Saturday, April 24, 2004

More buzz about Toomey staging an upset against Specter. I still doubt it will happen, but the signs are auspicious.
The race will hinge on turnout, setting the stage for a battle between Specter's paid volunteers and Toomey's grassroots supporters, who are far more passionate and likely to vote. As Specter put it in an appearance on C-Span April 21, "My opponent's supporters...will come out in a blizzard. My supporters tend to be less intense."

With no primary opposition to President Bush, and only three seriously contested GOP House primaries in the state, a low turnout is expected among Republicans. This benefits Toomey, as does the fact that one of the three contested House primaries on April 27 is in the Allentown district he left to run against Specter. Republicans there support Toomey over Specter by a large margin, according to polls taken early in the campaign.

The only other major statewide race on the GOP ballot is a showdown for the Attorney General nomination between the moderate, party-endorsed Tom Corbett and Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor.

Ironically, the conservative Castor's campaign strategy is to drive turnout in the Philadelphia area. This could actually help Specter, who was once Philadelphia's district attorney and who considers the city to be his base of support.
Ah, that sweet double racial standard at work again. A white student can't write the same thing that a black could write about blacks and the inclination blacks have to automatically support someone just because of race such as O J Simpson. Blacks say that whites can't write about blacks because they haven't experienced what blacks have experienced. Well, that cuts out all historical writing, doesn't it? And can blacks write about the problems of whites since they don't know what it is like to be white?
This history teacher makes a lot of sense when he points out how history books sanitize history to leave out the warts about our great men and women of the past. Students may complain to see their heroes tarnished, but I think it's more inspiring to recognize that our heroes were humans who rose above their faults to make great contributions. We find it hard to relate to a saints, but we can use role models who achieved greatness despite their flaws.
Seventeen years ago, as a social studies teacher in Baltimore, I led a class of sixth-graders through a lesson on the civil rights movement. We had just reached the 1963 March on Washington when one asked a question that I hadn't expected. "Is it true," she asked, "that Martin Luther King cheated on his wife?" Yes, I replied, and then I explained how we knew it was true: The Federal Bureau of Investigation bugged King's hotel rooms.

"Why," another student asked, "would the FBI do a thing like that?" It wasn't hard for this highly diverse group of kids ? mostly African American and white, with a sprinkling of Latinos and Asians ? to come to an answer. By challenging segregation, King threatened the very root of white supremacy in the United States. "So, he was an enemy of the state!" one student concluded. Yes, I said. That's exactly what he was.

The next day, I received a call from an irate African American parent. "My daughter's feeling very upset," the parent said. "You've taken away her hero, her role model." Several other black parents called the principal, who summoned me to his office for a stern warning: Stick to the textbook, or else.

Suffice to say that the textbook didn't have anything bad to say about Martin Luther King ? or about anyone, really. The book presented Americans in all of their wondrous racial and ethnic diversity, highlighting the contributions of notable minorities to politics, literature, athletics and the arts. But each group in society remained pure, pristine, immaculate, unblemished.Seventeen years ago, as a social studies teacher in Baltimore, I led a class of sixth-graders through a lesson on the civil rights movement. We had just reached the 1963 March on Washington when one asked a question that I hadn't expected. "Is it true," she asked, "that Martin Luther King cheated on his wife?" Yes, I replied, and then I explained how we knew it was true: The Federal Bureau of Investigation bugged King's hotel rooms.

"Why," another student asked, "would the FBI do a thing like that?" It wasn't hard for this highly diverse group of kids ? mostly African American and white, with a sprinkling of Latinos and Asians ? to come to an answer. By challenging segregation, King threatened the very root of white supremacy in the United States. "So, he was an enemy of the state!" one student concluded. Yes, I said. That's exactly what he was.

The next day, I received a call from an irate African American parent. "My daughter's feeling very upset," the parent said. "You've taken away her hero, her role model." Several other black parents called the principal, who summoned me to his office for a stern warning: Stick to the textbook, or else.

The same would hold true for some of our greatest figures of the past: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Abraham Lincoln.
Matthew Continetti explains why Teresa Heinz wouldn't want to release her tax forms. Did she really think that this moment wouldn't come when she signed on?

Friday, April 23, 2004

Steven Milloy looks at the real story on Bush's environmental record.
See, it wasn't just me. Now a NC State professor says it officially. College science classes are boring.
Yikes! Here's a real mystery. Where is Petrarch's skull?
Al Franken wins a "literary" award.
John Tamny argues that by making noises about raising interest rates, the Fed could fuel a short term economic boom as investors move to lock in lower interest rates now.
There's still a large undecided block in Pennsylvania's primary race between Toomey and Specter. Usually undecideds go against the incumbent, but it could be that Specter has demonized Toomey that the undecideds may be afraid to go with the new guy. I still feel pessimistic and am afraid that Specter will squeak through to slime his way around the Senate for another six years. But, I keep my fingers crossed.
Here is the environmentalists' newest idea for fighting the evil that is the disposable diaper: diaperless babies. Yup, here is their wonderful advice.
Parents are urged to get in tune with their infant's body signals and hold babies over toilets, buckets and shrubbery or any other convenient receptacle when nature calls.

One advocate suggests bringing a "tight-lidded bucket" along to serve as a waste receptacle when mothers take their babies out in public.
Apparently, none of these brainiacs has ever seen a real baby in full excretory mode. If this were possible, why would toilet training be such a hassle? (Link via Richard Bidinotto)
Of course every death in Afghanistan and Iraq is a tragedy, but the death of Pat Tillman seems especially sad.
Clifford May is right. Woodward's book is a Rohrschach test for people. Those who like Bush see different things than those who hate Bush. Guess which anecdotes the press is highlighting?
Here's a big Oops at the "paper of record."
Oh, John Kerry is such a wit. Here he is doing a riff at a campaign speech blasting Bush on the environment.
At two points, Kerry drew on the live props around him. During one attack on Bush, a creature that appeared to be a dolphin bobbed in the bay. ''There he is over there," Kerry said. ''He says, 'Help, help, help.' " And when a gull began cackling noisily overhead, he said: ''The bird is affirming what I've said. If you want a translation, it's, 'George Bush, make it happen.' "
I guess the animal kingdom has joined the Anyone But Bush movement.
Terry Eastland looks at the disturbing precedent that the Democrats have set in their blocking all judicial nominations because they're ticked that Bush had made a couple of recess appointments.
IMAGINE IT IS THE SPRING of 2006, John Kerry is president, and the Democrats hold the same number of Senate seats as the Republicans do today--51. President Kerry has made dozens of nominations to the bench, but he is frustrated because the Republican minority has used the filibuster to block floor votes on a growing number of his nominees to the all-important circuit courts of appeal.

It takes 60 votes to break a filibuster, but those Republicans have stood firm. What is Kerry to do? Does he dare use his recess appointment power to place some of his nominees on the bench, even though they can stay there only until the end of the next session of Congress? He winds up doing precisely that, infuriating Senate Republicans.

All of that is impossible to imagine, you say. But it isn't--not unless you are certain that a Republican minority would fail to follow the precedent that has been set by the current Democratic minority.
This is exactly what will happen. Of course, what do you bet that this stonewalling would be played differently in the press?
The French, who worship at the altar of the separation of church and state, now want to get in the business of training Muslim imams.
The Corner points to a new Googlebomb for a search on "waffles." These are childish, but fun.
John Podheretz pushes for Rudy Guiliani to be the new ambassador to the United Nations. It's fun to think about, but why would Rudy leave his lucrative private career for that swamp?
A Pittsburgh columnist says that his unscientific assessment shows that it is just not coming together for Arlen Specter. Keep your fingers crossed.
Jonah Goldberg looks at liberals who had opposed the Cold War since Vietnam, but now pretend that everyone was a Cold Warrior at the time. And Goldberg foresees that there will be a similar shading of history when people look back on the War on Terror.
No, what I want to point out is that even the most obvious good vs. evil conflicts don't seem that obvious to lots of people when they're in the middle of them. I have no doubt that when Americans look back on what we are now calling the "War on Terror" the morality and necessity of it will seem every bit as obvious as the morality and necessity of the Cold War seems to most of us, including Bill Clinton.

But just as millions of Americans were flat-out wrong about the urgency and necessity of fighting the Cold War, today there are millions of good and decent Americans who do not want to look the current enemy in the eye. They cling to polysyllabic professors who find clever ways to say the same dumb things over and over again. They look to America-detesting Europeans, mistaking cynicism for sagacity. And they look to politicians like John Kerry who proudly shift their opinions based upon the most convenient way of avoiding tough decisions, calling their zigs "nuance" and their zags "sophistication," promising to "stay the course" only if it's plotted as a U-turn.

It's far from clear why George W. Bush's poll numbers have been rising while he's facing the worst barrage of criticism of his "war presidency," but I can't help but think that it's partly because he calls himself a war president at a time when Americans realize they need one. John Kerry may be qualified in all sorts of ways, but it's clear that, since he returned from Vietnam, the one thing he hasn't prepared for is to be "war president."
Charles Krauthammer eviscerates John Kerry's proposals for Iraq.
In 1952, a presidential candidate running against an administration that had gotten the U.S. into a debilitating and inconclusive war abroad pledged: ``I will go to Korea.'' He won. A half century later, a presidential candidate running against an administration that has gotten the U.S. into a debilitating and (thus far) inconclusive war abroad, pledges: ``I will go to the U.N.''

Electrifying, is it not? And Democrats are wondering why their man is trailing a rather wounded George Bush not just overall, but on Iraq -- and precisely at a time when Iraq is going so badly.

``If I'm president,'' Kerry said, ``I will not only personally go to the U.N., I will go to other capitals.'' For Kerry, showing up at Kofi Annan's doorstep and sweeping through Allied capitals is no rhetorical flourish, no strategic sideshow. It is the essence of his Iraq plan: ``Within weeks of being inaugurated, I will return to the U.N. and I will literally, formally rejoin the community of nations and turn over a proud new chapter in America's relationship with the world.''

This is an Iraq policy? Never has a more serious question received a more feckless answer. Going back to the U.N.: What does that mean? It cannot mean the General Assembly, which decides nothing. It must mean going back to the Security Council.

There are five permanent members. We are one. The British are already with us. So that leaves China, indifferent at best to our Middle East adventure, though generally hostile, and Russia, which has opposed the war from the very beginning. Moscow was so wedded to Saddam that it was doing everything it could to prevent an impartial Paul Volcker commission from investigating the corrupt oil-for-food program that enriched Saddam and, through kickbacks, hundreds of others in dozens of countries, including Russia.

That leaves ... France. What does Kerry think France will do for us? Perhaps he sees himself and Teresa descending on Paris like Jack and Jackie in Camelot days. Does he really believe that if he grovels before Jacques Chirac in well-accented French, he will persuade France to join us in a war that it has opposed from the beginning, that is now going badly, and that has moved Iraq out of the French sphere of influence and into the American?
Kerry would deny that his proposals involve sucking up to the French. He's so far gone in his multilateralist rhetoric that he doesn't even understand the implications of what he says.
James Taranto links to this story about how pollsters can't call people who have cell phones and as more and more people give up their landline phone, the demographics of polling may be affected.

Taranto also points to what Hillary said on CNN.
The lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq contradicts years of intelligence indicating Saddam had such weapons, which also was the conclusion of officials in the Clinton administration.

"The consensus was the same, from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration," she said. "It was the same intelligence belief that our allies and friends around the world shared.

"But I think that in the case of the [Bush] administration, they really believed it. They really thought they were right, but they didn't let enough sunlight into their thinking process to really have the kind of debate that needs to take place when a serious decision occurs like that."
Sometimes, they make a mistake and say the truth. Hillary is saying that the Clinton people warned about Saddam's WMD and made regime change the policy of the government, but they didn't really believe it. Priceless.
The former skipper of Kerry's swiftboat says that the Kerry campaign has posted information about fighting the boat was involved in when this guy was the commander of the boat before Kerry took over. Oops.
A writer to Andrew Sullivan's page notes the problems that South Africa has had since the fall of apartheid.
I wonder if ordinary married couples can relate to John Kerry saying that he doesn't own an SUV, but then having to acknowledge that his wife does. If you were to count up the cars you owned, would you count your spouse's car? But then, we file jointly, so what do we know?

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Dorothy Rabinowitz has a nice tribute to Kelsey Grammer.
Jeff Jacoby notes that John Kerry's only idea on foreign policy is to submit decisions to the UN.
No matter how the question is put, Kerry's answers on Iraq always boil down to a single recipe: Shrink the US role in Iraq and defer to the United Nations instead. That's it. That is the sum and substance of his thinking about Iraq. He doesn't relate it to the war on terrorism, to the future of liberty in the Middle East, to America's national interests. He repeatedly declares Bush a failure for not kowtowing to the UN and vows that in a Kerry administration, the UN will be given the commanding role it deserves.

Kerry has been talking this way for months. In his speech on Iraq at the Brookings Institution last fall, for example, he mentioned the UN no fewer than 25 times. ("We need a new Security Council resolution to give the United Nations real authority in the rebuilding of Iraq. . . . This shift of authority from the United States to the United Nations is indispensable.") By contrast, he mentioned terrorism just seven times. He mentioned freedom, democracy, and the Middle East not at all.
Hugh Hewitt is also not impressed by Kerry's Grovel Doctrine.
More than the records deception and more than Social Security foot-in-mouth, however, the most damaging of Kerry's statements was this statement: "Within weeks of being inaugurated, I will return to the U.N. and I will literally, formally rejoin the community of nations and turn over a proud new chapter in America's relationship with the world, which will do a
number of things."

One thing such a move would be sure to do is embarrass and outrage the American public. "Literally, formally rejoin the community of nations?" What can that mean except that Kerry believes that: (1) The United States and its many allies have been acted unlawfully in liberating Iraq from Saddam; (2) the French, Russians, and Chinese should have a veto over American foreign policy; (3) an apology is in order for exposing the massive corruption of the oil-for-food program; and (4) we should be sorry for having disarmed Libya of its nuclear ambitions and mustard gas.

In fact all President Bush did was demand that the United Nations honor its own commitments, and then enforce U.N. Resolution 1441. John Kerry would seem to believe that post-9/11 America is not safe for the rest of the world and needs taming--or reintegration into the "community of nations." James Lileks wrote that Kerry clearly intends a Jolson-on-bended-knee appearance before the General Assembly, an apology to dwarf all of Clinton's apologies of the past. That indignity and more, I think. Kyoto, the Law of the Sea treaty, the International Criminal Court--you name the U.N. auspice, and Kerry will be there for it, in a "literal, formal" way.

KERRY HAS three things going for him. First, the press, like Tim Russert, isn't listening very closely to the absurdities like "literally, formally rejoining the community of nations." Second, his speaking style is so overwhelmingly self-important and so stultifying oppressive that most folks hit the off-switch when his lips begin to move, thus tuning out comments that would outrage them if they registered on the ears. And third, the "Bush Lied!" crazies wouldn't care if Kerry simply declared the dissolution of American sovereignty and a merger with Canada.
Roger Arnold looks at grade inflation in colleges. I reject the idea that kids are smarter these days and that's why grades are better. If they're smarter, the course should be more challenging and the curve should not change.
Richard Baehr is very optimistic about Bush's chances in this election.
Kerry benefited from virtually nonstop positive free publicity during his run in the Democratic primaries. He was a “winner” every week. What people knew of him was success, and Americans love winners. But very few Americans voted in the Democratic primaries, and the overwhelming majority of the country’s voters have not yet seriously considered Kerry as a candidate. For those who watched the Kerry campaign during the primaries, it tended to consist of two messages: 1) I am a war hero; and 2) Bush has been a disaster with everything he touched. After locking up the nomination, and given the opportunity to present himself as the all but certain standard-bearer of his party, the Kerry message, in personal appearances as well as his ads, has focused on the second theme (Bush is bad, and I am not Bush), and not on who Kerry is, or what he is for. Kerry’s interview with Tim Russert this week made this approach pretty evident. Kerry could not answer any policy question, except to talk about how bad Bush had been on that issue. So Kerry has positioned himself as the alternative candidate, if you don’t like Bush. This may not be enough.

The Bush ad campaign has done an effective job of introducing Kerry to Americans who don’t know him. The Bush message has been two fold: 1) Kerry is a Massachusetts liberal (think Ted Kennedy) -- a big spender, and a tax raiser; and 2) Kerry can’t make up his mind, and cannot be trusted to be decisive and strong on national defense. The single most devastating ad spot is the one where Kerry at a campaign rally tells the audience that “I voted for it [$87 billion for Iraq] before I voted against it.”
In the olden days I was a TA at UCLA. It was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot about teaching and my desire to be a teacher. I also earned a nice stipend. Now, graduate students at elite colleges think they should be unionized because they're part of the oppressed proletariat.
But the story brought on an odd sense of disconnect this week, as the newspapers were taken over by stories of soldiers facing extended tours in Iraq, including National Guardsmen with families back home stretching the budget to survive on diminished paychecks. Yet, here was the next generation of hyper-educated Ivy League professors, on strike, trying to consider themselves oppressed members of the working class.

Columbia is far from the only campus with its teaching assistants on the march. Last month, the indentured teaching and research assistants at the University of Washington voted to join a branch of the United Auto Workers (!) set up especially for graduate students. NYU has taken up collective bargaining and there have been strikes in the past at the University of Pennsylvania, Brown and Yale, among others.

The Yale squabble attracted its share of high-profile attention about the same time last year (it's a bit of a drag to strike in the New Haven winter, we presume). Jesse Jackson was in the house and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called the university a "symbol of greed and oppression."

Don't break up in giggles yet: Sweeney was back on the case last week with a speech titled "Workers Rights and Economic Justice: At Home, In China and at Columbia University."

We can be fairly confident that Sweeney doesn't intend to be hilarious, so let's take him seriously for a moment: To suggest that the grad students are performing their jobs driven by anything other than self-interest is dimwitted. A student with the qualifications to get into Columbia has plenty of available options for more-lucrative employment. They've chosen instead to put themselves in the competition for a tenured profession's prestige and lifestyle.

Salaries for professors have never been on par with investment bankers, but there are other reasons that people with sufficient r?sum?s to earn big paychecks instead choose less monetarily compensated careers like teaching or, ahem, journalism.

There is psychic payoff to these choices, the ability to invest your mind in a subject you love. Or the perks of summer vacations and nice hours.
A Republican pollster is very happy about the newest Bush ads and the prospects of mining Kerry's voting record for such difficult-to-explain votes as his vote against capital punishment for terrorists.
Shawn Macomber looks at the lawyers who think that conditions in North Korea are better than in the United States. Where do they find people like this?
Peggy Noonan has a great column explaining why Bush is maintaining a lead over Kerry despite all the bad news there has been recently.
Americans do not think Mr. Bush has a persona to dazzle history, they think he is the average American man, but the average American man as they understand the term: straight shooter, hard worker, decent, America-loving, God-loving.

They can tell he is not doing it all by polls and focus groups. If he were doing it by polls and focus groups he wouldn't have defied the U.N., invaded Iraq, and pursued its democracy. He would have talked instead about nuance, multilateral negotiations and the need for child safety seats in SUVs. He moved on Iraq because he thought it was right and it would make the world safer. You can agree or disagree with him, but it is hard to doubt his guts, his seriousness and his commitment. And Americans respect guts, seriousness and commitment.
That does not mean Americans will give him a blank check and say: Go do what you want. It means they'll give him the benefit of the doubt and stand by him with cool eyes as long as they feel it's right for them and the country.

....If you want to fire the incumbent, you have to have someone to hire in his place. The guy who opposes the incumbent has to seem like a credible president. He has to be a real alternative, a possible president. So far, roughly four months into his national fame, John Kerry has not made the sale. There are people who have Bush-fatigue, but they do not have Kerry-hunger.

So far he doesn't seem like a possible president. He seems somewhat shifty, somewhat cold, an operator. He has a good voice but he seems to use it most to slither out of this former statement or that erstwhile position. It's OK that he looks like a sad tree, but you can't look like a sad, hollow tree. And it looks a little hollow in there. As if Iraq is an issue Kerry feels he has to handle deftly, and not a brutal question we have to solve, together. As if homeland security is an issue, or civil defense, or preparedness. They're not issues. They're life and death. Mr. Kerry doesn't seem to know.

Which is why he isn't gaining traction, or gaining purchase on the president. The Democrats and their nominee say on one day that Mr. Bush ignored terrorism, and on the next that he exaggerated the threat. They say his administration didn't give enough time to planning Iraq, then they say he was obsessed with Iraq. They say he's dimwitted and gullible, then they say he's evil and calculating--he cooked Iraq up in Texas, in Ted Kennedy's phrase.

You know why they can't define what's wrong with Mr. Bush? Because they don't even know what's wrong with him beyond that he is not them, not Mr. Kerry, not a Democrat.

Can the Democrats win this way? No.
Things look good for Bush in Florida. I guess anger over 2000 is not enough to help Kerry. Enough people are just not angry enough.
The Heinz company actually gives more money to Republicans and President Bush than to Democrats. They're paranoid that they're going to suffer the Halliburton treatment.
James Lileks is superb on Kerry's pledge to go grovel before the United Nationsl to make sure that they like us again.
In the same interview, Kerry repeated his constant campaign theme: his intention to drop to one knee, Jolson-style, in the United Nations General Assembly and beg for forgiveness. "Within weeks of being inaugurated, I will return to the U.N. and I will literally, formally rejoin the community of nations and turn over a proud new chapter in America's relationship with the world."

It plays to the base. The left is terribly worried about what the popular kids are saying about them in the United Nations. "We've alienated the world! For heaven's sake, we've alienated China! Oh, and Free Tibet!" The right couldn't care less, but what can you expect out of a party that would rather get married to Great Britain than have an affair with France? The undecided middle -- defined at this point as "people who aren't paying attention" -- is waiting to learn why we'd be safer trusting an organization whose response to Rwanda was to send not armies, but condolences. And even that took years.

One suspects that the number of undecided Americans may be fewer this week than the last -- at least if they heard about the U.N. reaction to Israel's ballistic dismissal of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Hamas' leader-of-the-week. What a loathsome man he was. A architect of death and terror. Religious bigot, child-killer, slaughterer of fellow Arabs. Israel finally takes him out. The United Nations springs into action -- to consider a resolution to condemn the attack.

It was "extra-judicial," you see. Contrary to "international law." In the mind of a Eurocrat, whose paycheck demands belief in these ephemeral concepts, these are grave charges. To your average American, however, the strike on Rantisi was like a strike on Osama bin Laden. Anyone whose main objection to the death of a terrorist is its "extra-judicial" nature has odd priorities, particularly in wartime.

It's as if U.N. groupies think we should prop up "international law" so it'll be our shield when the tides turn against the West. As if a triumphant Hamas would petition The Hague for the right to exterminate the Jews before the final pogrom began.

A reminder of what Rantisi was saying before he took the express elevator below:

"We say to the Muslim people of Iraq, we are with you in your struggle against the American terror and destruction, we are with you in your war in defense of Islam. We say to the fighter and commander Moqtada al-Sadr: Hamas stands by your side and blesses your jihad and wishes you with the help of God, that you will win and be victorious."

Somewhere in that nuanced, reasoned assessment, you get the idea that he thinks they're at war with us.

John Kerry said he supported the strike on Rantisi. Good for him.

But he seems to think that the era of American strength will begin with an apology. He seems to think that the key to the Arab heart is spending more money on sub-Saharan AIDS programs. He seems to think that we can be both strong and loved. Imagine the look on President Kerry's face when he realizes that every pledge of goodwill and money evaporated in an afternoon because he blocked a U.N. condemnation of an Israeli strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities. But -- but -- I thought we were friends again!
In my mind, Kerry's faith and adoration of the United Nations is enough by itself to disqualify him for being the leader of the United States.
Real Clear Politics contrasts what Kerry was willing to say about Saddam Hussein when Kerry was a senator and knew that his remarks wouldn't matter and now when he's a candidate for president. Can you spell hypocrisy?
More on why Teresa doesn't want to release her tax returns.
Robert Novak explains why it is important to see Teresa Heinz's tax returns. Her wealth helped Kerry fund his 1996 election campaign and his victory against Howard Dean. And Kerry is a fool if he thinks that there is a law saying candidates have to reveal their tax returns. There is no such law and Kerry should know that. He's a legislator and candidate. I knew there was no law, just public pressure and I'm simply a high school teacher.
Read Larry Elder on Bush's record on the environment.
The Washington Post has a generally negative report on No Child Left Behind. Art programs are being cut, teachers are feeling pressure to raise test scores, and teachers are feeling that they are losing opportunities for creativity. Fine, fine, and fine. The kids need to learn to read and do math. Period. The science teacher who moans about not being able to do the egg drop activity really slays me. That is a bogus science project. I've seen kids put in a bunch of packing material in a bag and drop their egg. What have they learned? Kids don't know any of the principles of engineering and they don't need to in elementary school. Teach them to read and stop whining about being forced to do your job.
There is something fishy about Senator Kerry's Purple Heart medals.
Even the New York Times thinks that Kerry's wife should release her forms.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

James Taranto has a good riposte to Walter Russells Mead who pontificates that the reason the Arabs don't like us is because we don't do enough for the Palestinians. It just sticks in their craw.
Darn it, now our craw is stuck too. Why don't their fellow Arabs care more about the Palestinians' future? With the exception of Jordan, Arab countries by and large do not allow Palestinians to become citizens, settle permanently or own land. What some of them are willing to do, notably Saudi Arabia and preliberation Iraq, is send money to support suicide bombers.

Help yourselves instead of looking to others to do it for you. What other people are still refugees a half-century after they picked the losing side in a war? And what were all those nice Arab countries doing for the Palestinians between 1948 and the Six Day War when Jordan controlled the West Bank? Think about it?

Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail comments on what would happen if we turned foreign policy over to the saintly UN.
Wow, you don't want to get between Max Baucus' wife and a bag of mulch.
Howard Kurtz reminds us that the polls today actually tell us very little and can be spun as good or bad news for each side.
John Hood looks at the governors' races for 2004 and thinks the Republicans may make some pickups.
John Podhoretz claims that Woodward sexed up the anti-Bush snippets in his bood to increase book sales of a book that is actually pretty favorable towards Bush.
You can read Dahlia Lithwick's take on the Supreme Court case heard yesterday on the rights of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. She obviously is opposed to the administration's position, but does a nice round-up of the questions asked. Apparently, she and the liberal justices favor the Supreme Court writing some new laws from the bench on how these prisoners should be treated. When Congress neglects to write an apparently necessary law, liberal justices are happy to do it for them.
Anne Applebaum takes on Powell for trying to have it two ways: being loyal to the PResident and opposing his policiies.
The Post looks at Bob Shrum's efforts to remake Kerry as a moderate. The more he does that, the more flip flops he'll be obliged to make. Mickey Kaus is skeptical that Shrum is capable of such a makeover.
The Washington Post takes note of another major Kerry flip flop.
In December Mr. Kerry's Iraq policy differed with that of President Bush not in its goals but in its tactics. Mr. Kerry rightly insisted, and still does, that the United States cannot succeed without greater international collaboration and reliance on the United Nations. Now he differs with Mr. Bush on the crucial issue of what the United States must achieve in Iraq before it can safely end its mission. "Iraq," Mr. Bush said at his news conference last week, "will either be a peaceful democratic country or it will again be a source of violence, a haven for terrorists, and a threat to America and to the world."

Mr. Kerry now argues that there is a third option. But what would that be? "I can't tell you what it's going to be," he said to reporters covering his campaign. "That stability can take several forms." True; in the Middle East, there is the stability of Islamic dictatorship, the stability of military dictatorship and the stability of monarchical dictatorship. In Lebanon, there is the stability of permanent foreign occupation and de facto ethnic partition. None is in the interest of the United States; all have helped create the extremism and terrorism against which this nation is now at war.

There is no question that achieving even a rudimentary democracy in Iraq will be tough, and weakness in administration planning and implementation has made it tougher. At best democracy will take years to consolidate; at worst, it will prove unachievable during the U.S. mission. The past weeks of violence have been, or should have been, sobering to any observer. Yet on goals Mr. Bush is right, not only in a moral sense but from the perspective of U.S. security too. Iraq is a country of diverse communities; if its differences are not arbitrated by some form of democratic politics, then it can be held together only by brute force. The wielder of that force is likely to be hostile to the democratic world and, like Saddam Hussein or the mullahs of neighboring Iran, to seek defense by means of terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.

We believe a successful political outcome is still possible; others disagree. But Mr. Kerry's shift on such a basic question after just a few months is troubling and mistaken.
Jonah Goldberg has some fun with the Kerry allegation that any criticism of the positions he has taken on defense is an attack on his patriotism.
Professional liberals have invested a vast amount of time and energy popularizing the notion that the worst thing in the world is to question the patriotism of someone to your left. I agree that it's not very nice, especially if it's unfounded. But I don't think questioning someone's patriotism is any worse than questioning their decency.

For generations, Democratic candidates and liberal journalists have asserted with impunity that Republicans, by their very nature, hate blacks, gays, children, the poor, the environment, animals and immigrants.

Al Gore ran as a champion of the "people against the powerful," claiming he cared about Americans more than Bush. His campaign manager declared that Republicans "have no love and no joy. They'd rather take pictures with black children than feed them." Clinton routinely said that the GOP wanted to "punish" children. The organizers of the Million Mom March insisted that "good" moms support gun control.

Again: Why is it fair game to question conservatives' love or loyalty to children or to their fellow man, but beyond the pale to question liberals' love of country?

In fact, I think liberal defensiveness sometimes undermines their case. After all, if I angrily asked, "Are you saying I'm gay?" as often as liberals say, "Are you questioning my patriotism?" a lot of people would think I'm hiding something.

Here's the kicker, as Kondracke and others have noted. Kerry is lying when he says the White House has been questioning his patriotism. The only politicians who've been throwing around the unpatriotic charges have been the Democrats.

During the primaries, Howard Dean declared, John Ashcroft "is no patriot. He's a direct descendant of Joseph McCarthy" and John Kerry declared that Bush's economic policies are "unpatriotic." When pressed on such statements, the Democrats routinely cite Bush's record on this or that.

Get it? If I point out John Kerry voted against, say, the MX Missile, I'm questioning his patriotism. But when John Kerry questions Bush's patriotism, he's merely criticizing Bush's record.

Tony Blankley explains what Sharon is doing with his new approach to the Palestinians.
There's a third poll out that shows Bush with a small lead. The Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll shows that some Kerry supporters are moving into the undecided column. That's always the first sign of defections and bad news for a candidate. OF course, they can always move back.
ABC has some documents implicating senior UN officials in skimming millions from the oil for bribes program. Shock. But it's good to see the major media latching onto this story.
Rasmussen looks at how Republicans win elections and how Democrats win elections.
With the currently notable exception of George W. Bush, Republicans tend to win the Presidency with a majority of the popular vote. Thirteen of the last 14 Republican Presidential victories before 2000 were won with a majority of the popular vote.

Other than FDR, the only Democrats to win a Presidential election with a majority of the popular vote since 1860 were Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson. Carter?s victory actually showed how difficult it is for the Democrats to win a majority of the vote?he received only 50.1% of the vote immediately after Watergate dragged down Republicans everywhere.
Democrats tend to win when the vote is split among more than two candidates. Another conclusion they reach is that Republicans tend to win three elections in a row, but other than FDR, Democrats haven't been able to do that. I am not sure what this portends for 2004's election, but it all sounds interesting like political history.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Do you think Chuck Hagel is a mole for the Democratic Party? Why bring up talk of a draft now? It won't pass and will just boomerang on Bush. Or is that the goal?
Here's a surefire way to make sure that your troops are attacked.
Ralph Peters has a great column looking at how Arabs can't let go of the past and are constantly trying to fight old battles.
Those who live in yesterday cannot build tomorrow.

Even after last month's Madrid bombings, few Westerners take seriously the Arab extremists' obsession with reclaiming al-Andaluz, the vast portion of Spain where, from the eighth through the 10th centuries, Islamic civilization reached its pinnacle. The dream of lost Andalusia is an opiate for the disappointed souls of the Middle East - even though Cordoba's rulers would have rejected Osama bin Laden's puritanism, as well as his demonic will to destruction.

But the dream has little to do with any reality, past or present. The fanatic's vision ignores the tale of how Moorish Spain was lost. It wasn't Christian knights who wrecked the grandeur of Muslim Cordoba and Seville. Berber fundamentalists from North Africa shattered the golden age of al-Andaluz, invaders whose vision of Islam - like that of today's terrorists - did not include Aristotle, astronomy and tolerance.

The faithful slew the faithful. The Berber invasions enabled still-weak Christian kingdoms to nibble their way southward. For five centuries after the fundamentalist triumph, feudal strife, not strict religious wars, plagued the Iberian peninsula. Moorish and Christian nobles switched sides again and again.

Mercenaries from both faiths fought for gold, not God. The legendary Christian hero, El Cid, drew his title from an Arabic word for "leader" - after fighting in Moorish employ.

In 1492, Grenada, the last Moorish kingdom, fell. Weakened from within, it needed only one last blow from without.

It's a universal story. Constantinople, bastion of Christianity for a thousand years, fell to Ottoman armies aided by Italian gunners and Christian engineers - after being sacked by Western Crusaders. Following the Mughal invasions of India, Hindu princes danced over to the Muslim side. Within every faith, believers have been ready to slaughter their own kind over the number of imams in a religious succession or the contents of the Communion cup.

There is guilt and blood and loss on every side. And the past cannot be changed.

As a student of history alert to ugly surprises, my fear is that Islamic extremists may arouse passions dormant in the West. Muslim terrorists might do well to recall that there are far more Christian holy places in the Arab world than there are Muslim vestiges in Europe.

Suppose the Christians of tomorrow were provoked to demand the return of the apostolic churches of Asia minor? Or the vast lands of Orthodox Byzantium? Of historical Armenia? Or of Alexandria, the city that dominated early Christian thought? Before Mohammed's triumph, even Mecca had a Christian minority - and Jews had a vital presence in Medina.
Read Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus. I always enjoy that.
The Republicans are pressing Kerry to release his military records. Tit for tat.
David Frum explains what might be really going on behind the story about the Saudis in Woodward's book.
Ask yourself this: Who could have been Woodward’s source for this claim? Only one person: the canny Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and a frequent purveyor of titillating items to selected journalists.

Next question: If such a deal existed, what motive could Prince Bandar have for revealing it? The revelation could only hurt Bush, the candidate Bandar was allegedly trying to help.

Logical next thought: If, however, Bandar wanted to hurt Bush, then the revelation makes a great deal of sense.

But why would Bandar want to hurt Bush? Don’t a hundred conspiracy books tell us that the Bush family are thralls of Saudi oil money? Perhaps the Saudis don’t think so. Perhaps they see President Bush’s Middle East policy as a threat to their dominance and even survival. What could after all be a worse nightmare for Saudi Arabia than a Western-oriented, pluralistic Iraq pumping all the oil it can sell?

In other words, if what Bob Woodward reports is true, then the Saudis are meddling to defeat Bush, not elect him.
Toomey has closed to within the margin of error in Pennsylvania.
Kerry launches his new ad campaign in the following states: York, California, Washington, Wisconsin, and New Jersey. These are not states where the Kerry campaign should need to be advertising. They should be solidly in his column by now.
Powerline has been reading the Weekly Standard's Scrapbook column and their comments on the New York Times' suggestion that 9/11 could have been prevented if we'd just started profiling Arab travelers on airlines.
John O'Sullivan makes sense. Read his column.
The Boston Globe has more details on the painting that Kerry sold. IT still isn't clear how he got a half-ownership in the painting. Was it a gift from his wife? If he paid her for it, where did he get the money?
Claudia Rosett notes another Saddam-Al Qaeda connection. Lileks explains why the story won't make it as big as it should.
I’m waiting for the oil-for-food / oil-for-palaces / oil-for-TotalFinaElf /oil-for-terror story to go mainstream. And I don’t think it will. The big papers may do a round-up; the smaller papers may use a few grafs in their international coverage; USA Today might do something, but in the end it’ll be chalked up to bureaucratic fumbling and inefficiency. If context is required, the reporter will bring up Tyco and Enron: a lesson about Bigness and Accountability, etc.

Let’s say Saddam’s bribes ended up in a bank in the Caymans, and Dick Cheney had been on that bank’s board in 1999. Would the allegation of such a transfer be a story? Damn straight. As it should be. So if Claudia’s story doesn’t hit your hometown paper this week, you might ask why. And I can answer the question.

If it’s not on the AP or NYT wire, it didn’t happen.
Check out this web Kerry as Flipper ad. (Link via Viking Pundit)
Dennis Prager's column today reminds me of an old quote from Peanuts, "I love mankind, it's just people I can't stand."
Israel has killed Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the Hamas terror leader, and almost every nation in the world and the nations' theoretical embodiment, the United Nations, have condemned Israel for doing so.

World leaders and the world organization have said almost nothing about Communist China's ongoing destruction of one of the world's oldest civilizations, Tibet. World leaders have said almost nothing about the Arab enslavement and genocide of non-Arab blacks in Sudan. But they convene world conferences to label Israel, one of the most humane and decent democracies on earth, a pariah.

In order to retain my sanity, I ask the reader's indulgence as I use this column to express personal thoughts.

I have contempt for "the world." I cherish and admire countless individuals, but I have contempt for "the world" and "world opinion." "The world" has never cared about evils inflicted on human beings. The Communist genocides meant nothing to humanity. The Holocaust meant nothing. With almost no exception, the mass atrocities since World War II have likewise absorbed humanity less than the Olympics or the Miss World Contest.

I have contempt for the United Nations. It is one of the great obstacles to goodness and decency on this planet. Its moral record -- outside of a few specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization -- is almost entirely supportive of evil and condemnatory of good. It is dominated by the most morally backward governments in the world -- those from the Arab and Muslim worlds, the Communists during their heyday and African despots. It appointed Libya, a despotic, primitive state, to head its Human Rights Commission, whose members include China, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Neither the United States nor Israel sits on the Commission.

I regard the European Union with similar revulsion. With little opposition, Europe murdered nearly every Jewish man, woman and child in its midst, and a half-century later provides cover for those in the Middle East who seek to do to the Middle East's Jews exactly what the Nazis did to the European Jews. For the European Union to condemn Israel's killing of a Hamas leader, when Hamas's avowed aim is another Jewish genocide, is so loathsome as to board the incredible. For Germany and France (who, unlike America, have almost never shed blood for the liberty of others) to do everything they can to undermine America's attempt to liberate Iraq is similarly repugnant.
Read the rest.
The Texas redistricting plan stands. Score one for Tom DeLay.
A liberal who opposes Bush says that the Kerry people are making a mistake if they think they can win the election simply on a "he's not Bush" platform. Remember that the people out there in the middle don't hate him the way the Anybody But Bush crowd does.
Here are some myths that have been debunked by the 9/11 Commission.
Intelligence intercepts that foretold of the attacks with warnings such as "tomorrow is zero hour." The peculiar request of a Minnesota flight student who didn't want to learn how to take off or land. The hijackers' use of box cutters as weapons. And the planeloads of Saudis that were allowed to slip out of the country unchecked.
I hadn't heard that the box cutter theory was out.
My AP Government kids were just discussing environmental policy yesterday. For those who didn't believe me on how successful pollution allowances are, here's a brief discussion by David Brookson those and on the difficulties of making environmental policy.
The Saudis deny that they've promised Bush to lower oil prices before the election, but say that they will keep prices in a lower range. Kerry is all upset about this, but isn't that what American presidents do with the Saudis, get them to promise to lower oil prices? Don't we want a president to talk with the Saudis and get them to lower their prices? It's not some secret deal?
Hmmm. Kerry hasn't released his complete military records, medical records, or his wife's tax records. If he were a Republican, he would be assumed to be hiding something, but it seems like he's getting a pass. He goes on Meet The Press and claims that he's released his complete military records, but actually hasn't and refuses to release anymore. Just add that to the list of flip flops.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Check out James Taranto. He has lots of cleverly snarky comments today. Too many to quote.
We went eyeball to eyeball with Russia, and Russia blinked.
So who is telling the truth Powell or Woodward in his book?
Kevin Spacey sounds rather like a dork.
Buy your John Kerry flip flops now so you'll be ready for a summer of flipping and flopping.
Hugh Hewitt sums up Jamie Gorelick's defense of herself in the Washington Post.
They've found the Maine. Remember it.
Kenneth Timmerman has some intersting details on how we escaped catastrophe in the millennial plot.
It wasn't just John Ashcroft who was raising doubts about Jamie Gorelicks conflict of interest on the 9/11 Commission.
Safire looks at the cover-up on the Oil for Food UN scandal.
Amity Shlaes says that Kerry's new misery index is just sad.
Kerry still thinks that the war on terror is primarily a law enforcement problem.
I didn't see Woodward's interview on 60 Minutes and will be interested in the blogosphere's reactions. I don't think it's very damaging that Bush was interested in Iraq early. We had troops over there policing the no fly zone and getting shot at regularly. A president should have been interested in Iraq and it was a natural question about Iraq's involvement in 9/11. Here is the latest installment from the Washington Post, if you're interested. It definitely sounds as if someone has it in for George Tenet.
It may be that Saddam's Oil for Food UN kickbacks helped fund the assassination of an Iraqi politician in exile.
Kay Hymowitz, in the City Journal has a very encouraging column about the millennial generation, those born in the 1980's.
To check a culture’s pulse, first look at the kids, as good a crystal ball as we have. Yes, there’s reason to worry: guns in the schools, drugs, binge drinking, cheating, Ritalin, gangs, bullies, depression, oral sex, Internet porn, you name it. Kids dress like streetwalkers and thugs, they’re too fat, they don’t read, they watch too much television, they never play outside, they can’t pay attention, they curse like South Park’s Eric Cartman. The 1950s, this ain’t.

Yet marketers who plumb people’s attitudes to predict trends are noticing something interesting about “Millennials,” the term that generation researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss invented for the cohort of kids born between 1981 and 1999: they’re looking more like Jimmy Stewart than James Dean. They adore their parents, they want to succeed, they’re optimistic, trusting, cooperative, dutiful, and civic-minded. “They’re going to ‘rebel’ by being, not worse, but better,” write Howe and Strauss.

However counterintuitive, there’s plenty of hard evidence to support this view. Consider the most basic indicator of social health: crime. The juvenile murder rate plummeted 70 percent between 1993 and 2001. By 2001, the arrest rate for all violent crime among juveniles was down 44 percent from its 1994 peak, reaching its lowest level since 1983. Juvenile arrests for burglary were also down 66 percent in that time period. Vandalism is at its lowest level in two decades. Despite all the headlines to the contrary, schools are a lot safer: school-based crimes dropped by close to half in the late 1990s. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the percentage of ninth- through 12th-graders who reported being in a fight anywhere in the previous 12 months dropped from 42 percent in 1991 to 33 percent in 2001, while those who had been in a fight on school property fell from 16 percent to 13 percent.

Something similar looks like it may be happening with adolescent drinking and drug use, on the rise throughout much of the nineties. But suddenly, around the turn of the millennium, the nation’s teens started to climb back on the wagon. Monitoring the Future, an annual University of Michigan survey of the attitudes and behavior of high school students, reports that by 2002 the percentage of kids who reported binge drinking in the last 30 days was close to its lowest level in the 12 years that the survey has been following eighth- and tenth-graders and in the 30 years that it has been following high school seniors. Though during the 1990s marijuana use rose sharply among eighth-graders and less dramatically among tenth- and 12th-graders, by late in the decade the numbers began to fall. More broadly, the Department of Health and Human Services reports that all illicit teen drug use dropped 11 percent between 2001 and 2003. Ecstasy use, which soared between 1998 and 2001, fell by more than half among high schoolers. A 2003 National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse study found that 56 percent of teenagers have no friends who drink regularly, up from 52 percent in 2002, and 68 percent say they have no friends using marijuana, up from 62 percent—even though 40 percent of them say they would have no trouble finding the stuff if they wanted it. They’re just not interested.

And what about teen sex? Only yesterday, you’d have thought there was no way to wrangle that horse back into the barn. No more. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, out-of-wedlock teen pregnancy rates have come down 28 percent from their high in 1990, from a peak of 117 per thousand girls ages 15 to 19 to 83.6 per thousand in 2000. The teen abortion rate also fell—by a third—during the same period. True, American kids still get pregnant at higher rates than those in other major Western nations, but the U.S. is the only country that saw a dramatic drop in teen pregnancy during the last decade.
They have a better attitude towards their families and marriage than their parents did.
Look, for instance, at what’s happening to teen alienation. If Millennials have a problem with authority, it’s that they wish they had more of it. Poll after poll depicts a generation that thinks their parents are just grand. A 2003 American Demographics survey shows 67 percent of teens “give Mom an A.” They tell interviewers for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy that they want more advice about sex from their parents. Summarizing opinion polls, researcher Neil Howe says that this generation is at least as attached to their parents and their values as any generation before. “When it comes to ‘Do you get along with your family?’ it’s never been as high. Same thing for ‘Do you believe in the values of your parents?’ When they’re asked ‘Do you trust your parents to help you with important life decisions?’ they don’t see parents as meddling or interfering,” Howe concludes. “They’re grateful.”

In fact, when it comes to families, this generation is as mushy as a Hallmark card. A Harris Interactive survey of college seniors found that 81 percent planned to marry (12 percent already had) at a mean age of 28. Ninety-one percent hope to have children—and get this: on average, they’d like to have three. The 2001 Monitoring the Future survey found 88 percent of male high school seniors and 93 percent of females believing that it is extremely or quite important to have a good marriage and family life. In a survey of college women conducted by the Institute for American Values, 83 percent said, “Being married is a very important goal for me.” Over half of the women surveyed said they would like to meet their husbands in college.

.....It seems impossible, all right. How could kids be going down a straight path at a time that their movies, TV, and music have been going over the edge, with reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Television Violence Study showing the sex and violence content of American entertainment exploding toxically over the last 15 years? How could any culture flourish when the young spend their time watching Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, listening to Eminem, enacting the Vagina Monologues in a high school play (as they did recently at the Amherst, Massachusetts, Regional High School), and playing video games like “Suicide Bomber Game” or “Grand Theft Auto,” where the player assumes the role of a coke dealer who rapes a prostitute? Yet researchers Howe and Strauss say that Millennials “are the first generation in living memory to be actually less violent, vulgar, and sexually charged than the popular culture adults are producing for them.” How can that be?

Generational backlash counts for a lot: what we’re seeing now is a rewrite of the boomer years. The truth is, Gen Xers and Millennials have some real gripes about the world their boomer parents constructed. When a 1999 Peter D. Hart Research Associates poll asked Americans between the ages of 18 to 30 what experience had shaped their generation, the most common answer was “divorce and single-parent families.” Growing up in the aftermath of America’s great marriage meltdown, no wonder that young people put so much stock in marriage and family, their bedrock in the mobile twenty-first century.

In fact, in some respects young Gen-X adults resemble their Silent Generation grandparents more than their boomer parents, especially in their longing for suburban nesting as a dreamlike aspiration. On her blog “Church of the Masses,” Gen Xer Barbara Nicolosi recently noted the explosion in the number of home-makeover shows like Surprise by Design, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and Trading Spaces. “For my generation, which has had to pay tens of thousands of dollars just to get educated—home ownership has become the American Dream again,” she writes. “(For our boomer parents, who got to go to college for cheap and who mostly inherited property from their Greatest Generation parents, the American Dream seems to have been something about doing whatever they felt like without ever getting stuck or pregnant.)”
I noticed that with my AP US History students. We're wrapping up our coverage of the 60s and I showed them the video The Century that looks at each decade. The kids in my class seemed to like the atmosphere of the 50s and the growth of suburbia but just laughted at the hippies at Haight-Ashbury. They were irritated by the elites making fun of Babbit in the twenties and the writers of alienation of the 50's. The kids I know are incredibly active in their school, community, and church or temple. It is very heartening to observe them.
MIke Adams is working on winning friends with UNC Wilmington's new chancellor by pointing out what the university does and does not spend money on.
Andrew Sullivan is feeling positive on Iraq. I guess the Sullivanometer is moving back to the Bush direction.
Howie Carr looks at John Kerry's tax returns.
You can learn a lot about a politician by studying his tax returns. In John Kerry's case, one thing you can quickly figure out is what years his name actually appears on the ballot. If it's an election year, he makes charitable contributions. Last week, for example, he claimed $43,735 in charitable donations for 2003, more than he'd given in the prior two years combined.

In 1990, running for reelection to the Senate, he donated $1,835 to charity. After winning, he ponied up a total of $975 in the next three years.
Robert Novak looks at those who hate Bush but support Arlen Specter.
Specter's supporters, as he faces conservative Rep. Pat Toomey's challenge in the April 27 Pennsylvania Republican primary, have included George Soros, Harold Ickes Jr., Ron Carey, Arthur Coia, Richard Ben-Veniste, Alan Dershowitz and the International Association of Fire Fighters.

That's a left-wing all-star team. Specter will become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee next year as a Republican in good standing who is also a favorite senator in liberal-labor circles. When organized labor has needed a vote, Specter has been there, explaining why many of Bush's enemies are Specter's friends.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

For all the fuss about Bush talking to the 9/11 Commission with Cheney, why no mention of the fact that Clinton took Sandy Berger and Bruce Lindsey along with him when he testified?
Which is Osama and which is Edward M. Kennedy? Take the test. (Link via Election Projection)
Pejman tries to explain to Senator Kerry what "patriotism" means.
In addition to coming close to using the loathsome "chickenhawk" argument, Kerry can't seem to wrap his head around the idea that one can dispute his votes on national security issues without questioning his patriotism. No one is saying that John Kerry doesn't love his country. What is being said is that Kerry's views on national security--while meaning well for America--are wrong for America. Needless to say for anyone who is not named "John Forbes Kerry" this is an entirely legitimate line of argument that does not impugn patriotism in any way, shape or form--something anyone remotely familiar with the English language can easily understand.

It puzzles me why this is beyond Kerry's understanding. I thought he was supposed to be good with nuance.
That seems a perfect rejoinder in the debates when, inevitably, Kerry starts in with whining about how the GOP is criticizing his patriotism.
Amir Taheri has a depressing look at what Iran is trying to accomplish in Iraq.
In Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States, for reasons of its own, destroyed the two regimes that Tehran regarded as its own most dangerous ideological enemies in the region. Now Tehran's ambition is to emerge as the kingmaker in both Kabul and Baghdad.

The Iranian analysis is simple: The Americans do not have the political stamina to stay the course in Iraq. Negative polls could force President Bush to withdraw his troops into bases in the Iraqi desert, allowing the cities to fall under the control of Iraqi armed groups.

In such a scenario, pro-Saddam groups would seize control of the so-called Sunni Triangle while Shiite groups beholden to Iran would dominate central and southern Iraq, leaving the Kurds cantoned in their two mountainous enclaves.

The Tehran leadership is also certain that John Kerry, if elected, will abandon Bush's plans for a "democratic" Middle East. "The United States has become vulnerable," Rafsanjani told his cheering audience in Tehran. "The Americans do not know which way to turn."

Behind the scenes of revolt in parts of Iraq lies the broader picture of the war that various brands of Islamism have waged against the United States for almost a quarter of a century.

Tehran leaders believe that the U.S. defeat in Vietnam enabled China to establish itself as the rising power in Asia. They hope that a U.S. defeat in Iraq will give the Islamic Republic a similar opportunity to become what Rafsanjani calls "the regional superpower."

The Khomeinist mullahs believe that an American defeat in Iraq will destabilize all Arab regimes, leaving the Islamic Republic as the only power around which a new status quo could be built in the region. "Here is our opportunity to teach the Americans a lesson," Rafsanjani said.
David at Blogs for Bush comments on Kerry's MTP interview. All I could think as I watched the interview is how off-putting his tone of self-righteousness, know-it-all arrogance is. However, I already dislike the man. I don't know how an undecided voter would feel listening to him go on and on about how he could get the UN and NATO more involved in Iraq because he would ask them in a nicer way. Does he have a clue what the UN is? (Link via Viking Pundit)
The BBC is sending its employees to sensitivity training workshops to encourage them to be more sensitive to the opinions of.....conservatives. It doesn't sound like it's having much of an effect.
The British are upset about another American movie that will downplay the role of the British in World War Two and exaggerate the Americans' role. It looks like Tom Cruise is set to win the Battle of Britain.
Mark Steyn looks at what Richard Clarke really should be apologizing for.
Here's the real story on why the FBI and CIA couldn't connect the dots before 9/11.
William Safire staffs a Kerry cabinet. Yech! I can't bear the thought of four or eight years with these people on my TV regularly, much less running my country.
The Washington Post ombudsman acknowledges some legitimate criticisms in the way they played the August PDB story. His criticism of the Post's stories is rather mild and about the best that the Post's critics can hope for.
Ross Baker looks at how rarely it is that Congressional committees lead successful investigations into major questions.
George Will explains why Bush's pronouncement this week on Israel makes so much sense.
Here's a look at the Get Out the Vote campaign in Ohio. Buy, it sure makes me glad to live in a state that is not deemed a tossup. AP Government students, pay attention. (Their AP exam is in 3 1/ weeks, and I'm trying to focus their attention.)
Read the Washington Post's first installation of Woodward's new book. Those who hate the President will stress Cheney's bellicosity or the closeness between Bush and Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador, or that Bush told Bandar about the decision before he told Powell. Those who like the President will like the picture of resolute leadership that it shows.
Captain at Captain's Quarter has another caption contest up and lots of fun entries. Check them out.
It sounds like Karl Rove found a silver lining when his first favorite Democratic candidate, Howard Dean, imploded and John Kerry took his place. Rove showed Bob Woodward the briefing book on John Kerry.
Of course, when the aftermath of the war turned sour, Rove noted, Kerry started backing away, arguing that he had voted not for war but only to give the president the power to threaten war. More starkly, Kerry had said on "Meet the Press" in August 2003 that the congressional resolution "we passed did not empower the president to do regime change; we empowered him only with respect to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations."

Well, Rove and the rest of the country knew that the resolution clearly gave the president approval to use the military in Iraq.

Rove was gleeful. "It's on tape!" he said, "and we've done testing on it, and you put out there, literally you take the footage of him saying some of this stuff and then have him in the exchange with Chris Matthews saying I'm antiwar and people say, 'What a hypocrite!' "

Kerry would have, and did have, answers. His main response was that Bush did not press hard enough or long enough with the United Nations, that he did not build a legitimate global coalition, that he did not plan for the aftermath, and was too eager to go to war when Hussein was isolated and weak.

But Rove believed they had Kerry pretty cold on voting to give the president a green light for war and then backing off when he didn't like the aftermath or saw a political opportunity.
Michael Barone sat in on a focus group on Kerry and Bush and has some interesting observations.
Apparently, it was a Texas CPA who found the mistake in Kerry's tax return. He figured out for free what Kerry's own accountants should have figured out.