Saturday, July 19, 2003

The Associated Press looked at six issues to see if there was a correlation between which groups donated money to politicians and how the politicians voted. Surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle would say. There was a correlation. That doesn't necessarily imply corrupt motivation. It could be that organizations give money to candidates whom they know agree with them. The NRA is not going to give money to a gun control advocate. So, don't go jumping to conclusions about the evils of money in politics.
Green Party candidate, Peter Camejo has indicated that he'll put his name on the ballot for the recall vote on Gray Davis. There goes the Democratic plan to make sure that Gray Davis was the only choice on the ballot other than Republicans.
What a surprise. Iraqi POWs don't like their prison conditions. They don't like MREs, which we give our own soldiers to eat. And horror of horrors, we force Tariq Aziz to dig his own latrine. I'm all broken up for them.
Ralph Peters puts the situation in Iraq into perspective.
Most of Iraq is recovering -- not only from the recent war, but from a generation of oppression. The Kurdish region is prospering, a model of cooperation, and the Shiites have behaved far better than initial worries suggested. The violence is isolated in the Sunni-Arab-minority region, a sliver of the country just west and north of Baghdad, which benefited most from Saddam's rule and has the most to lose under a democratic government. The absence of broad support for anti-coalition attacks is heartening. There is no general insurrection and there are no violent, massive demonstrations. Individual soldiers are assassinated, but our overall presence is not endangered. The resistance of die-hard elements should surprise no one but the most naïve neoconservatives in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Meanwhile, our focus on micro issues such as individual casualties or a disgruntled shopkeeper's complaints obscures our macro success, both within Iraq and beyond its borders. Change has come to the Middle East with remarkable force and velocity. The notorious "Arab street," far from exploding, is the quietest it has been in decades. Syria has sharply reduced its support for terrorism as it weighs its future. In Iran, the young are encouraged by the atmosphere of change, while the bitter old men in power glance nervously at the U.S. military forces positioned to their east and west.

The Washington Post has a fascinating look at what was going on in the Iraqi army as they approached war and then after the war begun. It was a hollow army with everyone lying to Hussein about the state of readiness in the army. That's what happens to dictators. No one wants to tell them the truth.
ESPN summarizes what the biggies of sports columnists are saying about Kobe. It's not good.
Adam Nagourney looks at the Democrats' problem with pandering. Apparently, being in power means that the Republicans don't have to kiss up to their fringe constituencies as publicly as the competing Democrats do. The Republicans had the same problem when Clinton was in power.
Three Democratic presidential candidates who were chastised by the N.A.A.C.P. for skipping the group's political forum in Miami on Monday upended their schedules today to fly south and make elaborate apologies. Earlier this week, all the candidates were summoned to a forum before gay leaders, where they were pressed to endorse gay marriage.

These two events illustrated what has emerged as one of the most critical and, for some Democrats, perplexing differences between the modern-day Democratic and Republican Parties: How they accommodate constituencies that are at the base of their political foundation but endorse views that are not always popular with the broader electorate.

President Bush has proved to be highly effective in his dealing with groups on the right. His appearances as candidate and as president before, say, the Christian Coalition, were far and few between. But the Democrats are finding themselves increasingly commandeered before groups that tend to highlight the very positions the White House would like highlighted, like the support of gay groups. That is taking place despite the efforts of Democratic Party leaders to protect the candidates from this situation.

Bill Kristol thinks that the White House couldn't be happier than if they'd planned this mini brouhaha over the Niger uranium. That seems to be going a mite bit too far. Kristol tends to get carried away by what he wishes were true. I remember him being so sure that John McCain would defeat Bush in the primaries. He's now switched his loyalties.
Mitch Albom predicts, accurately, that cable TV and sports radio is going to go crazy with the Kobe Bryant story. I admit to being quite interested myself.
John Podhoretz makes some good points contrasting the differences between the Democratic approach to homeland security and the administration's approach.

The administration's obsessive focus since 9/11 has been on rousting terrorists — by fighting them, uprooting the states that harbor them and trying to eliminate the weaponry they might use against us. That has led us into two wars abroad and an aggressive policing and prevention strategy at home using the new USA Patriot Act, preventive detentions and the opening of the Guantanamo Bay jail for enemy combatants in Cuba.

The principle is simple. We were attacked by an exceptionally elusive force whose foot soldiers can melt into our population of nearly 300 million. We need to do what we can to eliminate them at the source, because if they make it to our shores carrying weapons of mass destruction, there will be almost nothing we can do to stop them.

Kerry's focus is different. In his speech, he does discuss preventing terrorist attacks — but he's far more concerned with what will happen in case of a terrorist attack. How will the "first responders" do their job? How will firefighters communicate? How will police officers keep the peace? How will medical aid be delivered? All in all, whether it's prevention or post-attack response, what are we doing to make ourselves safer?

These are important questions, to be sure. But they look at the problem in a troublesome way. They suggest that we should look at terrorism almost as though it is a natural disaster, like a hurricane or an earthquake. There is little you can do to prevent a hurricane or earthquake, but you can try to deal effectively with its aftermath.

George Bush has taken the position that his job is to prevent attacks by destroying terrorists and terror networks and forcing the nations that sponsor terror to stop doing what they're doing. You can have all the firefighters you could want, but if someone sets off a nuclear device in Times Square, they won't be able to do anything about it. Nor will cops, or 911 staffers.

As it happens, the Democratic obsession with the insufficient funding of homeland security neatly dovetails with the interests of a leading Democratic Party interest group. Kerry wants tens of thousands of people hired by, or paid for by, the federal government to deal with homeland security. That's on top of the 32,000 new federal workers employed by the new Transportation Security Administration. And, of course, every new federal and state government employee adds to the clout of AFSCME, the public-sector union that's the fastest-growing segment of the Democratic Party.

Obviously, we need both approaches. But, I just don't think that the Democrats will get much traction with criticizing Bush on homeland security if there is not, knock on wood, a major attack in the U.S. before the election. If there is an attack, the Democrats might score some more points, particularly if it is shown that the administration could have prevented the attack. But, otherwise, it will simply look as if the Dems are trying to score political points from a national tragedy.
Here's Dennis Miller on a Jerry Springer senatorial candidacy.
Well, Jerry Springer is mulling over a run for the Senate and John Adams is no doubt turning in his grave so furiously that if we could just hook up a turbine power cable to his headstone we would probably solve all our energy woes.

It's no secret that the gene pool, in addition to being a tad brackish as of late, is also so shallow now there doesn't even need to be a lifeguard on duty. Springer has stood astride that pool like a latter day Colossus Ignoramus of Rhodes for well over a decade now.

I sure wish I could string words together like Dennis Miller.
Check out the poll results of the first poll taken of Iraqis.
Jonathan Last looks at Howell Raines' Charlie Rose interview and how it demonstrates that the NY Times lied to its readers. Again.
Paul Greenberg ponders what George Orwell would have made of the concept of 'diversity.'
Goliad, Texas is divided over what happened there in 1836. Was it a massacre or an execution? I think the killing of unarmed soldiers who have surrendered would rank as a massacre in anyone's book.
Hugh Hewitt pays tribute to the inestimable James Lileks. My whole family has gotten so attached to reading the doings of Lileks and his beloved daughter, Gnat.
Fred Barnes does a tick-tock on the claim about uranium from Niger. His conclusion is that the White House shot itself in the foot by claiming the sentence shouldn't have been in there. There is no reason that it shouldn't have. There was no pressure from the White House to put it in. There is no there, there.
The New York Post calls Bob Graham "a failure of intelligence."
David Carr does a profile of Ann Coulter in the New York Times in which he describes her life and all the people who are shocked by her, but doesn't give much of an idea of why she is so shocking except that she says bad things about liberals. Apparently, that is enough. Oh yes, and she's blonde and thin.
No surprise, academics are starting to analyze Harry Potter. Turns out Harry exemplifies stoicism and also ". . . embodies many of the 10 basic elements of Otto Rank's 'hero myths,' not to mention the 31 'functions' or characteristics of classic folktales as delineated by the Russian structuralist Vladimir Propp." (NY Times, registration required.)

Friday, July 18, 2003

Tony Adragna notes similarities between Harry Potter in Book V and George Bush and Saddam Hussein. Since my daughter and I had discussed these same similarities, Tony must be a brilliant analyst. (Link via A Nickel's Worth of Free Advice)
Here's an interesting piece from National Review looking at how Linda Greenhouse of the NY Times and Nina Totenberg of NPR slanted their wrap-up stories about the Supreme Court's term.
Totenberg's piece shows not the slightest interest in any actual arguments about the law made by Thomas. Perhaps this is because Thomas's evisceration of the logic of O'Connor's majority opinion is unanswerable. Perhaps this is also why Greenhouse avoids responding to Scalia's destruction of Kennedy's decision.

Perhaps. But I suspect that neither Totenberg nor Greenhouse believes that arguments are the real stuff of the law. So steeped in a fetid brew of judicial legislation are we all that few of us any longer believe that the opinions of the justices are ever the products of thought — thought about the rule of law, about the meaning of the Constitution, about the quality of reasons advanced for this or that view of what the law requires or forbids. Instead it is widely believed (and every one of the justices on occasion gives us reason to believe) that there is no distinction between law and politics, that decisions are the products of sentiments about "justice," not of reasoning about the Constitution.

From there it is a short step to believing that the reasons given by the justices for their rulings (or their dissents) are not really worth any scrutiny. For they are, after all, mere rationalizations for the underlying sentiments. Got kids in New York? Know some nice gay people? Then make the Constitution protect a right to commit sodomy, and then dress up the visceral conclusion with some high-sounding rhetoric about dignity. Feel put upon as a black conservative whom folks suspect of getting ahead on your race? Angry about it? Why then, fulminate about the "stigma" of affirmative action, and manufacture some guff about the Constitution's "principle" of equality to make your anger seem righteous.

The disdain even for the possibility of reasoned judgment in these journalistic exercises has its counterpart in the academy. In political science, the dominant school of thought in the study of the Supreme Court for the last four decades has been the "behavioral" approach, which uses an "attitudinal model" to understand judicial decision-making. The first rule of this model: Do not read the Court's opinions with any care. Instead, skim them for just enough information to pigeonhole each case in some predetermined category: civil liberties, business regulation, the overturning or upholding of precedent. Second rule: Count noses and arrange the votes into a pattern. Don't forget to notice the political parties of the appointing presidents. Third rule: Make some charts and if possible some equations. This will make the obvious and superficial seem less so. Fourth rule: Announce that the patterns, charts, and equations themselves explain something. Not something interesting, mind you. Something like the conclusion you assumed from the outset, that "law" is not an independent variable in judicial decision-making.

Clifford May points out the things the Democrats should be worrying about concerning intelligence on Iraq.
Mona Charen has an interesting comparison for the Niger uranium story.
So what is all this fulminating about "what did the president know and when did he know it?" Even if this one piece of evidence, a tiny thread on a huge quilt, turns out to have been inaccurate, so what? There was a mountain of other evidence.

This is reminiscent of the jury in the O.J. Simpson case ignoring notebooks full of incriminating evidence because a leather glove failed to slide smoothly onto O.J.'s hand.
Here's Mark Steyn on cheese.
It's not good for the NAACP when the New Republic takes them to task.
But any irritation one might have felt over the candidates' political imprudence in dissing the NAACP has been wildly overshadowed by the whacked-out response of the group itself. Mfume, for one, just couldn't resist breaking out the Civil War metaphors--insisting that the non-attendees' political capital "is now the equivalent of Confederate dollars." Then there was Al Sharpton's typically melodramatic display: brandishing an axe handle in an effort to equate the absent threesome with the recently deceased former Georgia governor Lester Maddox, who used to wield the weapon when chasing African Americans from his restaurant back in the 1960s. "There is still an axe-handle mentality among some in the Democratic Party," Sharpton insisted, in a made for media assault. "I want to stop people from wanting our vote but not wanting to be seen with us in public, treating us like we are some political mistresses." Wow. References to both the Civil War and Jim Crow in the span of one evening. If only someone could have worked in a mention of the Klan, the trifecta of racial hyperbole would have been complete.

But the comments went beyond the ridiculous and into the insulting. Virginia Beach NAACP chapter president Georgia Allen went so far as to issue a challenge: "I would say to the African-American community nationwide not to even consider voting for any of the candidates who did not attend this forum." And columnist/moderator Julianne Malveaux took it upon herself to decree, "Anybody who can't come here, quite frankly, doesn't need to be running for president of the United States!" Really? How nice for the NAACP to establish itself the arbiter of a candidate's legitimacy--and based upon such a deep, meaningful analysis of the players' policy positions and political track records. Who knew that the litmus test for a presidential aspirant seeking African-American support these days wasn't his record on civil rights or affirmative action or racial profiling or crime or poverty or the obscene disparity in the way drug-sentencing laws get applied to black and white offenders, but whether or not he shows his face at some entirely symbolic, ridiculously unenlightening candidate forum organized by a single activist group? Hell, if George W. had realized that a quick trip to Miami was all it took to gain street cred with black voters, he likely would have showed up, mouthed a few meaningless platitudes, and then high-tailed it back home in time for Letterman. Come to think of it, didn't Bush pretty much do exactly that when he was running in 2000? That token pander certainly proved to be a fine indication of his deep commitment to African Americans.

They're just being silly in the House of Representatives.
Speaking of congratulations, all props to Jonah Goldberg and Alicia Silverstone who made the list of Jewsweek top sizzling 60, or 52.5.
Congratulations to James Q. Wilson, author of the textbook I use for my AP Government class, who will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Other notable recipients are Edward Teller, Charlton Heston, Van Cliburn, Julia Childs, Roberto Clemete Walker, Vaclav Havel, Jacques Barzun, Byron White, David Thomas, and John Wooden. Quite a varied and deserving group.
Apparently, there is a set formula for how many times one can say, "I'm sorry" before one can be forgiven by the NAACP. Note this quote from Kweisi Mfume who was counting how many times Kucinich, Lieberman, and Gephardt said they were sorry when they came to grovel before the NAACP.
"Asked if the apologies were satisfactory, Mfume said he accepted them but could not judge further.
''Mr. Kucinich said I'm sorry two times in the five minutes that he was afforded. He may have said it three times,'' Mfume recalled.
'Mr. Gephardt said I'm sorry and I apologize, and Mr. Lieberman said I apologize, I'm sorry and I'm sorry.
''It's difficult for me to measure how I perceived them,'' Mfume added, 'I just heard them.''"
How petty.
Even the British Prime Minister can take solace from studying American history. Here's one joke from Blair's address to Congress.
Actually, you know, my middle son was studying 18th century history and the American War of Independence. And he said to me the other day, "You know Lord North, Dad, he was the British prime minister who lost us America. So just think; however many mistakes you'll make, you'll never make one that bad.
I'll have to use that this year with my AP US History students.
Here's a frightening quote from ABC about George Stephanopoulos.
"If you can help him get a dominant position on Sunday morning, he is in a position to be a journalistic leader for the next 30 years."
Yeah, right. Take that back. Knowing ABC, it's probably true.
The BBC defense adviser who was suspected of being the one to leak a story to the BBC implying that the British government had beefed up their analysis of Saddam's weapons, has just been found dead. It's too soon to tell if it was murder or suicide. This sounds very suspicious.
Glenn Reynolds came up with a column of advice for Democrats. He advises them on how to best criticize Bush. Over at Right Wing News, John Hawkins has some thoughts on how efficacious these tactics would be.
Does it really benefit the NAACP to make candidates who support their issues grovel in this unseemly manner?
Three Democratic presidential candidates labeled "persona non grata" in the black community for failing to attend an NAACP forum apologized yesterday to tepid applause on the final day of the civil rights group's 94th annual convention.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio delivered a six-minute speech on his candidacy and his support for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, but was insufficiently contrite for some members.

The presiding parliamentarian refused to allow Mr. Kucinich to leave the stage, and said, "We have heard the explanation. Does the congressman need to say something else?"

Mr. Kucinich quickly took back the microphone with a smile and said, "I'm very sorry I wasn't able to be here. Amazing grace, how sweet it is; once was lost, now I'm found."
Oh, barf. It just weakens the candidates and makes Kweisi Mfume look like he's more interested in getting his props than he is in having allies who will work for his issues. Kucinich, Gephardt, and Lieberman have been good supporters of the NAACP and just because they didn't show up for one convention on the allotted day, Mfume says they're "persona non grata." As ever, appearances are more important than reality.
Donald Rumsfeld explains how he wants to change the bureaucratic rules for moving bureaucrats around in the Defense Department.
Today it takes, on average, five months to hire a federal employee, 18 months to fire one and collective bargaining with more than 1,300 separate union locals to implement critical reforms. These negotiations can take years to accomplish.

While the nation is asking tens of thousands of reserve troops to leave their jobs and their families to help fight the global war on terrorism, it is estimated that on-duty military personnel are serving in more than 300,000 jobs -- at additional cost to the taxpayers -- that could be filled by civilian workers but are not because the department doesn't have the authority to manage its civilian personnel. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, more than 80 percent of civilians deployed in the theater of operations were contractors. Why? Because a complex web of regulations prevents the Department of Defense from moving civilians to new tasks quickly. As a result, managers turn to uniformed personnel and to contractors to do what department civilians could and should be doing. A similar problem exists with respect to the hiring of new employees. While industry can offer promising applicants a job and a bonus on the spot, all the Defense Department can offer is a ream of paperwork and a promise to get back to them in three to five months.

In an era when our enemies are moving at the speed of satellites, cell phones and cyberspace, these burdensome regulations are not acceptable. The Department of Defense cannot meet the challenges of the future with an organization anchored to the past. We must be permitted to be as agile, flexible and adaptable as the forces we field in battle around the world.

If he can get these changes through, it will be a revolution in how the bureaucracy works (or doesn't). It makes so much sense that we should expect heavy resistance.
The Washington Times looks at efforts by the Republicans to counter Democratic attacks on why we went to war in Iraq. I wonder what took them so long. Haven't both parties learned the importance of a rapid response team to answer criticism since the 1992 Clinton campaign?
As always, Charles Krauthammer has a wonderful column. What I love about Krauthammer is his skill at cutting right to the heart of an issue. He can write about something that everyone is talking about, yet he'll take a slightly different approach and illuminate the entire question.

Here he is on the allegations that Bush lied about WMD in Iraq. Krauthammer asks the simple question, why would Bush lie? And there really is no good answer, no matter how cynical and partisan you are.
"With weapons of mass destruction yet unfound, the Niger blunder opens the way to the broad implication that the president is a liar or a dissimulator who took the country to war under false pretenses.
How exactly does this line of reasoning work? The charge is that the president was looking for excuses to go to war with Hussein and that the weapons-of-mass-destruction claims were just a pretense.
Aside from the fact that Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction was posited not only by Bush but also by just about every intelligence service on the planet (including those of countries that opposed war as the solution), one runs up against this logical conundrum: Why then did Bush want to go to war? For fun and recreation? Because of some cowboy compulsion?"
What's the use of having closed door Intelligence hearings in the Senate, if Senator Durbin is going to start leaking details within a few hours? His story is that CIA officials blamed an aide to Condi Rice for putting the uranium line in the SOTU.
The San Francisco Examiner has a memo from Frank Luntz, the focus group guru, on the best ways for Republicans to frame their opposition to Governor Davis. Expect a lot of the "more in sadness..." type comments.

Hey, I could have advised that without having focus groups. Voters never like hard-edged partisan comments. That's why Tom Daschle is always "saddened" and "disappointed" in Republicans.
How very disappointing. Senator Arlen Specter is joining with the Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee to keep DC schools from getting vouchers. A compromise bill had been put together that would send 13 million dollars each to a voucher plan, charter schools and the public schools of DC. Voucher foes, citing phoney concerns about money going to religious schools would rather the DC schools get none of this money than that 2000 poor students leave the public school system in order to go to private schools using vouchers.

DC schools have one of the largest per student allotments in the country, yet their students are at the bottom on all sorts of measurements. The Supreme Court has ruled that voucher plans that put the choice of school in the parents' hands do not violate the First Amendment. But, Specter, a RINO (Republican in Name Only) pretends that this is still the issue. Specter is up for reelection this year and facing a tough primary opponent. We can wish him ill. I'd rather have a candidate who is willing to trust parents to choose the best school for their children. After all, Specter is happy to let mothers choose abortion. Shouldn't schools be a pro-choice issue?

Even the Washington Post is criticizing opponents of the Senate bill.
Perhaps the Democrats are suffering from a misapprehension: The school choice initiative is not some partisan program being foisted on the District by the White House. This is an experiment that many of the city's Democratic leaders, most notably the city's mayor, have finally concluded is worth trying, to help the city's poorest children. It is inexcusable for a group of senators, many from distant states, to turn this into a partisan issue of their own. Instead, they should fight to make the D.C. school system work better for more children, in public, private and charter schools across the city.

The question is why should there be so much opposition to a pilot program for Washington, DC schools. The amount of money is a drop in the bucket compared to the entire DC budget. It's not taking money away from the public schools; on the contrary, they're going to get $13 million that they wouldn't have gotten anyway, plus another $13 million for the charter schools. The Supreme Court has spoken on the First Amendment concerns.

The answer is that they're scared. What if the program works? That would loosen the stranglehold that teacher unions have on the public schools. It would be clear (as it should already be) that the Emperor of our public schools have no clothes. That the unions and their subsidiary, the Democratic Party, cannot risk. So what if another generation of inner city children are stuck in sub-standard schools? That has never been the issue for them.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Terry McAuliffe vows that no Democrat will go on the ballot for the recall vote on Davis. If the Republicans can get their act together and limit the Republican candidates, this could be bad for Davis.
This seems like a surefire successful diet plan.
This could become another big headache for the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Washington Post says that Bush is going to nominate Judge Janice Brown, a black conservative woman to the DC Circuit.
An eloquent conservative whose sometimes sharply worded writings include a ruling against affirmative action and a dissenting opinion in favor of a state parental-consent law for teenage abortions, Brown, 54, would add to the recent rightward tilt of a court whose current roster of nine judges is made up of five Republican appointees and four Democratic appointees.

Brown, who has served on the California high court for seven years, would also become the second African American woman judge on the D.C. Circuit, which is often considered second only to the Supreme Court in the federal judicial hierarchy. Judith W. Rogers, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, was the first.

Brown has been frequently mentioned as a possible Bush nominee for the Supreme Court, and legal analysts said that her elevation to the D.C. Circuit could mean that the president is grooming her for the high court. Three current members of the Supreme Court -- Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- served on the D.C. Circuit.

Mark Steyn has another great column. And, most importantly, he notes the same nonsensical change in pronunciation of "Niger" that I had noted earlier.
wrote a gazillion pieces urging war with Iraq, and never found the time to let the word Niger pass my lips. And, if it had passed, my lips would have said ‘Ny-juh’ and not ‘Nee-zhaire’. But here’s what the President had to say, when he ‘LIED OVER NIGER URANIUM CLAIMS!!!!!!!!!!!’ back in the State of the Union address in January: ‘The British government has learnt that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.’

That’s it: 16 words. Where’s the lie? Though the CIA director George Tenet now says his boys shouldn’t have approved that sentence, Tony Blair is standing by it. The unusual attribution to Her Majesty’s Government might have been because Bush was only mired in all this multilateral justification-shopping as a favour to Blair and his wobbly Cabinet. Or it might have been because of the source: under the rules governing intelligence-sharing, the British were unable to pass the direct evidence on to the Americans because they got it from the French, and the French wouldn’t let them give it to Washington. Niger’s uranium operations are under the supervision of the French Atomic Energy Commission.

But, whether or not that’s true, I repeat: where’s the lie? Why isn’t it merely a good-faith mistake? The anti-war crowd have been wrong on everything, from hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths to environmental catastrophe, from the horrors of the ‘brutal Afghan winter’ — now 22 months behind schedule — to those of the brutal Iraqi summer, which George Galloway was still trying to flog in the Guardian this week: ‘The US and British armies have entered the gates of hell. Soon it will be 100 degrees at midnight in Baghdad, but there will be no respite from the need for full body armour.’ Really? The average overnight low in July (Baghdad’s hottest month) is 77. On Monday night, after an unusually hot day, by 10.30 p.m. it was already down to a pleasant 83. But I would be reluctant to send out email alerts shrieking GALLOWAY LYING OVER IRAQI WEATHER CLAIMS!!!! Could be just an honest mistake.
The New Republic is disappointed in Lieberman's kiss up speech to the NAACP suggesting he'd nominate Kweisi Mfume, a man without legal experience or a law degree, to the Supreme Court. When Joe gets into full pander mode, it's hard for him to stop.
Sacre bleu! French wine sales are still down. Quel dommage. Americans are buying more wine, just less French wine and more American wine. Sounds like a twofer to me.
Here are some of David Letterman's Top Ten List of Jerry Springer's Campaign Promises.

9. "All staff dinners will be at D.C.-area Hooters"

8. "Sausages will attack baseball players with bats!"

7. "Repeal restrictive laws against first-cousin marriages"

6. "Amend constitution to include words 'hoochie mama'"

5. "In the summer months, all press conferences are topless"

1. "Enough cheap sex to make the Clinton years look like a church social"
Scientists have uncovered an explanation for the burning bush.
Instapundit and Mickey Kaus highlight a story by Kevin Holtsberry that does a fisking of a misleading headline from the NY Times.
In Ohio, Iraq Questions Shake Even Some of Bush's Faithful
The story doesn't not depict the faithful being shaken. They just want to know the truth about WMD.
In conversations here with nearly three dozen voters, the vast majority said they generally like President Bush and believe he is doing a good job. Many people said they remained convinced that Iraq posed a threat, even though no chemical or biological weapons have been found. And there was a broad consensus that the result of the war — the ousting of a brutal dictator — was good for Iraq as well as the United States.

This is another example of how the media can subtly slant the news. But, if they keep hyping this nonstory about the Niger uranium, maybe they can shake up a few voters in Ohio.
The NY Daily News has a story about how a kid genius is being messed over by the system. Why can't people use common sense anymore? Sigh.
Polipundit has some of the RNC oppo research on Kerry and howhe has sought to weaken the CIA. Now, he's trying to appear to be a hawk on security issues.
Larry Sabato has some interesting statistics to show the importance of a candidate carrying his own and his vice president's own states. Of the Democratic candidates, he thinks only Dean, Kerry, Lieberman, and possibly Graham could carry their own states.
Here's a new political site for politics junkie. Lots of information about both state and national contests. You could spend a lot of time here.
Amir Taheri is just back from Iraq and reports on the situation there.
This chorus wants us to believe that most Iraqis regret the ancien regime, and are ready to kill and die to expel their liberators.

Sorry, guys, this is not the case.

Neither the wishful thinking of part of the Arab media, long in the pay of Saddam, nor the visceral dislike of part of the Western media for George W. Bush and Tony Blair changes the facts on the ground in Iraq.

ONE fact is that a visitor to Iraq these days never finds anyone who wants Saddam back.

There are many complaints, mostly in Baghdad, about lack of security and power cuts. There is anxiety about the future at a time that middle-class unemployment is estimated at 40 percent. Iraqis also wonder why it is that the coalition does not communicate with them more effectively. That does not mean that there is popular support for violent action against the coalition.

Another fact is that the violence we have witnessed, especially against American troops, in the past six weeks is limited to less than 1 percent of the Iraqi territory, in the so-called "Sunni Triangle," which includes parts of Baghdad.

Elsewhere, the coalition presence is either accepted as a fact of life or welcomed. On the 4th of July some shops and private homes in various parts of Iraq, including the Kurdish areas and cities in the Shiite heartland, put up the star-spangled flag as a show of gratitude to the United States.

THERE are two Iraqs today: One as portrayed by those in America and Europe who wish to use it as a means of damaging Bush and Blair, and the other as it really exists, home to 24 million people with many hopes and aspirations and, naturally, some anxiety about the future.

"After we have aired our grievances we remember the essential point: Saddam is gone," says Mohsen Saleh, a geologist in Baghdad. "A man who is cured of cancer does not complain about a common cold."

This is must reading.
Here's the story on what was going on in the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad as the U.S. Marines entered the city.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Scientists are so great. South Americna scientists have developed flatulence-free beans.
Drudge is reporting that the White House is getting ready to go on the offensive and bring back Mary Matalin. Ah, they must truly be serious if they need Mrs. Carville.
Congratulations to the winner of the Bulwer Lytton writing contest, Ms. Mariann Simms of
Wetumpka, AL
They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavor entwined
string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white . . .
Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar
from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently.
(Link via Possumblog) Read the runners-up.

The American Mind points out that Bob Graham has made mistakes in his utterances about Iraq. By Graham's own standard, he should have to resign.
Scrappleface has uncovered another mistake in intelligence.
Bush Pushed Dubious Claim About Saddam's Sanity
(2003-07-16) -- The American Psychiatric Association today challenged President George Bush's pre-war claims that Saddam Hussein was a "madman."

The original data for the assertion came from a British dossier which was based on a French summary of an Italian intelligence briefing intercepted by the CIA in Niger.

Experts now say a translation error led to an inaccurate assessment of Saddam's mental state. The original transcript said "Saddam is an angry man." However, after being translated through several languages, the British version stated "Saddam is a madman."

"We believe that Saddam Hussein was a mentally-healthy despot," said the statement from the world's largest psychiatric association. "His strategic, deadly suppression of dissent and intentional genocide program could only have been achieved by a cold calculation which would have been impossible for an insane person."

CIA Director George Tenet immediately released a statement blaming himself for allowing the White House to refer to the former Iraqi leader as a madman.

It looks like Nevada is headed for a showdown between a federal judge and the State Supreme Court. The Nevada State Supreme Court has made a real bonehead decision to overrule a provision voted by the people of Nevada to require a 2/3 supermajority to vote a new tax. The Governor of Nevada, a Republican no less, has sued to overrule this provision in order to raise taxes. Shades of Bush v. Gore and state/federal issues and the interpretation or misinterpretation of a state's constitution by its own Supreme Court.
This does sound like a dirty trick. I wouldn't put it past Governor Davis.
I wish officials like Secretary Powell would stop making predictions of good things to come. Just wait until it comes to pass.
Congratulations to the American team that just won the World Geography Championship defeating Germany and Florida. How sweet! (Link via Joanne Jacobs)
Former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, has a strong defense of Bush.
For me, it comes down to this: If Bush actually did lie to the American public -- intentionally stating as the truth that which he knew to be false -- then he should be impeached and removed as President. However, if Bush did not lie, and I do not believe that he did, then Americans of all political persuasions should defend our country's reputation for fair play by displaying their indignation at those who bear false witness.

They can do this by rejecting those candidates and political leaders who have perpetuated that charge and by turning to other TV and radio channels when the unfair and venomous attacks against the President are being aired.

I am a proud Democrat who generally supports Democratic candidates for office. I have never voted for anyone other than a Democrat for President.

Although I am a Democrat, I am no ideologue. In some local and state elections, I have proudly crossed party lines for candidates I thought were appreciably better. I believe that the most important issue facing the world is international terrorism, and it is my current intention to vote for George W. Bush for reelection. I do not agree with him on many domestic issues, ranging from privatizing Social Security to tax reductions favoring the wealthy. However, because of his leadership and successes in the war against international terrorism, he is my current choice in 2004.

Whether intelligence reports about Iraq were accurate or not, the President had a right to rely on information from Blair, America's most steadfast ally, and his government. If either Bush or Blair knew the reports were false and either is now engaging in a cover-up, that individual should be removed from office.

Oxblog does a good job analyzing the faults in the Washington Post's polls and their interpretation of the results. (Link via Instapundit)
Scrappleface has detected a new campaign strategy for Senator Edwards.
Sen. Edwards to Sponsor NASCAR Crashes

(2003-07-10) -- Following the example of Sen. Bob Graham, whose presidential campaign sponsored a Ford F-150 in a NASCAR race, Sen. John Edwards hopes to boost his own presidential potential by sponsoring NASCAR crashes.

Sen. Edwards, D-NC, a former personal-injury attorney, said his name and slogan will appear at the bottom of the screen during all televised wrecks in NASCAR events.

"We know why people are watching these races," said an unnamed campaign aide. "So as soon as the car hits the wall and spins out across track, our man pops up with an 'Edwards for President' graphic and our slogan: "I don't get paid unless I collect entitlements for you'."

Andrew Sullivan links to this admission by British editor, Richard Ingrams.
I have developed a habit when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it.
I guess everyone but Jews can have worthwhile opinions on the Middle East.
Ronald Rotunda thinks that the rule that requires a supermajority of 67 votes to change the Senate fules on filibusters is unconstitutional. It would be interesting to see this case argued, but I tend to doubt that the Supreme Court would want to get involved in the rules that the Senate makes for itself. The Constitution does give the Senate that right.
Here's my choice for Idiotic Quote of the Day.
Klaus Toepfer, head of the U.N. Environment Program, said China's aim of quadrupling its economy by 2020 can only occur if developed nations radically change their consumption habits to free up scarce resources for the world's poor.

"Quadrupling the GDP of a country of 1.3 billion, can you imagine what are the consequences if you go in the same structure as was done in the so-called developed countries?" Toepfer told reporters during a visit to Sydney.

All the evidence shows that one of the single best things we could do for the world's environment is to improve the world's standard of living. It is only the wealthier countries who can afford to spend money on pollution control.
North Carolina redistricting is so messed up. The NC Supreme Court just threw out last year's redistricting map. So, it's back to the drawing board. The NC House is evenly split 60:60 since some genius picked an even number for the membership of the State House and since one Republican changed parties at the last minute to make a Republican majority of 61:59 into the present tie. This ruling was sought by the state GOP so presumably they think that a new map will help them gain more seats. Now, they'll have a very ugly fight to draw the new map.
The Note has lots of interesting analysis of the political fund-raising news that was just released.
This should (but it won't) silence some of the administration's critics about our not finding evidence of WMD in Iraq. We have found evidence; we're just looking for more so that we can make a really solid presentation to the world.
David Kay, a former U.N. chief nuclear weapons inspector, said on ''NBC Nightly News'' that U.S. forces had collected a massive amount of documents that when completely analyzed would prove ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Three months after toppling Saddam, the United States and Britain have found no banned weapons. Both countries held out Iraq's weapons program as a major justification for going to war.

''You cannot believe how many cases we have of documents and equipment stored in private residences,'' Kay said in an interview in Baghdad.

''I've already seen enough to convince me, but that's not the standard. I've got to have enough evidence to convince everyone of that,'' he said.

Asked how long it would take for him to present a convincing case, Kay responded, ''I think we'll have a substantial body of evidence before six months.''
So, just as the primary season is heating up, Kay can make his report and everyone can just figure out how to backtrack on everything they're saying now.
(Warning: Spoilers ahead) Jonah Goldberg has an entry on the movie, Minority Report. Goldberg makes some decent points. His criticisms of the movie mirror his dislike of the cliche , "Better then guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished."

My big problem with the movie was the logical hole in the plot. The entire conceit of the movie is that, using pre-cognition beings, authorities are able to figure out who is planning to commit murder and can then arrest them before the murder is committed. Tom Cruise runs the Department of Pre-Crime that uses the Pre-Cogs' gifts to stop all murder in this future Washington, D.C. Cruise's boss has an elaborate scheme to commit murder which involves much pre-planning. It is never explained why the boss can plot the murder, hire people for his plot, and his murderous thoughts are never read by the pre-cogs.
If the Republicans play their cards right, this could be one of the sleep issues next year. If you make it a choice between doctors and lawyers, doctors will win each time.
Max Boot makes some good points in an LA Times editorial.
Politically opportunistic Democrats are invoking preposterous comparisons with Watergate because of the president's statement that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Democrats smell blood because the administration has admitted that its own findings about Iraqi attempts to acquire uranium in Niger were based on forged documents. But it's quite a leap to go from faulty information to charges that the president deliberately lied. The real problem is that intelligence seldom provides certainty; it can only offer hints or clues that policymakers have to interpret as best they can.

That's precisely what Bill Clinton and his national security advisors did in 1998. In August, after Al Qaeda bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, they launched preemptive attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan because they didn't want to risk having poison gas released in the New York City subway. Even though the evidence was hardly conclusive that the Sudanese plant was working for Bin Laden, they decided to err on the side of safety. Based on the same precautionary principle, the administration bombed Iraq a few months later, even though there was no hard proof that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

And they were perfectly right to do so. Just as Bush was right to finally end Hussein's nightmarish reign.
My husband told me about this review of a biography of Francis Ford Coppola. In his review, John Podhoretz tells of a lot of details about the filming of The Godfather that I had never heard. Very interesting for any fan of that movie.
My husband links to this story about how schools deal with teacher shopping in North Carolina. Teacher shopping is the term given to parents who request a certain teacher for their kids. Most principals frown on this. There is the fear that minority parents don't do it as much as white parents so it wouldn't be fair to grant white parent requests. There is also their concern with balancing classes by race, gender, and ability.

Every school I've worked at has maintained that the principal would not grant parent requests for certain teachers. At the middle school I worked at and the elementary school where my own children went, the principals even objected to letting parents know which teachers taught which electives because there was the fear that kids would sign up for classes based on the teacher and not the subject. I always objected to this. I've always believed that the teacher is more important than the subject. A good teacher can enliven a subject that doesn't initially interest students. In fact, that would be one of my definitions of a good teacher. A bad teacher can ruin the most interesting subject.

I would argue in PTA meetings that a good principal should want to know what parents thought of teachers. That should be helpful information to let a principal know which teachers need some help. A principal should want to to be clued in to what the PTA parents gossip about the teachers. That would tell them more than all the observations that they do. So, a principal should want to know which teachers parents are interested in and why. If they're just looking for an easy grader, the principal should want to know that also.

Of course, in public schools, there really is little that a principal can do if it turns out that a tenured teacher is a real turkey whom all the parents want to avoid for their children. That is probably one of the real reasons why principals don't like teacher shopping. They know that they can't get rid of the bad teacher and there is only so much lipstick you can put on that porcine pedant.
Here's Jonah Goldberg on Jerry Springer. What I like is that Jonah says that it is not always a good thing to have higher voter turnout. That is something that I've believed for years.
Here's an interesting story about why the flags that the Apollo astronauts planted on the moon has a wave in it.
Armstrong Williams compares the Clinton and Bush records on Africa. It is not what many people would think. He also says that it was the Congressional Black Caucus that got Nelson Mandela to criticize Bush recently. They'd rather score partisan points than praise a Republican president helping to fight AIDS in Africa.
Ralph Peters highlights a number of striking parallels to politics and war today compared to 1864. I like this quote, though all the liberal history teachers would so object.
[O]ne of the consistent failures of the post-modern left is its inattention to history - perhaps because history rarely supports its views.
Ben Shapiro classifies different types of anti-Semites.
Scott McClellan, the President's new Press Secretary, has a wacko father who's writing a book alleging that LBJ head JFK killed.
The voucher bill for DC passed another hurdle, but Democrats are threatening a filibuster in the Senate.
The Washington Post has a very depressing story about the rise of anti-Semitic violence in France. They have all these young Muslims there who feel outcast from French society and are under or unemployed and spend all day watching anti-Israeli propaganda on Al Jazeera. Then they gather in gangs and attack Jews, Jewish-owned businesses, and synagogues. You know it's getting bad when many French Jews are considering emigrating to Israel because they think it would be safer there.
Cuban Human Rights activists are pressuring the NAACP to do more to speak out on behalf of jailed Cubans instead of cozying up to Castro. It is often overlooked, especially by American black leaders, how Castro discriminates against Cuban blacks.
Tom Delay is standing firm about keeping the competition measures in the proposed prescription benefit bill. That could be a deal breaker since the Democrats in the Senate will refuse to go along with any reform of Medicare. The bill could thus fall apart in conference. This is a win win for Republicans. Bush can get the brownie points for having supported the bill yet we won't get this poorly constructed bill htat won't do much to help seniors and would harm the parmaceutical companies. Bless Tom Delay.
The full results of the Democratic candidates' fund-raising is out. This is the time of the "invisible primary" and Kerry and Dean seem to be pulling away from the rest of the pack. Gephardt, Edwards, and Lieberman all had less than expected totals. Dean continues to be impressive, especially since his donations come in smaller sums so he will get matching funds for more of his money and can also come back to his contributors again and again. They're going to get mail every few days asking them for more money. Dean does have all the usual suspects from Hollywood giving him money. Here's a list.

The actors, directors and authors on his donor list included Robin Williams, Ted Danson, Christopher Guest, Carl Reiner, Bradley Whitford, Alec Baldwin, Christopher Lloyd, Paul Newman, Mary Steenburgen, Joanne Woodward, Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand, Janeane Garofalo, Norman Lear, Aaron Sorkin, Mel Brooks and Stephen King.

Bush pulled in more than all his competitors combined. He won't have to spend much during the first half of next year while the Democrats will have to spend most or all of their money fighting each other. Bush will then emerge from the primaries with lots of money to spend all summer long while his opponent will be used up. Shades of 1996 and the situation that Dole faced after the primaries.
Begging to Differ does a fisking of Howard Dean's first entry as a blogger on Lawrence Lessig's site.
Great minds think alike. Rod Paige wants more teachers to have majored in the field they teach. He also wants states to do more for alternative certification. Let's break the monopoly that education departments have on determining who gets certified.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The Center for Education Reform also has some interesting statistics to show that teacher certification is not all that it's cracked up to be. I so agree. It's just a hoop that the unions and university education departments have contrived to keep more control of education for themselves. I jumped the hoops to get my certification, but it was totally worthless. I don't think I have ever in 13 years of teaching applied something that I learned from one of those education classes. In fact, most of those classes were taught by professors who had never taught below the university level themselves. They knew lots of theory, some of which was quite addled, but nothing about the real world of teaching. And most of the so-called education research is so bogus and unscientific that it is useless. I am always skeptical when someone tries to sell me on some teaching method by saying that "research shows that...."

Maybe, some of this stuff would be worthwhile for elementary school teachers, but it did nothing for me in my jobs in either middle or high school. If we didn't have this silly focus on teacher certification for employment, maybe we could get some teachers who simply loved their subject and had majored in that subject in college rather than in education.
The Center for Education Reform looks at some of the problems in that Harvard Study that said that charter schools are more segregated than non-charter schools. Even if the study was done correctly and it showed the same result, I still think it would be no big deal. Are we saying that the parents are too stupid to pick schools that are right for their children? Oops, I forgot. That is what voucher-opponents often argue.(Link via Scientifically Correct)
More of the Democratic candidates for president turned out for the gay and lesbian lobbying group, Human Rights Campaign, than did for the NAACP convention. Though I don't know that HRC will be happy with Dean, Kerry, Gephardt, and Lieberman either weaseling or opposing gay marriages. Kucinich, who used to be pro-life, made it clear how far he's come with this statement of what he'd look for in a Supreme Court nominee, “I’d nominate any gay to the Supreme Court, or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered person to the Supreme Court as long as they were ready to uphold Roe v. Wade.” I thought conservatives were supposed to be the ones with a litmus test on abortion.
I so agree with Joanne Jacobs about what a shame it is that schools are dropping vocational education programs. She highlights a story about schools dropping classes for auto repair. In a few years an auto shop employee can be making $80,000 a year, a salary I won't see in my lifetime although I have a master's degree. The nation is facing a shortage of qualified auto repair mechanics. Even if a student wasn't planning on working as a mechanic, this is a useful skill. As we plan to take our car in for repair next week, both my husband and I realize that we could have benefited from a car repair class in high school. We'd have used that much more often than four years of Spanish.

I think we are making a mistake to have the goal of sending every student on to college. Not every job needs college and not every student is cut out for college. There are students who suffer through college preparatory classes and do miserably and end up disappointing themselves and their parents. But, they could be very successful in vocational training and end up making a very good salary. Our schools are not designed for those students. Instead, we make them feel like failures because they can't learn a foreign language or pass Algebra II. I've often thought that we would have fewer discipline problems and dropout problems in our high schools if we did more to encourage vocational education.

A secondary benefit is that our colleges wouldn't have to do so much remedial work and have to lower standards to accomodate students who really shouldn't be in college in the first place.

Cathy Young of Reason Magazine looks at the nastiness of Ann Coulter. Coulter is really getting it from all sides. She's just gotten to be a caricture of herself and her shtick is getting a little lame.
It's getting pretty bad when the Democrats start complaining about a conservative bias in the media.
Scrappleface has news about the orthographically challenged, Bob Graham.
Sen. Graham Uses Four-Letter Words About President

(2003-07-15) -- Senator Bob Graham yesterday told the NAACP that he would use a five-letter-word to describe what George Bush did in his State of the Union address: "deceit."

Today, Sen. Graham said he would use a lot of four-letter-words to describe the President, including "dcvr, fony, idot, mron and cruk."

The Florida Democrat was later admitted to the Hooked on Phonics Clinic for observation.

The Hill has a story about the presidential candidates' favorite foods. I didn't know that Kerry used to own a cookie store.

The story also perpetuates the false story that George H. W. Bush didn't know how a supermarket scanner worked. That story was dishonestly hyped by the New York Times and was totally false. But it has lingered on, nevertheless. The fact that a journalist, despite being named Betsy, writing for The Hill wouldn't know the true story and would leave a misleading quote about that in a story is quite disappointing. (Link via Capitol Hill Blogger)
This is why the Israeli elite soldiers are so awesome!
Here's Salam Pax, the Baghdad Blogger, on what the situation is like in Baghdad now.
Thomas Sowell explains the difference between wealth and income.
Check out the Blogger Symposium at Right Wing News on the War on Terrorism.
Both Gephardt and Lieberman are having fund raising problems. Those are not good stories to be juxtaposed with media stories that excitedly plug Dean's fundraising abilities.
What does the Tour de France have to do with globalization? Logic, apparently, is not necessary if you can get publicity.
Isn't this what California wants in a governor? Isn't it what we all want?
Roger Clegg looks at what foes of racial preferences should do now in light of the Supreme Court's Michigan decision.
This what Muammar Gaddafi, dictator in charge of Libya, which chairs the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, had to say about AIDS.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi told statesmen at the closing of an African Union (AU) summit in Maputo today that AIDS was a "peaceful virus".

"AIDS, AIDS, AIDS. We hear about nothing else. This is terrorism. This is psychological warfare. AIDS is a peaceful virus. If you stay clean there is no problem," Gaddafi said in an impromptu 45-minute speech - which was supposed to have been a sweet and short thank-you address at the end of the summit.

He added that AIDS and malaria were "God's forces defending Africa" from recolonisation.

I guess this means that AIDS is a good thing for Africans since it staves off the evils of recolonization. Does anyone seriously believe that Europe is eager to take on the burden of Africa today?
Ron Brownstein looks at the Democratic candidates' problem. They need to appeal to activists in their party who loathe Bush, but don't want to offend those voters in the middle who actually decide elections.
Like some black hole, that pulsating hostility is exerting a gravitational pull on the Democratic presidential field. Dean at times has used language more superheated than in Hopkinton, describing Bush as obsessed with Iraq, comparing him to President Nixon and accusing him of "catering to bigotry and hatred."

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) has gone even further; at times he sounds like he's calling Bush out for a fight. Edwards has called the president "a phony a complete phony," and described his economic plan as "the most radical and dangerous economic theory to hit our shores since socialism." Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) has approached similar heights in accusing Bush of manipulating intelligence to stampede the country into war.

The problem for the Democrats is that most independents and swing voters aren't nearly as angry at Bush. They may disagree with some of his ideas and express dissatisfaction with aspects of his performance. But in last month's Gallup survey, a majority of independents described Bush as a strong and decisive leader, honest and trustworthy, and someone who cares about the problems of people like them. They are unlikely to recognize the portrait of Bush some of the Democratic contenders are painting.

Like all candidates challenging an incumbent, the Democrats face legitimately conflicting pressures. To convince the country to change course, they must make a forceful case against Bush's direction. But they might also remember that even most Americans who disagree with a president, any president, usually don't consider him malevolent or stupid, just wrong or ineffective.
The Clintons have to stop being deadbeats now and pay their lawyers.
Cheers to Israel for taking a stand on one of its major enemies....the BBC
Is Bob Graham's problem that he can't count or can't spell. Or, is he just stupid? Questions that would be on all the news shows if a Republican had said this when asked if the President had told a lie about Iraq's program to develop nuclear weapons:
"I would not use the three-letter word," the Florida senator told reporters. "I would use the five-letter word: deceit. That he deceived the American people by allowing into a State of the Union speech at a critical point when he was making the case for war with Iraq, a statement that he either knew was wrong or should have known was wrong."

Lileks does a fisking of a Star Tribune editorial column. That's always fun. Plus, he reviews Pirates of the Caribbean.
Could this mean that Arnold isn't going to run? (Link via Political Wire)
Tightly Wound has a funny link of irony to the Cal Poly Diversity Awards. Note who is on the Minority International Outreach committee. Remember, Cal Poly is the university that wants to suspend a white Republican for not apologizing for going into the Multicultural Lounge to post a flier.
Rick Hasen has an analysis of why he thinks the courts will not stop the recall petitions against Gray Davis. It's like having your own "lawyer on call" to answer a question that a lot of us had, but didn't have the expertise to evaluate the rival claims. (Link via Polipundit)
Here's more tribute to Animal House 25 years on.
NRO posts the best letter by the Duke of Wellington. Priceless.
John Derbyshire makes the same point that I had made about the new pronunciation of Niger.
Richard Cohen says that it doesn't matter so much what Truman said or believed in private about Jews; it matters what he did to help Israel. I can go along with that, if Cohen would also give the same dispensation to Richard Nixon who said terrible things on the tapes about Jews, but came through when it counted during the Yom Kippur War.
The NAACP says that it doesn't matter what a candidate does to help Blacks. The most important thing is that candidates show up and kowtow at the NAACP convention.
Peter Beinart has a good column in The New Republic on liberal anti-war groups and the terrible civil wars and genocide going on in Africa.
As the preeminent umbrella organization of the hard left, ANSWER directs its outrage across the globe. This September, for instance, it plans "International Days of Protest against Occupation and Empire, from Palestine to Iraq to the Philippines to Cuba and Everywhere."

But, as McClure found out, "everywhere" does not include Congo. In fact, it doesn't include Africa at all. answer has organized no protests and issued no statements on Africa's four most ravaged countries--Congo, Liberia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe--although they contain exponentially more oppression and suffering than the four targeted by the group's "International Days of Protest."

Answer is symptomatic of the left in general. A LexisNexis search going back to 2000 finds not a single reference to the crises in Congo, Liberia, Sudan, or Zimbabwe from Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Michael Moore, Michael Lerner, Gore Vidal, Cornel West, or Howard Zinn. In Congo alone, according to the International Rescue Committee, five years of civil war have taken the lives of a mind-boggling 3.3 million people. How can the leaders of the global left--men and women ostensibly dedicated to solidarity with the world's oppressed, impoverished masses--not care?

The answer, I think, is that the left isn't galvanized by victims; it's galvanized by victimizers. The theme of answer's upcoming protest, after all, is "Occupation and Empire." In a recent essay, Roy explained that "the real and pressing danger, the greatest threat of all, is the locomotive force that drives the political and economic engine of the U.S. government." In other words, imperialism, what she elsewhere calls "a super-power's self-destructive impulse toward supremacy, stranglehold, global hegemony."

(Link via Instapundit)
Rich Lowry points out that we are all colonialists now.
Beneath all the vitriolic partisan disagreements about American foreign policy, then, there is a sort of colonialist consensus, which is why American troops are in Afghanistan and Iraq (a Republican president's colonialism), Bosnia and Kosovo (a Democratic president's colonialism), and perhaps soon Liberia, too (a Republican president's colonialism that is pleasing to Democrats).

Dennis Prager asks whether you'd be more upset if your child smoked or cheated? I think it would depend if each act were a one time thing or a regular pattern.
My ally visited me from Great Britain and all he brought me was this lousy toilet bag. What Tony Blair is bringing Bush as a present.
Tod Lindberg makes some interesting observations on Bush's poll ratings during the summer. Maybe, he's on to something. I wonder if this would hold for other presidents. I know that most people have very little idea of all the controversies that swirl around Washington during the summer.
The Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are going to try to hold hearings for the Michigan Four despite the blue slips by Senators Levin and Stabenow. Maybe, this could spell the end for the stupid practice of blue slips.
I bet conservatives wish they could trade Pat Robertson for some players to be named later. What a jerk! Now, he's praying for three Supreme Court justices to get sick and retire. Why can't he just keep working on keeping the hurricanes away from landfall?
The American Prowler looks at Howell Raines' interview on Charlie Rose and notes that Pinch lied about who decided that Howell had to go.
John Podhoretz has some good advice for the Democrats that he doesn't think they'll take.
The lib/Dem/media folk have managed to plant a seed of doubt in the minds of many American swing voters. If they want to cultivate that seed, they really shouldn't overwater it. That's how they could translate this short-term gain into long-term pain for Bush.

If they want to use this to their strategic advantage, they will stop calling Bush a liar on the matter of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. You really have to be a little crazy to think Bush didn't genuinely believe Saddam was a threat to world peace because of his WMD. Maybe his conviction led him to believe things that turned out to be fraudulent, but that would mean he misled himself. And if he misled himself, then by definition he wasn't lying.

Rational people understand this. Which means the way for Bush's opponents to exploit the issue is to focus not on Bush but on the matter of an intelligence failure on his watch and under his management. If the American people can be led to believe that Bush is a lousy manager of the executive branch who stands idly by while false information is inserted in his speeches, that will have more bite than the "Bush is a liar" line. As political sage Charlie Cook and liberal pollster Ruy Texeira have pointed out, Bush has a great deal to lose by appearing "ineffectual" when it comes to the economy. Matters would be far worse for Bush if he appeared ineffectual on matters of national security.

I don't mind giving this counsel to Democrats and liberals because I know they can't possibly take it. I know they are going to drench and waterlog that seed of doubt they've planted and thereby ensure that it doesn't grow into a flourishing, flowering political issue for them in 2004.

How do I know this? I know it because they have grown far too deranged with their unreasoning hatred of Bush to think clearly. They are so eager to prove that "Bush is a liar" - in part because they had no answer to the undeniable charge that Bill Clinton lied just about as often as he breathed - that they will stick to that line no matter what.

In part they have a tactical reason to do so. The "Bush is a liar" line has a near-orgasmic effect on the leftists who play a powerful role in the early primary states through which all Democratic presidential candidates have to trudge. And those activists are the only game in town if you're a Dem running for president. In a recent poll, only 34 percent of the American people could name a single Democratic presidential candidate - and Republicans in the poll knew their names far more often than Democrats did!

But just because defaming the president works in Iowa, New Hampshire and the fever swamps of the American left doesn't make it any less dangerous a strategy for a candidate to adopt. I'm sure if some candidate announced that George W. Bush had deliberately targeted children for killing during the Iraq war, organizations like would celebrate him - even though such a charge would make any candidate who hurled it instantly unelectable.

"I'd rather be right than be president," said the 19th century politician Henry Clay. When it comes to the president and WMDs, the Democrat/liberal/media mob would rather be wrong than be president.
Hillary better pay attention to her image in flyover country. She doesn't do so well in this Iowa poll.
How much would you pay for Bill Clinton's used clothes? Eeuuw.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Here's the history of how recall got into the California constitution.
A study says that charter schools are not diverse enough.
Charter schools remain more integrated than the country's public schools, said Erica Frankenberg, the study's co-author. But the study found that minority students tend to enroll in urban charter schools while whites largely enroll in suburban schools, defeating a charter school aim of fostering racially diverse student bodies.

''The system's been touted as this market-based system where if you allow people to choose it will bring about more diversity, but there are not really equitable policies built into charter school law to ensure that,'' Frankenberg said. ''A lot of states have adopted this idea of school choice but haven't even considered the issue of race.''

Gee, if you give parents power over their children's schooling choices, they focus on educational quality and what best suits their family rather than diversity.
Ralph Peters is becoming one of my favorite columnists. Today, he gives ten reasons why we shouldn't listen to those moaning about the situation in Iraq. Here are a few.
Seriously, stand back from the silliness of the Deanie-weenies and consider the remarkable regional developments since Uncle Sam flipped off the Euro-trash and did what needed doing in Iraq:

* First, the vast majority of Iraqis are far better off than they were under Saddam - and they know it. Our remaining problems are with a cluster of sore losers who don't have permission to torture their neighbors anymore.

* Second, that "dangerous" Arab street is suddenly on its best behavior. Since the fall of Baghdad, the number of anti-American demonstrations in the Middle East has also fallen - to its lowest level in decades. Guess Saddam wasn't such a hero, after all.

* Third, there's genuine movement toward a better life for the Israelis and Palestinians - not a final peace, but a reduction in violence, improved economic opportunity and meaningful dialog. In our imperfect world, that's real progress. And it would not have happened if G.I. Joe's presence nearby had not jump-started the process.

* Fourth, bad-boy Syria has been scrambling to prove it's an upright citizen of the world community, committed to peace, hostile to terror, and unreceptive to Brother Saddam & Co.'s stragglers.

Doubtless, Syria's still got dirty fingers in some nasty pies - you can't jettison a full generation of support for terrorism overnight - but President Bashar Assad has waking nightmares about G.I.s cruising the boulevards of Damascus in M-1 tanks.

* Fifth, Iran, while hoping to influence the hearts and minds of Shiites in the south of Iraq, is going about things far more cautiously than usual.

Read the rest and feel better.
This is a hilarious look at what goes on in Film Schools.
Here are some interesting statistics from the newest Pew poll on people's views of the press.
Seventy percent of the respondents said news organizations should embrace "a decidedly 'pro-American' viewpoint," the poll stated; among conservative Republicans, that figure stood at 85 percent. In comparison, 51 percent said the organizations "stand up for America."Seventy percent of the respondents said news organizations should embrace "a decidedly 'pro-American' viewpoint," the poll stated; among conservative Republicans, that figure stood at 85 percent. In comparison, 51 percent said the organizations "stand up for America."

Forty-six percent feel the press have become too critical of the United States — and the public.

.... And a majority believe bias still plagues the press.

"Most Americans (53 percent) believe that news organizations are politically biased, while just 29 percent say they are careful to remove bias from their reports," the poll said.

More than half — 51 percent — say that the bias is "liberal," while 26 percent discerned a "conservative" leaning. Fourteen percent felt neither phrase applied. Two-thirds of Republicans thought the bias is liberal, with 41 percent of Democrats agreeing. A third of Democrats said there was a conservative slant in the news media, the poll found.

The respondents had definite opinions on specific topics: Two-thirds felt that "war coverage" should be neutral, though 47 percent said having TV "hosts with strong opinions about politics" was desirable.

Two-thirds of the respondents also felt the press was preoccupied with bad news, and 70 percent said the press was "influenced by powerful people and organizations," up from 53 percent in a poll taken in 1985.
Sounds like another occasion for media navel gazing, pontificating, and finally deciding that they're doing everything just fine.
Check out the rhetoric at the NAACP convention. Given that Republicans control two branches of the government and may continue to do so after next year's elections, does it make sense to antagonize that party so much?
The Washington Times looks at the possiblity that Davis would resign before the recall. People aren't even sure if the Lt. Governor, Bustamente, would succeed permanently or if the recall would still go forward. Here would be another election that would have to be settled in the courts. And insiders say that Davis would never resign, that he doesn't feel that he owes anything to the California Democratic Party and that he doesn't like Bustamente. What a mess!
Here's William Safire on Truman's entry in his diary on the Jews.
Gee, if the information was accurate, but just based on another country's findings, what is all the fuss about? Could it be....politics?

Sunday, July 13, 2003

William Raspberry is amazing. He habitually writes these thumbsucker editorials where he looks at one side and then another side of an argument and then can't decide which side is right, but he is sure that these are important questions. Here he is dithering about Liberia. Gee, I could have written an editorial that said there were important questions we should consider before taking action. He got a Pulitzer for this stuff? Amazing.
The Washington Post has a moving story about a soldier who fought in Iraq also fought to make sure that his ancestor who fought at Gettysburg got the proper recognition.
This is Pick on the Ontario Teachers' Union Day at Picking on teachers unions is always worthwhile work for those on the side of truth and justice. And education.
Congratulations to the American Legislative Exchange Council, where my daughter is interning this summer. The ALEC Trojans beat the Peace Corps Villagers in their annual softball game. What type of name is the Villagers, even for the Peace Corps. No wonder they lost.
Now that we've found out that John Lennon would have supported John Kerry for president, we also find out that Lennon was possibly guilty of manslaughter.
Happy Bastille Day. You can celebrate with who are proud of France's role in attempting to keep Saddam in power.
This case is not all bull-feathers. A guy is being charged with wife abuse for hitting his wife with a pillow.
Drudge has a story about another boo-boo in the New York Times.
Dick Gephardt must have been the kid that other kids liked to beat up at school, because he bragged about his conduct grades on his report card. Check this vomit-inducing quote noted by Kathryn Jean Lopez that Gephardt said on C-Span this evening.
You know in grade school, that part of the report card where it says "plays well with others?" This president didn't get a good grade there. I did.
Oh, puh-leeze.
Now they've gone and done it. Edwards, Lieberman, Gephardt, and Kucinich aren't coming to the NAACP convention to kiss their rings. So Mfume, the head of the NAACP is threatening to withdraw support from them. Kerry is supposed to go but doesn't like the format. Rumor has it that he doesn't like appearing in debates with Al Sharpton, who upstages the other candidates. Meanwhile, Dean, Sharpton, and Mosely Braun and chanting "nyah, nyah."
Here is a Dutch scientist who is studying stupidity.
Van Boxsel is hardly mocking such lethal haplessness.

"On the one hand, stupidity poses a daily threat to civilization," he writes. "On the other, it constitutes the mystical foundation of our existence.

"For if man was not to fall victim to his own stupidity, he had to develop his intelligence."

Or as he put it in a telephone interview from his home in Amsterdam, "Stupidity is the engine that drives our society."

This is his most insistent point: Stupidity is not the same as a lack of intelligence, although precisely what it is is not always clear.

"It's a quality all its own," he said. "It's unwitting self-destruction, the ability to act against one's best wishes with death as the most extreme consequence."
I'm not sure what this all means. I guess that is why it needs further study.
Who knew that Pictionary could send someone into a psychotic rage?
Uh oh. Beyonce has offended bluenoses by dancing with "lascivious choreography" and scantily clad backup singers at Grant's tomb. I don't think Grant would have minded that much.
This should be an interesting experiment to let some in the armed services vote online.
The Australians are reporting that we discovered proof of Saddam's chemical weapons program two weeks ago and are just waiting for more testing to release this news to the world. (link via Right Wing News)
THE US has discovered what it believes is decisive proof of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and taken the material to the US for testing.

US Undersecretary of State John Bolton told The Weekend Australian the US had evidence it hoped would prove Iraq's previous possession of WMD.

Well-informed sources have now told The Weekend Australian that US soldiers made the discovery in Iraq two weeks ago. They believe the material will contain chemical weapons materials.

However, the material was not in a pristine or readily identifiable state when it was discovered and it was decided to take it back to the US for comprehensive laboratory testing.

The US has decided to be extremely careful in making any public claims about this material as it wants to be absolutely sure of its status.

Perhaps this is like so many other dead ends that we've run into (in more ways than one) but it would change things politically in both the US and Britain. But, why would Bolton be telling this stuff to Australian journalists? Can't we just keep our mouths shut until we know for sure?