Friday, April 30, 2004

Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ

The big story this past week, judging from the posts and Emails, is Kerry’s floundering over whether or not he threw his Vietnam medals away. Somewhat more interesting is the collective band of sweat forming on the Democrats’ brow over the Kerry candidacy. I mean, when the Village Voice is saying “John Kerry Must Go” – man, things can’t be good.

(Obscure post title notice: above lyric is from “Panic” by the Smiths)
First order of business: check the latest polls

Well, Bush is holding onto a slim lead in the latest polls, but I prefer the one-on-one polls instead of the Nader-factor polls. No way is that guy going to pull in 5% in the actual election and I fear his support will swing towards Senator Splunge.
Back in the USA

Thanks to everyone who sent E-mails and messages and links; I'm plowing through all my messages now and I have to get caught up on all the blogs.

In the meantime, here are two things I saw in French restaurants that you never see in American eateries: cigarettes and dogs. In fact, this very morning (before my flight back to Logan) a huge dog lumbered into the patisserie and settled himself into a corner where all the waitresses petted him/her (I didn't check). When he/she didn't get a fair share of pastry, he/she simply walked into the kitchen. Crazy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Strasbourg update

Everything over here is wicked expensive because the Europeans tack on a 19.6% VAT (value added tax) onto anything organic or inorganic. Plus the service is automatically added onto any restaurant bill so a Coke is about $3.

The only thing that's cheap is the gasoline. I passed a gas station that listed the price at 1.10 Euros, or about $1.25/gallon. Wow!'s $1.25 per liter. Yikes. Peace out.

Monday, April 26, 2004


Very brief update: I'm here in Strasbourg, prepared to give my paper. The weather has been gorgeous. Last night, I saw the South Park episode where they stole Cartman's kidney, in French. "Ou est ma kidney!?!" There is so much American television dubbed into French and German: "Scrubs" "Friends" "Judging Amy" etc.

The only paper I read was the International Herald-Tribune, owned by the New York Times, so I was subjected to a Paul Krugman column. Sacre bleu.

More later....

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Into the heart of Europe

This blog will be on a brief hiatus as I will be traveling to France for the Photonics Europe conference where I will be presenting a paper on the super-exciting topic of “Aging behavior of optical fibers in aqueous environments.” Oh yeah!

The conference is being held in Strasbourg, France. One could make a compelling case that Strasbourg is about as European as Europe gets. The city is in eastern France, about a mile from the German border, and is the seat of the European Parliament. Allegedly, the culture and cuisine is a blend of French and German influences. There are so many jokes I could make based on that last statement…

In any case, I will be keeping a careful journal of the exploits of a brash, opinionated, conservative American deep in the heart of darkness Europe. If I’m able to get access to the Internet, I’ll try to post. Otherwise, there may be a long series of posts when I get back sometime next week. Au revoir, mes amis!
We love to hear the lamentations of Norwegian women!

With a hat tip to the Man w/o Q, here’s a page from Woodward’s book:

Page 250: Karl Rove, a Norwegian-American, is obsessed with the "historical duplicity" of the Swedes, who seized Norway back in 1814. This nationalism manifests itself as hatred for Swedish weapons inspector Hans Blix.

When will this White House stop its racial profiling of Swedes?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The end of Doonesbury

I used to be a huge Doonesbury fan. Example: once I was involved in a trivia contest and our team was handed a quiz on the strip – I aced that thing (well, mostly me and two other guys). But, with today’s strip, Doonesbury has officially jumped the shark, or, as Jim Treacher quips, “shanked the stump” as the character of B.D. loses his leg in a fictional firefight in Iraq.

I always felt that in spite of his leftist leanings, Garry Trudeau tried to portray the full spectrum of human experience. Thus, the communal characters of Doonesbury – Mike, Mark, and Zonker - were counterbalanced by the conservative B.D. (and to a different extent by the permanently-fried, gun-toting Duke). So while Mark did his NPR show and Zonker smoked weed, B.D. went to Vietnam, became a cop, shipped out again for the Gulf War, and then the war in Iraq. Through it all, B.D. represented the Archie Bunker wing of Doonesbury: he was comically wedded to his belief in country and authority but his integrity and dedication elicited a grudging respect.

But now, in strip that Treacher correctly dubs “That’s Amputainment!” Trudeau has decided to sacrifice the conservative voice of B.D. In the past, B.D. in his authoritarian helmet (quarterback, police officer, military officer) was the perfect foil for the aimless, self-absorbed lives of the Walden Commune. Trudeau has reduced him to a symbol of pity and “misguided” policies. His character, and the strip, will never be the same.

(Bonus trivia: this is the first time that B.D. has ever been shown without his helmet. You see, Trudeau went to Yale and learned about “symbolism” there. He’s so clever.)
James Lileks: “The left is terribly worried about what the popular kids are saying about them in the United Nations. "We've alienated the world! For heaven's sake, we've alienated China! Oh, and Free Tibet!”
Religion of Peace update: "Five homicide attackers detonated simultaneous car bombs Wednesday, targeting police stations and a police academy and killing 68 people, including at least 10 schoolchildren."
Wednesdays are for W

Show your support for the President by volunteering or donating to the George W. Bush re-election campaign. And be sure to visit the other bloggers on the “Wictory Wednesday” blogroll to show your support. It’s important. Thanks.
Flipper talks to a dolphin

This is just bizarre: here’s J. Francois Kerry at a campaign stop in Florida

At two points, Kerry drew on the live props around him. During one attack on Bush, a creature that appeared to be a dolphin bobbed in the bay. ''There he is over there," Kerry said. ''He says, 'Help, help, help.' " And when a gull began cackling noisily overhead, he said: ''The bird is affirming what I've said. If you want a translation, it's, 'George Bush, make it happen.' "

Bush cannot lose with Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Part II

Here’s the latest on Pennsylvania, where Bush has opened up a 4% lead (6% with Nader). Meanwhile, The Hill has an article titled “Florida poll favors Bush” that indicates the President has a healthy 8% lead over Kerry in the Sunshine state.

Given the likelihood that Florida will again almost certainly play a pivotal role in the battle for the presidency, a recent Mason-Dixon poll there showing George Bush with a strong lead over John Kerry is of tremendous significance.

Yes, it is.
The WashPost slams Kerry on Iraq

Everybody’s talking about this WashPost editorial that concludes: “We believe a successful political outcome is still possible; others disagree. But Mr. Kerry's shift on such a basic question after just a few months is troubling and mistaken.”

I prefer to highlight the sentences that seem to appear in every article about Senator Splunge. To wit:

Contrast that with what Mr. Kerry told reporters last week
Mr. Kerry contends that he has not shifted his public position.”
But there are major differences between what he said [then and now]”
Mr. Kerry now argues that there is a third option. But what would that be?”

Note to columnists: create a shortcut key for these phrases to save time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

If you haven't seen it, check out the new-and-improved Bush/Cheney04 Blog.
Two questions

Egypt’s Mubarak: Arabs Hate U.S. More Than Ever

Question #1 – When did they ever not hate us?

From a News Hour story on tourism in Egypt:

[Tour operator] AMR BADR: And I think Egypt has paid a tremendous price. We've lost billions of dollars as a result of the terrorist activities over the past seven or eight years. We've lost jobs. We've lost people. Trust me, Egyptians want to live. This is a very peaceful nation.

Question #2 – Whose fault is it that terrorism has crippled Egypt’s tourism economy?

I have other questions (esp. in response to that “peaceful nation” line) but I’ll stop right there.
Rasmussen completes the trifecta of polls: Bush 46% - Kerry 44%

The Real Clear Politics composite poll (Rasmussen not updated yet) has Bush with a 2% lead over J. Francois.
Campaign finance reform is a joke
This is what it feels like to watch a campaign slip away into the ether”…Right Wing News peers deeper into the Presidential polling numbers and finds very bad news for Senator Dukakis J. Dukakis Francois Dukakis Kerry.
Taking a page from the Benedict Arnold companies

Here's a page from a pending Boston Globe biography on J. Francois Kerry

Page 200: In 1983, in an attempt to escape the 50 percent marginal tax rate on $225,105 in income from his former law practice, Kerry invested in an offshore tax shelter, until his accountant "questioned its legitimacy."

Sweet irony.
Just in time for Earth Day – David Brooks in “Clearing the Air
The ABB trap

Even uber-liberal Derrick Jackson of the Boston Globe can’t swallow Senator Splunge’s long list of lies: Kerry’s “Anybody But Bush” trap

Further evidence of how the Kerry folks are relying heavily on the ABB game was the campaign's recent ''release'' of something called the ''Middle-Class Misery Index.'' By the time you get done reading it, you'd think we're in the second Great Depression.

Remember the furor when Howard Dean said that “we’re no safer” after Saddam Hussein was captured? In a similar way, John Kerry is desperately trying to convince America of things that are demonstrably untrue. Furthermore, as Jackson notes, the Democrats are so addicted to the ABB mentality, it squeezes out any positive vision of their own.
Flip-flop du jour

From the Boston Globe: "Kerry refuses to release more records"

WASHINGTON -- The day after John F. Kerry said he would make all of his military records available for inspection at his campaign headquarters, a spokesman said the senator would not release any new documents, leaving undisclosed many of Kerry's evaluations by his Navy commanding officers, some medical records, and possibly other material.

"Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!"

Monday, April 19, 2004

The Kerry campaign is doomed


From Bloomberg: U.S. leading economic indicators rose 0.3% in March

April 19 (Bloomberg) -- The index of leading economic indicators rose 0.3 percent in March and had its greatest year-on- year increase in two decades as the U.S. expansion gained momentum.

Companies took longer to fill orders in March, showing an increase in demand, while jobless claims fell, building permits rose and tax refunds put more money in the hands of consumers. The indicators helped push up the Conference Board's index, which was unchanged in February after 10 consecutive increases.

The increase suggests that economists may need to reconsider their projections for growth in the second quarter. The economy is forecast to expand 4.3 percent at an annual rate this quarter, compared with 4.4 percent in January-March, according to the median forecast in the most recent monthly Bloomberg News economist survey. For the year, growth may average 4.6 percent, the fastest since 1984, according to the survey.

Kerry slides in two new polls

Last week: "They're out 50 million bucks and got nothing to show for it," Kerry told reporters on his campaign plane, a reference to the Bush-Cheney campaign's initial burst of spending on ads."

Tonight, from CNN/USA Today/Gallup: Poll: Bush increasing lead on Kerry (51-46% without Nader)

and from ABC News/WashPost: "Bush holds advantages over Kerry, poll shows" (48-43% with Nader):

President Bush holds significant advantages over John F. Kerry in public perceptions of who is best equipped to deal with Iraq and the war on terror and has reduced the advantages his Democratic challenger held last month on many domestic issues, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

Now I'm off to the lefty blogs for the spin cycle!
My work here is done: Best of the Web notes the Kerry MA tax dodge.
This is probably nothing, but could be somethingFrom MSNBC: “KABUL, Afghanistan - Although the United States denies that the strategy has changed, the evidence on the ground in Afghanistan suggests that the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his top aides has taken a new, more serious turn.”
The rich should pay higher taxes…except me

With a hat tip to the Cracker Barrel Philosopher, here’s an article by Howie Carr which suggests that John “Soak the rich!” Kerry didn’t pay the extra tax on his Massachusetts return:

Weary of liberals always clamoring for higher taxes on other people, an anti-tax group managed to place a line on the tax form giving Bay Staters the option of paying at the old, since-repealed 5.85 percent rate, rather than at the current 5.3 percent rate.

For two years now, John Kerry has had the opportunity to pay his "fair share." But like some Benedict Arnold CEO, the Democratic Party candidate for president has taken the money and ran.

"Why do you even call asking about this?" his spokesman, Michael Meehan, said Saturday morning. "He has made the same decision as 99.9 percent of his fellow Massachusetts residents."

A little defensive, Mike? How much would it have cost Senator Splunge to set an example for his fellow millionaires? According to Carr, a measly $2,174.
A good sign?: Iraq's defense minister, Ali Allawi, a Shiite appointed by U.S. officials two weeks ago, announced his three top generals, a Kurd, a Sunni and a Shiite, establishing representatives of the country's three main communities in the senior defense positions.”
It’s so simple…not

Every time I hear John Kerry’s proposal to “internationalize” the operation in Iraq by asking the United Nations very politely, I’m reminded of this quip by Steve Martin:

How to make a million dollars: First, get a million dollars.

Kerry’s variation is: get more foreign nations involved in Iraq. How exactly to do that is anybody’s guess:

While one can argue that Bush isn't making his case about his policies, I think it is difficult to assert that Kerry is making any kind of case at all for his alleged policy. In short it seems that is solution continues to simply be internationalization, but aside from the idea that giving the UN more power is a magic solution, and the idea that foreign leaders will like him better than they like Bush, he hasn't spelled out anything that approaches realistic.

Tim Russert also seemed unconvinced:

MR. RUSSERT: So if Iraq is not secure, how can you possibly say the U.N. and NATO are going to come to our rescue when they don't have the troops or the interest of going in there?
SEN. KERRY: Tim, that is the dilemma. That is exactly the quandary that President Bush and this administration have put the United States of America in. And the tragedy is that there were three great opportunities for this administration to make it otherwise. [snip specious portrayal of “great opportunities”].

Now, here we are. I believe the following very deeply. Number one, we cannot fail. I've said that many times. And if it requires more troops in order to create the stability that eliminates the chaos, that can provide the groundwork for other countries, that's what you have to do.

So what should we do? “We cannot fail.” Step one: don’t fail.
Expat Yank is back from a brief hiatus and blogging away. Check him out.
That’s a rhetorical question

Mickey Kaus notes John Kerry’s stand on….oh, does the issue really matter?

Will he be forced to pathetically backtrack?

You bet, Mickey! Or is this all just a clever ruse?

But maybe Kerry's deliberately taking a controversial stand to show there's at least one issue on which he won't flip flop under fire.

Hahahaha…the Kaus-ster is such a joker!
They call him "Flipper" - a very childish Kerry web cartoon. Still, it's funny.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Senator Splunge on “Meet the Press

You probably know my opinion, and I’ll have to see the transcript to lay out all my criticisms, but it was pretty revealing right from the first question (from memory):

Russert: “Yes or no, was the war in Iraq a mistake?”
Kerry: “It was a mistake the way the President conducted it.”

And that was the theme throughout the interview. There was almost no topic that didn’t need to be massaged or nuanced by Kerry. The man is opaque.

Extra: Daniel Moore did a live-blogging of the interview on Blogs for Bush.

It seems that after every question Sen. Kerry gets he just turns it around and makes it about someone else. Is this what we want in a commander-in-chief? Someone who passes the buck and blames other people? Someone who won't take a firm stand on anything? Someone who is "not wedded to anything" (as he said on energy policy)?

Yes, that was a telling moment. Russert set it up by saying (again, from memory) that the question he was asking on fuel-mileage standards might alienate voters in Michigan. Kerry has stated that he wants to raise MPG standards on vehicles to reduce dependence on foreign oil and help the environment; Michigan largely opposes this because it would cripple the American auto industry. Quite suddenly, Kerry’s “not wedded” to the energy standard and 35 MPG is a “goal.”

Believe me, America, this guy will say anything.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Welcome Instapundit readers!

Wow, I was running errands all day and came back to a mini-Instalanche. The megaphone of the blogosphere, Glenn Reynolds, picked up on my story of John Kerry's missing Massachusetts state tax returns. I was afraid this story was going to fade away, but now I feel it may have new life. Thanks, Professor!

Bonus: Andrew Stuttaford on NRO's Corner chimes in

In Massachusetts, state taxpayers can choose an optional higher tax rate of 5.85% - instead of the normal 5.3%. Personally, if Kerry didn’t pay this extra, I wouldn’t blame the guy one bit, and, yes, he could make some ‘free rider’ arguments to defend his stance. Nevertheless, this could be something worth remembering next time you hear Kerry preaching about ‘the rich’ needing to contribute more.

You first, Senator.

Color me unsurprised

Remember when OPEC said they were cutting production? Nobody believed them - "the cartel is historically undisciplined" - and with good cause. From Reuters: OPEC overproducing

Strong prices have given OPEC little incentive to cut supply from March levels, when production from the 10 members with quotas was around 2.6 million barrels per above the 23.5 million bpd ceiling that took effect this month.

Nice try, boys.

Friday, April 16, 2004

This joke writes itself, part II: Kerry files amended tax return, pays more

The amended form, filed Thursday, said the tax on the sale of Kerry's one-half interest in a painting by Dutch artist Adam Willaerts was inadvertently calculated at the 20 percent rate rather than the 28 percent rate.

An honest mistake, really. There are Americans all over the country who underestimate the tax rate on their Picassos and Vermeers. Just the other day I was trying to figure out my half-equity in a Lichtenstein.
This joke writes itself: Kerry hopes to get young voters to the polls…with Jon Bon Jovi and Franco Harris.

As the kids say nowadays: "Groovy!"
I tried, heaven knows I tried, to finish Quicksilver

From the movie “Wonder Boys”:

Hannah Green: Grady, you know how in class you're always telling us that writers make choices?
Grady Tripp: Yeah.
Hannah Green: And even though you're book is really beautiful, I mean, amazingly beautiful, it's... it's at times... it's... very detailed. You know, with the genealogies of everyone's horses, and the dental records, and so on. And... I could be wrong, but it sort of reads in places like you didn't make any choices. At all. And I was just wondering if it might not be different if... if when you wrote you weren't always... under the influence.

I loved Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon so I picked up Quicksilver the day it came out. It’s not a bad book, but Stephenson’s historical fiction is heavily laden by details, many of which illuminate the storyline in no particular way. So, like Sean, I’m gonna have to call it quits. Quicksilver was just too much work.

(P.S. – I am not suggesting that Stephenson wrote Quicksilver “under the influence.” However, I would suggest that he seek out a more forceful editor.).
This is a satire, right? Right? Bin Laden Offers Truce if Kerry Elected
The Wal-Mart effect

From “How big can it grow?” in this week’s Economist:

One of the guiding principles of Sam Walton, the company's late founder, is to pass on savings won from suppliers to consumers, which encourages more of them to shop at the company's stores and to buy more things. Wal-Mart then profits from higher sales, instead of simply putting the savings directly into its coffers. The company is skilled at obtaining products cheaply, and the emergence of China as a centre of low-cost production is playing to its strengths. Wal-Mart already buys $7.5 billion-worth of goods directly from China each year and another $7.5 billion via its suppliers, with scope for more in future. Shoppers make such big savings that economists credit Wal-Mart with driving down America's inflation rate.

No wonder the Democrats hate Wal-Mart.
While Kerry was out on his yacht...

I thought he was always “fighting” for the environment. How could this happen?

Counties in 31 states fail to meet new federal air-quality standards for ground-level ozone, creating unhealthy conditions for more than 150 million people nationwide, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday.

The new ozone designations affect all or part of 474 counties, including all of Massachusetts, and require states to devise plans to reduce the pollutants that rise from car tailpipes and power plants and combine with sunlight to form smog.

We could have reduced emissions in Massachusetts by allowing a wind farm off Nantucket, but all of Kerry’s rich neighbors cried “aesthetic pollution!”

Extra: Junk science on renewable energy and jobs creation.
When I saw this picture at Country Store, the very first thing that popped into my head was a Frankenstein-like voice saying “Friend! Frieeeeend!

That kid on the left looks like she’s recoiling in (understandable) horror.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Bill won The Apprenctice.

Everybody hates Amarosa (including Trump) and Ereka called her a liar right to her face. Now that's good television! Crazy Sam gave the Donald $250,000 to hire him. Heh.
Chicks dig Dubya

From the Center for Responsive Politics analysis: “Female donors to Bush and Kerry

Overall, President Bush has recorded far more female donors and has raised significantly more money from women than Sen. John Kerry. But when the number of female donors and their donations are looked at as a percentage of each candidate’s overall contributors and total fund-raising, Kerry holds an edge over his rival.

Through the end of February, Bush reported 28,333 female donors to his campaign, compared to 6,935 female contributors to Kerry’s campaign. The only Democratic candidate who reported more female donors than Kerry was Howard Dean, with 11,197 female donors. Dean ended his presidential campaign in February.

Bush pulled in over five times in fundraising from women than Kerry - $40.5 million vs. $7.7 million for Senator Splunge. Of course, now that Kerry is the presumptive nominee, that gap will probably narrow.
Humorous headline of the day: "Kerry aims to define candidacy"
Bizarro world update: Bush leads Kerry by 47%-45% in Oregon. Yes, the state above California.
Just like the Big Dig

The Democratic Convention is poised to suck Boston dry. Here’s Jeff Jacoby in “What the convention is worth”:

There's just one thing wrong with this lucrative convention dividend. It's pie in the sky. According to an analysis released this week by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, the convention's net impact on Boston's economy won't be a gain of $150 million but a loss of $12.8 million. Why the drastic difference? Because unlike the cheerleaders who keep chanting "$150 million! $150 million!" the economists at the Beacon Hill Institute live in the real world.

When they close down I-93 for the convention, you’re really going to need a misery index.
Quote of the day: “I could go ‘zoop!’ and Republicans would disappear” – J. Francois Kerry to some preschoolers.
The continuing humor of the New York Times corrections page

A transcript of President' Bush's news conference in some copies yesterday misspelled the given name of a reporter mentioned by Mr. Bush in an answer to a question about the administration's response to warnings of hijackings. She was Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times, not Elizabeth.

Good one!
Clinton blackmail plot?

The NY Post's Page Six has this tidbit:

IS Bill Clinton using his long-awaited autobiography to help Hillary win the vice presidential spot on Sen. John Kerry's ticket? "If Kerry names her his running mate, the book's release will suddenly be delayed until after the election," said one political expert. Dick Morris - whose own book, "Rewriting History" (a play on Hillary's "Living History"), is due out May 4 - told PAGE SIX: "I think that is very possible. I think that it is also a bit of a threat . . . that if [Kerry] does not choose Hillary, Bill will dominate the environment during the campaign and distract attention from the ticket. If Bill, who has trouble finishing anything and procrastinates constantly, actually finishes the book, there is a reason. Likely she was nagging him to do it so he could raise the pressure for her."

Stay tuned.
Uh-oh...Krugman's cat is down. Weekly Jobless Claims Jump by 30,000
New!The Index de le Miserables

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The allure of the nanny state

This week, the Kerry campaign rolled out the “Middle Class Misery Index” – a dubious economic metric that was immediately ridiculed into political oblivion. This index used highly selective economic indicators including college tuition (public but not private schools), job growth (private sector but not public sector), the cost of gasoline, and bankruptcies (personal but not corporate). This risible calculation found that, according to the Kerry people, the economy was in better shape during the Carter administration than during the Reagan administration.

But then Dbunker took it too far with this post that claimed that even the traditional misery index – the inflation rate plus the unemployment rate – is higher under Bush than it was under Clinton. Using numbers pulled out of, well, somewhere, DBunker claims that the misery index under the current President is 8.3%. This was convincingly countered by Factcheck (with verified numbers!):

By that classic misery measure the country is faring better than average under Bush: the unemployment rate for March was 5.7% -- which is just 0.1% above the average for all months since 1948. And the inflation rate remains historically low – the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index rose only 1.7% in the 12 months ending in February, the most recent month on record. So the classic “misery index” number is currently 7.4.

That's lower than it's been in all but 20 of the previous 56 years on record. It never got this low during any of the years under Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan or Bush's father.

And the classic "misery index" was higher in every one of Clinton's first four years than it has been in any of Bush's years. It was not until Clinton's second term that the long economic boom of the 1990's pulled the index down to below its current level.

But beyond this ham-handed attempt to convince voters that things are worse than they really are, there’s a troubling philosophical chasm here that separates Democrats and Republicans (and Libertarians). The message implied by Kerry’s new “Misery Index” is that there is no ill or inconvenience that cannot be solved by more government intervention. For example, how is the government somehow responsible for the rise of personal bankruptcies? Are the credit-happy consumers somehow blameless for their own financial malfeasance? What manner of price controls or regulation should the government impose to control commodities such as gasoline or college tuition? It’s the rise of the nanny-state with the liberating philosophy that nothing is your fault and the government can make it all better.

All you need to give up is your money and a little slice of your freedom.

[Cross-posted on Blogs for Bush]
Everybody hates the press today

Fred Barnes: “The press, the political community, the inside-the-Beltway lifers--they prefer a rich display of details, a bit of nuance, and some wit. Reporters, particularly, are soft on presidents who seem to like them or at least pretend to--or who pander to them.”

Mickey Kaus: “Don’t editorialize – Clymerize!”

Prof. Bainbridge: “Media Morons”

And unsurprisingly: “Public's cynicism about media has become a pressing concern
Even the students seemed surprised that the crowd wasn't bigger

The Boston Globe follows up on John Kerry’s “rally” at the University of New Hampshire the other day:

The Durham campus has about 13,000 students, undergraduate and graduate. The Whittemore Center hockey arena holds about 5,000 people. The official estimate was that 1,500 came to see Kerry, though as one public safety official noted, that was a generous guess. By my calculation, 1,200 seemed nearer the mark. Even then, many of the students I talked to said they had come mostly to hear the sweet acoustic sounds of Guster, the Boston band that warmed up the crowd.

Can you smell the excitement?
Wednesdays are for W

It’s been said that the country is now separated between people who think we’re at war and those who think we’re not. A subset of this is the separation between those who think the conflict in Iraq is part of the war against terrorism or a distraction. My feeling is that the “distraction” argument is untenable based on recent developments:

Since September 11, he [President Bush] has removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, begun to challenge the Middle East through support for consensual government, isolated Yasser Arafat, pressured the Europeans on everything from anti-Semitism to their largesse to Hamas, removed American troops from Saudi Arabia, shut down fascistic Islamic “charities,” scattered al-Qaida, turned Pakistan from a de facto foe to a scrutinized neutral, rounded up terrorists in the United States, pressured Libya, Iran, and Pakistan to come clean on clandestine nuclear cheating, so far avoided another September 11—and promises that he is not nearly done yet.

In many cases, these events occurred not because of fifty years of United Nations resolutions but because of two years of American force and fortitude.

Today is the day that the “Wictory Wednesday” bloggers ask readers to volunteer or donate to the Bush re-election campaign. Do what you can and visit the George W. Bush re-election web site. As always, I close with these words: it’s important. Thank you.
Yawn – Another economic report with the word “record” – Trade Gap shrinks as imports, exports hit record
Bizarro world update: Bush up by 4% in New Jersey? (Hat tip to RCP)
Where is Kerry’s Massachusetts tax return?

Tom the Minuteman and Byron York on NRO are both analyzing John Kerry’s recently released federal tax return today but, in my opinion, they’re missing the bigger story. Massachusetts has an “optional tax rate” of 5.85% instead of the normal 5.3%; thus, if you are “blessed to be wealthy” you may feel compelled to voluntarily increase your tax burden to help out the state.

Raising taxes on Americans making more than $200,000 has been the cornerstone of John Kerry’s so-called economic policy. Does he practice the noblesse oblige he preaches or did he pay the lower tax rate? Let’s see the MA state tax return, Senator.
Ten days later, the NYT corrects

Tim Blair first blasted the Times on April 6th with this post titled "NYT Fact-Checkers Still on Strike". Finally, the Times fessed up:

Because of an editing error, an article on April 4 about the refugee population of the South Pacific island of Nauru, where Australia has been sending asylum seekers under a policy begun in 2001, misstated the reason the island's Afghan refugees fled their homeland. It was to escape Taliban persecution, not war. The article also referred incorrectly to the Tampa, a vessel that was prohibited from landing in Australia in August 2001 because it carried refugees. It was a Norwegian freighter that had rescued the refugees from a leaking boat; it was not itself leaking.

The paper of record, indeed.
Lazy lyrics

Some songwriters and songs reach a higher plane by virtue of great lyrics. Bob Dylan is the master-poet of the song lyric; Springsteen and Elton John/Bernie Taupin are close behind. And then there are the songs where unimaginative and uninspired lyrics are pasted in as a placeholder…and just stay there.

For example, any mention of beverages is a sure sign of a lazy lyric:

I like coffee and I like tea
But to be able to enter a final plea

That’s a line from “Run Around” by Blues Traveler. Then there’s this doggerel from Ten Years After’s “I’d Love to Change the World”:

Life is funny
Skies are sunny
Bees make honey
Who needs money

For sheer density of dumb lyrics, you can’t beat the Temptations’ “The Way you Do the Things you Do”:

The way you stole my heart
You know, you could have been a cool crook.
And baby you're so smart
You know, you could have been a school book

But then this morning (on satellite radio!) I heard quite possibly the laziest lyrics every put to music. It was a minor hit for Frankie Ford called “Roberta”:

I ain’t mad at you
Don’t you be mad at me
1+1 is 2
2+1 is 3

I think these lyrics were written on the back of a napkin by a four-year-old. Think about the thousands of other words Frankie could have rhymed with “me.” Instead he takes the path of least effort and drops in a math lesson. Wayne Brady makes up better lyrics during improv on “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

My snap take on Bush – B+

The media elite will hate his rhetoric (David Gregory is casting aspersions right now) but I thought Bush was resolute, determined, and (yes) presidential. He fell back on 9/11 a little too often but he also – correctly in my opinion – noted that Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, not a distraction. Best of all, he wasn’t nuanced, if you know what I mean.

The press seemed intent on getting him to admit a mistake. I’m sure the Dems will fault him for this, but he’s the President. He makes decisions based on the information available and, in the context of post-9/11, I find it hard to fault Bush on his point. Would any other President admit a mistake, while still in office? (Think Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor). Not a chance.

Extra: Poliblog thought the press conference needed more meat. But he also said this on Bush's statement: "He's right: if we fail in Iraq, our enemies would rejoice. Our weakness would breed more threats to our soil."
Call – “Kerry urged to offer alternative Iraq plan”
Response – “A Strategy for Iraq” by J. Francois Kerry
Fisk – Steven Green on VodkaPundit

Extra: Spartacus chimes in.
March retail sales log unexpectedly big rise

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - U.S. shoppers turned out in force in March, pushing retail sales to their strongest gain in a year, according to a government report on Tuesday that may prompt economists to raise forecasts for first-quarter growth.
Separate private-sector reports on weekly chain store sales showed that this momentum carried into early April, helped by the Easter holiday.
"The implications of these data are massive. Off the top of my head, I would say that we just moved from 4 percent GDP growth in Q1 to something like 5 percent," said Steven Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital. The economy expanded at a 4.1 percent pace in the final three months of 2003.

In response, the Kerry campaign has retooled their "misery index" to include the cost of boxseats at Yankee Stadium.
Not a chance - Brian at Anti John-Kerry declares a Kerry-Gephardt ticket is “gonna happen.” No way. Too Washington, too old-school. Gephardt is ancient history.
OK, I give in: waffles
The kids love Senator Guster

From the Boston Globe: “Kerry kicks off his campus tour with speech, rock show at UNH

To boost the size of the crowd, Kerry offered a free performance by "Guster," one of the most popular bands among students. The arena, which holds up to 7,500 for concerts, was partitioned in half for the event. The students were coralled on the floor and into one seating area to thicken the backdrop. Kerry's admakers were on hand to film the scene for campaign commercials.

Won’t voters wonder why the students at the Kerry “rally” are holding up lighters?
The subtitle “Hillary 2008” may have been the tipoff - There’s a growing nervousness that Bill Clinton’s pending memoir may overshadow John Kerry’s campaign this fall. See: “Timing of Clinton Memoir is Everything, for Kerry
And they want to run the country - a continuing series

A new study estimates that the Democratic National Convention will cost Boston over $20 million in lost productivity and other costs.

The convention, scheduled for the week of July 25, was hailed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino's office as a boon to Boston, reaping millions of dollars in economic gains. But the Beacon Hill Institute determined that transportation and other costs will outweigh the benefits of 35,000 convention delegates and visitors who will converge on Boston's hotels, restaurants, and attractions.

Gives a whole new meaning to “we’re from the government and we’re here to help.”

Monday, April 12, 2004

Thank you, Mitt Romney!

Last year, I didn't get my Massachusetts tax refund until June. I checked my account today (direct deposit) and the refund was transferred three days ago. Awesome.

No more posts tonight. There's a new American Chopper on at 10.
The NY Times (now): “Why didn’t we have racial profiling?”

Vinny at Insignificant Thoughts exposes the NY Times shifting definition of “good” and “bad” racial profiling. On a similar note, Jonah Goldberg excoriates the same editorial for its criticism that Bush didn’t do everything “conceivable” to stop 9/11:

The only thing that is inconceivable is that the New York Times would have condoned any of these measures [e.g. racial profiling of Arabs] or measures which fall far short of these. Indeed, it is inconceivable that the Times would have done anything but denounce the President as a would-be dictator. Indeed, it is difficult to find very many examples of things President Bush did after 9/11 to prevent terrorism that the New York Times did not sneer at in some way.

That alternate history by Gregg Easterbrook is looking more retro-prescient every day.
The Economist on Condi Rice’s testimony: “He said, she said
Off the blogroll – I’m sure she’ll be less-than-devastated, especially since Glenn Reynolds graces her with that “Big Journalism” link, but I’m taking Wonkette off my roll. Reason #1: leftist-leaning. Reason #2: prolific use of obscenities (which seems to be standard fare for most liberal blogs) and Final Straw: comparing Little Green Footballs with the Nazis. Nice.
Sacre bleu!

John Francois Kerry makes the cover of France Today:

Mot juste.
Je ne sais quoi, part deux

I ran across this post on the Hedgehog Report about how even the leftists over at Daily Kos can’t think of a compelling reason to vote for Kerry. Judging by this opinion piece, neither can Howard Dean. And Kevin at Wizbang who is celebrating his one-year blogoversary, has the perfect slogan for the Kerry campaign.
Kerry’s position on Iraq has that certain je ne sais quoi

Bonjour, mon amis! The Boston Globe has an article on John Francois Kerry titled “Kerry criticized for French connection – Republican strategy hits culture, image”

True, Kerry has a French cousin, speaks French fluently, and as a child was en vacances on the Brittany coast. It's a combination his foes have turned into a kind of character flaw, much to the insult of many French people as well as Kerry's supporters.

Mon dieu! We surely wouldn’t want to insult the French, who have steadfastly opposed every move we’ve made in the war on terror. But give the French credit: at least they’ve been consistent on their position. Nobody knows where Monsieur Kerry stands when it comes to the war in Iraq (HT to Betsy):

But if Mr. Kerry has trouble understanding the nature of the enemy we face in Iraq, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also seems unable to spell out exactly what he would do differently in Iraq. He is all attack lines and no solutions.

And here’s Andrew Sullivan:

This leaves, however, a fascinating dilemma for John Kerry. So far, his campaign has been dedicated to criticizing how the president got us into the Iraq war. …. But he has yet to articulate a compelling alternative to Bush's call for resolve. Again, when asked last week what his own current policy would be, he responded: "Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I'm not the president, and I didn't create this mess so I don't want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven't made." That's a non-answer. But a non-answer tells you a lot about what a real answer might be.

Sullivan hands Kerry a ready-made script to make his own case for Iraq, one that Kerry will never use because it fails to include the escape clauses that are de rigueur for any position by Senator Splunge. Instead, Francois Kerry will continue his pattern of Gallic haughtiness and Continental outrage that produces no answers but makes him the favorite of the French and American elite.
The revolution continues: Blogging now wireless, with photos
Kerry vote watch

His shoulder has healed but Kerry still can’t find the voting button in the Senate. Only three floor votes were taken in the Senate last week – Senator Splunge missed ‘em all. Question: can I refuse taxation if I have no representation?

Days worked: 3
Voting percentage: 14/68 = 21%

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Calling Ben-Veniste's bluff

Here's Captain Ed's take on Blogs for Bush:

What in God's name in this report gave any specific warning that coordinated hijackings would turn planes into guided missiles? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing in this PDB that could have prevented 9/11, and Ben-Veniste and Kerrey knew it -- because they had already read it. Why did Ben-Veniste and Kerrey demand its declassification? Because they thought they wouldn't get it, and wanted to suggest that the Bush administration was covering up something.

Ben-Veniste and Kerrey bluffed, and today their bluff got called. Game over. They've been exposed as political hacks, and should withdraw immediately from the commission, or else the commission should disband.

The 9/11 commission should not have been held during an election year and never should have been televised. All semblence of non-partisan investigation is gone.
The text of the released PDB starts out like this: “Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997' has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US.”

So "foreign government" intelligence reports said that Bin Laden was a threat and (as the Democrats will say) we didn't listen. But when the same foreign intelligence agencies said that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, we listened too well. Right?
White House releases PDB

The Aug. 6, 2001, memo made plain that bin Laden had been scheming to strike the United States for at least six years. It warned of indications from a broad array of sources, spanning several years.

"Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US," the memo to Bush stated. Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."

In other words, Bin Laden wanted to strike the United States. Near as I can tell, there’s nothing here out of line with Condi Rice’s statement.
Well, I don't know, I'm out of topics tonight. This is just as well since I'll be busy entertaining family over the Easter weekend. So I'll talk about music.

Yesterday morning, on satellite radio, I heard quite possibly the most underrated song by quite certainly the most underrated artist: "Temporary Beauty" by Graham Parker. Wow! I love satellite radio.

Did I mention I saw "The Passion of the Christ"? It was good (not great) but it was undoubtably memorable. Thus ends my Good Friday commentary.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Not that the Donks' agit-prop is working anyway

Well, despite all the Bob Kerrey posturing and Ben-Veniste "gotcha-ism" it hasn't turned the country against this administration:

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- A growing number of Americans say they believe the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush did everything that could be expected to stop the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to two new polls.

A Time/CNN survey taken yesterday showed that 48 percent of Americans said they believe the Bush administration did all it could to prevent the attacks, up from 42 percent in a poll taken March 26-28. A CBS News poll, also conducted yesterday, showed 32 percent of Americans said the administration did everything possible to stop the attacks, up from 22 percent the previous week.

Condi came out and told the truth. End of story.
Why are Democrats such scumbags sometimes?

As I’ve noted below, I had hoped the 9/11 commission could have proceeded without the taint of political gamesmanship. You won’t find a “blame Clinton” post anywhere on this blog, except in the context of pointing out that the eight years prior to Bush’s presidency require just as much scrutiny as the current president.

But then, today, an E-mail was forwarded to me from the DNC, seeking to somehow exploit the 9/11 commission for fundraising purposes:

But in a shocking revelation, we learned that on August 6, 2001, President Bush received a briefing titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." But Bush spent the month of August on vacation at his ranch.

Yeah, well we all know what Clinton was doing when he was supposed to be protecting the country, right?
What's going on? Right before signing off this morning (had to do a lot of Easter-weekend cleaning) there was breaking news of some Japanese and Americans seized in Iraq. Now...nothing. Was it all a hoax or something? (Goldberg raises the possibility)
The Democrats' fortunes are inversely proportional to the economy

And the economy is improving. From the American Spectator:

To be sure, not all of the positive data we have seen over the past 10 months is due to the tax cuts passed in May 2003. A good part of this is likely due from the natural recovery coming off of the shock of 9/11, and bouncing back from the economic stagnation during the months of uncertainty leading up to the commencement of the war with Iraq. But the stimulative effects of the tax cuts, particularly in providing a boost to the stock market, and consequentially to consumer confidence, are undeniable. And unfortunately for John Kerry's presidential aspirations, the full effect of the tax cuts has probably only just started to take hold.

Thank you, Dems, for coining the phrase "It's the economy, stupid." It's gonna come in handy.
Sully with the Quote of the Day....

Iraq has been a free country for a single year after decades of fascism, mass murder, communal paranoia, hysteria, random violence, and economic collapse. Did we expect the place to become Toledo overnight?

...subverted by overwrought religious imagery:

It may be dark this Friday, but Christians are told that a new day will dawn. Not in three days. But in time. If we keep our nerve.

Dead heat: the AP Presidential poll says 45-44% and the Fox poll says 44-43%.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Byron York in The Hill: Where are those tax returns, Senator Kerry?
Sounds like a bad after-school special: Brian at Tomfoolery has two posts on “Condi Rice and the Kangaroo 9/11 Commission

You know, I was watching a nightly news tonight (I think it was Brokaw) and they flashed a shot of 9/11 commission chair Tom Kean with a caption that read [R] for Republican. Bob Kerrey was identified as an [D]. Was it necessary to label the political persuasions of the 9/11 commissioners? Isn’t 9/11 beyond politics? I guess not. Too bad.
What's Krugman going to write about tomorrow?

Not this: U.S. Jobless Claims in 3-year low

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing initial claims for jobless aid dropped sharply last week to the lowest in more than three years, the government said on Thursday in a further sign of a reviving employment market.

My guess is we'll see a re-hash of Clarke v. Rice.
Remember: Al Hunt is always wrong

Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s token liberal on the Capital Gang this past Saturday, going at it with Bob Novak over 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste:

NOVAK: …. the partisan Democrats on that commission-- Richard Ben-Veniste has been a Democratic hatchet man for 30 years, is going to go after her very hard with the kind of questions you-- you had.
HUNT: Let me just say one more thing. Richard Ben-Veniste has not worked for a Democratic politician.
HUNT: He's been a lawyer. The idea...
HUNT: ...hatchet man for 30 years is an absolute slander!
NOVAK: Only people like you think he is not a Democratic hatchet man because I've been watching him for 30 years...
HUNT: Well, I'll tell...
NOVAK: ...I've been watching him in the Whitewater, in the Watergate, and he is a Democratic hatchet man!
HUNT: You are dead wrong! He is not. He hasn't worked for a single Democratic politician...

I didn’t see Dr. Rice’s testimony but I have this excerpt from the transcript:

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6th PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB?
RICE: I believe the title was, Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.
Now, the ...
BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.
RICE: No, Mr. Ben-Veniste ...
BEN-VENISTE: I will get into the ...
RICE: I would like to finish my point here.
BEN-VENISTE: I didn't know there was a point.
RICE: Given that _ you asked me whether or not it warned of attacks.
BEN-VENISTE: I asked you what the title was.
RICE: You said, did it not warn of attacks. It did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States.

What the hell was that all about? This is supposed to be a public forum on 9/11 and Ben-Veniste tries to cut off an expanded answer by the national security advisor? Damn. Well, like I said, I didn’t see the hearing on TV, but many others did and came to the unanimous conclusion that Richard Ben-Veniste is a complete tool.

Balloon Juice: “The shameless mugging, rude interruptions, and over-all appalling behavior of Richard Ben-Veniste during the hearings …[strong language removed]…should put to rest any idea to what level Democrats will stoop for cheap partisan gain.”

Outside the Beltway: “Richard Ben-Veniste was rude and grandstanding during his entire session, playing to the audience. The idea that this charade is going to actually produce useful information is absurd.”

Buzz Machine: “Condi Rice has been doing a very good job in her testimony before the 9/11 commission. Richard Ben Veniste, on the other hand, is an ass, acting like a prosecutor getting his moment in the TV sun. He's hostile and political. That kind of behavior is both unproductive, it harms the mission of the commission and its reputation and thus the veracity of the report it will issue.”

Tiny Little Lies: “Ben Veniste took a ridiculous adversarial posture, twisting facts and presuming to silence Dr. Rice in mid-answer as though she were a witness in a purse-snatching trial.”

I’m sure there are more comments out there, but these are the snap reactions.
Strangest headline of the day: “Sandal whappers serenade Kerry
Not that it's an important issue or anything: Robert Tagorda can’t figure out where John Kerry stands on Iraq. Here? There?
The Minuteman asks: “Did [Kerry’s economic] team just notice these deficits last week, or was he lying all through primary season?” I think we know the answer.

I agree with Andrew Sullivan: “This war is for the future against the past, for representative government against a vicious theocratic dictatorship from the Leninist vanguards of the Sadrists. The president needs to tell the people this. His failure to communicate what is actually going on, why we're there, what we're doing, and what the stakes are is the prime current fault of the administration. We need a real speech and a thorough explanation of what is going on. We need an honest, candid, clear war-president. Where is he?”

Maybe Bush got spooked by his lackluster appearance on “Meet the Press” but he’s got to come out and delineate the path from 9/11 to Iraq and beyond. Start with Beirut, then Khobar Towers, and the USS Cole. This war has been going on for decades and it won’t stop just because we say we don’t want to fight it.

(A postscript thought: maybe Bush will let Condi Rice make this forceful point today.)

Update: Just so - here's Condi's opening statement.

Update II: Powerline is live-blogging the testimony.
Robert Samuelson draws a convincing parallel between the urgency of fiscal responsibility (esp. the pending Social Security/Medicare crisis) and the immediacy of fighting terrorism before and after 9/11.
What fiscal responsibility?

The WashPost has a “pox on both your houses” editorial today about how neither Bush nor Kerry have a strategy to reduce the deficit. But since Senator Splunge gave a “major speech” yesterday, he’s the focus of “Mr. Kerry’s Deficiency.” Long story short, the WashPost says that Kerry…um….lies.

Indeed, Mr. Kerry's assertion that he would cut the deficit in half in the next four years is flawed for many of the same reasons as Mr. Bush's analogous assertion. The four-year window is misleadingly narrow, because -- as with the president's -- the costs of Mr. Kerry's tax plan explode after that. Mr. Kerry's proposed changes in the current tax law would save about $25 billion through 2009 but would cost more than $640 billion over the full 10 years.

The same editorial notes: “Mr. Kerry says he'll do that [reduce the deficit] by going after corporate welfare, and he proposes a commission that would force Congress to take an up-or-down vote on wasteful programs it identifies.” Although he doesn’t show up very often, Kerry is still a member of Congress and has been for the past twenty years. Has he ever proposed legislation to address corporate “welfare” or singled out any programs that are wasteful? Didn’t think so.
Lileks on Kerry

If I may coin a new term: diplobabble. We have a stark choice: Bush’s blunt and frequently inarticulate remarks, versus Kerry’s prolix, labrynthic diplobabble. Which legitimate international entity? Not the coalition we have now, obviously. He can only mean the UN, whose dealings with Iraq have not exactly been characterized by high-minded noble intentions. Incidentally: If the US pressured Israel to make peace with the PA and grant massive concessions, would anyone be complaining that the agreement hadn’t been run through “a legitimate international entity”?

Beneath all the diplobabble is a clear tenet of the Kerry Doctrine: Actions are legitimized solely by the quantity of allies.

And their proximity to the Maginot Line.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The company he keeps

Could a Republican candidate ever get away with this? Not a chance. From a CNN story about how the Kerry campaign has hired Zach Exley of “Kerry hires online chief from MoveOn”:

MoveOn became the subject of controversy early this year when it posted two ads on its Web site that compared Bush to Adolf Hitler. The ads were submitted to the group as part of a contest to produce anti-Bush commercials, and Republican Chairman Ed Gillespie said Exley dismissed Republican complaints about them with a barnyard expletive.

Let’s not hear any more complaints from Kerry about “negative campaigning.”
The Economist: Good news spells trouble for the Democrats

And yet, by so many measures, life in the United States shows steady, material improvement. Americans, on average, spend less of their lives at work than ever before. Companies are indeed making record profits and, in recent months at least, have grabbed a bigger share of the national pie. Yet household income is growing, and American private wealth is also at a record, standing at $44 trillion, give or take. And though the chances of finding a new job are lower, the chances of losing your job in the first place are less than during the boom of the 1990s.

But what about that evil outsourcing?

Many people will buy none of this, and the one irrefutable concern that has grabbed Americans' attention this year is the flood of jobs going overseas. Now, if your textile mill in West Virginia closes down, that is very bad news indeed for you and for your community. But at the national level, more jobs are outsourced to America than the other way around. American workers, in other words, are net beneficiaries of outsourcing (it goes without saying that consumers always were). And in the cross-border trade of white-collar services, a chief concern, America's surplus with the rest of the world is not shrinking; it is growing.

OK, how about all of those manufacturing jobs?

Time, then, to think the unthinkable: a recovery in manufacturing jobs. There are reasons to believe one may be under way. The beneficial effects of a cheaper dollar are starting to be felt, with output climbing. A closely-watched survey by the Institute for Supply Management reports hiring among manufacturers at a 16-year high (though the government's employment report still paints a less robust picture). Firms appear to be rebuilding their inventories, and they will presumably need to hire more workers to do that.

John Kerry is going to have to get Teresa to lay off some ketchup workers to prop up jobless claims.
Wednesdays are for W

After voting for higher taxes his entire Senate career, John Kerry cross-his-heart pinky-swears he’ll lower them if he becomes President [shudder]. Don’t be fooled. Now is the time to support President Bush by volunteering for his campaign or donating over the GWB secure server. Then visit the other bloggers on the “Wictory Wednesday” bandwagon. It’s important. Thanks.
The biggest single obstacle to human progress


From John Parker’s book review of “Anti-Americanism” by Jean-Francois Revel (he’s French!) and with a huge hat tip to Arts & Letters Daily:

Therein lies another exquisite irony: the costs of anti-Americanism will be borne not by Americans, but by others. And their numbers are vast: Cubans, North Koreans, Zimbabweans, and countless others suffer and starve under their respective tyrannies because the democratic world's chattering classes, obsessed with denouncing the United States, can't be bothered with holding their criminal regimes to account. Meanwhile, in Iraq, fascist rabble, with no discernible political program save a pledge to kill more Americans, try desperately to extinguish the slightest hope of democracy, economic growth, and stability for that long-suffering land; but the world, instead of helping to beat back the wolves at the door, basks in anti-American schadenfreude. How countless are the political problems, cultural pathologies, and humanitarian disasters that fester unnoticed, all over the globe, as the anti-American cult, wallowing in ecstatic bigotry, desperately scrutinizes every utterance of the Bush administration for new critical fodder.

An absolute must-read: go now. Now, I say!
Bizarro world New York Times

Did some Wall Street Journal editors slip into the Times’ offices last night? First they suspended their internationalism-worship long enough to run this editorial: “Iraq needs a credible U.N.”

Urgent steps, including high-level demotions and dismissals, are already under way to address the security failures. U.N. officials returning to Iraq face unavoidable risks, but everything that can be done to make them safer must be done. Ferreting out the murky details of the financial scandal, and meting out appropriate punishments, is no less urgent or important.

Then this opinion piece from the Heritage Foundation made it past the gatekeepers:

Payroll employment may well continue to surge in the next few months. If it does, it will be a vindication of economic optimists who have pointed to the household survey as the better jobs indicator of the last three years. We should be prepared for the job numbers in the payroll survey to permanently look anemic compared to other measures. This is the brave new economy, and the work force of 2004 can no longer be measured by an outdated definition of a job.

George Will noted that the jobs issue could hurt Bush in November if Americans feel underemployed. Judging by the household survey, there’s a lot more people who believe they’re working, even if the official payroll survey claims they’re not.
NY Post editorial on “Kennedy’s Canard”: “It'll be hard for America to keep a straight face when Teddy Kennedy starts throwing rhetorical daggers about a "credibility gap" in Washington or political "deceptions" and elected officials who "repeatedly invent 'facts' to support their pre-conceived agenda.”
Kerry Flip-Flop Du Jour

Tim Blair asks: “Doesn’t this guy have any advisors?” Powerline notes: “Kerry is rapidly moving beyond our ability to parody him.” Here’s what they’re talking about:

Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry said Monday the White House should not have scrapped steep tariffs on foreign-made steel last year -- but would not put them back in place if he is elected.

Kerry, speaking to about 17 reporters from political battleground states on both sides of the matter, said he supported the tariffs because "under the circumstances, it was an important grabbing-air moment."

"I wouldn't re-impose them, but I would have let them play out the way they were promised," he said. "Once you put them in place, people have expectations. ... And if you, all of a sudden, upset that, you're really wreaking havoc in the market."


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Just like that time I chose not to sleep with Britney

Here’s a line from John Kerry’s web site about how he bravely chose not to vote for legislation in support of a 50-cent gas tax increase:

BUSH FICTION: Bush Ad: Kerry “supported a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax.”

FACT: John Kerry has never sponsored or voted for a 50 cent gas tax increase. When Sen. Charles Robb introduced legislation in 1993 that phased in a 50-cent increase, John Kerry chose not to vote for or co-sponsor this bill. (S. 1068, Introduced 5/28/93) [emphasis in original]

First of all, as I’ve noted before, it’s a fact that Kerry once supported a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax. Second of all, there’s a reason Kerry “chose not to vote” for the Robb bill – it never came up for a vote!:

Gas Tax Measure Introduced By Sen. Chuck Robb (D-VA). Robb’s 1993 legislation would have imposed an “additional tax on motor fuels” by a “50-cent increase over the next 5 calendar years,” which is accomplished “10 cents a gallon in each calendar year.” The bill had no co-sponsors and never made it to a floor vote. (S. 1068, Introduced 5/28/93)

John Kerry: fighting for you with his non-votes!
Kerry’s crash continues

So says Dick Morris in the NY Post:

The Democrats really have no issues and their candidate is way too far to the left. The hiring of John Sasso, competent as he may be, is indicative. Kerry seems destined to run the worst Democratic campaign since Mike Dukakis, Sasso's previous employer.

John Kerry has at least as much charisma as Al Gore, Mike Dukakis and Queen Victoria.
Mad as a hatter

Does a “K” name make you brain-addled? There’s Kennedy, Kerry, Kos, and now Krugman. His column today addresses mercury in the air, whines about policy, and limps in with an “apology” about maligning CNN.

Don Luskin cleans up the dirty air – with a nod to Gregg Easterbrook in the New Republic
Matthew Hoy has further commentary on Krugman’s Kos-style “correction.”

And here’s my two cents: Krugman has been bitching bitching bitching about job growth (or the lack thereof) nearly incessantly for two years. When job growth in February was a meager 21,000, Krugman wasted no time churning out a column titled “No more excuses on jobs.” But now job growth topped 300K in March – fastest growth in four years - and…what? Nothing. A re-hash of a flawed NYT Magazine article. Will Krugman wimp out again on Friday?

Monday, April 05, 2004

Bush throws out the first pitch in St. Louis

USA Today: “President Bush threw out the first pitch of the Cardinals' season-opener against the Milwaukee Brewers — for the record, a strike on the inside corner. He was greeted with loud cheers, a few scattered boos and chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A."
The answer: “No

The question: “Pak troops closing in on Osama?
U.S. business confidence seen at a 20-year high – “Confidence among US business leaders is stronger than it has been for 20 years, according to a long-running measure of boardroom attitudes, as rising profits finally encourage companies to start hiring.”
Getting better all the time

Yesterday, I wrote that Bush cannot lose with Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Recent polls in OH and PA have reported small leads for Bush in those states. And today, the latest out of Florida shows Bush with a healthy 8% lead over Kerry (51% - 43%).

This is very encouraging for President Bush’s re-election. And, just in case, we have Wisconsin for insurance. Sweet.
Grifter Girls Gone Goofy for Graft

Lest we forget the standard operating procedure of Ted Kennedy’s massive taxpayer-funded boondoggle, here’s a reminder: “Federal agents search 2 Big Dig companies - US investigating use of sham firms

Federal agents searched the offices of two Big Dig subcontractors Thursday as part of a nationwide probe into large construction firms setting up sham firms with women or minority executives, in order to obtain lucrative public works contracts, federal and industry officials said yesterday.


From 2001 until last summer, PT Corp. of Lynnfield, a state-certified woman-owned business, had been in charge of dismantling the 1.5-mile elevated Central Artery. But the firm fell behind schedule and was replaced by Testa Corp., a major player in the demolition field.

PT Corp.'s chief executive is listed by the state as Pamela J. O'Brien. She is the sister of Steven Testa, who runs Testa Corp.

What a happy coincidence!
Dems want to run the country, can’t organize their own convention

Remember this quote?That's why we are not running the country because we can't even organize a party.” The whispers are growing louder (as Jackie Wilson would say) that the Democrats’ convention in Boston is on the path to debacle:

City leaders lured Democrats with lobsters, Red Sox games, and the promise of millions in corporate contributions. But in the 15 months since Boston won its first national presidential convention, the enthusiasm so marveled at by party leaders is dissolving into a logistical and political quagmire.

It’s a perfect storm of cutthroat politics, hard-nosed unions, security fears, and poor planning. Way to go, boys!
More good news for the country, bad news for Democrats

WashPost: “Services Growth Hits Record in March

NEW YORK -- The U.S. services sector grew well above expectations to hit a record high in March, a report showed on Monday, offering more evidence that the economy's recovery is gaining traction.

Keep it comin’
Polipundit on why campaign finance reform has been a complete failure. If you’re in one of the 17 “battleground” states, get ready for the deluge of ads.
Kerry flip-flop du jour: Captain Ed examines Kerry’s sudden aversion to educational reform now that the teachers union has him by the nads.
More jobs…isn’t that great

From the American Spectator:

In the wake of Friday's employment statistics showing the largest jump in non-farm payroll since April 2000, John Kerry said the job creation was "welcome news for America's workers."

"I hope it continues," said Kerry. Does anyone believe him?

If John Kerry disliked the jobs report last week, I predict he’s really going to hate the polls this week.
P.J. O’Rourke recalls Senator Splunge in the Phillipines circa 1986: “He was caught in Kerry-ish calculation--an ambitious young senator on his first important bipartisan delegation with its delicate mission of neutrality. Cory Aquino was very popular. But so was President Reagan. Which way to have it? Why, have it both ways!”
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy: Daschle gets his own Nader
I know that guy!

The Sunday Boston Globe had a brief article about the “Celebrity READ” poster series by the American Library Association. Celebrities such as Mel Gibson and Bill Gates pose with their favorite books, trying to encourage kids to read. The author of the article had other book suggestions, including this one:

Regis Philbin, TV host
His Choice: "Treasure Island,"by Robert Louis Stevenson
Alternate Selection: "The Man Without Qualities," by Robert Musil

And here’s an interesting tidbit: Robert Musil wrote his first major book in 1906 – and now he runs a blog! Wow.
Kerry vote watch

There were only two votes tallied in the Senate last week, but Kerry missed ‘em both. To be fair, he had shoulder surgery. Still, at three months into the new session, Kerry has logged in three days of work.

Voting percentage: 14/65 = 22%

Sunday, April 04, 2004

The Kerry campaign (to their credit) removed Daily Kos from their blogroll after Kos' hateful comments on his blog (which, as of this writing, is now blank). However, the Democratic National Committee blog Kicking Ass still has a link for Kos.

Draw your own conclusions.
Bush cannot lose with Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania

And now: heeeeeeere’s Ohio!

By the way, a new poll shows Kerry up by only 1% in Michigan. Not a good sign for a state that went for Gore by 5%.
Mark Kilmer on John Kerry’s fledgling campaign: “He needs something new. He cannot keep telling us that life is miserable.”

When the jobs report came out on Friday, do you think John F. Kerry said: “Wow, it’s great that more Americans are finding work.” Unlikely.
Kerry has no answers for rising gas prices

From the Washington Post editorial “Guzzling Gas Again”:

On the contrary, rather than responding directly to the "charge" of having proposed a gas tax increase 10 years ago, when it might have made sense, Mr. Kerry has gone on a dubious offensive. Speaking in San Diego, which (partly thanks to heavy California environmental regulations) has the highest gas prices in the country, Mr. Kerry blamed the president and said a Kerry administration would "act immediately to exert pressure on OPEC to abandon its cut in output quotas and instead increase oil supplies." It's hard to think what methods of persuasion a Kerry administration would have that a Bush administration doesn't. It's also hard to think of a more ineffectual means, in the long term, of bringing down gas prices than the senator's other suggestion: that the administration stop filling the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This, in fact, is precisely what the Clinton administration did in its waning months, to no discernible effect.

Like I noted below, it would be honest for John Kerry to say: “I supported a gas tax back then, but I think it’s a bad idea now.” Instead, he tries to inoculate himself from the issue with the lame argument that he never voted for a bill. He then proposes feel-good solutions that will do nothing to solve the gas price issue.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

FACT: Kerry supported a 50-cent gas tax increase

The DBunker section of John Kerry’s website is a maddening showcase of logical fallacies and rhetorical dishonesty. Perhaps this is a reflection of the candidate, but “debunking” implies using fact and intellectual argument to rebut a charge. DBunker, on the other hand, descends into the playground argot of “No he didn’t!”

Take the certified fact that in 1994, John Kerry wrote the Boston Globe expressing his support for a 50-cent increase in the gas tax – a fact that was recalled in a recent Boston Globe editorial:

DEMOCRATIC presidential candidate John Kerry is stepping gingerly away from a proposal he floated several years ago to raise the federal gasoline tax by 50 cents. With average prices at the pump spiking at $1.73 per gallon and President Bush mocking the idea at campaign rallies, Kerry has been quick to note that he never voted for any such tax and upon reflection thinks it is a bad idea.

But according to DBunker, when the Bush people point this out, they’re lying because Kerry never sponsored or voted for a bill to raise the gas tax:

BUSH FICTION: Bush Ad: Kerry “supported a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax.”
FACT: John Kerry has never sponsored or voted for a 50 cent gas tax increase.

This bait-and-switch (flip-flop?) may be interpreted as a “Straw Man” fallacy where one argues a whole different subject than the one at hand. The allegation here is that Kerry “supported a gas tax” and it’s not fiction – it’s fact. Arguing that he didn’t sponsor a bill is entirely aside the point and does nothing to “debunk” the rap against Kerry.

If America can’t trust John Kerry to own up to his past statements (or as a minimum, admit that he made them), how can we trust him with the Presidency? We can’t.

[Cross-posted at Blogs for Bush]
Punishing success and hard work – one man responds

In the January 2004 Atlantic magazine, writer Maya Macguineas wrote an article titled “Radical Tax Reform” that called for (wait for it) higher taxes on the rich. This prompted a letter to the editor from one Stewart Herman of New York City (typed from the May 2004 issue):

In “Radical Tax Reform” Maya MacGuineas states that the question of whether the current tax system is fair may be rephrased as “To what extent is one’s overall tax burden commensurate with one’s ability to meet it?” Why doesn’t she just add “and to each according to his need,” and complete the Marxist cliché? I see nothing fair about making taxes progressive. My working life has been shaped by two facts: I spent years without an income preparing myself for the professional career in which I now work; and I work much longer hours than most people. Do I deserve a higher income than the median? You bet. I make a lot of money for my employer, I give up time I’d much rather be spending with my wife and children, and I think I do something that’s socially useful. So why should my income be viewed as fair game by all of society’s free riders? In contrast to MacGuineas’s conception of fairness, I could make a case that the only fair tax system is a sharply regressive one. That’s because I get much less from my government than do people with lower incomes. No food stamps for me. No welfare. No Medicare. No Medicaid. No Section 8 housing vouchers. No drug treatment. Less police and fire protection, too, because my neighbors and I live pretty quiet lives. You get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get. How about that for a guiding principle? Not bloody likely, though. I guess I’ll just have to live with the satisfaction of knowing that as I sit in my office at ten o’clock at night, I’m making money for the people at home in front of the TV, having a beer and having the last laugh. It’s utterly unfair, and a bad way to run a society that supposedly prizes hard work and self-sacrifice.