Saturday, August 30, 2003

McClintock is claiming that he goofed when filling out his candidacy papers and meant to agree to limit his spending to under $10 million. By not agreeing (for whatever reason) he has forfeited his right to have his personal statement put on the ballot sent out to voters. Gee, I don't know if the "I messed up" defense is a good selling point to the voters about the candidate's competency.
The USA Today looks at how boys are shortchanged in school. Feminists, of course, are concerned that those worried about how boys are doing poorly in school will begin to shortchange girls.
The British are upset about a school test for 14 year olds on Shakespeare for which the students do not have to actually read Shakespeare.
Pupils who had studied Macbeth were asked to write a piece taking a "lighthearted look at fictional villains".

Another question asked: "In Twelfth Night, what the characters wear and how they look affects how other characters react to them. How important is what you wear? Write your views as if contributing to a piece in a teenage magazine."

A third asked: "In Henry V, Henry gives a number of speeches to encourage his troops. Imagine you are the captain of a sports team facing an important match and you want to speak to everyone to persuade them to do their best. Write your speech."


Here are some additional questions from John Derbyshire courtesy of The Corner.
King Lear-------This is about an old guy whose daughters are unkind to him. Do you ever have bad feelings about your own parents?

Othello---------A person of color, Othello is maliciously deceived into thinking his wife has been unfaithful. In what other ways have persons of color been mistreated in Western society?

Julius Caesar---There is a famous speech (no need to bother reading it) in which Caesar's friend skilfully whips up a mob to anger. Isn't this just like the demagoguery of so-called "talk radio" and Fox News Channel? Have you yourself ever felt angry listening to someone on TV?

Macbeth---------This play has some WAY cool witches in it. Describe any encounters you may have had with Wiccans, or other practitioners of alternative religions.

Richard III----------Contains the famous line: "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" What did people use horses for in olden times? Try to think of lots of uses.

The Tempest----------It's about a magician who lives on an island with some other people, including a special person called Caliban. Describe your own experience of special people. Does your school have any programs to help special people?

Antony & Cleopatra---Have you ever been bitten by a small animal? Describe the experience...
Arnold Kling's blog is discussing the role of FDR in prolonging the Depression.
Michael Barone makes two predictions about how George Bush is going to change the subject of the chattering class.
George Will looks at a Dean-Clark ticket.
A Dean presidency is not inconceivable. Granted, it is unlikely for reasons that make it undesirable. He may not wear well with the public. If he is half as bright as he thinks he is, he is very bright. And his is no uncertain trumpet: The brio with which he proclaims his beliefs proves that he is not paralyzed by the difference between certitude and certainty.

But there is danger as well as benefit for Dean in his very Deanness. The obverse of his high opinion of himself is his low opinion of President Bush. So he probably would sigh, or do the functional equivalent.

Wesley Clark is, of course, an overrated general and incoherent politician. What we know about him now is that he is willing to make outrageous and unfounded accusations against the White House. That might make him a perfect match for Howard Dean.
Adam Nagourney writes that Democrats are worried about taking on Bush next year with Howard Dean, but no one wants to be the first one to start attacking Dean. An no one is thrilled by the other choices.
Mark Steyn ponders the long gone meaning of Labor Day.
No, honestly, I do. Okay, I’m on the beach, but the folks around me lying on the sand have jobs they'll be getting back to on Tuesday. They work. They would be classed as workers. But they're not a homogeneous "working class," they're not conscripts in Karl Marx's "masses." The transformation of Labour Day, from a celebration of workers' solidarity to a cook-out, is the perfect precis of the history of Anglo-American capitalism.

If you want to see what "the masses" are meant to look like, buy a DVD of the film Metropolis, Fritz Lang's 1926 "expressionist masterpiece." As futuristic nightmares go, it's hilarious: The workers are slaves, living underground, chained to the levers, wheels, cranks and cogs of a vast machine, dehumanized by the crushing anonymity of their servitude, etc., etc.

Alas, nothing dates faster than a futuristic vision: Today, the nightmare that beckons is quite the opposite. Instead of a world in which the workers are forced to operate huge, clanking machines below the Earth all day long, the machines are small and silent and so computerized no manpower is required and the masses have to be sedated by shallow distractions like supersized shakes and Wal-Mart and 24-hour lesbian wrestling channels on Premium Cable.

It took the workers' tribunes a while to catch on: Even today, when your average union leader issues his annual Labour Day address, you can tell at heart he still thinks it's 1926 and Metropolis is just around the corner. But the intellectual left has been scrambling for decades to come up with explanations as to why, if everything's so bad, everything's so good: Noam Chomsky's theory of media manipulation -- "manufactured consent" -- can stand for an entire school of philosophers who believe a subtler breed of capitalist overlords than Fritz Lang ever foresaw are maintaining the workers in some sort of fools' illusion of content.

Governor Davis seeks to build up his liberal support by pledging to sign a civil union for gays bill.
This new executive order could become quite important. Bush has ordered that executive agencies get controversies about regulations reviewed by outside scientists. This could reduce the power of some to use junk science to tie businesses up in knots.
Arnold appeals to a new constituencey - surfer dudes.
Thomas Roeser review a book that maintains that FDR's New Deal prolonged and deepened the Depression. It sounds very reasonable to me and similar to what I cover in my history classes.
The Washington Post looks at how Howard Dean has changed his positions on several key issues, despite his claims to be the straight-talking candidate.
Howard Dean, who sells himself as the presidential campaign's straightest shooter, is starting to throw voters some curves.

As he transitions from insurgent to the man to beat in the Democratic primary, Dean is modifying or switching his positions on several political issues. In recent weeks, Dean, the former Vermont governor, has softened his support for lifting the trade embargo on Cuba -- an important issue in voter-rich Florida -- and suggested he might opt out of the public campaign finance system he endorsed weeks earlier.

Dean also has backed off his support for raising the age at which senior citizens can collect their full Social Security benefits, a change that would save the government money by trimming monthly payments to thousands of older Americans. Dean initially denied he ever supported raising the retirement age, but later admitted he did.

While it's not unusual for politicians to flip-flop, massage or tailor their positions to placate politically important audiences, Dean is inviting greater scrutiny and criticism by running as a truth-teller who doesn't bend to prevailing political winds, campaign strategists said.

With Dean pulling ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire polls, and surging nationally, several rival campaigns are gearing up to hammer him for switching positions over the years for what they consider purely political reasons. They hope to dilute Dean's appeal as the anti-politician in the crowd .

That's the burden of being the front-runner. You get the extra scrutiny.
Bob Novak notes that Terry McAuliffe is not signing fund-raising letters from the DNC since he is thought to be antagonizing to the rank and file of the Democrat party. Apparently, they fear that just the sight of his name will dampen down on fund raising.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Right Wing News did a poll of the greatest Americans in history according to liberal bloggers.

Honorable Mentions: Malcolm X (4), Lucy Stone (4), Elizabeth Cady Stanton (4), Rosa Parks (4), Albert Einstein (4), Eugene V. Debs (4), Jane Addams (4)

20) Sojourner Truth (5)
20) George C. Marshall (5)
20) Mother Jones (5)
20) Lyndon B. Johnson (5)
20) Ulysses S. Grant(5)
16) Margaret Sanger (6)
16) Jonas Salk (6)
16) Cesar Chavez (6)
16) Dorothy Day (6)
15) Teddy Roosevelt (7)
14) Eleanor Roosevelt (8)
11) Harriet Tubman (9)
11) James Madison (9)
11) Thomas Edison (9)
9) Thomas Paine (10)
9) Susan B. Anthony (10)
7) George Washington (11)
7) Mark Twain (11)
5) Benjamin Franklin (14)
5) Frederick Douglass (14)
4) Thomas Jefferson (18)
3) Abraham Lincoln (19)
2) Franklin D. Roosevelt (20)
1) Martin Luther King (22)


You can compare that to the list that right-wing bloggers chose.


Honorable Mentions: Harriet Tubman (5), Jonas Salk (5), Douglas MacArthur (5), Rush Limbaugh (5), Alexander Graham Bell (5), Robert E. Lee (6), Milton Friedman (6), Andrew Carnegie (6), Bill Gates (7), Andrew Jackson (8)

19) Harry Truman (9)
19) Dwight D. Eisenhower (9)
19) Frederick Douglass (9)
17) Thomas Paine (10)
17) Ulysses S. Grant (10)
14) Orville & Wilbur Wright (11)
14) Mark Twain (11)
14) George S. Patton (11)
13) Alexander Hamilton (13)
12) Henry Ford (14)
10) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (15)
10) Martin Luther King Jr (15)
8) Teddy Roosevelt (17)
8) John Adams (17)
7) James Madison (18)
6) Thomas Edison (21)
5) Ben Franklin (28)
4) Abe Lincoln (31)
3) George Washington (35)
1) Ronald Reagan (36)
1) Thomas Jefferson (36)


Oops! Grand Rapids schools have lost about a 1000 of the standardized tests from last year. The kids took them, they were delivered for grading and now they're missing. It seems to be the fault of a Durham, NC country. Oops, indeed. (Link via Number Two Pencil)
There are two new cable shows about Washington. Showtime will depict the White House after 9/11 and the other is George Clooney's production about lobbyists, K Street.
Bill Janklow has been charged with manslaughter. What an all-round tragedy for everyone concerned.
A 9-year old kid foils a robbery. I love stories like this.
Nick Schultz looks at the cabal against Bjorn Lomborg.
A California commentator says that Bustamente has to worry about black turnout in the election. I didn't know this fact about California's black vote in 2000.
In 2000, nearly 85 percent of blacks voted for Democrats. About 70 percent of Latinos voted Democratic. In addition to the racial tremors among blacks about Bustamante, nearly 15 percent of blacks in California voted for Bush in 2000. This was the fourth biggest black vote total the Republicans got from any state. If black voters view Schwarzenegger as a socially liberal alternative to the state’s hardcore rightist Republicans, and he makes a real effort to court them, that could spell peril for Bustamante.
The recall election could still be held up. A 3 judge panel of the 9th Circuit will hear the ACLU challenge based on the lack of new voting machines in some districts.
Rich Lowry brings some sunshine to the Patriot Act.
The fact is that federal authorities cannot do any of the nasty things under the Patriot Act that critics complain about — electronic surveillance, record searches, etc. — without a court order and a showing of probable cause. A federal judge has to sign off on any alleged "violation of civil liberties."

Two particular provisions of the act rile critics. The Republican-controlled House — demonstrating that uninformed hysteria is bipartisan — recently voted to ban funding for Section 213 of the law. Under Section 213, law enforcement can delay notifying a target that his property has been searched. These delayed-notification searches require a court order, and they can be used only when immediate notification would jeopardize an investigation.

Such searches already existed prior to the passage of the Patriot Act, and the Supreme Court has upheld their constitutionality. Federal counterterrorism investigators have asked for delayed searches roughly 50 times during the past two years, and the average delay in notification has been about a week — hardly totalitarianism.

Another target of critics is Section 215. It allows investigators to seize documents — including, theoretically, library records — from a third party if they bear on a terrorism investigation. The ACLU says that this means the FBI has the power to "spy on a person because they don't like the book she reads." But this is another power that already existed. Grand juries have always been able to subpoena records if they are relevant to a criminal investigation. The Patriot Act extends this power to counterterrorism investigators and requires a court order for it to be used.

Critics want to eviscerate these sections of the act, and more. They should bundle their proposals together and call them "The Zacarias Moussaoui Protection Act," after "the 20th hijacker," whose computer wasn't searched prior to Sept. 11 due to civil-liberties concerns. We have already forgotten the importance of aggressive, pre-emptive law enforcement. The locus of forgetfulness is the Democratic presidential field, as Rep. Dick Gephardt, Sen. John Edwards and Sen. John Kerry all voted for the Patriot Act and now attack Attorney General John Ashcroft for having the temerity to use it.

There is a lot of heated demagoguery on the Patriot Act, but not much light.
Barf alert: Clinton is narrating a new PC non-specieist version of Peter and the Wolf.
Prokofiev's version ends with Peter capturing the wolf and leading a triumphant procession to the zoo, paining music-loving environmentalists with romantic visions of wolves in the wild.

In the new version, narrated by former U.S. president Clinton and called Wolf Tracks, Peter again captures the wolf, but this time repents of his act and releases the animal, who howls a grateful goodbye.

"Forgetting his triumph, Peter thought instead of fallen trees, parched meadows, choked streams, and of each and every wolf struggling for survival," Clinton narrates.

"The time has come to leave wolves in peace," he adds.

Daniel Henninger notes some important political trends as the blue states are losing population to the red states.
Bill Whalen looks at why reporters won't dwell on the stories on Arnold's wild youth.
First, where Arnold is concerned, journalists are reluctant to traffic in old material--as long as the candidate isn't leading with his chin. "I go to the issue of relevance," says Mark Z. Barabak, who's covering recall for the Los Angeles Times. "How much of a bearing does this have on his capability to be governor? That's not necessarily a what-he-does-after-he-leaves-the-office-is-his-business way of thinking. If, for example, he were running as a moralist or on a platform of sexual abstinence or something like that, then you start getting into the truthfulness, hypocrisy question, which is another way of saying character, I suppose. I think his truthfulness, honesty and, obviously, character have a good deal to do with how he would comport himself and handle the office of governor. Ergo, it's relevant and important to explore under those particular circumstances."

Second, when asked Wednesday about the Oui interview, Schwarzenegger took the issue head-on. He didn't lie; he didn't parse language. "I haven't lived my life to be a politician," Arnold told a radio interviewer. That's similar to what candidate George W. Bush did in 2000 when asked about his past indiscretions. Bush's line: "When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." Reporters will accept that. It's spin and double-standards that antagonize them.

Third, while being non-Clintonesque about his past, Arnold benefits in a political environmental redefined by the former president. In 1997, a bombshell like the Oui interview or, as in the 2000 election, the last-minute revelation of a drunk-driving offense probably would be a fatal hit to a newcomer like Arnold. In California's 1992 Senate race, for example, Republican Bruce Hershenson couldn't recover from a Democratic dirty trick that he frequented adult bookstores.

Clinton's impeachment takes that standard to a new level, by raising the bar for lewdness to Olympian heights. As tawdry as Schwarzenegger's words from 1977 are, compare them to the Starr Report. Arnold will have to do far more inventive things with his Cohibas than smoking them if he's to surpass the shock factor of the late nights and Easter Sundays in the Clinton Oval Office.

Once again, Bill Clinton proves to be the gift that keeps giving. He told Gray Davis that he can survive recall by holding townhall meetings and blaming Republican conspirators. Now, his scandalous past gives Arnold political cover. It turns out there is a bridge to the 21st century--and it leads to the recall.

Lileks has an idea about what to do about North Korea's nukes.
Why not nuke North Korea’s nuke test? They’ve said they’re going to have a test; I presume we know where that will be. So we nuke it the day before. There’s a big explosion, a mushroom cloud; they blame us. We say what are you talking about? You said you were going to light one off. And you did. No! You did it! Right. We nuked your nuke test. And that makes sense . . . how, exactly? It would certainly keep them off their game. And just after we nuke the test - and every subsequent test, of course - we put a call to Li’l Kim’s cellphone, and someone with a Texas accent says oh, I’m sorry, wrong number. I was tryin’ to reach a live man.

The press got to go to a barbecue at the President's ranch in Crawford.
A study shows that 96% of donors to campaigns (or at least North Carolinians who donate to campaigns) are white.
The NAACP has filed a suit against Florida's education system maintaining that there are unequal schools and that is why so many flunk Florida's required test. The suit demands that Florida do more to fix their schools before flunking kids. Isn't that what Florida is trying to do with their plan to give vouchers to kids in failing schools so that they can get out. And the schools are improving under pressure from this system.
Jonah Goldberg says that maybe we should get away with just five Commandments.
Well, you knew it would happen. People for the American Way and NAACP have come out against the nomination of Janice Brown to the DC Circuit.
Justice Brown is the first black woman to sit on California's Supreme Court, where she is seen as the most conservative judge on that court. She would also be the first black woman to sit on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which handles many high-profile federal cases and is considered a steppingstone to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Janice Rogers Brown is the far right's dream judge," said Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way. "She embodies Clarence Thomas's ideological extremism and Antonin Scalia's abrasiveness and right-wing activism."
It will be interesting to see if the Democrats blocking William Pryor's candidacy to the federal bench. They have opposed him because he holds "deeply-held beliefs" that abortion is wrong, but he has said that he would enforce the rulings of the Supreme Court. We've just seen that he will do exactly that as he has enforced a federal judge's order that the Ten Commandments monument must be moved although he disagreed with the ruling. Charles Krauthammer shows how Charles Schumer is imposing a litmus test that is ironclad. If a person thinks abortion is wrong, like a substantial portion of the country, he or she is unqualified for the federal bench.
Pryor has more recently been attacked from a different quarter. Senate Democrats have blocked his nomination to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds of his personal beliefs. "His beliefs are so well known, so deeply held," charged his chief antagonist, Sen. Charles Schumer, "that it's very hard to believe -- very hard to believe -- that they're not going to deeply influence the way he comes about saying, 'I will follow the law.' "

An amazing litmus test: Deeply held beliefs are a disqualification for high judicial office. Only people of shallow beliefs (like Schumer?) need apply.

Of course, Schumer's real concern is with the content of Pryor's beliefs. Schumer says that he would object to "anybody who had very, very deeply held views." Anybody? If someone had deeply held views in favor of abortion rights, you can be sure that Schumer would not be blocking his nomination. Pryor is being pilloried because he openly states (1) that Roe v. Wade was a constitutional abomination, and (2) that abortion itself is a moral abomination.

These views may not be majority views, but they are not eccentric. Roe v. Wade has been widely criticized by liberals, from Michael Kinsley ("a terrible decision") to legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen ("Justice Harry Blackmun's famously artless opinion") to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who noted that it short-circuited the political process and prevented a "stable settlement" of the issue. And, of course, non-liberal commentators have filled libraries anathematizing Roe for having launched a social revolution on the back of one of the flimsiest, most willful constitutional inventions in American history.

As for the morality of abortion itself, Pryor's view is identical to that of the Roman Catholic Church, a not insignificant religious sect. Pryor's view is also shared by hundreds of millions of Orthodox Jews, Christians and Muslims worldwide.

Well, the University of Michigan undergraduate school has announced its new admissions policy.
The change most critics focused on yesterday is introduction of a mandatory "short essay" that examines attitudes on racial and ethnic diversity.

Applicants must choose whether to describe how their admission would contribute to "an academically superb and widely diverse educational community" or tell how a personal experience involving "cultural diversity — or a lack thereof" changed their lives.

"Factors that illustrate the student's academic achievements and potential — including high school grades, standardized test scores, the choice of curriculum, and the student's educational environment — will be given the most consideration" when considering admission to Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

That assurance did not convince Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity, who called it unfortunate that race and ethnicity still will be considered.
"It's also unfortunate that they've included an essay question that will probably be interpreted to require either that a student have the right skin color or that he recite a pledge of allegiance to diversity," Mr. Clegg said.

That essay requirement sounds like such an invitation for b.s., even more than most college essays. And it does sound like they're requiring students to a philosophical commitment to celebrating that which divides people rather than what unites us. I guess diversity of opinion is not acceptable at UM.
The Washington Times reports that Israel has a plan ready to take out the Iran nuclear facility. Of course they do. I just hope they'll have the guts to do it. We'll all be grateful even though we'd have to pretend that it was a bad thing.
The Washington Times says that Wesley Clark should fish or cut bait. And stop trying to fool people that he hasn't decided which party he belongs to.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Bill Bradley in the LA Weekly has a lot of behind-the-scene stuff on the Recall election campaign and who is doing what to whom. He notes that Davis is starting to attack Schwarzenegger. Davis isn't overt yet in his attacks, but his wife is trying.
Sadly, John Ogbu, the noted anthropologist who stirred up controversy when he noted that black children often resisted working for success because they associated that with "acting white," has passed away. He was a courageous research who was willing to write what he believed to be true, no matter how politically uncorrect it was.
The Economist says that Dean's campaign is more reminiscent of Carter's 1976 campaign than McGovern's 1972 campaign. Of course, Carter only won because Ford had pardoned Nixon and thus, was forever tainted. And Ford came might near to winning. I don't know if that would be a comforting thought for Dean.
A study shows that 50% of all diagnoses of ADD in children come originally from teachers. I know that it often easier to medicate children and I've seen some remarkable transformations in children. But, I would never tell a parent that I thought a kid had ADD. I'm not a doctor or a specialist and I don't play one at school.

I've had to fill out questionnaires for kids as they go through the diagnosis. It's always clear how little we teachers know our students. I usually can't answer 3/4 the question because I just don't know the child well enough. I can testify that the kid doesn't pay attention in class, but then maybe he just doesn't like history or studying. There is no pill for that.
Michael Novak puts the deaths of our soldiers in Iraq into perspective. He notes that the media has conflated all deaths, counting deaths in accidents along with deaths in combat.
Teachers in New York City public school teachers have lost their jobs because they cannot pass the state competency exams. Some have taken and failed the test TWELVE times. Of course, their failures are all due to racism.
Jane Galt has a lot of fun ridiculing Thomas Friedman's overextended metaphors.
Today's is particularly juicy:


Let's start with mentality. We are not "rebuilding" Iraq. We are "building" a new Iraq — from scratch. Not only has Saddam Hussein's army, party and bureaucracy collapsed, but so, too, has the internal balance between Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, which was held together by Saddam's iron fist. Also, the reporting on Iraq under Saddam rarely conveyed how poor and rundown Saddam had made it. Iraq today is the Arab Liberia. In short, Iraq is not a vase that we broke to remove the rancid water inside, and now we just need to glue it back together. We have to build a whole new vase. We have to dig the clay, mix it, shape it, harden it and paint it. (This is going to cost so much more than President Bush has told us.)


Behind this metaphor, we suspect, is the ghost of some well-meaning but incoherent sixth grade composition teacher. "Be original!" she proclaimed, and when the children bombarded her with their original, if somewhat inapt metaphors, she beamed like the sun rising over the silver-white beaches of Honolulu on a verdant spring morn.

Original it certainly is, but what does it mean? It gives us uncomfortable visions of what happens in the Friedman household when the flowers have finally gone where the woodbine twineth: there is Thomas, preparing to smash yet another wedding present on the flagstone floor (which has just been installed at great expense); there is his wife, pleading. "Tom," she says, with a voice worn hoarse by years of steady sorrow, "Tom, we don't have to break the vase. We could just pour out the water through the hole in the top."

But he is resolute. There is rancid water in the vase. It must be smashed. It will be smashed. Yet that is not enough, either. Rolling up his sleeves, he strides boldly out the door with his chin high and his gaze fixed boldly on the bright proletarian future, towards the banks of the nearby stream, where he will gather the clay to build a new vase, a better vase. One that will not have any rancid water in it -- at least until Mother's Day rolls around again. His weeping wife is left alone in the kitchen to sweep up the remains of yet another turbulent middle eastern country.

This so reminds me of some of the writing I see in my high school students. They've studied many authors and learned about figurative language. They have come to believe that this is what characterizes good writing and so strive to stick metaphors into every paper regardless of how apropros or strained their comparisons are.
Jeff Jacoby looks at media analysts who are mystified by the decline in violent crime. It never dawns on these criminologists that increased incarceration rates have led to reduced decline.
Joel Mowbray points out the insidious way in which the media legitimatizes Palestinian terrorists.
Intentionally killing civilians from America, Europe, or Asia (or almost anywhere else) makes you a terrorist—but intentionally killing innocent Jews in Israel merely makes you a “militant.” At least in the eyes of the “mainstream” media.

The vocabulary makeover is part of the moral equivalency that is rampant in media coverage of Israeli-Palestinian issues.

The USA Today’s editorial page recently informed readers that “both Israeli and Palestinian leaders are captives of fanatical extremists,” as if a democratically-elected government seeking to protect its citizens from mass murderers is on a par with a self-appointed dictatorship aiding and abetting those same mass murderers in the intentional slaughter of innocent civilians. But at least that’s the editorial page.

Far more sinister is the subliminal marketing campaign waged on news pages to varnish the image of Palestinian terrorists. In the same issue of the USA Today, the front page contained a story with the following lead sentence: “The Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad called off an 8-week truce with Israel Thursday and vowed to stage more suicide bombings.” Notice that in the same sentence containing two groups’ joint promise to kill more innocent civilians is the label of the organizations as merely “militant”—in an ostensibly objective news story.

....Although there is some temptation to pin the blame on latent—or maybe even cognizant—anti-Semitism, a more likely culprit is the innate belief most have that there exists similar legitimacy on opposite sides of almost any dispute. But using terms such as “militant” and “spiral of violence” only serves to extend the “spiral of equivalency,” masking the true evil of the “militants.”


A writer for Cato says that the Department of Education's ruling protecting free speech from overbroad campus speech codes is the most important statement on freedom of speech since the 1950s.
Indeed, some universities enacted speech codes so broad that, when taken literally, they are absurd. The University of Maryland's sexual harassment policy, for example , bans "idle chatter of a sexual nature, sexual innuendoes, comments about a person's clothing, body, and/or sexual activities, comments of a sexual nature about weight, body shape, size, or figure, and comments or questions about the sensuality of a person." So, at the University of Maryland, saying "I like your shirt, Brenda" has been a punishable instance of sexual harassment. Further, under Maryland's code the prohibited speech need not address an individual to constitute harassment -- saying "I really like men who wear bow ties" is out of bounds, at least if a man who wears bow ties hears about it.

Moreover, public university censorship has extended well beyond sex discrimination issues. Federal law also bans discrimination in education based on race, religion, veteran status, and other criteria, and universities argued that they needed to censor speech to prevent a hostile environment for groups protected by those laws.

Has political correctness spelled the end to freedom of speech?
Thomas Sowell has an editorial answering those like Justice Kennedy who think mandatory sentencing is wrong.
Ann Coulter skewers liberals on Iraq.
Liberals are hopping mad about the war with Iraq. Showing the nuance and complexity of thought liberals pride themselves on, they are excitedly restating all the arguments they made before the war – arguments which were soundly rejected by the American people, the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration.

Before the war, they said Saddam Hussein – their favorite world leader behind Jacques Chirac – was not a threat to America's interests in the region, was not developing weapons of mass destruction, and did not harbor terrorists. Now that we've taken the country and are uncovering mass graves, canisters of poison gases, victims of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and colonies of terrorists, liberals are claiming the war created it all.

Thus, an op-ed piece in the New York Times recently proclaimed: "America has taken a country that was not a terrorist threat and turned it into one." This was written by Jessica Stern of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Motto: "Where mediocre students pay exorbitant sums to say they went to Harvard"). You can't win with these people. The termites are swarming out into the light of day, and liberals are blaming the exterminator.

Page Six says that Howard Dean's emergence as the leader is good news for Hillary since she can relax and wait for 2008 since there will be no Democratic incumbent in 2008 if Dean is the candidate.
Howard Kurtz looks at the screeds of Al Franken. Franken doesn't seem to have been very funny. I guess if you just want vituperation, this will do it for you.
I like this characterization of Bustamente as "slime-adjacent."
A credentialed Democrat who has soured on Governor Gray Davis recently e-mailed me. She describes fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante as "slime-adjacent." Why is Bustamante's main backer the gambling industry? Why is his campaign manager a lobbyist? Why would unions gladly trade-in Davis for Bustamante?


It does not matter that Cruz publicly used the offensive N-word to describe African Americans. He said it was an accident. But a Republican would have been consigned to Spiro-Agnew-land. Meanwhile, Jesse Jackson, Willie Brown, and Maxine Waters have signed on for Cruz. In other words, the deals have been cut. Can Al Sharpton be far behind?

Arnold has been going on conservative talk radio shows and admitting all his liberal views like support for abortion and gun control. Since most of these issues aren't even issues over which a state's governor has much control, if any, conservatives may decide that they can bear a pro-choice fiscal conservative, if he can win.
Here's another article amazed at how a modern country like France, was totally unready to take care of its elderly during the heat wave. Apparently, many nursing homes not only don't have air conditioners, they don't have ice machines. Catch this ending.
As the numbers of heat deaths climb, a final figure of close to 20,000 is being seen as not unrealistic – in other words, a humanitarian disaster.


Meanwhile, the death toll in Guantanamo Bay, which the French are in the habit of condemning with dainty disgust as barbaric, sweltering, fetid and inhuman, remains remarkably stable: None.

Robert George looks at how the Black vote got aligned with the Democratic party.
Hillary tells how much she knows how conspiracies work int he White House. Or at least the White House she inhabitied. The New York Post has this entry.
"I know a little bit about how White Houses work. I know somebody picked up a phone, somebody got on a computer, somebody sent an e-mail, somebody called for a meeting, somebody, probably under instructions from somebody further up the chain, told the EPA, 'Don't tell the people of New York the truth,' and I want to know who that is."

- Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, junior U.S. senator from New York and co-administrator of (among other things) Cattlegate, Filegate, Indonesiagate, Travelgate, Lippogate, the Whitewater stonewalling, her missing (and magically reappearing) law-firm billing records and the pardons lavished on all manner of disreputable souls as she and her husband left office in January 2001

Canada is now banning smiles on passport photos. You can't make this stuff up.
Well, fresh from trashing Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, and Bob Hope, Christopher Hitchens takes on the Ten Commandments. He makes some very interesting and provocative points and notes what's missing from the Ten - things such as banning slavery, rape, or child-abuse. He better not travel to Alabama anytime soon.
Mickey Kaus thinks we should be skeptical of the new KABC poll since it's done by push-button and did not involve a human interviewer. I'd be interested in seeing a comparison of the accuracy of push-button polls or human-led polls.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

These polls in California are all over the place. Now, a new poll taken since Simon dropped out shows Schwarzenegger way up.
Check out to see which Jane Austen character you are most like. Yeah, I'm Elizabeth Bennett. (Link via Joanne Jacobs, again)
Two California schools think that homework is just too stressful for their students, so they're cutting back and giving the kids Homework Holidays. These are high school students, for goodness sakes. Doesn't this story just sum up all that you knew you hated about California schools?
Lynbrook High School in San Jose will kick off school today with new guidelines that discourage teachers from assigning homework over weekends and holidays.

And Palo Alto High School, which welcomes students back Tuesday, is granting its first homework holiday at the end of the semester to give high-gear students some time to chill.

Administrators' attempts to lighten the homework load are part of Bay Area high schools' efforts to ease student stress.

The gestures acknowledge that the intense competition to win admission into elite universities by cramming teens' schedules with unwieldy amounts of academic classes and extracurricular activities may be taking a toll on students' physical, mental and emotional well-being.

`Kids are people'

``It's recognizing these kids are people. They're not just these little academic machines,'' Assistant Principal Chuck Merritt said of Palo Alto High's efforts to alleviate student stress.

In a world where students load their transcripts with advanced classes, sports, clubs and volunteer activities to impress colleges, education experts say concerns about stress are valid. Too much tension is linked to everything from cheating on tests to binge drinking and suicide.
So, extracurriculars and jobs are more important than learning the academic material? I just don't get these people. And I suspect that the problem is not too homework. (Link via Joanne Jacobs)
Jane Galt makes an argument that the Democrats are likely to implode from the pressure of all their interest groups.
The Democrats, on the other hand, are a veritable festival of interest groups: unions, teachers, minorities, feminists, gay groups, environmentalists, etc. Each of these groups has a litmus test without which they will not ratify a candidate: unfettered support for abortion, against vouchers, against ANWAR drilling, whatever. A lot of groups means a lot of litmus tests, because with the possible exception of the teachers, no one group is powerful enough to swing an election by themselves.

This causes two problems. First, it drags the party platform marginally farther to the left than the Republican platform is to the right, which in a 50/50 nation is bad news, and it narrows the well of political talent. At the local level this doesn't matter, since districts go reliably for one party or another, but nationally it's a problem, which is why the Democrats are struggling to hold onto the senate and the presidency. It took a politician of the skill and charm of Bill Clinton to make it work.

But the larger problem is that those interest groups are increasingly coming into conflict. African-americans want vouchers, but the more powerful teacher's union says no. Latinos trend strongly pro-life, but don't let NARAL catch them at it. Environmentalists want stricter standards that cost union members jobs. The more interest groups under the tent, the looser the grip the party has on any one group. And as social security and medicare turn into the sucking chest wound of the budget, the money for the programs that Democratic politicians have traditionally used to cement those interest groups to them is disappearing.

The Republicans, she argues, only have two basic groups: fiscal and social conservatives. They don't really come into conflict and so the Republicans have less of a problem coalescing around a candidate.
David Brooks sees an influence from the Puritans on the way George Bush looks at foreign policy.
Lucas: So you believe that ideas from the colonial period still inform American culture?

Brooks: Why does George Bush—who, as he said during the campaign, has no interest in nation-building, who doesn’t have a great interest in history and probably hasn’t read too many books—react to September 11 in such an overtly moralistic way? I’d say it’s because he subconsciously has inherited certain ideas about what America should be and certain religious impulses. And those ideas and impulses are deep and longstanding, as many historians have described them.

A Baltimore politician wants to lower the voting age to 16.
Here's Armstrong Williams on the requirement that only blacks can teach black history classes.
Michelle Malkin revisits the Florida Teachers Union scandal and how the story has been ignored by the New York Times, which covered breathlessly every allegation of corporate malfeasance.
A federal law enforcement agent takes Justice Kennedy to task for Kennedy's speech against mandatory sentencing.
John Edwards is campaigning in NH with his five-year old and three-year old children. I'm sure they love his stump speech. Well, if he can't get publicity for how he's doing in the campaign, he can get attention for his cute children.
There are so many possibilities for celebrities to get involved in politics. NRO looks at possible other candidates. Shudder.
Rich Lowry revisits Wesley Clark's military mistakes in Kosovo. Just because he's a general doesn't mean he knows anything.
General Wesley Clark is riding high on what is universally considered his prescience about the current Iraq war. Going unremarked is his utter lack of prescience about his own war, in Kosovo in 1999.

Back then, Clark thought he had Slobodan Milosevic figured out, and that the mere threat of NATO bombing — and perhaps a day or two of the real thing — would bring him to the negotiating table and force him to be reasonable. When this turned out not to be the case, Clark had no Plan B, because President Clinton had ruled out ground troops from the outset.

So, NATO continued with a limp air campaign that was inadequate to stopping Milosevic's ethnic-cleansing campaign, that appalled other members of the military brass who thought Clark had helped drag the U.S. into a near-fiasco, and that led to such ill-feeling toward Clark in the Pentagon that he was fired at war's end, launching his career as a TV pundit.

Read the exerpt Lowry provides from Clark's own memoirs and then just imagine if he had been president after 9/11.
SAT scores reach a thirty year high for math.
What a crock! Arthur Miller thinks his play, The Crucible, is still relevant today as applied to Bush and the war on terror.
Here's a fantastic editorial from the Jerusalem Post which takes the foreign press to task for its attitutde towards Palestinian terrorists. Read the whole thing.
For when it comes to Hamas itself, many correspondents would have us believe that not everything about the group is really that bad after all.

This past Monday, after an Israeli strike in Gaza killed four Hamas members including Ahmed Shtewe, its chief operations officer in the area, The New York Times identified Shtewe as being "a member of the violent wing of Hamas," as though there is a "nonviolent wing" to it as well. Similarly, CNN and others occasionally refer to Hamas's political wing, implying that a division exists within the organization.

And yet there is absolutely no evidence to support this contention; just the opposite. By all indications Hamas's so-called "political leaders" are directly involved in planning and facilitating acts of terror against Israel.

Indeed, Abu Shanab himself was reportedly taken out by Israel last week, in part because he was behind the August 20 Jerusalem bus massacre in which 21 people were killed.

The whole exercise of trying to distinguish between Hamas military and political wings is, in any event, beside the point. The organization's primary goal is to wage war against Israel and kill the maximum number of its citizens.

Does it really matter, then, if a particular leader of the group is involved in carrying out the violence or merely in inciting it? Either way he is engaging in terrorism and bears responsibility for the outcome.

What's more, it is difficult to recall a single instance in which similar distinctions were drawn with regard to groups such as al-Qaida. Somehow when it came to the killers of Americans, journalists managed to refrain from making such dubious assertions.

As has been widely noted, the media more often than not refer to Hamas perpetrators of anti-Israel violence as "militants," shying away from using the word "terrorist," which it unhesitatingly applies to attacks elsewhere around the globe.

Aside from ignorance, the only possible explanation of this is that the foreign media is out to put Israel in a bad light, even when it comes to acts of self-defense against Hamas. After all, if Abu Shanab is a moderate, why should Israel kill him? And if Hamas has a political wing, then shouldn't Israel try to talk to it?

Inevitably the reader is left with the impression that Israel has retaliated too harshly, and that its efforts to forestall terrorist attacks against its citizens are at best misguided.

While foreign journalists will deny this vehemently, the fact is that the cat is out of the media's bag. If they cannot recognize the iniquity of Hamas for what it is and insist on muddling an otherwise straightforward story, there is something quite wrong with both their judgment and their reporting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

It probably isn't any comfort to Kobe Bryant, but Mike Tyson sympathizes with him.
Well, this story puts the lie to the whole BBC "sexed up" story. When will they apologize and fire Gilligan?
The Lemon explains the California recall. (Link via Polipundit)
Life is good. One day we find out that red wine will prolong your life. Today, it's chocolate that is good for you. Tomorrow, it will be ice cream.
John Podhoretz notes the similarities between the Bush is in freefall stories of today and those of last year. Apparently, this is a regular thing for August.
Arnold might be losing in the Los Angeles Times poll, but he's ahead in the Taco Bell poll. And, in answer to popular demand, Drudge reports that Bustamente is now a Chalupa. It sounds rather unfair - Arnold is a just a crunch beef taco. I'd much rather have a Chalupa. However, you could probably buy two tacos for the price of one Chalupa.
Fox declares the end to Schwarzenegger puns.
Rush Limbaugh saved Project Air Conditioner. Though, why is he only contributing half the cost.
Does John Ashcroft have freedom of speech to defend the Patriot Act? Apparently, the ACLU and John Conyers think not.
Gen. Wesley Clark has an exaggerated sense of his own importance. Now, he's saying that the White House pressured CNN to fire him. As if the WH would be that stupid. Of course, he doesn't know this for a fact. He just makes the allegation, but says that all he knows are that he heard rumors. It's pretty indicative of his lack of dedication to the truth that he's willing to accuse the WH of interfering with press freedom on the basis of an unnamed rumor-mongerer.

Of course, this isn't the first time that Clark has made an allegation on the basis of an ill-defined and vague rumor as The Weekly Standard has shown. Right after September 11, Clark alleged taht someone in the WH called him and pressed him to blame 9/11 on Iraq. Months later, this allegation was down to someone in Canada unconnected with the administration.
"I received a call from a Middle East think tank outside the country, asking me to link 9/11 to Saddam Hussein. No one from the White House asked me to link Saddam Hussein to Sept. 11. Subsequently, I learned that there was much discussion inside the administration in the days immediately after Sept. 11 trying to use 9/11 to go after Saddam Hussein.

"In other words, there were many people, inside and outside the government, who tried to link Saddam Hussein to Sept. 11."

In other words, and let's have a show of hands here: How many of you believe Gen. Clark really got that call?

If you read version three carefully, you will see that Clark has now exonerated the White House of his most serious accusation. Much as he wants to put a sinister spin on the matter, all Clark is saying is that the White House was more sensitive to the Iraqi threat after 9/11.

That leaves the question of the call. It's true that journalists protect sources all the time. But there are also times when a source deserves to be burned, and this is one of them. We're not talking about a normal journalist-source relationship here. We're talking about someone who urged the former supreme allied commander of NATO to go on national TV on 9/11 and assert a provocative untruth.

What conceivable reason can Clark have for protecting this joker? This is not someone he called for information. This is someone who called him--who wanted to use Clark--to plant a phony story. And why is this grossly irresponsible "fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank" privy to "inside intelligence information"? You would think Clark has a positive duty to expose the man. But that assumes he exists.

And this is the military genius that some think will be the savior of the Democratic party? Well, perhaps, since no one in the general media will bring this out.
What song leaps to mind when you think of John Kerry, Dick Gephardt, Carol Mosely Braun, or Bob Graham? These are the difficult questions that torment campaign managers.
Each campaign is handling the decision in its own way -- some settling on official songs, some using different music for different occasions. Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri launched his campaign with Tina Turner's "The Best," said spokesman Erik Smith -- in part because Ike and Tina Turner played at one of Gephardt's high school dances. Lately, the campaign has been using "Let the Day Begin," by The Call, after a Teamsters organizer played it at some rallies.

The staff of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut chose Sister Sledge's "We Are Family," spokesman Jano Cabrera said, hoping to remind voters that "all Democrats share a core set of values." Senator Bob Graham of Florida has revived a 19th-century tradition of original jingles; on the trail, he has been known to croon "We've Got a Friend in Bob Graham."

Senator John Edwards of North Carolina has lately used Smashmouth's cover of "I'm a Believer," the Monkees hit penned by Neil Diamond. The Rev. Al Sharpton campaigns to Bob Marley and Peter Tosh's "Get Up, Stand Up." Carol Moseley Braun, the former Illinois senator, has used "You Gotta Be," by R&B vocalist Melissa Desiree. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is using John Lennon's "Imagine."

Gurin, the Kerry fan, however, gives his nod to former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who tends to enter rooms to "Little Less Conversation," as performed by Elvis Presley and remixed by Junkie XL.

It fits Dean's "moderately to very angry" image, said Gurin, an advertising copywriter from San Francisco. "When you hear that song, you expect to see a little short guy from Vermont to walk out on stage."

For Kerry, Gurin first suggested "Mama Said Knock You Out," in a fit of anger at the Bush administration. Then he listened to the lyrics, which did not seem particularly productive: "Don't call it a comeback / I been here for years / Rockin' my peers and puttin suckas in fear."

Now, he is leaning toward "Walk This Way" -- the Aerosmith and Run-DMC version -- which he considers shocking enough to stick. And he is sure about one thing: The songs Kerry has played on the stump so far, Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender" and Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down," are ready for retirement.

"It sounds like a bunch of old white guys in a focus group thought it up," Gurin said. "It needs a little originality and a little punch."

Sure enough, though, Springsteen figured heavily among the suggestions that flooded onto Kerry's website this month. Both "No Surrender" and "I Won't Back Down" are still in the running, said Kerry spokeswoman Kelley Benander, who said a decision is coming soon.

The rejects, so far: the title song from the musical "Hair," Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," and Moby's "Body Rock."
There's a new pop magazine aimed at teen girls that teaches them about the New Testament.
Young evangelical Christians like Neille Sybert say a pop-influenced Bible like Revolve is not a bad idea.

"It looks totally like a magazine," says Sybert, a 19-year-old saleswoman at Loaves & Fishes Christian Store in Vista, Calif. She thinks it would appeal to young girls who might feel embarrassed carrying around a black leather tome.

"It makes it fun to read the Bible," she says.

In addition to the biblical text — written in the modern English of the New Century Version — Revolve also features teen 'zine staples such as quizzes, Top 10 lists, and Q&A's. They focus, however, on religious topics like, "Are you dating a godly guy?" and inner-beauty advice. There are also tips on prayer, volunteerism, and calendars with entries, such as "Pray for a person of influence: Today is Michael Jordan's birthday" on Feb. 17.

A Boston Globe columnist looks at why stars of action movies tend to be conservative when most Hollywood actors are liberal.
Hollywood liberals like Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey learn what might be called drama-club politics. They spent their formative years absorbed in acting and turning themselves into the characters they played. This usually requires a heavy dose of traditional liberal values like tolerance, empathy, and restraint.

Action stars do not come out of the drama club. Wayne was a prop man before being noticed for his bulging physique. Schwarzenegger, famously, was a bodybuilder who came to the United States as a teenager fleeing a dysfunctional home. For him -- like, say, Charlton Heston, Wayne, even Ronald Reagan -- conservative politics are, at bottom, less about action movies than about the confidence of the self-made man. Schwarzenegger is a pure example of one of the most appealing strains of the conservative ideology: the idea that nothing should impede man's ability to rise to opportunity.

Arnold tries to appeal to the conservatives in California by going on conservative talk radio. But I don't recommend his making fun of Bustamente's receding hairline. Arnold will lose the bald vote which is even bigger, probably than the conservative vote.
What's the point of more research into what Schwarzenegger's father may or may not have done as a member of the Nazi party? Isn't this continuing story just an effort to tar the son in the same tactic that people have used to target Jews of today with the supposed sins of two millenia ago?
ABC's This Week is getting rid of the only reason I watched the show, the round table discussion.
The dropping of the roundtable means Bettag has had to find new roles for house conservative George Will, the last remaining member of the original show launched by David Brinkley, and panelists Michel Martin and Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria. Bettag says the three will still appear periodically -- by themselves -- for debriefing sessions with Stephanopoulos that will stress their reporting and analysis, not opinion-mongering. Other ABC News staffers will also pop up for these chats -- including "Nightline" correspondents and, on occasion, Ted Koppel -- along with reporters from other news organizations.
So, explain again what the difference is between opinion-mongering and analysis? That's just a euphemism for giving your opinion on what events mean. I smell stinkeroo already. I don't think the country was yearning for more of Stephanopolous.
Maggie Gallagher says that there will be three main issues in next year's election.
Jonathan Yardley pays tribute to one of my very favorite books from my childhood, Cheaper by the Dozen. If you or your children have not read this book, you've missed a real treat. I agree with Yardley. I've reread the book as an adult and found it even better.
"Cheaper by the Dozen" was one of the cherished books of my boyhood. I was not quite 9 years old when it came out, and probably read it for the first time soon thereafter. For some reason it was a time when books about lovably eccentric, curmudgeonly fathers poured out in profusion: Edward Streeter's "Father of the Bride," Eric Hodgins's "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" and the granddaddy of them all, Clarence Day's "Life With Father," which may just be the funniest book I have ever read. All were made into charming movies and all, somewhat miraculously, remain in print.

My memories of "Cheaper by the Dozen" remained happy over the years, but it was with a measure of apprehension that I opened the book recently. The books of one's childhood rarely age well into one's late adulthood, no matter how affectionate (and dim) one's memories may be. Yes, I love C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels as much now as I did when I was a boy, but those are the rare exceptions; mostly the literary pleasures of childhood and adolescence are best left undisturbed in later years.

So it is a joy to report that "Cheaper by the Dozen" still reads remarkably well. It is not a work of literature and no claims will be made for it as such. It is about American family life at a time (the 1910s and 1920s) now so impossibly distant that today's teenage reader may be unable to connect with it. Yet families are families, then as now, and I like to think that young readers would respond to the Gilbreth family's joys and sorrows just as I and millions of other, older readers have.

Mike S. Adams has a test that can be used for hiring more conservatives on campuses. It's a joke, but not really.
More on the phony science and distortions that are used to attack those who are skeptical about global warming science.
Thomas Sowell bemoans what has become of the civil rights movement. Maybe the lack of substantive issues is a sign of the progress we've made.
The old Senate chamber has been reopened to tourists for the first time since 9/11. I'm sorry that it wasn't open during my visit to Capitol Hill this summer. But, it was cool to see the old Supreme Court chamber.
Daniel Pipes defends himself from the Borking that he has undergone by Ted Kennedy and others. I'm not sure why they were so adamant against his appointment to an obscure post, but they followed their usual tactics of taking quotes out of contesxt and mistating his positions. The partisan demagoguery is so despicable.
A Canadian columnist puts up a lot of quotes of what Iraqis have said about the American occupation. It's not the picture you normally get from the media.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Here's another poll result that seems iffy. Women say that they are more attracted to men who do housework. Well, duh! What woman is going to say she doesn't like a man to pitch in? But, that caveat aside, they might be on to something.
Rich Galen takes on Newsweek's poll.
Ambassador Paul Bremer said earlier on Snow's Fox News Sunday program, "We are getting information from Iraqis now in a way we were not, even a month ago."

This is an important concept because a Newsweek poll released over the weekend showed there is a growing dissatisfaction with progress in Iraq. According to the MSNBC/Newsweek website:
Sixty-nine percent of Americans polled say they are very concerned (40 percent) or somewhat concerned (29 percent) that the United States will be bogged down for many years in Iraq without making much progress in achieving its goals. Just 18 percent say they're confident that a stable, democratic form of government can take shape in Iraq over the long term; 37 percent are somewhat confident.

For the record, note that Newsweek combined "very concerned" with "somewhat concerned" to be able to lead with the 69 percent number.

But, (and we've pointed out this kind of editorial trickery before) Newsweek chose to separate (and start the sentence with) "just 18 percent" for the confidence question. The editors did NOT combine the "confident" with the "somewhat confident" percentages for readers which totals to a somewhat positive 55 percent believing Iraq will stabilize over the long term.

A quick reading would lead you to believe the numbers were 69-18. When, in fact, the comparative numbers are 69-55. Not great, but certainly better than what Newsweek tried to imply.

Six grafs into the piece we are told that "Sixty-one percent still believe that the United States was right to take military action against Iraq in March; 33 percent do not."

No one outside the editors of My Weekly Reader would have expected the Newsweek headline to be: "61% Back Bush on Iraq War," but it might not have caused mass resignations at Newsweek for the opening paragraph to have included that number as well.
That's the wonder of the blogosphere: you can get some informative analysis whenever there's a new headline.
Al Sharpton said that the bravest thing he ever did was join in the protesting at Vieques in Puerto Rico. What a crock!
Mickey Kaus looks at the problems with the LA Times' coverage of its own poll.
Three points about yesterday's L.A. Times poll:

1) It does not show what at least one commentator said it showed, namely that Californians still want to have a Democratic governor. If you add up all the Democrats in the poll--even counting Arianna Huffington and Larry Flynt as Democrats--you get 39 percent. If you add up all the Republicans in the poll (Schwarzenegger, McClintock, Simon, Ueberroth) you get 47 percent. ... This actually seems like good news for Cruz Bustamante, the main Democrat in the race with 35 percent. California, presumably, is still a heavily Democratic state. If Republican "replacement" candidates are winning by such a big margin, that means there are still a lot of Democrats and friendly Independents available to "come home" to Cruz. ...

2) As Weintraub notes,

the surveys for this poll coincided with the flap over Arnold's position on Prop. 13 and ended just as he was rolling out his first television ad and holding a well publicized meeting with his economic advisers.

Given the delay, and the intervening events, and the Feiler Faster Principle, I'd argue that LAT reporter Mark Barabak was being more than a bit presumptuous when he used the present tense in his lede sentence: "Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante holds a wide lead ..." The poll was at least three days old at that point. Wouldn't "As of last week, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante held a lead" be more accurate? (P.S.: I also think its a stretch to call it a "wide" lead.) ...

3) The Times reports that 71 percent of likely voters said Schwarzenegger's candidacy would have "no effect" on their motivation to go to the polls. Some 26 percent said they'd be "more motivated" and 2 percent said they'd be less motivate. From this, the LAT concluded

For all the star power the actor brings to the race, Schwarzenegger — like Bustamante — has not made voters notably more inclined to take part in the election. About seven in 10 likely voters surveyed said the movie star's run made no difference in their intentions to vote ...

Huh? It sure looks to me as if the 71 percent of the already-"likely" voters who said Schwarzenegger wouldn't affect them were probably definitely going to the polls anyway--so of course he's not going to make them more inclined to take part. But a net of 24 percent say he is motivating them to go vote. Isn't that a huge potential increase in the turnout? The LAT seems to have made the error of not looking at the marginal effect, which is what's important here. ... The same goes for the LAT's conclusion that Latinos were "not dramatically more inspired" to vote by Bustamante's campaign. Even if the Latino number only tracks the overall numbers, a significant net percentage--about a fifth--said they were inspired. Isn't that the important number? (The Times doesn't appear to break out the figures for Latinos in its PDF chart.). ...

If the LAT's people are capable of making the mistake in (3), should we put a lot of trust in anything they say?
If the poll was completed a few days ago, why did they wait to release it?
If more encounters with Iraqis are like this one that Chief Wiggles describes, then we slowly, one by one, are winning them over.
All day long we entertain sources bringing forth the worst possible news of the trouble running in the streets of this country. We hear story after story of weapons dealers in their neighborhoods, counterfeiting operations around the corner, stockpiles of weapons in people's bedrooms, anti-coalition meetings going on, people trying to build up armies against us, attacks on our soldiers, criminal acts going on just down the street, illegal smuggling from neighboring countries, extortion rings, people wanting permits to arm themselves, stolen property being sold, aircraft being hidden, looters, rapists, and on and on.

That is what I listen to all day long. One guy came in under the guise of having a friend who heard on the radio we were giving rewards for weapons being turned in. He was actually an arms dealer trying to find out if he could sell the weapons to us, discouraged to find out we were not in the arms business and not willing to work with arms dealers. He went on and on all about how we were making so many mistakes in dealing with the problems at hand. He was saying the U.S. was not doing this right and not doing that right, saying we weren't taking care of all their problems.

Well, I had heard enough, upset by his lack of personal responsibility for some of the problems we are facing here. He is an arms dealer selling arms to people trying to kill us, finding fault with the way we are handling the problems. So I let him have it, asking him why he wasn't doing something to eradicate Iraq of some of the ills permeating their society. Why didn't he and others do their part, why don't they go do something, as patriotic Iraqi citizens to rid the country of some of these problems?

I told him we aren't here to be out front leading the way while the citizens sit in their homes waiting for new jobs or money to drop in their laps, but assisting from behind the lead of the Iraqi people. This is their country and their responsibility to deal with the problems at hand, with our assistance.

He actually took it well, acknowledging his role in contributing to the problem and how he should do something positive to perpetuate goodness and hope.

Chief Wiggles is back with his blogroll. Welcome to those who are coming from his site. He has some interesting reflections on the lack of hope that so many in the region seem to feel. I think that Americans are basically an optimistic people. Think of all those immigrants who came over here with nothing but hope. I hope that we can inculcate our sense of hope into the Iraqis there.
If someone was to ask me what is sustaining these people in such a harsh environment, I would have to say it is hope, hope of a new beginning with hope for a different future.

Recently while talking to one of our young Iraqi interpreters, he conveyed to me an incident he recently had with his family, who were asking about the Americans he was working with. He said the one thing that has stood out about Americans is that they seem to have a lot of hope for things to come. We believe in having hope and we are attempting to give hope to those we come in contact with. Americans have hope, he said.

In the course of my interviews with numerous sources I am surprised by how so many of them, in their 30's and 40's, feel their life to be on the down hill slide or basically over. It is astonishing to me how a young man in his early 30's could think for a moment that his life is what it is, with out much hope for anything different.

People do lose hope, putting aside the possibility for any divine intervention into how the rest of their life will play out, with purpose and meaning.

Here's a new science for you: forensic entomology. Yech, but fascinating.
Speculation grows that Edwards will drop out of the Senate race in NC. That could be a pick-up for the Republicans. Even if he stays in, he's not extremely popular here.
Bill Whalen notes several oddities among the LA Times poll that showed Bustamente way out ahead. I'd wait to see if other poll results confirm this finding.
Jay Nordlinger is back from Europe and has lots of observations that will depress you.
Apparently the bombing at the UN building in Baghdad was partly an inside job from the UN security guard.
Right Wing News surveyed conservative bloggers for the list of the Worst People of the Twentieth Century. I participated and found this one to be the easiest poll to do. Unfortunately, there have been depressing number of genocidal dictators in this century. Here's my list.
Adolf Hitler
Josef Stalin
Pol Pot
Mao Tse Tung
Fidel Castro
Idi Amin
Osama Bin Laden
Saddam Hussein
Ayatollah Khomeini
Kim Jung Il
Kim Il Sung
Vladimir Lenin
Yasser Arafat
Muammar Qadaffi
Hideki Tojo
Robert Mugabe
Charles Taylor
Mengistu of Ethiopia
Benito Mussolini
Jean Kambanda
It's not much different from the poll's final results. What is rather shocking is that Bill and Hillary got Honorable Mentions. Come on. Apparently, they're overcome by Clinton-hatred. Now, if RWN has a poll that liberals put George W. Bush on the list, we'll know how unbalanced both sides are. Much as I detest the Clintons, they don't belong on this list.
William Raspberry writes of research being done showing that children of middle class parents have more verbal interactions with their parents in their first two and a half years and that verbal interaction makes a difference for the rest of their lives.
This is a fascinating story about a blind man who has an operation restoring his sight and what particular things he is able to see now for the first time.
The Washington Post looks at the whole battle between calling people either Hispanic or Latino. Things are going pretty well if that's their big worry.
More confirmation for the flypaper theory that we're drawing potential terrorists to Iraq where our military can deal with them more easily.
Mr. Bremer avoided answering whether the Bush administration set Iraq as a deliberate trap to capture terrorists, although he previously has stated that it is "better to fight it here than to fight it somewhere else, like the United States."

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez told reporters last month that Iraq would become a "terrorist magnet."

"But this is exactly where we want to fight them; we want to fight them here, we prepared for them," Lt. Gen. Sanchez said. "And this will prevent the American people from having to go through other attacks back in the United States."
The Supreme Court will look at some Miranda cases this year. Is it okay for the police to delay telling a suspect his Miranda rights?
Suzanne Fields looks at what conservative women look for in men.
Camille Paglia, the outspoken scholar of "sexual personae," was particularly vicious, judging that Al Gore's "prissy, lisping, Little Lord Fauntleroy persona . borders on epicene." Paglia, who appreciates men who act like men, calls masculinity "the most creative cultural force in history." She identifies the construction of America's beautifully constructed bridges as "sublime male poetry."

The panelists concluded that not only is "maleness" back in fashion among the nation's leadership, but that male aggression abetted and constrained by valor, honor and self-sacrifice is good for society. Kate O'Beirne, Washington editor of National Review, cut to the core. Answering Freud's famous question, "What do Women Want?" she offers an earthy rejoinder: "Women don't want a guy to feel their pain, they want a guy to clean the gutters."

Sounds good to me.
A watchdog on university middle eastern departments says that Columbia has become "anti-Israel" U.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Debra Saunders explains why Bustamente's plan for raising taxes on the rich will end up hurting everyone. It's simple economics, really.
Here's Dennis Miller on Arianna Huffington. Those in the know knew she was a joke before, but now the whole country is coming to a fresh awareness of her tawdriness.
Recently, she started disparaging her opponent Arnold Schwarzenegger. You know, for her to take shots at Arnold tells me that she knows just how bad this tax dodge looks.

Arianna likes the social ramble, and risking the ire of a power hub like Arnold signals a Defcon One level of desperation. This gal has rubber stamped so many RSVPs in the affirmative, she makes mid-'70s Halston look like a shut-in.

She ridicules Arnold and yet she hangs out near the entrance of the building where recall papers are to be filed, just waiting for the exact moment he arrives so she can airdrop in like Red Adair onto a burning oil platform and inject herself into his orbit. Meanwhile, an arrival a scant two minutes earlier or later would have allowed her to stroll right up that sidewalk, attracting about as much attention as a chameleon on a kilt.

If Martin Luther had nailed a list of her inconsistencies on a cathedral door it would have ripped it off its hinges. She's the "social reformer" who had a undocumented nanny, the "environmentalist" who until recently drove an SUV and the "foe of the fat cats" who almost pays no taxes.
Cheers! Red wine can extend the life of molecules. Unfortunately, I'm a white wine person.
The Madison, Wisconsin schools are shutting down school for the day and spending $50,000 for a workshop on "institutionalized racism." They are concerned that it is racism that is maintaining the gap in achievement between whites and blacks. How about setting high standards and holding all kids to those standards? How about communicating to parents what your expectations are and encouraging them to support you in asking the best from their children? How about focusing on content rather than fluff? How about holding kids accountable for lack of effort? All that is harder to do than paying some guy to speak by TV to all your teachers, janitors, and cafeteria workers. But it will do more. I've sat through some of these diversity-training workshops. I turn to Shakespeare for my response. "There are more things in heaven and earth, dear Horatio, than your philosophy will allow." (hat tip: Chan)
Telemarketers are in a panic over the approach of the Do Not Call list. Since they're allowed to call customers with whom they've established a relationship, there's a marked increase in the number of calls now as they try to get you to buy something and thus, become one of their regulars. So, beware that anything you buy from a telemarketer in the next few weeks could come back to haunt you in the years ahead.
Dan Weintraub has some trenchant analysis of what the polls mean in California. Not much.
Having said that, it's no surprise that Cruz is showing in the mid-30s. California Democrats have a history of playing the field early in campaigns and then “coming home” once their party leaders make clear what’s at stake. That’s exactly what is happening now. I expect Cruz to show in the mid-30s, possibly around 40, in the other polls as they roll out in the weeks ahead. I don’t think he can get much higher than that, and I think it is very possible that his final vote total will be several points less than is reported in the polls leading up to the election.

One reason: because voter turnout is going to be higher than most people expect, and very few of the last-minute voters, the occasional voters, are going to go for Cruz. They are underrepresented in the polls and will be until Election Day. Another reason, and one that you won’t hear much about in the mainstream media: I think there might be an unspoken ethnic factor. Just as in 1982, when LA Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American, was leading in the polls just before the election and then lost to George Deukmejian, I think some percentage of white Democrats will flee from Cruz at the moment of truth because of angst over immigration and the increasing power of Hispanics in California. If Gray Davis signs a bill allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, this backlash will be even more likely. There is no way to measure whether this exists or how big it might be, but it’s out there, and it’s possible. It’s also possible that it will be balanced out by a surge of new Latino voters expressing ethnic pride, with new voters rushing to the polls to support one of their own. But both possible factors are just more reasons not to trust the polls.

Anyway, given the shape of the race at this moment, I expect Cruz to finish at around 37 percent, give or take a few points. Can Arnold, or any other Republican, top that? I think so. I still think it is Arnold’s to win or lose, depending on the kind of campaign he runs. If he nurtures the incredible natural excitement that is out there for him to tap, he will do fine. If he starts looking like just another politician, changing his stands on controversial issues, ducking questions and debates, attacking his opponents, then he will stall out. It might actually help him to be seen as the underdog. I think there was some resentment about his frontrunner status early in the race. People wondered what he had done to deserve such an exalted position. The media trained their guns on him. Now he can go about trying to earn the people’s trust, rather than taking it for granted. And if the next public poll shows him gaining on Cruz, Arnold can use that as part of his storyline. It’s possible, in other words, that Cruz has peaked too soon.

I think too much emphasis is being put on getting other candidates to drop out of the Republican race. Arnold was probably better off with both Simon and McClintock in, because they were splitting the conservative vote. It made them both look unviable. If they had both stayed in for another month, much of their support would have gradually drifted toward Arnold. Now McClintock has new fire and energy and might start to creep up toward Arnold in the polls. And that would change the entire dynamic of the race. Also, the talk about narrowing the field makes Arnold look weak. A strong candidate just runs his campaign and assumes that the people will listen and make the “right choice.” A weak one has to force people out of the campaign so that voters have fewer choices.

Besides, I don’t think McClintock is dropping out, at least not anytime soon. He believes deeply in what he is doing, and believes that this is the moment to turn California around. He is running on 20 years of experience and focus on California fiscal and economic issues. This is his big chance, and he is not going to walk away from it. If, a few weeks before the election, he is at 10 and Arnold’s at 35, maybe McClintock will drop out and endorse him. But if he does so, it will only happen once he is convinced that he has absolutely no chance to win. And it will come at the moment when his leverage over Arnold is at its peak. That is not the case right now. If Arnold is smart he will put out positive feelers to Tom, not threats, and make McClintock know that when or if the time comes, Arnold will be grateful for his support.

I think the polls are showing the rock solid Democratic votes that are going all for Bustamente. The question is whether he can do something to pull in more voters than simply the base. Also, the Republican vote is moving around now as voters wait to see if McClintock has a chance or is just pulling Arnold down and guaranteeing a Democratic victory.
God, I love Mark Steyn, one of the best columnists, period, now that Michael Kelly has passed away. Here he is on the bombing of the UN in Baghdad.
Among the more comical moments of a grim week was the sight of the president of the Security Council expressing his condemnation of the terrorist attack on the UN. He was the representative of Syria. Syria is a terrorist state. Syrians have flooded across the border into Iraq to take up arms with their beleaguered Baathist brethren. It would not be surprising to discover a Syrian connection to one or both of Tuesday's terrorist strikes in Baghdad and Jerusalem. But Syria happens to hold the presidency of the Security Council, so a fellow who's usually the apologist for terrorists gets to go on TV to represent the international community's determination to stand up to terrorism.

Well, that's the luck of the draw at the UN, where so far this year Libya, Iraq and Syria have found themselves heading up the Human Rights Commission, the Disarmament Committee and the Security Council. The UN's subscription to this charade may be necessary in New York, but what's tragic is that they seem to have conducted their affairs in Baghdad much the same way. Offers of increased U.S. military protection were turned down. Their old Iraqi security guards, all agents of Saddam's Secret Service there to spy on the UN, were allowed by the organization to carry on working at the compound. And sitting in the middle of an unprotected complex staffed by ex-Saddamite spies was Sergio Vieira de Mello, the individual most directly credited with midwifing East Timor into an independent democratic state. Osama bin Laden (or rather whoever makes his audiocassettes) and the Bali bombers have both cited East Timor as high up on their long list of grievances: the carving out, as they see it, of part of the territory of the world's largest Islamic nation to create a mainly Christian state. Now they've managed to kill the fellow responsible. Any way you look at it, that's quite a feather in their turbans.

But it doesn't really matter who's actually to blame--Baathist Iraqis or al-Qaida Saudis. As far as the world's press is concerned, the folks who are really to blame are the Americans. It's the Americans' fault because:

a) They made Iraq so insecure their own troops are getting picked off every day;

b) OK, fewer are being picked off than a few weeks back, but that's only because the Americans have made their own bases so secure that only soft targets like the UN are left;

c) OK, the UN's a soft target only because they turned down American protection, but the Americans should have had enough sense just to go ahead and install the concrete barriers and perimeter trenches anyway;

d) OK, if they'd done that, the beloved UN would have been further compromised by unduly close association with the hated Americans, which is probably what got them killed in the first place.

In other words, whatever happens, it's always evidence of American failure. That's the only ''root cause'' most of the West is interested in. Anyone who thinks Tuesday's events might strengthen the international community's resolve to resist terrorism is overlooking the fact that among the Europeans, the Canadians and New Zealanders, the British and Australian press, CNN and the New York Times and a large majority of the Democratic Party, the urge to surrender is palpable.
Jack Germond has a long analysis of why Joe Lieberman will never get the nomination and will never be president.
While noodling around on the Princeton Review site, I came across their "Counselor-O-Matic" page that allows you to fill in your scores, grades, interests, desires, etc. for colleges and find out which schools match you and your chances of getting in. Check it out.
Now, France is saying that they doubt the claims that 10,000 people died in the heat wave there this month.
Morgues and funeral parlors overflowed during the blistering heat. The government first estimated that between 1,600 and 3,000 people died from heat-related causes starting Aug. 7. Then, it said it was "plausible" that 5,000 died before finally confirming that an estimate of 10,000 by France's largest undertaker was probably accurate.

Check out your alma mater or the school you're interested in applying to at the Princeton Review's ratings. My undergraduate alma mater, George Washington, ranks #3 as most politically active and #10 for both dorms like palaces and best college town. Of course, Georgetown ranks #3 on best college town. Apparently, being next to trendy, posh Georgetown (the town) is better than being a few blocks from the White House, State Dept, and Lincoln Memorial.

My graduate alma mater, UCLA, only ranks as best college newspaper. (Link via my husband who talked at dinner last night about how his employer, NC State and our daughter's school, Duke, ranked.