Saturday, November 01, 2003

Brazil is now experiencing the joys of affirmative action. But, how do you define being black if someone is of mixed race as many in Brazil are?
So, which twin is older if they are born on each side of 2 AM on the day we switch to daylight savings time? The answer seems to be that the younger one is now the older one.
Natan Sharansky has an interesting essay on anti-semitism and the parallels with anti-Americanism.
Mark Steyn takes on Rod Stewart.
Even before the Queen started giving them knighthoods, Britain's elderly pop aristocracy was far more hung up on protocol and precedence than your average duke or marquess. And one of the most basic codes of the aristorockracy is that thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow rock legend, not in front of the plebs anyway. So it was something of a shock to rock'n'roll court correspondents when Rod Stewart unburdened himself to the Radio Times last week, mocking Sir Paul McCartney's knighthood, Sir Elton John's weight, and Sting's general portentousness ("Mister Serious who helps the Indians").

Sting hasn't yet got a knighthood, presumably because the minimum entry qualification is two names, so he's hanging in for the full peerage - Viscount Depletion of Rain Forest. But Rod seemed resentful that he hadn't even got a lousy OBE - "Ordered out of the British Empire", as he put it. "I don't know why I haven't got any honour. I do my bit for charity." We'll take his word for that. But while he may privately be supporting an entire network of Blonde Rehabilitation Shelters, he is not identified with good works in the public mind - not the way Mister Serious is with the bone-through-the-nose crowd, and Sir Elton is with Aids charities, and Sir Paul was with his late wife's vegetarianism. In 1995, you may recall, Paul and Linda donated 22 tonnes of dehydrated veggiburger mix to war-torn Bosnia. Alas, after it had arrived, they discovered that it contained twice as much fat content as advertised, so the McCartneys quickly swung into action, organising a massive relief effort to get the food recalled. God forbid you should keel over from excessive cholesterol before Slobo's irregulars have finished disembowelling you.

This must be sweet payback for the Dean campaign.
BUMPER stickers that say "Dated Dean, Married Kerry" are turning up in New Hampshire. Now the Kerry campaign has at least one endorsement to back up the slogan.

Ruth Bleyler, a first-term state representative from Lyme, along the Vermont border, endorsed Dr. Dean in June. She recently switched allegiance to Mr. Kerry, citing his foreign-affairs experience.

"This dated Dean, married Kerry thing is real," said David Wade, Mr. Kerry's traveling press aide.

But turncoats turn both ways. The Dean campaign has at least three converts on its team in New Hampshire. Then there are the singer Michelle Phillips and the actress Morgan Fairchild, who each dated Senator Kerry and each donated $250 to the Dean campaign.

"The Kerry campaign has a cute slogan," a Dean spokesman, Jay Carson, said, "but it turns out if you actually date John Kerry, you give money to Governor Dean."

I guess hot blonds found the slightly French-looking Kerry, who served in Vietnam in case you didn't know, attractive at first but a turnoff in the end.
It sounds like CBS is scared and is editing the Reagan movie right and left. Now, neither liberals nor conservatives will want to see it.
Dean may be perfectly right in trying to reach out to Southern voters and saying he's going to campaign for their votes, but he could have used a more felicitous phrase.
"I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," the former Vermont governor was quoted as saying in Saturday's Des Moines Register. "We can't beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats."

Couldn't he have said he wants to appeal to the guys who listen to Country music and go to Nascar races? Al Sharpton, who has already been getting on Howard Dean, will have a field day with this comment at their next debate.
Did you catch that photo op of John Kerry pheasant hunting in Iowa complete with a whole clutch of journalists and cameramen following him. What a joke. That should enter the pantheon with Michael Dukakis in the tank. It's fascinating that the NRA is becoming an issue in a Democratic primary.
Rich Tucker explains why it makes sense for Bush to get his news straight from the source rather than reading the newspapers.
Poor John Edwards. He tries to generate PR and this is the story he gets. In selling his house, he accepted an offer from the guy who does PR for Saudi Arabia.
This headline says it all about why calls to turn Iraq over to the UN are so ludicrous.
U.N. staff leaves Baghdad
James Taranto uses some psychology on the Democrats.
One reason the Dems are going nuts surely is because of the slow nature of their decline. Though they keep losing--the House in 1994, the presidency in 2000, the Senate last year--their losses have been narrow enough to give them a sense of hope, though such hope has tended to be false. To help explain this, let's turn once again to the Coping.org list of "the stages of the loss process":


Stage 1. Denial: George W. Bush didn't really win the election, he stole it. Re-elect Al Gore in 2004!


Stage 2. Bargaining: OK, it's wartime, so we'll do the patriotic thing and support the commander in chief. Then we can run the midterm campaign on domestic issues, and we'll do fine. The president's party always loses in off-year elections.


Stage 3. Anger: 'Nuff said.


Stage 4, "despair," can be expected to follow if the Dems have their heads handed to them a year from now. Despair Inc., "the premiere retailer for cynics worldwide," is all set to cater to despairing Dems; among its offerings are posters with demotivational sayings:


Pretension: The downside of being better than everyone else is that people tend to assume you're pretentious.

Blame: The secret to success is knowing who to blame for your failures.

Success: Some people dream of success, while others live to crush those dreams.


Then there's "Despair: It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black." Perhaps this is a reference to the 2006 elections, in which the Dems will be at a disadvantage for cyclical reasons, defending Senate seats they picked up in 2000 (one Senate term after the Republicans' 1994 blowout). The good news is that Stage 5 is "acceptance." Once the Dems finally get used to being a minority party, perhaps they'll calm down enough to come up with a constructive way of participating in American politics.
ABC's The Note looks at the 72 hour get out the vote plan for the three governorships up on Tuesday.
For the uninitiated, the greatest innovation of the Bush-Rove-RNC national political operation (after figuring out how to raise more money than anyone ever) has been the introduction of a coordinated political ground game from one election day to the next — known as the party's 72-Hour Task Force. LINK

These efforts now go on literally constantly, but they culminate three days out from the actual voting with a burst of activity (surrogates, coordinated spending, TV, voter-to-voter contact, earned media, radio, e-mails, on and on and on) that is meant to counter what everyone in both parties had come to realize was a superior final push by Democrats, largely on the broad backs and shoulders of union members and that cagey Steve Rosenthal.

With strong Republican candidates poised to snatch Democrat gubernatorial seats away, tomorrow, GOP strategists kick off their final push by wheeling out their biggest artillery piece.

President Bush's visits to Kentucky and Mississippi are sure to dominate all local media in the final days, making sure that Republican partisans know that (a) there is an election; and (b) that it is important to their commander in chief (he of the gauzy growth) that they vote for these "good men" with "R's" after their names.

And the visits will have some appeal to independents, too, don't you know. Maybe even some Democrats … .

Sure, Clinton (today), Terry McAuliffe (tomorrow) and Gore (Sunday) are Democratic bosses who will be welcomed by the Street(s) of Philadelphia, but you won't see national party leaders of any type matching the Bush visits to Kentucky and Mississippi.

Is there some parallel universe in which all the Democratic presidential candidates would be barnstorming at least Kentucky to help there at the end? Sure there is, but we aren't seeing it now, and the reasons for that should make The Macker (he of the 50-state strategy) quake.

But while the national press gets focused on major surrogates, below that radar, party and interest group strategists on both sides will be looking to both push and analyze (for 2004 clues) what works and what doesn't about their ground games to get out the vote.

It is rather interesting that national Democratic leaders aren't in there campaigning for their gubernatorial candidates. Are they totally giving up on the South that they won't campaign in Mississippi or Kentucky? (link via Polipundit)

Friday, October 31, 2003

Elizabeth Drew has a long article in the NY Times Review of Books. Not much new, but it is clear that the Clinton people are leaking that Clinton didn't want to fire Clark and was ticked off when he found out about it.
A group of about 20 girls who go to a Catholic school chased down and beat up a man who was exposing himself to them. Way to go, girls!
Deborah Orin has a story about John Kerry going hunting. I guess the whole gun control thing is on the back burner now.
It's the Great Migration in reverse.
This is an upsetting story about how we're looking to prosecute an army colonel who fired off a gun in order to scare a captured Iraqi into talking. The threat worked and we were able to find two accomplices and stave off an ambush. Now the colonel is given the choice of resigning short of his 20 year retirement date which would guarantee him the benefits that he's earned for 20 years of service.
A group of doctors and scientists are trying to argue that FDR didn't have polio, but instead had Guillain-Barré syndrome. Their evidence doesn't seem very convincing. Whichever he had, no one doubts that he was paralyzed.
The GOP is trying to buck decades of Democratic dominance in the Kentucky state offices in the gubernatorial election there on Tuesday. The states vote Republican for national office and Democratic for state government.
Mona Charen addresses what would happen if we followed the Democrats' recommended foreign policy.
Democrats like John Kerry insist that the president has done everything wrong since Congress voted to authorize war (Kerry's vote in the affirmative has dogged his campaign for the nomination of a dovish party). All of the Democratic candidates insist that Bush should not have taken the nation to war without the full participation of the United Nations.

What they never address is this: President Bush sought the support and participation of the United Nations, returning again and again to that body virtually begging it to uphold its own resolutions. France, Germany and sometimes Russia -- nations that were only too happy to trade with Saddam Hussein's Iraq -- declined to agree. Without France's OK, the U.N. Security Council could not pass a final resolution endorsing the use of force. If Kerry or Dean or Sharpton had been president at the time, would they have permitted France to dictate U.S. foreign policy?

The answer may be yes, if the Clinton administration is any guide. As Rich Lowry reminds us in "Legacy," the Clinton administration sought European support for a strong stand against Serbia in 1993. The Europeans balked. Clinton backed down. The resulting massacres took the lives of tens of thousands.

Have the enthusiasts for United Nations action noticed that the U.N. has pulled out of Baghdad at the first sign of trouble?

Charles Krauthammer explains what is at stake in Iraq.
The car bomb is the nuclear weapon of guerrilla warfare. The 1983 car bomb attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans, drove the U.S. out of Lebanon. Commemorated here on its 20th anniversary just last week, it has long been celebrated by jihadists as proof of American weakness. But there was another car bomb in Beirut in the early 1980s that was just as significant. It is now largely forgotten in the West, but well-remembered by the Arabs.

It, too, had quasi-nuclear effect. In 1982, a car bomb blew up Phalange Party headquarters, killing Bashir Gemayel, the newly elected pro-Western, pro-American, pro-Israeli president.

Syria was deeply unhappy with him. The car bomb soon took care of business, wiping out an entire office building housing not just Gemayel but many top aides and government officials. It was the perfect political decapitation. With Gemayel gone, and a year later the Americans too, Lebanon inexorably fell into Syria's lap. It remains a Syrian colony to this day.


Our enemies in Iraq have learned these lessons well. The car bomb of Oct. 12 was aimed at the Baghdad Hotel, housing not just large numbers of Americans but much of the provisional Iraqi government. It would have been the equivalent of the two Beirut bombings in one: a psychologically crushing massacre of Americans -- which would have sparked immediate debate at home about withdrawal -- and the instantaneous destruction of much of the pro-American government, a political decapitation that would have left very few Iraqis courageous enough to fill the vacuum.

The bomber failed. Most significantly, it was Iraqi police who assisted in shooting up the car at a relatively safe distance and thus preventing a catastrophe. The car bomb campaign has, however, continued with singular ferocity since. The war in Iraq now consists of a race: the U.S. is racing to build up Iraqi police and armed forces capable of taking over the country's security -- before the Saddam loyalists and their jihadist allies can produce that single, Beirut-like car bomb that so discourages Americans (and Iraqis) that we withdraw in disarray.

Who wins the race? If this president remains in power, the likelihood is that we do.
A.M. Rosenthal writes of the torturing done in Saddam's reign. Why weren't more people upset about that? What about similar things that go on in Africa today?
CNBC is going to air a talk show with Dennis Miller four times a week. I'm looking forward to it. It will replace Capital Report, which I rather like, although I can believe it doesn't get great ratings.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

If you've seen this video of Saddam's thugs torturing and killing prisoners, you will not regret overthrowing him.
What the story of Werner Heisenberg tells us about intelligence about an enemy.
The News and Observer reports that the gap in North Carolina between black and white students is narrowing. And, guess what? The stick of the No Child Left Behind and the mandated tests is forcing teachers and principals to focus more on helping underachieving students. The theory is working. I observed this firsthand when I taught in a public middle school. For years we would talk about all the things we should do to help those students but we actually did very little. Then NC passed a yearly testing program with carrots (bonus checks) for schools that met their goals and sticks (more paperwork and supervision) for schools that did not. And voila! All of a sudden the principal was shifting around funds to have reading teachers for low-ability students. We had tutoring programs. Students had to give up fun, fluffy electives and take reading and math electives if they had low scores. We'd always talked about doing those sorts of things. But it didn't get done until we started having to worry about public test scores. So, much as I detest giving up class time for standardized tests and regret the time that my 8th grade social studies class had to spend teaching reading instead of history, I support the principle. I just wish the tests weren't so Mickey Mouse in their questions. It really is embarrassing that kids don't do better on these tests. The course-specific tests that kids have in high school that I've seen for Civics and American History are distressingly easy.
Check out the Gender Genie. Put in a piece of writing and see if the algorithm can guess if you're a male or female. I put in two letters I had written and one was graded as written by a male and one by a female. Interestingly, the male letter was a letter of recommendation for a boy and the female letter was a letter of recommendation written for a girl. Hmmm. Do I change my style of writing unconsciously depending on the subject of the letter?
This headline from a NY Times story on a conference of Democratic groups says it all.
The Bad News Is Good News for Democrats
Max Boot wonders how the media would cover D-Day.
I can just imagine the story: "More than 8,000 Allied servicemen were wounded, 3,000 of them fatally, during an assault on Normandy beaches yesterday. Despite those heavy casualties, almost all of France remains under Nazi occupation. The supreme Allied commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, claimed that everything had gone according to plan, but a number of retired military officers suggested that the invasion is in grave danger of failing."
James S. Robbins slams the media for resorting to the Vietnam analogy.
The recent round of attacks has not particularly served the cause of the terrorists. They have not dampened the resolve of the United States or the international community. They have not caused the Iraqi people to question the value of building a stable and prosperous future. They have only demonstrated their own ruthlessness in pursuit of an extremist ideological agenda, to which anyone in Iraq can potentially fall victim. They are more than willing to destroy the country in order to save it. And does anyone really think the terrorists are winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people?
Rich Lowry defends Howard Dean.
Jonah Goldberg points out that, as good liberals, Democrats should fully support our efforts to rebuild Iraq.
Of course, except for the odd character actors at the left end of the screen in the Democratic presidential debates, the leading candidates do not say they are in favor of immediate withdrawal. Rather, they spew clouds of verbiage about why we need to have a "plan" and insist that until we have a "plan" we should not spend money on Iraq. Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, both of whom voted for the war, voted against spending any money on Iraq's reconstruction because "we don't have a plan" or because we "need a real plan." Wesley Clark and Howard Dean — the Democratic frontrunners — also say that they would have voted against the reconstruction funds. Dean is consistent — and consistently wrong — in that his position has always been "if Bush is for it, I'm against it." Clark, on the other hand, is not only inconsistent on the question whether he supports Bush, but it seems that this inconsistency is his only reliable trait. .

Even the noble exceptions of Gephardt and Lieberman — who voted for the reconstruction funds — often couch their answers in terms that show they want to be seen as close allies of the naysayers.

Of course, the administration does have a plan. And central to that plan is, well, spending money to rebuild Iraq. The Democrats make it sound like all the U.S. Army is doing in Iraq is having one giant-sized Chinese fire drill every day. One can just imagine John Kerry going to the local garage:


Kerry: I won't pay you to fix my car until you have a plan.
Mechanic: Um, I do have a plan: You pay me. I replace the engine I just took out. Your car works. That's the plan.
Kerry:How can you say you have a plan? Look at the terrible shape my car is in. It's worse than before; there isn't even an engine.
Mechanic: You're an idiot.

In the current New Republic, Peter Beinart brilliantly excoriates Kerry and others for such arrogant and willful fecklessness, which, he argues, is the byproduct of mindless partisanship as well as the rising influence of political consultants. All of the top Democratic consultants have run polls, convened focus groups, disemboweled goats — and done whatever else constitutes the science of political augury these days — and concluded that Democratic candidates must draw "clear distinctions" between them and Bush. So, since Bush favors the reconstruction of Iraq — which means, as a practical matter, reluctantly favoring the expenditure of blood and treasure — the Democrats must be against it. By this logic, John Edwards should embrace Satan and start drinking heavily, since Bush is a born-again Christian and a teetotaler.

I'm only marginally kidding. For years, or decades, or even a century, we've been hearing a host of propositions from liberals. Crime and violence are symptoms of poverty. The United States must do more than simply drop bombs; it must alleviate the "root causes" of terrorism, hopelessness, etc. America must be internationally oriented, looking to engage the world and help the unfortunate. It is in America's vital interests to come to the aid of the downtrodden. And, most recently and relevantly, America must get into the business of nation building.

All of these principles have been defenestrated by a party leadership who no longer believe what, during the Clinton years, it constantly claimed to believe: that partisanship should end at the water's edge. Instead, even as we are fighting a guerilla war where the enemy defines victory not in military terms but in its ability to weaken American resolve at home, Democrats are crassly undermining the safety of our troops, the credibility of our nation, and the integrity of their own political philosophy. Every single good thing about liberalism in foreign policy would have the Democrats seeking more money for Iraq. Liberals should be the ones demanding that we send more teachers, more doctors, more librarians, and more troops to protect them. They should be standing on the tarmac helping to load another shipment of soft-ice-cream machines and ping-pong tables bound for Fallujah, Tikrit, and Basra.
Deborah Orin looks at the effect that Clinton is having on the Democratic Party. It's not good. He can't resist sticking his nose in. Others think that he's trying desperately to stop Dean because he's afraid Dean will pull the party too far to the left. Polipundit points out that the candidates that Bush campaigns for win; the ones that Clinton campaigns for lose.
Thomas Friedman explains why the Vietnam analogy is so stupid.
There is this notion being peddled by Europeans, the Arab press and the antiwar left that "Iraq" is just Arabic for Vietnam, and we should expect these kinds of attacks from Iraqis wanting to "liberate" their country from "U.S. occupation." These attackers are the Iraqi Vietcong.

Hogwash. The people who mounted the attacks on the Red Cross are not the Iraqi Vietcong. They are the Iraqi Khmer Rouge — a murderous band of Saddam loyalists and Al Qaeda nihilists, who are not killing us so Iraqis can rule themselves. They are killing us so they can rule Iraqis.

Have you noticed that these bombers never say what their political agenda is or whom they represent? They don't want Iraqis to know who they really are. A vast majority of Iraqis would reject them, because these bombers either want to restore Baathism or install bin Ladenism.

Let's get real. What the people who blew up the Red Cross and the Iraqi police fear is not that we're going to permanently occupy Iraq. They fear that we're going to permanently change Iraq. The great irony is that the Baathists and Arab dictators are opposing the U.S. in Iraq because — unlike many leftists — they understand exactly what this war is about. They understand that U.S. power is not being used in Iraq for oil, or imperialism, or to shore up a corrupt status quo, as it was in Vietnam and elsewhere in the Arab world during the cold war. They understand that this is the most radical-liberal revolutionary war the U.S. has ever launched — a war of choice to install some democracy in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world.

Most of the troubles we have encountered in Iraq (and will in the future) are not because of "occupation" but because of "empowerment." The U.S. invasion has overturned a whole set of vested interests, particularly those of Iraq's Sunni Baathist establishment, and begun to empower instead a whole new set of actors: Shiites, Kurds, non-Baathist Sunnis, women and locally elected officials and police. The Qaeda nihilists, the Saddamists, and all the Europeans and the Arab autocrats who had a vested interest in the old status quo are threatened by this.

Many liberals oppose this war because they can't believe that someone as radically conservative as George W. Bush could be mounting such a radically liberal war. Some, though, just don't believe the Bush team will do it right.

Those who oppose the war to depose Saddam should read about how he tortured prisoners.
As I thought, conservatives are not happy with Orrin Hatch's proposed deal with Sen. Levin.
Robert Novak looks at the Mississippi governor's race and the efforts to defeat Haley Barbour.
The Forward looks at the new wave of "Coleman Republicans." Moderate Jews running as Republicans.
CBS profiles Toby Keith and the success he's had since he wrote "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue." CBS also gets in a nice dig at Peter Jennings.
I also think it's a bad idea to hold Senate hearings about bias on university campuses. This is not a federal issue. If state legislatures think their state colleges have a problem, let them deal with it. Otherwise, just publicize the problems and let alumni and students make up their minds.
This is a terrible trend. Sandra Day O'Connor is saying that the Supreme Court will make more rulings in the future based on international law and standards. This is absolutely the last thing that American judges should be looking at. Who is going to decide which standards apply and when? There is a reason that we have a written constitution.
The Democratic Leadership Council is trying to push the Democratic party to the center. It is having some effect on the issues of guns rights and partial birth abortion. Of course, this is only true for congressional candidates. The presidential candidates are all moving to the left to appeal to the activists of the primary season.
Adam Nagourney makes the point that the Dean and Clark's candidacies are a battle between ideology and electability. Of course, that assumes that Clark is still electable.
Oliver Kamm has a good post about the weakness of French diplomacy since Napoleon III. (Link via Andrew Sullivan)
Napoleon III was responsible for the disastrous outcome of the Franco-Prussian War. Alsace-Lorraine reverted to France after 1918, but only at enormous material cost and with a shattered military capability. Diplomacy between the wars combined appeasement (the Hoare-Laval Pact) and irrelevance (the Little Entente with the powers of Central Europe, whom France in any case betrayed at Munich). The story of Vichy is well-known everywhere except in the French education system....

After the War, France managed only a single principal achievement in foreign affairs, and that was the negative one of extricating herself from Algeria. Elsewhere she exercised treacherous and sometimes brutal conduct in attempting to shore up colonialism in Indochina, and North and West Africa. Her malign and amoral international dealings were exemplified in assisting Iraq to build a nuclear reactor (which, fortunately for all of us, Israel destroyed before it could be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons). Her declining fortunes were sealed by the reunification of Germany, which thereby prevented France's becoming the acknowledged diplomatic leader of continental Europe.

Dorothy Rabinowitz is not impressed with the Democratic debates.
Sunday's confrontation at "Detroit's historic Fox Theatre," as Fox News commentators kept calling it, may have been historic for reasons other than the setting. Not since the Democratic Convention of 1984, which saw parades of the wild-eyed take to the streets of San Francisco for all the nation to see, have Americans had the opportunity to view so telling a display of the frenzy driving Democratic candidates. Walter Mondale lost for other reasons, of course, but San Francisco gave America a view of the Democrats, their values and their base constituency that it did not soon forget.

This display comes much earlier in the campaign. It's a struggle so revealing in its evidence of presidential aspirants willing to say virtually anything--about the war in Iraq, the motives of the administration and even the state of the nation--in order to appeal to voters, that it is hard to recall its equal. It is hard to recall any time in memory when we heard as extreme a level of assaultive oratory as the one directed Sunday at the administration, and the president in particular, from candidates for the nation's highest office. Can this unremittingly strident display of Bush hatred--barely lower than the cacophony that comes booming from the crowds of grizzled street activists waving placards that show President Bush's picture emblazoned on a swastika--be what these candidates think Americans will find appealing, and worthy of their trust? This is their program?

To hear the candidates tell it, the United States is a nation in its last hours as a viable democracy. When, at the debate's end, a member of Congress from Detroit told an interviewer the country was "in a shambles" (America, she meant, not Iraq), she only reflected the tone of the candidates' recitals. Put aside the envenomed exchanges as to which of them had voted for the war and which not, which had backed the war but decided against authorizing the $87 billion to sustain the military effort, and who would have done what if only he'd had a chance, to stand up and vote the purity of his conscience.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Ben Shapiro points out that clear-cutting, which is opposed by many environmentalists, might have prevented the California fires from burning so out of control.
There's even move controversy stirring around the CBS miniseries about the Reagans. I wouldn't be surprised if they edited out all the controversial scenes before it airs.
Now, you can buy a talking Dennis Miller doll. Add it to your Ann Coulter or Donald Rumsfeld doll. Here is what the Miller doll says.
"And quit bringing up our forefathers and saying they were Civil Libertarians . . . they were blowing people's heads off because they put a tax on their breakfast beverage -- and it wasn't even coffee."

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

"The only way we were going to get the French to go into Iraq was to tell them we thought there were truffles in there."

"That's the news and I'm outta here!"
I like the Rumsfeld doll even better.
“Oh, it was your rhetoric that made us do it. It turns out they had started doing this well before Bush came into office, well before the ‘Axis of Evil’ speech –- it’s utter nonsense.”

“The only choice one has is to proceed and use coercion.”

“We have done so much in the last two years, and it doesn’t happen by standing around with your finger in your ear hoping everyone thinks that that’s nice.”

“The question you ask, however, is not a question I can answer.”
What a lame-o attempt to seem cool and "with it."
Dean declared himself a "metrosexual," the buzz phrase for straight men in touch with their feminine sides, as he touted his accomplishments in "equal justice" for gay and lesbian couples.

But then he waffled.


"I'm a square," Dean declared, after professing his metrosexuality to a Boulder breakfast audience with an anecdote about being called handsome by a gay man. "I like (rapper) Wyclef Jean and everybody thinks I'm very hip, but I am really a square, as my kids will tell you. I don't even get to watch television. I've heard the term (metrosexual), but I don't know what it means."

(Link via The Corner)
My blog qualifies as 47% Evil and 53% good. Check out the Gematriculator and rate your web site. I'm sure it's totally accurate.
The Washington Post has a good editorial analyzing the Tet offensive analogy.
AIMED AT THE Muslim holiday of Ramadan, the series of suicide bombings and other attacks by enemies of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq this week probably is intended to have the same effect as the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam: to convince Americans that their troops are committed to a losing cause and must withdraw -- even if, in military terms, that is not the case. Saddam Hussein, after all, is known to have studied recent U.S. history for examples of how to defeat the superpower, as have the Islamic terrorist groups also believed to be operating in Iraq. The attacks so far carried out in Baghdad and Fallujah, like those of Tet, pose no strategic threat to the U.S. military presence in the country; they also pale beside those of 1968, which cost the lives of more than 3,800 U.S. servicemen and 14,000 Vietnamese civilians. Still, the bombings have shocked Iraqis, intimidated some would-be allies and strengthened doubts in Congress and the public about the Iraq mission.

Yet it would be wrong for the United States to conclude, as its enemies no doubt hope it will, that the time has come to embrace an exit strategy. There is no basis to believe that the U.S. goals of stabilizing Iraq under a representative government cannot be achieved. In much of the country there is little violence and coalition authorities have the support of most of the population. Even in Baghdad, there has been measurable progress in recent months: More power is on, the curfew is lifted, streets and shops are usually full. Most important, the coalition authority and most Iraqis share the same goal: to transfer authority to a sovereign government and replace U.S. forces with Iraqis as quickly as can be done safely. The enemy offers not an attractive alternative but an agenda of viciousness embodied in the attacks on the humanitarian workers of the United Nations and International Red Cross. This is the brutal trademark of al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein, whose return on the heels of departing U.S. troops is the future Iraqis fear most.

They go on to say that Democratic critics of the President should be focusing their attention on what we could be doing more in Iraq rather than on trying to pull out.
David Broder pays tribute to Iowa and New Hampshire as our first states to vote on the presidential candidates.
David Frum lists his top ten list of what from the past half century will matter 200 years from now.
1. A. Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
2. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao.
3. The paintings of Jackson Pollock.
4. The Godfather I & II
5. C. Milosz, The Captive Mind.
6. West Side Story.
7. M. Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
8. The collected “I Love Lucy.”
9. VS Naipaul, A Bend in the River.
10. Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA.

Also (and in honor of Virginia Postrel) almost the entire corpus of mid-century decorative arts: the Concorde jet, the UN building, and the 1959 Cadillac Coup de Ville.

Tyler Cowen comments on the list here.
Thomas Sowell takes on the problem of education tests when a state uses state-created tests instead of nationally-normed tests.
You want to know what liberal bias and media spin are? Try a headline in the San Francisco Chronicle of October 25th: "California School Rankings Improve."

According to education officials quoted in the story, an "unprecedented rise" in test scores has been achieved by "shifting away from a nationally normed test and toward exams that measure what children are being taught in the classroom."

In other words, when school children in California were taking the same tests as children in other states, their results were lousy. But, now that we have our own test, results are much better.

If you or I or anyone else could make up his own test, wouldn't we all turn out to be geniuses?

Here's information on when the US has declared war and when it has simply authorized a "military engagements."
Having our top satellite spy chief say that he thinks that Iraq moved its weapons to other countries is not a comforting thought.
This is what new research shows.
Mothers have cooler heads and better coping skills than nonmothers.
Although the research was done with mother rats, I'm sure that this is very accurate and true. I know I'm very cool-headed when I'm not stressed out about something or another.
If you think that the hearings on judicial nominees involve high-minded discussions of legal issues, think again. In a hearing for Claude A. Allen for the 4th Circuit, Maryland senators complained that the nominee is from Virginia, not Maryland. And what does condom use have to do with being a judge.
Right Wing News has an online interview with Andrew Sullivan, one of my favorites.
John Hawkins expresses what a lot of us are probably thinking.
You know, we hear a lot about how the rest of the world is sick of America. But you know what? As I've said before, I can't even begin to tell you how sick I & most Americans are of the much of the rest of the world.
As John points out, we can't retreat from the world like we did after World War One. But, the thought is tempting at times.
GOP House members are worried about what will come out of the conference report on the drug bill.
Ralph Peters lays it out about the situation in Iraq and the lame comparisons to Vietnam that are on the tip of everyone's toungue these days.
THERE is only one way in which the situation in Iraq resembles Vietnam: Our enemies realize that they can't win militarily. This is a contest of wills much more than a contest of weapons. The terrorists intend to wear us down.

Our enemies are employing media-genic bombings to leap over our soldiers and influence our political leaders and our elections - just as the Vietnamese did. The suicide bombers themselves are deluded madmen, but the men behind the terror campaign calculate that, if they can just maintain a sufficient level of camera-friendly attacks, our military successes and all the progress of our reconstruction efforts will be eclipsed by a mood of dejection in Washington.

If the terrorists turn out to be right, the butcher's bill in the coming years and decades will be vastly higher than the casualty count in Iraq.
Just as Jesse Jackson Jr. is set to endorse Dean, Al Sharpton attacks Dean on race. Hmm. Could this be more about Sharpton's relations with Jackson's father and Sharpton's efforts to portray himself as the new spokesman for blacks replacing Jesse Jackson Sr?

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Nick Schultz highlights a study debunking some of the accusations that the 1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium. It's alwarys suspicious when researchers won't release their data. Now it seems there is a reason why.
Brent Bozell takes on the bias in Newsweek's cover story on The Bush Mess this week.
A blogger catches a major error in Newsweek's hit piece on our efforts for reconstructing Iraq.
John Hawkins surveyed bloggers about the most influential books they've read. Personally, I think that Ayn Rand is way overrated.
Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom have a columnin the Boston Globe explaining what needs to be done to improve the state of education for minorities today. One solution is more charter schools.
Wesley Clark has had a hard time how he switched his view on the war in Iraq 180 degrees after he declared as a candidate. Here's a look at his changing views.
Last fall: As Congress debated whether to authorize the use of force against Saddam, Clark, an adviser for New Hampshire congressional candidate Katrina Swett, told the Associated Press that although he had "reservations" about war, he supported the President's proposal. "Certainly in certain cases we should go to war before our enemies strike," Clark said. "And I think this situation applies here, but I am not sure we should write it down and publish [the doctrine of preventive war] as policy."

Last winter: As Huel Perkins mentioned during his initial question to Clark, according to a voting guide put out by James Zogby's Arab American Institute, the general said last February that "Saddam Hussein has these weapons, and so, you know, we're going to go ahead and do this, and the rest of the world has got to get with us."

Last spring: After the fall of Baghdad, Clark waxed poetic about the results of Gulf War II: "Liberation is at hand," he wrote in the Times of London. "Liberation--the powerful balm that justifies painful sacrifice, erases lingering doubt and reinforces bold actions." Later in the same essay, Clark praised the president he's now trying to unseat. "As for the political leaders themselves, President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt." Not quite a ringing--nor consistent--indictment of Bush foreign policy.

And in the fall of 2003: Clark joined the presidential contest last September. Shortly after he announced his candidacy, the general gave a 45-minute talk with a group of reporters. In the course of the discussion, the Washington Post later reported, Clark said he "probably" would have voted to authorize the war if he had been a member of Congress last fall. He added that his views resembled those of Senator John Kerry and Senator Joe Lieberman, both of whom voted to authorize the conflict.

Two days later, on September 19, Clark said he "never would have voted for war." But, you see, that doesn't quite mean he would have voted against the Congressional use-of-force authorization. "What I would have voted for," Clark said, "is leverage. Leverage for the United States to avoid a war."

Got that?

Clark eventually admitted that he had spoken out of both sides of his mouth. "I don't know if I would have or not. I've said it both ways," he said. "On balance, I probably would have voted for it." So why all the confusion? Well, Clark told the Boston Globe, "I wasn't following the resolution and I didn't even know what was in the resolution. . . . Had I been in Congress I would not have voted for it because I would have recognized that the administration was going to use it as an authorization to go to war."

"I've seen [Iraq] both ways," Clark once told an interviewer, "Because [when] you get into this, what happens is you have to put yourself in a position." Indeed.
What a weasel. This is just the type of equivocation that voters will reject.
A Republican pollster thinks that the Democrats will suffer for filibustering Republican bills such as a prescription drug plan, DC vouchers, and also judicial nominations. I somehow doubt that people vote on the basis of filibusters; the Republicans would have to do much more to make it clear what exactly is going on. Most people don't understand the filibuster and don't really understand these bills or why the nominees are being blocked. The GOP is very poor about getting its message out. Just going on news programs and whining about the Democrats won't be enough. Bill Frist refuses to force the Dems to do an all-night filibuster. That's such a shame since that is the one thing that would guarantee coverage. Trying to change the rules for voting cloture will be portrayed by the Dems as typical Republican sneakiness in changing the rules when they can't win under the old rules. The filibuster rule is terrible and deserves to be trashed, but that isn't going to happen so Republicans need Plan B.

I do like the quote from Teddy Roosevelt, though.
“People cannot have free institutions if they lack the wisdom, self-command and common sense to make use of them; and the people who condone and approve filibustering show that they lack all these qualities, and to that extent have forfeited their claim to be considered capable of governing themselves
Terry Eastland thinks that Scalia wouldn't have recused himself from the Pledge case unless he knew that the 9th Circuit would be reversed.
Redistricting in Texas shows that what goes around comes around.
Bill Whalen hypes a Dennis Miller candidacy for the Senate in California against Barbara Boxer. How fun would that be?
David Brooks is disappointed in the Republicans in Congress who are pushing pork into bills.
In this year's World Series, the Yankees lost despite having scored more runs total than the Marlins. The Yankees scored 21 to the Marlins' 17 runs. I pointed this out to my AP Government class that we didn't give the Series to the Yankees because there are certain rules in baseball that call for winner-take-all rules for each game. This is parallel to how the Electoral College works. A candidate has to win states, which are awarded (except for Maine and Nebraska) on a similar winner-take-all basis rather than going to the candidate with the most runs, er.... votes. Try this argument with your friends next time you hear them dissing the Electoral College.

Eric Grunden, a chemistry teacher at my school, is trying to work up a similar parallel with the college football bowl championships.
Chris Wallace is joining Fox News to replace Tony Snow on the Sunday morning program.
Some groups are banding together to promote a science curriculum that counteracts the insidious new "humane education" craze.
Clarence Page offers his support for the Thernstroms' book, No Excuses.
One of the most disturbing disappointments in the years since the 1960s civil rights revolution is that the black-white academic performance gap (as much as four years by the time they graduate high school) persists, even among children of the new black middle class.

For that reason, whether I agree with everything the Thernstroms have to say or not (and I have disagreed with them regarding the merits of affirmative action), I appreciate their contribution to an issue that has, by no means, been overdiscussed. In fact, if we could solve the racial academic achievement gap, our need for affirmative action would evaporate with it.

Yet, whites are not the top performing group. As the Thernstroms point out, the gap between white and Asian-American student performance is actually wider than the gap between blacks and whites, with Hispanics performing about as poorly as blacks.

Among the most intriguing possible reasons for this disparity is a difference in the way students measure their family's "trouble threshold," according to one study that the Thernstroms cite. The "trouble threshold" is the lowest grade students think they can receive before their parents go volcanic with anger and start clamping down on TV time and other privileges.

In the survey by Laurence Steinberg, a Temple University social scientist, published in his 1996 book, "Beyond the Classroom," most of the black and Hispanic students surveyed said they could avoid trouble at home so long as their grades stayed above C-minus.

Most of the whites, by contrast, said their parents would give them a hard time if their children came home with anything less than a B-minus.

Most of the Asian students, whether immigrant or native-born, said their parents would be upset if they brought home anything less than an A-minus.
Unlike most non-Asian parents, who tended to think of academic success in terms of innate ability, good fortune, teacher bias or other
matters "outside their personal control," Mr. Steinberg found Asian parents tended to believe academic performance depended entirely on how hard they worked.

Is that standard too harsh? I don't think so, despite the contrary view of certain teenagers I know. Instead, I am startled by another study that the Thernstroms' cite, which found that nearly a third of black 12th graders spent five or more hours in front of TV sets — on school nights. Some called it their "social homework." Whatever they may call it, their TV viewership was 5 times that of whites and more than twice that of Latinos.

Another study found the average white kindergartner had 93 books at home, twice the average in their black classmates' homes. The result, as Harvard economist Ronald Ferguson found a few years ago, is that almost half of the black middle and high school pupils in 15 affluent school districts said they "completely" understood the teacher's lesson only "half the time or less" — almost twice the figure for whites.
Cher called in to C-Span yesterday.
Mickey Kaus offers a cogent defense of blogging vs having an editor.
Orrin Hatch has an utterly terrible idea for getting Senator Levin to lift his hold on all circuit court nominees in the 6th Circuit which covers Michigan.
Mickey Kaus exposes some more bias on NPR.
A new study shows how the bureaucracies of large urban school districts is actually keeping out highly qualified teacher candidates.
The researchers also surveyed more than 300 applicants for inner-city teaching jobs who withdrew out of frustration with the hiring process. Those applicants, compared with others around the country, "had significantly higher undergraduate GPAs (grade-point averages), were 40 percent more likely to have a degree in their teaching field, and were significantly more likely to have completed educational course work," according to Levin and Quinn's report.

Many of the applicants said they were disappointed not to get a chance at a challenging assignment. "Despite the difficulties and delays they experienced, four out of five of them said they would like to be considered again for a teaching position with the urban district," the report said. "Almost half said they definitely or probably would have accepted an offer from the urban district if it had come earlier."

Just as significant, 37 percent to 69 percent of those who withdrew applications out of frustration -- percentages varied by districts -- were candidates for "hard-to-fill positions."

In each city, Levin and Quinn encountered "poor design and execution by [school] district human resources offices, a cumbersome application process, too many layers of bureaucracy, inadequate customer service, poor data services, and an overall lack of urgency."

It was standard procedure to let impressive applications sit in file drawers for months, the researchers found, while the candidates, needing to get their lives in order, secured work elsewhere. One district, for example, received 4,000 applications for 200 slots but was slow to offer jobs and lost out on top candidates.

In some cases, the report said, big-city school boards -- with teachers union support -- approved vacancy notification policies that allowed veteran teachers to announce retirements or resignations late in the summer, long after many good potential replacements have given up and accepted other jobs. Three school districts in the study had either a summer deadline or no deadline for notification by departing teachers.

State lawmakers and budget officials also were notoriously late with the projections that school superintendents needed to figure out how many teachers they would be able to hire, according to Levin and Quinn.

Meanwhile, collective bargaining agreements between unions and school boards sometimes required principals to hire transferring teachers, which in turn led some principals to delay posting jobs in hopes that teachers they didn't want would go elsewhere.
How utterly depressing. Sounds like yet another argument for charter schools.
The TNR blog looks at the poor wording on a recent poll that purportedly showed that Democratic voters wanted a candidate who had supported military action in Iraq but now criticized the President's handling of the peace.(Link via Andrew Sullivan)
Walter E. Washington, the first modern mayor of Washington, D.C. has died.
Michael Totten looks at the links between the anti-war protest organizers, ANSWER, and the terrorists who are blowing up civilians in Iraq. (Link via Andrew Sullivan)
Dick Morris says that in each election there is a different theme and type of election. This year, he posits that it is a primary for activists and that Howard Dean has won that group hands down.
John Podhoretz explains the issues behinds the President's refusal to turn some documents over to the commission looking into 9/11.
Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, acknowledges that the information he is seeking has never been shared by any White House with any other body ever. It is the most highly classified material known to the government, so much so that the material cannot even be described in public. "These are documents that only two or three people would normally have access to," Kean admitted. "To make those available to an outside group is something that no other president has done in our history."

And yet in the same breath he says he "will not stand for it" if he is denied this material? That is arrogance of a really mind-blowing sort.

Kean, who seems to have confused his position with that of the Sun King, even manages to claim that his commission has greater powers and authority than the United States Congress and the executive branch combined.

"I've argued very strongly with the White House that we are unique," Kean told the Times, "that we are not the Congress, that these arguments about presidential privilege do not apply in the case of our commission."

Let's examine what he's saying here. Kean uses the term "presidential privilege" to describe the White House's refusal to share certain information with his commission. That is a misnomer. The actual legal term is "executive privilege," and it's a very significant concept.

The idea is this: Congress and the chief executive are co-equal. Neither rules or commands the other. Though Congress has all sorts of authority over elements of the executive branch run by the president, it has no authority over the president himself other than his salary and his impeachment. That is part of the constitutional system of checks and balances.

Kean is arguing that his "unique" commission possesses an authority superior to that of the body, Congress, which created it. That's ridiculous. How can Congress grant powers it does not itself possess? He points out that Congress gave the commission the power to subpoena. Well, Congress has that power as well. And if it attempted to subpoena those documents, the White House would tell it to go fly a kite.

Why would the White House withhold such information when it can be so easily accused of a coverup? Because if the White House accedes to the notion that any and every piece of paper the president sees can theoretically be accessed by anybody at any time, that is the end of any capacity for the government to keep secrets.

That's the principle of the thing. Here's the hard reality behind the need for executive privilege: There are 10 members of the commission, and a staff. Perhaps Kean can be sure that the details of this ultimate classified information will not leak. But given his own clear hunger to grandstand, Kean offers scant comfort that he will have any disciplinary power over his fellow members and his staffers.

Kean wants these documents. To get them, he has decided to wage public war against the administration. "There are a lot of theories about 9/11, and as long as there is any document out there that bears on any of those theories, we're going to leave questions unanswered," Kean told the Times. "And we cannot leave questions unanswered."

In the name of clearing up conspiracy theories, Kean has now made it inevitable that the conspiracy theorists will never accept the commission's findings. With the preening self-righteousness that characterizes his blessedly anachronistic brand of liberal Republicanism, Thomas Kean has now only added to the ugly divisiveness of the present moment.

Of course, it would help if we had some idea of what these documents were. It must be something for the White House to risk all the obloquy that comes with stiff-arming the Commission.
Quelle surprise! Some teachers are cheating to get their kids higher test scores on high stakes testing.
David Limbaugh thinks the GOP should underwrite the Democratic debates to make sure that more people see what these guys are saying.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Andrew Sullivan does a great job deconstructing and fisking Kerry's and Clark's statements on the situation in Iraq.
Gersh Kuntzman writes a very ugly editorial for Newsweek implying that because Arnold's father was a Nazi, he may be a Nazi and then spreading some Internet trash rumors about President Bush's grandfather and Karl Rove's grandfather being Nazi sympathizers. All this to talk about a proposed amendment to drop the requirement that the president must be a native born citizen. It sounds like Kuntzman is trying to be funny, but this guilt by association is shameful. And Newsweek should be ashamed of itself for publishing these wacko Internet rumors.
Check out James Taranto today. He has a lot of great stuff, as always.
Ramesh Ponnuru looks at how Clark's candidacy has helped Dean.
I'm so proud that I live in the city that will now have a statue of Andy Griffith as a new tourist attraction. How pitiful if people actually travel here to see a statue of a TV character who is on TV every day here.
Brian C. Anderson says that conservatives are starting to make progress in the culture wars. He points to the success of Fox News, blogs, Drudge, South Park Republicans, Dennis Miller and Colin Quinn. Read his article. It's worth it just for the South Park excerpts (language warning).
Canada can hold its head up with pride. A Canadian won the Rock, Paper, Scissors championship.
I see the terrorists in Iraq are respecting Ramadan.
New York Times has an interview with Barbara Bush in which she reveals that the President doesn't get served first when he visits them. Oh, and his mother thinks he's wonderfu.
Tony Snow is being eased out of Fox's Sunday morning show to bring in Chris Wallace.
Nicole Gelinas outlines how Lieberman's tax policy would raise taxes for 400,000 people on the east coast.
Right Wing News had a symposium of bloggers on the election. The consensus is that things look good for Dean in the nomination battle, but not in the general election.
John Hawkins: So let's say the most likely scenario happens-- it's Dean vs. Bush in 2004. How do you see it playing out? What does Dean have to do to beat Bush?

Mike Hendrix: Stop shouting and move way to the right.

Bryan Preston: He has to convince the nation that either the war is over, but Bush had nothing to do with it, or that the war is ongoing but should not be fought.

Bryan Preston expressed Dean's position exactly right.
Here's an interesting separation of power issue.
Debra Saunders looks at the vegan charter school proposal for Sacramento.
The charter model will "replace discipline based on rewards and punishments with one based on respect, responsibility and reverence." (As in: "Sierra, if you can't self-organize your workspace and continue to throw your math manipulatives at Conner, I'm not sure I can trust you with more tofu.")

Here's a clue as to how un-academic the K-6 school is likely to be if it opens next fall: "Mahatma Gandhi (the petition reads) once said, 'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its non-human animals are treated.'''(Clue: Gandhi did not use the term "non-human animal.")

While the petition promises rigorous academics, it's hard to find advanced math or challenging literature buried under the avalanche of edu-jargon, as in "value of relationships," "a safe learning environment for students to speak about their own authentic feelings and experiences," "class bonding" and "constructivist and multicultural education and thematic, project-based learning."

Some of this sounds academic: Documents say social studies classes will "draw upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, religion, sociology." Except the school is K-6: Many students will be beginning to learn to read -- or are supposed to be learning to read.

Where's the math? The kids may not know how to multiply, but math classes will help students "explore economic costs as they relate to environmental degradation, the loss of wildlife and companion animal overpopulation." (No indoctrination there.)

If I were to write a parody of something an animal nut/educrat would create, I would have written this document. The difference is: I would never inflict it upon innocent children. I'd know it was a joke.

Clark now call himself the underdog.
Bob Novak says that Bill Frist is starting a futile effort to "refocus" attention on Bush's nominees. Frist says that there is no point of forcing the Democrats to hold all night filibusters, because the GOP would still lose at the end of the day and everyone would suffer by having to stay and listen. Well, it still seems to me that this would do more to "refocus" attention than holding a bunch of votes that will get page seventeen coverage.
There are some interesting ballot initiatives for next week's election.
Maine could get its first casino after the costliest referendum campaign in state history. San Franciscans could mandate a "living wage" of $8.50 an hour for local workers. And the mellow of the world could take heart if Denver voters endorse a call for citywide stress reduction.
Gee, who knew we could legislate stress reduction?
The Washington Times reports that the army got a letter a while ago alleging that a Saddam ally was supplying the hotel and knew where important people were sleeping at the hotel.
The rockets used to bomb the Baghdad hotel yesterday were made in France after the arms embargo put on after the first Gulf war.
Andrew Sullivan posts this quote from George Orwell on the Biritish intelligentsia during World War II.
"It is, I think, true to say that the intelligentsia have been more wrong about the progress of the war than the common people, and that they were more swayed by partisan feelings. The average intellectual of the Left believed, for instance, that the war was lost in 1940, that the Germans were bound to overrun Egypt in 1942, that the Japanese would never be driven out of the lands they had conquered, and that the Anglo-American bombing offensive was making no impression on Germany. He could believe these things because his hatred for the British ruling class forbade him to admit that British plans could succeed. There is no limit to the follies that can be swallowed if one is under the influence of feelings of this kind. I have heard it confidently stated, for instance, that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution. One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool."
Sound familiar?

Sunday, October 26, 2003

You know Tony Snow must be cool if he gets to play onstage with Jethro Tull.
John Edwards has picked up a crucial endorsement.
How No Child Left Behind is going to affect everyone. Of course, there's always the option that education will improve for those who've been neglected for so long.
Forget a retired general. Here is a candidate with interstellar experience. Who can touch that?
ESPN canned Rush Limbaugh over what it considered racially insensitive remarks. It now has hired Darrel Dawkins who has explicitly made racist remarks when he maintains that the NBA encourages the use of foreigners in order to get more white faces on the court. Standards seem to be slipping.
A South Carolina paper looks at the prospects for the Senate in the South. It doesn't look good for the Democrats since they're defending several open seats in the South.
Well, we can all relax about the Middle East now. Brad and Jennifer on it and will solve the decades-old problems there.
Richard Rahn explains why conservative, non-statist think tanks are more successful than liberal think tanks.
The late night comedians don't cut the Democrats any slack.
"Howard Dean is a politician, a medical doctor and a Democrat," says Jay Leno. "So he has three reasons to tell women to take off their clothes now."

Congressman Dennis Kucinich is far to the left of Dean, and his message isn't getting out, either. Conan O'Brien sums up his presidential hopes.

"Last night, during the Democratic debates, candidate Dennis Kucinich said he would stop the death penalty, cut the defense budget and set up a Department of Peace. Kucinich made the remark in response to the question 'Why is it you have no chance of winning?'"

Sen. John Edwards is really having trouble getting his message out. He's the most photogenic and likable of all the candidates, an important factor in presidential elections, but nobody is listening.

"John Edwards announced for president on Sept. 16," says Leno. "This is what I love about this election: if no one listens to you the first 40 times you announce, just announce again."

Poor Dick Gephardt is getting nowhere, even though his father was a milkman and he promises to soak the rich. Letterman explains why:

"Are you ready for some exciting news? Dick Gephardt is running for president -- all right, settle down. Gephardt ran once before for president in 1988, but he was no match for the irresistible charm and charisma of Michael Dukakis."

Leno adds to Gephardt's woes:

"Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt fell short of his fund-raising goal by $1 million. His goal was to try and raise $1 million."

Despite being one of the more centrist candidates in the campaign, Joe Lieberman isn't being heard either.

"Joe Lieberman announced yesterday that he's running for president," says Leno. "He made the announcement at his old high school. Out of force of habit, the kids gave him a wedgie and broke his glasses."
Brent Bozell takes on the CBS movie on the Reagans.
Now, Doonesbury is not only implying that Schwarzenegger is a Nazi, but also that he's a rapist. This really is despicable. Doonesbury stopped being funny about a quarter century ago. (Link via Andrew Sullivan)
Watch out for three key gubernatorial races in November.
The New York Times looks at Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.
As a result, standing between the mercurial Mr. Stevens and an Alaska project can be dangerous. Take last March, for instance, when he was about to lose another close vote on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, a near obsession in Mr. Stevens's constant push for projects that could provide jobs back home.

"In the time I have served here, many people have made commitments to me, and I have never broken a commitment in my life," Mr. Stevens said on the floor in a classic exhibition of his temper. "I make this commitment: People who vote against this today are voting against me, and I will not forget it."

Little wonder that Warren Rudman, a friend of Mr. Stevens and a former senator, described him "as the only man that when he passed an open fire could not resist pouring gasoline on it."

"And I said that affectionately," Mr. Rudman said.

Here's a nice headline from the NY Times.
Iraqis Get Used to Life Without Hussein, and Many Find They Like It
Mark Steyn looks at the newest conspiracy theory from Sudan.
I haven't really followed Sudanese current events closely since, oh, Gen. Kitchener's victory over the Mahdi at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. But a recent story from that benighted land happened to catch my eye. Last month mass hysteria apparently swept the capital city, Khartoum, after reports that foreigners were shaking hands with Sudanese men and causing their penises to disappear. One victim, a fabric merchant, told his story to the London Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. A man from West Africa came into the shop and "shook the store owner's hand powerfully until the owner felt his penis melt into his body."

....It is, in that sense, the perfect emblematic tale of Islamic victimhood: The foreigners have made us impotent! It doesn't matter that the foreigners didn't do anything except shake hands. It doesn't matter whether you are, in fact, impotent. You feel impotent, just as -- so we're told -- millions of Muslims from Algerian Islamists to the Bali bombers feel "humiliated" by the Palestinian situation. Whether or not there is a rational basis for their sense of humiliation is irrelevant.

One of the things I'd feel humiliated about if I lived in the Arab world is that almost all the forms of expression of my anti-Westernism are themselves Western in origin. Pan-Arabism was old-school 19th century nationalism of the type that eventually unified the various German and Italian statelets. Nasserism was transplanted European socialism, Baathism a local anachronistic variant on 'tween-wars Fascist movements. The Arabs even swiped Jew hatred from the Europeans. Though there was certainly friction between Jews and Muslims before the 20th century, it took the Europeans to package a disorganized, free-lance dislike of Jews into a big-time ideology with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Mein Kampf and all the rest.

Even Islamic fundamentalism, though ostensibly a rare example of a homegrown toxin, has, as a practical matter, more in common with European revolutionary movements than with traditional expressions of Islam -- an essentially political project piggybacking on an ancient religion to create the ideology of choice for the world's troublemakers.

There's something pathetic about a culture so ignorant even its pathologies have to be imported. But what do you expect? The telling detail of the vanishing penis hysteria is that it was spread by text messaging. You can own a cell phone, yet still believe that foreigners are able with a mere handshake to cause your penis to melt away.


What a great juxtaposition.
The Democrats have had trouble generating enthusiasm for their (too) many candidate debates and forums. But there will be a huge crowd outside the one scheduled for tonight in Detroit. That's because the debate, hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, is to be held at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theater, next door to the State Theater, where the Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies will be giving a concert starting at 7:30 p.m. as part of their "Peepshow Tour."

The Ladies, actually five men, have something in common with the pols next door; their latest album is called "Everything to Everyone," and their concerts include time for band members to take questions from the audience. For the Democrats, the question is which tune wafting from next door will come to represent the night. Will it be "What A Good Boy"? Or, less happily, "Too Little Too Late"? As they face Bush's $70 million war chest, all the Democrats will be humming "If I Had $1,000,000."

Kerry and Dean are really going after each other in New Hampshire. A loss for either would be catastrophic. Dean is hoping to get thousands of volunteers to work a week in January in NH and also in IA. If he does get these volunteers there, expect lots of publicity for that. Zogby shows Dean up by 23 points in NH. If he doesn't hit a lead like that, watch the spinners from the other campaigns try to paint him as a loser.