Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Must be the VAT

I stopped in a souvenir store to pick up T-shirts for my kids. They were 29 CFF, or roughly $27 each. (GULP) The sweatshirts were 40 CFF or $36 each. Everything here is wicked expensive. I wanted to buy an English newspaper, but a USA Today is 3.80 CFF and a Wall Street Journal Europe is 4 CFF - that's over $3 for a paper about 16 pages long. I saw a "sale" for Levi jeans, only 80 CFF or $72. Tiny keychain Swiss army knives were $20 each. I ended up getting a 5 CFF keychain for my wife. C'est tout.
Swiss TV

There seem to be a lot of Arabs in Geneva - a suspicion that is supported by the fact that there are FOUR Arab televison stations on the hotel TV. One is Al-Jazerra and the others seem to be the state networks of Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This is gripping television, let me tell you. The programming for the Saudi network appears to be completely monolithic - a cleric looks into the camera and says stuff, hour after hour.

And how are Americans portrayed? In the space of 24 hours, I saw two shows dedicated to portrayals of the Ku Klux Klan: one was a seventies drama and the other was a movie with Ronald Reagan. On the international CNN station, they show the Daily Show with Jon Stewart late at night. The promos have a voice over saying "Jon Stewart knows America's place in the world" and then they show Stewart deadpanning: "Everybody hates us." Nice.

The sports network? Soccer cricket soccer snooker soccer skiing soccer.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Wonderful time in Geneva. Ive had an upset stomach since Ive been here. Its been raining constantly and I slipped on the bus to the conference and nearly broke my arm. Right now, Im updating from an Internet cafe and I cant find any punctuation marks on this wacked out kezboard, where thez put the "z" where the "y" is supposed to be. Cest la vie.

Friday, November 26, 2004

I’m going to Switzerland,” he said neutrally.

Yes, yes, off on another business trip so posting will be non-existent at least until I get back late Wednesday night. I’m presenting a paper to a conference on Photonics in the Automobile, which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

That’s right: I’m going to the Geneva Convention.

Be back soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out all the bloggers listed on the left. See ya.
Hollywood pinkos whitewash the Red threat

From today’s NY Post Page Six:

SOME historians are getting worked up over George Clooney's plan to make a movie about Edward R. Murrow, the legendary broadcaster who helped bring down red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy. Evidence continues to surface from Kremlin records and Nikita Khruschev's diaries that Communist spies had penetrated the State Department, and that Alger Hiss and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were indeed Soviet spies. But Clooney is expected to downplay the red threat while portraying McCarthy as a demagogic villain. Said one expert: "By discrediting McCarthy, Murrow actually helped hide the truth of the Soviet penetration of the U.S. government."
I’m shocked, shocked that a journalist put ideology ahead of the truth - not.
We swear we’re looking real hard: “Pakistani military finds no sign of bin Laden” Uh-huh.
Worse than "Melrose Place"? - 'Baywatch' Voted Worst U.S. TV Import: ""Baywatch," the sun-bleached saga of Californian life guards, was voted the worst-ever U.S. television import in a British survey released Thursday."

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving everbody

Busy, busy day. I hope everybody enjoyed their holiday as much as I did. To top it off, here's some good news from Iraq: "Al-Zarqawi Lieutenant Arrested in Mosul"
Also, the U.S. military said it discovered the "largest weapons cache to date in the city of Fallujah." The weapons — including anti-tank mines and a mobile bomb-making lab — were found inside a mosque used by an insurgent leader.
Weapons in a house of God? That doesn't sound like a "religion of peace" to me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I love laughing at Democrats

If this doesn’t put the exclamation point on the drubbing the Democrats took in 2004, then I don’t know what does:

The election was already achingly close, but the recount in the race for governor of Washington State was almost absurdly close, the results showed Wednesday. Former State Senator Dino Rossi, the Republican who was declared the winner last week by 261 votes, won the recount by a mere 42, of almost three million cast.

And the bizarre contest is anything but settled. Democrats said the vote - 48.8717 percent to 48.8702 percent, as recounted by machine - was far too close for their candidate, State Attorney General Christine Gregoire, to concede. They said they would request a third count, this one by hand, possibly featuring the inspection of, yes, chads.
It’s almost like we planned the whole thing, just to taunt them. Just like we did in Ohio! (Disclaimer: we did not fix the polls in Ohio...much).
I gotta see this movie! Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand are the true heroes of “The Incredibles”? That’s what the Christian Science Monitor thinks (hat tip: Reason Hit & Run).
Recount madness

They’re still re-counting ballots in Washington state for the governor’s race and the Republican candidate continues to hold a stubborn advantage: “Rossi pads his lead by 55 votes

Meanwhile, the tin-foil Democrats in the Buckeye State are itching for a lesson in futility.
Trust and culture in Election ‘04

If you scroll down below Al Franken loony ramblings, you’ll find some lucidity from author Tom Wolfe, from the most recent issue of Rolling Stone:

Not that many people in America who are registered to vote want to be lectured to by Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi and P. Diddy. If you're living in southern Ohio, and you're against gay marriage because you're religious, these guys make you feel like you're being treating like an idiot . . . worse, like a primitive. Bush, on the other hand, is very good at feeding the impression that "I'm one of you. I can hunker down with you anywhere you want." He's acquired a kind of rural accent. But Kerry is incapable of doing that.
This sentiment is shared by one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers:

Let me say it again - the Democrats lost because they are not liked and they are not trusted. That, and really nothing else, was the verdict of this election. And for what it's worth, [disparaging] the 61 million pitchfork-wielding imbeciles who didn't vote for them probably isn't their path back out of the wilderness, emotionally gratifying though it may be.
The Democrats have a long slog back to credibility as a national party – a path so arduous that there’s a grain of truth in Mark Noonan’s recent post about the death of the Democratic party.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Amazing Race 6 update

With the exception of a second-place finish for the insufferable “team” of Jonathan (and Victoria) tonight’s episode was great. The teams started from Iceland and flew to Oslo, Norway where they had to find an Olympic ski jump. This was the first roadblock where one team member had to zip-line down the ramp; also, our host Phil K. informed viewers that a new rule was in effect that no team member could perform more than six roadblocks. My wife and I looked at each other knowingly: this shall be henceforth known as the “Chip and Kim” rule in honor of last year’s winning team. (Through 13 legs of the Amazing Race 5, Chip performed twelve of the roadblocks while wife Kim finished one.)

Team Adam & Rebecca: the rumor on the street is that Rebecca didn’t want to date Adam at first because she thought he was gay. But now they’re a couple, I guess. Hmmmm. Adam climbs to the top of the ski lift, takes a look at the height, and says: “Tell my Mom I love her.” As he’s descending, he’s screaming “I love you, Mom!” Uh-huh.

After the zip-line, the teams re-assembled to row across a lake in two boats. Team Freddy & Kendra lose their clue and take another from the clue box. Big mistake: later at the pit stop, they’re penalized 30 minutes for breaking a race rule. Two other teams finish ahead of them, but they still pull in 8th place.

At the detour, the teams can either roller-ski through the Norwegian countryside or engage in several tasks of accuracy based on Viking lore (axe-throwing, archery). All the teams struggle mightily but Kris and Jon finish first and race to the Pit Stop as Team #1. New York girls Meredith and Maria came in last and were eliminated.
The battle between “boys will be boys” and “enough – Sports author and commentator John Feinstein applauds those with “The courage to tackle the brawlers.”
McAuliffe redux?

From the American Spectator:

The fight over who will take over the floundering Democratic National Committee continued to rage going into the Thanksgiving holiday, with rumors swirling that current DNC head Terry McAuliffe might insert himself into the process.
Nomination forms to re-elect McAuliffe to the DNC were submitted by “Arlkai Overay” and “Mel Kenman.”
We’ve already said (piano interlude) goodbye.
Since you gotta go, oh you’d better go now!

Go now…go now. Go now!

(Apologies to the Moody Blues)
George W. Bush is not playing the Washington game and it’s driving the Beltway establishment crazy.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Today's funny Fark headline: "Gallup poll shows Bush with 55% approval rating; Naturally, Zogby has Kerry up by 2%" That's good!
How to help the troops
Kerry Vote Watch

From January until last week, John Kerry had worked exactly four days in the U.S. Senate, casting a vote on only 17 out of 211 floor votes. With the election over, Kerry returned to Washington and doubled his work days in just one week. He recorded a vote on all four Senate votes (one per day), bringing his missed vote percentage down from 92% to only 90%. Exhausted from the heavy workweek, Kerry retired to his wife’s Nantucket home with some Earl Grey tea.
Even the “Retro vs. Metro” partisans know the truth

A group called “Retro vs. Metro” ran a series of full-page newspaper ads and Internet banners in the months leading up to the election, showing “the great divide” in America between the “retros” and “metros.” George Bush, Mel Gibson, and “smart bombs” were “retro” while John Kerry, Michael Moore and “smarter kids” were portrayed as “metro.” Here’s a recent blog entry by one Metro-sexual:

When hubby revealed he'd voted for Bush, I had to restrain myself from screaming, "Are you insane?"
This underscores Jim Geraghty’s prediction that the Democrats’ new slogan will be: “Vote for us, you drooling morons!” But the woman with the level-headed husband comes to her senses:

I'd provided him a hundred reasons not to vote for Bush, he went and did it anyway. But the problem was with me---not with the primal retro nodes of his brain. You see, before the election, while I could filibuster him with reasons why Bush sucks and deserved to be re-defeated, I was at a loss to provide even one cogent reason to vote for Kerry. And I think that summarizes Kerry's defeat. Even the zealots who wanted to see him get elected could not articulate why a vote should be cast for him (vs. against Bush). I do believe there was a world of moderate Republicans and fence-sitters who were just waiting for Kerry to give them a reason to vote for him, but the reason never materialized---mushy messaging plagued Kerry's campaign, a campaign defined by its failure to go for the jugular. In my liberal circle, I have yet to run across anyone who waxes poetic over what an amazing president Kerry would make. The Dems worked so hard to try to make him all things to all people that he failed to incite anyone's passions.
Lesson: you can’t beat something with nothing. [Ed. – but he had “plans” - loads of ‘em!]

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Follow-up on W. Mass soldier story

Only a day after I overheard a story about a wounded Western Massachusetts soldier, an article appeared in the local Sunday paper confirming almost every detail:
[Cpl. Michael] Daly is the second local Marine to be wounded in Fallujah. Earlier, U.S. Marine Sgt. Justin W. Green of Deerfield was seriously wounded when entering a house. An insurgent killed another Marine and then fired two shots into Green's flak jacket.

Green returned fire and killed the man, whose suicide-bomb vest exploded, knocking Green unconscious and sending shrapnel into his leg and eye. He is currently being treated at a military hospital in Germany.
It looks like the only details where the accounts differ is whether or not shrapnel got into Green's eye; also it was a house and not a mosque. Still, you heard it here first.
The end of Social Security? - Economist Laurence Kotlikoff has a somewhat-complicated-but-it-just-might-work plan to salvage Social Security sure to drive Democrats to paroxysms of self-righteous grandstanding. It’s worth consideration since something must be done to prop up this inequitable system (besides taxing the grandkids).

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Talking Heads - Mark Kilmer has the lineup for the Sunday morning talk shows. One word: yawn.

And for the record, The Capital Gang was a complete bore tonight. I ended up watching the Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo.
Well, I just nominated myself for "Best Blog ranked 250-500th on the Ecosystem." Somehow, I feel this is like winning the prize for the “Tallest Man in Ecuador.”
Overheard in the barber shop this morning

Absolutely true story: the guy next to me in the barber shop this morning was recounting the story about his Marine son who had been injured in Iraq recently. (He was speaking to his barber, but I heard almost every word).

His unit was clearing a Mosque in Fallujah when they came upon an insurgent carrying a weapon. The Marine took two shots to the chest that were stopped by his flak jacket. Apparently, he noted that the insurgent was wearing what he thought was a protective vest and he (? or another Marine) put two shots into the guy’s neck. However, after the terrorist crumpled over, they discovered – to their horror – that it wasn’t body armor he was wearing but an explosive vest, which detonated. This guy’s son received shrapnel in the leg and arm and is blinded in the right eye (although perhaps not permanently – the doctors think it’s trauma from the explosion). They’re going to leave the shrapnel in the leg “as a souvenir.”

Then this: the guy says his son wants to get his eyesight back so that “he can get back to Iraq.” Wow. (The father said that would not have been his choice.)

He then started to talk about the Marine who is facing charges for shooting the wounded insurgent and that his son and all the other Marines can’t believe this is even being considered. They all think he should get a medal.

I wanted to stick around and hear more, but my haircut was done.

Friday, November 19, 2004

But I don’t wanna be a pirate!

Actor and comedian Jerry Seinfeld comments on the induction of the 'puffy shirt' (R) into the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, in Washington November 18, 2004. The shirt was worn by the comedian during an episode of the hit television series, 'Seinfeld.'

I’ve tried to avoid the Kerry-bashing but, man, the guy just invites it. Last week he gave a peevish interview to New England Cable News where he essentially blamed his loss on negative campaigning by the Bush team and terrorism fears (scroll to the bottom for the video link). That was enough to trigger this harsh rejoinder in today’s Boston Globe “Excuses, excuses from Kerry” which was published only hours before Fox News revealed that the Senator blamed his loss on the Osama tape (although not his tin-ear reaction to it).

Time to grow a beard, Johnny.
Too legit to quit

From a speech titled “The Crisis of Legitimacy: America and the World” by Robert Kagan (by way of Arts and Letters):

It is difficult not to conclude, therefore, that when Europeans and American critics call the war in Iraq unilateral, they do not really mean that the United States lacked broad international support. They mean instead that the United States lacked broad support in Europe , and more specifically, in France and Germany . The Bush administration was "unilateralist" not because it lost the support of Beijing , Brasília, Kuala Lumpur , Moscow , and dozens of other capitals but because it lost the support of Paris and Berlin .

In the end, what Washington 's critics really resented was that it would not and could not be constrained, even by its closest friends. From the perspective of Berlin and Paris, the United States was unilateralist because no European power had any real influence over it. From this perspective, even with a hundred nations and three-quarters of Europe on its side, the United States might still have lacked legitimacy. Today's debate over multilateralism and legitimacy is thus not only about principles of law, or even about the supreme authority of the UN; it is also about a transatlantic struggle for influence. It is Europe 's response to the unipolar predicament.
Kagan goes on to say that American foreign policy will lack “legitimacy” unless we can secure the blessings of the Europeans and “The United States ' liberal, democratic sensibilities make it difficult, if not impossible, for Americans to ignore the fears, concerns, interests, and demands of their fellows in liberal democracies.” I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. Outside the salons of Washington and the coffee shops in San Francisco, I don’t think 95% of America gives a damn about what the Old World thinks or believes that American policy suffers from an attenuated “legitimacy” because of European opinion.
There is justice in the world: “WashingtonPost.com Drops Ted Rall's Cartoons

Thursday, November 18, 2004

There are no easy answers for Social Security

Few issues get my blood boiling like the government-mandated Ponzi scheme known as Social Security. The system in its current state is simply unsustainable because of demographics: there are fewer and fewer workers supporting each retiree. The Social Security Trust Fund will start cashing in government bonds (that must be paid out of the U.S. Treasury) around 2010 and the entire Fund will be depleted around 2035. Every solution to avoid this unsavory fate involves significant sacrifice by all Americans, whether through reduced benefits for seniors or sharply higher taxes for workers.

So ignore Edith Fierst’s article in today’s WashPost titled “Easy Fixes for Social Security.” Whenever articles like this appear, the “fix” is always – always – increasing payroll taxes to cover the projected shortfall in the system:

The deficit can be remedied with a few discrete changes in the program, all of which are surprisingly easy to understand and accept.
The first is to raise the earned income on which the Social Security payroll tax is assessed and benefits are paid.
A second proposal is to keep the tax on estates worth $3.5 million and more and dedicate the proceeds to Social Security.
A third change would be to bring all newly hired public employees under mandatory coverage of Social Security, thereby reducing the long-range deficit by about 0.22 percent of payroll.
To be fair, Ms. Fierst has one proposal to slow spending:

The final change would be to adopt the more accurate formula for cost-of-living increases designed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and in use by many programs. Using that formula would reduce the long-range deficit by 0.3 percent of payroll.
Got that? Zero-point-three percent or one-sixth of the projected payroll shortfall. She then dismisses the notion of raising the retirement age because it would be painful to seniors. She also dismisses private accounts for a whole series of petty reasons. For example, she notes that private investments could go down in value while ignoring the fact that a conservative investment in secure T-bills would result in a return much higher than the current projected rate of return of 1% for most young workers. And why should America burden young workers, who are usually trying to raise a family, when most of them already pay more in payroll taxes than income tax? From the Social Security Administration’s web page:

Some people believe that Social Security taxes should be raised so that all future benefits could be paid. They want to increase the current combined payroll tax rate, which is now 12.4 percent. Critics argue that payroll taxes are already very high, having been raised 20 times since the program began, and that almost 80 percent of workers already pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes. And they point out that eventually Social Security taxes would have to be raised by about 50 percent to pay for all benefits owed.
Let’s get a couple things straight: reducing benefits for seniors would be unpopular and political suicide for anybody in Washington. But increasing taxes on younger workers (again) is grossly unfair and threatens the prospects for the next generation. Finally, shifting a portion of the Social Security system to private accounts would be wildly expensive, although it would expand the “ownership” society and (maybe) ultimately reduce the overall burden on the SS system. All the other proposals are just nibbling at the edges. No matter what, there are no “easy fixes.”
Now that the election is over, shouldn’t we get back to ridiculing the French?
Dear Leader” no more? – The rumors continue to trickle out of North Korea: “North Korean media drop ‘Dear Leader’ title, monitor says”. Roger Simon has more: "A North Korean freedom movement?"
The tunnels under Boston are not waterproof – is that a problem?

The Boston Globe digs deeper into the Big Dig: “A group of state, federal, and Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff engineers issued a confidential report in 1997 that concluded that miles of Big Dig tunnel walls were waterproofed with products that didn't work and were often applied incorrectly by poorly trained contractors.”

Despite Massachusetts officials’ strong protestations to the contrary, I’m starting to believe that it’s only a matter of time before the Big Dig is closed down as a safety hazard. Give it a couple years of band-aid measures and bureaucratic delusion.
Hugh Hewitt opines in the Weekly Standard that nobody but George W. Bush could be Time’s Man of the Year…so he won’t.

My official prediction: the father of modern terrorism, Yasser Arafat
Pounding away on a keyboard

Mr. Burns, giving a tour of his mansion: “This is a thousand monkeys working at a thousand typewriters. Soon, they'll have written the greatest novel known to mankind. (reads one of the typewriters) "It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times"?! you stupid monkey! (monkey screeches) Oh, shut up.”

From a review of the book “Chance - A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market, & Just About Everything Else”: “Some more tidbits: Yes, according to probability theory, a group of monkeys pounding on typewriters really will, given enough time, produce "Hamlet." Aczel gives you the odds. The trick is that in this case, "long enough" is sometime off beyond the death of the universe.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Washington state Governor’s race update – With over 2.8 million votes cast, the current spread between the candidates now stands at 13 votes.

A recount is expected (duh).

Update - Thanks to Dr. E who tipped me off on the latest:

Republican Dino Rossi's tiny lead over Democrat Christine Gregoire in the closest governor's race in Washington state history triggered an automatic recount Wednesday.Rossi held a 261-vote lead - out of 2.8 million ballots cast - after counties reported their final tallies to the state.
Whew! That's a close shave.
What’s going on in North Korea?

Only a couple days ago Der Spiegel noted: “The people of North Korea are not as submissive as they appear to be. Unnoticed by the outside world, strong opposition to the regime of dictator Kim Jong Il is beginning to appear.”

Now, in today’s NY Times: “Where Kim’s portrait hung in Pyongyang, a baffling blankness.”

Portraits of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, have been quietly taken down this fall in important institutions in the country's capital, Pyongyang, several diplomats there say.

Analysts are debating the reasons, with explanations that range from a demotion of North Korea's "Dear Leader" to a simple desire to place the portraits in more ornate frames.
Verrrrrrrry interesting
Fifteen billion dollars later – The Big Dig is worse than anybody thought: “List of tunnel trouble grows longer
News flash: this is war

I wonder how the media and the Left would react to the following (fictional) story: “News footage recovered from a Fallujah mosque yesterday revealed that the blast that killed four Marines was caused by a suicide bomber. The American soldiers securing the mosque are seen inquiring a prone man as to his condition when he turned over suddenly, shouted “Allah Akbar” and detonated a grenade. Embedded reporter Kevin Sites was also killed in the blast. This incident follows one a day previous where a U.S. Marine was killed by a booby-trapped body.”

Get a grip, people. These insurgents are the same kind of suicidal thugs that found a rationale to murder a woman who dedicated her entire life to making Iraq a better place. From what I can ascertain, the Marine was completely in his rights to protect himself and his comrades (and it looks like Brian, Matt, John C., John H., and a whole lot of others agree.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The best show on television: The Amazing Race 6 starts tonight

As Letterman would say: wake the kids and phone the neighbors. The sixth season of The Amazing Race starts tonight. The travelogue/competition/reality show has had a cult following for years, but finally hit pay dirt in the ratings department with TAR5. From the NY Times: “An audience finally catches up to ‘The Amazing Race’”:

"Sometimes you just get a perfect storm of elements, and that's clearly what happened in Season five," said Kelly Kahl, executive vice president of programming at CBS. His theory? The cumulative effect of a hard-core fan base, years of effusive reviews (a number of which called "The Amazing Race" the best reality show on television in its first season), back-to-back Emmy Awards in 2003 and 2004 for best reality program, and a particularly appealing cast of competitors all came together to bolster the show's ratings, particularly among the younger viewers prized by the networks.
And here’s the TV critic for USA Today:

Let's hope this fall's otherwise welcome downturn in interest in reality — prompted by the networks stupidly flooding the market with too many copycats like The Rebel Billionaire — won't keep viewers away from the genre's best series: The Amazing Race (CBS, 9 p.m. ET/PT). Once again, Phil Keoghan shepherds the teams around the world. On your mark, get set, watch.
Or, in the case of my family, tape. The race is on too late for my kids so I’ll videotape it and we watch it the next night. Then we track all the pit stops (final destination on each leg of the race) on a big National Geographic wall map. The show is great fun: don't miss it.

Extra: TV Guide’s TAR6 preview & Free Republic’s TAR6 thread.
Everyone knows it’s Condi

To the tune of “Windy” by the Association:

Who’s peekin’ out from her West Wing office?
Sits in the Foggy Bottom head chair
Who’ll “Meet the Press” then play the piano?
Everyone knows it’s Condi

Who’s tripping down the steps of the White House?
Smilin’ at all the pols that she sees
Who’s jetting off to the next G8 summit?
Everyone knows it’s Condi
(Idea shamelessly lifted from this Slings and Arrows post).
Always listen to the Swedes: “As regular readers know, I have engaged in a bit of political consulting this year. All of my races were winners.” Nice going, Erick with a “k”!
Gotti smackdown – I couldn’t stop laughing at this story on Page Six: “Two Gotti sons beaten at mall”
Misunderestimated again – Here’s a blast from the past: "Thus far, the reputed idiot Bush has graduated from Yale and Harvard, made a stack of cash in the oil industry, become the first consecutive-term governor of Texas, defeated a dual-term VP for the Presidency, and led his party to yesterday's extraordinary triumphs. Let his opponents keep calling him stupid; if they do, within five years Bush will be King of England, the Pope, and world Formula One motor racing champion."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Get happy!

Looking down at some of my recent posts, they’re pretty depressing (famine, the Big Dig, Arafat). I should be reveling in the victory of two weeks ago. Rich Lowry reminds us in “Bush’s Well-Mapped Road to Victory - How Rove & co. pulled it off” (portion from National Review magazine):

It is difficult yet to have much perspective on Bush's freshly minted reelection victory, but it may well rank among the most extraordinary Republican campaigns ever. Confronting bad news almost daily, a ferocious attack by a united Left, and a hostile press corps, Bush won a resounding victory. His campaign was strategically brilliant and technically proficient, correctly assessing the nature of the electorate and election from the beginning and acting on its knowledge with great tactical verve. It built a grassroots force that, had it been marshaled on behalf of a liberal, would be celebrated as a great "people's army." It creatively found a way around the establishment press. And it brought home a win that could be a long-term boon to conservative ideas.
Yes! Then I just found out that Patrick Ruffini is back to his personal blog after his fine work at BC04; and he’s got the pictures of James Carville putting a trash can on his head (2002) and smashing an egg on his face (yesterday). The yolk was on Carville after he declared that Bush's victory was "the greatest political achievement of my lifetime."

And to top it all off, today I heard my favorite Grass Roots song on the radio: “Temptation Eyes.” It’s all good.
My way or the highway foreign policy? – Here’s a good analysis of what we might expect from a post-Powell White House: “Moves cement tilt toward the hard-line stance
Condemned to repeat history

The most horrifying non-fiction book I’ve ever read is “Hungry Ghosts: Mao’s Secret Famine” about how tens of millions of Chinese starved to death due to the ineptitude and indifference of Mao Tse-Tung. Now British journalist Jasper Becker is turning his attention to the modern-day dystopia of North Korea where supreme dictator Kim Jong Il builds palaces and golf courses for himself while the rest of the country suffers.
Crackin’ open the liberal media cocoon – Here’s Michael Barone in “A bad election for Old Media
Well you can knock me over with a feather

It looks like Yasser Arafat was a corrupt dictator who skimmed money from his own people. I never would have guessed. From the NY Post (by way of Time magazine): “Arafat got paid at the pump”:

Yasser Arafat reportedly skimmed $2 million a month from the gasoline trade in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The skimming was uncovered by U.S. accountants after international donors forced Arafat to sign over his holdings to a Palestine investment fund in August 2002, Time magazine reports.

Halting the practice — and other corruption in the gasoline trade — boosted the Palestine Authority's treasury by $10 million a month and cut gas prices for ordinary Palestinians.

Time also says that after scouring Arab companies and bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg, the U.S. auditors identified $800 million in Arafat holdings.
And be sure to read Charles Krauthammer’s article in today’s WashPost: “Arafat’s Legacy.”

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Big Dig - not "worth the wait" and not worth the expense

Everybody in Western Massachusetts hates the Boston roadway project known as "The Big Dig" because it sucks away highway funds for the rest of the state. Now even Boston-ites can't hide the fact that Ted Kennedy's $14 billion boondoggle is a horrible mess. Here's a great article by Sam Allis in today's Boston Globe titled "The Big Drip":
The Observer likes a good cliche as much as the next person, so let's try this one: ''The straw that broke the camel's back." What else do you call the news last week that the Big Dig tunnel leaks like an old garden hose?

It's not just the sheer number of leaks -- a breathtaking 400 of them -- that smacks of Soviet efficiency. It's not just the rank cowardice among the rogue's gallery of players associated with the project who have streaked from responsibility like Olympic runners.

What's most galling about the news is its timing. It comes after we had been assured that the project is all but done and our long nightmare over. We were just beginning to cotton up to the damned thing. Maybe the $14.6 billion was worth it after all. If the tunnel looks like hell, at least it works. Wrong.
He notes later in the article that (unless you're going to Logan airport) the enormous project hasn't done anything to reduce commuting times for most Boston residents. Your tax money in action, America.
If you just can’t get enough post-mortems, here’s the Sunday Boston Globe’s extended version of their favorite son’s presidential campaign: “On the trail of Kerry’s failed dream

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Conference studies blogs’ impact on news

Blogs have drawn attention to political stories that more established media outlets then report on, and exposed flawed journalism by those same newspapers and television news programs. But some at the gathering said they face a near-constant struggle to establish the credibility enjoyed by professionals.
"Enjoyed?" Ah, yes, the much-vaunted “credibility” of the mainstream press. If only I could achieve the lofty heights of integrity enjoyed by Howell Raines’ New York Times, Dan Rather’s CBS News, Newsweek’s Evan “The media wants Kerry to win” Thomas, and assorted other MSM outfits.

And a final criticism on the AP article: is Wonkette the only blogger available for comment? Or does her blog simply have the highest density of phallic references? Just wondering.
Shoulda listened to Puffy and voted – Ol’ Dirty Bastard collapses and dies in NY studio
Big Dig fallout - “Romney asks Pike chairman to resign”: “Governor Mitt Romney called on Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Chairman Matthew J. Amorello yesterday to resign, arguing that new leadership is ''the only way to restore confidence" after recent revelations of hundreds of leaks in the Big Dig's tunnels.”

Meanwhile, here’s another tale of twisted accountability from the folks at CBS News. And, no, it’s not Dan Rather.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Senate majority leader Bill Frist grows a set: “Frist Says Filibusters of Bush Nominees Must End.” Good. Let’s get Miguel Estrada another chance.
Tell me what I say

Here’s Ryan Lizza in the New Republic:

Trying to buck up his demoralized troops, the ex-candidate gave a short speech about how much his team had accomplished. "People are going to try to rewrite history and say we didn't have a message in this campaign," Kerry told his staff, according to one Democratic strategist. "And, let me tell you, the message never changed. The message we had in the final days of the campaign was the same as the one we had in the primaries." That was news to some of the boozy Kerry revelers. "Everyone in that room was on edge because everyone wanted to know: What was that message?" says the strategist.
Did I say no more election post-mortems? Mickey Kaus made me do it.
A heartfelt thanks to all Veterans. We salute you.
It all started with a surplus turkey train – the TV dinner turns 50.
Can we raise the voting age? Choose or Lose clowns sound off.
What is your major malfunction, Private Pyle?!

From today’s NY Post Page Six:

VINCENT D'Onofrio, the star of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," passed out while shooting the hit TV series yesterday morning — prompting insiders to gossip that the actor is "losing it."

"Ever since John Kerry lost the election, [D'Onofrio] has lost his [bleep,]" said our on-set insider.
That’s the state of Hollywood today: feeling blue and seeing red.
Arafat the monster

Yasser Arafat died at age 75, lying in bed surrounded by familiar faces. He left this world peacefully, unlike the thousands of victims he sent to early graves.

In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, "God bless his soul."

God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich? Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil -- as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize -- but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity.
Good riddance.

Extra - Jonah Goldberg: “Obviously, my remorse knows bounds. My sadness has a bottom. Words are more than adequate to express my grief.”

Bonus – A cartoon via Occam’s Toothbrush.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The continuing crisis

I don’t want to do any more post-mortems on the election. We won. They’re in therapy. End of story. Let’s re-focus on the battle that has redefined American domestic and foreign policy. The expansive Dutch, who somehow convinced themselves that the war on terrorism is an American enterprise, are waking up to reality. Here’s Michael Ledeen in a NRO article titled “The Killers”:

Mohammed B., the man accused of killing Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam last week, was born and bred in the Netherlands, "known as a relaxed, friendly and intelligent young man," a good student, a volunteer social worker, and a serious student of Information Technology. He came from a close family, and the death of his mother three years ago hit him very hard. He began to devote more time to religious studies, and in the last year became increasingly fanatic. He abandoned his social work because he refused to serve alcohol, and because the foundation where he volunteered organized events where both sexes were present. He was on welfare when he killed van Gogh.
The van Gogh murder was a shot across the bow for Europe. Will they heed the message? Read the whole thing.
A hole in the ground

Boston’s Big Dig is the gift that keeps on taking. After swallowing $14 billion (with a B) in state and federal funds, this is the upshot of Ted Kennedy’s massive boondoggle: “Big Dig found riddled with leaks Engineers say fixes could take decade.” Great. There go all the highway funds for us rubes in Western Mass. They should have just paved that thing with stacks of $100 bills – it would have been cheaper.
Possible humor alert: “Democrats vow to hold Bush accountable

Bush’s response: “Are you guys still here?”

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Ashcroft, Evans resign from cabinet – Confirming all rumors, Attorney General John Ashcroft submitted a hand-written resignation letter on Election Day.
Ever the victim

After a series of scandals including handing out a plum assignment to his lover, New Jersey Governor James McGreevey finally resigned yesterday, but not before delivering a shameless, self-serving, speech:

"I am sorry that I have disappointed the citizens of the state of New Jersey, who gave me this enormous trust," he said. "I am not apologizing for being a gay American, but rather, for having let personal feelings impact my decision-making and for not having had the courage to be open about whom I was."
Who’s asking you to? Please, just go.

ExtraFrom the Gay Patriot: “Jim McGreevey may rank at the top of my list as one of the most slimy politicians to be elected in my lifetime. He and Bill Clinton certainly should get self-loathing awards by the Human Rights Campaign for their disgusting use and abuse of the gay community for their own personal gains.”
George Will has a great post-election roundup in “How Not to Win Red America.” I especially liked the part where Oklahoma Senate candidate Brad Carson was asked why he supported John Kerry and Carson responded in glowing terms about…Joe Lieberman. Heh.
People not like me and you

From a Slate article on the pitfalls of sleeping with your pets:

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, author of If Only They Could Speak and director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, celebrates the "warm and fuzzy feeling" of all species curling up in bed together. This is not to say that some animals don't abuse the privilege. He tells of one couple who came to him after their Yorkshire terrier, who liked to settle in with the wife when she went to bed early to read, took to lunging at the husband when he arrived. There was an obvious solution, and the couple chose it: The husband moved to the guest room. When this proved maritally unsatisfying, they turned to Dr. Dodman. He says such animals have to be re-educated by being placed in a crate at night, or even attached to a dog bed with a long line.
Emphasis added at the parts where I thought: “what morons.” My solution would have involved a rolled-up newspaper.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I’m a Senator? Huh!

WashPost: “Fired up” Kerry returning to Senate – “Kerry has spent the better part of the past two years on the campaign trail, meaning that his return to Capitol Hill will be something of a reintroduction to colleagues.”

This is absolutely the last time I’m going to note this, but while Kerry was running for President, he missed 194 out of 211 floor votes in the Senate for a missed vote percentage of 92%. Since January, he’s worked exactly four days in the Senate. As far as I know, he has not returned any paychecks. That is all.
The 10 Worst Media Distortions of the 2004 Campaign
Bad news for Walter Cronkite: Report sees few drawbacks on wind farm
Whose fault? - From City Journal “The Myth of the Working Poor”: “She [Joanna Lipper] sees social dysfunction in Pittsfield and blames it on poverty. But it typically is personal failure and social dysfunction that create poverty. To stay out of poverty in America, it's necessary to do three simple things, social scientists have found: finish high school, don't have kids until you marry, and wait until you are at least 20 to marry. Do those three things, and the odds against your becoming impoverished are less than one in ten. Nearly 80 percent of everyone who fails to do those three things winds up poor.” (Hat tip: Arts & Letters).

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Kate rocks, part II – Kate O’Beirne has a great article in today’s WashPost titled “A Coalition of Conviction.” The main point: Republicans believe in stuff while Democrats pretend they do.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Mark Steyn v. Europe: “Believe it or not, it wasn’t just rednecks who voted for Bush
Congratulations are in order for Jed's graduation and LaShawn's blogoversary. Nice job!
Democrats – your flight is leaving!
Sunday morning: All Republicans all the time

Mark Kilmer has the rundown of the guests on tomorrow’s morning shows and, aside from Barack Obama, there’s nary a Democrat in sight:

After a month of listening to, reporting on, and analyzing Bob Shrum and Joe Lockhart on these Sunday shows, we've finally reached a Sunday when I want to hear from them. They're nowhere to be found, perhaps in a cave somewhere.
I was praying for a Terry McAuliffe appearance. Alas. BTW, Mark, I believe octo-loser Bob Shrum should be referred to as Bob “0-8” Shrum.
Remember the slogans

From today's Boston Globe: "The Kerry campaign never had overarching theme. But loads of slogans: Real Deal. Fighting for you. Let America be America again. Bring it on. The courage to do what's right. Together, we can build a stronger America. Hope/Help is on the way. A stronger America begins at home. A safer, stronger, more secure America. A lifetime of service and strength. A new team, for a new America. Stronger at home, respected in the world. W is for wrong. America deserves better. A new direction. And inspirational favorite: We're coming, you're going, and don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Friday, November 05, 2004

I'm tired

I've been trolling around the Internet for a good story to post about, but Election 2004 is played out and there's nothing else of great interest. I erased a bunch of bookmarks (won't be needing the Ohio Secretary of State web site anymore) along with some election-specific blogroll links. I think I need a little time to watch mindless movies and get caught up with some reading. A little extra sleep would be nice too. Later.
Did pretentious Limey busybodies deliver Ohio for Bush? Slate dares to ask!
That’s five points – Presidential popular vote updated to 52-47%
Jobs jobs jobs: “October job growth stronger than expected” and August and September employment numbers were revised sharply upward.
From the (UK) Economist – a very good review of the American Presidential election.
Do I dare to dream? – Here’s the Man without Qualities: “In evaluating the scale and scope of the election results, consider this: If more than 40% of Hispanic voters regularly vote Republican, or if substantially more than 10% of African-Americans consistently vote Republican, the Democratic Party as we know it simply cannot win many elections and probably cannot continue even to exist.”

This has not escaped the notice of the Republicans. Yesterday, RNC chair Ed Gillespie said that the long-term goal of the Republicans Party is to greatly increase support from minority groups.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Kate rocks

This past Saturday, the Capital Gang made their predictions for election day. Once again, National Review's Kate O'Beirne was far-and-away the most on target.

Bush-Kerry EV count / Senate GOP pickup / House GOP pickup
286-252 / +4 / +4 (pending two run-offs in Louisiana)

Bob Novak: 301-237 / +4 / +4
Margaret Carlson: 264-274 / +1 / -1
Kate O'Beirne: 297-241 / +4 / +2
Al Hunt: 259-279 / -1 / -5
Mark Sheilds: 257-281 / -1 / -5

Check out the wishful thinking of Hunt and Shields. Nice try.
Mission accomplished - Blogs for Bush will be morphing into GOPBloggers. The battle continues.
Mark Steyn: “Bush hatred flops big” – “The Michael Mooronification of the Democratic Party proved a fatal error. Moore is the chief promoter of what's now the received opinion of Bush among the condescending Left -- Chimpy Bushitler the World's Dumbest Fascist. There are some takers for this view, but not enough. By running a campaign fuelled by Moore's caricature of Bush, the Democrats were doomed to defeat.” Thanks for sticking around, Mark!
A perfect record for Kos-supported candidates: they all lost!
More winners and losers from the New England Republican
The five words that sank the Kerry candidacy

Well, maybe not these five words per se, but the nuanced flip-floppery that they represent. Here’s Kerry in response to a question if he would have authorized a war against Iraq if Saddam Hussein refused to disarm: “You bet we might have.”

Doesn’t that just about sum it up?
Big loss for the Bush haters - Here's Jeff Jacoby in today's Boston Globe: "For four years, Americans watched and listened as President Bush was demonized with a savagery unprecedented in modern American politics. For four years they saw him likened to Hitler and Goebbels, heard his supporters called brownshirts and racists, his administration dubbed "the 43d Reich." For four years they took it all in: "Bush" spelled with a swastika instead of an `s,' the depictions of the president as a drooling moron or a homicidal liar, the poisonous insults aimed at anyone who might consider voting for him. And then on Tuesday they turned out to vote and handed the haters a crushing repudiation."
Godwin’s Law in effect – This morning, overheard this advice to listeners of Air America: “Compare your emotional pain to the Holocaust.”

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Bush wins second term

The past couple months have been exhausting. I'm not a big sports fan, but this is my equivalent of the World Series or the Superbowl. Now what'll I do? I'll have to scroll through my archives to see what I wrote about before the Democratic primaries.
Listmania - Michelle Malkin has a great list of campaign winners and losers, along with links to many other lists. Meanwhile, Tim Blair has a “Bush enemies list” of some who aligned themselves (harshly) against President Bush. I would have added: people who appear in, write for, or read Rolling Stone.
Maybe conservatives should wear green dollar signs so that they’re easily recognizable at NBC.
The Sully crack-up begins

After months of diatribes against Bush, you know Andrew Sullivan’s inbox is being flooded with snide, gloating letters. Today he posted a quote from a small-time weblog and signed it off with this:

[From] Adam Yoshida, calling it as he sees it, on his popular blog.
Emphasis added. Petty and small, Mr. Big Blogger. Is the heat getting to ya?
My letter to the editor

I hadn’t mentioned this, but I wrote a letter to the editor of the Pioneer Valley left-wing rag in response to a half-baked article about the “disaster awaiting the GOP” on election day. Here’s one paragraph from the letter which was published about a week ago:

They smell the disaster that awaits the GOP . I'm going to make two predictions here. First, on November 3rd, Americans will find that the Republicans still control the White House and Congress. And in his first article after election day, [columnist] Bisbort will not write an article noting that the Republicans ran a better campaign and presented a message that resonated with more voters. Instead, he will -- without a shadow of a doubt -- complain bitterly that the electorate was duped and Americans are stupid.
One prediction came true and the other’s a fait accompli.
So much to say

I'm not lazy - this is the first time today I've been able to get access to Blogger. I think servers are being overloaded all over the Internets.

A couple of things: my prediction of 289 EV for Bush was verrrry close (looks like 286 right now).

Today's Doonesbury cartoon, created long before Election Day, was unintentionally ironic but not in the way Trudeau planned it.

For a laugh, check out the final Tradesports and Iowa Electonic Market results.

I agree with just about everything in this Wizbang post about the bankruptcy of the Democratic party and at some point I'm going to write about how DNC chair Terry McAuliffe has been simply the greatest gift to the GOP. This post on the Corner about the need for grownups in the Democratic Party is also apt.

Head on over to Blogs for Bush for some more commentary until I get back.

Great day, great day.
Hey, I’m still up! – The mainstream media (MSM) won’t call Ohio because Team Kerry won’t. But Bush is up by 2.5% and 134,000 votes with 99% of precincts reporting. It’s almost 5am EST and I’m going to bed with visions of four more years in my head.
In my Election Day predictions, I didn't believe that John Thune would unseat Tom Daschle. I was wrong...but I've never been so happy to be wrong.
You don't want to concede? Fine. I took off work both today (Tuesday) and tomorow (Wednesday). I'll wait. Despite the best efforts of the media, Michael Moore, and Hollywood, you lost John Kerry. I'll wait. Send out the Breck Girl, send out Bob Shrum, send out McAulife - whatever. I'll wait.
Presented without gloating: William Saletan and Andrew Sullivan concede.
Oh cmon! - I'm all out of Sam Adams! Now I have to tap a Merlot until the final count. Geez.
Waiting for returns from "Democracy Plaza":

Tradesports: 94-8%
IAM: 96-8%

Time to give it up, boys.
From NRO Corner: President George W. Bush has won re-election! This is a great moment. It appears he is the first president since his father in 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote, as well. For the sake of national unity, John Kerry must concede.
So close…we just need to win either New Mexico or Nevada, then it’s all done

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bias? - Under most circumstances, I like Tim Russert. But (maybe it's me) it seems like he's trying to find the algebra to win for Kerry. It's probably all for ratings, but forget it if Bush wins Ohio.
The latest

For those who have cash on the line: Tradesports is way WAY up for President Bush and so is the Iowa Electronic Markets.

Here are the direct links to Florida and Ohio. Both look good.
OMG - It's a (potential) rout in Florida! With 12% of the ballots in, Bush is up by 14%! And we haven't even gotten to the Panhandle yet. I'm breathing easier now.
David Brooks on PBS's "News Hour" just said "You have people on the Internet checking the polls every couple seconds." Yes, David, I'm an addict.
The Kerry Spot is echoing a lot of unnamed sources that Ohio and Florida are secure for Bush. Baby, please be good to me. (Wisconsin too?)
OK, Mary, I’m chillin’

From NRO's Corner - I said to her, "The blogosphere is going batty." Her [Mary Matalin] quick response, "Batty? Lord have mercy. One exit; bad model. Look to history. Early exits are never right. also read Mellman in the Hill today. The bloggers need to do some lamaze, open a bottle of good red, get ready to party."

As fortune would have it, I had a bottle of red with dinner. Kismet!
Sorry I folded into a fetal position there - All I could think about was the look on Michael Moore and Osama Bin Laden's face if...if...

I feel much better after speaking with my ole college roommate and reading this and this. Let's see those official results.
I'll be back. My kids' school bus is coming. I need to calm down.
I’m going to have a breakdown. The exit polls are coming in – possibly more heavily weighted towards women, but still – and the rumors are flying that it’s looking good for Kerry. And for the first time ever, he’s pulled ahead of Bush on the Tradesports market. I feel ill.
You know you’re having a bad day when your own pollster predicts the other guy will win. (Hat tip to Captain Ed)
Mark Steyn: “It’s not just the economy, stupid
The people who are putting down actual money on the campaign must know something: the Tradesports Presidential market is showing a wide break, now 56-44% for Bush. The Iowa Electronic Market is much closer at 51-48%, which is right in line with a lot of the last-minute tracking polls. (This is at 11:20 EST)
Thanks for reading - A lot of bloggers are noting record traffic and, as Gary Lewis and the Playboys said, "count me in." A month ago, I stood amazed that I was over 1000 hits/day and now I'm averaging well over 3000 unique visitors a day, including over 4000 yesterday. I'm sure this is an election-month bubble, but thanks for stopping by.
Late-nite poll update from everybody’s latest favorite, Jay Cost: “I cleaned out all the old polls (i.e. those released before 10.27) and, lo and behold, it would seem that Bush now has a lead in PA! His lead in OH has strengthened, and his lead in FL, IA, WI remain strong. I still maintain that (A) PA is the true toss-up in this race; (B) Minnesota will be the dark horse Bush victory. Also, to correct my predicted EV score, it is indeed Bush 306 or 327 to Kerry 232 or 211.”
The final Election Projection, um, projection shows a 289-249 win for Bush. This exactly matches my prediction of a month ago, state for state.
Hugh Hewitt seems really confident of a Bush win today: “OBL, OBL, OBL. The deadly menace is trying to threaten the red states from a cave because he has not been able to strike the American homeland for three plus years. He parrots Michael Moore's rhetoric, perhaps because his satellite channel seems to convey an importance for Moore that is wildly off the mark. What will he make --what will all the fanatics make-- of a Bush win today?

They will be afraid. They misjudged America
This political cartoon just about sums it up in terms of voter preferences.

Here's a final thought from Bill Whittle.
And here's Marc Racicot in yesterday's Boston Globe.
A good sign? - Tradesports Bush-Kerry split this morning: still 55%-45%.

Monday, November 01, 2004

They’ll do anything to win…which is why they lose. Fred Barnes explains “Why Democrats and the media think they’re entitled to do whatever it takes to win this election.”
Protein Wisdom has a message for American Jews. As a Presbyterian, I'm just passing this along.
The Truth about Iraq

You may not know:
- 80,000 Iraqi children are alive today because the Coalition Forces took Saddam Hussein from power.
- Polls show 75% of Iraqis want a democracy.
- 51% of Iraqis say their country is going in the right direction.
This is the truth about Iraq - the truth that people should know before they vote.
Take a look.
Leadership – Reelect President Bush

I started writing a long, long, essay on why I thought President Bush deserves re-election. But it all boiled down to this: Bush will keep America safe. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the President is on the offensive against terrorism and Osama Bin Laden’s desperate video is evidence that the strategy is working. If Bin Laden had the power to attack America on the eve of our election (a la Madrid), he would have done so. But he doesn’t: Al-Qaeda has been seriously weakened.

And what are the long-term consequences of President Bush’s policies? Afghanistan just held their first elections ever. Iraq has been freed from a brutal dictator who is arguably responsible for over a million deaths (Iran-Iraq war, invasion of Kuwait and Gulf War, genocide of the Kurds and other Iraqis). In January, it’ll be the third country in the Middle East (after Israel and Turkey) to hold national elections. Next door, Saudi Arabia is experimenting with municipal elections. Syria is pulling back from southern Lebanon and moderating relations with the West. Libya has voluntarily given up their weapons programs. Meanwhile, every other country in the world is refining their government to confront the threat of terrorism – appeasement and tolerance are no longer operative.

President Bush held firm and told the world: with or without you, we’re going to fight. For his leadership, he deserves our respect, our honor, and our vote.

[Cross-posted on Blogs for Bush]
Osama is weak – this is no time to back off

Here’s William Safire in today’s NYT:

"Each state that does not harm our security will remain safe," bin Laden promised, which was "why we did not attack Sweden, for example." His unmistakable import: if the U.S. were to stop our war on Qaeda terror, which has killed or captured an estimated 75 percent of his closest collaborators, that would be what he called "the ideal way to avoid another Manhattan ..." Stop warring on terror and you will "remain safe."

Generals do not call for a truce when they're winning. Only warriors thrust on the defensive become conciliatory, hoping that negotiations will give them time to regroup and resupply. Bin Laden's vain hope seems to be that the defeat of Bush will give him time to buy or steal a horrific weapon as an "equalizer."
Isn’t it obvious that Osama is trying to pull another Madrid here and capture victory in the U.S. election where he could not through his decimated terrorist operation? I hope Americans will consider how a Kerry victory will be perceived in Europe and the Middle East. Bin Laden infamously noted that Americans will always retreat in the face of casualties (citing Beirut and Somalia). Surely he would view the “mess in Iraq” (Kerry’s words) as further evidence that Americans will back off when the cost becomes too great. What price will we pay later?
I want to believe

Fox News: “Nonetheless, Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser called the race for Bush. "We're ahead," he told reporters in Cincinnati, Ohio, the last campaign stop Sunday. "We will win Florida and Ohio. We will take at least two or three or four states that were won by (Democrat Al) Gore in the last election."”

Right of the Rainbow: “On Tuesday, George Bush is going to win this election. What's more, informed by the context of history, we'll look back one day on Mr. Bush's victory, just as we do now on Ronald Reagan's victory in 1984, and wonder who could have ever doubted it.”

From “Future market predict Bush to win”:

According to economic professor Forrest Nelson of the University of Iowa, markets are stronger indicators when it comes to forecasting presidential elections than polls.

"There is a financial initiative to get it right," said Nelson, "The numbers are immediate feedback to traders, which is better than a civil service poll. And it causes traders to collect more information (before purchasing or selling a share)."

Nelson also added that unlike pollsters, traders do not have to rely on a random sample to judge the current trend among voters. He also cited that the margin of error in markets is smaller at 1.5 percentage points, while polls are generally 2.25 to 2.5 points within the margin of error.
The Iowa Electronics Market and the Tradesports Presidential Market have been hovering around a 55%-45% split lately, FWIW.
Live by Zogby, die by Zogby – the Ohio version

Pollster John Zogby pulled some more state results out of his ass today, one of which indicated that Bush was up by 4% in Ohio (48-44). Grudgingly, reluctantly, painfully, Slate was forced to update their Zogby-driven Election Scorecoard and flip Ohio back to Bush. New result: Bush wins! 286-252.
The difference - Kerry goes to church to campaign. Bush goes to church to worship.
Sleepless in Western Mass.

Between daylight savings and a sugar-imbalance from some Halloween candy (I almost never eat sweets), I'm suffering a wicked case of insomnia here. This close election isn't helping, but at least this Polipundit post calmed me down a little. Goodnight.
James Lileks: “I am certain Bin Laden fears a Kerry presidency more than a Bush second term. He knows – and I think we all know this – that Kerry would summon in the military guys, and say “I want you to find bin Laden.”” He has a plan.