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Conservative commentary served up in bite-sized bits.
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- Clayton Cramer
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Friday, April 30, 2004
Via Instapundit, we have a "Hoooold Everything!" moment:
It was Saddam Hussein's information minister, Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf, often referred to in the Western press as "Baghdad Bob," who approached an official of the African nation of Niger in 1999 to discuss trade -- an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium.
So Bush didn't lie about the whole "yellowcake" thing. Well, I'm glad Wilson set that record straight. I imagine he'll want to apologize now.
That knowledge has not altered Wilson's much-expressed view that the Bush administration distorted intelligence on Iraq's weapons capabilities to help make the case for going to war. Wilson maintains that someone in the administration retaliated against him by disclosing to columnist Robert D. Novak that his wife was a CIA operative, a leak now the subject of a grand jury investigation. The revelation about Sahhaf, contained in "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity," adds an odd bit of detail to the uranium saga.
Or not. Wilson still thinks Bush lied, just not about his "intelligence". Given all the inflammatory stuff he's accused Bush, Rove, et. al. of, based on his own faulty and incomplete intelligence, I daresay the odds that his wife truly was a covert or undercover operative in the CIA when Bob Novak talked about her (as opposed to just an analyst) are getting pretty bad.
So let's recap, shall we? Wilson got bad intelligence, and he acted on it. Therefore, WILSON LIED!!! (I'm sure Halliburton is involved in this somewhere.)
Scrappleface nails Ted Koppel.
Koppel to Read Names of Saddam's Victims
Satire at it's finest. I heard Rush Limbaugh also wonder why none of the names of those killed in Afghanistan will be read. Didn't they also pay a high price for their country, equal to those who died in Iraq? The only difference I can see is that the anti-war crowd were far more vocal about Iraq than they were about Afghanistan, and many who were against the war in Iraq were OK with the one in Afghanistan.
Which makes this Nightline show sound like grandstanding at least, and anti-war boosterism at worst.
UPDATE: In case you forgot...
(CNSNews.com) - During a week when Iraqi war coverage has dominated the cable news shows and led the networks' evening news programs, newsman Ted Koppel said he thinks Americans need to be 'reminded' of what is going on in Iraq.
Iraq? Something's going on there? I thought the war we were fighting was in Vietnam! (Psst, Ted. Even though many people are fleeing from the biased mainstream media in droves, doesn't mean we don't know what's going on.)
Ah, but he clears things up:
"I'm not suggesting that people in this country don't know what's happening, but I think that periodically it is not unreasonable to remind everyone of who these young people are and what they look like."
How about the ones that are still alive, as well? How about all the good they're doing? The National Center for Public Policy Research put out a press release on that topic
Believing that it is the best way to respond to ABC broadcaster Ted Koppel, The National Center for Public Policy Research today has posted on its website an extensive list of the achievements of just one of the many U.S. units operating in Iraq.
Just a little perspective.
It used to be that they just wanted to be left alone. Now it's this:
The head of a national homosexual organization is vowing to politically "punish," "terrify" and "torture" activists who oppose his organization's agenda on "gay" rights – which he says would give him "endless satisfaction."
It's no longer a case of reasoning, they're now going to use fear and intimidation to get their way. Ah, it's that the highly touted liberal "tolerance" again.
And Mr. Foreman tips his hand on the same-sex marriage.
Foreman was asked: "Is getting the right to marriage for same-sex couples something the Task Force is interested in?"
Just call it "The Roadmap of the Slippery Slope".
Good News Watch:
There were 190 acts of international terrorism in 2003, a slight decrease from the 198 attacks that occurred in 2002, and a drop of 45 percent from the level in 2001 of 346 attacks. The figure in 2003 represents the lowest annual total of international terrorist attacks since 1969.
The war on terrorism is working. Remember that in November.
The new editor of USA Today is getting right into things.
NEW YORK Newly appointed USA Today Editor Kenneth A. Paulson vows to cure the paper's purported "virus of fear" with an open policy for staffers that will focus on positive feedback from the newsroom and the free exchange of ideas.
Sounds good. Next, hopefully, the virus of credibility should be dealt with. Depends on how free the "free exchange of ideas" goes, eh?
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Those who are concerned about the incarceration of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay are getting their way; prisoners are being released.
The Bush administration's detention of hundreds of foreign fighters in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, got dissected last week by the Supreme Court, with some justices questioning the government's right to incarcerate aliens indefinitely without judicial review. But the court arguments may have obscured a potentially bigger embarrassment for the Pentagon: some of the more than 100 Gitmo prisoners who have been released have since turned up back in Afghanistan—fighting with Taliban forces against the U.S. military.
Newsweek magazine, I have a question for you; how exactly is this an embarrassment for the Pentagon? Has Mr. Isikoff not been around when liberal activist group have pleaded for these guy to be released?
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Just noticed this over at Sensing's site. It's what's waiting for us once same-sex marriage is fully legalized. It won't stop there, and this is proof.
WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- For Jennifer Hoes, a Dutch student, May 28 will be a doubly exciting day. She'll turn 30, and she'll be a blushing bride -- plus her own groom. In the Trouwzaal, or wedding room, of the City Hall of Haarlem in the Netherlands, Jennifer will marry herself.
It will happen here, if same-sex marriage gets the governmental nod. As much as "gay marriage" advocates would insist this isn't their intent, it's the inevitable result. It's the same with those wanting to legalize marijuana and nothing more. The "nothing more" line in both cases has plenty of people waiting in the wings, ready to push for crossing it once you've pushed us across this one.
We know the destination we're heading for, if we continue to indulge some of this line-crossing; it's not a matter of speculation. And I'm not against line-crossing in general. What I'm pointing out is that many of the same-sex marriage advocates themselves don't even want to wind up at the destination we'll inevitably arrive at, and they're still pushing that direction. That attitude is either supremely naive, incredibly selfish, or knowingly destructive.
From Tim over at "CPT Patti" comes this stellar example of liberal media bias, noted by none other than Sec. Rumsfeld.
There are two ways, I suppose, one could inform readers of the Geneva Convention stipulation against using places of worship to conduct military attacks.
As Tim notes, "We aren't imagining the bias, we are highlighting it." When I hear major media editors and new anchors claim to be even-handed, it's both funny and appalling.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
When you're a Democrat, and even the Village Voice is dissing you, you know you're in trouble.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— With the air gushing out of John Kerry's balloon, it may be only a matter of time until political insiders in Washington face the dread reality that the junior senator from Massachusetts doesn't have what it takes to win and has got to go. As arrogant and out of it as the Democratic political establishment is, even these pols know the party's got to have someone to run against George Bush. They can't exactly expect the president to self-destruct into thin air.
Hugh Hewitt has been saying for quite some time now that the Democrats may yet exercise The Torricelli Option (i.e. what they did in New Jersey; swap out a doomed candidate at the last minute). Maybe it's not so farfetched after all.
Never mind 2 years, the CEO for Air America Radio is stepping down less that 1 month after the network barely got off the ground. (And it's still flying pretty low these days.)
Did you know that as early as 889 AD, Muslims had sailed across the Atlantic and married into the Algonquin tribe, some becoming chiefs? No? Well, that's what the Middle East Policy Council would like to teach our children, even though the tribe's oral and written history doesn't support it. Yeah, they took that false information out of the curriculum, but won't explain how it got in there.
A remarkably personal and moving story "On Abortion in America" over at American Digest. No vitriol, no "in your face" attitude, just real thoughts and experiences. Be there.
Monday, April 26, 2004
Wow. Great editorial over the weekend by Peter Bart on how The New York Times has really had to eat crow over their coverage of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ".
As predictions go, the Times' entire litany could stand major "correction." Despite the fact that Frank Rich compared it to "a porn movie," by the end of its run "The Passion" could rank second only to "Titanic" as the highest-grossing movie ever made. Further, there have been no signs of anti-Semitic outbreaks tied to the film's release -- not even in places like France and Argentina.
And oh yes, there's a lot more, including how the Time's bias has seeped even into their coverage of culture and the arts.
There's one thing that occurred to me over the weekend regarding the Iraqi move to democracy, and it's something to keep in mind as that process goes forward. I've occasionally referred to the history of the United States and it's move from the colony of a monarchy to a government of the people and by the people, and have noted that our own history shows that a move like this can take some time. Some Bush haters will no doubt delight every time another Falujah-type attack occurs, believing it somehow proves their assertion that the Iraqis hate us and want us out. Things like this will indeed slow down progress, but this doesn't mean that progress should be stopped.
However, one thing I wondered about over the weekend was that a big difference between our Revolutionary War and the war that freed Iraq from a murderous dictator is that in our revolution, we were the instigators and the majority of the fighters. True, we did have allies (give the French their due on this one), but the thinkers, the generals, the politicians and the solders that, for the most part, made up our war for independence were home-grown. We were not liberated from a monarch by a third party; we did the lion's share ourselves. Therefore, there was more of our own blood, sweat, tears and sense of purpose invested in our own freedom than for those in Iraq. By no means do I intend to diminish the deaths of Iraqi civilians in the war--each is a tragedy--but few occurred in any sort of home-grown uprising that contributed to the fall of the Ba'athists. Thus I'm left wondering, to what degree are the Iraqi people invested in the future of freedom in their nation?
Understandably, as I've mentioned before, there are differences in the two wars, and the period prior to each, that would make this transition for the Iraqi people more difficult. They have spent decades afraid of their government and unlearning this will take quite some time. American colonists weren't being gassed, and there were no mass graves in New England after the Boston Tea Party. Still, just by virtue of not being the ones that had the biggest hand in freeing their country, there will most likely be something missing in their spirits that was present in the post-revolution American people. I'm not laying blame, just noticing a difference in how history played out, and wondering about how the future will look. And I'm certainly not trying to make predictions.
Anyway, just thought I'd toss that out. Someone with a better familiarity with historical examples of this kind of situation could do a better job of analyzing and/or predicting than I can. Have at it.
John Hawkins of RightWing News has a great article on The Command Post's op-ed section called Get Your Antennae Up!. John points out some things to watch out for when reading the news (anonymous sources, scientists, budget numbers, etc.) He doesn't mention polling results, one of my pet peeves, but he does mention Internet polls, which are pure entertainment (vs. newsworthy). Required reading.
ABC News, in a rare jab at a Democrat, has found video showing that Vietnam vet John Kerry made statements about throwing away his medals that presidential candidate John Kerry later contradicted by saying he only threw away his corresponding ribbons.
"I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals," Kerry said in an interview on a Washington, D.C., news program on WRC-TV called Viewpoints on Nov. 6, 1971, according to a tape obtained by ABCNEWS.
So the stage is set. Kerry is on tape saying one thing in 1971, and has been saying something else during this campaign. Let's see how this guy handles the situation; does he come clean, or dissemble?
Calling it a "phony controversy" instigated by the Republican party, Kerry said on Good Morning America today that he has always accurately said what took place. "I threw my ribbons. I didn't have my medals. It is very simple."
There's your answer. Rule #1 when you find yourself in a hole is "stop digging", but Mr. Kerry continues to shovel.
He also said he - and the military - didn't make a distinction between medals and ribbons. "We threw away the symbols of what our country gave us for what we had gone through," he said.
You see, it all depends on the meaning of the word "medal". Now where have we heard this before?
But in 1984, when he first ran for the U.S. Senate, Kerry revealed he still had his medals. According to a Boston Globe report on April 15, 1984, union officials had expressed uneasiness with Kerry's candidacy because he had thrown his medals away. Kerry acknowledged the medals he threw away were, in fact, another soldier's medals. He reportedly invited a union official home to personally inspect his Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, awarded for his combat duty as a Navy lieutenant.
Finally, when it became politically expedient to change his story, he did.
Frankly whether he threw his medals away or the ribbons is, to me, immaterial. What is material in this whole thing is how Kerry handles himself in these kinds of situations. If you want to be lied to like Bill Clinton did to your face, Kerry's your man. If you want a guy who'll blame Republicans in any controversy, even when it's generated by his own words, Kerry's your man. If you want a man who say that he's both proud of his military service, yet disgusted by it, Kerry's your man. If you want another President who's driven by the shifting winds of political expedience and focus groups, Kerry's your man.
That's not the kind of city councilman I want, let alone President.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Major congratulations to marcland for pulling a coup and having Dean Esmay of Dean's World give him a slot there for marc's Friday weblog roundup.
(Aw shucks, and thanks for mentioning me. Moral of the story: Be nice to all other bloggers. >grin<)
Friday, April 23, 2004
When the trade deficit numbers come out, there's always more talk about buying American instead of importing. OK, how about...wood?
SACRAMENTO – Logging in California has dropped 60 percent over the last 15 years, even as the fast-growing state consumes more imported timber, figures being released Thursday show.
What about the increasing amount of fuel for forest fires?
The commission, like the Forest Service, argues much more logging is needed to trim the fire threat, though environmental groups dispute logging away from threatened communities.
Never mind the houses and the people; protect the trees. This goes for the hit on the economy as well.
It also comes amid the debate over the loss of American jobs overseas. Citing industry sawmill closure figures, the commission projected the decline in logging has cost 15,000 forestry jobs in California since 1988. More than 80 sawmills have closed, with fewer than 50 remaining. The closest sawmill to the San Bernardino Mountains is 250 miles from the massive stand of dead and dying trees there.
Shouldn't environmentalists be concerned about that as well? They keep forgetting that this country typically has better environmental standards than those places industry moves to when environmentalists push them out of here, but they just won't consider the net effect.
He criticized government policies that have nearly doubled the cost of timber harvest permits the last five years. In just that period, the number of permits has dropped 30 percent and the acres harvested by half, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection figures.
Growing? You'd never guess that from the doom and gloom reports from the mainstream media.
New ad for your friendly lumberjack (which should appeal to the union members):
[Lumberjack, standing in front of a tall tree]
"Building a new home? Buy American."
[Cry of "Timber" as the tree comes crashing down. Dissolve to home construction site, with all the walls studded in.]
"This message brought you to by the U. S. Forest Service, the AFL-CIO, and the Ad Council."
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Ooh, I've been promoted to "Slithering Reptile" from "Crawly Amphibian" in the TTLB Ecosystem. Whoop!
A brilliant example of left-wing "tolerance": The "Gay Militia" stormed a meeting of Christians who were discussing a bill in Canada that would criminalize certain opposition to homosexual behavior. There's even video of the incident (RealOne player needed).
I'm sorry, wasn't the "gay rights" movement's primary concern being left alone to live life as they see fit? Now it comes to disrupting any group meeting they don't like, and supporting legislation that says we have to talk nice about them or get thrown in jail. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what liberals call "tolerance". Agree with me or get hauled away. And this is not just hyperbole.
As WorldNetDaily reported, opponents fear if it becomes law, the Bible will be deemed "hate literature" under the criminal code in certain instances, as evidenced by the case of a Saskatchewan man fined by a provincial human-rights tribunal for taking out a newspaper ad with Scripture references to verses about homosexuality.
The Bible is now "hate speech". Thank you, "tolerant" left.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Remember all those folks who said that we should wait for the sanctions in Iraq to work? In the meantime, the people of Iraq were being cared for by the liberal, big government program called the Oil-for-Food program, administered by the United Nations. As you probably know by now, that program was enriching Saddam Hussein, not his people. What more could be said about it?
Plenty. Claudia Rosett, writing in Commentary magazine, blows the lid off the whole scheme, the corruption of which extends far beyond the program itself.
The excitement may be justified, but a number of important facts and conclusions have gone missing. Oil-for-Food, run by the UN from 1996 to 2003, did, in fact, deliver some limited relief to Iraqis. It also evolved into not only the biggest but the most extravagant, hypocritical, and blatantly perverse relief program ever administered by the UN. But Oil-for-Food is not simply a saga of one UN program gone wrong. It is also the tale of a systematic failure on the part of what is grandly called the international community.
That's where it starts, and when you're done, countries that were recalcitrant to go to war against Iraq are exposed as the real folks trying to profiteer from Iraqi oil, and tens of billions (with a "B") of dollars of graft have swirled down the drain, and not just in Iraq, but within the United Nations itself.
Who in their right mind would want that organization to have a larger role in administering a nation like Iraq? Who in their right mind could ever believe France or Russia in the future when they protest for "peace", when they were clearly trying to cover their own kiesters with their "give peace a chance" bleatings?
And why do we willingly participate in an organization so corrupt that they make the Mafia look like a bunch of Girl Scouts selling cookies? When (if?) the full truth comes out, folks like John Kerry who are arguing for paying more deference to this elitist bunch ought to do some serious soul-searching. Though listening to how strenuously Kerry wants to "rejoin the international community", if he represents the average UN-backer in this country, none of this will matter to them. Liberal programs are, by definition, good, regardless of outcome. Intentions matter, not results, and this would prove that point like nothing else.
On the lighter side of Considerettes Radio, I add a little humor to the Hugh Hewitt Show. What if John Kerry were held to the same standard as Bush on the subject of bad intelligence? And does it involve Haliburton?
"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 4/21/2004 6:35pm EST (155K)
Marc of marcland is only 6 weeks away from the arrival of his first kiddo! (Stop by and watch him get nervous. >grin<)
Heard the latest "Memogate" news, detailing how liberal special interest groups manipulated the Democrats to filibuster Bush's judicial nominees for their gain? No? Well then you must be reading The New York Times or The Washington Post or any other liberal media outlet. The Washington Times and Fox News, derided by liberals as shills for conservatives, have reported it as has CNS News, but, as CNS points out, no one else has.
The apparent lack of interest has left conservative groups in the nation's capital baffled.
Oh yeah, in a New York minute.
While looking around at Dean's World, I noticed this interesting bit of poll data. Regular readers may know that I'm not a big fan of polling data (especially reported as news) because of the skewed questions, or the skewed headlines sitting over data that doesn't support that headline. And this information actually supports that conviction.
Based on mainstream media reports, is support for the Iraq war increasing or decreasing? If you say "decreasing", you'd be wrong, but I couldn't blame you. As Dean says:
The detractors who want us to pull out and go home like to point to data showing that nearly half of all Americans people disapprove of the way we're handling the war effort. However, hidden within those statistics are those who disapprove because they simply think we aren't fighting hard enough, aren't committing more troops, aren't being more tough with the insurgents. Factor that in, and those who say they "disapprove" simply because they want us to pull out are not even close to a majority.
(Did I mention I don't like polls?)
The Gallup organization says it this way:
Despite the rising death toll of American fighting men and women in Iraq and continued news coverage of insurrection and anger against Americans in that country, a majority of Americans remain convinced that U.S. involvement in Iraq has been worth it so far, and that sending troops there was not a mistake. And, while a majority of Americans believe that U.S. troop levels in Iraq should either be kept the same or reduced, the percentage who feel that more U.S. troops should be sent to Iraq has increased significantly over the last two weeks.
And there's a lot more on their site showing that support for the war, and support for intensifying our effort to meet the resistance from insurgents and foreign fighters (i.e. from Iran & Syria) is quite strong. But you don't hear that from the mainstream media (unless the poll numbers begin to reflect their general desire to portray Iraq as a "quagmire).
Did I mention I don't like polls?
Via Drudge, Air America is hitting on hard times. And it's not even a month old.
Liberal talk radio must find new Los Angeles, Chicago stations
Certainly this can't be good for ratings. Then again, it's been said many times before that there's no such thing as bad publicity. On the third hand, getting about one third of your network unplugged in some of the biggest markets in the country so soon doesn't allow you to build up a dedicated listenership. The 2 year prediction still looks good.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Clayton Cramer noticed that I have a tendency to post about global warming and he pointed out some posts of his from the past dealing with the subject. Worth reading.
Yet global warming alarmists want to send world economies into upheaval on the off chance we can do anything to change this. Not likely.
Cox & Forkum have a cartoon that ought to be blown up to poster size and held up silently at the next "anti-war" rally near you. It quotes Michael Moore taking sides with the terrorists trying to take over the newly-freed Iraq, comparing them to the American Revolution's Minutemen.
As I asked about Hans Blix, can we stop hearing from this guy? What is he thinking? Sic transit Moore.
You tell 'em, Prime Minister.
Prime Minister John Howard has condemned Spain's decision to pull its troops out of Iraq, saying it would encourage further terrorism in the country.
Exactly as I've said, and that encouragement makes it more dangerous for those that stay. We don't need to embolden terrorists, we need to defeat them. Turning tail and running is not the way you win a war against people like these, who live for instilling fear to get their way.
But [Spanish Ambassador to Australia] Mr [Jose] Baranano said Prime Minister Zapatero would not change his mind. "He would be supporting any other ways to help, stability, democratisation, territorial integrity and reconstruction in Iraq," he said.
How do can you support the withdrawal of troops in direct response to terrorism, and then go on to say you're "absolutely committed in the fight against terrorism in the world"? How can you hand terrorists a major victory, then turn around and claim to be fighting them?
These are mutually exclusive choices.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
On Thursday, April 18th, 2002 I dipped my toe into the waters of what I thought was just a small creek, but it turned out to be a massive ocean; I joined the blogosphere. Yet I was late to the party once again. (Story of my life.) Nonetheless, while my blogging "career" began with fits & starts ("Post every day? I'm not that prolific.") it has gotten a bit more regular and a lot more fun.
I've gotten that rush from getting linked by Instapundit. (Not once but twice!) The National Review's "The Corner" gave me a link a while back. I even got mention in an UPI article about blogging (which was a classic case of being in the right place at the right time; pure luck.) Hugh Hewitt recently noticed me posting audio clips of my calls to him. (And there are more clips over to the left under "Considerettes Radio".) But a number of other bloggers have linked me along the way, and I'd like to thank those of you who have noticed this little corner of the blogosphere (most notably (i.e. most often) JunkYard Blog, Right Wing News, One Hand Clapping, Clayton Cramer, and a new friend of mine marcland.) You've helped bring this humble blog from an Insignificant Microbe to a Crawly Amphibian (in the TTLB Ecosystem, that is).
But this is a blogiversary, and to celebrate we're going to have a party! Yes, right here on the net we're going to have a full-blown birthday party. There may even be some prizes in it for you.
I hope you had fun at the party. Don't forget your goodie bag, and hope you'll continue to stop by in the coming year.
Friday, April 16, 2004
Being on vacation really does a number on two things related to blogging. Number one, it, of course, reduces the amount of time to do said activity. Number two, I don't keep up with the news like I usually do, but then that's what vacation is for. I certainly catch the news when I can, but generally big stories fly right past me.
(I got lucky on the President's press conference. My father-in-law was looking to see if the Braves were playing that evening, and on our way to finding out that they weren't, we noticed the networks breaking away to cover the President. Sometimes, it just works out that way. >grin<)
I know some bloggers keep up their usual posting volume while on vacation, but I'm not that addicted. Yet.
My second blogiversary is coming up on Sunday the 18th. I'm still officially on vacation although we arrived home yesterday, so I'm still not completely up-to-date on the goings on (although I hear Jamie Gorelick of the 9/11 Commission ought to be testifying instead of questioning--thank you Instapundit, one of my news sites). I hope to do a little research and offer you some fun little things for that occasion, so my web time will be spent preparing for that rather than trying to say something coherent.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Well that was quick. From the Drudge Report:
STATION OWNER CLAIMS: AIR AMERICA 'BOUNCES CHECK'; LIBERAL RADIO NET TAKEN OFF IN LOS ANGELES, CHICAGO AFTER ONLY TWO WEEKS
Well, whatever the reason, it's off the air in some big markets. Doesn't bode well for the network, and shows that my 2 year prediction is probably an overestimate.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
"Freedom is not this country's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty's gift to everyone." Great line.
Dubya is channelling Condi. >grin< He's used my favorite line about terrorists having to be right once while we have to be right all the time. He's also used the "move heaven and earth" phrase with respect to what he would have done if he knew bin Laden was going to fly planes into buildings. Talking points? Yeah, probably. But at least with the former, it's just a fact of life these days, not jingoism.
Bush's news conference is on now. He's having to counter media (and Democrat) impressions, for starters. The vast majority of Iraq is doing well, in spite of opposition in specific areas. It still isn't a quagmire.
He's right that if we didn't turn over sovereignty on June 30th, many would question our intentions and it would, as I've said before, embolden the opposition. And in keeping that date, it shows confidence in the Iraqi people, and it instills it in them as well, seeing that we trust them to care for this republic. I imagine we'll still have troops there for some time to come, but Iraq will be ruled by Iraqis. Setting up a U.S. embassy and appointing an ambassador will do that as well.
And if some folks balk at the idea that Iraq won't complete the full transition until December of next year, recall that this is more than just the replacement of one oppressive institution with one built on freedom. It's also the changing of the minds of Iraqis. They need to learn to trust their government, and not fear retribution if they have a disagreement. They need to learn that those disagreements should not be handled with arms, but with votes. A whole generation has grown up with ideas and fears that have to be unlearned. December 2005, itself, will be just the start.
A breakthrough in consumer choice.
Wal-Mart is selling the world's first DVD player that can seamlessly skip over violence, swearing, nudity and other potentially offensive movie content. The $79 unit features technology by ClearPlay and is manufactured by Thomson Inc. under its RCA brand.
Does ClearPlay force this on the consumer?
ClearPlay offers several settings in four categories of filtering -- violence, language, sex/nudity and explicit drug use -- with the user able to choose any combination. For example, the language setting can range from irreligious exclamations to ethnic slurs to graphic phrases used as profanity.
You can edit as much or as little as you like, or see the whole thing. But who's against it?
RCA's player is the latest development in a legal battle between the Salt Lake City-based software company and Hollywood. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh and other members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) filed suit against ClearPlay in September 2002, when the filtering product was available as a computer program.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when you press the "skip ahead" button on your DVD, you're violating the law. And ClearPlay doesn't edit to conform to ClearPlay's vision of a movie, it edits to conform to the user's choices.
Aho said the product is important, because standards differ from one person to another. Some people have no objection to innuendo, he said, but shield their children from seeing violence. He added that it's consumer choice, not censorship.
Seems clear enough. The movie on the DVD is not changed, but the player allows the viewer to decide how they want to see it. Isn't that my choice?
(I wonder how many of these guys so up in arms about this are "pro-choice" when it comes to killing unborn children. Just asking.)
He added that ClearPlay will not offer titles that cannot be edited in a way that retains their sensibility, such as "Saving Private Ryan," "Schindler's List" or "The Passion of the Christ."
So this really isn't that much of an imposition. If removing the violence removes the story, there's no editing, and the consumer can just choose not to buy the movie.
Why is this an issue?
Sunday, April 11, 2004
John Hawkins of Right-Wing News has distilled Condi's testimony before the 9/11 Commission into a good group of quotes. They cover everything from my favorite "And as I said, they have to be right once; we have to be right 100 percent of the time", to the real "plan" given to the Bush administration from Clinton, to a few reality checks with regard to Richard Clarke, to credit where credit is due in the Customs Department, to where we go from here. Bookmark this for the future, when folks (continue to) suggest that Clinton did more against terrorism than Bush has.
Speaking of which, Hawkins also has a link to a Gregg Easterbrook column that says far better that I have before what would have happened if Bush had truly done what it would have taken to fight terrorism in a pre-9/11 mentality. It's a potential alternate history of what would have happened had those 19 hijackers been apprehended before they could carry out their plans, especially in light of what Condi has said about the intelligence reports before 9/11. A quick excerpt:
Bush justified his attack on Afghanistan, and the detention of 19 men of Arab descent who had entered the country legally, on grounds of intelligence reports suggesting an imminent, devastating attack on the United States. But no such attack ever occurred, leading to widespread ridicule of Bush's claims. Speaking before a special commission created by Congress to investigate Bush's anti-terrorism actions, former national security adviser Rice shocked and horrified listeners when she admitted, "We had no actionable warnings of any specific threat, just good reason to believe something really bad was about to happen."
It starts out with Cheney being sworn in as the 44th president following Bush's impeachment. Before you charge Bush with being a "cowboy" or not doing enough against terror back then, consider what the country would have thought about what it really would have taken to prevent 9/11.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Looks like Japan is going to stand up to terrorism instead of give in to appeasment. Good for them, as well as for the rest of us.
Japan is refusing to withdraw troops from Iraq despite the death threats hanging over three of its citizens.
As seen on marcland. I can certainly understand the emotions of the families of the hostages; that's got to be an extremely difficult situation to be in. But if we give in to the terror, the terrorists win.
Ah, the ever-compassionate United Nations:
WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) -- U.S. officials told a Senate panel Wednesday that officers in Saddam Hussein's government skimmed $10.1 billion from the U.N. Oil-for-Food program.
And John Kerry wants these folks to be in charge of Iraq. Would you trust these people with your country? And somehow this was better--the enriching of Hussein at the expense of his people--than taking out Hussein and installing a republic? That's what the anti-war folks would have you believe. That, to them, was "peace".
Thursday, April 08, 2004
What's really going on in Iraq? How about listening to a soldier
The reality is one of an ever-increasing defeat of the enemies we face. Our enemies are therefore more desperate. They are striking out more viciously and indiscriminately. I realize this is causing Americans stress, and I assure you it causes us stress, too.
Via Amy Ridenour's blog at the National Center for Public Policy Research, where the letter was posted. Her blog post has more details, and a follow-up letter to her from the same soldier, who adds that the major media is (brace yourself) not getting it right.
However, NONE OF THIS is the disaster bad news that you are seeing on CNN and others. Let me give you perhaps one of the best examples. A police station that we covered and set up last summer in Al-Shawla made the news yesterday because, SHOCKINGLY!!! it was attacked by two RPGs. Now, Amy, here is the reality....
Keep that in mind when watching TV.
Great Condi quote from her testimony: Referring to terrorists attacking vs. our measure preventing that, "They have to be right once, we have to be right 100% of the time."
I've had the Condi testimony on all morning so far, and it seems to be that the audience is full of liberal partisans, or at least they are the ones being rather impolite. At least 3 times they've interrupted the proceedings with applause when a commission member was badgering Rice.
UPDATE: Thank you, Sen. Kerrey for asking folks to not applaud when you made a statement the liberal partisans agreed with.
UPDATE PART DEUX: According to Fox News, there were some 9/11 families in the audience, so it's possible that they were the applause we heard. Still, the only applause occurred when the impression was being given that Condi was on the ropes. Are they just looking for scapegoats and just lay blame somewhere, or the truth? I don't know if this occurred during the testimony of Clinton administration officials, but it's still certainly impolite and implies mean motives.
UPDATE AL FINE: The full transcript of her testimony is here.
Timing is not my strong suit. I get a whale of a link from Hugh Hewitt, and this morning the web host's server has issues. And in addition I'm going on vacation for a few days starting this evening. >grin< Ah well, I'll still have net access and I'll still make an occasional appearance during that time.
Greenland could melt!
LONDON (Reuters) - Greenland's huge ice sheet could melt within the next 1,000 years and swamp low-lying areas around the globe if emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and global warming are not reduced, scientists have said.
Goodness! Just like it did in the 980s! No, that's not a typo; the 980s. How can we blame man-made CO2 on global warming when sunspots by themselves have caused this before?
Hostages are being held by Iraqis at this time, Japanese and South Koreans. Don't think that we should push out the June 30th turnover deadline because of incidents like this. Push out the deadline, and you just delay this sort of desperation.
Here's praying that these folks will be released soon.
More details at CNN.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Considerettes Radio appears again on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Hugh had played some John Kerry clips, including one that disparaged the idea of turning sovereignty to the Iraqis on June 30th, saying that the date was artificial. Other callers had said that we couldn't turn over the governing of Iraq while there was so much instability. I thought, however, that if we don't turn it over on that date, it'll be Madrid all over again.
(Note to Hugh: Thanks for the compliment.)
"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 4/7/2004 6:50pm EST (190K)
UPDATE: Ever luvin'...a link from the man himself! (Semi-permalink here. I think that when it scrolls off, it's gone for good.) (Update within an update: Permalink is here.)
THE TECHNOLOGY IS AMAZING: My broadcast finished about an hour ago. Soon thereafter I discover that a blogger-caller has figured out how to post his call to the program for his visitors to hear. An impressive call, Considerettes, and an impressive display of wizardry.
(Aw shucks, a little ol' Perl script and a couple of programs that capture audio streams, running under Linux. And as I said when I first contemplated this, it may be kinda' vain, but no more so than having a blog. >grin<)
Morning glory, Hewitt listeners!
Byron York reports that Air America Radio, even with its huge buildup in the media, isn't amounting to much.
As the new liberal talk-radio network finishes its first week in operation, industry insiders say the most impressive thing about the effort is not its performance - that has gotten mixed-to-negative reviews - but the fact that the network, Air America, has received such extensive press coverage relative to the tiny size of its audience.
As I said late last month, Limbaugh didn't start with nearly this kind of media blitz, and didn't have to buy stations to carry his program, and look where he is today. And he didn't get there by dissing a core constituency:
For example, there is a growing controversy in New York over the new identity of WLIB. Some listeners who were loyal to the black-oriented message of the station - as well as its Caribbean-music programming - are angry at the ownership for leasing most of WLIB's broadcast day to the mostly-white Air America team. "Air America is in no way offering a satisfactory substitute for local community programming," one activist told the New York Daily News.
And even far-left media critics don't like it. Yes, one week is hardly a good enough predictor of the future, but I still stand by my 2 year prediction given what I've seen thus far.
The Boston Globe has an extremely interesting article on Christianity in politics in general, and Bush's views in particular. It should be required reading both for folks afraid of too much religion being inserted in Bush's politics, and for those who believe Bush is in their theological camp. For me it was eye-opening.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Wow! When the far left "Alternative Press Review" proclaims that "Air America Radio is a Joke", it's tempting to adjust my 2 year prediction downward. But not yet. :)
Prepare to be shocked. Or not.
GOVERNMENT attempts to reduce high-risk sexual behaviour among teenagers have had exactly the opposite effect, according to a new study.
This goes completely contrary to claims by advocates for handing out contraceptives, which only follows because those ideas go entirely against common sense. If you remove the consequences of a particular behavior, in doing so you give tacit approval regardless of what you say. The kids are watching your deeds more that listening to your words.
Critics said that the findings exploded the official line that the best way to tackle rising teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) was by making contraception more easily available.
But they didn't consider the consequences of making contraception more easily available. Liberal advocates don't do that very well, and sure enough in England things have turned out 180 degrees away from the intent.
Robert Whelan, of the independent think-tank Civitas, said: "The method which the Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy relies upon is almost guaranteed to produce these results. They have always promoted condom use, but have never contemplated the possibility of teaching young people abstinence."
Abstinence has become a bogeyman of the left. In this latest example, they wouldn't even bring it up as a possible solution for teens. Nope, just hand out condoms and cross your fingers. And that wishful thinking is hurting teens:
By making the morning-after pill free to teenagers, the Government had masked real levels of sexual activity among teenagers, he said. Because the pill causes early abortions, some conceptions are never counted in the teenage pregnancy figures. "The morning-after pill may cut pregnancies, but it won’t do anything to decrease STIs. That is why the STI rate is now a much more reliable indicator of sexual activity among young people."
Abstinence is still 100% effective when tried, with a 0% chance of infection.
Anne Weyman, chief executive of the Family Planning Association, said: "The evidence is that in areas other than London, teenage pregnancy rates have fallen by between eight and 15 per cent since 1998.
Ms. Weyman would like us to avert our eyes from the bad news. And she doesn't even really address the problem mentioned. The problem was an increase in "high-risk sexual behavior", not just pregnancies. Reduce the former first, then the latter will diminish. But her solution, more contraception, only tackles the "high-risk" part of the equation. Just as problematic in the teen pregnancy issue is the "sexual behavior" side of it. The more sexual behavior, the more potential for the high risk. Thus we have a domino effect: reducing sexual behavior reduces high-risk sexual behavior which reduces teen pregnancy. The problem is, family-planning groups who want to deal with this situation are working from the middle of the chain instead of at its beginning.
And don't tell me, "Kids are going to have sex anyway, might as well make it safe." Would you willingly replace "have sex" with "smoke" or "take drugs" just as flippantly, and tacitly approve of those behaviors, too?
"...of course, if you start looking for more infections you will find them." I wonder, Ms. Weyman, how hard are you looking for more pregnancies when you cite rates outside of London? Considering how upside-down your advocacy is given common sense and the numbers here, I have a feeling you don't want to know the real situation.
Back here I noted that a picture sent from the 9/11 Commission to the White House didn't speak well for the fellow who sent it. That hasn't changed, but the blog "Assume The Position" has debunked a number of things about the circumstances surrounding the photo, mostly the idea that it sets some sort of historical precedent.
(Noted whilst perusing Dean's World.)
OK, that's enough. Can we stop hearing from this guy?
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Iraq (news - web sites) is worse off now, after the U.S.-led invasion, than it was under Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), Hans Blix told a Danish newspaper Tuesday.
Hans, I'm just glad you weren't around during America's Revolutionary War. We didn't have mass graves before we gained our liberty, we had more casualties during it, but it was still worth it. Yes, there have been civilian deaths during this war, but you would prefer meaningless deaths at the hands of a power-hungry dictator over those unfortunate deaths that occur in the pursuit of freedom?
What is this guy thinking? He's used up his final reserve of credibility at this point. Sic transit Blix.
UPDATE: Don Sensing's take on this is devastating. After a laundry list of things that apparently Blix thinks the coalition ought to do in Iraq to keep the peace (tactics that Hussein would've loved), he delivers the pay-off pitch.
Now, no doubt Blix would respond that of course he does not mean that the Iraqis were better off under Saddam because he was a murderous, ruthless dictator, but because there was civil peace and no factional fighting - "order," in other words.
Remember that when anti-war protestors seek to bring peace "back" to Iraq. A true peace wasn't there for decades, so it can't come "back". Blix was blind.
Freedom isn't free.
No, it's not just ad copy for "Rainbow Six 3". It's not just the title of an excellent blog post by a teenager on the Fallujah killings. It's a fact of life. John Adams said, "Posterity--you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." That is the opportunity we have given the people of Iraq; the chance for freedom.
But is this sort of freedom ready to go in Iraq? Eric Haney, one of the founding members of Delta Force was just interviewed on Fox News, and his observation is spot on. "Jeffersonian democracy wasn't ready to just spring up from the ground. It's going to take some time." A generation or more has grown up in Iraq afraid of the government and perhaps even distrustful of law enforcement in general. This is not going away overnight, in spite of a transfer of sovereignty scheduled for June 30. It doesn't take a political scientist to realize that democracy will grow in fits and starts in Iraq, quite possibly for another generation. People who will (and make no mistake about it, they will) point out that, later on in the year, things will be going rough and that violence hasn't abated in Iraq will only be doing that to score political points. Our own country had it's problems deciding how it would be governed, both at its inception and later on during the Civil War. Iraq has a few strikes against it that perhaps we didn't back then; a foreign country had to liberate them from their oppression (which doesn't do much for national pride), supporters of the overthrown government are fighting back (we had a Tea Party, but they blow up hotels), and even those who were released from the Hussein--religious sects mostly--want to simply replace the old oppression with their style of oppression. Their freedom is coming at a high cost, with much of it being paid by foreign countries.
We've given them a republic, if they can keep it. It will take some care & feeding, but if the people of Iraq will remember that their freedom wasn't free, as I think some in our country have forgotten, they'll keep it, and it will keep them.
Monday, April 05, 2004
Did appeasing terrorists in Spain work?
Police are also examining a fax threatening bloodshed if Spain does not pull its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Emphasis mine, and it can't be overemphasized. Even if you think Iraq isn't really part of the war on terror, you really can't be paying attention if you think Afghanistan wasn't. So if Spain's willing to appease terrorists over Iraq, we'll see how far they can be shoved. Will this mean any response to terrorism will be suppressed?
The answer, of course, is that it doesn't matter what you do to to appease them, they'll keep coming at you until they have exactly what they want. Only two things will stop them; a resounding defeat, or Sharia in Spain. Your choice, folks.
I said Air America (or a least Franken's show) would be off the air in 2 years. Right Wing News gives them only 18 months, and has an excerpt to back up his statement.
Actually, I tried to listen to Franken today around noon, but all I got was a notice that there was nothing broadcasting at the time. Odd.
This does not speak well of the 9/11 Commission's director:
NEW YORK, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Last Monday morning 9/11 commission executive director Philip Zelikow faxed a photograph to the White House counsel's office with a note saying that if the White House didn't allow national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify in public before the commission, the photograph would"...be all over Washington in 24 hours," Newsweek has learned. The photo, from a Nov. 22, 1945, New York Times story, showed presidential chief of staff Adm. William D. Leahy, appearing before a special congressional panel investigating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The point was clear: The White House could no longer get away with the claim that Rice's appearance would be a profound breach of precedent.
Firstly, Rice has already met with the commission, and for a longer time than most (if not all). Secondly, her statement from "60 Minutes" still stands, "And we have yet to find an example of a National Security Advisor, sitting National Security Advisor who has been willing to testify on matters of policy." This picture does not make that statement false whatsoever.
But the third point here is, to me, the most egregious. Is Zelikow actually blackmailing the White House here? That's certainly what it looks like. The lefty bloggers have been all over this guy, considering him to be the guy who was going to rig the results of the commission. Well apparently he's not letting his Republican connections stand in the way of a good old-fashioned threat. I'm of two minds about him at this point. He isn't soft-pedaling those on his side of the aisle, which I like and appreciate, but I really don't like his tactics. Maybe this is one guy who really is trying to be bipartisan about the whole thing, but he's becoming a bit too self-important.
Yesterday, TalkLeft posted this short entry:
This isn't a headline the Bush administration wants to see:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but al Qaeda had been planning for years to attack New York and Washington. If they were preventable, wouldn't they be more preventable earlier, say, during the Clinton administration? Why isn't this a bad headline for the Clinton "legacy"? (Answer: It is.)
And honestly, as I said almost 2 years ago, would Democrats really have had the stomach for what would have been required to prevent them? They don't have the stomach not, post 9/11, for it. Yeah, leadership means making the hard choices in spite of partisan sniping. Still, for all their bluster about wanting to "rolling back" terrorism (by bombing aspirin factories and empty training camps), and even with hindsight available, it sounds like they would have been more resistant to legislation to prevent 9/11 than they even are now.
UPDATE: JunkYard Blog brings the point home, noting that the 9/11 Commission Chairman agrees that Clinton had multiple opportunities to remove bin Laden as a threat and scuttled them all.
I haven't said much about the Fallujah attack because so many others have said it better than I could. A good remembrance about it, why it will be handled the American way, and why that "American way" doesn't mean cutting & running as Clinton did in Mogadishu, can be found at JunkYardBlog. "We will remember the desecrations of Fallujah, and we will avenge them. But we will do it according morality, justice and patience."
Saturday, April 03, 2004
The Observer has learned that the deal for former Vice President Al Gore and his business partner Joel Hyatt to acquire digital-cable channel Newsworld International (NWI) has hit a major obstacle and may have fallen through in the 11th hour of negotiations.
Must've listened to the first few days of Air America Radio. >grin<
Friday, April 02, 2004
The strongest job growth in 4 years? Yup, the tax cuts are continuing to do their job!
Considerettes Radio goes national. >grin< Joshua Micah Marshall is no longer a regular guest on the Hugh Hewitt show (long story), so Hugh was taking suggestions yesterday for another "lefty blogger" to take his place. I called in and suggested Kos from daily Kos and CalPundit. In this clip, I explain why I suggested them, and Hugh says why he likes the former suggestion but not the latter.
(Note to self: Next time you're on a nationally syndicated talk show and you mention the blog, mention the name of it, too.)
"Considerettes Radio" on The Hugh Hewitt Show (WGKA, Atlanta, GA) 4/1/2004 6:40pm EST (305K)
Thursday, April 01, 2004
I think it's telling to read some of the reactions to yesterday's passage of the amendment to ban same-sex marriages in Georgia and get it on the ballot.
"Georgia law prohibits gay marriage. . . . It is irresponsible to amend the constitution on the flimsy assumption that Georgia judges will ignore the law. This is not Massachusetts. This is not California."
So what, then, has really changed today? What will have changed if the amendment passes in November? The answer is, very little, if anything. I heard people quoted on the radio this morning saying they're considering leaving Georgia if this passes, but if nothing has changed--if same-sex marriage couldn't happen yesterday and it can't happen in November--why the reaction over this amendment? Is it because judicial fiat was the hope still held out by gay advocate groups in Georgia, and that door could be shut? Were they counting on this sort of extra-constitutional activism to get their way, outside of the legislature? I have a feeling that this is the reason they're fighting so hard.
And Rep. Moraitakis, how many more "this is not"s would you be willing to say, how many more states' judges would you watch hurdle over the law to legislate from the bench, before you'd be willing to think that it could happen here? The assumption is not flimsy when there is no force other than a constitutional amendment to prevent it.
"This is not about marriage. Let's be honest. This is about putting something on the ballot. The nation is watching Georgia, and I'm worried about the message we are sending. First, the state flag. Governor [Roy Barnes] was defeated because of it. What kind of message is Georgia sending? Secondly, evolution came. The nation is watching. Now this. Which way is this state moving? Are we going back or are we gonna move forward?"
Define "forward". Would you advocate really going "forward" by removing the requirement of only 2 people involved in marriage? Isn't that just as "discriminatory"? How far "forward" do you want to go?
"Ask somebody standing in the unemployment line if two people getting married is going to give them a job in the morning."
Probably not, but neither is passing law on health insurance bringing them closer to a job. Neither is passing a law against child cruelty, nor one drawing new district lines. This is such a non sequiter that it shouldn't even have been run with the few reactions reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In this article, there are more reactions. Rep. Smyre is reported to have also said this:
"Never before have we amended the constitution to take away rights," he said.
What rights were removed that were there before? Again, what has really changed? The answer to both questions is "nothing". However, the people of Georgia are being given the opportunity to avoid what has been happening elsewhere by setting the too high (hopefully) for judges to leap over.
And here's a sad commentary:
The Black Caucus was divided, but a majority opposed the amendment.
Voting as a block of black legislatures--voting based on race--is more important than voting conscience? Who's doing the stereotyping these days?