Saturday, July 26, 2003

If you haven't already, read John Hawkins' interview with Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt has some interesting political insights. I wish that he was on a station in Raleigh, NC. I'm really getting tired of Rush. Too much blowhard and not enough news. If you follow the blogs and the Internet, Rush seems like he's finding news in slow motion.
Right Wing News links to an RNC press release analyzing the President's poll numbers. Their point is that his numbers are just about exactly where they were before the War in Iraq began.
Andrew Sullivan has a good take on Sam Tanenhous' rant against Ann Coulter and conservatives who have come out against her.
The Democratic Leadership Council is still worried about Dean. They said that they didn't invite the candidates to appear because they didn't want to distract from their message. Perhaps, they realized that few of them would show up. After all, Lieberman was once the head of the DLC. Does anyone doubt where their support would be?
I'm glad that someone in the GOP knows the importance of downplaying expectations instead of leaking about having a landslide next year.
This could turn into a big story among Watergate buffs. Jeb Stuart Magruder claims that he overheard a phone call between Nixon and John Mitchell in which Nixon gave the go ahead for the break in at the Watergate. No one has ever claimed previously that Nixon had advance knowledge of the break in. I wonder why he's coming out with this now. He claims no one ever asked him before. That seems hard to believe.
Publius (BTW doesn't it take some effrontery to use that as your Nom de Pundit?) has some interesting comments on the California race. i agree with him that no one really knows what is going to happen or how to strategize. I found it interesting that he thinks that the presence of the Racial Privacy initiative and a labor initiative will rebound to Davis' advantage. That's assuming that all minorities think that the initiative is a bad thing. Also, that the public attention on the iinitiative doesn't get lost in the media hoopla surrounding the recall vote, especially if Arnold jumps in. This is going to be such fun to watch.
The L.A. Times says that Schwarzenegger has a habit of keeping Hollywood producers waiting until the last minute, teasing them all the while, before deciding to do a role. He could be following the same planning now, trying to maximize interest and minimize the time for attacks on him. However, the story points out, this tactic only works if he is going to jump into the race. If he doesn't, he'd be cutting off several possible moderate Republican candidates.
Den Beste has done the dirty work of trolling through liberal blogs to gauge their reaction to Uday and Qusay's deaths. Quite a sewer of conspiracy-theories and demented Bush hatred, even to the extent of being disappointed because this would be good news for Bush. Who says that Bush-hatred isn't trumping all reason and patriotism of some on the Left?
National Geographic has a good, short summary of Charles Taylor's life of crime in case you're trying to keep up with events in Liberia.
This might seem like a small conflict of interest when a Judge get summoned to be a juror in his own case.
Chief Wiggles has a new, long entry about the situation he is facing in Iraq as an interrogator of our Iraqi POWs. As always, his entries are very interesting.
Some female bloggers are still getting all bent out of shape because John Hawkins' survey of bloggers as to the Top 20 Greatest Figures in American History did not include a female. Meryl Yourish has this to say. Kate at Electric Venom made these points. The Spoons Expericence has a good post on what this says about women in the blogosphere. Mrs du Toit has some comments with which I totally agree. Here's Outside the Beltway's comments.Blogspotting on MSNBC even weighed in. Cut on the Bias gives her list which includes the suffragettes as a group. I think that's cheating for this type of list. When I made my list I tried to think of people without whom the United States would have been a different place. And let's face it, until recently men have held those positions in government and society that could make that sort of difference. I tried to avoid picking someone as a symbol of a movement.

I think women would have gotten the vote without Susan B. Anthony. I give more credit to the nameless women who settled the frontier and thus earned the right to vote in western states. Fourteen states gave women suffrage before the 19th Amendment was passed. They provided an example that the world wouldn't fall apart if women voted. Blacks would have had a bus boycott in Montgomery without Rosa Parks. She was picked because she was good symbolically and better than some of the other blacks who had previously refused to move to the back of the bus. For example, it was decided not to go with a single mother who refused to move before Rosa Parks because they were afraid that the publicity would center on her being a single mother and not on the bus issue. Rosa Parks was chosen to be a symbol and has so served ever since. Without her, someone else would have served just as well. American history would not have been different. She didn't liberate a race as Electric Venom argues. Thus, she did less to change America than Mark Twain who changed American literature.

I would agree that Rush Limbaugh getting an Honorable Mention is way over the top, but that is more of a sign of the conservativism of the bloggers involved than male chauvinism. Of course, it was Right Wing News soliciting the votes so a conservative tilt is to be expected. Hence, Ronald Reagan beating out Lincoln and Washington. Now, that IS a travesty. I can't fathom how, out of 49 bloggers, 14 would not have chosen Washington and 18 would not have chosen Lincoln. Think of how American history changed because of George Washington. (Pardon me while I get on my "I'm an American history teacher and you're not pulpit")

1) His actions triggered the French and Indan War. How many people can goof up so totally that they trigger a world war? Because of that war, the British government is so deeply in debt that they decide to start taxing the American colonies more hence triggering the protests that led to the Revolution.
2) His leadership held the Continental Army together despite losing most of the battles he fought. But, he did win a few key ones at Trenton and Yorktown. And he proved that an American army could fight the British to a standstill in open battle at Monmouth.
3) He so inspired Lafayette, who in turn convinced Rocheambeau to put his French army at Washington's disposal to go after Cornwallis in Yorktown. Lafayette also convinced the French to bring their navy up from the Caribbean and attack the British navy. That defeat of the British navy was the real key to Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown.
4) He put his prestige and influence behind the Constitutional Convention. The Constitution could not have been written or ratified in its final form without the Washington stamp of approval or without the knowledge that we could trust this new office of the presidency to George Washington.
5) As president he set the model which determined just what this never-before-seen office would be like. Always aware that he was creating precedents with every step he took, he carefully trod a fine line between keeping the presidency from being too royalist or too plebian.
6) His support of Hamilton's economic plans put this nation on a firm economic footing and set the stage for all future economic growth. Remember that we were a debt-ridden country with little industry in 1789. Without Hamilton's plans, Jefferson would never had had the credit to have purchased Louisiana.
7) His advice to the nation in his Farewell Address, while rarely followed, is worth pondering today. He warned against getting involved in foreign alliances. Take that U.N. He warned against partisan rangling. Take that Pete Stark and Bill Taylor. And he warned that we should continue to be a religious and unified nation.
8) And finally, he assured that the presidency would not become like a monarchy, by voluntarily stepping down after his second term. He thus provided a model that all presidents except one followed.

Yet 14 of 49 bloggers didn't find him significant enough to vote for. And don't even get me started on the perfidious 18 who didn't pick Lincoln. I'm sure that the six who voted for Robert E. Lee are among that group. I guess there are too many Southerners who wish the War had turned out differently or Libertarians who worry about the growth of the government that was necessary to win the Civil War. Of course, there would be no America as we know it today without Lincoln's leadership. And without that you can forget about our role in World Wars One and Two or our victories in the Cold War and the War on Terror.

I just can't understand my fellow list-makers who left Washington and/or Lincoln off their lists. That is the real scandal about this list.
Perhaps this news and that news show that we're making some progress in Iraq, perhaps as a result of killing Those the Sight of Whose Corpses are Upsetting the Arab Street.
Instapundit has come correspondence from Professor John Robert Kelly about TV news viewing habits in Kabul. Here's an excerpt.
In hotels, cafes, restaurants and the necklace of NGO guest houses ringing the city there is a burgeoning battle for viewers on the satellite television system that has finally brought the outside world into Kabul. Thousands of expatriate couch commanders jockey for control of the remote; the Euros inevitably vie for the ‘unbiased’ coverage of BBC World while the majority of Americans steadfastly tune to the homespun comfort of Fox News. The good news for Rupert is that Fox is number one, or more precisely, it occupies the first channel on the dial. Fox is not in any sense international, it simply rebroadcasts the full American slate of its daily programming—from Fox and Friends to Brit, Bill, Sean, Alan and Greta. The BBC is a true world service; that is, there is not a region of the planet where the BBC is without a fierce opinion about how things are and should be. The British may have been drummed unceremoniously out of Afghanistan and the colonies in other centuries, but they are returned with a vengeance and an attitude no less condescending or patronizing.

While the morose and fretful hand-wringing of the BBC seems to add some cheer to the lives of the UN community, that news channel finds little purchase among the younger English speaking Afghans fascinated by the extraordinary soap opera quality of American culture as presented by Fox. This is hardly surprising, since their Dari parents are long addicted to the extremely stylized and dramatically overblown programming channeled in from India, even though they understand not a word of its dialogue. Escapism into the personal travails of celebrities and stars is far more engaging than watching the dry drones of global doom on the BBC—the Afghans have experienced enough of that firsthand, thank you very much. Fox offers instead an endless but intoxicating glimpse into the many mysteries of American misbehavior. Currently among the young, Kobe is number one with a bullet. One is persistently petitioned to explain the mores of American marital fidelity, the sexual privileges of the celebrated and the minutiae of our judicial system.

It sounds like Colorado has an extremely tough date rape law and Kobe may be in for a really bad time. I don't know if all the rumors about the victim, such as her bragging about the encounter to her friends or her previous suicide attempts could be entered as testimony. It does seem tough that in a he said/she said situation if the accused is not allowed to bring in any evidence to impugn the credibility of the accuser. Of course, whether or not she tried to kill herself every other day for years does not mean that she couldn't have been raped. But, the jury should be allowed to judge whether they believe her testimony beyond a reasonable doubt. Wouldn't that be the case if she were a witness to a robbery or a murder? Why should an accused rapist have fewer rights than an accused murderer?
Jim VandeHei and Juliet Eilperin have an interesting article in the Washington Post about how the Republicans have consolidated their control of the House and are treating the Democrats in much the same way that the GOP was treated for 50 years when the Democrats had the majority. This is the type of inside the beltway news that is, actually, quite important to how legislation is written an dpassed. However, I would disagree that GOP complaints about their treatment by the Democratic majority did anything the lead to the Republican takeover in 1994. Scandals in the House bank and post office plus Clinton's unpopularity were key there. I bet no one decided to vote for a Republican congressional candidate in 1994 because they wanted to give the minority party more rights in the House.
A column by Ashbel Green in the New York Times hopes that the Democratic nomination won't be decided by the convention. The ensuing interest could stimulate interestin the general election. As a political junkie, I couldn't hope for better. Keep your fingers crossed.
Joel Mowbray explores the theory that the administration already has substantive evidence on Iraq's WMD's.
George Simpson of Media Life says that the advent of more bloggers will make the world a more boring place. Having trolled through many a blog that breathlessly informs the world of the author's mood and song of the day and then proceeds to talk aoubt going to the mall or doing some tedious household chore, I can testify that there are many boring blogs out there. But, so fricking what!!?? If you think they're boring - don't go there. If the author is entertaining himself or herself and one or two friends, isn't that a nice thing? If a blog is just an digital diary, it's harmless for everyone else and fun for the author. Lighten up and stop taking yourself so seriously.
Here's a Fellini-esque story: A giant German catfish that once ate a dog has died.
I guess things are pretty bad when Democratic strategists are giving interviews to the Washington Times about how the Democratic presidential candidates at the back of the pack should drop out. Poor Edwards and Graham are classified as bottom tier candidates along with Kucinich, Mosely-Braun, and Sharpton. Both of these men are alwo up for reelection in the Senate so they have to decide whether they want to pursue campaigns that are not gaining traction. Edwards looks like he wouldn't win reelection anyway and he's hoping that he'll do well in South Carolina and Oklahoma, so I can't see him dropping out. Graham has become rather loony and has sacrificed his reputation for reasonableness. His health is not great and he got in late. I can see him dropping out, but not in response to taunting by Kerry's campaign. I would think that having Kerry's guy call them all "dead men walking" will not endear Kerry to the rest of the pack. As if anything would.

Friday, July 25, 2003

One of my former students, Kit, sent me a link to this quiz to see which political diva you are. It's one of those silly quizilla quizzes, but still fun. I'm a cross between Ann Coulter and Condi Rice. Not bad, huh?
Just in time for the 50 year anniversary of the end of the Korean War, Pyongyang has branded every president from Harry Truman to George W. Bush a war criminal. That's a galactic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Roger Mitton in the Strait Times looks at why Americans like George W. Bush, even though everyone else thinks he's a moron.
Well, this has certainly been hard. Electric Venom challenged bloggers to come up with their own lists of the 50 Most Defining Events in American History. As an American History teacher, I felt that I was obligated to come up with my own list. I tried to stick to events rather than broad movements or entire wars. I tended to focus on political and military history since that interests me more than social history and social history is hard to pin down to discrete events. I don't know as much as I should about the history of technology and medicine. Well, here goes.
George Whitefield comes to preach in America during the Great Awakening
Britain goes into deep debt after the French and Indian War and decides it needs to tax the colonies
Publication of Common Sense
Declaration of Independence
Treaty of Paris 1783/End of Revolutionary War
Constitutional Convention
Passage of the Bill of Rights
Alexander Hamilton’s economic plans for the U.S. passed by Congress
Election of 1800
Marbury v. Madison
Louisiana Purchase
Missouri Compromise
Invention of the telegraph
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo/End of Mexican War
Discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill
Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Election of Lincoln in 1860
Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg within 24 hours of each other
Passage of the 14th Amendment
Purchase of Alaska
Transcontinental Railroad completed at Promontory Point
Publication of Huckleberry Finn
Edison invents the light bulb
Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
The U.S. enters World War One
Passage of the 16th Amendment
Passage of the 19th Amendment
Crash of the Stock Market in 1929
First 100 Days of FDR’s Presidency
Invention of television
Pearl Harbor
Battle of Midway
D-Day
Atom Bomb
Berlin Airlift
Invention of the transistor
Invention of the computer – pick your favorite moment for the beginning
Jonas Salk develops a polio vaccine
Brown v. Board of Education
Development of the Birth Control pill
Passage of the Interstate Highway Act
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Establishment of ARPANet, precursor to the Internet
Moon Landing
Evacuation of Saigon
Resignation of Richard Nixon
Election of Ronald Reagan
Fall of Berlin Wall
September 11

Sorry not to have comment capability, but feel free to e-mail me with comments.
Oh, gosh. Just what California needs. Both Michael and Arianna Huffington are thinking of running for governor.
Mark Steyn looks at how the BBC would have covered the death of Mussolini.
The Republicans bring in a guy in a wheelchair to pass their bill on Head Start by one vote. Dick Gephardt misses the vote because he's campaigning, but defends himself by saying the Republicans would have won anyway. It's probably true, but it still doesn't look good for Gephardt to miss a key vote.
The New Republic Online has a debate on Howard Dean. It's interesting to see what liberals think about his candidacy.
Jonathan Foreman takes on some of the myths about the Americans serving in Iraq.
The American soldiers I met were disciplined professionals. Many of them had extensive experience of peacekeeping in Kosovo and Bosnia and had worked alongside (or even been trained by) British troops. Thoughtful, mature for their years, and astonishingly racially integrated, they bore little resemblance to the disgruntled draftees in Platoon or Apocalypse Now.

Yes, American troops wear their helmets and armour even though removing them might ease local relations. But it's easy to forget that British troops in Northern Ireland have very often worn helmets when patrolling unfriendly areas. And the disaster that took the lives of six Royal Military Police officers in Majar may indicate that American caution - whether it means wearing body armour, or ensuring that soldiers have sufficient back-up or are always in radio contact with headquarters - isn't so foolish.

And it's simply not true that the Americans don't patrol at all, patrol only in tanks or never get out of their vehicles. I accompanied foot patrols in Baghdad as early as April 13, only days after Saddam's presidential palace was taken. The unit carrying out these patrols was also assigned to escort SAS troopers around the city. The SAS men told me how impressed they were, not just with the Americans' willingness to learn from them, but with their training and self-control.

The idea that American troops are lavishly equipped is also a myth, a fantasy bred out of resentment of American wealth in general. The battalion in which I was first embedded came to war in creaky, Vietnam-vintage M113 armoured personnel carriers, which frequently broke down in the desert.

The battalion fought in green heavyweight fatigues because the desert camouflage ones never arrived. And, though a shipment of desert boots turned up just before the invasion, many were the wrong size, so that these GIs had to make do with black leather clompers designed for northern Europe in December. Perhaps most resented by the troops, they were not issued with bullet-resistant vests, only flak jackets, making them vulnerable to small-arms fire.

Another myth is that the Americans are also softies who live and fight in amazing, air-conditioned comfort. The truth is that the GIs encamped in and outside palaces and Ba'ath party mansions not only lack air-conditioning but also running water, unlike most of the population they guard.

And, unlike their British counterparts, they have no communication with their families at home. Many British troops are able to use the "e-bluey" system to email their loved ones on a frequent basis. The only times most GIs in Iraq ever get to let their spouses know they are well is if a passing journalist lets them have a couple of minutes on the Satphone.

Read the whole thing.
It looks like redistricting is over for now in Texas. However, the governor could call for a special session and play with the rules some more. Stay tuned.
Happy Birthday to Mick Jagger tomorrow. He will be turning 60. Gosh, I'd like to be able to prance around like that at 60. BTW Mick and I share the same birthday.
Lileks has some fun thinking of possible French video games
The most interesting news of the day is rarely in the A-section; it’s buried in the back pages of the Wall Street Journal, where you get a glimpse into some small aspect of the future that will die or flourish in months to come. My favorite article today concerned the French computer game industry, and yes there is such a thing. Turns out that it’s in the pissoir for all the usual reasons - the companies can’t fire anyone when business heads sud, the taxes are onerous, and, uh, the games suq. But the French PM believes that the industry deserves to be subsidized, because French computer games reflect European values.

Well, yes, if they’re subsidized, bought by no one. It got me to thinking about French versions of some popular games:

Half-Life. An interdimensional gateway opens up, and thousands of murderous creatures from another world spill through. Your mission: help them establish their own parallel society in your country.

Doom: An interdimensional gateway opens up, and the minions of Hell itself enter a Martian moonbase. Your mission: nothing! Lucky you, they invaded in August, and that’s your month at the beach.

Grand Theft Auto: You steal Deux Cheveaux and attempt to escape from the police at speeds up to 30 MPH

Medal of Honor: WW2. This was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the Resistance. At its peak it had 400,000 members who logged on and did nothing. Then someone named “Yank44” signed on, and the system crashed when all 400,000 members attempted to remove the picture of Marshal Petain from the wall of their cottage.
This is the stupidest controversy. Now the vaunted Arab Street is upset that we showed the pictures of Saddam's kids. Come on! If they weren't so conspiratorial that they won't believe us when we announce it, how are we supposed to prove it to them. These are the same people who are dry-eyed when Israeli children are blown to bits on buses and in pizza parlors. Give me a break that they are so upset by the sight of a couple of dead bodies that look a lot less gory than a couple of corpses for a Hollywood movie.

And another thing...If displaying dead bodies is against Islamic law, why did Al Jazeera show American dead bodies during the war? It sounds like Reuters was searching out people who want to criticize the U.S. We can't win for anything so we might as well do what we think is best for us.
Eleanor Clift calls President Bush Mister Magoo. I always hated that cartoon.
Hmmmm. The Democrats have chosen an opponent of McCain-Feingold as their nominee for the FEC. D'ya think they've glommed on to the fact that the bill hurt them a lot more than it hurt the GOP?
Jonah Goldberg thinks the critics of our nation's "ecurity gap"have a credibility gap of their own.
Rich Lowry says that if Saddam had followed the Saudi path to success of spreading money around Washington, he'd still be in power.
E.J. Dionne dithers on school vouchers and comes down ultimately for more money on inner city schools. When will people absorb the fact that increased spending does not lead to increased performance?
It sounds like Reuters messed with the wrong reporter. Deanna Wrenn of the Charleston Daily Mail. They totally changed her story about Private Lynch's return home in order to make snide comments about Lynch, but they still used Wrenn's byline even after she asked them not to do so. So, she's gone public exposing Reuters nasty move.
There's a proposal in the House to hold elections within three weeks if at least 100 House members were killed. This is to avoid having a Constitutional amendment allowing governors to appoint new Representatives.
Newsday has a fascinating story from Uday's bodyguard about the details of what the Husseins were doing during the war and after. There are interesting details about how we missed them in those two strikes during the war.
The Washington Times says that Bill Clinton is warning the Democrats to stop harping on the Niger uranium story. However, his wife isn't taking his advice.
Charles Krauthammer has a relatively optimistic take on the progress we've made since 9/11. He accuses the Democrats of fussing about the Niger uranium story in order to hide the good news from the Middle East.
The fact that the Democrats and the media can't seem to let go of it, however, is testimony to their need (and ability) to change the subject. From what? From the moral and strategic realities of Iraq. The moral reality finally burst through the yellowcake fog with the death of the Hussein Brothers, psychopathic torturers who would today be running Iraq if not for the policy enunciated by President Bush in that very same State of the Union address.

That moral reality is a little hard for the left to explain, given the fact that it parades as the guardian of human rights and all-around general decency, and rallied millions to try to prevent the very policy that liberated Iraq from Uday and Qusay's reign of terror.

Then there are the strategic realities. Consider what has happened in the Near East since Sept. 11, 2001:

(1) In Afghanistan, the Taliban have been overthrown and a decent government installed.

(2) In Iraq, the Saddam regime has been overthrown, the dynasty destroyed, and the possibility for a civilized form of governance exists for the first time in 30 years.

(3) In Iran, with dictatorships toppled to the east (Afghanistan) and the west (Iraq), popular resistance to the dictatorship of the mullahs has intensified.

(4) In Pakistan, once the sponsor and chief supporter of the Taliban, the government radically reversed course and became a leading American ally in the war on terror.

(5) In Saudi Arabia, where the presence of U.S. troops near the holy cities of Mecca and Medina deeply inflamed relations with many Muslims, the American military is leaving -- not in retreat or with apology, but because it is no longer needed to protect Saudi Arabia from Saddam.

(6) Yemen, totally unhelpful to the United States after the attack on the USS Cole, has started cooperating in the war on terror.

(7) In the small stable Persian Gulf states, new alliances with the United States have been established.

(8) Kuwait's future is secure, the threat from Saddam having been eliminated.

(9) Jordan is secure, no longer having Iraq's tank armies and radical nationalist influence at its back.

(10) Syria has gone quiet, closing terrorist offices in Damascus and downplaying its traditional anti-Americanism.

(11) Lebanon's southern frontier is quiet for the first time in years, as Hezbollah, reading the new strategic situation, has stopped cross-border attacks into Israel.

(12) Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been restarted, a truce declared, and a fledgling Palestinian leadership established that might actually be prepared to make a real peace with Israel.

That's every country from the Khyber Pass to the Mediterranean Sea.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

The Hunting for Bambi story about using paint ball guns to hunt naked women turns out to have been a hoax for a guy hyping his porn site.
Drudge is reporting that Jack Kemp is thinking of running for California governor. The water's warm; everyone can jump in. Maybe, Kemp would finally have a chance to put all the ideas he's been going on about for the past 20 years, into effect.
Say it ain't so! Washington Whispers says there is talk that Condeleeza Rice might take the blame for the mess up on the Niger uranium and resign. I would like to think that Bush wouldn't accept her resignation.
Texas Monthly has a great interview with George H.W. Bush. He really seems like such a nice guy although he does admit that the Dixie Chicks were on his s*** list. (Free Registration required) (Link via Poliblogger)
Scrappleface has spoken on the survey from Die Zeit that shows that 1/3 of German youths who believe that the US itself was behind the attacks on September 11.
Survey: Many Germans Believe U.S. Sponsored Hitler (2003-07-24) -- About a third of young Germans believe the United States attacked itself on September 11, 2001, and that Adolf Hitler was a Cleveland-born foreign exchange student sponsored by the FBI.

The survey of 1,000 people for the weekly Die Zeit (The Pimple), also showed that most Germans believe the following:

-- The U.S. paid the Emperor of Japan to attack Pearl Harbor in hopes it would lead eventually to more fuel-efficient cars.
-- The U.S. has sponsored four of the last five San Francisco earthquakes.
-- David Hasselhoff really drives a talking car and is the greatest rock and roll singer of the past 100 years.
-- CNN and MSNBC are American news organizations.

Congressman BillyBob has some choice words on the 16 words from the SOTU.
Here's another story on the phenomenon of conservative students on campus. That such kids exist always seems to shock the media. I have to admit that this statistic does surprise me.
While College Democrats of America has disappeared altogether from 20 states, its chapters dwindling from 500 in 1992 to fewer than 300 now, the College Republican National Committee has 1,148 campus chapters, and its membership has tripled since 1999.
Perhaps this is because the liberals so dominate the media and the universities that they don't feel the need to organize.

Erin O'Connor looks at some of the information from the article and has some perspicacious comments.
Studies have shown that campus conservatives are increasingly female and middle class. They admire Ronald Reagan and are more patriotic since 9/11.

They oppose speech codes, set-aside student government seats for racial minorities, and lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender groups, and what they see as political correctness.

Increasingly, they are for school prayer and the public funding of church groups and against abortion, a recent study by University of California Berkeley and University of Alabama professors found.

More of them are hawks than doves, the Harvard University Institute of Politics reported in May, noting that support for the war in Iraq outpaces opposition 66 percent to 30 percent. The Harvard study also found that 61 percent of college students like the way President Bush is doing his job.

They aren't into casual sex, according to the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, which has been surveying incoming freshmen since 1966. Only 42 percent of freshman approve of it, down from 51 percent in 1987.



Among other things, these numbers indicate a generation of young women who have consciously chosen to reject the ideology of radical feminism. They are moving in a conservative direction not because they have no idea what they might be taught in a women's studies course--but because they do. And the irony here is that, despite the conventional campus wisdom that casts conservatives as retrograde, self-serving, and intolerant, these students are the "radical" ones, the ones who are consciously flouting the authority of those who teach them, the ones who are fighting for a more open and tolerant campus.


(Link via St. Cloud Scholars)
Mark Goldblatt thinks that Norman Mailer has become a complete joke and asks whether or not someone deserves a soapbox to be a fool just because he used to be talented.
"This is a question that's bigger than Norman Mailer or Gore Vidal. (Or, for that matter, Toni Morrison . . . who, you might remember, floated the idea that Bill Clinton — on the basis of his impoverished background, broken family, sexual promiscuity, saxophone playing and taste for junk food — ought to be considered America's first black president.) How should the rest of us regard a once-formidable mind after it has gone off the deep end? What happens when a Nobel Prize-winning physicist like William Shockley begins spinning out eugenic solutions to his crackpot perceptions of black inferiority? Or when a groundbreaking linguist like Noam Chomsky turns from the theoretical intricacies of transformational grammar to the Satanic forces of corporate capitalism? Or even, on a more trivial level, when a chess grandmaster like Bobby Fischer walks away from the game and dedicates his life to fighting imaginary Zionist conspiracies? Each of these figures, at one time, legitimately merited our undivided attention. But how long can you trade on that? What's the statute of limitations on the intellectual limelight?"
Jed Babbin says that the media and the Democrats are trying to relive the glory days of 1968 and dissing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
I just don't get the fuss over whether or not we should have killed Uday and Qusay. If you listened to Rumsfeld's press conference you'd think that you'd gone through the Looking Glass. Most of the questions were on the legality of killing these guys when they refused to surrender and fired at our guys. The rest of the questions were about the ethics of releasing the photos, just as if they hadn't been bugging the US to release said photos. What an awful job to be a journalist these days, if these are the sorts of things you have to get your panties in a knot about.
Jonah Goldberg takes on the Berkeley story that shows that conservatives are evil and set on taking over the earth. (so to speak)
Cow farts!

I'm sorry. I really wanted to say something incredibly clever about how dumb I think a new study from Berkeley is. I've been sitting here staring at my computer for over an hour trying to come up with some Simpsons quote or fresh joke that captures the gravity warping, oxygen-depriving, heart-palpitating idiocy of this thing. Instead, I feel like a three-year old on his first trip to FAO Schwarz — I keep dashing from one shiny plaything to another, incapable of concentrating on a single object for more than a moment. I feel like I could spend a lifetime peeling this thing like an onion — finding new layers of stupidity, fresh eye-watering spouts of acidic absurdity, all the while keeping in mind that each seemingly intelligent layer is actually paper thin, insubstantial, translucent.

But dangnabit all I can come up with is: Cow Farts!

That's what I kept thinking as I read this summary of a report (Full PDF version here) from a team of Berkeley scientists who've been cloistered away studying the psychological state of homo insipiens, or unthinking man. After scouring the academic literature — and no doubt laying their calipers to the craniums of whatever conservatives they could manage to tranquilize and tag (picture a squirrelly YAFer trying to break out of his restraints on a metal slab somewhere in the psych annex at Berkeley) — these scientists have concluded that the psychological factors which contribute to political conservatism are:

Fear and aggression
Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
Uncertainty avoidance
Need for cognitive closure
Terror management

It's enough to know about this study is that they defined conservatives as leaders such as Adolph Hitler and Ronald Reagan
Lileks reports on Michael Medved's interview with Eric Roberts, Julia's less famous and rich brother.
After Prager came one of the more amusing, and painful, interviews I’ve ever heard. Medved interviewed the actor Eric Roberts, he of Star 80 fame. Apparently Mr. Roberts had issued some political manifesto; apparently Medved had treated it with less than boundless respect; apparently Roberts fired back an email to Medved that contained many provocative contentions. The only one I heard was this: Republican budget cuts were responsible for that old man who plowed his car into the Santa Monica farmer’s market.

As I understood Mr. Robert’s explanation, we spend too much money on the military, which is “killing people all over the world,” and not enough on programs that would drive seniors to the grocery store or the doctor. Medved - who sounded as though he was doing the interview with a big, silly, incredulous grin - asked what that had to do with the old man, who was well-off and had no need of any such program. Roberts - by then desperately out of his league - insisted that the lack of such a program to stop seniors from driving when they were past the age of 77 and provide state-funded chauffeurs was “a crime against humanity.” I am not making this up, as a certain fellow says.

Then came the break. I thought: does Eric Roberts realize that he can just hang up the phone? Sometimes it’s best just to realize that you are being disemboweled, and give up. What’s the worst the show can do - call you back with that extra-angry ring? don’t answer. Take the dog for a walk. Have a smoke.

Back from the break. Medved asks a question about these budget cuts, and to everyone’s surprise he’s answered by a female voice. It’s Eric Roberts’ wife. He couldn’t take it anymore. He didn’t want to be “soundbited.” So he gives the phone to his wife and says you do it. The entire nation gets the image of Eric Roberts in the next room curled up in a beanbag talking to Mr. Teddy. The wife is feisty, though, and she’s more than willing to mix it up. Later her mother comes on. Eventually Mr. Roberts rejoins the conversation, and -

Here is a cogent examination of what is wrong with how the government makes a budget.
Jeff Jacoby analyzes the "frenzy of the week" syndrome.
Stephen Moore denies that he is an android.
Southerners, apparently, have more testosterone than Northerners.
Lucianne points to this wonderful headline from the British paper, The Sun.
Brothers were killed in loo
Quite the appropriate ending to Uday and Qusay.
Well, the photos of Uday and Qusay are released. I'm not sure wht we can tell from them, but if it makes the Iraqi street happy, that's fine with me. They are graphic, but no more than your average R rated movie.
Israeli police have arrested the antiques dealer responsible for the James, brother of Jesus, ossuary. It's been determined that the ossuary is authentic but the inscription was a fake.
George Will says that this is the summer of discontent for conservatives.
John Podhoretz wonders if some of the President's opponents felt disappointment when they heard that Saddam's wack-job sons had been killed. He makes this true, but sad, point about partisanship.
Partisans outside the White House actually root for bad news, even if the bad news hurts their own country, because what really interests them is getting the White House back in their hands. Does that sound awful? Maybe so. But it's human nature.
Of course, all would deny feeling any such thing, but it is true, nevertheless.
Over at The Corner, they're daydreaming of questions that a tough interviewer might ask Hillary. Here are John Derbyshire's ruminations.
Vodka Pundit looks at other guerrilla wars and the aftermath of other wars. (link via Instapundit)
Kevin Holtsberry is asking which Democratic candidate would you support if you had to pick one who you thought would be good for the country and weren't trying to create some partisan mischief. I agree with his assessment of the nine candidates and, like him, find that Lieberman was the least bad choice that I could name.
William McGurn spotlights two Senator slimeballs who have switched their votes on vouchers for DC children.
A telling vignette outside last week's meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee illustrates the hypocrisies. Back in 1997, both Republican Arlen Specter and Democrat Mary Landrieu voted for D.C. vouchers, though the move was later vetoed by Bill Clinton.

But now, at the moment of truth, with a president in the White House who has made clear his eagerness to make such a bill a reality, Sens. Specter and Landrieu upset a critical Appropriations Committee vote by switching from yea to nay. What makes their flip-flop especially nasty is that this move to undercut choice to the overwhelmingly black and Latino students of the district comes from two white senators who each chose private schools for their own children.

Even a child can spot the contradiction. Outside the committee's meeting room last week, nine-year-old Mosiyah Hall, a D.C. public school student himself, politely asked Sen. Landrieu where she sent her own children to school. "Georgetown Day," came the response, a reference to one of Washington's most exclusive private schools. Mosiyah's mother says an obviously agitated Sen. Landrieu then came over to a group of local mothers to explain that a voucher would be no help for them here, because even with the $7,500 voucher this bill offers, they still couldn't afford Georgetown Day.

"It was an ugly moment," says Virginia Walden-Ford, head of D.C. Parents for School Choice and one of the moms demonstrating.

Yes, hypocrisy is always ugly. (Link via my husband's blog)
Ralph Nader may have some competition for the Green Party nomination. Some Greens are talking up Cynthia McKinney, the anti-Semitic former Congresswoman from Georgia who couldn't even win renomination in her own primary.
Capitol Hillblogger points to this story from The Hill about how Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, always a trip, who is demanding that hurricanes get more Black-sounding names. Why she would consider it an honor to have destructive and deadly storms named after Blacks is totally beyond me, but much of what she has done and said in her career is also beyond me.
The Independent Women's Forum has done a survey of college interns on the Hill and found that three quarters of professors state their political opinions in class and that many students feel uncomfortable about expressing their own opinions when their opinions differ from those of the professor.
History Today has an article looking at the situation in Germany in 1945 as the Germans surrendered. There was a group of guerrillas called the Werewolves that attacked Allied soldiers as well as Germans who worked with the Allies.
The Werewolves specialised in ambushes and sniping, and took the lives of many Allied and Soviet soldiers and officers -- perhaps even that of the first Soviet commandant of Berlin, General N.E. Berzarin, who was rumoured to have been waylaid in Charlottenburg during an incident in June 1945. Buildings housing Allied and Soviet staffs were favourite targets for Werewolf bombings; an explosion in the Bremen police headquarters, also in June 1945, killed five Americans and thirty-nine Germans. Techniques for harassing the occupiers were given widespread publicity through Werewolf leaflets and radio propaganda, and long after May 1945 the sabotage methods promoted by the Werewolves were still being used against the occupying powers.

Although the Werewolves originally limited themselves to guerrilla warfare with the invading armies, they soon began to undertake scorched-earth measures and vigilante actions against German `collaborators' or `defeatists'. They damaged Germany's economic infrastructure, already battered by Allied bombing and ground fighting, and tried to prevent anything of value from falling into enemy hands. Attempts to blow up factories, power plants or waterworks occasionally provoked melees between Werewolves and desperate German workers trying to save the physical basis of their employment, particularly in the Ruhr and Upper Silesia.

Several sprees of vandalism through stocks of art and antiques, stored by the Berlin Museum in a flak tower at Friedrichshain, caused millions of dollars worth of damage and cultural losses of inestimable value. In addition, vigilante attacks caused the deaths of a number of small-town mayors and, in late March 1945, a Werewolf paratroop squad assassinated the Lord Mayor of Aachen, Dr Franz Oppenhoff, probably the most prominent German statesman to have emerged in the occupied fringes over the winter of 1944-45. This spate of killings, part of a larger Nazi terror campaign that consumed the Third Reich after the failed anti-Hitler putsch of July 20th, 1944, can be interpreted as a psychological retreat back into opposition, even while Nazi leaders were still clinging to their last few months of power.
Sound familiar? (link via Best of the Web)
Dan Balz has an analysis piece in the Washington Post looking at why the White House stumbled so badly in handling the Niger uranium story.
Note the verb used in this headline from the Washington Post.
Iraqi With Ties to Saddam Blamed for Tip


"Blamed???" Was this something that went wrong? Couldn't they have used some sort of neutral verb as "Tip Attributed to Iraqi With Ties to Saddam."
Howard Kurtz writes of a study comparing coverage of the first year of Reagan's, Clinton's, and Bush's first year. The study shows that the media stories were overwhelmingly negative although slightly less negative for Clinton. Also, there is a stark contrast in the coverage of the Hill with the Democrats receiving much more favorable coverage.
Tacitus has another heartening e-mail from a soldier serving in Iraq.
Historian, Thomas Fleming, sees similarities to the vision of the world that Henry Cabot Lodge had and that of George W. Bush. I'm so glad to see someone write to resurrect Lodge's reputation since I've always thought he got a bad rap from Wilsonophiles. I find Wilson vastly overrated.
Wilson's claim that there was no moral difference between the European antagonists struck Lodge as close to blasphemy. Lodge wanted America to side with the Allies and join the victorious powers in a "League to Enforce Peace," after the war. He repeatedly condemned Wilson as a weak indecisive leader, an opinion the senator did not change after America finally entered the war on April 6, 1917. After the war, Wilson's concept of a League of Nations that would obligate the United States to fight future wars without the consent of Congress violated Lodge's belief that the use of force should spring from the united will of the American people.

Wilson saw Lodge as a meanspirited narrow man who was ready to "break the heart of the world" for partisan political advantage. He grew to hate Lodge and his supporters as "bungalow minds" and refused to accept their insistence on reservations in the League covenant to preserve American sovereignty.

Lodge won the political battle. Wilson, the League and the Democratic Party were routed in the election of 1920. But Wilson's backers managed to demonize Lodge so thoroughly, he barely won reelection to the Senate in 1922. The demonization grew apace in the decades after Lodge's death in 1924. Forgotten was his vision of an America that could bring a new idealism to international affairs under the inspiration of strong leaders.

Succeeding generations of voters and politicians have backed Henry Cabot Lodge, not Woodrow Wilson, in affirming an international commitment but retaining control of America's sovereignty. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. the senator's grandson, pointed this out after World War II. Writing to one of the senator's biographers, the younger Lodge noted that "the United Nations of today falls squarely within the limits of that [Lodge] proposition. The representatives of nations at the United Nations are ambassadors, and for the very reason that the sovereignty of their country is not compromised." The younger Lodge added that the decision of the American people in 1920 in the light of America's experience in subsequent years "seems remarkably far-sighted."

Lodge's vision of an America that is prepared to work with the international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations but retains the freedom to act independently when necessary seems remarkably close to President George W. Bush's approach to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the future, let's hope that Mr. Bush retains Lodge's conviction that the use of force must always be on behalf of justice and freedom.
Here's a tribute to Gerald Ford's presidency. We're a long ways from being excited because a president toasts his own English muffins.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Drudge reports that Schwarzenegger is not going to run for governor.
Gordon Sawyer asks a simple question: What would liberals do about Iraq?
They talk big, but let me tell you what I believe is going on: the liberals guessed wrong on Iraq. Every one of their arguments turned out to be bogus. They said we should not go in there, that it had nothing to do with terrorism and the Attack on America. Then when it became obvious public opinion in America favored our involvement in Iraq, the liberal line shifted to say we should not go unless all the countries in the United Nations agreed with our stand. Then at the end of the first week of the war, the liberal line was that things were going badly and the war would last years, and worse we would quit when we saw thousands of body bags.

The real situation is this: the liberal Democrats and their allies guessed wrong on Iraq, and now they are desperate to convince us their wrong stand was the right stand, in hopes we will vote them into office at the next election. I have one question for the liberals: if someone voted you in at the next election, what would you do? Would you put Saddam Hussein back in power, or let the United Nations run the show? Or both?
Kerry's big criticism of Bush now is that Bush is not letting the UN do enough in Iraq. I'm sure the pro-UN line will go over during the general election like a pick up line in a bar from a polyester-clad clod.
The Democrats are starting to feel the effects of their money-raising deficit. South Carolina Democrats don't yet have the money to put on the primary there. This is the primary that is supposed to save the candidacies of Edwards and Lieberman. Maybe they'll kick in some money to help stage the primary. Colorado won't even have a primary in order to save money.
Apparently, CNN sat on another story that might have exposed the brutality of a vicious regime in the Middle East, just as they sat on stories of Saddam Hussein's brutality. They had pictures from an Iranian prison but refused to air them. (Link via Hit and Run)
Quite a mea culpa from Bill Thomas, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for calling in the Capitol Police when he got mad at the Democrats' stalling tactics in committee. Shades of Charles I using the army to arrest Members of Parliament. What a bonehead move! However, Congressman Stark is quite a piece of work also and he's not offering any apologies. Thomas' apology won't change the Democrats stalling maneuvers. And their stalling won't make much difference anyways since the House rules are stacked against the minority.
The New York Times has a whiny article about the kids in Florida who are going to be held back because they didn't pass the Florida state reading test even after some rigorous summer school. The critics even say that they don't expect much from summer school.
Last month, state officials rode around Florida on a bus promoting the summer camps, and Governor Bush was photographed reading to third graders. Teachers and principals just rolled their eyes. There is much research on the limitation of remedial summer school, and though Ms. Brown, the Citrus principal, chose six top teachers for her reading camp, she was not surprised when only 3 of 37 students passed.

"A lot have serious limitations that won't go away in four weeks," Ms. Brown said.

Well, then those kids will benefit from another year of remediation. If they can't read at the fourth grade level, they shouldn't be promoted. I would agree, however, that there could be some discretion for kids who come within a few questions of passing. The problem is that when there is principal or teacher discretion, there is tremendous pressure to pass the child. I've sat in on some of those conferences. If the principal suspects that there will be any complaints from the parents, he or she will pass the childe rather than deal with the hassle of having to defend his decision. The schools are now starting to reap what they have sown by decades of just passing kids along.
It sounds like Joe Lieberman is trying to stake out the right flank of the Democratic Party by criticizing his opponents for being too far to the Left. While that might not work, given the electorate in the Democratic primaries, it seems to be the only strategy left open to him. He can't get to the left of Dean. Kerry and Gephardt are trying to seem further to the left than they had been, as is Edwards. If Lieberman can gather the votes of those who are afraid Dean will lead them to defeat, he might have a chance. Otherwise, he's outta there.
The Washington Post speculates that the owner of the house, who was a Hussein hanger-on, might have himself been the source of the tip to the U.S. about Qusay and Uday hiding out in his house. The description of the knock on the door that presaged his house being taken over by Hussein's sons sounds like the Godfather coming to ask for a favor in return for a lifetime of favors.
Apparently, the Iraqis are not as worried as Charles Rangel over our "assassinating" Saddam's sons.
Jay Nordlinger has a great joke that has, apparently, been making the rounds on the Internet.
A joke, making the Internet rounds (I edit a little): Three Americans and an Israeli soldier are caught by cannibals and are about to be cooked. The chief says, "I am familiar with your Western custom of granting a last wish. Before we kill and eat you, do you have any last requests?"

Dan Rather says, "Well, I'm a Texan, so I'd like one last bowlful of hot, spicy chili." The chief nods to an underling, who leaves and returns with the chili. Rather eats it all and says, "Now I can die content."

Al Sharpton says, "I'd like to have my picture taken, as nothing has given me greater joy in life." Done.

Judith Woodruff says, "I'm a journalist to the end. I want to take out my tape recorder and describe the scene here, and what's about to happen. Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was on the job to the last." The chief directs an aide to hand over the tape recorder, and Woodruff dictates some comments. "There," she says. "I can now die fulfilled."

The chief says, "And you, Mr. Israeli Soldier? What is your final wish?"

The solider says, "Kick me in the behind."

"What?" says the chief. "Will you mock us in your last hour?"

"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the behind."

So the chief unties the soldier, shoves him into the open, and kicks him in the behind. The Israeli goes sprawling, but rolls to his knees, pulls a 9mm pistol from his waistband, and shoots the chief dead. In the resulting confusion, he leaps to his knapsack, pulls out his Uzi, and sprays the cannibals with gunfire. In a flash, the cannibals are all dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the Israeli unties the others, they ask him, "Why didn't you just shoot them? Why did you ask the chief to kick you in the behind?"

"What?" answers the soldier. "And have you SOBs call me the aggressor?"
Too perfect.
Electric Venom is going to compose a list of the fifty most important events in American history. Send him your list.
John Hawkins is getting some roughing up since no women made the list of greatest American of all time. As a female contributor to the list who didn't put any women on my list, I feel I should defend the lack of females. While many women worked thanklessly to gain women's rights, I didn't feel there was one you could single out as the one who put us over the top. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton spoke up for rights, but didn't accomplish their goal in their lifetimes. Alice Paul got some powerful publicity, but can't really be given sole credit for the 19th Amendment. I would give more credit to the countless women pioneers who earned equal rights and suffrage from their state legislatures by their contributions to settling the West. Remember that 14 states had women's suffrage before the 19th Amendment was passed and that most of those were western states. The rest of the credit goes to the women who stepped up to the demands of the homefront during World War One to prove that women were an essential element of our nation's economy. So, I agree with John, that if the list had been for more people that some women would have made the list.
Charlie Rangel doesn't sound too happy that we got Uday and Qusay.
Watch out for some real craziness as California's Secretary of State announces that the recall petitions have qualified for the ballot.
Michelle Malkin revisits the inglorious record of Representative Pete Stark who was last seen calling a fellow Congress man a fruitcake and other unmentionable slurs upon his masculinity. Slurs that gay rights advocates don't condemn because Stark has voted their way in the past. Here are some other Stark highlights.
The silence over Stark is no surprise. Liberals have long looked the other way at Stark's bigoted boorishness over the course of his three decades in public office. In 1995, when he called Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Connecticut) a "whore" for the insurance industry and suggested that her knowledge of health care came solely from "pillow talk" with her physician husband, not a single Democrat objected. Not a single of the proud feminists on Capitol Hill signed a letter, supported by 35 Republican House members, demanding that Stark apologize.


Nor did the Congressional Black Caucus emit a peep when Stark lambasted former Bush I Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, an accomplished doctor and medical researcher, as "a disgrace to his race and his profession" because he opposed Stark's socialist health care schemes. "I guess I should feel ashamed because Congressman Stark thinks I am not a 'good Negro,"' Sullivan observed after the 1990 incident. "As a Cabinet member who has spent almost four decades of my life dedicated to healing, ... (I) am unable to express my own views without being subject to race-based criticism by those who are not ready to accept independent thinking by a black man."


Then there was the time Stark attacked former conservative California state welfare director Eloise Anderson in 1999 as a baby-killer, complaining at a public forum that she would "kill children if she had her way" simply because she opposed cradle-to-grave government welfare entitlements. Not a single, finger-wagging editorial from the media elite about the need for decorum and decent behavior in public debate appeared in either the California or national op-ed pages.
Tony Blankley says that Bush needs to watch out a little more for discontent on his right flank.
Once our army started focusing on some of the mid-level baddies in Iraq, we started hitting more pay dirt. I guess it's what every bureaucrat knows: it's the mid-level Dilberts who actually know what's going on in the organization.
I'm envious. Lileks has gotten DSL hookup. We're still in the dark ages of dial-up, but beloved hubby is hinting that we may one day take the plunge.
Katherine Mangu-Ward in the Weekly Standard applauds Bush's choices to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
British security can't be too great if a streaker can crash the Queen's tea party.
Anne Applebaum points out that the world lives with alternate realities which we can see by looking at how the media of different countries cover the same event. You can see it here on a smaller scale when you compare different media outlets such as CNN and FOX. No wonder we get poll results that are so negative to the U.S. when what the people are seeing is so skewed in one direction.
Representative Pitts of Pennsylvania explains why drug importation is a Trojan Horse. I sure hope Congress can resist the siren call of allowing drugs to be reimported from Canada. The result of that would be either the ruination of research by American drug companies or the end of American drugs being sold in Canada. Neither result is good for anyone.
O frabjous day! Pizza is good for you.
Some Russian writers are complaining tha the newly revised list of recommended books for Russian students is taking out those works that focus on the horrors of the Soviet regime. They should get Diane Ravitch on the case.
Andrew Sullivan is providing a valuable service by posting reports from soldiers serving in Iraq on what conditions on the ground actually are. Today, he has an e-mail froma soldier in a Kurdish town about how the kids are so happy to see them. He also links to Chief Wiggles.
Andrew Sullivan says it so well.
The more I read emails or talk to anti-war types, I get a sense that 9/11 never really happened. Or if it happened, it meant nothing more than a discrete crime with discrete criminals who alone deserved justice. The notion that it meant that we were and are actually at war with a series of terrorist entities and the tyrannies that support them never truly took hold on the far left (or right). As the months have passed, their complacency and denial have undoubtedly metastasized among others as 9/11 recedes from our collective consciousness and its emotional wound begins to heal. These people, it's worth remembering, believe that the exercise of American military power is almost always more morally problematic than any foreign tyranny or even a serious security threat to the homeland. They can only justify American military power if it is wielded under imminent, grave danger that can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. That's why they are so exercised about tiny pieces of evidence today. They still believe we were wrong to remove Saddam from power without incontrovertible proof of WMDs of a type unobtainable in police states; they still believe America had no moral sanction for such an action; and they are even more determined to prove the superiority of their case now that the war was such a military success. So they have to turn the fallible evidence before the war into "lies"; and they have to turn the difficult but worthy post-war reconstruction into a "quagmire." They know the only chance they have is to turn American public opinion against the war so as to prevent any such exercise of military power again. In that sense, they really cannot simply be mocked. They must be challenged at every turn. For they are engaged in a process that will not only stymie efforts at reforming the Middle East but will make Americans and others more vulnerable to the designs of the Islamofascists and their terrorist allies. The war abroad cannot therefore be extricated from the debate at home. We will not win the former without winning the latter.
It's official now, Santa Claus comes from Greenland. Glad to get that cleared up. Finland will not surrender quietly to this unilateral announcement.
Here's a helpful list of the status of the 55 cards in the Iraqi deck of cards.
Bob Parks, a former Republican Congressional candidate, chastises members of the military who complained on camera to ABC and CNN.
The winners have been chosen in the Faux Faulkner contest.
"Appendix: The Sound and the Furry" by Michael Edens was chosen as the best example of the style of William Faulkner, a Nobel laureate whose stream of consciousness tales of complex Southern souls have won international acclaim.

"Goldilocks," wrote Mr. Edens, 43, a technical publications supervisor from Virginia. "Slim blond avatar of unreasoning womankind: who loved not the porridge itself, nor even the act of receiving it from whatever unknown animal might have been responsible for its preparation. ... "

And so his sentence continues for 133 words until it winds down to this: "... and I can no longer remember the subject of my sentence."

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Heh. An open mike was left on when Democrat Assemblymen were meeting and it caught their planning to stall compromising on a state budget in order to pressure the Republicans to raise taxes. Quite an embarrassment.
Many British historians are put out that the public in Britain has become more interested in history since watching history programs such as the entertaining and educational History of Britain by Simon Schama.
A survey by History Today magazine finds that many academics believe that students attracted by the drama of programmes such as Simon Schama's History of Britain do not have the skills to study the subject in depth.

However, the survey also found that the programmes had helped to fuel a rise in student demand for places on history courses.

Karen Sayer, head of history at Trinity All Saints college, Leeds, complained that TV history "seems to reinforce [students'] desire to be told stories rather than acquire the skills of the historian".

Rosemary O'Day, professor at the Open University, said the programmes had "the unfortunate effect of making students think that history is a narrative, descriptive subject".

You'd think that it was a good thing that people were renewing their interest in history.
Sometimes, I want to give up hope that anyone on the Hill will do what they think is right rather than what their party wants. Diane Feinstein has earned her reputation as being willing to go it on her own sometimes by endorsing the plan to have vouchers for DC children. I still think she's vastly overrated on the moderate scale, but this is very good news.
It's been confirmed. Kansas is flatter than a pancake. (Hat tip to Reece)
The Corner notes that this is the anniversary of the police gunning down bank-robber, John Dillinger. I think we've commemorated this anniversary suitably.
Lucianne pointed out this story in the Washington Times about how only 11 Congressmen have availed themselves of the opportunity to review intelligence information on Iraq. They don't want to give up the opportunity to go on TV and spout off on what they don't know.
What is it with VH 1? In their survey of pop culture icons, they put Oprah first. Come on, higher than Elvis or Marilyn. Geesh. And Eminem is higher than John Kennedy. There's something seriously wrong here.
Andrew Sullivan has a great e-mail from someone serving in Iraq that tells more about the morale of soldiers over there than any ABC interview.
The only reason the GIs are pissed (not demoralized) is that they cannot touch, must less waste, those taunting bags of gas that scream in their faces and riot on cue when they spot a camera man from ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN or NBC. If they did, then they know the next nightly news will be about how chaotic things are and how much the Iraqi people hate us.
Some do. But the vast majority don't and more and more see that the GIs don't start anything, are by-and-large friendly, and very compassionate, especially to kids and old people.
Read the whole thing.
Well, we're back safe and sound from muggy South Florida. I so hate traveling. But, it was very uplifting to walk through the Atlanta airport and catch sight of a TV report on Qusay and Uday. Well done.
I'll be traveling back to NC today so I won't be able to post. Sorry.

Monday, July 21, 2003

The Dallas Morning News has started a blog.
Mark Levin looks at what Carl Levin and Bill Clinton said about Iraq's nuclear program in the 90s.
Etc., the blog at the New Republic, looks at how Howard Dean might be able to appeal to moderates in the general election.
Yes, conservatives scared away moderates when they overreached against Bill Clinton. But it wasn't so much conservatives' rhetoric that alienated moderates. It was their policies: in particular, their policy of impeaching Clinton over an offense the average voter thought was none of Congress's business. Furthermore, there's probably something to be said for playing against type. One of the main problems Republicans have when it comes to winning over moderates is that moderates--particularly moderate women--tend to think of Republicans as nasty and mean. Well, when Republicans start saying things that actually are nasty and mean, it simply reinforces that image and makes the Republicans' job that much harder. But, of course, Democrats have the opposite problem: Moderates--particularly white males--think Democrats are too touchy-feely and soft. That means that a Democrat who comes off as angry and tough could actually help himself among moderates. At the very least it's hard to argue that he'd suffer to the extent that a Republican would.

The one curve ball in all of this is, of course, Iraq, which stands as the glaring exception to Dean's otherwise moderate pedigree, and, which, should Dean win the nomination, risks reinforcing an image of Democrats as weak and overly-suspicious of American power. But even here Dean seems likely to benefit from the tone/substance dichotomy outlined above. While Iraq was certainly the issue that first won Dean a lot of support on the left, that development had more to do with the tone of Dean's opposition to the war than the substance. (That's not to say Dean would have won support on the left had he been angry and in favor of the war. Just that he wouldn't have attracted those supporters had he been subdued and opposed.) Which means that it's entirely possible that Dean will be able to moderate the substance of even his foreign policy to appeal to moderates down the road. You can imagine, for example, Dean attacking Bush from the right on homeland security (which he's already begun to do) and the war on terror (the failure to catch Osama bin Laden, the administration's softness on the Saudis). As long as he does it with his trademark bluntness, it's tough to imagine him losing much support on the left.

I wish the Republicans would stop leaking about how they're aiming for a landslide next year. Haven't they heard about lowering expectations?
Robert Novak writes that Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina is trying to get other Congressmen to sign a letter agreeing to defend each other if any of them are attacked for wanting to reform Social Security. It would be nice of such gestures would work to forestall demagoguery on Social Security, but I doubt it.
Read Richard Brookhiser on the history of our relationship between France and the United States.
California, as if it didn't have enough problems, is trying to revive the blanket primary. (Link via Election Law Blog)
Tacitus finds good news in the bad news about the protests in Najaf this past weekend. (Link via Instapundit)
Barf Alert reprise. Not only is Sharon Stone going to play Hillary in the movie, but James "Mr. Barbra Streisand" Brolin is going to play Ronald Reagan in the TV movie.
Here's Larry Miller's tribute to Tony "Gandalf" Blair.
Lee Harris uses Dr. Strangelove to find some good news concerning North Korea.
This is why those who say that North Korea's development of nuclear weapons brings us closer to the nightmare scenario of a rogue nuclear strike are making a statement that would have been chillingly accurate prior to the Iraqi War; but with the end of Saddam Hussein's regime, this is no longer the case, and for the simple reason that North Korea can no longer plausibly hide behind Saddam Hussein.

Which means that North Korea, if they genuinely intended to provide nuclear weapons to terrorists, should have followed the exact opposite strategy from that mandated by the Doomsday scenario. As Dr. Strangelove might have put it, "You fools! If you wished to sell nuclear weapons to terrorists, why did you tell everyone you had them in the first place? Why didn't you keep quiet?"

The answer is simple: North Korea is not building weapons to be sold to terrorists, but to blackmail the US in helping it out of fear that North Korea might sell such weapons to terrorists; and that is quite a different thing.
Here's Dennis Miller on politics. He's not afraid to be a conservative.
While he waits for freedom to spread through the Middle East, Miller's ready to see democracy in action in his home state of California. "We've got a $38 billion deficit. I look at the California budget, and I see that we're paying to remove tattoos. It's the petri dish for untethered liberalism. I'm telling you, this place is turning into Sweden. Except, at least there the blondes are authentic." Not only does Miller support the effort to recall the governor, Gray Davis, he's already picked out a candidate: Arnold Schwarzenegger. "I would vote for him, and I would work for Arnold in a second. You know, it's no longer the San Andreas Fault. It's become Gray Davis's fault."

He's got ammunition for other Democrats as well. Sizing up the party's presidential candidates, he says, "I knew Kerry was going to have to run for president because his features are so chiseled, his actual skull could be on Mt. Rushmore. The guy looks like an Easter Island statue in a power tie. Howard Dean can roll up his sleeves in public all he wants, but as long as you can see that heart tattoo with Neville Chamberlain's name on his right forearm, he's never going to get off the pad. I hope they send Howard Dean out to do battle with Bush because he'll get his ass handed to him quicker than someone who just got out of liposuction surgery."

And it's not just leading Democrats who rile Miller, but the party as well, beginning with DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe: "You know, people are looking to buy a way of life here, and McAuliffe looks like he's trying to sell them a used Z28. I think you're talking about 7 out of 10 people are thinking what I'm thinking. They want to be protected. It's fine to talk about health care, but I think most people are thinking they don't want to have to use their health care to get stitched up after they're blown up in a bomb blast by a nut case. They want the nut case killed before that happens. So, in that case, it becomes preemptive health care. As I get older, it seems unsafe to me to be anything but a conservative."

Dick Morris (registration only in the WSJ) maintains that gerrymandering has given party leadership more power in the House. I would question that since it's the state's party leaders that have the control, not the national leaders. As long as a Representative is keeping his state happy, he or she can buck the national leaders a little. The national leaders may have some sway over the state leaders, but not enough to force them to gerrymander out of a district a popular representative who brings back plenty of pork.
As a result of these shenanigans, only about 20 of the 435 seats in the Congress are actually in play in a typical election year. Ninety-five percent of the incumbents are safe and, therefore, 95% of the voters are effectively disenfranchised. Meanwhile, the institutional arrogance of these tenured politicians can grow unmolested by the vagaries of electoral fortune.

So, even as the U.S. becomes more evenly divided between the parties than ever before, a seat in the House of Representatives is as secure as any civil-service job. The only reason U.S. Senate seats stayed competitive is that the politicians cannot gerrymander state lines.

For all the attention showered on the influence of money in electoral campaigns, almost nobody has focused on the impact of gerrymandered district lines. Senate and governorship races are fought with bank accounts these days. But House races are fought with maps, computer simulations, and sharp red pencils.

As a result, party bosses can enforce a discipline over their congressional delegations that would have made Boss Tweed smile. Every congressman knows that his fate is tied to how the lines are drawn. Independent congressmen -- Connecticut's Jim Maloney, for example -- find themselves gerrymandered into hopeless races against incumbents of the other party. A member who toes the line and "always voted at his party's call and never thought of thinking for himself at all" (courtesy of Gilbert & Sullivan) gets rewarded with the modern equivalent of the old pocket boroughs of 19th-century Britain.

Tightly Wound sees Tony Blair as Gandalf.
It will be verrrry interesting if Ward Connerly's Racial Privacy Initiative goes on the ballot along with the Davis recall.
The Puerto Ricans are waking up to the fact that, as a result of their protests against the live training at Vicques, we're going to close the base pretty soon and thousands will be out of a job. With how difficult is always is to close a base in the U.S., didn't they realize how easy it would be to close a base in a place that has no representation in Congress. Another example of getting what you wish for.
The Green Party is committed to running a national candidate in the election next year. That could be rather hinky for the Democrats. Expect more anti-Nader vitriol from the Democrats.
I knew polygrahps were much overrated. Apparently, Iraqi prisoners are quite adept at defeating the polygraphy machines.
Peter Brookes explains what our security interests are in deposing Charles Taylor and restoring stability to Liberia.
The Wall Street Journal (subscription only) explains again how it was the BBC at fault in David Kelly's suicide.
It's not every day that a government is caught in a life-and-death struggle with a state broadcaster. What started as tendentious BBC reporting before and during the war has turned, in its aftermath, into what can only be comprehended as a campaign to bring down Mr. Blair. Last week, this clash claimed an unintended victim with the suicide of a Defense Ministry adviser who was the source on which the BBC based one of its most controversial claims. This tragic event is already looming as the biggest crisis in Mr. Blair's seven-year-old government.

Dr. David Kelly, a microbiologist, was by all accounts an honest, straightforward scientist who took seriously the threat of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein. When Mr. Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell, took issue with a report by the BBC's Andrew Gilligan that he had "sexed up" intelligence reports, and challenged the broadcaster in public, Dr. Kelly came forward and informed his bosses that he had met with Mr. Gilligan.

But Dr. Kelly denied having told the reporter that Mr. Campbell had inserted, against the wishes of the intelligence services, unreliable evidence that Saddam had the ability to deploy WMDs toward the British Isles within 45 minutes. In fact, Dr. Kelly told a parliamentary investigating committee in testimony two days before his death, "from the conversation I had, I don't see how [the BBC reporter] could make the authoritative statements he was making from the comments I made."

For days Mr. Gilligan insisted on his reporter's right not to reveal his source, a point we understand. But yesterday the BBC finally fessed up and admitted that, yes, Dr. Kelly had been the source of what it continues to maintain was an accurate report. Dr. Kelly's testimony, however, clearly indicates that the BBC story misrepresented what he told the reporter. In that light, it was the BBC that "sexed up" its reports and then refused for days to set the record straight.

The Prime Minister would not be half as beleaguered were his enemies all arrayed on the left. But the Conservatives, smelling blood early on, have joined the BBC-led chorus questioning whether the government exaggerated intelligence claims on Iraq. And they have their own media megaphones, the highbrow Daily Telegraph and the tabloid Daily Mail among them. The latter on Saturday grotesquely ran a headline with the story about the Kelly suicide that read "Proud of Yourselves?" above photographs over Messrs. Blair, Campbell and Defense Minister Geoff Hoon. Mr. Bush can thank his lucky stars that he does not have problems of this magnitude.

Paul Gigot has a very powerful report on the Marsh Arabs and what Saddam did to them.
"This village is a microcosm of what happened against the marsh people," Baroness Nicholson says in a room of the very spare medical clinic here. They once totaled half a million, but after Saddam's depredations there may be only 250,000 left, and fewer than 40,000 in their native region. "We believe it to be genocide," she says.

Saddam's troops and Fedayeen first stormed through the region in armed helicopters in 1991--the helicopters that Norman Schwarzkopf allowed him to keep. One man says his son was hung for belonging to a Shiite political group. Another man says his father and uncle were hung in front of him when he was a 15-year-old. Entire families were slaughtered.

As Stalin did with the Kulaks, the Sunni Saddam then sought to erase the entire Arab Shiite marsh culture. He drained or silted up most of the historic marshes, with their centuries-old ecosystem of reeds, countless species and water buffalo that supplied 70% of Iraq's milk. Rich with oil money, even under U.N. sanctions, Saddam could always buy other milk or have his people do without it. But his pathology is that he felt he had to murder systematically anyone who challenged him, and so ruining a chunk of Iraq's economy and natural beauty is just one more cost of megalomania. The U.S. is now working to restore nine of the marshes, but so far Iraq lacks the electric power to pump enough water to do it, says Eugene Stakhin, the coalition's senior advisor to the Ministry of Irrigation.

More perversely still, Saddam had much of the marsh water transported to build artificial lakes around his palaces near the ancient ruins of Babylon. Saddam was trying to rebuild the ruins, complete with bricks comparing himself to ancient King Nebuchadnezzar. But the new lakes are now raising the Babylon water table, which threatens the still largely unexplored archeological ruins. This is a far greater crime against history than the overhyped museum looting after Saddam fell.

As for the Marsh Arabs, Saddam then forcibly displaced them. The Al Turabah village tribe was moved 17 times, says Baroness Nicholson. They now have virtually no fish, no reeds and are "forced to be beggars, dependent on the state." The government sold them the seeds to farm this now awful landscape, and the same government bought back the grain at poverty rates of return. Tens of thousands have either fled to refugee camps in Iran or to the slums of Iraq's cities. The British now running Basra say the locals blame the young children of these Marsh Arabs for much of the crime and sabotage that now bedevil that once thriving city--which was also a target of Saddam's post-Gulf War vengeance.

Many on the political left have been reluctant to concede the special brutality of Saddam, as if admitting that truth would justify a war they opposed. Some genocides are apparently more equal than others. It's true that America can't right every wrong, or depose every dictator. But the U.S. does take on some greater obligation when an American president encourages an uprising against a madman and then walks away from those who do as we hope. The liberation of the Marsh Arabs may well have come just in time to save their culture, and to remove a stain on the American conscience.
This is more of the type of first hand reporting we need to have.