attractions for next week, one of his new hobbies will be kicking Jon's ass all over the Drake camp.
Survivor update: they tried to vote off Rupert. Rupert! The only one in both tribes who gets food. Who works. The only person who ought to win Survivor, in the history of Survivor.

I hope Drake loses the next immunity challenge so they can boot that loser Jon off. Please let it be so.
When Democrats attack

Byron York recounts the Senate Judiciary hearing on the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown, who is almost certainly heading for a filibuster for the crime of being black and conservative:

In the end, what was striking was how little Democrats seemed inclined to dig into the actual questions involved in the cases Brown has decided; each time Brown delivered a crisp defense of her reasoning, Democrats simply moved on to another sound bite. It was as if Durbin and his colleagues had chosen to make a series of short-form attacks, get the hearing out of the way, and then move on to the more serious matter of filibustering Brown's nomination.

This line from York’s review made me laugh out loud:

It was an impressive record [Brown’s personal background], even if one had not started out black in 1950s Alabama. But at times Brown's obvious sense of self-reliance and her disinclination to rely on government to solve society's problems seemed to trouble Democrats.

Which reminds me of this slightly altered exchange from “Lethal Weapon 2”:

Consulate Envoy: I don't think you want to go to South Africa be a self-reliant, conservative judge.
Roger Murtaugh: Why not?
Consulate Envoy: Because you're black!

Extra: Matt at Fearful Symmetry has the racist cartoon referred to in the York article.
He don’t need no education

From today’s Boston Globe: “Kerry spokeswoman Kelley Benander said in a prepared statement. She added that "John Kerry doesn't need any lessons in truth telling from an administration that has consistently misled the American people on matters of national security.”

Michael Barone: The two candidates who mixed it up the most were John Kerry and Howard Dean. Dean said that if Kerry felt he was unfit for the office he should tell him personally, and Kerry said that he needed no lessons in courage from Howard Dean.

On the campaign trail: “Kerry later dismissed criticism of his remarks as political carping. "I don't need any lessons in patriotism or in caring for America," he said during a campaign stop in Atlanta yesterday. “

And here’s a blast from the past (1996 debate): “I don't need any lessons from you on violence or what it does to our streets," said Sen. Kerry, who later referred to friends of his from Vietnam as examples of decent people who needed help.”
Fantasy World Series

CHICAGO -- Wrigley Field hosted its first World Series game in 58 years, and the earlier series animosity returned before the game even started when an enraged Manny Ramirez charged the mound during the ceremonial first pitch.

Funny stuff - it even includes a Paper Lace reference, an obvious nod to "The Night Chicago Died."
The RNC says that Kerry is full of it on his Iraqi pre-war claims. Meanwhile, Duck Season digs up the dirt on pre-screened questions for Senator Splunge at a recent Harvard event. When pressed on Iraq, Kerry sagely intoned: “Life is complicated.”
Lileks today: “hell, the administration could put Osama’s head on a stick in the Rose Garden, and Daschle would call it an admission of failure that they hadn’t located the torso. I will never trust these people with national security again. Never, never, never.”
The usual body-piercings, velvet peasant dresses and Che Guevara banners

Down Under blogger Tom Paine at Silent Running has a hilarious rundown of President Bush’s speech to the Australian Parliament. Check it out.
Religion of Peace update

I’ve always admired Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe for his well-researched and forceful opinion columns. Today he recounts the long standing anti-Semitism of Malaysia’s PM Mahathir Mohamad (surprisingly, some of it predates the Bush administration!) Jacoby unflinchingly notes that Mahathir’s screed was warmly received at the Islamic conference:

The audience to whom Mahathir spoke -- the presidents, kings, and emirs of the nations that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference -- rewarded him with a standing ovation.

But what about Islamic groups here in the U.S. of A.?

On Tuesday I asked six American Muslim organizations -- CAIR, the American Muslim Association, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Institute, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council -- whether they had any reaction to Mahathir's words. Three never replied; two replied by saying they had no comment. Only MPAC condemned Mahathir for his "extremely offensive, anti-Semitic comments."

Jacoby reaches his conclusion:

The Muslim world suffers from many problems, but none is more crippling than its culture of intolerance. Rampant anti-semitism anywhere is always a sign of grave moral sickness. Until more Muslims are prepared to confront and conquer that sickness in their midst, the Muslim world will remain the benighted backwater that so many Muslims deplore.

I’d like to believe Condoleezza Rice’s comment that Mahathir’s comments were not “emblematic of the Muslim world” but the evidence continues to mount that the contrary is true.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The Cracker Barrel Philosopher urges Ralph Nader to run. But I don’t think he has the Green Party’s best interest in mind! Hmmmm...
Razor at FauxPolitik notes on a Boston superintendent who finally passed his literacy test after four tries: "Good example to set for students: Tests have no meaning because you can always take them again."
Kerry: Fading fading fading

It's no secret that I dislike John Kerry, so I was happy to see that my bete noire is trailing by double digits in every early primary state poll.

Kos has the roundup from New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina (where Senator Splunge trails Sharpton!) and summed up Kerry's chances thusly:

Continues to fade everywhere, but most importantly in his must-win state of New Hampshire. If he can't garner support in his home media market, he won't compete anywhere else.

Buh-bye. More and more, it's looking like Dean.
Men stop watching TV. Networks fail to blame awful shows.

Lisa: “It's awful being a kid. No one listens to you.”
Abe: “It's rotten being old. No one listens to you.”
Homer: “I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me – no matter how dumb my suggestions are.”
{[pulls out a can of "Nuts and Gum" mixture, starts chomping]}

Network executives are freaking out because men are not watching television. Excuses? Take your pick: video games, DVDs, Iraq. Jed at Boots and Sabers says “reality shows” but I’m going with the broader answer offered by the Southern Cons of “shows stink!”
Some guy told me” – Bitter discovers that John Kerry is just making stuff up.

Extra: Rich Lowry on NRO has "John Kerry's North Korea Lie"
John Muhammad, discovering he has a fool for a client, changes his legal team.
Wednesdays are for W

This past week, the New York Times (!!!) said: “It is in the nature of modern campaigns to offer sound bites rather than substance. But voters have a right to ask for more and to press the Democratic candidates to present real alternatives to Mr. Bush's policies in Iraq and beyond.

So far the Democratic candidates – and Democrats in general – have cynically offered nothing beyond the policy of “not George Bush.” That’s not a policy, it’s not a vision, and it’s certainly not leadership. Visit W’s re-election web site and do your part to support true leadership. And be sure to visit these other fine blogs who support “Wictory Wednesday”:

Kritical Krugman Kommentary

Here's a letter to the editor in response to Paul Krugman's latest embarrassment:

As a Jew and a Republican, I felt doubly insulted when Paul Krugman connected Muslim anti-Semitism with the Bush administration's war in Iraq and its unconditional support for Ariel Sharon (column, Oct. 21).

Muslim anti-Semitism has been a growing problem for decades. Its roots lie in the cultures of various areas, not in American policy.

Instead of justifying anti-Semitism or blaming others for it, we should directly oppose the anti-Semites, as President Bush did when he criticized the comments of Mahathir Mohamad, the Malaysian prime minister

Has Krugman sunk to a new low with this column, that blames anti-Semitism on Bush's foreign policy? Judging by the blogger posts so far, I would say "yes" - see: Hoy, Musil, Hogberg, Luskin, and Little Green Footballs for more.
Court-Assisted Suicide

Dahlia Lithwick examines the confused “defense” of John Muhammad in his sniper trial and wonders how the American justice system allows mental cases to defend themselves. Short answer:

After Faretta, it is the responsibility of the trial judge to ensure that the accused understands the nature of the charges against him, recognizes the risks of self-representation, and that he "unequivocally," "knowingly and intelligently" waives his right to counsel. Following such a colloquy, the judge is constitutionally bound to allow the defendant to wreck his life.

Lithwick also notes that Muhammad is acting as his own attorney because he thinks “that the government wants an execution at all costs, and their state-appointed attorney is a part of that conspiracy.” On point “A” he’s correct, and with good reason.
Byron York calls the results of a Democracy Corps poll “stunning.” I think that’s an understatement and York certainly doesn’t hide his shock as he asks: “Don’t the Democrats care even a little about terrorism?”
More Dem disarray: Florida Democrats will be holding a straw poll during their annual convention in December, much to the consternation of the national committee because it upsets the New Hampshire-Iowa monopoly. The DNC has asked the candidates not to “participate” but it seems that some are planning stealth campaigns.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Denial of Service spillover!

Wow - I'm pulling in some serious traffic today, and I can only guess it's because a lot of other blogs were shut down by the DoS attack (Winds of Change has more).

How's this for a slogan: "Viking Pundit: When nothing else is loading!" Catchy.
The Freshness Test

Interesting observation from Jonathan Rauch in Reason Online on “who can win in 2004?” (via Political Wire)

With only one exception since the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, no one has been elected president who took more than 14 years to climb from his first major elective office to election as either president or vice president.

That means Gephardt, Kerry, and Lieberman are past due while Clark, Dean, and Edwards are still “fresh.”
Susanna at Cut on the Bias found a notable article from the Kuwait Times - notable in that a Muslim woman was allowed to say something about human rights. Queen Rania of Jordan (who's pretty easy in the eyes) said that women need guaranteed rights to enjoy peace. Nice find.
If the U.N says so

An involuntary chuckle at the start of this Boston Globe article: “Senator John F. Kerry, questioned repeatedly last night about his position on the Iraq war….” Questioned repeatedly? Why? Isn’t it clear? Kerry would have done nothing, unless he did something, but only if it’s OK with the United Nations: “Kerry did not elaborate, though he said that if he had been president, he would have gone to war in Iraq if the UN supported the offensive.”

Therein lies my problem: what would President Kerry do if there was a threat and the United Nations did not give its imprimatur? Would he do nothing? Whatever his answer, you can bet it will sag with conditions, provisions, and equivocation.
Is Gephardt the best the Dems can do against Bush?

The Washington Post says “maybe” but I’m gonna have to go with Mark Kilmer and say “no way”. And not just because of his tax policy (Gephardt would repeal all the Bush tax cuts) but because Gephardt has the personality of a halibut. More specifically, he has that Al Gore-quality of talking to you like you’re a six-year-old.
Transcript of John Allen Muhammad’s opening statement

From the WashPost: Muhammad is acting as his own attorney in the sniper trial and gave this bizarre opening statement in his defense. First, he talked at length about catching his daughter with her hand in the cookie jar. Later, he was interrupted by the District Attorney who pointed out that an opening statement usually presents some facts for the defense. Muhammad responded:

Regardless of how loud it may get, regardless of how much emphasis may be put on it, it doesn't change it. It's just a theory. It's an assumption. We're looking for facts. We are looking for evidence, and the evidence will show that I had nothing to do with these crimes, that I had nothing to do with these crimes directly or indirectly, that I know anything about these crimes, that I know any times of these crimes or anything pertaining to these crimes at all.

Bear in mind that Muhammad was captured in his car, which had a snipers nest built into the trunk. With a snipers rifle. That matched the ballistics to all the D.C. area victims. And so on.

John, this ain’t L.A. and you’re not getting the O.J. jury.
I’ll go along with that theory

Here’s David Brooks in today’s NYT on why the Democrats are not beloved by voters:

John Edwards has the most persuasive theory. He argues that most voters do not place candidates on a neat left-right continuum. But they are really good at sensing who shares their values. They are really good at knowing who respects them and who doesn't. Edwards's theory is that the Democrats' besetting sin over the past few decades has been snobbery.

Al Gore is mentioned.
Let no good deed go unpunished: Oklahoma University student finds another’s ID card, tries to return it, and is accused of “stalking.”

Monday, October 20, 2003

Hearing tests for Democrats

Recall this exchange on Fox News when Tony Snow was trying to convince Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) that President Bush did not say there was an “imminent threat” from Iraq:

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late.


SNOW: Senator, I misspoke. That was this year's State of the Union address. But the president never argued there was an imminent threat.

ROCKEFELLER: Tony, if you listen to that as an average American person would, you and -- at least myself included, that is talking about the danger of an immediate attack.

Now, here’s an excerpt from an article in The Hill:

On the House side, Democrats said that Republicans had also charged them with being unpatriotic. Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas) said last Friday, “Yesterday I heard far too many members on the other side of the aisle come to the floor and impugn the motives and perhaps the patriotism of members who sought to reprioritize the funds in this bill,” adding such remarks would be a “shameful blemish on this institution.”

However, a review of congressional records did not show any Republicans calling Democrats unpatriotic on the House floor.

Maybe some Q-Tips would help?
"Hear ye, hear ye! The case of Allstate vs. Pop Tarts is now in session." - Dumb Corporate Lawsuits
Garry Trudeau is losing it, both professionally and psychologically

I have a confession to make: I used to be a huge “Doonesbury” fan. I have the large compilation collections from “The Doonesbury Chronicles” up through “Recycled Doonesbury.” Trudeau used to be funny and irreverent. He seriously needs to re-read some of his older strips because now he’s just angry, peevish, and slovenly. Take, for example, yesterday’s Sunday strip which consisted of one character shouting that there is no connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. That’s the whole strip. Ha ha.

It would be one thing if Trudeau portrayed the issue through the rhetorical gymnastics of Bush or press secretary Ron Ziegler…oops…I mean Scott McClellan. It certainly would have been funnier and likely would have reached more readers. The primal rant of Mark Slackmeyer, however, comes across as a ploy for attention, easily disregarded. This Sunday “comic” (derived, I believe, from “comedy”) comes on the heels of a previous Sunday request to recall Arnold Schwarzenegger if he’s elected governor. It was a laugh-riot of cut-out fun, including a form to send the California Secretary of State. Judging by Arnold’s win, I’m guessing Sacramento has received maybe eight of these requests.

When you’ve lost (convincingly) there’s nothing left to do but accept the will of the people, right? Wrong. Today’s “Doonesbury” strip indicates that we’re about to be subjected to a week of acerbic ad hominem attacks on Schwarzenegger’s character. It will be a week full of unfunny and shrill gnashing of teeth. In the end, nobody will laugh and nobody’s mind will be changed, but Trudeau will feel that he’s made a difference.

Seek help, Garry.
Pejman was behind Christopher Guest at the movies and didn't make a single reference to Spinal Tap. That's just wrong.
Democrats take heat for Iraq vote

From Time and the New York Times, no less! Here’s the conclusion to the Times editorial today titled “Waiting for Democrats on Iraq”:

It is in the nature of modern campaigns to offer sound bites rather than substance. But voters have a right to ask for more and to press the Democratic candidates to present real alternatives to Mr. Bush's policies in Iraq and beyond.

And here’s Joe Klein in Time magazine “Profiles in Convenience

Is it too much to ask that politics be put aside on this one issue of transcendent importance, where lives are literally at stake? Happily, Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt did the right thing last week. "I will support the $87 billion," Gephardt said, "because it is the only responsible course of action. We must not send an ambiguous message to our troops, and we must not send an uncertain message to our friends and enemies in Iraq." This will not help Gephardt in Iowa, but it was an act of courage — Lieberman has made a habit of such acts in this campaign — and a stark contrast to the position taken by both Kerry and Clark, the two alleged warriors in the Democratic field.

That’ll leave a mark.
Kerry Vote Watch

The Senate had a full week (for them) meeting four days, mostly to debate the Iraq Supplemental funding bill. Since Kerry has made criticism of the administration Iraq policy the cornerstone of his chaotic campaign for the presidency, he was compelled to show up for two days of work. In the end, Kerry decided to be like Dean and voted against the supplemental for the U.S. troops and to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. This will almost certainly launch a whole gamut of new “Senator Splunge”-type contradictory arguments about “opposing the war” and “supporting the troops.” Vietnam may be mentioned.

Days worked: 2
Votes missed: 8

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Mark Steyn on our friends the Saudis

Here's an easy way to make an effective change: Less Wahhabism is in America's interest. More Wahhabism is in the terrorists' interest. So why can't the United States introduce a policy whereby, for the duration of the war on terror, no organization directly funded by the Saudis will be eligible for any formal or informal role with any federal institution? That would also include the pro-Saudi Middle East Institute, whose "adjunct scholar" is one Joseph C. Wilson IV. Remember him? He's the fellow at the center of the Bob-Novak-published-the-name-of-my-CIA-wife scandal. The agency sent him to look into the European intelligence stories about Saddam Hussein trying to buy uranium in Africa. He went to Niger, drank mint tea with government flacks, and then wrote a big whiny piece in the New York Times after the White House declined to accept his assurances there was nothing going on. He was never an intelligence specialist, he's no longer a "career diplomat," but he is, like so many other retired ambassadors, on the House of Saud's payroll. And the Saudis were vehemently opposed to war with Saddam.


Saturday, October 18, 2003

Tom Friedman on the change in the Arab World

From the Sunday NY Times - a must read:

What's up are three big shocks hammering the Arab system. First, with oil revenues flat, there isn't enough money anymore to buy off, or provide jobs to, the exploding Arab populations. Hence the growing need for wives with work. The second is the Iraq war shock. Even with all the problems in Baghdad now, virtually every autocratic Arab regime is starting to prepare for the uncomfortable possibility that by 2005 Iraq will hold a free election, which will shame all those who never have.

Friedman also notes on Saudi Arabia elections (for municipal positions only): "Most people thought it would snow in Saudi Arabia before there would be elections." As Sam Cooke once sang: "A change is gonna come."
"I'm a Democrat and I have some candy for YOU"

From Fox News: Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, toured a community college job training site in Waterloo, Iowa, as he spelled out what he would do to support job training and education and invest in high-tech industries likely to create jobs. He put no price tag on the idea.

Classic - I can't make this stuff up.
Have I mentioned lately that I love Terry McAuliffe? Here's why: Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard with The (Finally) Emerging Republican Majority

Friday, October 17, 2003

Moral midgets, Jim Jeffords, and the great Iraqi Freak-Out

With this post Matthew at Fearful Symmetry jiggered something in my noggin: the Democrats who voted against the Iraqi supplemental bill (like Senator Splunge) have argued that we need to “internationalize” the re-construction of Iraq so that the world can share the burden.

But wait a second: this crowd is the first to demand that the “rich” pay their “fair share” when it comes to tax policies in America. Using that logic, won’t the other countries in the world simply look at the United States – by far the largest economic superpower on the planet – and say: “You’re rich. You pay to rebuild Iraq.”

Maybe Ted Kennedy can explain to me why this isn’t in conflict with the Democrats’ policy of class warfare and moral vanity.
Viking Pundit is 6'3" - now where's my raise?
Flipping stereotypes

I don’t get over to Trojan Horseshoes too often, but Tony makes a devilish observation that Robin Hood was really a right-winger because he took money back from the rapacious government and gave it back to grateful taxpayers. Nice!

Plus he links to an eye-popping vignette that he titles: “Second Amendment 1 / Criminals 0.” And, I have to be honest, while I was reading the account my mind was thinking “Gun-lovin’ Southerner” until I got to about the third paragraph. Gripping stuff.
Nick at Duck Season picks up on the Senator Splunge nickname! Soon all America will be using “Splunge” to describe someone who vacillates and prevaricates and avoids real answers.
The Iraq Reconstruction bill passes easily: 87-12

Take a look at this rogues gallery that voted against the supplemental bill. Harkin, Jeffords, Leahy, and Kennedy are pretty much fulfilling their stereotypes; Kerry and Edwards just signed their death warrants.
Ah-nold and 43

President Bush's comments on the meeting from Best of the Web:

We did have a good visit, and during that visit I was able to reflect upon how much we have in common. We both married well. Some accuse us both of not being able to speak the language. We both have big biceps. Well, two out of three isn't bad. We both love our country. Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to be a fine and strong leader for California. I'm proud to call him friend.

Damian Penny sez: "Today, the European Union prepared a harshly worded denunciation of Mahathir Mohamad's anti-Jewish rant - and guess which country blocked it?"

Apropos of nothing: did you know that "bete noire" is French for "black beast"?
He wants to be our commander-in-chief

But first, a slightly altered quote from “Broadcast News”:

Blair Litton: "Oh, you think anyone who's proud of the work we do is an ass-kisser. "
Aaron Altman: "No, I think [a Presidential candidate] who puckers up their lips and presses it against [the United Nations] buttocks and then *smooches* is an ass-kisser".

That’s right, Senator, get right up there and lick that U.N. boot so you can peel off those anti-war Howard Dean supporters. Don’t be shy! You want the job, right? Pay no attention to those nay-sayers like Mort Kondracke:

By every standard except the short-term political, Democratic presidential candidates Howard Dean and Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) have made a catastrophic decision in saying they oppose President Bush's $87 billion aid package for Iraq.

Another candidate, Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) - who claims to be a national security expert - has said he's leaning toward the same politically suicidal and unconscionable position taken by Dean and Edwards.

Face it: Voting against the $87 billion means voting not to support U.S. troops now fighting for their lives and voting against the reconstruction of Iraq, where people's desperation will make life more dangerous for U.S. troops

Ah, but if you vote for the aid package, you’ll never get the Dem nomination, right? Howard Dean is pulling in the cash and people so the first rule is to emulate him: be the Dean.

Perhaps I’m being unfair. Let’s look at the FAQ that Senator Splunge has included on the web page explaining his vote against the Iraq-Afghanistan supplemental bill. For brevity’s sake, I’m just going to include the questions and the first sentence of Kerry’s “answers”:

"I disagree with the Bush approach because it simply doesn’t share the burden with other countries- it doesn’t show the humility necessary to build our friendships and bring people to us."
"I think we win the peace in Iraq by internationalizing this effort."
"I know there’s a better plan for how we deal with Iraq, and here it is, very simply: Number 1: You've got to go the UN completely, not in this phony way that the President’s getting them to sign off just because of the games they play, but in a real transfers [sic] of authority to the UN for the civil development, for the governance, and for the humanitarian programs".

I sense a theme. Aptly, there is no “Number 2” in this last answer. The great panacea to the Iraq situation is to let the United Nations take charge. This would be the same U.N. that refused to enforce their own resolution against Iraq, but no matter – somehow Kerry would convince them where President Bush failed. But then, what would Kerry do if the United States viewed another country as a significant and growing threat to the safety of Americans and the U.N. flatly refused to help? By Kerry’s own admission, he would do nothing.

And that is why John Kerry must be kept away from the White House: he is an unserious person in a serious time.
More hysterics from Krugman

With startling speed, we've blown right through the usual concerns about budget deficits — about their effects on interest rates and economic growth — and into a range where the very solvency of the federal government is at stake.

Oh please: the America-as-Argentina is utter nonsense. Krugman is correct that budget deficits will drive up interest rates and constrict personal and corporate credit. But since the prime rate now sits at – what? – a 60-year low, I don’t think there’s a crisis in the making there.

As usual, go and read Matthew Hoy for additional debunking.
Thirty Years of Petro-Politics – an excellent article from Daniel Yergin in today’s WashPost.
The Lieberman-as-Robin Hood meme lives on

E.J. Dionne in today’s WashPost: “How does it feel for cautious, moderate, mild-mannered Joe Lieberman to find himself suddenly compared to Robin Hood?”

But this is the best part of the article:

This tax proposal also faces a hard political fact: "The view of many people in this country," Lieberman says, "is that Democrats took their greatest pleasure at taking money in higher taxes from people who were working hard."

Those poor misguided fools! Hahahahaha!!!!
The NY Times corrects its propaganda

From today's Corrections page: An article on Oct. 5 about tensions between the White House and George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, referred incorrectly to the comment in President Bush's State of the Union address that Mr. Tenet was blamed for not having deleted. The president said Iraq had been seeking to buy uranium in Africa. He did not specifically mention the African country of Niger, though it was identified several weeks earlier — along with Somalia and Congo — in the National Intelligence Estimate provided to members of Congress on Iraqi purchase attempts.
Pander Bear

From today's NY Post Page Six:

October 17, 2003 -- DEMOCRATIC front-runner Howard Dean's bid to court rural Iowans by painting himself as one of them at a forum this week didn't go over too well with Iowa's most influential political reporter, David Yepsen. In a column, Yepsen zinged Dean as the "ultimate panderer" and explained, "The former Vermont governor once referred to 'us rural people' during his remarks." Yepsen had right to be irked. Dean's idea of "rural" apparently means being born to a wealthy family in New York City, attending an exclusive prep school in Rhode Island and studying at Yale.

Today's Boston Globe: Heartbreak Again

I'm not a huge baseball fan but I would have watched the World Series if either the Cubs or the Red Sox had made it. Yankees-Marlins? Forget it.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

John Kerry prepares to go the Full Howard

I’ve said before that Senator Splunge is in a panic and that his increasingly sharper tone against the current policy in Iraq was a direct result of the Howard Dean ascendancy. But, even for all my cynicism, I never thought Kerry would vote against the $87 billion aid package for Iraq and Afghanistan. Sure he would make a lot of class warfare noise about making the rich pay or that he wants Bush to play nice with the United Nations, but Kerry wouldn’t dare alienate the mainstream voters he needs in the general election. Right?

Kerry’s campaign must be doing much worse than I thought because he’s trying the Edwards Gambit: appeal to the left wing of the Democratic Party to get the nomination, then backtrack later (assuming you get the nomination). The Kerry blog has a screamer: “Special Announcement from John Kerry at 3PM Today!” that can only mean that he’s going to vote against the aid package. Wow – I guess Kerry didn’t read the Washington Post editorial this morning.

Update: First they changed the time to 4PM and now at 4:30 there's still no announcement. Senator AWOL strikes again.

Bonus: It's pretty clear that Senator Splunge who voted for the war resolution in Iraq is now going to vote against aid for the troops he helped send over there. Or maybe he just threatened to send the military - who knows with him? Anyway, John Cole praises Dick Gephardt for being a "grown up Democrat" and doing the right thing on the aid package.
Hypothetical Democrat to the rescue!

Have you heard about Hypothetical Democrat? He/she is the man/woman to beat in 2004. Hypothetical Democrat hates fluorescent lights and rainy days, but loves small puppies. Is fudge-ripple your favorite ice cream flavor? Hypothetical Democrat too! He/she’s the greatest.

So you can understand why the Democrats are so excited over Hypothetical Democrat: a poll commissioned by the DNC shows he/she beats George Bush by 46%-42%. How do actual flesh-and-blood Democrats stack up? Not so well – all of the major Presidential candidates would lose to President Bush in the election. Hypothetically.
Religion of Peace update

At a speech for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad urged Muslims to study mathematics and science and learn new technologies so they can build vibrant and diverse economies kill Jews.

Mahathir said that "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way."

He suggested new tactics other than lashing out violently against "the enemy," including leveraging the political, economic and demographic forces at the disposal of Muslim nations, calling for a "strategic retreat" and reassessment that would lead to "final victory."

Of course, nobody at the summit condemned this hate speech, which made this paragraph all the more apt:

The summit, held every three years, is the first since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks reshaped global politics and comes at a time when many Muslims — even U.S. allies — feel the war on terrorism has become a war against them.

Yeah, there might be a reason for that.
Happy Blogbirthday to Bitter and the Bitch Girls!!

Bitter's my new neighbor up here in Western Mass, but we haven't gotten together yet. Maybe a beer at the Northampton Brewery?
That didn't take long: Steve Bartman Blog (the patron saint of losers)

Update: Florida offers asylum.
This is leadership?”

The WashPost comes down hard on the Dem candidates in this unyielding editorial: “The Responsibility Gap”:

On the wrong side is the rest of the Democratic field. Sens. John F. Kerry (Mass.) and John Edwards (N.C.) say they won't vote for the funding because Mr. Bush hasn't come up with enough of a long-term plan or done enough to get allies on board. This righteous position may make them, or their voters, feel better, but the security of U.S. troops and the long-term interests of both Iraq and the United States still depend on improving Iraqi daily life.

Everybody takes a body shot, especially Wesley Clark who refused to take a clear stand on how he would vote on this critical issue.
President Bush has raised lots o’cash

That’s the seven-and-a-half summary of this threadbare editorial in today’s New York Times: “President Bush’s Run for the Money.” For three paragraphs, the editorial details the various people and techniques behind the President’s hard money draw, all the while hinting at how unseemly it is before concluding: “All of Mr. Bush’s fund-raising seems well within the law.” (What, no Buddhist temples?)

Perhaps sensing that the editorial is nothing more than a long whine about how well the Republicans outpace Democrats in raising money, the Times tries to make a point by warning Dems that they shouldn’t abandon the spirit of campaign finance reform and fund private campaigns.

Judging by this related WashPost article “3 Candidates' Spending Tops Funds Raised in Quarter” that’s fully what I expect John Kerry to do. Kerry, Edwards and Gephardt are the candidates who have spent more than they have raised, so their campaign coffers are running low. Kerry has stated that he wouldn’t spend his wife Teresa Heinz’s ketchup fortune, but keep an eye out for a “privately” funded advocacy group for Kerry’s campaign if he continues to lag in the polls.
The Wall Street Journal reads Viking Pundit (I assume)

From today’s Opinion Journal: “In return for cutting taxes further on lower earners, Mr. Lieberman would return to the Clinton tax rate of 39.6% but at a lower income threshold for married couples earning just $150,000, plus another 5% surcharge on those making more than $250,000. No one favors rewriting the IRS code more than we do, but this looks to us like Robin Hood dressed in a business suit.” Hmmm…that sounds familiar.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Uh uh uh uh - Staying Alive!

Nomar Garciaparra triples and scores on a throwing error to ignite a Red Sox rally in the seventh inning. The Red Sox defeat the Yankees, 9-6. Boston will send Pedro Martinez to the mound to oppose Roger Clemens in Game 7. (Charles Krupa - AP)

Pedro and Clemens tomorrow, baby. Check your heads!
Protest in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 15 — Saudi police arrested up to 150 people for staging a rare public protest in the capital to call for reforms in the conservative Islamic kingdom, the interior minister said Wednesday.

. . . . . .

After demonstrators blocked traffic, police fired tear gas and moved in, arresting ''no more than 150 individuals who gathered carrying banners,'' the interior minister, Prince Nayef, told the official Saudi Press Agency. Witnesses had said there were hundreds of protesters, men and women, most of them young.

''What happened was just a limited gathering in al-Olaya street,'' Nayef told the agency. ''They are a small bunch ... this won't happen again

I'll bet.
Wictory Wednesday: I don't have time to do a full blown post, but go to PoliPundit to see how you can help President Bush and all the other bloggers supporting his re-election. Thanks!

Lotsa good stuff in the Wash Post today: Robert Samuelson draws parallels between President Bush’s economic plans and Richard Nixon’s actions before the 1972 election.
I didn’t think of that! David Broder points out a critical roadblock for Democratic presidential candidates who want to rollback the Bush tax cuts. The House of Representatives, where all tax and revenue bills originate, will almost certainly remain in Republican hands through 2005. Ergo, there will be no rollback. Since raising taxes is the cornerstone of all the Dems plans, what’s plan “B”?
Unsocial Insecurity

Just yesterday, I was thinking that if could ask the Democratic presidential candidates a single question it would be this: “Without telling me what you wouldn’t do, explain how you would save Social Security for the generation after the Baby Boomers.” That is, I don’t want criticism of Personal Savings Accounts or the Bush tax cuts. What is the plan to regenerate a system that is going to go flat broke in 2040 (the trouble starts sooner):

According to the Social Security trustees, Medicare's expenses start to exceed benefits in 2013, less than ten years from now. Social Security follows suit in 2017. 2040 isn't the date when we need to start worrying; it's the date when we finally give up pretending that Social Security is anything other than a gigantic Ponzi scheme, and the suckers revolt.

After he’s re-elected, I sincerely hope that President Bush marshals all of his political will to fix the overwhelming problem of entitlements, whether through personal savings accounts of some other repair. Despite weekly proddings by Tim Russert, the Democrats don’t seem to be willing to even admit that the problem exists.
The Chinese into the Final Frontier: GOBI DESERT, China — China launched its first manned space mission on Wednesday, becoming the third country in history to send a person into orbit -- four decades after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

What to do when you're trailing Al Sharpton

When your campaign has hit the skids and you're a percentage point from a tie for the bottom, it's time to try something - anything - to get some attention. Thus: the Edwards Gambit.

Meanwhile, Howard Dean continues to throttle Senator Splunge in the must-win state of New Hampshire. Oh, I'm going to sleep well tonight.
The latest threat: Pillows

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday confirmed terrorists have discussed using stuffed animals, pillows and clothing to smuggle explosives aboard commercial airliners.

There are going to be some unhappy kids when the TSA rips off Teddy's head.
So it’s agreed: we should have ideas

Martin Devon perfectly encapsulated my opinions on the new Center for American Progress that was profiled in the New York Times magazine this past Sunday, so just go read his post.
Outside the Beltway links to a Time magazine article about the secret collaborators that helped U.S. forces topple Saddam “Even my clothes have betrayed me” Hussein. The obvious question is: where are these secret helpers now? If you guys could just let us know where we could find Saddam, that would be great, mmm-kay?
Message from member #53731 of the VRWC: Our agent is exposed!

From Jewish World Review: "Can anyone argue that Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Bill Clinton's cash bagman when it was easier to legally (or not) obtain huge sums from contributors, is acting as if he were a double agent for the Republicans?"

Initiate extraction to safe house in Crawford, Texas. (Hat tip to PoliPundit – member #27193)
The Demoncrat: . "I will plunge the world into eternal darkness, raining blood upon the land, all funded by taxing the top one percent who are not paying their fair share!"

This is satire, right?
Our friends the Saudis

From the Boston Globe: “Saudi Schools teach Hatred of the West

For example, eighth-graders are taught, in a geography book, that "Islam replaced the former religions that replaced it" and that "a malicious Crusader-Jewish alliance is striving to eliminate Islam from all the continents."

In a ninth-grade language exercise, Saudi youth are instructed to use the sentence, "The Jews are wickedness in its very essence," when learning the rules of the Arabic language.

The Saudi response has been: “It’s only 5% of textbooks – what’s the big deal?”
GOP wins slim victories in the House – where are the Dems?

This Washington Post article “House GOP Practices Art Of One-Vote Victories” reviews recent legislation that has passed the House of Representatives by a single vote (and the Republican arm-twisting involved). But, in what seems like a glaring omission to me, the article fails to note that Democrats could foil legislation they oppose by just showing up for work. Dick Gephardt, in particular, has missed 91% of all floor votes this legislative session.

Monday, October 13, 2003

An encore presentation: Why don't we just tax the hell out of the rich?

From John Hawkins' interview with economist Milton Friedman:

Milton Friedman: Well, who would provide the funds, the capital, and the entrepreneurship for the new industries? In a world in which there were no rich people, how would you have ever gotten the capital to produce steel mills or automobile plants? You can do it through the state, but the world tried that with the Soviet Union.

We're not living in Sherwood Forest here...
Everybody loves Robin Hood

From Atlas Shrugged:
Ragnar Danneskjold: “I've chosen a special mission of my own. I'm after a man whom I want to destroy. He died many centuries ago, but until the last trace of him is wiped out of men's minds, we will not have a decent world to live in.”
Hank Rearden: “What man?”
Ragnar Danneskjold: “Robin Hood.”

Now here comes Joe Lieberman declaring that: gosh if only the “rich” would pay their “fair share” then everything would be super.

On the first day of his tour, Lieberman focused on his economic plan. He argued that the administration has shifted tax burdens from the wealthy to middle-income earners.

"That's class warfare," Lieberman said. "I'm proposing a cease-fire. By leading with integrity, we can restore fairness to the tax code and give some real help to struggling American families

I’m really surprised at Lieberman, who flopped along with Al Gore using the strategy of “the people versus the powerful.” His not-so-clever “class warfare” twist ignores the easily-verified fact that the “rich” are subjected to higher tax rates and – by far – a higher burden of the overall federal tax revenue. The top 1% pay one-third of all taxes, the top 5% pay half, and the top 10% pay two-thirds of all income tax. The top 1% pay an average tax rate of 27% while the bottom 50% pay an average of 4.6%. But Joe Lieberman (and John Kerry) don’t think the rich have been punished enough.