Saturday, November 29, 2003

Vinny at Insignificant Thoughts has some significant photos and commentary about his recent trip to Ground Zero in NYC. My fave was the tribute to the Port Authority police (last picture).
The perpetual humor of the NY Times Corrections page

From the Sunday edition:

An article last Sunday about the differing covers on the American and British editions of a book by Paul Krugman, the economist and Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, Page, referred incorrectly to a caricature on the British version. According to groups that distribute the image, the drawing of Vice President Dick Cheney, with the words "Got Oil" on his forehead and a dark mustache, was intended to evoke the "Got Milk" advertising campaign, not to suggest a comparison with Hitler.

Oh, no no no! You see, he was drinking oil! It's a joke.

Extra: Don Luskin has the U.S. and U.K. covers here and Robert Musil recaps the controversy at his site with a post titled "About that Mustache."
Jesse Jackson succumbs to the Messiah complex

Via Instapundit comes this story from Chicago: "Protesters turn on Jesse Jackson during rally" Here's the best (worst) part:

Afterwards ABC7's Rob Johnson asked Reverend Jackson why he felt like so much verbal venom was aimed in his direction.

"They lashed out at Dr. King, they lashed out at Nelson Mandela, they lashed out at Jesus, so all of those who fight for change become the object of frustration," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow-Push Coalition.

Damn. I mean DAMN! People tell me that *I* have a big ego.

By the way, how many corporations did Jesus shakedown for lucrative payoff deals? Was turning water into wine all part of a scheme to put pressure on Budweiser?

Extra: Pejman has some thoughts.
Iowa can make Dean and break Gephardt...or vice versa

From the WashPost: "Two see Iowa as crucial battleground"

Dean has never made a secret of his strategy for capturing the Democratic nomination: beat Gephardt in Iowa, beat Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) in New Hampshire and dare any of his opponents to stop him. In New Hampshire, he already holds a solid lead over Kerry, but in Iowa, Gephardt stands squarely in his path. A Gephardt victory on Jan. 19 could significantly complicate Dean's path to the nomination.

"Significantly" might be a tad strong. Dean has the money, the union support, and the rabid supporters.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Oh puhleeze: The conspiracy-spinners at Daily Kos assert that Bush's visit was all designed to upstage Hillary Clinton.

My response: Hillary was in Iraq?

Extra: Matthew Hoy found the same silly post and Fisked it much better than I did.
Bush's Baghdad Blitz

First, the links: Andrew Sullivan has a quote by one soldier and Blogs for Bush has a bunch others. Ipse Dixit more commentary and a great picture of Bush with the troops.

It's all been said by now, but let me add my two cents. A while ago, somebody commented that Bush is a "fake" which led somebody else to retort that, whatever you think about Dubya, he's the real deal. [You could have tracked down the quotes before you started this post - ed. / Yeah, sorry about that...but bear with me] Anyway, here's a guy, the commander-in-chief, who has been hammered at home by Democrats and politicos for his handling of the Iraqi war meeting with troops who, if you listen to the chattering opposition, should have greeted him with cold, stony silence. Instead they cheered wildly for their leader. They posed for pictures and, by all accounts, were lifted tremendously by Bush's visit.

And Bush cried. I think I did a little too. God bless those troops. God bless them all.
Steven the PoliBlogger has his Thanksgiving edition Toast-O-Meter out. Howard Dean looks unstoppable at this juncture.

When I first started my Smarter Harper’s web page, I received a brief E-mail from National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru essentially giving me a thumbs-up. For someone just starting out, it was humbling and gratifying to get a little attention from Ramesh and NRO. But today – today! – I got a link on NRO’s Corner by the great Andrew Stuttaford for my snarky quip on Al Gore (below). Before today, the most hits I ever got in a single day was a little more than 500; today I’m well over 2500. Bitchin’. Thanks Andrew!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

In case I don't get back to blogging today (lots to do), I hope everyone has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Drive carefully! (Be back Friday.)
Good news for the economy, bad news for Dems: Durable orders hit 16-month high

Somebody's got to make stuff that's ordered right? C'mon with the jobs.
Kids, don't do drugs: Ozzy Osbourne sings the National Anthem.
Message? We don't need no stinkin' message!

I've tried to lay off John Kerry, but the irony of this is too great to pass up. From the NY Post's Page Six:

November 26, 2003 -- MARK Green has already endorsed Sen. John Kerry for president, but the former mayoral candidate seems smitten with Howard Dean. Speaking before the Ansonia Democratic club and the Park River Independent Democrats the other night, Green said no less than four times: "I like Howard Dean." Green also conceded to the crowd that "most of my friends are working for Howard Dean." When Post City Hall reporter Stefan C. Friedman phoned, Green, who now runs the New Democracy Project, reaffirmed his support for Kerry, and said Democrats should "send a president, not a message," to the Boston convention.

Wednesdays are for W

Today's the day that my blogger buddies and I ask our readers to visit the George W. Bush re-election web site and donate or volunteer time. While it may seem out of step to ask to fill Dubya's war chest, consider this: at least President Bush is honoring the letter and the spirit of campaign finance laws. The Democrats, in their state of desperation, have thrown all pretense out the window and gratefully accepted lump sums from George Soros and others who are pouring money into "non-partisan" groups (like MoveOn) who have dedicated themselves to liberal causes, including defeating President Bush in 2004.

Finally, as Thanksgiving approaches, I'd like you to support President Bush for the same reason that I do. Not just because the alternative is worse (and, brother, the alternative is much worse). I'd like you to support our President because he has stood up for his beliefs, stood firm against terrorists, and has made America a stronger country. For that I'm thankful.
Al Gore speaks - dozens listen

Everytime I see a statement by Al Gore like this:

"For the president of the United States to claim in a television ad that those who disagreed with the decision to go to war with Iraq are against attacking terrorists is a disgrace,'' said Gore, who lost the 2000 election to President Bush.

I mentally add this on the end:

And then, as always, the cashier nodded and gave him his Big Mac.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Yemen Arrests Mastermind of Attacks on USS Cole - Yemeni security officials believe the Saudi-born al-Ahdal, 32, was one of the masterminds of the 2000 bombing of the Cole, which killed 17 U.S. sailors, and the 2002 bombing of the French oil tanker Limburg.

Hmmm...a Saudi terrorist? How strange.
Third-Quarter GDP Revised Full Point Upward - WASHINGTON — The economy roared ahead at an astounding 8.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the fastest pace in nearly two decades and a much stronger performance than previously thought. It raises hope that a long spell of lackluster business activity is finally over.

The Man without Qualities, Robert Musil, notes that the real story is corporate profits which have risen lustily with the economy. And he dissects crazy Paul Krugman too.
Senate roll call vote on HR1

Some surprises voting “Yea”: Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jim Jeffords (I-VT)

Surprises voting “Nay”: Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Trent Lott (R-MS) and Don Nickles (R-OK), although Nickels has a reputation as a real deficit hawk.

Head-shaking surprise: Even though they were both in Washington last night for the Senate debate, both John Kerry and Joe Lieberman skipped out on arguably the most monumental vote of the 108th Congress. Un-freakin-believable. Not voting: Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (D-CT).
We're doomed: Senate passes Medicare bill
Desultory, disjointed, and daft: Democrats debate in Des Moines

What a show. Kerry and Edwards were on satellite feed from Washington because of the Medicare vote, but Lieberman was absent. Why? It was too difficult for MSNBC to set up a third satellite feed (see last paragraph). If George Bush was Satan in previous debates, last night he was Galactus, destroyer of worlds! (with his herald, the Silver Ashcroft). In my opinion, Dean won the debate by deflecting any serious blows. But William Saletan captured the best quote of the night:

Democratic Disease #2: Fiscal responsibility is un-Democratic. "Gov. Dean raised prescription costs for seniors in his state when he needed to balance the budget. He called himself a 'balanced-budget freak,'" protests John Kerry. On Medicare, Kerry tries to spin Dean: "Are you going to slow the rate of growth? Because that's a cut."

Oh-ho! Is that so? By that logic, rolling back the Bush tax cuts would be a “tax hike,” wouldn’t it?
Cats and dogs living together

I agree with James Carville on something: in this Washington Whispers blurb, Carville warns Democrats to stay away from the Washington social season because they “get paralyzed by cocktail opinion.”

And if you go, he demands of Dems, "drink the whiskey, eat the food, flirt with the women, but don't take that chatter as strategy." His counsel: "Quit bitching and go to work. Be for something. That's the message."

(Emphasis in original.) Yes. Tell us your plan, Dems, instead of just attacking the Republican alternatives.
I kept putting in "Rummy"!

From today's NY Times Corrections page:

The diagramless puzzle in the magazine on Sunday provided an erroneous clue for 21 Down, seeking the answer "Colin." Colin Powell is secretary of state, not defense.

Nice going, NYT.

Monday, November 24, 2003

It’s a real rogues’ gallery on Best of the Web today as Taranto takes aim at Howard Dean, Ted Rall, Paul Krugman, and Walter Duranty.
Vast Right Wing Conspiracy – exposed!

Wayyyy back in June, conservative blogger Polipundit took note of an as-yet-undeclared governor from Vermont:

If you're a conservative, you're probably saving up some money to donate to the president's re-election campaign. Might I suggest donating it to Dean instead? … Don't you think that a good use of your money is to help the Democrats select as their presidential candidate a combination of Mondale and McGovern? You can donate to Dean's campaign by clicking this link.

Now, as the Drudge Report scoops, the Kerry people have discovered our plot!

All of Dean's money is coming from Republicans, one member of Kerry's kitchen cabinet told the group. Another adviser asked if that had been researched. No one had an answer.

There is no independent confirmation of this hotel bar conversation. It’s quite possibly a counter-conspiracy to make PoliPundit even more self-referential than he is now. (Kidding!)
Shove it, Daschle

The crybaby Democrats can dish it out but, man, they can’t take it. After spending millions in New Hampshire and Iowa attacking the President, not to mention enjoying the free publicity of the debates, the Democrats have their panties in a bind over a 30-second ad by the RNC.

Power Line has the commercial in detail along with this commentary: “The Democrats' position is ludicrous on its face: they have blanketed the air waves in primary states for months with ads attacking the President's handling of the war, and now he doesn't get to defend himself? Daschle's willingness to take such a ridiculous position can only be seen as an indication of how badly the Democrats fear the national security issue will play for them next year.”

And why shouldn’t it? Here’s Tom Daschle was on “Meet the Press” yesterday:

MR. RUSSERT: At the United Nations, if the French say no, NATO—if the French, the Germans say no, if we’re not able to bring in more international forces, should the United States continue to go it alone?
SEN. DASCHLE: Well, that’s a very good question, Tim, and I think that the answer has to be we can’t allow the United States to go it alone. We have to continue the effort. We’ve got to find a way to bring about more than just a nominal commitment on the part of the international community. It is in their interest as well as ours to find a peaceful solution, to find a framework for peace and security in Iraq and in the region. So clearly, we can’t give up until we succeed. We’ve got to involve the United Nations. We’ve got to involve the international community. We have to involve our allies in Europe. That hasn’t been done to the degree we must see if we’re going to be successful.

This is what drives me insane about the Donks: they are reflexively unserious about issues that are critical to the nation’s security. Their response to this unanswerable question is that the United States, despite the trips to the United Nations and the donor conferences, simply hasn’t showed enough supplication. If only we were more “humble” surely the Europeans would help out their old buddy, the U.S.A. This is naïve, unserious, and, to be blunt, dangerous. Later in “Meet the Press,” Mary Matalin picked up on this same theme:

MR. RUSSERT: And you’ll see there “some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists,” and the word “terrorist” goes from black to red. Senator Daschle said that the president, the Republican National Committee, are attacking the patriotism of Democrats.
MS. MARY MATALIN (Republican Strategist): They’ve been saying that from the beginning. It’s a red herring. It’s because they don’t want to address the issue. There are two ways to fight global terror. You can go after the terrorists, as the president has done since 9/11, or you can do what we did before 9/11, which is treat it as a law enforcement issue in which they would just—because they don’t have a solution, they just want an issue, they throw out that patriotism business. But that ad is—we’re putting up $100,000. The Democrats have run $10 million in spots over the last six months, attacking the president in the most negative, visceral and horrible terms. They’re unprecedented in modern American politics, the things they’ve been saying about him. So he is running a spot on the debate that’s before the country—How do we want to wage this war on global terrorism?—which hadn’t been addressed before 9/11. And the result was 9/11. It’s not about their patriotism. It’s about their not having an alternative solution, just wanting to attack the president.

Extra: Ipse Dixit echoes my sentiments in "Oh Shut Up, Tom"

Double extra: Zogby Blog has more from the Daschle appearance, with similar thoughts.
Breaking news: Jury recommends death for John Muhammad in sniper trial
Andrew Sullivan asks “How Screwed are the Dems?” – “Their paleo response to the Medicare bill is truly depressing. There are many reasons to oppose this bill - most importantly that it wll destroy the remaining threads of fiscal hope. But to oppose even experimentation with cost-cutting reforms reveals a party completely bankrupt of new ideas.”
Go Dean!

Dean leads in New Hampshire
Dean leads in Iowa
Dean leads in Massachusetts

Dean would lose to Bush in 2004 by 20%. Sweet!
William Safire believes the Weekly Standard and the alleged connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda - “Two blockbuster magazine articles last week revealed evidence that Saddam's spy agency and top Qaeda operatives certainly were in frequent contact for a decade, and that there is renewed reason to suspect an Iraqi spymaster in Prague may have helped finance the 9/11 attacks.”
Bastards: Iraqis pull a Somalia on U.S. troops hoping (incorrectly) that this will be the trigger to make us cut and run. We could put a serious hurting on the Baathists, but we don’t want to upset them during the holy month of Ramadan.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Bread subjected to the white heat of 1000 suns

Kerry is toast. Here’s today’s Boston Globe and a poll revealing that Howard Dean leads John Kerry in Massachusetts. (Hat tip to Hedgehog Report).
Xerox, please get a new ad

Enough, Mr. Arnold, enough....please stop haranguing Skip and his color printouts. You're embarrassing yourself in front of your dinner guests.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Rob at Business Pundit wants to start a company. But he can’t pay a lot or his potential company won’t make money. Read: “Risk, Return, and Employee Pay” to understand why there’s a perpetual struggle between corporate profits and job growth.

P.S. – Good luck, Rob (hope you keep your house).
It's the obstruction, stupid

The Wall Street Journal is less than sanguine about the Medicare bill winding through Congress right now and says so in an editorial "Bad Political Medicine - Will the Medicare bill help the GOP next year? Don't count on it."

Republicans ought to be spooked that Democrats clearly calculate they have nothing to lose by vehemently opposing this bill. Democrats want to tarnish any GOP victory, to be sure. But they are also preparing the ground to spend the next year--no, 20 years--demagoguing the drug benefit as inadequate.

I'll admit that this expansion of Medicare is a bad law, one that is sure to bury the country (read: younger workers) in debt. I've stated before that I hope the bill goes down to defeat. But, putting that aside and despite the WSJ's hand-wringing, I can't help but believe this will be a huge victory for the GOP going into 2004.

The big advantage I see for Republicans is that they can claim they tried to pass a bill that the Democrats couldn't (even when Clinton was in office and the House and Senate were controlled by Democrats). But since they can't stand to see the Republicans succeed, the Democrats have decided to filibuster this AARP-supported bill. Same story with the energy bill and judicial nominees; the Democrats have become the party of the filibuster, and little else.

Do I exaggerate? Take a look at the last seven votes in the Senate stretching back to last week's marathon debate on judicial nominees: seven cloture votes - seven failures to break Democrat-engineered filibusters.

Americans may or may not understand the details of the Energy or Medicare bills, but they surely understand the persistent sabotoge of majority rule by filibusters.
You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave: Little Green Footballs has a remarkable story about how in Malaysia you can be imprisoned for trying to leave Islam. Unreal.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Working for the NASCAR dads

It used to be the "soccer moms" that swayed elections, but now the Democrats realize they can't win the South (and the election) without also appealing to the "NASCAR dads."

As this CBS news report states, the Dems may be "spinning their wheels" (ha-ha!)

A recent CBS News poll shows there isn't much disappointment with President Bush among the white Southern men who voted for him back in 2000; they think the country is on the right track today. Eight out of 10 approve of the job the president is doing on the economy, and less than one in five think the economy is in bad shape; seven in 10 believe Mr. Bush has more integrity and honesty than most other people in public life; and over 80 percent approve of the way he is handling the situation in Iraq.

These are daunting numbers for the Dems, especially if they choose Howard "Aspen" Dean and try to fight a born-again Christian in 2004.
Toasty toasty toast: Dean leads Kerry by 21% in New Hampshire
He wasn’t that bad on Monday Night Football

Mary at Exit Zero finds a kindred soul in Dennis Miller. Here’s the comedian’s interview for The American Enterprise.

MILLER: I always wondered how Hitler happened. I even went so far as to read William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I read all 1,200 pages and at the end of it I remember thinking, “Yeah, but how does Hitler happen?” Part of it has to do with the Left mislabeling people as Hitler. It’s like Pierce Brosnan at the end of the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. He dressed everybody up in the same Bowler cap and overcoat, and then he walks right through the middle of them without being noticed. The Left is so busy saying John Ashcroft is Hitler, and President Bush is Hitler, and Rudy Giuliani is Hitler that the only guy they wouldn’t call Hitler was the foreign guy with the mustache who was throwing people who disagreed with him into the wood-chipper.

This is good too:

TAE: What are your thoughts on the current state of Democratic candidates running for President?

MILLER: I haven’t seen a starting nine like this since the ’62 Mets. They lost 120 games. I’m praying they nominate Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont. As they say in the world of tennis, that’s a walkover.

Me too! Go Dean!
What has more kickoffs than Friday night in Texas?

John Kerry's campaign

So concerned are Kerry and his advisers about his prospects for the nomination, the campaign is presenting the speech today as his "New Hampshire kickoff" event, even though Kerry said said he would seek the presidency in early December 2002 and made a formal announcement tour of New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, and Boston in early September.

There will also be assorted "retoolings" and "jump starts."
Steven the Poliblogger has an updated Toast-O-Meter today; lots of good links and analysis.
Happy Birthday Dodd! - Ipse Dixit is three years old today.
You make the call

From the Washington Post article: “Cartoon raises a stink

Did Johnny Hart -- the beloved creator of "B.C." and one of the most widely read cartoonists on Earth -- sneak a vulgar defamation of Islam into the comics pages last week?

The crescent moons, the vertical (I)-SLAM. Well, read the article; this isn’t the first time that Hart has pushed the boundaries of religious decorum.
People who write letters to the New York Times

To the Editor:

William Safire (column, Nov. 19) says "advancing freedom is never a mistake." That may be true, but the only "freedom" being offered to Iraq right now is the freedom to be whatever the Bush administration wants it to be.

Forest Hills, Queens, Nov. 19, 2003

Yes, Louise, I believe it's called "Freedom from mass graves."
Karl Rove *heart* Howard Dean

DES MOINES, Iowa - Watching a parade last summer, White House political guru Karl Rove grew animated when a group of Howard Dean supporters marched by. "Come on, everybody! Go, Howard Dean!" Rove cheered.

"That's the one we want," he was overheard telling a friend.


Thursday, November 20, 2003

The New York Times really went nuts on this one: Snopes has uncovered an unusual correction to a recent obituary in the Times. Looks like they really lost their marbles...(fill in your own testicle joke here).
Via the London protests: The Lefty Spice Girls!
Go to hell, Survivor

Well, they voted off Rupert tonight - the only reason I was watching this season's Survivor. Panama has been good and there have been some wicked twists along the way (such as bringing back "The Outcasts") but that's it for me. I couldn't care less which of the remaining tribe members win now. I hope they starve.
Bush statue toppled - England is free!

From (of course) Scrappleface:

London Freed from Tyranny, Bush Statue Toppled
(2003-11-20) -- Citizens of London streamed into the streets, filling the air with cheers and celebratory gunfire as a crowd toppled a statue of the infamous tyrant George Bush.

Via Matt Stinson, who has a picture of the Bush statue and (next post down) a nice picture were we talking about?
Where do people all around the world first learn valuable lessons in capitalism, geopolitics, and deduction?

Monopoly, Risk, and Clue.
Stop spending money

I’ve been a big supporter of President Bush, but I find it extremely difficult to disagree with Andrew Sullivan’s criticism of the energy bill today:

How any principled, small-government, free-market Republican could vote for this vast waste of public money is beyond me. But we're beginning to realize that GOP has nothing to do with small government or fiscal sobriety. It's a vehicle for massive debt and catering to the worst forms of corporate welfare.

The Democrats will certainly make a huge stink when the U.S. has to raise the federal borrowing ceiling again to feed into a national debt that is fast approaching $7 trillion. I know we’ve been fighting the war on terrorism, but this energy bill and its big brother the prescription drug bill have nothing to do with our security (if anything, the argument could be made that they make America less secure).

Congressional Republicans really ought to ask themselves: when Tom Daschle says he supports GOP-drafted legislation, isn't something seriously off-kilter?

"Man Bites Dog" extra: While I'm taking Bush to task, Kos has been declaring that "It's Time for Daschle to Go." It's Bizarro world!
Why Turkey? Spartacus has some good answers.
“One” by U2? This is a joke, right?

Duck Season links to a BBC story on Brit music magazine “Q” and their list of the top 100 records of all time. All time. The moronic list includes Eminem (at #6!) and apparently Radiohead wrote almost one-tenth of all the greatest songs. Mozart, Otis Redding, and Hank Williams are conspicuously absent. Dumb.
The Cold War on judges

Judicial nominees are never going to tip an election, but they can play a contributing factor in how a political party is perceived. Byron York has the inside poll numbers on the war over judges and declares “There’s new evidence the Democrats’ strategy is backfiring.”
For your Ramadan or Christmas shopping needs: Toys on sale by Palestinians (via Little Green Footballs).
Luvya Dubya! - Damian Penny on pro-Bush demonstrators in England.
Economy lifts Bush in 2004

Here’s Robert Samuelson in today’s WashPost: “Cycling to 2004

The U.S. economy seems to have just voted for George Bush. Almost all recent indicators favor the president's reelection: economic growth, rising at a 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter; jobs, increasing 286,000 since August; productivity, advancing at roughly a 5 percent rate since late 2001. Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for the forecasting firm Global Insight, has one of those equations that predict election results based on the economy and various political factors (incumbency, party affiliation). By the latest reports, Bush wins 56.6 percent of the 2004 vote.

And here’s more bad news for the Dems: Jobless Claims Fall

Jobless claims fell in the United States last week, the government said Thursday, as the labor market continued its slow recovery from a long slump.

Getting better.
The Ethanol scam: “Ethanol provides less energy than gasoline, and takes so much more energy to produce and distribute, that the ethanol mandates in the energy bill Congress is considering will substantially increase our use of oil, either domestic or imported.”
Al Qaeda strikes: ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- The British consul general was among at least 25 people killed when explosions rocked Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Two words: recess appointments

Via Pejman comes this late story from the WashPost: "Dem said to be blocking Bush nominees"

WASHINGTON - A Democrat has blocked all of President Bush's judicial nominees in the Senate, which could end any chance of more confirmations before the end of the year, officials said Wednesday.

That's right, an anonymous Democrat has put a "stop" on all judicial nominees, through some kind of weird Senate rule.

This foolishness has to stop. It's clear that Democrats don't believe in majority rule, otherwise they would allow the full Senate to cast an up-or-down vote on Bush's judicial nominees. So, since we're all setting new precedents, Bush should just give Priscilla Owen and Janice Brown (among others) recess appointments and be done with it.
Bloggus Interruptus on Wictory Wednesday

Business trip - couldn't be helped. Go to PoliPundit's post today and read how President Bush needs your help today. Thanks!

(I'll be back posting after I have some dinner - thanks for reading!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

London Scrawling

Here's David Frum in the Telegraph-UK: "Why this protest is deeply shameful"

I agree that context is everything, and the context of this week's events is that many thousands of British people intend to converge on central London to protest against the overthrow of one of the most cruel and murderous dictators of the 20th century - and to wave placards calling the American president who ordered the dictator's overthrow "the world's number one terrorist".

It's a deeply shameful context, and though I would not quite endorse the verdict of the taxi driver with the poppy stuck in his dashboard who dropped me off at the demos ("Not many of them traitors out tonight, I see"), he at least saw something that they, with all their apparently abundant education could not: that the two leaders they most scorn are the latest in the long line of Anglo-American statesmen whose willingness to use force to defeat evil secured them their right to make bloody fools of themselves in Lincoln's Inn Fields and through the streets of London to Grosvenor Square.

Deep breath.....

Sorry to end the day on a down note, but ever since I read Joshua Muravchik's "Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism" I get a visceral reaction to the left wingnuts who put their faith in the false religion of socialism. I mean, listen to this fruitcake, a survivor of the Jonestown massacre:

COOPER: What's the No. 1 thing people still do not understand about what happened there, about that time, that place?

KOHL: Well, the thing that I think is the most understated was that we really did have a community that, had Jim Jones been forced aside or had he left willingly and let the triumvirate set up, we really had a structure in place that would make a successful community living there with people of all different races and backgrounds, which really would have been a promised land or heaven on Earth.

Oh people like this, there aren't enough lives they wouldn't sacrifice to a socialist nightmare.
The last socialist experiment

Check out these posters by the Socialist Worker party, protesting George Bush’s visit to London:

For the record, today also happens to be the 25th anniversary of the end of the last socialist experiment, the grand design to rid the world of racism, sexism and war: the Jonestown massacre. Here’s what the Nation had to say about Jim Jones in 1999:

Instead, Jones preached a dogma whose idea was roughly that God was love and love was socialism and that therefore God was socialism.

Twenty-five years ago, that socialist experiment came to a horrifying end:

On Nov. 18, 1978, the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana, better known as Jonestown, became the site of one of the worst mass deaths in the history of religious movements. Out of a population of roughly 1,000 in the wilderness near the Venezuelan border, more than 900 men, women and children died, most from a grape-flavored vat of cyanide punch.

Of course, the Socialists and their buddies over at ANSWER will fail to see the irony of calling Bush a “killer” while ignoring the crimes of Saddam Hussein or Jim Jones.
"Let the anti-American protesting lunacy begin!"

Robert Tumminello is a New Yorker living in London and he's following Bush’s visit and the protests on his blog: Expat Yank. Pictures too! Check it out (be sure to scroll down).
The permanent campaign ends if you don’t get re-elected

The WashPost has an article titled “Democratic Candidates Assail Bills” which notes that, in stunning display of self-immolation, Washington Democrats are lining up to oppose a Medicare bill endorsed by the AARP. This juxtaposes nicely with an Opinion Journal article titled “Why the Dems are losing” which faults the Donks for waging the “permanent campaign” instead of working to solve problems. It’s going to be a neat trick to see how the Dems oppose the Medicare bill without royally ticking off over 30 million codgers that they depend on for their jobs.
Turkey: the exceptional nation

A moving opinion article in today’s NY Times called “In Turkey, a History Lesson in Peace”:

The Jews of Turkey are also proof of the foresight and sound judgment of secular Turkey's republican founders. As Hitler's troops were marching from the Balkans and emptying Greek cities of their Jewish populations, Turkey's president, Ismet Inonu, closed its border. Tense negotiations with the Nazis ensued. Although Turkey sent Jewish men, including my father and uncles, to camps in the interior to appease the Nazis, they were only labor camps, and there is little evidence that the Turkish government made any greater concessions to Germany, which had been its ally in World War I.

That moment in Turkish Jewish history alone is a thorn in the flesh of Islamic terrorists: it underscores the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Muslims since the 15th century in a Muslim country that respects the democratic equality of citizens of different faiths and ethnicities.

There’s hope.
Is Dean another McGovern? Joan Vennochi in the Boston Globe says “no.” For example, George McGovern fought in World War II. Dean went skiing.
Howard Dean to the rescue!

From the American Prowler this morning:

The Kerry campaign in Iowa is looking into the events that transpired on Saturday in Des Moines, when former Vermont Gov. Howie Dean, a licensed physician, helped a man who appeared to suffer a seizure on a street. It turns out the man was a Dean volunteer, and Dean just happened to be passing by when he noticed a crowd and wondered what had happened. According to eyewitness accounts reported by numerous press outlets, Dean pushed his way into the crowd (apparently certain that a doctor was needed for whatever was occurring), cradled the man's head in his lap and administered a brief examination by taking his pulse and asking him a few questions about his medical history.

Surprisingly, this is the fourth time that Dean has been in the right place at the right time during his campaigning, and has played a role in helping an ill supporter.

Maybe it's his stump speech.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Prescription Drug bill gets critical endorsement

From the WashPost: AARP Endorses Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit

Good News: This imprimatur by the AARP puts the Democrats in an untenable position. If they pass this expansion of Medicare, they'll hand President Bush and the Republicans a hugely popular legislative victory going into 2004. If they oppose it, they risk appearing obstructionist and opposing one of the strongest political organizations in the country.
Bad News: Unless the bill has strong incentives for competition with private insurers, the pill-popping grannies are going to bury Generations X, Y, and Z under a pile of debt. Coupled with the looming crisis of Social Security solvency, the burden of a vastly expanded Medicare it could lead to a real generational war.

Since history has shown that the cost overruns of new benefits are always underestimated, I'm silently hoping this bill goes down to defeat, but that the Democrats will look foolish and counterproductive in the process. With Fat Ted taking the lead, shaking his fist at the anathema of "free market competition" (boo!), that scenario may become reality.

Andrew Ian Dodge notes: “14, 000 extra security in London today and what happens? Some lug-nut has scaled Buckingham Palace Gates by disguising herself as a security worker. Well done, guys; you should be so proud. And we wonder why Bush's security detail is worried?
Answer the question

Mark Kilmer has multiple posts on how the Democrats responded to questions on the Sunday morning talk shows: “It is important, they said as if in metaphysical unison, to internationalize the Iraqi situation.”

The Democrats insist that there’s a big “Internationalize” button in the Oval Office and – darn it! – Bush simply refuses to press it. Bush begged the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions, he asked for military help, and he asked for economic aid at the donor’s conference. The French said “non” each time and the Europeans followed suit. Now what do you do? It’s worse than useless to make glib comments like “This President doesn’t work well with other countries.” Take a stand, already.
Breaking: John Muhammad found guilty of capital murder

Six hours of deliberation by the jury; 4 hours of that was deciding whether to order sandwiches or pizza.
Kerry struggles in New Hampshire

Here's a devastating piece in today's Philadelphia Inquirer on the Kerry campaign....

Kerry's penchant for wordy revisionism - commonly known as "Senate-speak" - has greased a downhill slide in New Hampshire, where defeat in the Jan. 27 primary could spell doom for his candidacy. And he's still laboring to explain his vote for Bush's Iraqi war resolution, offering a variety of explanations to antiwar Democratic voters who think ill of any candidate who gave aid and comfort to the Republican President.

...and its delusional candidate:

All told, Kerry declared, "we're doing just fantastically."

Oh boy.
Feeling Gravity’s Pull

From today’s NY Times corrections page:

An article in Science Times on Tuesday answering the question "What Is Gravity, Really?" misstated part of Newton's law of universal gravitation. The force attracting two masses is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them, not simply to the distance.

Proof positive that you can’t trust the times on “weighty” matters. (Yuk-yuk)

Sunday, November 16, 2003

It was the strawberries…and the razor

My co-workers drive me insane because every time we go out to lunch, they have to hit the ATM. Can’t people carry around a couple of bucks? Same story when I go to Target and the person in front of me is buying four dollars worth of stuff and paying with a credit card. Sweet mercy, don’t you have $5 on you? Then it’s all the swiping and confirming and signing and…just carry some bills, huh!?!

Aside from my inconvenience, I warn them that the constant use of magnetic-striped plastic cards are all part of a government conspiracy to follow our every move. “Ah, there goes Eric Lindholm taking some money out of the bank” – “Now he’s charging a modestly priced lunch at Chilis – must have had some drinks….”

Last week, for the first time in my life, I purchased one of those good razors instead of my usual disposable ones. It was a CVS knockoff of a “Mach 3” razor but I wanted to get the cheap one to see how it worked out before moving up to the expensive models. I paid with cash.

Yesterday, in the mail I got a free sample…of a Mach 3 razor.

They know. You’re next. Use cash and fight the bank-credit card company-government conspiracy! And just because everybody's out to get me doesn't mean I'm paranoid.
Kerry on the attack in Iowa

The Boston Globe has this article about the Iowa rallies - "Touting his own record, Kerry takes new tack against Bush, Dean"

"They [Roosevelt, Truman, etc.] offered hope and leadership and vision, and that's what we need to offer to the country next year," Kerry said last night at the annual Jefferson-Jackson party dinner. "We need to offer answers, not just anger. We need to offer solutions, not just slogans. So Iowa, don't just send them a message next January -- send them a president. We need somebody who can do the job."

I agree, Senator, but when the Democratic candidates are asked for their solutions, they don't give any. It's not enough to say the U.S. needs to include the United Nations without explaining how our Iraq policy can be conducted if the U.N. says "no." Beyond that, it's all slogans and static.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

The silver linings

Well, it looks like Bobby Jindal is going to lose to Kathleen Blanco in the race to be Louisiana's governor. With about 90% of the polls in, Blanco has a 52%-48% advantage - see results here).

But wait a moment: last month, after the California recall race, Democrats were telling us that there's a strong anti-incumbent feeling in America and that this would translate into President Bush's defeat in 2004. Since Blanco is the Lt. Gov. of Louisiana, this isn't exactly a "throw the bums out" mentality. So which is it?

Extra - the other silver lining. Polipundit: "If Jindal had won, DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe would have lost his job. Now he can stay on and be as incompetent as ever."
There's no link! What? Nevermind.

Remember when Garry Trudeau put out this unimaginative and unfunny Sunday strip? The one that shows a character screaming: "There is no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 – None!"?


And then there is the alleged contact between lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague. The reporting on those links suggests not one meeting, but as many as four. What¹s more, the memo reveals potential financing of Atta's activities by Iraqi intelligence.

The Czech counterintelligence service reported that the Sept. 11 hijacker [Mohamed] Atta met with the former Iraqi intelligence chief in Prague, [Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir] al Ani, on several occasions. During one of these meetings, al Ani ordered the IIS finance officer to issue Atta funds from IIS financial holdings in the Prague office.

This story is just breaking - there will be more to come, I'm sure.
Steven the Poliblogger has a new, updated Toast-O-Meter with lots of background and links. Very nice job.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Where is the love? Not in modern song lyrics.
I'm so hip. Wednesday night I caught Belle and Sebastian at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA. Here's my Blogcritics review - read it if you want to be nearly as cool as me.
Louisiana Governor's race: Jindal up by four going into tomorrow’s election – so says Bayou Buzz and their poll showing the Republican with a 47-43 lead over Democrat Kathleen Blanco.
Survivor update

Gosh, I totally forgot about my Survivor update, much to the consternation of Owen I’m sure. I was reminded by the deeply naïve Kevin Drum:

Can someone tell me what the hell happened on Survivor last night? For half an hour we were regaled with plotting against the mighty Rupert — he's too strong, he's going to win, we've got to stick together and vote him out now — and then during the immunity challenge every single person left him alone, including the plotters.

Oh, Kevin Kevin Kevin. As a seasoned Survivor fan, I can tell you that everything on Survivor is about misdirection. If CBS is running promos about the “Rupert revolt” – you can bet your life he’ll be around another week. Plus, no matter how many times Jeff Probst reminds you that after the merge it’s a “whole new game,” it’s not really. Old tribes will always band together to vote the other tribe off; now that the ex-Drake tribe has the upper hand (voting out two ex-Morgans over the past two weeks) it will be a Morgan shooting gallery for the next couple weeks. Darrah and Tijuana are the next two to go.

Very brief update: Rupert rules hard. First he won the slingshot reward challenge, then he won the pirate pop quiz for immunity. Brains, brawn, strategy, fish – best Survivor player evah.
Daily Kos handicaps the Dem candidates. Kerry is toast.
Saudi Arabia: Not the oil powerhouse it once was? David Ignatius in the Washington Post examines the state of oil recovery in the Kingdom.
Who do I have to bribe to get Weblogs to update my status? I've been posting new stuff all morning. Damn - give a struggling blogger a break, will ya?

And while we're at it: you. Yes, you. Add me to your blogroll.
Ben Domenech has a good rundown today with some analysis of the New Orleans race and Wesley Clark (quote: “The Clark campaign is officially over.”)
Democrats + Unions + Boston = Chaos

Today’s Boston Globe has a story about how the Boston Police force union is using the upcoming Democratic National Convention as a leverage point in contract negotiations. In response, Mayor Tom Menino has threatened to bring in officers from other towns and possibly the National Guard to preserve order, thereby denying Boston police officers substantial overtime pay. As Van Halen would say: everybody wants some.
Fanning the flames of liberty – The Economist surveys the march of democracy around the world.

Good news: there are more countries defined as “free” than ever before.
Bad news: the Middle East (oh, and China)
Good news: there’s hope there too.
The Hedgehog Report has the latest Gallup poll numbers. Howard Dean leads among Democrats but (interesting!) in head-to-head matchups with President Bush, Dean fares the worst among the major candidates. Heh-heh-heh.

On that note: E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post asks: “Is Dean Goldwater?”

Well, in my guts, I know he’s nuts.
These aren't really plans…they're fantasies of escape

John Podhoretz in the NY Post critiques the Democrats “plans” for Iraq, with none more biting than this takedown of Wesley Clark:

Meanwhile, Clark's idea that we should somehow compel Saudi Arabia to start hunting terrorists in other countries really does call into question the way they grade at West Point. Clark may have been first in his class at America's great military academy, but that credential didn't prevent him from offering here the single most ridiculous proposal of the post-war period.

In his conclusion, Podhoretz uses the adjective that I always attach to the Democratic presidential candidates: “unserious.”
Kerry: The Toast-i-nator

Newsday on why campaign staff turmoil does not look good for a candidate:

But the White House is not Yankee Stadium and a presidency racked by disagreement and plagued by high personnel turnovers conveys, not only to Americans but to the world, an image of discord. Disarray at the head office of the world's only superpower is profoundly disquieting.

Author Ross Baker reviews a couple of Presidential campaigns and the staff factor.
Believe it or not! Today’s Paul Krugman column today does not blame President Bush for something. Strange but true!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

If you're a big fan of the Senate talk-a-thon.... need professional help. But if you love to scroll through examples of the Democrats' hypocrisy on judicial nominees, go to Justice for Judges then click on the link reading: "Democrats in their own words."
Even the Economist can’t stand this economist

Robert Prather at Insults Unpunished found this Economist (UK) article about everybody’s least-favorite columnist, Paul Krugman. Choice quote: “A glance through his past columns reveals a growing tendency to attribute all the world's ills to George Bush.” It’s not a flattering portrait.

But he may have even more readers among his ideological adversaries, particularly on the internet, where deconstructing his latest column is a kind of twice-weekly parlour game—albeit one so contentious it has spawned talk-show chatter and even legal threats.

Right ho, Economist! The game is on tomorrow morn - jolly good fisking!
Tapped raps Blogs For Bush – poorly

Somebody with the lavishly rococo name of “Garance Franke-Ruta” (man? woman?) took a shot at the relatively new Blogs for Bush and a post by B4B’s Matt Margolis.

A couple of problems:

1.) The link on Tapped for the Matt Margolis post doesn’t go to the B4B comment, but to Matt Margolis’ biography page – which isn’t even on the B4B domain.

2.) The post referred to on Tapped wasn’t written by Matt Margolis; it was written by Mark Noonan.

3.) Finally, Franke-Ruta only lists the very last part of the post to make Mr. Noonan’s comment appear disjointed and incoherent when presented out of context (even cutting off a sentence with ellipsis for your censoring needs). Here’s the whole post – judge for yourself.

As another selective writer once noted: is that the best you can do, Tapped?
Googlefight! (Hat tip to a Little More to the Right).

I tried "Union" vs. "Confederacy" - the Union still won.
Donald Luskin has Krugman – Roger Bournival has Derrick Jackson of the Boston Globe. It’s Fisk-tastic!
Saudi sub-contracting

Tom Friedman once again delves into the Middle East today with a column titled “Saudi-Israel Deal.” He cites Mideast expert Stephen P. Cohen who states: "The only hope for the Saudi ruling family, for long-term survival, is to deliver on two key sources of legitimacy: a rising standard of living and the Palestine question.” Picking up on Cohen’s point, Friedman argues that a deal with the Israelis on a Palestinian state would diffuse political tensions in Saudi Arabia while economic reforms – namely, dismantling the huge kleptocracy of the Saudi princes – will ease internal strife.

To understand why this will never happen, consider this paragraph from an Opinion Journal article earlier this week:

In 1979 a group of Wahhabi extremists seized the mosque in Mecca and tried to spark a revolution. Flown in for the purpose, French special forces shot dead every last one of them. Since then, many Saudis, including some in the royal family, have understood that their society's moral and intellectual confusion is bringing about its downfall. But those who understand the problem have had little practical effect. The ruling princes, either because they are too old, too unimaginative or too selfish, have continued on as before, failing to make reforms which might have saved them.

Finally – a French military victory! (Sorry…couldn’t resist).

Getting back to my point: the reason there will never be meaningful reform in Saudi Arabia is because it would require work and sacrifice on the part of the Saudi Royals themselves. That is, they can’t sub-contract out the dirty work of reform to their Filipinos and Bangladeshis, so it won’t be done. As a result, terrorism within the kingdom will escalate and the princes will respond by bringing in foreign security forces so their un-Islamic lifestyle of boozing and gambling won’t be interrupted.
Dean Dean Dean

Bob Novak says: “Democratic race is Dean’s to lose” but predicts that the doctor is going to face a lot more public criticism for his past and present statements (including an outright lie on the abortion issue? Hmmm.)

In Slate, William Saletan ridicules Howard Dean’s class problem and his position that the Bush tax cuts should be rescinded: “On its face, it's a losing argument: Bush gave you so little money that Dean needs to take it back. That's one postwar fight Bush can expect to win.”

Meanwhile, George Will – a vocal opponent of campaign finance reform – applauds Howard Dean’s decision to forgo federal matching funds: “He will rely on the voluntary contributions of people who agree with him. What a concept.”
A great article on the indecisiveness of Kerry…or maybe it’s not

Here’s Howard Fineman in “Kerry train wreck easy to predict

The problem, perhaps the fatal problem, with John Kerry’s presidential campaign is that, from the start, it’s had two of everything: two sets of handlers, two centers of power and a candidate who often can’t resist having two positions on an issue. Laser-like clarity and focus are crucial in a presidential campaign. To inspire voters, it must be a crusade, not a committee; a battle flag, not a position paper. Kerry’s is all clutter.

Yet Fineman doesn’t count Kerry out yet because he has Bob “The Candidate Killer” Shrum on board to reshape the Senator’s image. Huh?
Louisiana Governor’s race: The Real Clear Politics composite poll has Jindal over Blanco by 4%.
All-Nighter in the Senate: I'm not crazy about this "filibuster" to bring attention to judicial nominees. However, I do believe its greatest virtue is getting Democrats on record explaining why certain judicial nominees should be denied an up-or-down vote. Then, in a far-off future year divisible by four, the Republicans can turn the tables.
Well, let's see what's on South Park: Michael Moore to appear on "The Simpsons"

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Defense rests in D.C. Sniper case

Your defendant, John Muhammad, is accused of involvement in a dozen brutal, random, deaths. The prosecution’s case has presented over 130 witnesses and a mountain of evidence. What are you going to do in your client’s defense?

Also, Montgomery County, Md., police officer David McGill, who catalogued the items found in Muhammad's car when he was arrested last year, acknowledged that cigarette butts were found in the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice even though there was no evidence that either Muhammad or fellow suspect Lee Boyd Malvo smoked.

They didn’t smoke! Forget about the ballistics, the map with one murder scene marked “Good one,” the sniper’s nest in the trunk....
A young Democrat in Boston has some choice comments for the DNC chairman in “Terry McAuliffe has no legs
Angrier than thou

Matthew Stinson coins a new word for the Democrats: “Deaneurysm” - A brain disorder among those in the American left during the 2004 elections, which causes those afflicted to believe that supporting the candidate who best represents hatred of President Bush, embodied in this case by Gov. Howard Dean, is more important than supporting a candidate who can actually beat President Bush through appeals to the political middle.

Good one!
Opinion Journal asks: “Can Riyadh reform before the royal family falls?”

Faster, please.
Happy 2nd Birthday to Matthew Hoy’s Hoystory (one of my must-reads everyday).

Two years in the Blogosphere are like 20 years in the real world. Congrats, Matt!
Wednesdays are for W

If it seems a little gratuitous to ask to support President Bush with donations while his campaign chest is flush with cash, consider this recent statement from billionaire George Soros (via Blogs for Bush):

Asked whether he would trade his $7 billion fortune to unseat Bush, Soros opened his mouth. Then he closed it. The proposal hung in the air: Would he become poor to beat Bush?

He said, "If someone guaranteed it."

Soros is pouring money into the left wing MoveOn organization, as well as other groups specifically assembled to oppose the White House (in the process, making a mockery of campaign finance reform). You can bet that Soros will be joined by Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, and Power Rangers mogul Haim Saban. Visit the George W. Bush re-election website and show your support today. Then visit these other websites that support a Bush victory in 2004:

Backcountry Conservative
Boots and Sabers
Bowling for Howard Dean (unofficial blog)
Bush-Cheney 2004 (unofficial blog)
Freedom of Thought
The Hedgehog Report
The Irish Lass
Jeremy Kissel
Left Coast Conservative
Mark Kilmer
Matt Margolis
The Ole Miss Conservative
A Rice Grad
Ryne McClaren
Southern Conservatives
Stephen Blythe
Viking Pundit
The Wise Man Says
Miller's Time
Sarcastic Southerner
Reagan Country
Blogs for Bush
Pardon My English
Spot On
I told them a hundred times: it’s John Kerry first, puppet show second

From today’s Boston Globe: “Biting remarks on candidacy by “canine” on “Tonight Show”:

BURBANK, Calif. -- With the kind of week Senator John F. Kerry is having, it only made sense that he appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" last night and wound up following a dog

Well, a dog puppet, actually -- a foul-mouthed Rottweiler named Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who was the first guest on the show.

Hopefully the Senator had a bigger dressing room than the puppet
Machinations of the Democrats

William Safire has a good analysis of how the Kennedy and Clinton camps tried to stop Howard Dean and promote their candidates (Kerry and Clark, respectively), to little avail.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The new math: Gephardt with an “up” arrow

Steven the Poliblogger hasn’t updated his Toast-O-Meter yet, but I’m going to have to disagree with his initial assessment that Gephardt “is in the toaster, but the heat hasn’t been turned on yet.” I think Kerry’s long, hard slide helps Gephardt. Why? With Kerry gone, the only national figure with a chance to knock off Howard Dean is the former House leader. Democrats, who above all want somebody who can win, may take a second look at Gephardt who has the virtue of being from a semi-Southern state (Missouri). He can still pull in strong union support (despite losing those endorsements) and is known to have a good grasp on issues (compared to Dean in his train wreck “Meet the Press” appearance). If Dean makes another gaffe along the lines of “Pennsylvania and Ohio have awful football teams” then keep an eye on Dick Gephardt.
John Kerry: Super-Toast

Wow, what a week for Senator Splunge. First, Kerry fires his campaign manager after he refuses to resign. Then he insults his senior staff by explaining the situation in a conference call while he eats his dinner. Then, today, his press secretary and deputy finance director told Kerry to take their jobs and shove it.

Of course, the always-correct Viking Pundit declared Kerry "toast" even before campaign manager Jim Jordan was given the hook. At the risk of mixing metaphors, this is the final nail in the coffin. Turmoil in a Presidential campaign, when you're supposed to be surrounded by true believers, cannot be tolerated because a campaign is a reflection of the candidate. If the candidate can't rally and inspire his own supporters, how will he possibly run the entire country?

Kerry is done.
Yale's Fair Model calculates economic and political data and makes predictions based on past models. Here's what they have to say in their Presidential Vote Equation about Bush's re-election in 2004: "President Bush is predicted to win by a sizable margin."
American “exceptionalism”

The Economist has an illuminating and at times fascinating survey comparing attitudes in America to those held in Europe:

But America has not become “a more ordinary country”, either in foreign policy or in the domestic arena. Instead, this survey will argue that the attacks of 2001 have increased “American exceptionalism”—a phrase coined by Alexis de Tocqueville in the mid-19th century to describe America's profound differences from other nations. The features that the attacks brought to the surface were already there, but the Bush administration has amplified them. As a result, in the past two years the differences between America and other countries have become more pronounced.

I find the term “exceptional” appropriate since it encompasses both the definition of “deviating from the norm” and “well above average.” The United States now stands as the undisputed leader in the unipolar world, both militarily and economically. So what is it in the American character that makes us preeminent in the world?

The country is exceptional in more profound ways. It is more strongly individualistic than Europe, more patriotic, more religious and culturally more conservative (see chart 1). Al-Qaeda's assaults stimulated two of these deeper characteristics. In the wake of the attacks, expressions of both love of country and love of God spiked. This did not necessarily mean Americans suddenly became more patriotic or religious. Rather, the spike was a reminder of what is important to them. It was like a bolt of lightning, briefly illuminating the landscape but not changing it.

Extra: Jeff Jarvis takes the flip side of the story and tells us not what’s right with America but what’s wrong with Europe.
The profound and prodigious Donald Sensing has a Veteran’s Day Reflection today that ties together the strings of War, 9/11, the struggle against terrorism, and America. A must read.
Mideast roundup

The NY Times reports “Among Saudis, Attack Has Soured Qaeda Supporters” and Dan Darling at Winds of Change has an extremely comprehensive review (links galore) of the evolving fight against terrorists formerly on the payroll of the House of Saud.

Dean’s World presents “More good news from Iraq.”

And Rod Dreher notes on The Corner: “Last week, the UN General Assembly passed an Arab-sponsored resolution censuring Israel for the effect its military operations have on Palestinian children. Israel proposed a resolution censuring those who kill Israeli children via terrorism -- and now, Arab states are going to oppose it.” Of course they are.
Separated at Birth? - Country Store zings Al Gore
Yeah, that’s called “journalism”

From today’s NY Times Corrections page:

An article in Business Day yesterday reported on discussions between Rupert Murdoch's company, the News Corporation, and a Russian media company, Gazprom. Citing people close to the negotiations, the article said the News Corporation was in talks on a potential acquisition of the satellite business of NTV, the television network owned by Gazprom. The Times should have obtained comment from the two companies.

Both said yesterday that although they held general discussions earlier this year, there were no negotiations about the sale of NTV assets.

The Paper of Record, indeed.
The Boston Globe is all over Senator Splunge

Lots of Kerry post-mortems today including this analysis: “Reversing the Kerry slide is going to be difficult, because Kerry cannot reverse the single biggest mistake he made as a presidential candidate: voting for the Iraq war resolution.”

And this: "Kerry's on life support right now and is desperately trying to find ways to stay alive," one Democratic operative who is familiar with the campaign said. "It's a little like shifting the chairs on the Titanic, except he threw off his best chair."

Monday, November 10, 2003

Rantburg: Saudi Troops head to Mecca

To paraphrase one commenter on the thread: why is the Saudi government sending the military to the holiest city in the Muslim world during the holiest month in Islam? Oh, yeah, the terrorists.

Expecting another terrorist attack at any time, Saudi security officials have ordered 4,600 troops to Mecca for the remaining three weeks of Ramadan.

Which is equal to, what, 20 U.S. Marines? Good luck, Riyadh.
Death to the House of Saud…until the check clears

Mary at Exit Zero makes an excellent point about the recent attacks in Saudi Arabia: if the terrorists really wanted to hurt the Saudi royals, they would attack the pillow-soft targets of the oil industry. But they don’t because that’s where the cash comes from. At the core, the attacks are just another elaborate shakedown for more “protection” money.

Appeasement is the policy of feeding your friends to a crocodile, one at a time, in hopes that the crocodile will eat you last”. -- FDR
Where’s Howard?

Have I missed Howard Dean on TV? Does he do any more Sunday morning talk shows since his disastrous appearance on “Meet the Press” in June? (Here’s a roundup of that debacle courtesy of The Carpetbagger Report). Judging by his recent remarks, maybe the Dean people feel that the less Howard talks, the better.
Speaking of Edwards

He was cruising along on Meet the Press yesterday until he hit this brick wall:

SEN. EDWARDS: This gets to be a fairly simple thing at the end of the day. For this operation to be perceived both by the Iraqi people and people in that region of the world as one that they can respond to and embrace, it’s going to have to be two things. One, an international effort, and two, an international effort that’s moving toward Iraqi self-governance.
MR. RUSSERT: As you know, the French could veto any United Nations involvement. Any nation that’s a member of NATO could veto NATO involvement.
MR. RUSSERT: And, in fact, the French have been rather insistent, they do not want to participate in this from day one. If they did that, what would you do then? You’re in the Oval Office. The U.N. and NATO have said “no.” Do you withdraw U.S. troops?
SEN. EDWARDS: Well, I don’t accept that proposition.

Edwards pulled a Dogbert “Bah!” and dismissed recent history as “unacceptable” thereby entirely avoiding the question. Surely President Edwards would marshal the forces of his Southern charm and get those Frenchies to pony up some troops. There is no other scenario.
Dean: the anti-Clinton

Andrew Cline writes in the National Review Online that Howard Dean has appeal to the Democrats because, counterintuitively I think, Dean is not Clinton:

Dean is everything the Left hoped Bill Clinton would be in 1992, and nothing Clinton turned out to be. He holds the promise of being a president who is dependably liberal and uncompromising in his principles.

Dean is plain-spoken and honest. Clinton was obtuse and slimy. Dean was a wealthy urban kid who, laden with liberal guilt, voluntarily moved down the social ladder to maintain his principles. Clinton was a poor, rural kid who sold his soul to the highest bidder for eight years in the White House.

To the political Left, Clinton was the tall, dashing lover who swept them off their feet only to break their hearts and leave them vowing never to go out with such a creep again. Dean is the nice guy with sensible shoes who has them believing in love again.

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show described Dean (at a recent debate) as “the stern but fair drivers-ed teacher”. Is that the personality appeal of Dean? I do think that, despite his stand on issues, Dean puts on a show of resolve that gives the impression he’s solid and confident. Candidates like Kerry and Edwards (we’re for the war – we’re against it!) are diminished by comparison.
All Shook Up

What is shook up more than a paint can at Home Depot? John Kerry's campaign staff - "Democratic candidate John Kerry fired his campaign manager Sunday night in an attempt shake up his beleaguered presidential bid, The Associated Press learned."

The Poliblogger now officially agrees with me: Kerry is toast.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Detroit Dummkopf

Solomonia has the story: "Michael Moore stabs America in the back - in Germany" Solomon notes: "Moore's writing, as usual, Fisks itself" Ja.
Cletus is not amused

From the NY Daily News:

Q: And what is Clark's reaction to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's pandering comment that that he, Dean, wants the votes of Southerners, i.e. "guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks"?

A: "Well, he shouldn't have said those things. I think all Americans - and this is a joke! - all Americans, even if they're from the South and 'stupid,' should be represented."

It's as if Kang and Kodos have taken over the entire Democratic field.

Update: Boy, Simpsons fans just can't let it go. Always a comment. Here's Nick on Duck Season with some Kang and Kodos background. Maybe we'll also see some good-natured sniping from Ben Domenech, who's always good for a Simpsons reference.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Smarter Harper's

I've updated my other page, Smarter Harper's, with sections from an article back when Harper's was a smarter magazine. I found an old Harper's from 1996 and re-typed some excerpts from an article titled "Saddam's Inferno." It's striking how critical the article is of Hussein back in the days when Clinton was dropping bombs on Baghdad, esp. compared to Harper's current position on Iraq to condemn a military action that stopped this.
Terrorism in Saudi Arabia: "RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Three blasts ripped through a residential compound in the Saudi capital around midnight Saturday, killing at least two people in an attack the Saudi government is calling a homicide car bombing."

Well, that's just terrible. Saudi Arabia should ask itself what it's done in the world to invite this tragedy.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Time to lay off Kerry

As readers of this blog know, I have a beef with John Kerry; not least of which is that as my Senator he doesn't do much to earn his $150,000+ paycheck. But I digress....

Tonight, I was flipping around and caught Kerry on C-Span at a "rally" in New Hampshire. Sweet mercy, it was pitiful. It appeared to be in somebody's living room with all the furniture pushed up against a wall so Kerry had a space to move, microphone in hand. There couldn't have been more than 30 people there, including children. Kerry gave a speech (mostly Bush-bashing) then announced he would stick around for questions.

And here's where it got just so sad: Kerry got cornered by a 10-year-old who asked him what his favorite childrens' book was. Kerry gamely answered "Sam I Am" (presumably "Green Eggs and Ham.") Then the precocious and chatty kid asked him what his favorite book of all time was. I don't know what was flying through Kerry's head at this point but my guesses are either 1.) "this wasn't covered in my talking points script" or 2.) "I'm running for President and the only person who wants to talk is this kid. Better make it look good for the cameras."

So I'm going to turn over all the cards and officially declare: Kerry is toast. He's done. He'll hold on until after New Hampshire but I don't think he'll even wait until South Carolina (where he's beating only Dennis Kucinich in the polls) before he quits. He's just a walking shadow now.

So: no more "Kerry Vote Watch" updates. Instead, I'm going to turn my attention on Howard Dean who, with the recent union endorsements, is looking most likely to gain the nomination. Then, in the general election, he's sure to gain twice as many states as George McGovern and Walter Mondale, combined. Wow.
Aimee Deep of Music Pundit has her first post in four months today about her dad’s ongoing fight with RIAA. I stop by Music Pundit every once in a while to see…um…if there’s anything new to see. Heh.
Daily Pundit has the raw numbers on the Dems "catastrophic loss of power" over the past decade.
Democrats take aim at Bush – hit foot

If Karl Rove bestowed me with magical powers to make the Democrats look irrelevant, unfocused, trivial, bitter, and feckless, I don’t think I could have come up with a better plan than the Democrats themselves.

Two words: Haiku contest

(BTW: here’s one response to the “winner”).
My last post on the "Rock the Vote" debate

Here's what I said Tuesday: "Debate winner: Gephardt."

and here's the New Republic in a longer harangue on Terry McAuliffe: "Surely last night's biggest winner was Dick Gephardt, who was smart enough not to show up."
The Economist agrees: Europe stinks!

The British magazine The Economist has a cover story about America titled “Greatest Danger, or Greatest Hope?” Generally speaking, the Brits think we’re good (hooray!) if a little imperious. But check out this riff on France some other Europeans:

Given that foreign voices were so keen to disparage America for withdrawing from Somalia in 1994, for failing for years to intervene in the Balkans, for having “allowed” the Taliban to take power in Afghanistan, and for being reluctant recently to send troops to Liberia, why should so many be hostile now to intervention in Iraq?

One answer to this final question is that incoherence is one of the luxuries of impotence. Those who cannot, or will not, take responsibility themselves feel free to snipe at those who do. Another is that it is natural to feel afraid when dramatic, ambitious actions are being undertaken, for the consequences of such actions can themselves be dramatic.

Oof! That’s gonna leave a mark.
Europeans are worse than cockroaches

C’mon, Mark Steyn, tell us how you really feel:

Europe is dying. As I’ve pointed out here before, it can’t square rising welfare costs, a collapsed birthrate and a manpower dependent on the world’s least skilled, least assimilable immigrants. In 20 years’ time, as those Dutch Muslim teenagers are entering the voting booths, European countries, unlike parts of Nigeria, will not be living under Sharia, but they will be reaching their accommodations with their radicalised Islamic compatriots, who like many intolerant types are expert at exploiting the ‘tolerance’ of pluralist societies.

I’m driven to apoplexy whenever I hear an American (read: Democrat) declare that we need to supplicate to the Europeans on the world stage. Steyn, quite a bit less humorous than usual today, explains why.
Howard Dean perpetuates the myth of Florida

The Washington Post has been having candidate forums and here’s Howard Dean’s response to a question about voting machines:

Howard Dean: The chairman of Diebold has sent a letter saying that he will do everything he can to get Bush reelected. This does not engender confidence in the American electoral system. If I become the Democratic nominee we will have teams, particularly in jurisdictions like Florida, who will be conducting poll watching activities to prevent the kind of Republican abuses that took place in the last election. We will do more work on the voting machine issue as the campaign moves along.

“Republican abuses?” What abuses would those be, Governor? Name one. This is the state of the Democratic party: they keep losing elections so, working off the mythology of Florida, they conclude that it must be because the vote is rigged. It could never be because voters actually disagree with the Democrats on issues – oh, no no no.