Friday, June 30, 2006

Dial-up is so 20th century - I'm here on vacation but I can't find a WiFi hookup here in the sticks. Better luck tomorrow (I hope). The only thing worth mentioning is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Busch race tonight and then blew out his transmission during burnouts. His car had to be pushed to Victory lane.
Flood City, USA

The family is heading out for the long weekend, driving over much of the flooded Northeast. But I have my brand-new notebook computer, so I’ll never be far away anymore. (Plus it keeps the kids quiet what with all the games.)
Air America update – Can I make a confession? I used to like Janeane Garofalo as an actress, e.g. she was cute and endearing in “The Truth about Cats and Dogs.” But, whew, she has not mellowed with age. The Radio Equalizer has an exclusive claiming Garofalo’s Air America gig has been cancelled: “A casualty of low ratings, extreme revenue shortfalls, weird on-air behavior and the network's overall poor health, Garofalo's downfall is especially embarrassing considering that as a quasi- Hollywood star, she was once considered a key Air America selling point.”
An evenhanded editorial - The WashPost on Hamden: “In some ways, the ruling replicates a pattern in American history where presidents have acted aggressively in wartime, only to be reined in by courts or Congress. Even some Bush supporters said yesterday that it may be appropriate now to revisit decisions made ad hoc in a crisis atmosphere, when a president's natural instinct is to do whatever he thinks necessary to guard the nation against attack.” There’s no point in reading the Times editorial.
DOS attack repulsed - Or at least rebooted: the Jawa Report is back up and running.
The Hamden decision – The legal ramifications are still being considered and Memeorandum is the best place to sort out all the chatter. Near as I can tell, the decision means that 1.) the U.S. does not have to release Guantanamo prisoners anytime soon and 2.) they have to be tried in a criminal court and not a military tribunal. As a minimum, it’s interesting that Clarence Thomas read his dissenting opinion from the bench for the first time in his 15 years on the Court. More tomorrow.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hooverville, it’s not

Fox News: “U.S. economic growth leapt ahead at an upwardly revised 5.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter, helped by lower imports than first thought and generating strong corporate profits, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.”

Then the Fed eased back on rate hikes leading to this: “Stocks Soar After Fed Decision; Dow Up More Than 215 Points

And even with creeping inflation, the misery index is at a historically low level of 8.77%.

But at least the Democrats can depend on high gas prices, right? Right? Uh-oh.
Campaign funding and the First amendment

One Sunday back when David Brinkley was still hosting This Week, George Will tried to explain to a dim Sam Donaldson how campaign finance limits were an abridgement of free speech (roughly from memory):

Will: “What if the Supreme Court told ABC News that they could only spend so much money? That would be a limit on free press under the First amendment.”
Donaldson: “Well, they can say that money is money and speech is speech and never the twain shall meet.”
Will: [shoots Donaldson a look of disgusted disbelief]

The WashPost columnist is on his crusade again today with “Corrupt campaign finance reform” as he criticizes the Supreme Court’s muddled ruling on Vermont’s funding program. It appears that in that case, $200 limits are too low and thus an abridgement of free speech. But millions from corporate or union sources are too much. Will isn’t having any of it.
Please come to Boston

From the Boston Globe: “New England may see exodus of young talent, study warns

New England states will face a shortage of educated young workers if demographic trends continue, according to a study to be released today, a shift that could exacerbate business leaders' worries about the region's workforce.

The report, by scholars at the universities of Massachusetts and Connecticut, finds that each of those states stands to lose tens of thousands of young workers holding at least a bachelor's degree by 2020, a period when the same critical workforce will grow in other regions.
Small surprise: the cost of living is too high and jobs are scarce. Smaller surprise: most of these jobs are moving to Florida and points south and southwest.
Can’t touch us: it’s in the public interest

Lileks with NY Times reports from the future:

Feb. 14, 2007: Times Editor Keller approves the publication of the Pentagon’s plans for a Feb 15th strike on Iran, asserting that “there has been far too little debate about whether the sustained assault by cruise missiles and stealth bombers will provide a cover for the infiltration of several SpecOps teams from the Iraqi and Afghan bases, or whether these groups, code named ‘Red Six’ and ‘Blue Fourteen’ respectively, might suffer friendly fire. One error in timing, such as the barrage scheduled for the 3 AM on night of the 24th, could expose our troops to great harm. If this leads to a debate about whether the Tomahawk missile can be sent slightly off course by a concentrated microwave burst, as classified documents seem to suggest, it’s a debate we need to have.”
Extra – From the Boston Globe: “Media reporting of secret programs faces House condemnation

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The new Freedom Tower

From Reuters: “Architects in New York unveil new Freedom Tower
Sometimes Karl brings chocolate chip cookies - Tom Elia is disappointed with Andrew Sullivan: “If Mr. Sullivan would only go to the secret meetings and agree to have implanted the special microchip with which to receive Mr. Rove's orders, he would realize that we already have pre-set heights that we are expected to jump.”
The NY Times asks: “What’s the big deal?”

Under fire for revealing a program to track terrorist finances, the NY Times cries “Free press above security” in this muddled editorial:

The Swift story bears no resemblance to security breaches, like disclosure of troop locations, that would clearly compromise the immediate safety of specific individuals. Terrorist groups would have had to be fairly credulous not to suspect that they would be subject to scrutiny if they moved money around through international wire transfers.
The Boston Globe (owned by the Times) helped this meme along with “Terrorist funds-tracking no secret, some say.” McQ on Questions and Observations responded:

Arguments have been made that what the Times published really didn't break any new ground or give away any real secrets. That's like saying that we have a spy operation in Iran is akin to saying we have a spy named Mr. X in Tehran and he lives in a particular house on a particular street.
Let’s delve back into the NY Times editorial:

Our news colleagues work under the assumption that they should let the people know anything important that the reporters learn, unless there is some grave and overriding reason for withholding the information. They try hard not to base those decisions on political calculations, like whether a story would help or hurt the administration.
When the President and the chairmen of the 9/11 Commission ask you not to reveal information, it seems like they might have “grave and overriding” reasons to keep the program secret. As to the latter point, here’s Mort Kondracke:

TUA: And they [journalists] don’t believe that they’re left of the rest of the country either.

Mort: No they don’t. They believe that they are right down the middle. But there are certain moments when you can tell. I remember myself, this is sort of ancient history but when Jimmy Carter announced that he was a born again Christian and that he didn’t favor publicly financed abortion; the mainstream media and I was one of them gasped. They couldn’t believe that a Democratic candidate running for president would declare himself in the open a born again Christian. You know they thought that was from Mars.
And similarly I think an example from last week, is if you looked at the well the whole treatment of NSA spying this latest Swift story the mainstream media acts as though George Bush is a greater danger to American Liberty than Osama Bin Laden.
Writing in the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby reveals what effect the NY Times story is having on the troops in the field:

T.F. Boggs is a 24-year-old sergeant in the Army Reserves serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, where he helps to provide security for a military base in Mosul. He is also an occasional blogger, venting his views at On Sunday, those views took the form of a letter to Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times. Two days earlier, the Times (along with The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times) had exposed the existence of a top-secret government effort to monitor the international movement of funds between Al Qaeda and its financial collaborators.

Your recent decision to publish information about a classified program intended to track the banking transactions of possible terrorists is not only detrimental to America but also to its fighting men and women overseas,” Boggs wrote. “Terrorism happens here every day because there are rich men out there willing to support the . . . terrorist who plants bombs and shoots soldiers. . . . Without money, terrorism in Iraq would die because there would no longer be supplies for IED's, no mortars . . . and no motivation for people to abandon regular work in hopes of striking it rich after killing a soldier. Thank you for continually contributing to the deaths of my fellow soldiers.”
Hey, T.F. Boggs, don’t question the New York Times’ patriotism.

Maddeningly, there’s probably no legal recourse against the Times despite the text of the Espionage Act. The only thing left to do is punish the ‘paper of record’ by boycott and economic pressure. Let’s push that stock price to (yet another) new low.

Extra – From Jack Kelly on RCP: “Bush should welcome a fight with the media.”
Samarra bomber captured – From Fox News: “Iraqi forces have captured a key Al Qaeda suspect wanted in the bombing of a Shiite shrine that brought the country to the brink of civil war, the country's national security adviser said Wednesday.”
South of the border

Robert Samuelson questions why Mexico’s economy lags so far behind in “Mexico’s missing prosperity”:

The subtext for the United States' immigration debate is Mexico. Why doesn't its economy grow faster, creating more jobs and higher living standards? That's the question that inevitably confronts the winner of this Sunday's Mexican presidential election, but it is also a critical question for Americans. A more prosperous country would not be sending so many of its poorest citizens north. Since 1990 about 20 to 25 percent of U.S. immigrants have come from Mexico.

Here is an illuminating comparison. In 1970 average incomes in South Korea were about half those in Mexico. By 2004 Korean incomes were more than twice Mexico's. During those decades, reports the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), average Mexican incomes rose 57 percent, to $9,178 (expressed in constant "2000 dollars"); the comparable Korean gain was 574 percent, to $19,148.
Quel surprise, Mexico’s problems are rooted in an immiscible capitalist model where socialist policies and state-owned businesses hobble the entire economy:

An extreme case in point is Pemex, the state-owned monopoly oil company. Without competitors or complaining shareholders, its operations are lax. In 2004 Pemex had $69 billion in sales and 137,722 employees, according to its Web site; in the same year, Exxon Mobil had $291 billion in revenue and 85,900 employees.
And then there’s the shadow economy which operates outside Mexico’s tax laws which cannot grow and expand. According to Samuelson, up to two-thirds of Mexico’s work force is employed in this “informal economy.”
Put down the bong, Howard

Here’s a very confused Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean:

Dean said he is looking for "the age of enlightenment led by religious figures who want to greet Americans with a moral, uplifting vision."

Later in his speech Tuesday, Dean appeared to backtrack. "I'm not asking to go back to the '60s; we made some mistakes in the '60s," he said. "If you look at how we did public housing, we essentially created ghettoes for poor people" instead of using today's method of mixed-income housing.

Another mistake Democrats made in the '60s, Dean acknowledged, was that "we did give things away for free, and that's a huge mistake because that does create a culture of dependence, and that's not good for anybody, either," he noted, a reference to the Great Society welfare programs created by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in the mid-1960s.
Yeah, those Democrats suck!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My cable just went out – Therefore, I cannot watch the aforementioned Frontline special. In tribute to the universally awful service offered by cable companies, here’s a video of a Comcast repairman who fell asleep on some guy’s couch while on the phone with customer service.
Tonight on FrontlineZimbabwe: Shadows and Lies - "FRONTLINE/World goes undercover in Zimbabwe to reveal what has happened to a country once regarded as a beacon of democracy and prosperity in Africa. Posing as tourists, reporter Alexis Bloom and producer Cassandra Herrman find a population struggling with hunger and poverty, and living in fear of a government that has become a brutal dictatorship."
Blog-ja vu – Bloggers: did you ever write a post only to have it appear virtually word-for-word somewhere else? Check out Betsy’s Sunday post about Joe Biden’s libido titled “TMI, Senator Biden” followed up today with Jonah Goldberg’s “Biden’s TMI” How about a hat tip there, buddy?
John McIntyre writes that the Democrats could benefit by condemning the NY Times in a Sister Souljah moment.

Powerline: “It's good advice, but the Democrats will never take it.”

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blabbermouth media trivia

Apparently the New York Times is not alone among newspapers in revealing secrets to endanger American lives:

Public notice had actually been served that Japanese cryptography was dangerously inadequate by the Chicago Tribune, which published a series of stories just after Midway in 1942 directly claiming — correctly, of course — that the victory was due in large part to US breaks into Japanese crypto systems (in this case, the JN-25 cypher, though which system(s) had been broken was not mentioned in the newspaper stories). Fortunately, neither the Japanese nor anyone who might have told them seem to have noticed either the Tribune coverage, or the stories based on the Tribune account published in other US papers. Nor did they notice announcements made on the floor of the US Congress to the same effect. There were no changes in Japanese cryptography which could, then or now, be connected with those newspaper accounts or Congressional disclosures.
Lucky us.
The NY Times flips over the cards

Anybody who has ever watched professional poker players will notice that they never reveal their hole cards unless their bet is called. Even when the hand is over and the chips have been raked in, the pros will “muck” (throw in) their cards face down so that the other players will never know if they were bluffing or had a great hand. On the surface, there seems to be no good reason for this; after all, the hand is over. The reason is that the pros don’t want to reveal any information at all. If they turn over either a bluff or a strong hand, other poker players will relate this back to facial tics, body language, chip handling, betting patterns, or other “tells” to piece together how the player will react in a given situation.

This simple logic seems to have escaped the New York Times which chose to reveal a legal and secret program to track possible funding of terrorist elements in the United States. NY Times editor Bill Keller wrote a weak defense that was promptly ripped apart by Glenn Reynolds and Hugh Hewitt. For an extra measure of the NY Times mindset, here’s former theater critic Frank Rich revealing his ignorance on CNN’s Reliable Sources only to be smacked down by National Review’s David Frum:

RICH: Can I just say, we have to stop assuming that the terrorists are morons. When the "Times" publishes an NSA story which indicated there was some domestic surveillance involving tracking al Qaeda terrorists or other terrorists, while that story broke, there was a fictional show on Showtime called "Sleeper Cell" about a sort of fictional terror cell in Los Angeles where on the show, in the script, the screen writers imagined that they know they're being wiretapped, even though all the calls are within the United States.

These people aren't idiots. They're very, very dangerous enemies, and the idea that this has changed the equation -- this is some secret that's changed the equation...

KURTZ: David, I've got 10 seconds for a final word.

FRUM: If they're not -- if they're not idiots, then it's very dangerous to confirm what they think might be true as being positively true.
Exactly. Why give the terrorists any information whatsoever about what we might know or might not know? Only the haughty hubris of the NY Times could dream up a justification for selling newspapers that trumps national security.

Extra – Michael Barone – “The New York Times at war with America” Also, Tom Maguire and conservative journalist (?) Matt Hoy weigh in.

More – From AJ Strata: “What does it say when the NY Times go so far over the edge even John Murtha won’t follow? I doubt Keller will survive the summer, the NY Times will need a sacrificial lamb, and it is obvious someone pressured Keller to get out and deal with his anti-American acts.”
I will gladly bite your shiny metal ass – As the biggest Futurama fan in the known universe, this is fantastic news: “Three years after the show last aired on prime time, the cable net has signed a deal to resurrect the former Fox animated series for a minimum 13-episode run.” Kif, notify the men!
Oh, no! John Kerry! – This is easily the funniest line from the Boston Globe article “Democrats split on a second run by Kerry”: “Kerry said he has not made a decision about whether he will run for president again, but he has been laying the groundwork for a potential national campaign.” I’m sure it’s all he thinks about night and day.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bill Gates won’t need coupons anymore – Via CNN, Warren Buffett to leave a huge chunk of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The super-rich just keep getting super-richer.
Texas is greener than Massachusetts

From the Boston Globe magazine: “Environmentalism? Yee haw!

How embarrassing is this? Pro-environment, green-thinking Massachusetts has virtually shut the door to alternative energy developers such as Cape Wind. Meanwhile, oil-loving, redneck Texas is poised to build the nation's largest wind farm. Most of our local political establishment has united in opposition to wind. At the same time, Lone Star politicians are spearheading what they call the "Texas wind rush" in the Gulf of Mexico. Massachusetts was once in the fore-front of developing renewable energies. By the end of this year, Texas will probably be the number one source of wind power in the United States.
For years, the citizens of California refused to build up their own energy infrastructure which in turn forced them to purchase electricity from Texas-owned power farms. The moment demand outstripped supply, the Golden State faced rolling blackouts and Enron-gouged electricity rates. Texas has it figured out: no matter how much people dislike oil, or natural gas, or wind farms, they hate power outages a whole lot more.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Quote of the day - Kim on Wizbang: “In today's editorial, the New York Times tries to defend itself after being roundly denounced for exposing an effective antiterror program that tracked terrorists' financial transactions. Their arguments are complete drivel.” Hey, those newspapers aren't going to sell themselves.

Extra - Michelle Malkin has dozens of Photoshopped WWII posters. Just keep scrolling.
Well that says it all – Via Hot Air: “Marty Peretz: ‘Kos is a moron and quite possibly insane
Sunday morning lineup – The Joe Biden revolution will be televised.
Troop reductions seen in Iraq

From the NY Times: “U.S. General in Iraq outlines troop cuts

The top American commander in Iraq has drafted a plan that projects sharp reductions in the United States military presence there by the end of 2007, with the first cuts coming this September, American officials say.
It’s not a Kerry-level pullout but a fairly significant cutback of more than half the troops by the end of 2007.
NASCAR Saturday

Today we went to see "Cars" which was a lot of fun. Pixar movies are always great for trivia and this one was no different:
The Rust-eze sponsors each send Lightning off with a warning: "Don't drive like my brother!" This is the sign-off phrase for the popular NPR radio show "Car Talk", hosted by Tom and Ray Magliozzi, who also voice the sponsors.
Heh. Now I'm watching the Busch race from Milwaukee while thinking about the Sonoma road course tomorrow. Kurt Busch - one of my fantasy racers - grabbed the pole during qualifying yesterday so I'm hoping for another win.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Buda boom boom boom, another one bites the dust – From Radio Equalizer: “BREAKING: Air America President Gary Krantz has just exited the network. Details to come, including our own bizarre and previously unreported recent experiences with him.”
Dependence on the state = “dignity

James Lileks on the Democrats’ manifesto and Social Security reform:

Ensure Dignified Retirement.” Again, sounds great. Mandatory fedoras for men; a 50 percent reduction in Viagra commercials. But no: the Democrats wish to “prevent the privatization of Social Security,” because you cannot be trusted with your own money. It’s an interesting definition of dignity: waiting by the mailbox for your government check.
Or, as Grandpa Simpson says: “I’m old! Gimme gimme gimme!”
There’s a question to catch your attention – “Are Republicans stingy but principled while Democrats are generous but racist?” (Hat tip: Decision 08)
Kos on the Kross – Blogging fame seems to have fried Markos’ brain. How else to explain this disjointed, self-serving and paranoid rant? While he’s out on the media circuit, his minions are running the asylum. Meanwhile, the New Republic is hitting back with acerbic precision. Less than a month after YearlyKos, he's jumped the shark.
How we see each other

The Boston Globe has an article about a Pew poll and how Muslims and non-Muslims view each other: "Big gap in Western, Muslim views"

People polled in six predominantly Muslim countries -- Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Nigeria -- blame Westerners for the strain in ties and mostly see Americans and Europeans as selfish, arrogant, immoral, and greedy, with opinions of the West and its people worsening over the past year, the survey suggested. In turn, majorities among the non-Muslims polled in most Western countries see Muslims as fanatical and lacking in tolerance.
In other words, the West is successful and maybe proud about it; the Muslims want to kill us. But at least they’re part of the reality-based community:

Moreover, solid majorities of Muslims living in Muslim countries and in Britain said they did not believe that Arabs carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on the United States.
Another lie by the Jew-owned media.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Terrorism update - From Fox News: “Seven nabbed in Miami on terror charges in plot to hit Sears Tower”: “Seven people were arrested on terrorism conspiracy charges Thursday in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack Chicago's Sears Tower and other buildings in the United States, a federal law enforcement official said.”
Pac-Man Fever – If, like me, you spent many a happy afternoon playing Defender or Berzerk, check out “A One-Man ‘80s Arcade Revival” in the WashPost.
A mighty wind blows off Nantucket – From the Boston Globe – “Congress reaches pact on wind farm”: “Congressional leaders reached an agreement on the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm that would give the head of the Coast Guard -- but not the governor of Massachusetts -- the power to order changes to the project or scuttle it entirely if he finds that it would interfere with navigation.” This is a setback for Ted Kennedy who has fought against the wind farm because it will hurt his view of the ocean.
Quick shots

I have to deal with some computer issues tonight but here are some articles of interest:

Victor Davis Hanson – “Why the Democrats won’t win”: “Yes, much of the public is grumpy at high gas prices. It does not like the costs in Iraq and continuing budget deficits. And people worry about unchecked illegal immigration and dangers on the horizon, from Iran to North Korea. But when Americans get inside the voting booth, they probably will think the envisioned Democratic remedy is worse than the current perceived Republican disease.”

Seattle PI: “Democrats’ agenda needs firming up

Dan Balz in the WashPost - “The Democrats Reassess”: “There is also a belief shared at least by some of the participants that Democrats have ridden for too long on what are the fumes of the New Deal and the Great Society, which sustained Democrats for half a century.”

And David Broder with “Thinking outside the blog”:

They declare that "The Democratic Strategist will be firmly and insistently based on facts and data. It will seek strategies rooted in empirical research from the fields of public opinion research, political demography and other social sciences and will avoid empty rhetoric and abstract theorizing."

Would that it were so. That kind of intellectual discipline is sorely needed in Democratic debates. But the first issue is filled with pieces in which familiar Democratic names take up familiar positions, with few of them bothering to adduce any evidence to support their views.
OK, gotta go.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What’s all this then?

From Fox News – “Report: Hundreds of WMDs found in Iraq”:

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, [Senator Rick] Santorum said: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."
Here are Santorum’s bullet points and some more background from Macs Mind, Blogs for Bush, Gateway Pundit, and Ace of Spades HQ:

"Degraded," meaning old, and including both filled and unfilled rounds; but still-- prohibited, undeclared chemical weapons.
Twenty-four hours perspective would help here. Good night.
The energy crunch – Pete DuPont details the “real reason for America’s foreign-oil dependence.” Much of the policy impasse is due to an unhealthy fixation on the promise of ethanol, which is only economically feasible due to heavy federal subsidies.
Nudge nudge wink wink

Here’s the scene from the NY Times article: “On Iraq, Kerry again leaves Democrats fuming”:

Stepping into an elevator on Capitol Hill late last week, Mr. Kerry was asked whether he was under pressure in the Democrats' meetings to withdraw his proposal. As he insisted he was not, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, standing behind him, raised his eyebrows, then winked.
Say no more.
I don’t want to go to Chelsea

Best post title ever! (I’ve been waiting all day to use it). From the Boston Globe: “US finds big drop in Hub populationStudy estimates loss is 5.1% since 2000”:

Boston lost 30,107 residents in the first half of this decade, a precipitous drop that ranked the city among the biggest population losers of any major municipality in the country, according to US Census Bureau estimates to be released today.

The loss represented a 5.1 percent fall from the city's population of 589,141 residents in 2000, the bureau said. It was the seventh highest percentage decrease among large US cities; Cincinnati had the steepest drop from 2000 to 2005, losing 6.8 percent, followed by Detroit, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Flint, Mich.
It’s more of the blue to red shift.

(P.S. - The post title is a song by Elvis Costello. Yeah!)
Must read – From Byron York: “On pre-war intel, Dems will investigate until they win

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

That’s not right - A very disturbing coffee commercial, via the Anchoress.
The not-so-golden years - Despite my repeated warnings that they’re going to end up eating cat food, Americans don’t save enough for retirement and do a rotten job investing for the future. But is federal legislation the solution to this problem? Bulldog Pundit thinks not although we both agree that automatic 401(k) enrollment is a step in right direction.
Bring an umbrella

Me, writing on Hub Politics, last August: “About a year ago, I predicted that it was only a matter of time before they shut down the $15 billion Boston boondoggle known as the Big Dig for safety purposes.”

Today’s Boston Globe - “Big Dig bailing out tunnels”: “More than 1 million gallons of water a month flowed into the Big Dig tunnels through April of this year, a year and a half after managers of the multibillion-dollar project pledged to minimize leaks.” That 1+ million gallons is for the Interstate 93 tunnel alone. Thanks, Ted Kennedy!
The right debate at the wrong time

The current debate in Congress about whether and when to remove troops from Iraq is an important one; it’s altogether proper in our democracy for the legislative branch to make its opinion known for the American voters. But with the grisly discovery of the bodies of two American soldiers, I fear that the timing will serve to reinforce the “Black Hawk Down” effect and embolden our enemies.

Here’s Osama Bin Laden deriding America’s fortitude and capacity for sacrifice after we pulled out of Somalia in 1992:

When the Marines landed in the last days of 1992, bin Laden sent in his own soldiers, armed with AK-47's and rocket launchers. Soon, using the techniques they had perfected against the Russians, they were shooting down American helicopters. The gruesome pictures of the body of a young army ranger being dragged naked through the streets by cheering crowds flashed around the world. The yearlong American rescue mission for starving Somalians went from humanitarian effort to quagmire in just three weeks. Another superpower humiliated. Another bin Laden victory.

"After leaving Afghanistan, the Muslim fighters headed for Somalia and prepared for a long battle, thinking that the Americans were like the Russians," bin Laden said. "The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat. And America forgot all the hoopla and media propaganda ... about being the world leader and the leader of the New World Order, and after a few blows they forgot about this title and left, dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat."
Al Qaeda is watching to see what Congress does. What kind of message do we want to send to both the Iraqi people and the insurgency?
Check it out - From Rick Moran: “The immorality of the Democrats’ position on the war”: “So what the Democrats want to do is snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Just when most of the political pieces to the puzzle are in place, they want to yank the rug out from underneath the Iraqi government and leave them to the tender mercies of the insurgents. And the way they advocate doing it will only mean more Americans dying in what they consider a lost cause.”

Monday, June 19, 2006

Your “sources” are pulling your chain – Truthout stands by the Fitzgerald indictment story, except now it’s Cheney! Ooooh-kay, guys. The Commissar writes: “No evidence, nothing but anonymous sources, no outside corroboration, no documentary evidence, just a story line that will appeal to those who must have Fitzmas. Sound good to me.”
Hidden Mickeys – From the WashPost: “Behind the scenes at Disney World”: “Disney's Cult of Cheerfulness survives even in the no-go zones.”
Congratulations to Betsy & team

Betsy Newmark is the coach for her school’s quiz bowl team and they won the national championship. Today, she posted a picture of her top squad. This was the first comment to the post:

These kids look young and healthy and they obviously look up to you. Since you don't want to see us "cut and run," when are you going to encourage them to sign up to go fight in Iraq?
Like a nice chianti, self-satisfied liberal moralizing is suitable for all occasions.

Extra – Mark Coffey quotes Paul Krugman: “In case you haven’t noticed, modern American politics is marked by vicious partisanship, with the great bulk of the viciousness coming from the right.” Uh-huh.

And this – More vicious partisanship.
Crashing the gates, old school – From the WashPost - “Web users open the gates”: “Newspaper, radio, television ... Web! It made sense at the time. But in the 10 years following the birth of, the Net and its publishing platform, the World Wide Web, have proved harder to master, scarier to get wrong and more thrilling to get right than expected. Wilder, and discontinuous with the past in a way those coming out of traditional journalism never could have imagined.”
The Party with No Agenda fakes conviction

Tom Maguire: “After the 2002 Dem debacle, observers noted complained that you can't beat something with nothing. Here we go again.”

Frank Rich in the NY Times (!): “But as long as the Democrats keep repeating their own mistakes, they will lose to the party whose mistakes are, if nothing else, packaged as one heckuva show. It's better to have the courage of bad convictions than no courage or convictions at all.”

Polipundit: “This strategy exposes them as the power-hungry cowards they are. If you don’t stand for anything, you’ll fall in November.”

Michael Barone: “Good news puts things in a different light and raises the question of just what Democrats would do if in power.”

This past week, Congressional Democrats rolled out their long-awaited agenda for governance, the “New Direction.” Here’s DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel explaining the specifics of “Six in ‘06”:

Gigot: Good. So let's assume you do win in November. What's the first priority--legislative priority--you're going to bring to Congress come January?
Emanuel: In the opening you mentioned the new direction. What we call it is the "Six in '06": increase in the minimum wage; direct negotiations for lower prescription drug prices; a vote on the 9/11 Commission recommendations to make America safe; take the $15 billion in corporate subsidies to big oil and put it towards energy independence; seventh, or rather fifth, is take--restore the cuts in college education, that were 12 1/2 billion dollars in cuts, and make those go back towards opening the doors of college education, and then the pay-go rules as it relates to budget, to put our fiscal house in order and put us on a path to balancing the budget--Six in '06.
For starters, let’s focus on the negotiations for lower drug prices. Excuse my naiveté but I don’t understand how this would work. Due to patent laws, the pharmaceutical companies have exclusive rights to their product; they can charge whatever they wish.

Nancy Pelosi: “$2 per pill for Lipitor is too much. We want it lower.”
Pfizer: “No.”
Then what? As Lawrence Hunter speculates, price “negotiations” would morph into price controls followed by all the vagaries they entail, particularly supply shortages. Pharmaceutical companies, which spend millions to develop drugs, will cut back on life-saving medicines that will face the most price pressure to market pills for toe fungus. The Democrats never miss an opportunity to savage big business, especially pharamaceuticals and petroleum, but rarely constructs policy to help the businesses we all depend upon. This "new direction" is looking depressingly like their old direction.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

AO-Hell – Maybe I’m way late for this story but I read about it in the New York Post this weekend and, boy, can I sympathize. Vinny from Insignificant Thoughts tried to cancel his AOL account. Hilarity (and employment termination) ensued.
Sunday morning wrap-up – I was traveling most of the day, so I was glad to scan through Mark Kilmer’s review of the morning news shows. Ann Althouse thought that John Murtha “bumbled” (or maybe she meant “mumbled”) through “Meet the Press”.
Suicide by means other than bombing

I’m guessing that Iranian cleric Hossein Khomeini is not long for this world:

The grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the inspiration of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, has broken a three-year silence to back the United States military to overthrow the country's clerical regime.
Yeah, that’s not going to go over well. (HT: Blogs for Bush)

Extra – Further analysis from Captain Ed: “Perhaps if that message started coming consistently out of Qom, the Iranians might finally push themselves into tossing out the autocratic government that has threatened a nuclear disaster with the West.”
Education follow-up – Earlier this week, I challenged E.J. Dionne’s flawed assumption that jobs are being lost due to a putative lack of education funding. Pat Clearly provides some more ammunition over on Red State: “Bigger budgets don’t mean better results.”
The $oul of the Senate

Writing in the WashPost, Michael Grunwald is not so enamored with the nation’s longest-serving Senator:

Hugh Rogers, the president of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, once tried to persuade his U.S. senator to oppose a road through the mountains he loves, a billion-dollar boondoggle that had been lampooned nationwide as a "Road to Nowhere."

But his senator was Robert C. Byrd (D), the legendary pork dispenser who chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee at the time. And the road was the Robert C. Byrd Highway, the latest slice of asphalt in the Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System, not to be confused with the Robert C. Byrd Expressway, Robert C. Byrd Freeway or Robert C. Byrd Drive.
I’ve generally opposed the idea of term limits, but Byrd’s unabashed record of pork-grabbing is enough to give pause.
Padding the resume – A Boston Globe investigation reveals that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Gabrieli embellished his achievements: “Gabrieli's record: taking a closer look - Pointing to achievements, candidate gilds the results
This can only end badly – I shudder to think what might have happened to the two missing G.I.s in Iraq, especially after the Zarqawi strike. Real Clear Politics is tracking.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Goin' away for the weekend

Gonna go see Mom. Leave comments!

Friday, June 16, 2006

The endless flashback

Michael Barone: “It has been a tough 10 days for those who see current events through the prisms of Vietnam and Watergate.”

Speaking of which, here’s the New Republic with “Kerry Flops Again”: “But every time Kerry speaks about Iraq you are almost automatically reminded of his seriatim record which shows that he was all over the place on the matter. I was for it before I was against it or I was against it before I was for it. No matter.”
The soft bigotry of dumb blonde class warfare

Don’t you just loathe Paris Hilton? I know I do. As fickle fortune would have it, the Hilton family has made a boatload of cash whether through luck, hard work, or a contract with Beelzebub. Now Ellen Goodman believes that Paris Hilton shouldn’t be allowed to keep her inheritance because, well, she’s spoiled:

…Americans have long regarded heirs and heiresses with envy and scorn. Yes, the cream may rise to the top of the Fortune 500 list, but money easily curdles their kids into spoiled brats.
Somehow I imagine that if Paris were ladling soup in a homeless shelter or clearing landmines in Serbia, this would make little difference in the mind of Ellen Goodman. When you distill the liberal mind, it usually comes down to “give me a dollar.” The Hilton fortune was taxed once when it was made, taxed again when it was spent, taxed when it was saved, and now it will be taxed after death. But it’s only three out of 1,000 estates that will feel the pinch, so screw ‘em. That Paris is a tramp. Tori Spelling too.
Looks like a Republican on Beacon Hill

Earlier today, the WashPost Fix took note of the governor’s race in Massachusetts:

The Bay State governor's race drops two slots this month largely due to gains made by Republicans in Michigan and Wisconsin. National Democrats got good news during the Massachusetts party convention earlier this month when wealthy businessman Chris Gabrieli qualified -- barely -- for the Sept. 19 Democratic primary. Gabrieli is widely regarded by neutral party strategists as their best chance to defeat Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) in the fall. On paper, this race should be a victory for Massachusetts Democrats, but they have shown an amazing ability to snap defeat from the jaws of victory in recent gubernatorial elections over the past decade, so we are treading carefully.
As I’ve noted, if Gabrieli is the Democrats’ best chance to defeat Kerry Healey, then Mitt Romney’s successor should start measuring for curtains. Gabrieli has a slim-to-none chance of capturing the Democratic nomination and a none-to-none of chance winning in the general election. The Massachusetts GOP is unified behind Healey and the only thing she has to worry about is that Independent candidate Christy Mihos (he’s a dude) will siphon off enough votes to throw the election to the Democrats.

And then the bottom fell out on Mihos. From the Boston Globe: “Mihos paid Massachusetts no tax on his yachtAvoided sales, excise levies with R.I. address”:

Independent gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos, a multimillionaire businessman, avoided more than $23,000 in Massachusetts sales tax and $1,320 in local excise taxes on his luxury motor yacht by forming a corporation in Rhode Island to purchase and own the boat, a Globe review of the transaction shows.

Mihos's lawyer set up The Yacht Ashley Inc. in Rhode Island, making Mihos the sole director and officer, to buy the yacht from a Portsmouth, R.I., dealer for $475,000 seven years ago. Mihos named the 36-foot yacht Ashley, and the corporation registered with the Coast Guard using the office of Mihos's Newport lawyer as the address. The Coast Guard registration lists the boat's hailing port as Mihos's West Yarmouth home.
Well, that’s the end of him. Congratulations, Governor Healey.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bill Gates is a cheapskate

Bill Gates is stepping down from day-to-day activities at Microsoft in 2008 and I cannot pass up the opportunity to recount my favorite story. According to Robert X. Cringely in the book “Accidental Empires,” Gates was buying ice cream one night at a Seattle convenience store and held up the line searching for a 50-cent coupon. His net worth at the time: $3 billion. Bill Gates disputes it, but in a Wired magazine article, Cringely stood by his account.
If you thought the butterfly ballot was confusing – According to the Hedgehog Report, the governor’s race in Nevada will be between Gibbons and Gibson.
Lileks on Kos

You know, I finally click on a Daily Kos link, and I find this. (First item. Profanity warning.) Well, that certain refutes the totality of the man’s work, no? The gall: a man who did not enlist in the Army has the bald rude temerity to write about a Las Vegas blogger convention. The next thing you know, people with no experience in oceanography will be writing classical music reviews. I do like the swearing, though. You hear so little cursing these days you forget how well it works. I never visit that site, but that one entry makes me suspect he’s really hardcore and brash and genuine and FEARLESS. As Homer once wrote: I am interested in his ideas, and would like to subscribe to his newsletter.
BTW, there’s a new Screedblog today. Sometimes I think Lileks could write a grocery list (pick up milk, yogurt) and he’d get a thousand links.
The Left on Jon Stewart: funny, brilliant, important….traitor!
I smell a hoax – Drudge is linking to a recently-translated document allegedly taken from Zarqawi’s safe house which includes lines such as: “However, here in Iraq, time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance for the following reasons...” and “The question remains, how to draw the Americans into fighting a war against Iran?” The document evinces a sophistication more in tune with a Fortune 500 company than a pack of Islamofascists.

We’ll see. Apparently the Zarqawi safe house was a real treasure trove of information with laptops and flashdrives and papers galore. Deploy the translators, stat.

Extra – Big “treasure trove” roundup at Memeorandum.
The party left him - Here’s Seth Swirsky on RCP with “Why I left the Left”: “The Left got nuttier, more extreme, less contributory to the public debate, more obsessed with their nemesis Bush - and it drove me further away.” Interesting timing: yesterday on C-Span two callers who identified themselves as life-long Democrats announced they had also switched parties.
Senator Splunge repositions – Joan Vennochi nails it in today’s Boston Globe: “The new Kerry's problem isn't a change of heart on the Iraq invasion. Public sentiment reflects a similar shift and a desire to focus on ending the conflict, not endlessly second-guessing the decision to start it. The new Kerry's problem is the need to overcome skepticism about his motives from the very start.”
17 beers a day? If I must – Via Ace: “Excessive beer consumption may prevent prostate cancer

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Business is based on voluntary cooperation

It's time to retire that old chestnut that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. Maybe a better adage is: a conservative is a liberal who owns a business. Via Right Wing News, here’s John Mackey of Whole Foods:

In other words, business is not a zero-sum game with a winner and loser. It is a win, win, win, win game — and I really like that. However, I discovered despite my idealism that our customers thought our prices were too high, our employees thought they were underpaid, the vendors would not give us large discounts, the community was forever clamoring for donations, and the government was slapping us with endless fees, licenses, fines, and taxes.

Were we profitable? Not at first. Safer Way managed to lose half of its capital in the first year — $23,000. Despite the loss, we were still accused of exploiting our customers with high prices and our employees with low wages. The investors weren't making a profit and we had no money to donate. Plus, with our losses, we paid no taxes. I had somehow joined the "dark side" — I was now one of the bad guys. According to the perspective of the Left, I had become a greedy and selfish businessman. At this point, I rationally chose to abandon the leftist philosophy of my youth, because it no longer adequately explained how the world really worked.
Welcome to the dark side, Mr. Mackey. Bwahahahahaha!!! (evil laughter)
Life, uncensored

Scott Adams of Dilbert Blog needs your help: “I have a theory that every person has at least one story that will knock your socks off. This is your chance to prove it.” Adams reveals he’s been robbed three times at gunpoint in San Francisco.

Um, I met former New Jersey governor Tom Kean. Oh, and former NJ Senator Bill Bradley. My possible candidate for a rare event was that I was in Washington, D.C. one weekend because I had E-mailed Jack Germond and asked if I could see a taping of the “McLaughlin Group.” He wrote back to come to the studio and my college buddy and I met Pat Buchanan, Fred Barnes and Clarence Page. After the taping, Page was nice enough to chat with us for a good ten minutes; he was such a great guy that we were ready to drive him to the airport.

Anyway, as chance would have it, that particular episode never aired because that very night the Gulf War started. Later, we saw the re-vamped “McLaughlin Group” episode with all the Washington “B” listers who were dragged in for a last-minute re-do.

I know: not the kind of story to leave you barefoot, but hey. I also saw Dan Marino at Disney World, but I didn't want to bother him. At least I think it was Dan Marino.
Everybody knows – Lorie Byrd notes that assertion in politics is all that’s needed to establish credibility: “Whatever happened to truth in politics?” On the same theme, Mark Levin writes “No Fitzmas, but nothing changes.”

Extra – From Balloon Juice: “This administration has screwed up so many things that it is hard to keep track, and yet some still persist in being petty and foolish about things that not only don’t matter, but aren’t even true.”
Didn’t see that coming: John Kerry makes a reference to Vietnam

Let me preface this by saying that I want John Kerry to run for President again. Please. Tap into that Heinz fortune. Anyway, here’s the tail end of a story in the Globe titled: “Kerry demands US troop pullout”:

In his speech, Kerry attacked the war's architects as “armchair warriors whose front line is an air-conditioned conference room,” and dropped in a pointed reference to Bush's not having fought in Vietnam.

“I understand fully that Iraq is not Vietnam; after all, President Bush is even there today,” Kerry said. Bush served in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam era, which allowed him to avoid being deployed to Vietnam.
Petty and sad. Here’s Kathryn Jean Lopez to deliver the coup de grace:

It's been more than a few hours since John Kerry made his formal "demand " now and I still laugh or roll my eyes—or breath a sigh of relief that he's not in the position where his demands mean much. I wish I had the transcript, but yesterday even Joe Biden was dismissing the demand. Quick clue for Kerry: When even your secretary of State thinks you're comments are too much, you're wading deep in a pool of irrelevancy.
Don’t listen to them Senator! I’ll be watching to see when Teresa changes her name from “Heinz” to “Kerry” (again) as a sign of your imminent campaign.
No Fitzmas on Endor - How Robert Luskin got Karl Rove off: the Chewbacca Defense

In today’s Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby sees “Signs of success in Iraq”:

When Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced last week that a US air strike had killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraqi reporters burst into cheers and applause. It was a heartwarming -- and to American eyes, unnatural -- show of joy. Most American journalists would think it unseemly to cheer anything said at a press conference, even the news that a sadistic mass murderer had finally met his end.

Important and welcome as Zarqawi's assassination was, it didn't put a dent in the quagmire-of-the-week mindset that depicts the war as a fiasco wrapped in a scandal inside a failure. Typical of the prevailing pessimism was the glum Page One headline in The Washington Post the morning after Maliki's announcement: ``After Zarqawi, No Clear Path In Weary Iraq."

Virtually from day one, the media have reported this war as a litany of gloom and doom. Images of violence and destruction dominate TV coverage. Analysts endlessly second-guess every military and political decision. Allegations of wrongdoing by US soldiers get far more play than tales of their heroism and generosity. No wonder more than half of the public now believes it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq.
After Zarqawi, and despite the media, Americans are more positive about the future in Iraq.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Crab-a-palooza season finale tonight

From the Boston Globe: “Deadliest Catch is a keeper” Don’t worry, the Discovery Channel repeats episodes of their top-rated show all weekend.
E.J. Dionne: who needs facts when I have moral grandstanding?

In today’s WashPost, their resident liberal wrote a column titled “In search of a new new deal How will the good jobs of the future be created?” Dionne tap-dances around the answer to this query which finally arrives in the ninth paragraph:

For the past 15 years, progressive free-market politicians have offered an appealing mantra about how to save the middle class: What's needed, they've said, is heavy investment in education and job training to allow people to make the transition from the "old" economy -- those auto jobs -- to the new.
There’s a shocking solution: more education spending. But Dionne doesn’t deign to throw us a morsel of information about trends in education and/or job training spending. The only numbers in the article chart the decline of union membership as if that, ipso facto, is proof of a decline of “good jobs.”

In fact, over the past five years, the Bush Administration has increased spending on education by an annual rate of 7%, a pace unmatched since the LBJ Administration. Also, when adjusted for inflation, spending-per-pupil has more than tripled:

Whenever I ask this, someone nearly always says "Oh, spending back then was much greater than it is now" (again, adjusting for inflation). Well, if you go to the 2001 Digest of Education Statistics, table 167, you see the answer: Per pupil spending, in 2000-01 dollars, was $2235 in 1959-60, and $7591 in 1999-2000. Spending has risen by a factor of 3.3 in the last 40 years.
I know Google is confusing with both those button choices, but E.J. Dionne really should try it once in a while before churning out yet another article long on moral vanity and short on facts.

Extra reading – From the Heritage Foundation: “The folly of an education spending race
Is this from the Onion? Scrappleface?

From an article in The Hill about House minority leader Nancy Pelosi:

She outlined three areas where Democrats would seek to differentiate themselves from Republicans: integrity, civility and accountability.
Ah, yes, integrity, civility and accountability.
Next time, bring Kryptonite – Karl Rove is in the clear. Tom Maguire has his learned roundup and hope springs eternal among the Left.
Commentary from the Beaver State

From Oregon Magazine – “The Decline of the Democrats is almost complete”:

The Democrat Party, no longer the party of Truman and JFK, has been taken over by radical leftists, and may be viewed as nothing more than a pack of liars who are enemies of America.

This fall, I think, all their rhetoric, all their lies, contrary to the pronouncements of their propaganda arm, the mainstream media, will come home to haunt them. All the claims of impending victory for them, including a retaking of the House, the Senate or both, may turn out to be so much whistling in the wind.
Somebody in Oregon said that? Huh. Somebody must have been watching C-Span this past weekend.

Monday, June 12, 2006

One would-be terrorist + pornography = a just ending

My new issue of the Atlantic magazine arrived today, ironically with a “Wanted” poster of Zarqawi on the cover. Bad timing, that. Over on page 92, there’s this anecdote (faithfully re-typed):

Despite their enthusiasm, al-Zarqawi, al-Maqdisi, and Abu Muntassir did not appear to be natural revolutionaries. Their first operation was in Zarqa, in 1993, a former Jordanian intelligence office told me, when al-Zarqawi dispatched one of their men to a local cinema with orders to blow it up because it was showing pornographic films. But the hapless would-be bomber apparently got so distracted by what was happening on the screen that he forgot about his bomb. It exploded and blew off his legs.
I can’t add or subtract anything to that story. Good night!
In praise of YearlyKos

Here’s Michael Barone about a year ago:

So what hath the blogosphere wrought? The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans.
Today, Byron York rounded out his coverage of YearlyKos with “What fame will bring to DailyKos”:

In his remarks introducing Mark Warner in Las Vegas last week, Moulitsas praised Warner for being one of the first to recognize the power of the liberal netroots—for realizing, in Moulitsas’s words, that “maybe we weren’t these far-left extremist wackos that everybody else seems to think we are.” Indeed, many participants in the convention expressed frustration with the way in which bloggers are sometimes portrayed. Yet the remarkable thing is how little scrutiny Moulitsas’s writings have received in major media outlets. Now, after YearlyKos and all the attention that came with it, it seems likely that will change.
So far, the Nutroots campaign has been less than successful with an 0-20 record for Kos-supported candidates. Ned Lamont will extend that record. Shine that spotlight.

Extra – From (natch!) Michael Barone: “Democrats are winning…except at the polls.”

More - Via Free Republic: "Chocolate, Elvis, and foil hats as politicians woo the bloggers."
That “culture of corruption” again

The Washington Times reports that Nancy Pelosi is thinking of replacing Jane Harman as the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence with…Alcee Hastings of Florida. Remember Alcee Hastings?

Mr. Hastings' past should disqualify him from such a position of trust. At the recommendation of a special investigative committee of the federal judiciary, which had concluded that Mr. Hastings, then a U.S. District Court judge, had lied and fabricated evidence to win an acquittal on bribery charges in 1983, the Democrat-controlled House voted 413 to 3 in 1988 to impeach him. Several of the 17 impeachment counts, reported Congressional Quarterly, "alleged that Hastings committed acts of perjury during his 1983 trial." Keeping in mind that Mr. Hastings would be told the most sensitive intelligence secrets, consider the fact that another impeachment count approved by the House "alleged that Hastings leaked information about a wiretap he was supervising and thereby forced a halt to an extensive federal undercover operation in the Miami area in 1985." In 1989, a Democratic-controlled Senate convicted Judge Hastings of accepting a $150,000 bribe in 1981 in exchange for a lenient sentence and committing numerous acts of perjury at his own trial. Once he was booted off the federal court, voters in southern Florida elected him to Congress, after which Mrs. Pelosi -- the quintessential San Francisco Democrat -- appointed him to the House Intelligence Committee.
At least he didn’t have $90,000 in his freezer, wrapped in foil and marked “lasagna.”
Zarqawi’s a weirdo

Maybe I’m overreacting but I can’t wrap my head around this excerpt from the Boston Globe story titled “In Arab world, Zarqawi tactics bred disgust Killing of Muslims fed rifts, many say”:

"If you are fighting foreigners, how come you kill 5,000 Iraqis or other innocent civilians and only a few Americans?" said Akhras, who said the beliefs of Osama bin Laden and his followers never appealed to him. ``They have a weird mentality. It is not our religion at all."
If the opposite of “damning with faint praise” is “praising with faint damning” then this has got to be a prime example. Osama probably puts ketchup on his scrambled eggs, too.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Guess which version will be making the rounds

From the NY Times: “U.S. General Calls Account of Zarqawi Beating 'Baloney'

Asked about the allegation of a beating, General Casey said, "The way I respond to the comments of the alleged Iraqi who saw what went on there is, that's baloney, and we've already gone back, looked at it." He also said "the idea that there were people there beating him is just ludicrous."

Another person who identified himself as a witness to Mr. Zarqawi's final moments, interviewed Sunday on Al Jazeera satellite network, made no mention of soldiers striking the man and suggested that American soldiers tore open his clothing in what appeared an effort to revive him.
Baloney…isn’t that a pork product? Oh, the humanity.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

You don’t have to be nuts to be an OPEC dictator, but it helps – From Publius Pundit: “In his most direct and brazen threat against the private sector yet, Hugo Chavez has warned Venezuelan businesses that unless they repatriate $10 billion in capital flight for his own disposal, he’ll take every last thing they have left in Venezuela.”
Five best – Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani lists his top five biographies with all the usual suspects (Lincoln, Churchill, etc.) C’mon, Rudy, throw in somebody unexpected next time.
USA USA USA! – The 10 greatest countries in the history of the world. (HT: Fark)
Democrats already prepared to ask: “What went wrong?”

Betsy links to what she calls an “unintentionally funny” article in the WashPost about how the Democrats are already preparing post-election symposia to figure out why they failed to capture Congress. Here’s Betsy:

The one idea that they don't seem to consider is that perhaps the majority of American voters are not liberal and don't accept Democrats' prescriptions for addressing the problems facing our country. Oh, Heavens! What would they do if that were the real problem? They'd have to work on framing their issues so that they fool people into thinking that the Democrats don't believe in expanding government, raising taxes, and withdrawing in the war on terror. Perhaps that is why the congressional Democrats are loath to unveil their proposals for problems ranging from Social Security to fighting terrorism. They realize that voters might not like what they hear. Better to blame the Republicans' use of technology and wedge issues.
Help - my son wants to be a computer programmer

Can anybody answer a question for me? Despite my hope that he would lose interest and forget about it, my 10-year old wants to learn how to program games. He will not shut up about obtaining a "C-compiler" although I'm not sure this is what he needs. Can anybody recommend what kind of software and/or hardware I might need for a very simple programming language? I'm thinking C+ or Java or even Virtual Basic might be too much for him. Thanks.

P.S. - I blame Lego Mindstorms for this obsession.
Bay State Democrats poised to spend themselves into defeat

There are three Democrats vying for the nomination to run against Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey for the Massachusetts’ governor’s seat in November. One of them is venture capitalist Christopher F. Gabrieli who is already running annoying television commercials here in the state.

Christopher F. Gabrieli, a wealthy venture capitalist who is self-financing most of his campaign for governor, set a $15.36 million spending cap for his Democratic primary campaign yesterday, rejecting a plea from the party chairman to agree to a much lower spending level for the three-way race.

While Gabrieli insisted that he has no intention of spending up to his declared limit, campaign finance specialists say election spending for the entire gubernatorial campaign probably will surpass the record total of $30.6 million set by six campaigns in 2002.
There is zero chance that Gabrieli will get the nomination and the only result of his quixotic campaign will be to weaken the popular Deval Patrick or the politically-connected Thomas Reilly. Be sure to check Hub Politics for all your Massachusetts political news.
Surprised they held out this long – From Fox News: “Hamas Militants Fire Rockets at Israel After Calling of Truce

Friday, June 09, 2006

Liberal cocooning – By the Kossacks in Las Vegas and the NY Times. Why do lefty bloggers always the play the “Finally, our voices will be heard!” routine? Who was stopping you before? Nevermind: fight the power!
Q: What do Air America and Sherman’s March have in common?
A: They both spent some time in Atlanta, leaving disaster behind.
He xnt knud otyykdr - This sounds like a pretty good movie: “Wordplay

BTW, I'm a big fan of cryptic crosswords, which require some flexible puzzle-solving skills.
Rolling on – It looks like the information gathered from the Zarqawi strike is sparking a push against the insurgents: “The U.S. military pressed its offensive against Al Qaeda in Iraq on Friday, staging an additional 38 raids based mostly on information uncovered during the hunt that led to the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. air strike.”
Say what?

From the WashPost: “The spokesman also disclosed that Zarqawi was still alive when U.S. troops arrived on the scene after Wednesday's airstrike by an F-16 fighter. The terrorist "mumbled a little something" and made an apparent effort to get away after being placed on a stretcher by Iraqi police, Caldwell said.”

Potential last words:

“I forgot to duck”
“Kaiser Soze”
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
“Raisins. Stupid raisins.”
“I’m ready to negotiate.”

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bad man punished but good

Christopher Hitchens on “Why Zarqawi’s death matters”:

If we had withdrawn from Iraq already, as the "peace" movement has been demanding, then one of the most revolting criminals of all time would have been able to claim that he forced us to do it. That would have catapulted Iraq into Stone Age collapse and instated a psychopathic killer as the greatest Muslim soldier since Saladin. As it is, the man is ignominiously dead and his dirty connections a lot closer to being fully exposed. This seems like a good day's work to me.
This may seem off the subject, but there’s a song I like by Graham Parker (off his masterpiece “Struck by Lightning”) called “Children and Dogs”:

Children and dogs will always win
Everyone knows that
Here’s my point: there’s a fundamental, karmic pleasure to be found when the good are rewarded and the evil are punished. Nobody is claiming the violence in Iraq will cease tomorrow and all this euphoric “tipping point” chatter will fade in a couple of days. But for now we can take a moment and enjoy the fact that a murderous psychopath is gone. Even better than that time they dragged Khalid Sheik Mohammad out of bed.
Fading Joe-mentum? - Hedgehog Report: “Hard to believe Democrats, just six years, wanted to make Joe Lieberman second in line for the presidency and now, they appear to be on the verge of tossing him out of office in a primary.” Ah, don’t worry, Joe: Ned Lamont is supported by “0-20” Kos.
So, did I miss anything today?

This is one of the problems for a blogger who has to work at a real job: I don’t get a chance to update until after I get home. Here are some catch-up links:

Boston Globe – “Zarqawi killed in attack
WashPost – Transcript of President Bush’s statement
Multi-national Force press release

And today’s “Every silver lining has a cloud” moment comes from CNN’s American Morning:

M. O'BRIEN: We're inside two minutes from hearing from the president. He'll be speaking to the nation from the Rose Garden. We'll, of course, bring it to you the moment it happens. But in the meantime, Candy, as -- we see the Oval Office there, a quick picture there of what's going on in there right now -- one of the things that is potentially difficult, a little bit of a political tightrope here, is it does remind folks that Osama bin Laden has not been captured.
Yeah, that sucks.

Extra – My wife works at the language translation center at the University of Massachusetts and she reported that the Iraqi translator in the center was “ecstatic” at the news and kept calling home to get reports. Allegedly, there’s much dancing in the streets. True story, faithfully reported.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

You can see her toes and everything!Hot Saudi swimwear (HT: Gateway Pundit)
If you liked CA-50, you’ll love this

From Hotline On Call:

Much of the Dem post-primary spin has centered on the fact that Francine Busby performed capably given the Republican nature of CA 50.
But if Democrats plan on winning back the House, they’re going to have to win races in even redder territory. In fact, almost half of the Dems’ top pickup opportunities are in districts that Bush carried with over 55% in 2004.
Surely, the Democrats will be helped by their “83.3% Contract with America.”
Faster, please - From Rantburg: “Iraqi army takes over from US in Anbar”: “An Iraqi army division has taken over from US forces in patrolling an area in Anbar province, the US military said on Tuesday, the first transfer on that level in the western heartland of the Sunni Arab insurgency.”
The Democrats’ “Six in ‘06” agenda

From Jake Tapper’s Political Punch on ABC News:

One of the bright lights of our political unit, Teddy Davis, notes that House Democrats are planning to roll out their version of the Contract with America later this year...
It's catchy (?) title -- "Six in 'o6"....
It's a legislative agenda that includes:
(1) a minimum wage increase;
(2) repealing the portion of the Medicare prescription drug law that prevents Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices;
(3) implementing all of the 9/11 Commission’s homeland security recommendations;
(4) reinstating pay-as-you-go budget rules;
(5) making college more affordable; and
(6) a sixth plank that has not yet been settled upon.
Ha-ha, oh man. That’s decisive leadership on a topic yet-to-be-tested-by-a-focus-group. (Hat tip: New Editor).
The end of live TV

From the WashPost: “The Price for On-Air Indecency Goes Up - Congress Approves Tenfold Increase in Fines FCC Can Assess

The maximum penalty for broadcasting indecent material on radio and television will increase tenfold to $325,000 under legislation passed by the House yesterday that awaits only a promised presidential signature.

The bill, called the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, was passed unanimously by the Senate last month and cleared the House by a vote of 379-35. President Bush has vowed to sign the bill into law; it would allow the Federal Communications Commission to powerfully punish over-the-air broadcasters for airing raunchy content. The bill keeps cable and satellite broadcasters outside of the government's authority to police the airwaves.
It seems to me that the upshot of this legislation will be that every music award show, sporting event, and Super Bowl halftime show will be on a five-second delay.
Hooray for Drew Carey - It’s funny ‘cause it’s true.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Canary in a coalmine – Scott at Election Projection predicts a 7% win for Bilbray in CA-50 and, in his profound estimation, a “4-8 point win will give me confidence that the GOP will indeed hold both houses in November.” Less than a 4% win, not so good. Unfortunately, I can’t stay up for the West Coast results.

Update - Bilbray wins by just slightly more than 4% on a 33% turnout.

Extra – And here’s the final note from John Podhoretz: “Republican Brian Bilbray has won the much-discussed race to fill the House seat of the now-imprisoned Duke Cunningham. This will come as a blow to Democrats and mediacrats who, as usual, got themselves all excited about taking a safe GOP seat as a harbinger of Republican disaster come November. But the question is whether Republicans are going to get overexcited by the results too, and overestimate the meaning of this victory — which may simply be a very mild indicator that the public is not, in fact, in a revolutionary mood.” Sounds about right.
The Scooter Libby case is unraveling

That seems to be the consensus of those who really follow this case much more closely than the FDA recommends. The Wall Street Journal rebuffed the special prosecutor in an editorial today while AJ Strata and Tom Maguire piled on. Here’s a key excerpt:

The prosecutor comes close here to suggesting that senior government officials have no right to fight back against critics who make false allegations. To the extent our editorial is germane to this trial, in fact, it's because it puts Mr. Libby's actions into a broadly defensible context that Mr. Fitzgerald refuses to acknowledge.
If Libby’s case is in this much trouble, it’s hard to see how a (second) grand jury can indict Karl Rove. But who knows how these grand juries work? Cynthia McKinney’s grand jury has been meeting for two months trying to figure out if she slapped a cop.
State economies – Here’s the rough key for this graph on Willisms: the blue states are mostly red states and they’re in the black. The light-colored states, which are mostly blue states, are in the red. Got it? Good.
Get behind me Satan Chavez – Stunning political observers, former Peruvian president Alan Garcia was re-elected to office yesterday, beating back a challenge by a socialist Hugo Chevez-backed candidate. Pejman sees it as a “manifestation of the anti-Chavez backlash.”