Monday, May 31, 2004

Brothers in Arms

Motorcycle riders + Vietnam Vets = solid supporters for Bush? From the WashPost article on Rolling Thunder: “Focus swings to Vietnam, with a roar”:

Although Bush never saw combat and Kerry is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, many in the Rolling Thunder crowd demonstrated little affection for their brother-in-arms. As they rolled across the Memorial Bridge, around the Lincoln Memorial and down Constitution Avenue, bikers displayed signs reading "Stop Kerry" and "Vietnam Vets against Kerry."

In a written statement, Kerry's campaign said, "Nobody has worked harder on veterans and POW-MIA issues than John Kerry." The Kerry statement added that Bush is "misleading Rolling Thunder about his commitment to our veterans and military families."
It's not that the Rolling Thunder vets are “misled” on Kerry’s commitment. They loathe Kerry because of things like this:

Bob Nowak, 52, a retired Navy man from Aroda, Va., who did two tours in Vietnam, said veterans such as himself despise Kerry for his decision to protest the war in the early 1970s.

Nowak remembers returning from Vietnam in 1973 aboard an aircraft carrier loaded with thousands of sailors in their dress whites. "As we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, there were people waiting for us. And they threw garbage on us," Nowak recalled. "That was about the time Kerry was throwing his [ribbons] away. It's kind of hard to forget either of them."
Somehow I don’t think Kerry will be making another visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial anytime soon.

Extra: Instapundit has some great Rolling Thunder pictures.
Off the wall

J. Francois Kerry visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial today:

Many visitors to the wall offered their support as they shook hands with Mr. Kerry, but as he departed the memorial, a middle-aged woman wearing a flag sweatshirt heckled him. "Are you paying tribute to all the people you spat on, Senator Kerry?" she asked, referring to his antiwar activities upon returning home.
The NY Times, which doesn’t bother to include the Senator’s response (not newsworthy, I’m sure they rationalized) titled the article “For Kerry, a day of remembrance and campaigning.” Reading the article, it’s clear that he was more focused on the latter than the former. After attending half of a parade in Portsmouth, VA:

"I love a parade; I'm like every American," Mr. Kerry said in one of the television interviews, adding, "Everybody else gets to barbecue and I've got to go work."
Work? My senator has “worked” exactly three days this session of Congress, missing 87% of all floor votes. Resign your Senate seat and allow the citizens of Massachusetts active representation in the U.S. Senate.

Update - The Boston Globe fills in the details: "Kerry did not appear to respond to her, according to reporters who were at the wall to observe events on behalf of other reporters."
Memorial Day

President Bush places a wreath during the Memorial Day ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Monday, May 31, 2004. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Liberals killed the radio star

From the NY Times: “Office Politics Give Liberal Radio a Rocky Start”:

In a sign that the privately held company's financial woes have not fully abated, Al Franken, the network's best-known star, said in an interview last week that he had agreed not to draw a salary, however temporarily, making him "an involuntary investor.''

"We had some bad management,'' Mr. Franken said. "Then we got some good management."
Sure, sure, Al. Liberals are known for their good management. It meshes well with their anti-business philosophy.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

A personal tribute to my grandfather

I consciously try to avoid personal subjects on my blog since 1.) I consider it a lazy form of writing and 2.) it’s nobody’s business. But, after the dedication of the World War II memorial, I feel compelled to say a few words in memory of my grandfather.

My grandfather was a German-American named Ernest Hugo ------ [to foil identity thieves] and when he tried to join the army during World War II, he was briefly detained. Army Intelligence wanted to make sure that he was not a German sympathizer (or spy) before he joined up. He served in the North Africa theater and was wounded in the left elbow. He received the Purple Heart. For the rest of his life, he could not bend his elbow – it was frozen in place. You would never really notice it unless you knew about the wound; it might manifest itself in a stiff movement if he was gesticulating in a certain way.

How do I know all these things? My grandfather told me exactly once after I asked him how he busted his elbow. Otherwise, he never spoke about his service to the country. He volunteered to help America to fight the country he’d left behind, and that was that.

In the years that I knew him, my grandfather encouraged me in school and especially fields of technology and, to this day, I consider him a driving force in my life and career. It’s been said that teachers live a certain immortality because of the lessons they pass down through the ages. I’d like to believe that my grandfather lives on through me and my children.

Ernie Ehlberg – “Pop” to me - died about five years ago. I came down from Massachusetts to New Jersey to see him in his small, overheated apartment less than a week before he died. His blood just couldn’t carry enough oxygen; it was only a matter of time. I held his hand and told him how much he meant to me. When I left, I knew it was the last time I would see him.

So that’s it. After my parents, he was the greatest influence on my life (with my late Uncle Al a close second). And although I know (judging from Sitemeter) that this little tribute will be read by only a small number of people, I just wanted to say that my grandfather was part of the “Greatest Generation” and I love him and miss him.
How weird is that? – Two major figures from Watergate died yesterday. Sam Dash was the chief counsel to the Senate select committee on Watergate and Archibald Cox was the special prosecutor fired by Nixon.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Mark Kilmer has the rundown of the guests for the Sunday morning talk shows. Appropriately for Memorial Day and the WWII memorial dedication, Bob Dole will be making the rounds, appearing on nearly every show.
My prayers have come true

Matt Margolis on Blogs for Bush discusses an article in the UK Telegraph titled “Democrats call in Clinton to rescue Kerry’s campaign.” The general notion is that Kerry is such a stiff that he needs Master Clinton to show him the Common Touch:

"There has been talk about the danger of Bill Clinton overshadowing John," said a senior Democrat last week, "but the decision has been taken to accept him as being centre stage and hope that some of the magic rubs off".
This works for the Republicans on so many levels. It will alienate the Southern and Midwestern religious wing. Kerry will be completely smothered by Clinton, who will be releasing his spotlight-grabbing autobiography this summer. But worst of all for Senator Splunge, nostalgia for Clinton will be so September 10th at a time when national security is the foremost issue for many Americans.
Bush ahead in Ohio

The Cleveland Plain Dealer wants registration info, but you can read the article here. Despite some other polls showing Kerry ahead in Ohio, I think it’s a safe Republican state. Still, let’s get Nader on the ballot for insurance.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Hope everybody has a great Memorial Day weekend. Put your flags out to remember the soldiers, past and present.
The environmentalist fringe will come to regret “The Day After Tomorrow

In the Weekly Standard, Jonathan Last stole an idea I had and expands upon it with The Hijacking of "Tomorrow" - The left's attempt to claim Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow"--and use it to bludgeon George W. Bush--is ridiculous.

Golly, it’s times like this I really do wonder about the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. “The Day After Tomorrow” is distributed by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network (20th Century Fox, for the record). The movie has been almost universally panned as fantasy propaganda of the Earth First and Al Gore variety. Thus, whenever a serious discussion on global warming comes up, those warning of pending climate change will be dismissed as “those Day after Tomorrow” people.

Murdoch, you magnificent bastard. You’ve done it again!
The French like me

Real Clear Politics doesn’t think much of Kerry’s so-called national security plans:

Kerry's overarching national security vision boils down to something like, "trust me America, I'll get the French and Germans to like us again."
Read the whole thing, as they say.
Speechifying snafus – The American Spectator Prowler has the latest on the oratorical malfunctions of Gore and Kerry.
Up Up Up: Consumer spending, income, and the savings rate all rise.

Down Down Down: Oil prices to fall as Saudis boost output

Sad Sad Sad: Democrats
The Boston Globe has yet another article on the Democratic National Convention: “What seemed to be a wonderful chance to show off the city to the world is now looking like a world-class headache in the making.”
It must be sad to be Al Gore

Here’s Joan Vennochi in the Boston Globe on “Being Al Gore”:

The former vice president is a man in search of a mission. Defeated by Ralph Nader, butterfly ballots, and the US Supreme Court, he struggles for relevancy. He has yet to exhibit any.

When he gives a speech, Democrats are depressed, Republicans are delighted.
The Democrats couldn’t possibly keep Gore from speaking at the Democratic National Convention. He did, after all, receive the majority of the popular vote in the last election. But if Angry Gore shows up, it will be a disaster for Kerry and the Dems to rival Pat Buchanan’s rabble-rousing at the 1992 GOP convention.

Extra: The Boston Herald responds: “How Dare Al Gore Disgrace this Nation

Thursday, May 27, 2004

I know this is a minor mistake, but would the liberal media let Bush get away with it? Not a chance.
A moment of honesty on “ER”

I used to be a huge ER fan back when Eric LaSalle and George Clooney roamed the halls. There was one moment in an episode that struck me as so sincere, that I was hooked. A trauma patient had just died and the doctors had left, leaving behind nurses Haleh and Lydia. Lydia had been recently engaged and showed off her engagement ring to Haleh over a still-warm corpse.

I know that even good-hearted doctors use slang like “GOMER” or “circling the drain” so, for once, I thought I’d found a drama that tells it like it is. Too bad: ER devolved into improbable plot lines (Rocket Romano crushed by a helicopter?) and insanely rare medical conditions (flipped organs? rare blood conditions? benzene poisoning?).

Tonight’s episode started out with the doctors watching a car chase on TV, hoping that it would reach another jurisdiction so that they wouldn’t have to deal with the (eventual) crash victim. “C’mon, make it to the freeway, then you’re Mercy’s problem.” Too bad. Next week, it will be ebola and the black plague.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Flip-flop du jour: According to Joanne Jacobs, Senator Splunge has secretly backed away from a “pay-for-performance” proposal for education reform under pressure from the teachers' unions.
Dog bites man story via Expat Yank: Amnesty International criticizes the U.S. for violating human rights. Whatever.
The Man Without Qualities notes: “What will mean something, especially for the large number of voters who aren't now paying any particular attention to politics, and won't until much closer to election day, is that John Kerry, personally, is personally a loathsome jerk. This is not my personal opinion. This is an objective fact.”
The DNC train wreck

That’s how the Boston Globe is sizing up the Democratic National Convention in July. Major inconvenience, massive financial loss, and unprecedented gridlock await Bostonians this summer. At least your candidate will actually accept the nomination!

Deb the Insomnomaniac is dreading the coming DNC:

Sadly, Bostonians--with their knee-jerk compulsion to defend all things Democratic--will forgive him in time to vote for him in November. But maybe, just maybe, in one bright shining moment of clarity, residents of other cities in other states will realize that the guy who could do this to his own people, people to whom he's supposed to be loyal, wouldn't hesitate to screw them too if it served his purposes.
Well put. Stay out of town.
Andy McCarthy on NRO’s Corner on Al Grrrrrrrrrore’s frothy rant: “I know they say politics ain't beanbag, but this is really low-brow stuff. It's especially sad for what it says about the Dems: only 20 years ago, a speech like this would have embarrassed them; now, Gore probably gets a prime-time convention slot.”
Happy 2nd blogoversary to Insults Unpunished!
That trial balloon went over like a lead zeppelin

Kerry to accept nomination at convention

Republicans mocked Kerry, saying only the Democratic candidate could be both in favor of the nomination and against it.
Hypothetical question: just because J. Francois says he will accept the nomination, could he – after four days of network coverage – still postpone it for a month? Not that I don’t trust him!

Update: Kerry rules out delaying tactic – “I made that decision because I believe it's the right thing to do.”

Translation: The pollsters and focus groups said I was acting like a tool.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The critics on “The Day After Tomorrow

Scientific accuracy: “It stinks
Ideological value: “It stinks
Movie quality: “It stinks
Things Democrats can get away with

Besides violating long-standing election rules, the Democrats are conspiring to keep their supporters secret. Here’s the a WashPost editorial on Democrats Secret Patriots:

But there is a significant difference between the approaches of the two parties -- and it's not just that the Republicans set the money bar higher. The RNC plans to post the list of Super Rangers on its Web site, just as the Bush campaign does with its Pioneers and Rangers. The DNC says it will not disclose the names of its Patriots and trustees. This is wrong. It is inconsistent with Democrats' professed belief in the importance of full disclosure.
If the GOP tried this maneuver, the Left would be screaming “Halliburton!” Let’s see if the New York Times discovers the same outrage.
Flip Flop on the horizon

According to the American Spectator Prowler, Senator Splunge is now about to waffle on the Patriot Act:

According to a campaign source, the speech is also intended to further muddy Kerry's position on the USA PATRIOT Act. For months, Kerry has claimed he opposed the PATRIOT Act in all forms. But after polling revealed that most Americans support the act, Kerry has since been attempting to align himself with the law, now claiming that as president he would make only "minor" adjustments to it.
Terpsboy has a picture of the political advisor consulting Kerry on these important issues of national security.
The bloggers win again - Dave Kopel on NRO’s Corner notes that Kerry doesn’t know his American History. Betsy noticed this much earlier today. Hurrah, Betsy!
Our execrable Massachusetts Senator

No, the other one. Here's Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:

Two weeks ago Senator Ted Kennedy uttered what may turn out to be the single most disgusting remark made about the United States in the course of the Iraq War. The reaction to his slander - or rather, the lack of reaction - speaks volumes about the moral bankruptcy of the American left.
Drunk Ted singlehandedly resurrects the debate over Congressional term limits.

Extra: Silent Running finds an addled Frenchman “Not to be outdone by Teddy
The finale of “Colonial House” tonight. Or, as some have quipped: “Colonial Grouse.” Heh.

Monday, May 24, 2004

What liberal press? This liberal press.
Raw data: the text of President Bush’s speech tonight
It’s nice to be noticed: The indispensable Right Wing News names Viking Pundit one of “Fifty Great Blogs.” Thanks, John!
And the magic elves will fix our shoes too

In September, I wrote a post titled “Senator Splunge: Unserious about energy security” which criticized Kerry during the Democratic primaries for his vapid debate answers on energy policy. Well, he’s at it again:

"Our dependence on foreign oil is a problem we must solve together the only way we can — by inventing our way out of it," Kerry said.
Just what exactly does this mean? We’re going to hitch our energy policy to the hope that somebody will invent a breakthrough in energy technology? If we were losing a war, would Kerry declare: “We’ll just invent a better weapon?” We need to solve problems with tools and solutions that exist, for heaven’s sake, not ones that are simply envisioned.
Potemkin Convention

A Wall Street Journal editorial on Opinion Journal details why Kerry’s nomination gambit makes a mockery of campaign finance reform:

Of course, the late July date [for the convention] was the Democratic Party's own choice--and it was selected precisely so it would let the nominee accept matching federal campaign funds a month earlier than President Bush, who will be nominated in late August. The assumption had been that the Democratic candidate would have run out of cash by this summer, but Mr. Kerry has been raising more money than he expected. In other words, Mr. Kerry embraced the rules when they helped him but now wants to ignore them when they don't.
Sounds about right for Senator Splunge.
Bush’s speech tonight

Make no mistake, I thought that the President’s State of the Union speech was desultory and uninspiring (remember the “steroids in sports” line?) In his interview on “Meet the Press,” Bush was not in command. That largely changed tonight. I thought that Bush’s speech before the Army War College was very good in both substance and style. He was commander-in-chief before the troops laying out the mission and the stakes for the future.

Some commentators afterward said he was short on specifics, but this wasn’t the speech to review troop movements. It was designed to remind Americans that progress is being made building up Iraq, that the dead-end insurgents are losing, and that a free Iraq is a powerful benchmark in the war against terrorism. And there was a certain Gettysburg-ian quality to the symbolism of a “new Iraq” born out of the destruction of the Abu Ghraib prison. Bush was straightforward and resolute and gave all appearances of a strong leader.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Kerry Vote Watch

The presumptive Democratic nominee (maybe!) is still a U.S. Senator and he relaxed from his busy job to take in a Red Sox game today. It was an exhausting week in the Senate with nine floor votes including some judicial confirmations to the federal bench and important legislation such as the BioShield Act to provide protections and countermeasures against chemical, radiological, or nuclear agents that may be used in a terrorist attack against the United States.” It passed 99 to 0 – guess who was missing?

Not all the votes were so lopsided. Here’s a Democratic-sponsored bill to “to clarify the application of Presidential action under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.” It failed by one vote: 49 to 50, with one Senator not voting. Whoops!

Days worked this session: 3
Votes cast last week: 0
Voting percentage: 14/103 = 13%
Jeff Jacoby details the baseless outrage over the Patriot Act. Good reading.
What won’t the Democrats do?

Some Bay State officials are less than supportive of the idea of delaying the Dems nomination. From the Boston Globe: “Kerry idea finds support, city wary”:

"It's going to make a mockery out of the nomination process for the Democratic Party," said Boston City Councilor James M. Kelly. "People come from across the country, and the purpose of them being here is to nominate a candidate for the party."

If Kerry goes ahead with the delay, Kelly predicted "frustration and anger" among city residents and convention delegates who find, on top of traffic jams, that their part in history has been taken from them.
Others are tickled pink at the farce:

"I understand that the convention is a wonderful thing, but the more important thing is the inaugural in Washington," said Charles Glick, a Boston consultant and a convention delegate from the Eighth Congressional District.
I’m waiting for Terry McAuliffe to release a statement saying: “Sure we sold Acapulco Gold to raise money. The nominee himself peddled secrets from the Senate Intelligence Committee to the Chinese. But it only proves how dedicated the Democratic Party is to defeating George Bush in November.”
Clear the way

With some good historical perspective, Lewis Lehrman and Bill Kristol declare we need to “Crush the Insurgents in Iraq.”

"The United States will lead, or the world will shift into neutral." Wise words from President Bush on May 20 to congressional Republicans. From the beginning, the president has made clear that we must lead and win the war on terror. To win the strategic war, we must of course win tactical battles. The central battle in the war on terror is Iraq. Unless we win that battle, we will see America itself, and the world, shift disastrously into neutral in the broader war.
I’m sure that on Monday, Bush will make the case that a democratic Iraq is the key to wider liberalization in the Middle East and thus greater security for America. It’s critical now that America make the path clear for this historic transition.
When Senator Splunge came to a fork in the road, he took it

Washington Post: “Kerry broadens the scope of his pitch

Washington Times: “Kerry needs to focus, state party chiefs say

Saturday, May 22, 2004

The New Jersey bellwether

From Columbia Journalism Review’s Campaign Desk (via Buzz Machine):

Those familiar with New Jersey politics agree that if, in fact, New Jersey is shaping up as a closely-contested battleground state, then the press is missing a bigger story: An impending landslide for Bush. As the Newark Star-Ledger's Hassell told Campaign Desk, "If it is close in New Jersey, then the [national] race will be a romp for Bush."
Right now, it’s close in New Jersey.
Candidate and convention confusion

Boston really screwed up when it accepted the Democratic National Convention this July. From the Boston Globe: “Convention bust may reach $50 million

In the space of two months, the Democratic National Convention has gone from a $154 million boon to Boston to a potential $50 million hit to the local economy as businesses absorb the magnitude of the announced highway, street, and mass-transit closings.
Also in the Globe, “Kerry may delay official nomination

Beyond the legalities, changing the purpose of the Democratic convention could pose risks: For decades, the acceptance speeches of newly nominated presidential nominees have been the dramatic high point of campaigns, and they usually trigger a bounce for them in the polls. A Democratic convention that neither produces an official nominee nor a speech by Kerry that includes the words, ''I accept your nomination," could leave some voters confused or deflated.
Not to mention that it would be a huge waste of taxpayer money:

Raising the stakes for the city and state, too, the Democratic Party has received about $15 million in taxpayer funds to hold its nominating convention. Trevor Potter, a former FEC chairman who is now president of the independent Campaign Legal Center, predicts that Democrats would probably have to return the money if the event did not produce a nominee. ''If this convention doesn't produce a nominee in Boston, what's the point?" Potter said.
Ha-ha! Good one! A Democrat returning money!

Even better, I can envision some brutal sarcasm at the Republicans’ convention a month later:

Speaker: "And so my fellow Republicans, we need to stand tall with our President in the race against….(feigns confusion)….the Democratic nominee, whomever that is. (Looks offstage) did he accept it?"

The new strategy of the Kerry campaign: “Bring it on...after a five week delay.”
Me too!

Here's the WashPost in "Convention as Farce"

Mr. Kerry's choice to be seen manipulating the rules will have its own cost, of course -- but it won't be in cash. We do look forward to his non-acceptance speech.
Doesn't this set the stage for some great mischief by Hillary, or Kucinich, or Sharpton?
Bumper sticker contest

Bill Quick on Daily Pundit is having a contest for the best bumper sticker slogan to encapsulate the non-nomination of Kerry at the Democratic National Convention. Here's mine:

John Kerry: Disband in Boston

Catchy, no?

Extra: I like Terpsboy’s too: “Kerry 2004 – Maybe. We’ll let you know.”
I blame the Bush tax cuts: Bush touts job gains in battleground states
Memo to Fox News: those pop-up Miller ads are really annoying.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Will Kerry give an “acknowledgement of nomination” speech?

This is just too much: Kerry considers postponing acceptance of nomination

"Only John Kerry could be for a nominating convention, but be against the nomination," Ken Mehlman, the Bush-Cheney campaign manager, said in a written statement. "This is just the latest example of John Kerry's belief that the rules are for other people, not for him."
Here’s my prediction: the Democrats will find any way possible to justify pushing off the “official” nomination so that they can raise more money. “Oh, he didn’t sign the paperwork yet” – something like that.

Mark Kilmer: "I accepted the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in July before I didn't not accept the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in July." Heh.

Even ridicule along this line won't stop the McAuliffe money hunt. It's all about the Benjamins for that guy.
Could this help Bush in California? It can’t hurt!
NJ up for grabs?

A sloppy article by the normally-good John Podhoretz in today's New York Post. It's all well-worn Presidential politics, but no answers to the question why New Jersey (normally a safe blue state) might be up for grabs this year.

Here's a hint: New Jersey lost the second largest number of its citizens on 9/11. NJ might be a little more concerned about the war on terrorism.
Massachusetts up for grabs?

It may be after the Democratic National Convention. It looks like the Dems are going to tick off everybody anywhere close to Boston:

The staggering scope of the security measures for the Democratic National Convention became clear yesterday, as state and federal authorities detailed changes that surpassed the worst fears of many residents and businesses: nearly 40 miles of major roadway closures, a vehicle-free zone around the FleetCenter, and parking bans that will extend through the Back Bay.
Hey, I’m not saying the Republicans’ New York convention is going to be any better, but the persistent stream of bad news about the Dems’ convention is impossible to ignore.
Air America conspiracy alert: Driving home tonight I heard the clowns at Air America discussing the possibility (probability?) of Bush declaring martial law and suspending the November elections.

Fools: don't you know we already have Osama? He'll be doing the perp walk in September.
Bloggus Interruptus

Frankly, I knew the day was coming. I just couldn't keep up the pace of blogging at work and keep it unnoticed. Basically I was told to "cool it" so now my blogging will be limited to my home computer. Apologies to my loyal readers - both of you.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The free market in action

From the WashPost: Fuel Sippers Gaining on Heavyweights As gasoline prices continue to rise, large vehicles lose favor

As average gas prices have topped $2 a gallon this month for the first time, cracks are emerging in America's decade-long obsession with bigger and bigger vehicles. Drivers are starting to think about the cost of cruising in two tons of steel, and some are turning to a new crop of innovative -- and more economical -- smaller cars.
Isn’t that great? The cost of gas goes up and SUV sales go down. Freedom, baby! The freedom to pay $200 to fill your gas tank or the freedom to buy a Prius. It’s up to you, America!

Of course, if John Kerry gets elected (shudder), here’s the government-mandated vehicle we’ll all have to drive:

And we’ll have to carpool.
A stupendously bad prophet

In today’s Opinion Journal, Ronald Bailey details many false predictions of “reverse Cassandra” Paul Ehrlich. We’re gonna freeze, we’re gonna broil, we’re gonna starve, we’re gonna run out of everything – Ehrlich, the modern-day acolyte of Thomas Malthus, is always wrong but true believers still flock to his message of doom.

The article has a minor flaw: it leaves out one of my favorite stories about the errant environmentalist, a tale of complete refutation that should have embarrassed Ehrlich into silence (but didn’t). Twenty-four years ago, economist Julian Simon asked doomsayer Ehrlich to put up or shut up:

And after a decade of being attacked or ignored by Ehrlich, Simon resolved to show Ehrlich what a joke the doomsayers were. The two never debated (Ehrlich refused, calling Simon a "fringe character"), rather he put his money were his mouth was. In 1980, when Ehrlich was still predicting imminent scarcity, Simon set up a bet wherein he would sell Ehrlich $1,000 dollars worth of any five commodities that Ehrlich chose. Ehrlich would hold the commodities for ten years. If the prices rose -- meaning scarcity -- Simon would buy the commodities back from Ehrlich at the higher price. If the prices fell, Ehrlich would pay Simon the difference. Professor Ehrlich jumped at the bet, noting that he wanted to "accept the offer before other greedy people jumped in."

In October of 1990, Ehrlich mailed Simon a check for $570.07. As Simon predicted, free markets provided lower prices and more options. Simon would have won even if prices weren't adjusted for inflation.
I love that part where Simon allowed Ehrlich to choose the commodities (for the record, he picked copper, chrome, nickel, tin, and tungsten). That’s a mighty burn.

Extra: See also Reason v. Faith in Capitalism magazine for more on the Simon-Ehrlich wager.
Jeff Jacoby provides some much-needed perspective to the gas price debate: “Sky-high gas prices? Not really.”
The 9/11 hearings jump the shark

That’s the opinion of the American Spectator today:

The 9/11 Commission hearings reached a terminal level of absurdity in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday. Commissioners spent their time attacking the officials responsible for preventing a much greater loss of life, thereby giving the venerable Western tradition of self-criticism another black eye. Meanwhile, spectators and survivors continued to play the card of victimhood, interrupting testimony and carrying on with all the dignity of antiwar protesters at a rally in Union Square.
The NY Post agrees with “A National Disgrace.”
Were hand puppets used?

This Boston Globe article on the Kerry-Nader meeting cracked me up. It opens: “Senator Kerry tried to persuade presidential rival Ralph Nader to quit the race yesterday” but by paragraph four we find “Kerry did not explicitly ask Nader to drop out.”

How was Kerry’s request conveyed? Mime? Etch-a-Sketch? Hand shadows? Charades? The mind reels.
The new House of Ketchup has two Viking Pundit links, so it must be good. Check it out over at The American Mind.
The humor of the New York Times corrections page

This one today is a classic:

An article on Monday about the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that ended school segregation misstated a word in a paraphrase from President Bush, who attended a ceremony in Topeka, Kan. He called for a continuing battle to end racial inequality — not equality.
A gaffe for the Times is when they accidentally reveal their bias.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Full of caveats and pointless embellishments” - Slate starts a new feature: Kerryisms
Not the New York Post and not the Washington Times

The New York Times (!!!) criticized John Kerry’s demagoguery on gas prices today:

Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, knows this [releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve won’t bring down gas prices], of course, and he demeans the seriousness of his own candidacy when he suggests that President Bush could single-handedly bring down fuel costs. Senator Kerry has urged the administration to stop buying oil for the reserve, as if that would make a difference. Fortunately, some residue of shame has kept him from joining the other Democrats calling for the reserve to be raided.
Now I have to stick my head out the window to see if the sky is green and the grass is blue. (And I’m not in Kentucky.)
Catching up on things - I've been out all day so that I could see my son perform "Splish Splash" at his elementary school.
A glass-half-empty resolution on judicial nominees

From the WashPost - President, Senate reach pact on judicial nominees: “The White House pledged yesterday that President Bush will not bypass the Senate in appointing federal judges for the next eight months as part of a bipartisan deal to break a seven-week impasse over votes on Bush's judicial nominees.”

In exchange for allowing votes on 25 “non-controversial” nominees, Bush agrees not to make recess appointments. I agree with NRO’s Jonathan Adler: this strikes me as a minor defeat for the White House. Yes, more Bush-nominated judges will gain the federal bench, but it seems like a capitulation to the fact that the President is supposed to have the right to shape the federal judiciary.
Well get a move on! - “Nader is not yet on any state ballot.”

It’s the strangest thing, though. In polls, when Nader is left off the list of choices, it almost never translates to an advantage to Kerry. So he may not help Bush, but it’s sure fun watching him drive the Kerry people up the wall.
More DNC convention woes

Another day, another portent of disaster for the Democratic National Convention - "Police plan to broaden convention picketing"

Boston's main police union is planning to set up a picket line at the FleetCenter when construction begins for the Democratic National Convention in three weeks, and has applied for 29 additional permits to protest outside of the delegation welcome parties scheduled for the night before the convention begins in late July.
When the police picket, who holds them back?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Wishful Thinking Watch: “Iraq War Weakens Bond Between Bush, Evangelicals

Oh please. Yeah, instead of running to the polls on election day, they’ll merely walk. Quickly.
Bitter has the latest Vast Right Wing Conspiracy theory. Now the Republicans are fixing votes to embarrass John Kerry. And it’s working!
Flip-flop du jour

Today's humorous headline: "Kerry chides Bush over record high gas prices"

I can only assume that Senator Splunge was criticizing Bush because gas prices aren't nearly high enough:

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.
Yes, yes, it's a terrible idea during an election year! Splunge!
New York, London, Paris, Madrid – everybody talk about Olympics!

Pop pop pop pop shoo-pop.

(Sorry – couldn’t resist. Munich was not on the list)
College professors – liberal? No!

In my senior year at Rutgers, I took a class on World War II taught by a half-crazed history professor who literally spent the first twenty minutes of every class inveighing against George Bush Sr. and Desert Shield/Storm. After the 100-hour land war, he showed up Monday morning and simply said: “I guess everything worked out” then never spoke of it again. That is a true story.

So this story in the Boston Globe doesn’t surprise me: “Professors back Kerry with campaign giving.” But what’s this towards the bottom?

Despite Kerry's edge in the higher-education competition, Bush enjoys a huge lead over the Massachusetts senator in overall fund-raising, $185.1 million, compared with $79 million through March. The incumbent holds a commanding lead in every other major industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Yes, but Kerry has the Berkeley English department behind him.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Just wait a moment

Everybody but everybody is talking about the chemical agents that may or may not have been found in Iraq. Please read this over and over:

However, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the results were from a field test, which can be imperfect, and said more analysis was needed. If confirmed, it would be the first finding of a banned weapon upon which the United States based its case for war.
Not to be pessimistic, but I have a gut feeling that this is going to amount to nothing (e.g. not really chemicals or old lost shells from the Iran-Iraq war). I'd love to be proven wrong. We'll see.
Can you feel the enthusiasm? A continuing series

From the Boston Globe, here’s Jimmy Hoffa on Senator J. Francois Kerry:

The Teamsters president, James Hoffa, told reporters afterward, ''He's OK on trade, he's going to be fine on trade, he understands the issue.”
Damning with faint praise, that.
Why am I not surprised? From the Independent (UK): “Saudi Royal Guards ‘aided Al Qaeda’ in Riyadh bombins that left 35 dead
Happy first blogoversary to Boots and Sabers!
Paging Dr. DB

Well, the good doctor is in Peru right now, but if he were here, I’m sure he’d have something to say about this story: “Premiums rising 11% for doctors

The largest malpractice insurer in Massachusetts will raise doctors' premiums 11 percent on July 1, angering physicians who said the growing premiums are driving their colleagues out of the profession, out-of-state, or to give up certain high-risk procedures.

Malpractice premiums -- which under the new rates will climb to more than $90,000 annually for many Massachusetts neurosurgeons and $72,000 for orthopedic surgeons -- have become a rallying cry for doctors. They are pushing for federal and state legislation to limit jury awards and argue that the rising rates are contributing to shortages of certain types of specialists, particularly obstetricians and neurologists.
The Democrats have blocked tort reform because it cuts into the income of their favorite special-interest group: the trial lawyers.
Interesting graph on Silent Running: Security Fence construction in Israel vs. suicide attacks thwarted
Pictures of Alex / make my life so wonderful [apologies to the Who]

Here’s how Mickey Kaus sums up the Alexandra Kerry in a see-through dress brouhaha: “Hello? Do Americans want a first daughter who parades around in a dress Paris Hilton would be embarrassed to wear?” Corollary question: do Americans want a first daughter named “Alexandra?”

I know this is small potatoes in the grand scheme, but doesn’t this mini-controversy stir up all the salacious imagery of the Clinton years? Remember, Al Gore famously blamed Clinton’s lasciviousness on the loss of religious voters, especially in Tennessee and Arkansas. As Mickey also notes: “I guess Kerry really is writing off the South!”
With the dysfunctional family that is the Democratic Party gathering together in Boston in July, this seems appropriate.
Kerry Vote Watch

You would have thought that after the embarrassment of missing the vote to extend unemployment benefits that Senator Splunge would have seen the error of his ways. Maybe he would show up for work a couple of days. Or maybe he’d do the right thing and resign his Senate seat so that Massachusetts could have adequate representation.

Nope. There were nine floor votes in the Senate last week – Kerry missed ‘em all.

Days worked: 3
Voting percentage = 14/94 = 15%
Free to Marry – Same-sex marriages start today in Massachusetts

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Smoot-Hawley redux

From Fox News: Kerry: I’ll toughen trade deals. Choice quote:

“But Kerry has a nuanced position on trade.”
Why is it the position of Democrats that, whatever problems there may be in trade, they can be solved with more regulation? (And I’ll admit in the interest of fairness that Bush’s tariffs on steel imports did nothing to help the American steel industry.) Leave capitalistic free trade alone already. Geez.
Wow – Michigan too? The Hedgehog Report has the numbers showing Bush up by 4%. Now if we can just get Ohio back in line.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Echoes of Dukakis' demise in Kerry's bid

Here's Steve Berg in the Minnesota Star-Tribune:

My mind drifts easily these days to the steamy summer of 1988 when, in the midst of my 15 years as a political reporter, I witnessed up close the perfect crime: the skillful, premeditated and gradual dismemberment of the Democratic presidential nominee.
He also criticizes Senator Splunge for his lack of organization in Minnesota. Another blue state up for grabs?
Wizbang on Kerry speaking to imaginary foreign leaders again: “When 4 year olds have imaginary friends it is cute. When potential leaders of the free world have imaginary friends it is sorta creepy.”
Glenn Reynolds thinks that the Daily Mirror (UK), which had published fake Abu Ghraib pictures, made a “forthright admission of error.” Terpsboy is, um, somewhat less forgiving.
It'll never happen

The dream of a Kerry-McCain ticket simply refuses to die.

I agree with both Captain Ed and Steven Taylor: what does this say about the Kerry candidacy? Are the Democrats so desperate to win that they'll abandon even party loyalty? Sometimes these people frighten me.

Update: Mark Kilmer has some thoughts. “Falderal?”
Bizarro World update: Bush leads Kerry by 5% in Oregon?

Meanwhile, a Bluegrass Poll shows Bush up by 12% in Kentucky and slightly ahead of Kerry in Utah (as David Wissing notes: “a razor-thin margin of 45%”). Ha-ha.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Leno in Las Vegas: I just caught part of his monologue and, at the mention of John Kerry, a small group cheering was quickly drowned out by a much larger (or at least louder) contingent who obviously were not fans of Senator Splunge.

It was great. Did anybody else catch that?
Factcheck reviews a Media Fund ad by Clinton hatchet-man Harold Ickes: “It's hard to cram this much distortion into a mere 30 seconds, but Ickes' group is up to the task.”
Heartless corporate America!

Imagine the headlines if an Enron or Halliburton pocketed employees' health insurance deductions without actually covering them with health insurance!
What company (possibly) bilked employees out of their promised health insurance? Here's the story.
Mark Noonan on Blogs for Bush gives some vital context on all these recent polls showing that Bush is sliding. Long story short: don’t panic, Bush supporters.
Mark Kilmer notes that John Kerry finally returned to the Senate to do some “work.” Well, not really.
This one’s a keeper

Set your bookmarks to this post at Right Wing News so you can refer back during the presidential campaign – a long list of quotes by and about John “Senator Splunge” Kerry.

Extra: View from a Height has more from Kerry’s banished book “The New Solider.” It’s pretty much the standard anti-war stuff but it gives pause: if Kerry opposed the Vietnam war so much – as far back as 1966 – why does he hold up his service as his entire justification for becoming commander-in-chief?
Glenn Reynolds: “Air America's Randi Rhodes' calling for President Bush to be shot: If you make a death threat on a radio network no one listens to, does it make a sound?” Ouch!
Betsy Newmark, unfortunately, is correct: "However, now that Berg's father blamed Bush and Rumsfeld for his son's murder and says that Al Qaeda is "probably" just as bad as Bush, the media might be willing to devote more time to the story. If it has a Bush-bashing angle, it must be news." Yep.
Posting may be spotty today as I'm feeling a little under the weather.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Survivor update: Rupert wins $1 million “Viewer’s Choice” prize

I voted for him twice.
57 Varieties of Commentary - Sean H. has the latest House of Ketchup at American Mind
Oh the humanity! – More tales of abuse from Guantanamo Bay, via Slant Point.
Media review

Are conservatives naturally more intelligent? If you’ve been watching “Power Players” week on Jeopardy, the evidence speaks for itself. Tucker Carlson won on Monday and Ari Fleischer won yesterday. No conservatives on Tuesday, but Kwesi Mfume was beaten badly by Anderson Cooper of CNN. Tonight, left-wing “intellectual” Al Franken takes on Gretchen Carlson (CBS) and Keith Olbermann.

Speaking of Al Franken, Air America is in a tailspin. Media man Jeff Jarvis now doubts that it will last until the election. I listened for five minutes this morning and I can’t tell you how paranormally pathetic it was. The “Morning Sedition” gang played the audio of a Bush television ad and all they could comment on was the background music. I’m not making this up. They said it was “hypnotic” and segued into vituperation about how Bush supporters were part of a “cult.” As for me, I have a seat next to Karl Rove when the saucer takes us to Blisstonia.

Finally, American Idol was indeed a shocker last night as LaToya London was voted off, allowing – somehow – the much-less-talented Jasmine into the final three and causing the Smarter Cop to gripe We’re a tone-deaf nation.” Something is definitely screwy with the AI votes this season. If Fantasia, who clearly has the best voice, is voted off next week leaving behind two white girls, there’s gonna be a backlash.

From a Boston Globe story about Senator Splunge flapping his gums with Imus:

When Imus suggested that ''there are over a billion people, more or less, in this world who want every American on the planet dead," Kerry did not contest the point, saying, ''That's why, frankly, and I don't say this casually, but I really believe that is why we need a new president of the United States."
Now you understand why GOP man Marc Racicot says that Kerry has a “defective” character. But maybe I’m missing something. Tell me, Senator Splunge, how changing our leader will somehow engender the goodwill of the Islamic world. Which candidate do you think Al-Qaeda is rooting for? Just wondering.
I have a word for Kerry, but I think it’s hyphenated

Sure, the latest poll numbers from Pew Research are discouraging for Bush supporters, but this can’t be good either:

A national survey released yesterday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows a wide range of word choices by those who were asked ''what one word best describes your impression" of Bush or Kerry.

In the earlier survey, 18 percent chose honest to describe Kerry, but no one used that word in the May survey.
Pew surveyed 1,800 adults for this poll.
A Party, and a party, in disarray

Things are going from bad to worse for the Democratic National Convention. From the Boston Globe: “Convention budget overruns pose new woes.”

The price tag for FleetCenter construction and event production for the Democratic National Convention could be as much as 40 percent higher than originally budgeted, forcing the party and local organizers to consider cutting back on spending or asking presidential candidate John F. Kerry to help close the gap.
Time to mortgage another house!
Today’s must-read

Jeff Jacoby on “The images we see – and those we don’t

Yes, Virginia, there really is a gaping media double standard. News organizations will shield your tender eyes from the sight of a Berg or a Daniel Pearl being decapitated, or of Sept. 11 victims jumping to their deaths, or of the mangled bodies on the USS Cole, or of Fallujans joyfully mutilating the remains of four lynched US civilians. But they will make sure you don't miss the odious behavior of Americans or American allies, no matter how atypical that misbehavior may be or how determined the US military is to uproot and punish it.
Don’t miss it.
The world’s largest democracy votes for a new direction

The Economist has the best article today on the results of India’s elections: “A stunning defeat for Vajpayee.” John Miller in NRO’s Corner thinks it’s somewhat of a setback for the U.S.: “[Vajpayee’s] nationalist government, an ally in the war on terror, had strong support from the country's booming middle class, whose success is something both Indians and Americans should celebrate. Now power swings away from it and toward a coalition led by Sonia Gandhi, whose strength derives in part from India's left-wing and the rural poor.”
I give up on pinging Weblogs. Is the whole system totally down?
From Best of the Web: “Why Kerry Should Resign”

We understand that campaigning for president requires a lot of time and travel, and it would be unreasonable to expect Kerry to be in Washington for every Senate vote. But his frequent absences are depriving Massachusetts residents of full representation in Congress, and in this case having what Kerry himself would view as a deleterious effect on public policy.
It’s not just the floor votes. Major legislation is being drafted in Senate committees and caucus discussions without the input of a Massachusetts representative. Who knows what highway or education funds were unallocated for Bay Staters because Kerry refuses to resign his Senate seat and allow for a full-time representative to serve the interest of the state? If Kerry had been doing his job, could he have prevented this development?

The US Navy is considering slashing its attack submarine force by as much as a third, according to an internal study, as a cost-saving measure that would dramatically reduce the workforce at facilities in New England that build and service the fleet.
Maybe it’s a ploy by Kerry to increase unemployment before the election.
The Man without Qualities comments on the absurdity of John Kerry attacking Donald Rumsfeld and naming potential secretaries of the defense. Meanwhile, the New England Republican (the other one) links to a quip about how Kerry keeps moving down the attack line.
This is thoroughly depressing - Tim Blair is taking the next month off and before leaving he updated his blogroll. No Viking Pundit. However, he did find space for the Dullest Blog in the World. [sigh]
Advantage: Viking Pundit

Earlier this week, I cited the Stanford Prison Experiment psychological study as a possible explanation for the abuse at Abu Ghraib. Today in Slate, William Saletan asks: “Can the Stanford Prison Experiment explain Abu Ghraib?” (His answer: no)

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Look, up in the sky!

A plane pulling a Bush sign flys over a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry D-Mass., Tuesday, May 11, 2004, in downtown Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Missed Senate votes - then and now

Back when all the Democrats were scrambling through the early primary states:

“All of the candidates have been here for all the votes where their vote was needed to win,” said Jay Carson, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). “As long as that remains the case, it’s not an issue.”
And from Fox News today: “Kerry’s absence dooms jobless benefits vote

For the record, here’s the roll call vote from the Senate web page.
Times Bias Watch

Nick Kristof has an otherwise fabulous article in today’s NY Times about the quiet revolt against the ruling mullahs in Iran. Everywhere he goes in the country, Kristof meets Iranians who are weary of Islamic rule. But then, apropos of nothing, he concludes his column with this graf:

There's a useful lesson here for George Bush's America as well as for the ayatollahs' Iran: when a religion is imposed on people, when a government tries too ostentatiously to put itself "under God," the effect is often not to prop up religious faith but to undermine it. Nothing is more lethal to religious faith than having self-righteous, intolerant politicians (who wince at nose studs) drag God into politics.
Old habits die hard at the Times.
Obvious headline of the day: “Kerry camp strives for consistent message
Wednesdays are for W

In a post titled “How Dumb is Al Qaeda?” Andrew Sullivan stands amazed that the Islamofascists tried to break our spirit by the brutal execution of Nick Berg:

They think they terrify us by this? The gang-murder of an unarmed, innocent civilian? And they think that it will add to the shame of Abu Ghraib, demoralize Americans still further, and prompt a withdrawal? In fact, of course, the Berg beheading does a grim but salutary service. In the midst of our own deserved self-criticism, we are suddenly reminded of the larger stakes, the wider war, why we are in Iraq in the first place.
I believe in President Bush for the same reason that Abraham Lincoln supported Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. “I can’t spare this man,” said Lincoln, “he fights.” George Bush recognizes that (whether we want to admit it or not) we’re in a global war on terror, a fight we cannot ignore or shrink away from. His opponent, on the other hand, believes the war against terror is overstated and primarily a law-enforcement endeavor. I suggest the former district attorney should serve a subpoena to Nick Berg’s murderers.

Today is the day that I urge readers to volunteer or donate to President Bush’s re-election; then check out all the other “Wictory Wednesday” bloggers working to keep America safe and strong. It’s important. Thank you.
The Boston Herald – no fan of Senator Splunge – has an editorial today called “Kerry a no-show when it counts”. Love it.
NY Post editorials don’t have a reputation for subtlety or nuance. Today’s editorial on “Nick Berg’s Murder” – with some mild expletives and red-faced rhetoric – is no exception. – “In case the world needed a reminder of why America is waging its War on Terror, it got one yesterday.”
For election 2004, is Ohio the new Florida? The Washington Post examines how the race for the presidency is shaping up in the Buckeye State.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Teresa to release all some two pages now this summer October

From a Waffles press release:

Mrs. Heinz Kerry stated that she will make available the first two pages of the Form 1040 for 2003 once it is prepared and filed in October. Mrs. Heinz Kerry files a separate tax return from her husband, Senator John Kerry.
She’s filed an extension with the IRS and will release two pages a couple of weeks before the election? Now I’m really suspicious! The full press release also takes great pains to note that charitable donations are on behalf of the Heinz Foundation which is a separate entity...although apparently she claims these same charitable deductions on her personal income tax.

I must say: I predicted last week that Teresa would never allow a full disclosure of her charitable deductions because of her questionable support of the Tides Foundation.
WashTimes review of Bill Sammon’s “Misunderestimated – “Mr. Sammon feels that there is a very real leftist plot in the press and among Democrats to get Mr. Bush. He documents this with quotes from the alleged perpetrators at press conferences. The quotes are damning. Some of the participants are very senior and respected White House and Pentagon correspondents.”

In other news, the Pope is indeed Catholic.
Monsters Militants Behead American Hostage in Iraq
Dream headline: “Kerry misses Senate vote, shafts American workers

As somebody who has been highly critical of Kerry’s absence from the U.S. Senate, I’ve been waiting for this day. From the WashPost: “Senate Rejects Unemployment Benefit Extension

The Senate by a single vote rejected an election-year effort Tuesday to extend federal unemployment benefits.

Democrats tried to attach the benefit to a corporate tax bill. On a 59-40 vote in the GOP-controlled Senate, they fell just shy of the 60 votes needed to overcome objections that extending the benefits violated last year's budget agreement.

Massachusetts Sen . John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was the only senator who missed the vote. Kerry was campaigning Tuesday in Kentucky.
No complaints of dirty tricks, my conspiratorial readers. This was a legislative rider proposed by the Senate Democrats. Oh the irony, the sweet sweet irony.
What’s going to happen when Bush has a good week? Despite all the bad news and low job approval numbers, Bush extends his lead over Kerry in both the USA Today/Gallup and Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP polls.
Kerry Enthusiasm Update – “Ward Reilly, of Baton Rouge, nodded thoughtfully over his plate of jambalaya. "I'm for John Kerry, but to be truthful, I don't like the guy that much myself," he said.”
Johnny! Time to rub the bunions

J. Francois Kerry is taking a phony-tough stand against those who would besmirch his beloved Teresa. This seems to be a pre-emptive attack against those who would demand to see Teresa’s tax returns; that is, asking for her tax returns is the same as attacking her personally. (Just like noting that Kerry repeatedly voted against defense programs is “attacking his patriotism.”)

Except for compliance of the liberal press, I don’t see how candidate Kerry can possibly get away with holding back on his spouse’s tax returns. This is particularly true of Kerry, who is entirely dependent on his wife for his political and personal welfare.

Extra: the Cracker Barrel Philosopher has more on the taxing couple.
Hate speech at Err America

Via Cynical Nation, here’s an audio clip from Air America yesterday openly advocating the assassination of President Bush. No kidding.
Can you feel the enthusiasm? A continuing series

From the Boston Globe: “Old Kerry Digs up for Rent

What's in a name? Maybe $19,900. That's what the owner of a Colonial-style home in Groton is asking in rent for the week of the Democratic National Convention. If that seems like a lot for one week, it is, but then John Kerry's family used to live in the house. Listed on a DNC website, the 3,000-square-foot residence is hardly handy to the FleetCenter, but it does have a wet bar and butler's pantry -- a nice amenity if you're bringing your butler to the convention. Kerry's parents moved into the house in 1962 and left in 1977. Carol Molloy, a lawyer who owns the place these days, is hoping a wealthy admirer of the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate will rent it. How many calls has she gotten so far? "I haven't heard anything," she said yesterday.
No takers to stay in the home of a future President? You can see where Kerry’s butler worked!
Senator Splunge takes responsibility...not

From the American Spectator Prowler:

Then there is growing rift between Kerry and his policy and senior strategists. On at least two occasions in the past month, reporters have asked the candidate to defend remarks made on the stump, including positions and plans on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and corporate outsourcing. In each instance, Kerry defended his position by first trying to clarify it, then by running away from it by blaming his speechwriters.
If I had a nickel for everytime the word "clarify" appeared in a story about Kerry...whew!
"I am so smart - S M R T" - OK, I fixed the comment text color from unreadable gray to black. So comment away!

And, yes, I know I should get off Blogspot like all the "real" bloggers but I refuse to pay for the service and let's just say the Viking Pundit tip jar isn't overflowing. So I'm stuck here, making the best of Blogspot. Thank you all for your concern. The show must go on!
Most likely the only story today with the words “cyborgian innards

Scot Lehigh in the Boston Globe has an article titled “Will Bush fight Kerry like Tyson or the Terminator?

And yet, though Bush has bounced back to a basic tie, he has not dealt Kerry a crippling blow. Now, having raised $67 million in the last two months, Kerry has a chance to repair the damage by presenting himself in a flattering light with a heavy buy of biographical spots.
I’m fascinated by all the chatter about Kerry’s Vietnam biographical Vietnam ads. I caught one on CNN this past weekend and I thought it was awful. It focused almost entirely on the man with nearly no details about his record. There’s some vague reference to “fighting for people” – Bob Shrum alert! – which, based on Kerry’s scant legislative record, must mean “I voted just like Ted Kennedy wanted me to.”
Greatest advice ever (about Blogger)

When I started this blog a year-and-a-half ago, Moe Freedman of Occam’s Toothbrush told me: “Teach yourself some HTML code.” And he was right! You should check Moe’s blog every day.

Anyway, as you may have noticed, Blogger changed individual post links into their own pages. But if you have very short posts, the text is centered vertically and you have to scroll down to see it. Down near the bottom of the template HTML code, directly above the code for (div class=”date”) is a line that should read on most blogs as (td bgcolor=”white”)

This is the background color for the main text section. If you change it to this:

(td bgcolor="white" valign="top")

Then when you click on individual post links, they will appear on top with the comments below.

Next mission: change the comment font color from gray to something readable. But first I need to do my morning commentary. Hope this helps some of you.

[change parentheses to less-than/greater-than for the HTML code listed above]
The agony of Blogger

OK, I have no idea what's going on with comments. It looks like you have to go to an individual post to comment - HOWEVER - when you click on individual posts, they get centered vertically on the screen. As a result, you have to scroll down to see the post and comments.

Does anyone know how to tweak the HTML template code to place posts on TOP and not centered vertically to the page? Then you can see the post and comments right away.

Thanks - Eric

Monday, May 10, 2004

Blogger update

Well, I tried out a new template but it totally crowded out the content to include a fat column for a profile. Thank heaven I saved my template HTML code so I could change back. In other news, I've enabled comments through Blogger so this post should have comments now. [crossing fingers]

Update: Oh well, I'll try again later.

Update again: Comments are UP! Have at it.

Last update: Something's wrong. The permalink is merged with the post link. I have to go to bed.

No comments for now...I think. I'm working on it....
Iowa for Bush reports on W’s visit to Dubuque - Funny line: “About 20 minutes later when the cops have had enough, they tell these protesters to ""!” Heh.
Future shock

This Weekly Standard article titled “All Hat and no Cattle” starts out by honestly detailing all the missteps of the Bush administration from profligate overspending to a confused response to the insurgency in Iraq. But, in the end, on issues military and economic, the author concludes that a Kerry presidency would be much, much worse:

Not exactly inspiring reasons to fight for the reelection of the president, but reasons of sufficient weight to hope that Kerry continues his feckless wandering about the country in search of a message other than "I want to add 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to my portfolio of homes."
So that’s his message! People were starting to wonder....
Great Rumsfeld cartoon on Occam’s Toothbrush.
An actual Err America paycheck? (Via Zonitics)
I knew that English degree would come in handy someday

Via Pejman, or D-Minor, or Accidental Verbosity, or somewhere, here’s the master list with the books I’ve read in bold.

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily - Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment

Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary (half)
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms

Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García - One Hundred Years of Solitude (half)
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion

Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard - Native Son

There’s a few books I’ve “read” but didn’t finish. For example, three times I tried to finish Madame Bovary – “it’s a classic!” they said – but I just couldn’t do it. I loathe literature that bores in (pun intended) on the travails of rich people, such as everything written by Jane Austen.
Worst Survivor ever – For so-called “experienced” players, why couldn’t anybody see that the Rob-Amber alliance needed to be broken up weeks ago? Even when they were down to five, there was hope.

Silver lining: at least Rupert will get $1 million. Vote here for Rupert as the Viewer's Choice Survivor.
Kerry Vote Watch

As somebody who reviews the Senate voting record on a weekly basis, this has got to be some kind of record. Usually, in addition to John Kerry, there’s a half-dozen or so Senators who miss votes for various reasons (e.g. medical). Last week there were eight floor votes taken in the Senate and on seven of these votes, there was only one Senator listed as “not voting” every time. You guessed it!

Days worked in the Senate this session: 3
Voting percentage: 14/85 = 16%
Zogby telegraphs the result he wants

Drudge tries to curdle the cream in my coffee this morning with a statement by pollster John Zogby that this is “Kerry’s election to lose.” Reading this TownHall article on Zogby’s comments, it’s clear there’s no there there. Zogby takes some dubious historical precedents (the John Adams-Thomas Jefferson race???) and extrapolates them into modern politics. On Kerry’s ability to come from behind - “Zogby said to remember Gov. Bill Weld, who was thought to be the favorite against Kerry but who lost a close election when Kerry came alive and beat him” – Zogby utterly disregards the context of this “victory.” It wasn’t that Kerry suddenly came alive and dazzled Massachusetts voters. In a word, he cheated:

So let's go back to 1996, to Kerry's reelection campaign against then-Governor Bill Weld, specifically to the night Weld met Kerry at the senator's wife's Beacon Hill mansion. They finalized an unprecedented agreement to limit advertising spending to $5 million apiece, and to limit the use of personal funds in the campaign to $500,000 apiece.

Good government types hailed the agreement as a major breakthrough. Kerry and Weld basked in the plaudits of editorialists the nation over. Kerry described the pact as "a model for campaign reform across the country."

But a funny thing happened on the way to Election Day. Kerry didn't just violate the deal, he pulverized it. Running out of money in the waning days of October, Kerry mortgaged and remortgaged the Louisburg Square house, ultimately pouring $1.7 million in personal funds into his campaign. For those of you keeping track at home, that's $1.2 million more than the agreement allowed.

As he made a mockery of the pact, he did something else distinctly distasteful. He accused Weld of violating the agreement, a charge that seemed specious at best, an outright lie at worst.

I often point out that the blogosphere is full of characters who love to buck the conventional wisdom, if only for the temporary fame of a contrary, and controversial, opinion. I can’t help but feel that Zogby was trying to shake up some conservatives at the Free Congress Foundation and grab a headline (mission accomplished!) but it will be worth it if, as the TownHall article concludes, it shakes conservatives out of complacency.
The highly effective defense secretary owes it to the nation's war on terror to soldier on.” – William Safire in today’s NY Times article “Rumsfeld should stay
Oh my heck...what has Blogger done? Bear with me: new posting format.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

500 Blogs for Bush

Forget that empty rhetoric about the “fired up” Democratic base. Where’s the beef? Blogs for Bush has just passed the 500 mark only a month after passing the 400-blog level. That’s real enthusiasm.
Kerry campaign: “The prison scandal in Iraq has been a black eye for America. So send us cash!” Classy.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Election fun

Remember when President Bush was ridiculed by the Democrats for campaigning in California in 2000? A waste of time and money! Mark Kilmer reveals a similar self-delusion in John Kerry:

Along those lines, Kerry advisers have checked the cost of air time in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. They insist that the Vietnam veteran and hunter could overcome the cultural hurdles that tripped up Gore in the South.

Ha-ha! Yeah, Southerners love politicians from New England. However, with recent polls showing statistical ties in Oregon and California (that’s not a typo), perhaps Kerry should shore up his base. Throw some money into Massachusetts too, to be safe.
Captain Ed on Rummy and Kerry

On the heels of a WashPost poll showing wide majorities of Americans believe that Donald Rumsfeld should not resign, Captain Ed notes how Kerry’s cynical ploy has now backfired:

Kerry, who just yesterday called for Rumsfeld's removal, obviously has some explaining to do. His rush to judgment demonstrates his lack of seriousness regarding the war on terror and in leadership. He had the chance to show some genuine leadership by calling for passions to cool until Rumsfeld had a chance to respond and more facts became known. Once again, he put his presidential aspirations ahead of his nation's security and tried to exploit a bad situation for his own personal gain.

Speaking of psychology experiments – For a perspective on how things can get out of control in a prison situation such as Abu Ghraib, check out the details of the Stanford Prison Experiment on Wikipedia.